Goodreads has issued a new set of review guidelines, but some readers on the site aren’t happy and claim that the guidelines now favour authors. The new review guidelines emphasise that reviewers should review the book, not the author. Reviews that do not match these guidelines will apparently remain on the site, but will not appear on the book’s page.
Goodreads’ Patrick Brown states that this isn’t exactly a new policy, more a clarification of how the site deals with reviews. Buried By Books has a critical commentary on the changes. Dear Author reviewer and blogger VacuousMinx has been pretty vocal in describing what she sees as a ‘structural problem’ at Goodreads. In a series of blog posts, she argues that Goodreads doesn’t do enough to defuse author-reader tensions, and that while the intentions of the revisions might be good, the implementation leaves a lot to be desired.
It’s inevitable that there’s going to be conflict in any social media environment, and obviously there’s a tendency for people to cry foul if they believe one group is being treated differently. It seems like Goodreads is moving to head off the possibility of all-out war developing. There are certain forums where readers seem to gather in packs and then attack targeted authors en masse, and Goodreads seems keen to avoid this happening at their site. It might take time to iron out how they do this, but it seems like the new guidelines might be a step in the right direction.