Things in the readersphere that I just don’t quite understand

Posted 07-09-2020 by Marion in Allgemein, Discussions / 19 Comments

Hello, sweet peas!

I think I can say, that I’ve been part of the readersphere (which encompasses reading, reviewing, blogging and all kinds of social media obviously, I’m sure it will catch on) long enough and have watched people around me long enough to be able to say: “I still don’t understand people.

Okay, maybe not everyone. Still, there are things, that I don’t quite get. Maybe one of you has the answers?

Reviewing/rating books that are not even out yet

Look, I obviously know what an arc is. But if you’ve ever looked at some not-yet-published books on Goodreads, you see star ratings for books that are absolutely impossible. Books that the author has not even finished yet – why would you rate them?
Nobody benefits from that kind of rating. Nobody CAN know if they would like that particular book or not.

And apparently it’s not only me, who doesn’t understand it. For example, Patrick Rothfuss wrote a review on his own book “The Doors of Stone” in 2012 commenting on people rating his book – the book is still not out yet, btw.

Comment-for-comment blogging

I kept thinking about this, ever since I read Sumedha @ The Wordy Habitat’s post about it.

While I’m sure we can all agree on the fact that our blogs live off engagement and interactions, there is a difference between a comment that really interacts with your post and something that just…doesn’t. Sure, everybody likes validation – we all need it. But how do you form a relationship or even just have a proper conversation if all a commenter tells you is “great post” and expects you to come to their blog? I mostly see this with Memes like WWW Wednesday or the TTT. While I have fun with the topics, I’ve also noticed that people would only post things like the aforementioned “great post” or some other one line comment and a link to their own blog? It’s kinda disappointing, isn’t it? Doesn’t it defeat the whole purpose of the meme?

Tbr shaming

We are all different people, reading at different speeds, different genres, have different incomes and different preferences. And we have different sizes when it comes to our tbrs. It’s literally that easy.

Still I regularly see people getting shamed or ridiculed for their big (or even small) tbrs that goes further than the stunned laughs at the sight of their numbers or the question of “How?”

The question is: Why wouldn’t you leave people and their tbrs alone? I’m sure they know exactly how it came to be or how they wanna tackle it. There is no reason to be mean about it.

Cancel culture

I’m not sure if I haven’t really encountered Cancel Culture before because it’s a new(er) thing or because I’ve only just joined Twitter a little while ago. But I don’t understand the idea to literally tell somebody “Hey, if you don’t stop liking X then we cannot be friends”.
While there might be reasons somebody wants to warn or convince you that the certain X is bad, be it an author or a book, a publisher, a company or whatnot, I don’t see any reason why you would pressure somebody into giving something up in such a unhealthy manner. (I mean, every armchair psychologist could tell you that love deprivation (for the lack of a better word) is one of the worst things you could do to another person.)
I find this sort of Cancel Culture rather weird and childish. Everybody can make their own decisions without having to deal with threats and name calling. I mean, we are not in kindergarten anymore.

What do you think? Can you understand any of it? Anything you wanna add?

19 responses to “Things in the readersphere that I just don’t quite understand

  1. I have always been confused by people who rate books that aren’t even out yet! I know a lot of people post things on Goodreads talking about why they’re excited about it, but a rating is just unnecessary!

    • Yeah, I really don’t get it? What if the book is worse than you expected? Is that not hyping up other people and then it lets them all down? It’s just not….honest?

  2. Okay so I don’t get reviewing before reading the book and tbr shaming (didn’t know tbr shaming was a thing tbh). But cancel culture is an entire discourse on it’s own which I support to an extent. Until you get to that point of “this person is cancelled”, people don’t accept facts like their idol is problematic or their behaviour is unacceptable. On the other hand, cancel culture doesn’t actually work. re: Mackenzie Lee. I think we can criticize cancel culture when it actually works. Until then, it’s just brief moments of people speaking out on something trying to cancel something/someone because that intensity is required for raising awareness.

    • I have to admit that that whole Mackenzie Lee thing went over my head. I have no idea what happened there.
      See, I get where you are coming from and that’s just it. I understand and appreciate that people want to make other people aware. That’s great. However I want to believe that people are smart enough to make their own decisions, to see that something is wrong without other people needing to threat other people.

      Yeah, tbr shaming is a thing unfortunately. It’s mostly mean comments about somebody’s spending and impulse control habits. It’s just not nice and actually nobody’s business imo.

      • simsalabim24

        Hey, I don’t know why, but I can’t like a comment so I want you to know that I “like” both of your comments. 😉
        I wanted to write something similar too about “cancel culture”, so thank you Sumedha for doing it first, especially “I think we can criticize cancel culture when it actually works.”

        Adding this: To pressure some other recipients to “cancel” something isn’t exactly what “cancel culture” means in the first place, at least how the term is used most of the time and in my understanding. However it seems to be obviously a negative side effect of the so described phenomenon (which isn’t actually a new thing).
        “However I want to believe that people are smart enough to make their own decisions, to see that something is wrong without other people needing to threat other people.” -> You’re right, M, but for me that sounds utopian in the http://www...

