Sunday, March 23, 2014

STGRB: The Bluff

Every time I write a new post I tell myself that it is the last one I will write. Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part, but nonetheless, something always pops up and I get compelled to mention it. Staying with the norm, I hope this is the last post I am compelled to write.

Recently, STGRB did a post about Autumn Turner and a post she did on her "Bullylikes" account. The following screenshot will show this.

However, this post isn't really about that. Instead, it's about something that the STGRB people said within the post.

Ever since I took up this fight against author bullying, I know at times I went off the rails. I think we can all agree that when you deal with these bullies, they can tend to set you off once in a while. Yours truly is no exception.

The one thing I tried my best at staying focused on is not to allow the bullies to push me to say things that aren't true. To make sure I stick with what the evidence allows. Part of this includes not saying things that may not be accurate. I always tried to remind myself that credibility is the most important tool when combating the bullies. If you say things under false pretense, then eventually it will catch up to you and before you know it, people will catch on and then you begin to lose your credibility. To lose credibility is to hurt the cause. Unfortunately, STGRB didn't refrain from this. You'll see what I'm talking about shortly.

This brings me to the post STGRB recently did about Autumn. As I stated, it's not really about the post as it is about what STGRB says in.

The post addresses an issue between Autumn and an author named Annette. Just another dispute between a bully and an author. However, this next screenshot shows STGRB informing Autumn that she published Annette's personal information. Take a look.

Then they also go on to proceed to post a screenshot of "Digital Media Laws". 

Now, I will be the first to admit that I am no lawyer. And while I am guilty in the past of seemingly giving legal advice, it is a practice that I decided to discard. I wish only that STGRB would follow that lead. Most in part because, they are not lawyers either. They know as much about the law as you and I. Yet how many times have we seen them give legal advice? 

So through this post of theirs, they send a message out to Autumn that she is breaking some kind of law by posting an authors email. (That author being this Annette girl.) Check it out. 

But here's the thing. The email they are talking about is actually an email the author herself advertises for her readers / fans to use in order to contact her. From what I saw of Autumns post, she posted an email exchange with this Annette, and it showed that authors email. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this isn't illegal. Yet STGRB insists that it is. At least, that's what I got from the post. 

But there is a point to all of this. A point I am now going to strongly make. You see, STGRB showcases all of these shady activities that the bullies participate in. (As well they should.) The thing that bothers me is; how can they, in good conscience, do this when they themselves practice shady activities? (Remember this? The shady practice of Athena sending a private email between her and I to other parties?)

While I am first to also admit that STGRB does some positive things for the cause, it's their own "shady" practices that negates the good things they do. Case in point:

One of the activities STGRB practices is something I like to call "The Bluff". Now, "The Bluff" is a tactic they use to try and put the scare into the bullies. On the surface, this could be seen as a good thing, but in reality, it damages the cause, provided that the scare tactic is nothing more than a bluff. For STGRB, their bluffs have often times worked the crowd of good people into a frenzy of hope, or believing that something great is about to happen when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. 

And while STGRB gives Autumn their stern warning of her shady practices, I wonder, is there anything I could do legally to Athena for her shady practice of sending my "private" emails to her to other parties for evil intent? Perhaps I should look into that!

They also talk about Angela Horn, one of the most evil of the bullies. She deserves everything that she has earned in regards to any punishment from the law or otherwise she may ever receive for her acts, in my opinion. But now we get back to "The Bluff".

The STGRB bluff is designed to "rally the crew" - so to speak, but the hope the bluff can give also leaves many empty inside. It also hurts credibility.

In this next screenshot, you will see exactly what I mean. 

Did you see where STGRB mentions that a group intends to file charges against Angela? Boy, I wish that were true, but if I was playing this hand at a poker table, I would go all in if I were Angela and call the STGRB bluff. (DMCA take down is one thing, legal action is something else entirely.)

You see, I heard something once from Athena herself, firing up the crew of good-guys into thinking that there was once a "group" who was going to sue the pants off of Goodreads. When I inquired about it, Athena kept playing the bluff. And in hindsight, that's all it was back then, a bluff. Don't believe me? Then take a look at these emails between her and I discussing it as I ask her that very question.

This is her response. 

You see? It's a big one! And I was to be one of the authors this group would contact too. I was so fired up then. Check out the rest of that conversation.

And I was excited to hear from them. The only problem was, I never did hear from them. In fact, the only person I ever heard from about it was Athena herself. Check this next screenshot out. 

See how she is asking me to send all my info to her, and not this "group"? Well, I did send her a lot of screenshots. Unfortunately, nothing ever came from it. Even when I wanted to make some kind of announcement on "The Glass" about it, she advised against it. Take a look.

You see. And now I ask you all, was there ever a lawsuit filed against Goodreads? The answer is a resounding, "NO"! There never was. It was just one big bluff. 

Even more interesting, I inquired exactly on September 1st of 2013. How is that significant? Well, shortly afterwards, around October / November, STGRB began singing the praises of Goodreads, remember? This is when GR came out with yet another "new policy" update that STGRB mysteriously never questioned once. 

This was also another reason that led me into thinking that perhaps STGRB made some kind of back door deal with GR because through the month of August, STGRB was mentioning that something in the form of a lawsuit was brewing in the wind. Looking back, who is to say that STGRB didn't merely use that as some kind of leverage for a deal? 

The point is, no lawsuit ever emerged from this so called "group", and this is why when I read their words of another "group" planning on taking Angela to court, I wish STGRB and I were in Vegas at the poker table so that I could take my chips and go "all in" on their claim. I think it's just another bluff to put the scare in the bullies. 

I'm not revealing this to help the bullies, I'm revealing it to help the good guys. I don't think it's fair to get people all excited about something that may not be true. Athena's last bluff caused me to question her credibility. How many others has she bluffed? And this is why I say, while STGRB has done a lot of good, they hurt the cause, and negate that good with these kinds of bluffs.

And giving legal advice when you're not a lawyer isn't a good idea either. 

When it comes to your reputation, credibility is everything! One might think that this kind of bluff works in favor of the good guys when it fact, it does the opposite. It hurts STGRB's credibility. Because if you start questioning the integrity of those claims, then that sheds a question mark on the other stuff. People will start to question how much substance is put into your other posts, and how much of it is real and accurate, and how much is nothing but a bluff? 

I hope they stop practicing this kind of behavior. I hope they see this post, and understand that this kind of bluffing is detrimental to the cause. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself in this next screenshot of author Rick Carufel talking about the WIN group on Facebook. 

That is interesting indeed, Rick. Please keep us posted.

Maybe if I'm lucky, Athena will join this mystery "group" and threaten to file charges against me for posting her public email information on this post. If so, I got my chips on the table, and calling her bluff. Consider me "all in". 

I'm Carroll Bryant .... and this is The Looking Glass. 


  1. The most revealing thing about the STGRB post is that they use a SS of a website that list all the things they say are actionable and STGRB has done everyone of them to me, you and others. What you call "Bluffs" I call lies.

  2. I was being nice about it. Be it "bluffs" or "lies" - they still make the same pancake.


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