Aw, and I'm in Good Company, too.

Robin Sullivan just posted to her blog this morning that she, too, was banned from the Absolute Write site. Her ban message?

You have been banned for the following reason:
Just get the hell off my site. You\’re relentlessly snotty, rude, and you\’re a f***cking bald-faced liar. I\’m done with you.
Date the ban will be lifted: Never

Stars added by Robin; the moderator used the full expletive.
Well, seems like I\’m in good company. For those who don\’t know, Robin is the head of Ridan Publishing, a great little company she\’s built which is helping quite a good number of authors succeed with style. She\’s also helped her husband self publish a stack of his books, to a level of success that got offers made from multiple large publishers.
But for some reason, her word isn\’t as good as the word of a bunch of pundits who constantly thrashed whatever she had to say. A policy which enabled them to maintain a consistent, steady attack on most posts which put self publishing in a positive light – because it\’s hard to argue with folks who are able to voice their own opinion as fact and have their \”industry experience\” validate those claims. Even if they have no indie publishing experience.
Robin came in and backed me up (thanks!), and we called them on it. Last night, the site owner responded with this:

Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin \"View
First off – on double standard. There is one. There is a small clique of people who frequent this forum who deliberately attack pretty much any post which actively supports self publishing. It just is. And they\’re just expressing their opinions, and usually not doing so in an offensive way – so it\’s really hard to report the posts.

Errr….So where is the \”double standard\” you\’re whining about, then, exactly? Because people have other opinions and they get to express them?
A double standard?
Why? Because I don\’t shut everyone up that you disagree with, so you can have a climate-controlled echo chamber? Because I let people cite statistics, facts, and anecdotes that directly contradict what you so desperately want to convince other writers of — no matter if it\’s right for them or not? Because we\’re not a board that\’s all about how self-publishing will make the average Jill and Joe Writer rich and famous beyond their wildest dreams or the reach of the NYT Bestseller list, so none of us ever have to face the sting of a rejection slip again unless we\’re irredeemable and pedantic masochists desperately clinging to the rotting dinosaur carcass of Publishing-That-Was?

Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 \"View
You are not the only one who sees the double standard being administered. There are a lot of lurkers that send me emails and PM\’s to this effect and thank me for offering a \”dissenting opinion\”.

\”Perpencity\” and \”desenting\” and \”the lurkers support me in email\” and never met a pair of scare quotes that didn\’t make you positively giddy — but you wonder why some of us are a wee bit skeptical about betting our writing careers on your advice? And why we\’re not quite ready to tell other writers that they should bet their writing careers and a book they love on your advice? Really? That\’s still a mystery to you?
Kevin, you and Robin have both been consistently rude, snotty, condescending, evasive, and utterly unpleasant in this room. Yet you feel completely free to insult other writers here, twist and misrepresent their words, and then say that *I* run a board with a double standard because I dare to let people disagree with you?
Get lost. Both of you. Get the hell off my website.
I\’m sick to death of the misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and outright bald-faced lies that some of you insist on spreading like it\’s gospel truth. Go start your own damned cheerleader forum where no one gets to post rebuttals, ask questions, challenge assertions, or disagree with your awesomeness and mighty self-publishing guru-ness and wisdom(!!11!), and good luck with it.
Robin linked to the thread which got us banned. You tell me if you think we were being overboard.
In the meantime, I\’ve still got some mixed emotions about this. I\’m sad that such a well known site has become a propaganda mouthpiece. I\’m worried for the writers who will go there and receive misinformation.
But I\’m proud to be standing in Robin\’s company on this one.

29 thoughts on “Aw, and I'm in Good Company, too.”

  1. Wow. Just… wow.
    AW used to be a nice site, although some of the regulars would seemingly attack people out of nowhere. It’s one of the reasons that I never posted there, even though I had an account. Now the regulars are attacking everyone who has decided to go with the changing industry and ohmygoodness try to find readers and make some actual money?
    AW is no longer a good place to go. Not for good balanced information. Not for anything unless you hold only one world-view of the publishing industry.
    View it as a badge of honor. You stood your ground while still being polite. That’s more than the regulars did. They should be ashamed of themselves (but they won’t be. It’s easier on their conscience.).

    1. If it was just the regulars there, I wouldn’t worry so much. I’m honestly more concerned with the newer folks coming in and reading what they write as good advice. Some of what folks say there is *great* advice, don’t get me wrong. But silencing one side of something as important as the sweeping changes in writing today doesn’t seem helpful to me.
      Thanks. =)

  2. What was done over there was in very poor taste on the part of the mod/owner. I’ve been a member since early 2006, back when Jenna Glatzer used to own the site. This would never have happened back then. I’ve seen a steady decline in professionalism and a serious increase in hostility over the years. Very sad.
    That said, you are in very good company with Robin – smart, classy lady she is!

