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OFF-TOPIC: The Story of an Internet Revolt by G.R. Reader - G.R. Reader I feel deeply ambivalent about this book. I am less interested in the details of either Goodreads's acquisition by Amazon, or the policy dispute between Goodreads and many users, than in what I'm finding out about the attitudes of the Goodreads "community" and its prominent individual members. (Although I'm trying not to skim over too much of the business details; they can be interesting. I hadn't realized Amazon's motive in buying Goodreads was specifically to data-mine it for marketing purposes.)

Let's get this out of the way: I do not support Goodreads' tighter controls on reviews that led the site to apparently censor. I was very upset to learn who controlled Goodreads and why, because my late best friend introduced me to this site five years ago; and because it fed my obsession with books and encouraged me to find more and to write meaningfully about them, it's almost certainly the best gift she ever gave me or the best thing she ever did.
You couldn't know this either unless you had been on my friend list, but within a few days of being told the situation (I had no idea), I took a chainsaw to my Goodreads lists. I would join the many who have deleted their accounts, but I can't--I'm willing to delete only books I haven't reviewed. Besides that I put great time, effort and thought into my reviews, I'm too vain to delete them. (Why don't I move them? I could try, but I haven't found a book site I like very much. Most or all of them are corporate-owned, anyway.) I have settled on the compromise of keeping my account but refusing to ever again write a review for the site after this one.

But I also don't fully share the attitude of this writer and her Goodreads contributors. I have found the book's commentary self-indulgent and a little sanctimonious--typical of an "internet community", even if for a righteous cause. For that reason, I would not care to participate in the community's protests more closely than generally agreeing with them.

An observation. Most probably fully realize this, but it is impossible to discuss a book without commenting on the author; therefore, of course Goodreads's policy against commenting on the author is impracticable and probably ridiculous. A work can never be considered completely apart from its author, despite the interesting claims of the literary theory New Criticism.