        You might believe in others to judge for themselves and I can understand to an extent removing someone of your timeline to not see them regularly celebrate something you decided to boycott but the people you wrote about with their low tolerance level can’t handle a different approach to a problematic topic and their feeling of moral high ground leads them to the unfortunate route of emotional/moral blackmail. So sad it is that’s nothing new in social media. There is often a pressure to take a side in public discussions. Differnations and nuances have little place online…

  3. I can completely relate to all of these points, especially the one about fake engagement. I just don’t see the point of doing it. We all want real engagement, talking to people who actually enjoyed what we wrote and not some random fake comment to add to the stats. If someone leaves me comments like that I rarely check out their blog because I know that’s the point and I prefer not to encourage it.

    Cancel culture is def recent. I think the bookstagram/bookish twitter worlds have become a lot more aggressive lately and I think when people are passionate about a subject like ownvoices arcs being given to the relevant reviewers and more diversity in books but cancel culture is just toxic and unnecessary negativity in a place most people go to relax from real life stress. Also, it’s not like it actually helps anyone.

      • Thank you so much for your comment, Rafaela. <3
        Yeah, I understand that everybody wants validation, everybody wants all the people to like their posts. I get that. I mean, I want that too. I was so hoping that this post would be read a lot and get lots of comments since I put a lot of thought in it. But I wouldn't comment one line on another person's blog just to somehow get them to read mine. On the other hand, sometimes it's just hard to say something to another person's post. What if you don't really relate to the topic but you want to acknoledge that you read the post? It's so hard sometimes.

    • Yeah, it’s a strange phenomenon. Maybe people are just excited, although of course nobody benefits from such a rating.

  4. Ellie Rayner

    This was a great post to read, these are also some things that baffle me, I’ve seen so many books rated before they are even written, I don’t get it at all!

    • Somebody said that it might just be people rating and talking about how excited they are about that book but I don’t know, it doesn’t really help anybody, does it?

      • Ellie Rayner

        That doesn’t make sense to me at all and it makes the rating false right? Weird.

  5. Great post!

    Ha ha, sorry, just kidding 😉 I don’t mind those short comments, but maybe I’m just happy anyone has stopped by.

    I don’t think I’ll ever understand a 1 star review on a book someone hasn’t even read though.

    • I’m happy if people stop by too but I have to admit that it stings when they are just leaving an “empty” comment so that I will come to their blog. :/

      Some of it might be just classic review bombing but that’s wrong too, no matter how upset you are.

  6. simsalabim24

    Really interesting topics you opened up which lured me passive reader out of my snail shell. ^^
    I like the meta-level, talking about the way of (inter-)acting in the “readersphere” and giving me a look into it.

    To your points:
    – “Reviewing/rating books that are not even out yet”
    That’s indeed nothing exclusive to the reading online community. On the movie website I visit more or less regularly it was and is a often read complaint that movies who haven’t even started get especially high or extremly low ratings. One solution of the administration was the hiding of the average rating till the official start. I have decided to shrug it off because I always look into detail anyway if I’m interested how something is rated.

    – “Comment-for-comment blogging”
    That’s indeed weird and seems quite lazy. Even if I would like to trade my comment for a comment of you I would try a little harder, pick something out of your text and react to it and then ask for the favor charmingly.

    – “Tbr shaming”
    I join here others who were surprised that this is even a thing. Quite disturbing. But for me the whole topic is new. I just learned some years ago of you that something like “tbr” exists – I never counted my books which I haven’t read yet. Maybe I would be a good target. 😉 When I look again at my favorite movie community, there are especially the “cineasts” who collect more movies than they could watch but I never saw shaming happening because of that. It seems to be just another coffin nail for healthy internet conversations…

    – “Cancel culture”
    That could be a whole discussion topic for its own. It’s not the first time you encouraged me through your blog to do more deeply recherche about something. This time because I recently stumbled already over this term but haven’t myself figured out where it came from and what people who use it aim at.
    “I’m not sure if I haven’t really encountered Cancel Culture before because it’s a new(er) thing or because I’ve only just joined Twitter a little while ago.” I think it’s both concerning the new trending discourse. 😉 The term occured online just for some years now and only recently was even adopted also into German. The act itself, the described phenomen isn’t that new actually (and fluffed up). Exactly like pressuring someone to adopt your opinion in social media is common unfortunately – like I wrote above. 😉
    “I find this sort of Cancel Culture rather weird and childish.” I don’t think CC is the right term for this behaviour, but I have to admit I already disklike it because of several reasons (but you’re right). Like I wrote – a whole own topic for which I would have to reach out too much now. If you are interested in a continuing discussion about it eventually, I found a few helpful readable articles about it. 😉

    Now I caught up the years I just read here, didn’t I? 😀
    *Please all excuse possible writing errors. 😉

  7. Buuuut … you totally understand me, right?! xD

    So many good points here. Ugh, the whole rating books before they come out to say random things like, “Waiting too long for this,” or stupid things like that is crazy. That’s not helpful and says nothing about the quality of the book. Stahp, people.

    I so agree with the comment-for-comment blogging. Now, if someone comments on my blog posts, I try to make sure to check out their blog and comment on their posts, too, because … that’s how you form a relationship, right? But I refuse to return comments that are basically like “great post” or obvious copy/pasted or where they clearly didn’t even read my post. Because I *do* read the posts I comment on, and it’s a waste of time if someone’s not even trying to have an actual dialog/exchange.

    Also, I get that TBR shaming is bad in general, but are we allowed to TBR shame people who DON’T have Tristan Strong on their TBRs and haven’t read it yet? Asking for a friend,.

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