Social Media & Its 3-star Hate


It's been ages since I've written a post like this but I think it's time before I burn the whole thing down.  Over the past 2 years or so I became a little too involved with Twitter which is a total time suck and can ruin your mood if you scroll the feeds too long. We all know this but some of us do it anyway (someone being me!). There is some good there though believe it or not! I've made some true friends and had a lot of laughs but the good is overshadowed by the negatives far too often. I have had days where the feed was full of stress-inducing tweets (wait, that's every day!), days when people take a shot at a reviewer or post a hot take for likes or post some toxic positivity "be nice, be constructive" bullshit and scream at readers for no reason whatsoever and others jump all over it making anyone with a different opinion feel like their opinion doesn't matter. I only hang out in the indie horror and romance corners (lurking mostly in romance) but it's rampant in both genres and has truly turned me off to the point where I nearly gave up reviewing and lost interest in reading because my life outside of this is really stressful and who needs this BS stress added to it? I have muted writers I used to love reading, reviewers and readers and even a publisher or two who, for some strange reason, decided to weigh in when it wasn't necessary and behave very badly towards readers and others who spoke out against bad behavior. It's all left me with such a gross feeling about all of it so in the future social media will be used very sparingly.

It's not only Twitter however and it's really nothing new but it makes this hobby a lot less fun. If you've been around the bookish internet for any length of time you'll likely remember those Stop The Goodreads Bullies folks who were authors with an agenda who wanted revenge on honest readers. Their true and transparent purpose to anyone with a working brain was to put an end to honest (negative) reviews and they did this by intimidation, by threatening people, by reporting them to Goodreads and worst of all by doxxing several readers. It took a few years but eventually the site and their infamous hit list were removed.

But I'm here now to express my thoughts on the current hate over the dreaded 3-star review which is so thoroughly EXHAUSTING. And I say "dreaded" because my 3-star reviews get the most negativity from fan-girls and fan-boys. I wrote a whole rage-fueled post about it last year which is here but let me tell ya, the situation has NOT improved with time. This has been going on for a few years and because of it I recently wrote a 3-star review that included several disclaimers. You can read it here, if you want. It's silly that I even have to do that but that's what it's come to. If you're not falling all over yourself in an attempt to stay constructive and flattering you more than likely will receive something hateful in a DM or on a review at some point. And it's not all in my head either or a case of me being "sensitive". The other day I saw several readers mention that this sort of thing is happening to them as well. They're losing friends over a 3-star review, receiving hate on a 3-star opinion. This is madness. We apparently have a current crop of writers and readers who are so used to seeing only 4 and 5-stars  that they now see a 3-star and their entire world collapses. Often, when you dare post a 3-star review some people are aghast with horror. You've ruined their ratio, they scream, and you must be a hateful person with a personal vendetta  I personally have come to the conclusion that this has become such a thing because many readers fear posting anything less than a 4-star and I don't blame them. They risk snide, rude, and abusive comments or fear a not-so-vague social media tweet by someone with a higher profile who sends others out on a hunt to eyeball that review and leave more shitty comments. And these readers are doing this for FREE IN THEIR SPARE TIME! This is what people forget or simply don't care about. Writers say they want reviews but what some don't say is that they only want positive reviews but that's the risk when you put your work out there. The 3-star, from what I see, has lost its "I liked it" "it was ok" meaning and has now become the new one and two-star. It's wild in the absolute worst way but especially for reader-reviewers doing this all for free and those readers looking for an honest review.

