Stop the GR Bullies on Who They Are

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 on In-Fighting

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…


Stop the GR Bullies on Kat Kennedy, Part Two

Kat Kennedy is one of Stop the GR Bullies’ favourite targets. As with Part One on Kat, I’m going to stick to STGRB’s initial post on her for this analysis, otherwise we’d be here all day. But I will be posting on their subsequent attacks soon.

Of course, the post as it appears today on STGRB is not how it was originally published. Gossamer Obessessions has proof they edited out Kat’s personal info, as they did with The Holy Terror, but this time that’s not all they removed [Clarification: Kat has pointed out that STGRB never actually had her real information in the first place, so there wasn’t much to edit in this respect – they edited more heavily in regards to the below comments]. They also took out the lovely content that stated that Kat is an “unemployed housewife who stays at home, drinks, and sometimes takes care of her children, that is when she is not drinking, tweeting, or waging her holy war against authors.”

Dear STGRB: Just because you delete something, it doesn’t mean it’s gone. Remember, the internet is forever. Not that it matters all that much, because what they’ve left up is still pretty damn nasty, claiming that she personally attacks authors, and then noting that they are “eagerly awaiting” the release of Kat’s book, presumably so they can “revenge review” (something they claim to be against).

Quick, what time is it?

Party time!

Awkward. I don’t know how that got there. No, Troy, it’s not party time – it’s checklist time! Are STGRB…

1. Harassing? Not directly. But the original post, which detailed Kat’s alleged real name and location, plus the fact they’ve stalked her Twitter and posted comments out of context, certainly suggests harassment has taken place.

2. Humiliating? Their intention is obviously to humiliate her – why else would they make statements about her professional life, alcohol consumption or parenting abilities?

3. Insulting? Yes. They’re not only falsely accusing Kat of bullying, they’re also implying she’s a terrorist (note the use of the word “jihad”), on top of explicitly stating she does nothing but stay at home, drink, attack authors and barely takes care of her children. I’m insulted, and they’re not even talking about me.

4. Gossiping? Yes, they’re engaging in gossip.

5. Name calling? Not specifically.

6. Teaming up on? Yes. Stitch is their “information gatherer”, Athena wrote this post, and Johnny Be Good and some of the site’s “minions” get nasty in the comments (see below). They even state “all of us here at STGRB” – openly declaring their team work.

7. Verbally attacking? Yes – see comments for “insulting”.

8. Sending friends after? Yes – Stitch would have been “sent after” Kat to get those screengrabs, plus the way they report the “good news” about Kat publishing a book implies their followers should attack that book – a message that was received loud and clear, judging by the comments posted below.

9. Writing a bully review?  No, it’s not a review.

10. Spreading false rumours? Yes. They have NO EVIDENCE that Kat is unemployed and does nothing but stay at home, drink, “wage holy war” against authors, Tweet and neglect her children. And no, her obviously joking tweets that are taken out of context are not evidence.

11. Attempting to destroy reputations with lies? Yes! Again, everything they’ve leveled against Kat has no foundation in the truth, and they clearly want to destroy her reputation and future writing career, as evidenced by the threatening tone of their last paragraph in particular.

12. Trashing an author’s book just to get revenge? Well, not yet, but the implication that they plan on doing this in the future is definitely there.

Well, look at that, STGRB are once again guilty of the bullying behaviour they accuse others of. The comments are even worse, with “Anons” making fun of Kat’s age and appearance. You stay classy, Stop the GR Bullies.

Note: This is not directed at anyone in particular. At all. Ahem.


Stop the GR Bullies on Kat Kennedy, Part One

I wasn’t going to post on what STGRB have done to Kat Kennedy (yes, she is the victim) yet, but seeing as they have such a massive hard on for her and keep dragging her through their shit, I moved it up the priority list. They’re so obsessed with her that I’m going to have to separate their attacks (yes, attacks) into multiple posts or it will be TL;DR. First, let’s take a look at her supposed crimes, as outlined in their initial post on her, and weigh up whether she’s guilty of being a bully (click here for a refresher on what a bully is… and isn’t): STGRB claim she’s the “biggest offender” thanks to the “Scandalous Scandals” part of her “Buzz Worthy News” posts on Cuddlebuggery, which they allege sets Kat’s “minions” on a “witch hunt”.

