Stop the GR Bullies has repeatedly claimed none of the people behind the site – Athena Parker, Peter Pan, Stitch and Johnny Be Good – are authors. According to their “Who We Are” page, they’re readers, bloggers and Goodreads members. The thing is, aside from the fact that it makes no sense a group of readers would care that much about how someone else rates or reviews (just don’t be friends with them and/or block them, like the other 9,999,000-odd Goodreads users who’ve probably never even heard of the very people who’ve supposedly “taken over” the site), there is compelling evidence that at least one of these personas, Athena Parker, is an author. That she is, in fact, Melissa Douthit, a self-published author who has a history of harassing the very reviewers who have been targeted by Stop the GR Bullies – and who also has a history of “outing” personal details of Goodreads members as “revenge”. Melissa Douthit was one of the first people to be suspected of creating Stop the GR Bullies, because of this history. It wasn’t long before a Google search or two provided some pretty damning evidence against her. It’s been an open secret for months that many believe Melissa Douthit is Athena Parker.
When Stop the GR Bullies ran an absurd post on sockpuppets recently, author Ann Somerville decided it was time Melissa Douthit stop being allowed to hide behind her own suspected alias, Athena (Note: Melissa Douthit also has a long history of using sockpuppets – when she was kicked off Goodreads, her multiple sockpuppets were also removed). Ann posted just some of the evidence that ties Melissa Douthit to Athena on her blog. Interestingly, Ann’s site was then suddenly removed from Stop the GR Bullies’ “Blogs to Avoid” list in their sidebar. Could it be they don’t want to draw attention to her site because her revelation exposes their lies?
Read Ann’s blog, including the comments, for some of the convincing evidence that Melissa Douthit is Athena Parker. If it’s true (and the evidence suggests it is), it’s just another thing Stop the GR Bullies have lied about.
Make up your own mind – I’ve made up mine. Based on the evidence, I believe Melissa Douthit is Athena Parker.
Update: Within hours of this post being published, STGRB mysteriously got an anon comment about the removal of Ann Somerville from their “Blogs to Avoid” list. It was a “mistake” apparently (and Peter Pan doesn’t pay attention to what happens on her own site? Ha!). Ann’s blog has now been re-added to the list. STGRB have once again attempted to retcon their own blog. I just think it’s interesting that Ann’s name disappeared from that list when she posted about Melissa Douthit, and it reappeared when the suggestion was made that this could be used as evidence that Ann was right.
Stop the GR Bullies are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. They seem to have run out of instances of authors supposedly being bullied, and are now gleefully reporting that the GR “bullies” are turning on each other. This idea is preposterous, because it’s based on the notion that the “bullies” are part of some conspiracy, all working together with the sole purpose to identify, target and attack poor authors. As though Kat Kennedy, The Holy Terror, Ridley, Lucy, Archer and Lissa et al. are some sort of homogenous group (or readersheep, as Stacia Kane so brilliantly put it). Frankly, it’s just bullshit. The reason I’m bringing it up is because STGRB take any sign of discord amongst these people as “cracks”, as though they’re achieving some kind of victory and are slowly bringing the group down. This is just more bullshit.
The TRUTH – which I know STGRB aren’t exactly on good terms with, but they need to face it – the TRUTH is, there is no organised, homogenous “group” or “gang”. There is a community of book bloggers and reviewers, sure. Many of them are friends, some run blogs together and some are even in relationships. That does not mean they agree with each other about everything. That does not mean they act together as a group or form and speak the same opinions about everything. Of course sometimes they may, say, add certain books at the same time, to similar shelves (eg: “to read”, “not in this life” or “I’d rather listen to Mariah Carey”), but this isn’t the result of some organised, premeditated action. It’s because Goodreads is a social networking site, and when your friend makes a comment or shelves a book, it shows up on your homepage. If your curiousity is piqued, you look further into it and may find you agree with your friend. You, as an individual, may then make a comment or shelve a book based on your own opinion. That’s right, folks, there is no conspiracy. It’s just freaking social networking.
But I want to point out that while some of the targeted reviewers are friends, not all of them are. OK, they may have shelves in common, because they’ve witnessed the same events (read: author meltdowns) or have mutual friends and have come across the same information. But just because you (I’m looking at you, STGRB) lump them together as “bullies”, it does not mean they are cohorts or even friends. It doesn’t mean they even like each other.
Now, it’s hard to provide evidence about the fact that there’s no conspiracy, because, well, when something doesn’t exist, it leaves no evidence. But anyone can see, for instance, that Ridley is not friends with Kat Kennedy or Archer on Goodreads – and wasn’t before STGRB appeared to accuse them of working together. And you need only look at the “evidence” provided by STGRB themselves to see that this is by no means a homogenous group. In fact, despite STGRB suggesting this shows they’re winning in some way, all it shows is just how wrong they are. It completely undermines their own assertion that these people are a gang of bullies who work together to target authors. It doesn’t prove they’re turning against each other – it simply shows they never were “together” in the first place, not in the sense that STGRB implies.