My stance on all of this is this and will remain this: Readers writing reviews for their own amusement in their spare time for FREE and to help other readers so they can make an informed choice about a book purchase are not beholden to anyone regardless if they've received an ARC or purchased the book on their own no matter what anyone says. We are not beta readers. We are not promo machines. We are reading the finished (or nearly finished) product and we are not obligated to provide only positive and constructive feedback to help the author. If a reader chooses to do so that's their decision but this is not our job. The work is already out there at this point. This continued behavior nearly made me quit all of this nonsense but, after taking a step back and giving myself some time to think about it, I am now aflame with a need to ignore it all and post about my DNF's and also to talk about any 1 or 2-star reading experiences which I've mostly been setting aside and ignoring without comment over the past few years. If a fool decides to tell me I'm "mean", I'm reading something wrong, I have "atrocious" taste or school me on some "fact", I'm laughing and sticking my fingers in my ears until they bleed because I am done with it and will not be shamed for having an opinion on a movie or a book. This is a hobby, not another unpaid job so the only thing I can do going forward is to be myself and post the good, the meh AND the bad. This doesn't mean anyone has to agree with me and that's perfectly fine. My reviews are my own personal reading experience and everyone else is entitled to theirs. 

With all of that said, if you are a writer and are looking for honest reviews from my Horror Reviewer Directory I beg of you to read individual review policies and a few of the reviewer's reviews before reaching out so hearts will not be broken, the internets will not explode in fury, and no more reviewers will feel the need to quit doing what they do. 

Thank you everyone for reading this post and for being so kind about it. I hesitate venting my frustration in this way but sometimes it's necessary when you feel so close to quitting.  


Comments

  1. This reminds me so much of the requests at stores and especially restaurants - "if we don't get 10 stars or 5 stars or the maximum wonderfulness then it is a negative score" What kind of culture have we created where if your aren't PERFECT then you suck? heck, even if you suck in my opinion it certainly doesn't mean you suck in everyone's opinion. it just makes me want to cry sometimes.

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  2. As a reader, I often skip the glowing 5-star reviews that appear too, well, glowing. The three-star and even two-star reviews are more interesting and OFTEN PROVIDE a reason for me to buy the book. For example, "I didn't like that most of the scenes only had one character. It was almost like survival horror." Survival horror? Sign me up!

    I'd think authors would welcome three star reviews. I'm so sorry you've run into folks who don't.

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  3. That's true about Twitter and I do it too. I swear my blood pressure rises ha when I'm doomscrolling at times. I knew things were bad but I didn't realize they were THIS bad. That's crazy. and I completely agree. And I'm glad you're not letting it drive you out of the hobby, because honestly I like your reviews and I want honesty, not just touchy feely "don't offend anyone" reviews. So... yeah. Go you! :)

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  4. I guess I don't spend enough time on Twitter because I never see these toxic tweets for some reason. I don't think I've ever had anyone get mad over a three star review, but I did once have a publicist tell me to change some wording in my review for a blog tour (I used the word "pedophile", shocking!) Strangely, the most popular review I've ever written was a book I hated and wrote a rant review for, and I still get views on it every day, lol. I'm sorry you've been through so much crap over this! 😥

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  5. Wonderful post. Exhausting is the perfect word for it. It's gone far past shocking and infuriating. So much of what has been going on is just ridiculous. I'm certainly grateful that I have only had a couple of negative experiences, but even those were enough. I've blocked and muted so many people and phrases on Twitter. Curating the feed has been a great step, but of course it doesn't get everything. I also have a running list of people to avoid "working" with, which just seems ridiculous to have, but here we are. Thank you for putting this all down. Just reading through it was a bit therapeutic for me! <3 I hope you're doing okay <3

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  6. I'm sorry you're dealing with that or anyone is having to deal with that. Thankfully I don't see that type of thing too often on my own reviews. If I don't like a book I have no problem post a 1, 2, or 3 star review. I've received a few rude DM's or comments over the years but I just block those people.

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  7. I see you are coming over to my side. And the best part is, I actually do have cookies. Rock on, my Horror Lady!

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  8. As an author I will admit that receiving a three star review is a let down. But not end-of-the-world letdown. I'm not going to rake a reviewer over the coals if the book wasn't for them and if they included a thoughtful review. Thank you for finding me on your radar and putting in the time!

    As a reader, I struggle with a three star review for exactly the reasons you discuss. Hell (can I say hell?), I've given books by famous authors three stars! What I'm taking too long to get at is that reading and rating other books by other authors helps put a three star review in perspective. It's not that bad. it's actually pretty okay.

    Thanks for voicing this. And happy reading.

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