First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
– Mahatma Gandhi
“The Absolute Write Water Cooler is active enough, but has more than their fair
share of condescending know-it-alls. If you’ve ever been there for any length of
time, it’s like being back in high school. I didn’t like high school the first time
“I’ve certainly encountered some jerks on the AW boards.”
“I’m not an AW user. Tried it. Found too many people lacked ‘tact’ filters”
” . . . I left AW anyway due to counter-productive moderation. The forums, while popular, are about 10 years behind the socialization curve.”
“I’ve visited the site a few times. Always found the conversation something I wouldn’t want to participate in.”
“Victoria, As you know, in 2011 or 2012, i was harassed by this site so much so that I considered filing charges. . . . . I also thought of crafting an ebook on ALL the HATE I received from this site-one of its members went after my subscribers trying to spread their venom-one of my ‘subscribers’ let them into her site-another, thank goodness, flipped the email to me so then I went after this hateful troll using some legalese that stopped her from continued harassment. I contacted the owner of Absolute Write who was a royal you-know-what. Frankly, I think the only person this site is OK to is you, Victoria. I’ve heard MANY complaints about this bullying site that has so called writers on it who are posting in the 5-digit thousands! Who has time to post 10,000+ comments?? -I’ll tell you who has time, TROLLERS & HATERS. I personally don’t think association with this site serves anyone. Now watch, they’ll come after me again. If they do I have many pages of their VERBATIM comments made to me from that site-I copied & saved. There still may be an ebook from this. I’ve always wondered why Writer Beware supports this site.”
– Marla Miller
“I used to post on the AW forums . . . . I made the mistake of asking a question about something that didn’t follow AW’s received wisdom. The response my query generated – from other users including mods really put me off the forums. I’m sure I would fill one of those bingo cards some of the mods joke about . . . . I no longer post, the whole thing just made me feel unwelcome. I guess I have a really thin skin. But life is too short, I wouldn’t waste my time with a campaign like this. I still think . . . some of the users and mods leave something to be desired.”
“Just some questions, Victoria, that I consider fair ones based on your commentary here:
1. You say we should trust that you know the truth about the real person, the single source behind all the blogs critical of AW. Isn’t that like saying we must trust you to be infallible? Why not place the evidence, all of it, here on your blog and let the public investigate and decide the truth or falsity of your allegation? I’m sorry, but the last time I heard “trust me” it was from President Obama and I voted for him. Nothing personal.
2. You used the term “Bully Central”and overlooking the grand amount of criticism of Absolute Write out there, I see no one else using that term. They merely state or infer that bullying exists on AW and they provide examples in terms of excerpts and links. But in truth we all know that bullying can be difficult to define and therefore quantify. A person can feel bullied, whereas as an outside observer such as yourself might term the person a victim of firm moderation. No one has quantified the precise amount of bullying that hypothetically might take place at AW, but for the record and the sake of clarification, are you saying that no bullying has ever taken place at AW? Or are you saying that you have witnessed no single act of bullying by moderators and/or members, and therefore, you have no direct knowledge of such instances?
3. Since semantics might be an issue in all the confusion, how would you personally define an act of cyberbullying? What is your criteria?
“No one has to ‘trust [me] to be infallible.’ I’m not the Pope. But I am trustworthy. Either you accept that or you don’t. And as I’ve noted, I received information in confidence, and, like all information shared with Writer Beware, I will keep it in confidence. I’ve also done my own research. We know you are not the Pope. But doesn’t this response encourage more suspicion than it does trust? The issue isn’t whether I or anyone else should or should not trust you, the issue is whether or not your allegation has substance to it. You could, for example, be trustworthy by some measure and a total imbecile by another. I might trust you to buy me gum for a quarter and not trust you to drive my new Mercedes to the drugstore. No one should take an allegation like this at face value without evidence. Asking people to believe you regardless of anything to the contrary is like asking us to have faith in your personal God. Let me turn the question around …This is a predictable response. It appears you don’t have much of a choice but to dodge the questions by responding with other questions. By the way, Victoria, why would you term the number of complaints small unless you had a measure to compare, unless you knew for a fact that the number of complaints about AW could actually be much larger? Doesn’t this point to you perhaps knowing about the bullying but refusing to admit it? But it’s all relative, isn’t it? Two or three complaints of vicious bullying on the part of Absolute Write mods and owners is too much in my view. And we all know, for every voiced complaint there are ten to twenty people who just keep quiet and go on their way. We can all see, the number of complaints is large, and growing. And as for ref the same sources, the source referenced is Absolute Write, and yes, it’s the same source. All links or examples of cruel bullying and arrogance I’ve witnessed are connected to AW. And I disagree, Anonymous comments do count. They don’t count for you, and that is predictable also, but you should not to dictate whether or not they count for anyone else. Putting on a fraudulent front like AW owner Melodi Sherman did is no different than signing off as Anonymous. The end result is the same: the real identity is hidden.AW is filled with creature and stock book cover disguises of various kinds. Are you saying their opinions or comments don’t count either, e.g., Old Hack? If I sign off, Old Hack, or Old Cat, or Hack Cat, or whatever, does that make my comment on anything any more or less valid than if I signed off as Anonymous?
But what is more important, Victoria, is the substance of the message, the reality it brings to the growing conflict that will continue to grow and grow. And if you regard findings and observations of bullying by AW mods and owners as noted on W.A.R. or anywhere else to be acts of cyberbullying, well then, you’ve issued forth your definition of cyberbullying. I have not witnessed any act of cyberbullying in these places, but since you might know better, you can link to one for our benefit? You could link to it, yes, and also to an act of cyberbullying on AW, a classic one, and then we could compare the two. That would be an interesting exercise. Why don’t you do that? Ce sont les tonneaux vides qui font le plus de bruit, Victoria.”
“I find it troublesome that you’re framing anyone who has had legitimate issues with the site as being part of a ‘smear campaign.’ That language in and of itself outs you, and perhaps the site as being unable to accept criticism and countering viewpoints which is the main issue that many people find with Absolute Write.
Particularly when it comes to the issue of self publishing AW seems rather militant in what they view as the ‘right’ way to publish and can be almost terrifying to those who dare go against the Canonical Wisdom of Absolute Write. I’ve seen a lot of terrible things go down on that site and I think it’s disingenuous to dismiss these concerns as ‘smear campaign’ and ‘bullying.’ You’re dismissing legitimate concerns and real issues that you and your site should be focusing on fixing, but it seems that the site is rather stuck in its ways (has been since 2009) and isn’t willing to really accept any kind of changes from people a little more up to date with the contemporary publishing milieu.”
“I am a 75 year old retired professor who is just as “trustworthy” as anyone else. I do not lie, cheat, or use profane language. And yet, I have been banned forever from Absolute Write. So far as I can tell, the reason for my banishment was that I chose to disagree with some of the regulars on the forum who, by the way, were quite disrespectful and profane in their responses to me. I am doing quite nicely post banishment, secure in my belief that a writing site isn’t worth much when debate is closed without giving participants a chance at rebuttal.”