They name the “attack” on M.R. Mathias. Firstly, what he was commenting on was NOT a review, but a list. Even though our friends at STGRB don’t seem to be overly concerned with facts, I am, so I just wanted to clear that up. Whether or not his initial comments were harmless, I can’t say, because they’ve been deleted. But all of his comments that haven’t been deleted are most definitely hostile in tone, while at least two call people names:

But that’s not the only lie STGRB are telling about the situation. Note how Kat’s comments on the list (see below) are all made on June 5th. STGRB claims that after this, Kat posted about Mathias in a Buzz Worthy News post. But in fact the only two times (one, two) Mathias is mentioned on Cuddlebuggery are in posts created BEFORE June 5th, and have no connection to this drama. They do, however, establish what a douchebag Mathias is. But that’s besides the point right now – the point being, STGRB are liars. As for Kat, well, this is the sum total of her “attack” on Mathias:

None of these comments are using strength or influence to intimidate or harm someone who is weaker, nor are they harrassing, name-calling, gossiping, sending friends after, writing a bully review, spreading false rumours, attempting to destroy a reputation with lies, or trashing an author’s book to get revenge. They could possibly be interpreted as insulting or verbally attacking (though that implies a viciousness that isn’t present here), but even if that was the case, they are confined to one incident (note: the posts on Cuddlebuggery are not insulting – merely stating facts) and as we’ve already discussed, this does not amount to bullying. I have a feeling STGRB would also count this as “teaming up on”, but this was not an orchestrated attack on a victim – it was Mathias who repeatedly came into the reviewer’s space (i.e. her list) and used hostility against her and her friends, who merely pointed out how ridiculous he was being and told him to go away. So Kat was not bullying Mathias. Of course, that’s not all she’s accused of. Next up, we have the “attack” on Rebecca Hamilton – according to STGRB, Rebecca was attacked on the Absolute Write Water Cooler, Kat wrote about it in Buzz Worthy News, Rebecca “tried to explain her position”, and Kat and her “minions” responded with an attack.

Now, at the time all this went down, Hamilton had 40,000 followers on Twitter, a number that has since increased to 67,000. Kat Kennedy, on the other hand, currently has just over 500 Twitter followers, while Cuddlebuggery has close to 1200. Based on those statistics, who in this situation has more strength and influence? Certainly not Kat, meaning she can’t actually use either to harm or intimidate Hamilton. Meaning she is NOT A BULLY. As for the 12 page long comment thread they mention, if you actually go and read it, you’ll see that Kat and her “minions” did not, in fact, attack with “insults and jabs” or twist Hamilton’s words around. Indeed, Kat responded with calm logic, which admittedly is such a foreign concept to the peeps at STGRB, I can understand why it might confuse them.

So to sum up: Based on the evidence provided by STGRB in their first post on Kat Kennedy, she is not the bully they claim her to be.

Come back tomorrow for proof that STGRB are guilty of bullying Kat.


Stop the GR Bullies on The Holy Terror

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.


Stop the GR Bullies on What Constitutes Bullying

Before we go into Stop the GR Bullies’ version of what bullying is, let’s look at the actual definition, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, shall we?

Bully

noun (plural bullies) a person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

verb (bullies, bullying, bullied) [with object] use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force them to do something.

Pop quiz time! Who has more strength or influence?
a) An author, who is a public figure, a professional (i.e. gets paid – although they should also act in a professional manner), and often has other professionals (agents, editors, publicists. publishers etc) to support them.
b) A reader, who is a private citizen and/or an amateur reviewer (i.e. unpaid – and under no obligation, therefore, to act professionally BTW), posting reviews and opinions on personal blogs and/or social networking sites.

If you answered a) then congratulations, you are right! If you answered b) then you probably live in a fantasy land. I hope it’s nice there.

I’m not saying it would be impossible for a reader/reviewer to bully an author, but it is extremely unlikely – and very, very rare. In fact I can’t think of one incident in recent, or even distant, memory that would constitute a reader actually bullying an author. It’s certainly not a widespread issue as the person(s) behind Stop the GR Bullies would have everyone believe.

Also, while it’s not in the definition above, all official and reputable sources on bullying highlight how bullying involves repeat offenses. It’s not a one-off thing. It’s systematic, ongoing harassment.

When isn’t it bullying?
Bullying isn’t a one-off incident – a friend being in a bad mood one day, calling you names and then apologising later. It’s when name-calling or threats continue that it becomes bullying.

Let’s just keep that in our pockets for later. In the meantime, let’s look at how Stop the GR Bullies defines bullying:

1. Harrassing
The definition: Verb. Subject to aggressive pressure or intimidation. Make repeated small-scale attacks on (an enemy).
It is bullying? Yes. Notice how the characteristics of intimidation and repetition match up with what defines bullying. STGRB has this one right (though whether anyone they accuse is actually guilty of it is another story, for another post).

2. Humiliating
The definition:
Adjective. Causing someone to feel ashamed and foolish by injuring their dignity and self-respect.
It is bullying? In most cases, yes, because to injure someone’s dignity or self-respect generally requires being in a position of strength or authority over them.

3. Insulting
The definition:
Verb. Speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse.
It is bullying? Not necessarily. Insults can be bullying, but only if they are repeated on a regular basis. Insulting somebody one time does not constitute bullying – which STGRB do not make clear (as usual).

4. Gossiping
The definition:
Verb. Engage in gossip.
Is it bullying? No. It can be, in very specific circumstances, but gossip in general is not bullying.

5. Name calling
The definition:
There isn’t an official definition for name-calling, because it’s an example of “insulting”.
Is it bullying? See comments for “insulting”.

