Some “review” sites don’t ring true.

So yesterday, my favorite writer’s forum was down for a bit. I love Absolute Write’s Water Cooler. It’s a large community of writers and readers who are happy to let you bounce ideas off of them or help you with grammar issues. There are writers there who are well established, and writers who are just starting out. Like any on-line forum, members run the gamut from newbies to seasoned veterans.

While the website was down, I went googling to see if I could get any info on why it was down.

Wombat on a pogo stick, are there some websites out there that hate AW. I saw a couple sites that proposed to be agencies against cyber bullying or review blogs. The sites in question all encouraged readers to post their own opinions about AW. The opinions I read had one thing in common. They were all completely negative and often had flame statements.

“What’s a flame statement?” You seem to ask.

Say that you disagree with something that Graf McGoofypants has posted.

Graf McGoofypants: If you study the statistics, you can see that 98% of rabid wombats have been in contact with a pine tree in their vicinity, so I conclude that pine trees cause wombats to turn rabid.

Non-flame response: Graf, I have to disagree. Statistics do not necessarily prove causation. Science has proven that rabies in wombats is due to a virus passed through biting. Here are some studies that show this. Besides, the last incident of wombat rabies recorded was over 200 years ago. Rabies in wombats seems to have been eradicated.

Flaming response: Well, Graf, you’re just an idiot. You’re such an idiot that I bet you have a degree in idiocy. And I saw that picture of your wife on your blog, boy do I feel sorry for you!

As you can see, a proper post disagrees with the content of the post it is responding to. A flame personally attacks the poster.

Pictured: the leading cause of rabies in wombats.  No...wait...that's a pine tree.

Pictured: the leading cause of rabies in wombats. No…wait…that’s a pine tree.

These same websites that had only negative statements about AW, the ones that proposed to be against cyber bullying, were making personal attacks as much as they were airing actual grievances. They were saying they were against cyber bullying, but using cyber bullying techniques to make their point.

You know what I think of these websites?

Fake. Fake, fake, fake.

They are about as real as my hair color in this photo.

They are about as real as my hair color in this photo.

When’s the last time you went to a non-fake review site and saw either nothing but positive reviews or nothing but negative? I’d say right about never.

Why would these websites exist? Who has so much time on their hands that they would go to such lengths to discredit what seems to be your average online forum, full of the blessings and curses of all such groups?

This much cyber hate is way beyond what your average citizen is willing to go to because they didn’t like something that happened on a forum. My best guess? Money. It always comes down to money. This is pure conjecture on my part, but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. AW has a section in its forum that I have found very helpful. It’s called Bewares, Recommendations, and Background Checks. This is a great place to go to see if that agency you are thinking about querying is on the up and up, or is a scam artist, making their money from their clients instead of making money for their clients. All members can post here, and tell the forum their experiences. Specific scammers are pointed out, so that innocent folks don’t fall for the scam. It is much like another website I think well of called Predators and Editors.

I imagine this makes the scammers really mad.

As mad as Billy in a cone.

As mad as Billy in a cone.

Me, I like AW. I encourage you to go check it out. Certainly it’s not perfect. It has the same pitfalls as any online forum. You can get advice there that is iffy, or plain wrong, based on the experience of the member responding. That’s what an online forum is. It’s a collection of enthusiasts of varying involvement and skill level.

The mods may sometimes be quick to lock a thread if they think it’s heading into flame land. I can appreciate that. While they may, at times, lock a thread too soon, I am happy to enjoy threads sans flamewars. Mods are human, they make mistakes. I’d rather they err on the side of overprotecting than under.

There are cliques there. Of course there are. Show me one online group of people where there isn’t, and I’ll show you how pine trees cause rabies in wombats. To me, the cliques are fairly unobtrusive. I’ve been posting there on and off for a couple of years, and neither cliques, locked threads, or flames have bothered me. I enjoy posting there, and I find it a very useful resource.

In conclusion, I recommend Absolute Write’s Water Cooler. I suggest you go check it out if you are looking for an online forum full of writers to play with. Ignore the fake websites and the haters. Check it out for yourself. Draw your own conclusions.

If my blog suddenly disappears, or gets hacked, or gets a bunch of comments saying what a horrible cyber bully I am, you’ll know I’ve made someone mad. Some things are worth taking a cyber stand on. I have not mentioned specific websites for a reason, but your google-fu can find them if you are interested.

I leave you with this picture of the neighbor's cute doggie, apropos of nothing.  Cute doggie!

I leave you with this picture of the neighbor’s cute doggie, apropos of nothing. Cute doggie!

About JulianneQJohnson

I am a writer in Indiana who lives with two cats, two ferrets, and one fiance. I enjoy cheap coffee and expensive chocolate.
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15 Responses to Some “review” sites don’t ring true.

  1. Jordan says:

    I don’t really like AW. I used to check in there often. Any time you get a lot of people in a semi-anonymous group like that, you’re going to have people be jerks.