In closing, Conspiracy Keanu has something to say…
Yesterday we discussed the Stop the GR Bullies definition of bullying compared with the rest of the world’s definition. I thought it would be interesting to test whether any of the examples they claim are bullying match up with either their definition, or the real definition – starting with their first target, The Holy Terror. Her worst offense, according to STGRB, is “attacking” James Austen by having a discussion on Goodreads about him.
Using the actual definition of a bully, “a person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker”, then there is no way THT could be one, based on the evidence provided. But since reality is not something our friends at STGRB seem to really care about, let’s see how their evidence matches up against their own definition of bullying. Checklist time! Is what THT wrote…
1. Harassing? Hell no. She was commenting on another Goodreads user’s status update, with a total of three posts. Not harassment by any stretch of word.
2. Humiliating? Not really. The author in question may feel humiliated over the whole situation being discussed, but that would be no fault of THT’s. Obviously she has no intentions of humiliating him, and as we’ve learned, in the STGRB universe, intentions are everything.
3. Insulting? I guess saying his Twitter is “insane” or that some of his blogs are “sad and disturbing” could be construed as insults (although they just read as opinions more than insults to me). Still, even if you do take these words as insulting, they’re confined to one occasion and so they’re still not classed as bullying.
4. Gossiping? Maybe. But that’s not bullying.
5. Name calling? No. Not once does THT call the author in question a name.
6. Teaming up on? No. There’s more than one person involved, sure, but it’s a discussion thread on a status update. From the evidence provided, they haven’t taken it elsewhere to “team up on” anyone.
7. Verbally attacking? See comments for “insulting”.
8. Sending friends after? No.
9. Writing a bully review? This isn’t a review, so no.
10. Spreading false rumours? No rumours here, just comments about actual posts.
11. Attempting to destroy reputations with lies? No, no lies.
12. Trashing an author’s book just to get revenge? No, she doesn’t even mention his book(s).
So, ladies and gentlemen, even by STGRB’s own definition of bullying, THT is not a bully. The only other example they give of her “lovely personality” is in the screencap below (which they linked to rather than posted because it offended their delicate sensibilities). In it, she’s discussing the content of books, not authors, so it’s totally irrelevant to their own argument.
Of course, that’s not all they have to say about THT. But the rest is about her as a person, not her reviews, which is ironic considering their biggest gripe is reviewers supposedly discussing authors and not their work. Check out Gossamer Obsession for proof that STGRB edited this post after being criticised for revealing personal information (they then claimed to have never posted it – apparently they don’t realise the internet is forever). Aside from being incredibly creepy, THIS is bullying. Remember, bullying is to “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force them to do something.” Now, the influence of STGRB is arguable, but they are trying to use superior strength (as they’re a group targeting an individual – and notably they also originally attempted to make themselves look even stronger by posting anti-bullying logos, though that backfired when the anti-bullying organisations demanded they take them down). And the whole point of their site is to intimidate the so-called “bullies” into leaving Goodreads – so yes, by definition, it’s bullying. Let’s see how they meet their own standards, shall we?
Is this post by STGRB…
1. Harassing? Is this “aggressive pressure or intimidation”? Not directly, perhaps – but certainly indirectly. Especially the part where they post her personal information, including where she can be found and when.
2. Humiliating? Judging from the way they talk about THT, they definitely seem to want to humiliate her. Intentions are everything, remember!
3. Insulting? Is calling someone a stalker with no professional life insulting? I’d say yes.
4. Gossiping? Yes. Which is not technically bullying, except STGRB believe it is.
5. Name calling? Not specifically.
6. Teaming up on? Hell yes. They’ve formed a team to create and maintain the site, use teamwork to get information and write up posts, and then gather around to comment on each post and pat each other on the back. This is true for the site in general, and can be seen on this post in particular.
7. Verbally attacking? See comments for “insulting”.
8. Sending friends after? Not directly in this post, but according to their “Who We Are” page and other comments on the site, Stitch is the person who “gathers information” on all their targets. So in a sense yes, the people behind STGRB are sending a friend after their victims.
9. Writing a bully review? This isn’t a review, so no.
10. Spreading false rumours? Yes. The comments about her professional status, home life and sexual activities are all rumours. Note: despite what Peter Pan and friends claim, THT doesn’t reveal anything about “her personal sexual tendencies” in the comment posted. Just the logistics of human anatomy.
11. Attempting to destroy reputations with lies? Yes. The allegations of THT being a stalker with no professional life have no foundation in truth. STGRB doesn’t provide any evidence to back up their assertions. They also say she has revealed her sexual preferences, when she clearly hasn’t.
12. Trashing an author’s book just to get revenge? No, THT is not an author.
So STGRB are exhibiting more than one of the behaviours they describe as bullying in this post alone. And they say they’re fighting bullying.