6. Teaming up on
The definition:
This doesn’t even make sense. To “team up” means to form a team. So if we’re being literal, “teaming up on” means “forming a team on”, which sounds like something you do in debating. Like, “I formed a team on the cons of carbon tax.” It still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Of course, we can infer that what STGRB actually means is that bullying behaviour involves teaming up against someone.
Is it bullying? As it’s stated, no. But if we take it to mean teaming up against someone, then it could be considered bullying.

7. Verbally attacking
The definition:
Ugh. Did the person who created this list just use a thesaurus in hopes of padding it out? Verbally attacking is the exact same thing as “insulting”.
Is it bullying? See comments for “insulting”. Again.

8. Sending friends after
The definition:
This is so vague it doesn’t make sense either. Sending friends after… squirrels? Your crush? A runaway kite? Ha, this is actually kinda fun. OK, OK, once again we can infer (though we really shouldn’t have to, it kinda defeats the purpose of a list like this) that they mean sending friends after a victim. Which is the same as “teaming up on” [sic].
Is it bullying? In a very specific set of circumstances, it may be. But not as it’s been (barely) described here.

9. Writing a bully review
The definition:
So this is not, like, a Thing. But if we use the official definition of “bully” (and not one that the peeps at Stop the GR Bullies have arbitrarily invented), then a bully review is… well, impossible. Because a bully is a person. But if, again, we use our powers of deduction (they’re really getting a workout here), we can determine that STGRB actually means a bullying review. Which would be a review that uses “superior strength or influence to intimidate”.
Is it bullying? Well, yes, of course a bullying review is bullying. But as mentioned above, in what world (other than the STGRB fantasy land) do amateur (a.k.a. hobby) reviewers have superior strength or influence to an author? Not on Goodreads, that’s for sure.

10. Spreading false rumours
The definition:
Tautology alert! Ignoring the useless “false”, a rumour is defined as “a currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.”
Is it bullying? It could be, in a few specific contexts – like the schoolyard – but in general, not so much.

11. Attempting to destroy reputations with lies
The definition:
Otherwise known as libel (if written) or slander (if spoken). I don’t know why they haven’t just called a spade a spade. Oh wait, yeah I do – it’s because they don’t know what either term actually means.
Is it bullying? Eh. Kinda, but kinda not. I guess it could be considered bullying, though really it’s a whole separate issue.

12. Trashing an author’s book just to get revenge
The definition:
I got nothing. This is paradoxically so vague and yet weirdly specific. Revenge for what? Writing a horrible book? Or is it a more personal matter? Like, maybe the author stole the reviewer’s spouse or gave him or her a wedgie one time… or something. Seriously, though, revenge is defined as “the action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for a wrong suffered at their hands.” Yep, we’re talking about reviews here, people.
Is it bullying? This is another one that I doubt is even possible. If it is, I’d like to see how, coz it sounds better than the storyline of The Bold and the Beautiful last week.

So, what can we deduce (here we go again!) from all this? For so-called anti-bullying campaigners, Stop the GR Bullies does not have the strongest grasp on what bullying actually is. Colour me surprised.


Stop the GR Bullies on Culpability

Sadly, nobody was surprised when Stop the GR Bullies rushed to the defense of Victoria Foyt, self-published author of “anti-racist”/actually racist book Revealing Eden, creator of dodgy book trailers featuring girls in blackface, and the worst back-peddler of the year. They claimed, repeatedly, that Foyt was being bullied because she was called the horrible label racist (apparently, this is worse than being labelled “Coal” or having your literacy doubted because of the colour of your skin). This was outrageous to STGRB, because clearly, Foyt is not racist. Forget the fact that she’s written a book set in a “scary dystopia” which is scary purely because white people are dying out and black people are the dominant race. Forget the way she labels white people Pearls, a beautiful, precious object – while black people are described as Coals, dirty and ugly. Forget her horror at being called a racial slur one time due to her frizzy hair and “bee-stung” lips – her horror because she was a white girl, dammit, and such terms were “usually targeted at blacks.” Forget the many things Foyt has written – in her book and on the internet – to indicate that she is, in fact, racist – and just remember the one thing that obviously negates all that evidence: that she says she’s not racist! Obviously that’s the truth and everything else is just those nasty GR bullies twisting her words.

Yeah, it’s so ridiculous, it would be funny except it’s exactly the way the person people behind STGRB think. Site owner Athena states in the comments that somebody’s intentions are what defines their actions. So, apparently, if you call someone a racist, and they say they are not racist, then that means they’re not racist. Even if their actions could be perceived as racist, if their intentions were good (i.e. not racist), then that means they aren’t racist. Oh, and calling them racist means YOU are a bully.

OK. Let’s take that concept and apply it to a different situation, shall we? All we have to do is play a little word game:

If you call someone a bully, and they say they are not a bully, then that means they’re not a bully. Even if their actions could be perceived as bullying, if their intentions were good (i.e. not bullying), then that means they aren’t a bully. Oh, and calling them a bully means YOU are a bully.

So, STGRB, using your own logic, what does that make you?