    My biggest problems with AW are these things:

    1. Often, it seems people would go on and trash agents/publishers simply because their work wasn’t accepted by them. Although I can’t prove it, it seems quite odd when someone is super hyped about an agent and then a week later they are totally trashing them immediately after their work was declined. I am all about having a place where people can review agents such, and I’m not sure how you would regulate that. You just have to take the bewares with grain of salt sometimes because it can frequently just be a few bitter writers and an agent with poor “beside manner” so to speak.

    2. You don’t get professional advice very often. Nine times out of ten, if you ask a question, it is a group of amateurs who respond. I’m already an amateur. I can just figure out stuff on my own if that’s what I’m looking for.

    3. I think the mods are burnt out. They ARE rude. And they all think it’s just hilarious that they are rude. Just look at their descriptions where they label themselves as “nasty women”, etc. They can be pretty snide and degrading, without stopping to realize that without people posting the same questions repeatedly, they’d soon run out of a reason to exist.

    So, I stopped going there. I actually just looked it up because I wondered if a book I had just read was written by an author that used to frequent there and I found all of these sites that you speak of. It kind of surprised me… well, maybe not really. The venom and hatred that those sites are spewing aren’t really necessary, but then it doesn’t really surprise me that people feel that way.

    • Honestly, the “nasty women” descriptions are most likely added recently in support Of Hillary Clinton. That phrase is cropping up everywhere these days.
      As with all online groups, AW has open membership and will be filled with mostly amateurs. That does not mean that one can’t find useful advice there, as even amateurs can know their stuff. Anytime one has a question and asks any group of people, one has to weigh the advice given and decide for themselves.
      I personally have found the agency and publisher reviews helpful, that doesn’t mean every one will. To each their own.
      Personally, I find AW a place I like to hang out now and again. Not everyone does, and I accept that. I only wonder why some people expect this group to behave differently or “better” than any other group. (They are certainly better than many online groups. Just head over to 4chan for a side by side comparison.) I think it’s because it’s a group of writers, and perhaps we expect writers to hold themselves to a higher standard when they write, even if it’s just on a public forum. However, the truth is that writers are human, and tend to act the same as any other humans in a group.

  2. If you go to Write Absolute Reviews of Bully Boards you will find close to 30 websites critical of Absolute Write. You can choose one of your “fake” sites there.

  3. Julianne, what does “fake” mean in this context? If an individual or group creates a website critical of Absolute Write, then it is what it is. If the website were a ruse or scam designed to trick the visitor into buying a bad product or inject a virus, etc., then the modifier “fake” might apply. So I’m curious, what do you really mean by “fake” and give us one example, okay?

    • Sorry, Marilyn. I haven’t been to my blog in a while. I didn’t intend to ignore you. I will not mention specific sites by name. I said what I wanted to say, in my ridiculous style. I never meant this post to be any sort of witch hunt or point fingers at specific sites. But I stand by my opinion. Look at any review site. Any review site about anything. No matter how horrible the product or service is, you will see some reviews from people that liked it. If one finds oneself on a review page where every single review is negative, then something fishy is going on. As far as Absolute Write goes, there are many people who like the site. I think it would take unbelievable odds to find one review site of Absolute Write that had not one positive review. Yet they exist. So, logically, I think either the whole site is faked or the positive reviews get mysteriously deleted. Either way, it ain’t honest. Not much of a review site, in any event. As for Absolute Write, sure they have cliques. Sometimes the mods make decisions I don’t agree with. Neither of those conditions seem excessive to me on that site. Any group of people on the web have cliques and disagreements. I never found Absolute Write to have a great deal of either, and I enjoy my time there.

  4. David says:

    The people at AW were kind and welcoming. Until I started asking about how to self publish my short stories as ebooks. Good God the amount of hostility I got for daring to be an independent writer was horrendous. I don’t post there anymore.

    • David, I’m sorry that your time at AW was so un-encouraging. Some people can be very critical. I don’t know when this happened, but I do know there is an entire section there now for people who self publish and epublish. Hopefully attitudes are changing to be more inclusive. I certainly would understand why you might not want to give them another go there. Just remember that the section I mentioned might be good for research, even if you are no longer comfortable taking part there.

  5. Who can possibly believe that the few dozen or more websites critical of Absolute Write are all fake? And if they are driven by hate, then why do so many people hate Absolute Write? There is a large volume of smoke here, Julianne, and also of fire. I’ve been bullied on AW before, along with many others, and I’ve witnessed blatant acts of libel. To simply discount the experiences of everyone who has been bullied and now commenting about it on these websites is to call them all liars.

    • I’m not saying the site has no issues. I don’t think there is a group of people in the entire history of the entire history that has no issues. And I’m sorry that you have had problems on a site where I have not experienced any. The main gist of my article is to say that the sites I found were clearly fake, not that everything is all picket fences and happy dogs. I hope that you have found a site where you are treated with respect.

  6. You have to ignore them. They strive on anger and discontent.

  7. mwgriffith says:

    This was an interesting article. Funny too 🙂

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