    1. David, I hadn’t been there as long as that. But it certainly seems a hostile environment now. Robin and I are gone now though; I wonder whether they plan to just continue banning anyone who speaks out.

      1. Honestly I’m surprised I haven’t been banned yet myself. I mean I used to talk about self-publishing last year. Honestly I’d rather be banned, yet I feel I’m being toyed with by being allowed to stay.
        Meanwhile, they are saying false things about me on twitter. How’s that not typical?

  3. Wow. Just…wow. I stopped posting much on AW months ago because the level of myths and myth pushing over there was hurting my brain.
    I read the thread that got you and Robin banned and I have to say, it’s sort of QED, isn’t it? The two people banned were the ones giving the unpopular opinion, hehe. Seems funny to say “we don’t have a double standard” and then promptly ban anyone who disagrees.
    AW hasn’t been a very friendly place for over a year now. I think there are a lot of scared folk posting there and the atmosphere hasn’t been healthy for newbies for a while.

  4. It’s sad. Part of why I hang around AbsoluteWrite is to watch the discussions, but it’s getting disconcerting to see the dismissive attitude towards others’ experiences. It inspired a blog post just last week.
    I’m sorry you were banned, Kevin. I liked your posts on AW. An unconnected friend of mine just checked the thread and said that you and Robin were the most rational ones there.
    *sighs* Knowing me, I’m gonna have to speak up around there, now.

    1. Rick, Carradee, do as your conscience dictates. That said, if you do speak out, my advice would be to try to keep your cool as much as is humanly possible. I had a rough time with that once in a while – I had to rewrite and refine a few posts to pull the frustration out and keep the good information in.
      A good general internet rule: don’t post mad. Best of luck out there. 😉

  5. I won’t wade into the debate over self-publishing, but the fact that you and Robin were banned is baloney. Both of you were arguing your side with facts, opinions, and relevance–but never lies. Neither of you became vulgar or offensive. After reading the thread, I cannot figure out why either of you were banned.
    Except that the site’s mod is a jackass.

  6. Hey Kevin – I’m pleased to be in your company as well. I’m too of mixed emotions. I feel bad for anyone who goes to Absolute Write hoping to find information relevenat to what is going on in the industry since the only voices allowed to speak there are those tied to a model that is changing so quickly.
    I really enjoyed the posts you had at AW and I’m sad there won’t be more of them.

  7. Don’t worry about the newbies. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on there. They don’t like change and fear makes people ugly.
    Anyone banned from AW is worth listening to, so I’m following you both from now on.

  8. Of course you could only be expelled, after complaining ! How ingrate you are, while they had let you (for charitie’s sake) express your impious pagan uneducated nonsensical ideas on such hallowed grounds as AW ! How dare you protest ? How could you ask the True Believers to step down to the same standard as the ones imposed by your lower class ? , Their voice carry the TRUTH. It does not need to be embelished by such trivial things as politeness,..

  9. Hi Kevin,
    As you may have gathered I missed the kerfuffle. The joys of a deadline. I walked into the bar just as they were righting the chairs and cleaning up the broken glass.
    Obviously, you shouldn’t have been banned. I agreed with what you were saying, as you might guess.
    It seems that the arch-defenders of trade publishing have one set of rules and anyone who says anything remotely positive about self-publishing have another.
    So be it.

  10. I thought the banning was extremely unfair. And yes, it proved the point you had made–the site has a double standard. The string of public insults that accompanied the ban was particularly egregious. Wow, call someone names and then ban them so they can’t defend themselves!
    I don’t think Absolute Write’s problem only concerns self-publishing, though. There seems to be a more general problem that established forum members are often hostile to new members. The rule seems to be that established members can make strong remarks, and even be snide, but new members have to be deferential and almost worshipful towards the established members. If new members are not, the established members close ranks and “pile on” the new members with criticism. If the new members try to defend themselves, they are banned.
    I wish there were some way to warn new writers away from Absolute Write!

    1. Fun fact actually, I tried doing that myself. But then I got the same false stuff spread about me in order to silence my opinion. Well it has not, it’s only made me organize my blog better so my actual readers can find stuff more easily.
      I’ve gone back to talk about self-publishing, because honestly what reason is there not to talk about it? Haven’t been lurking there for have a year, it’s the only board that lectures you about it.

  11. I just checked the forums “Newbie Guide”.
    Seems that it needs to be updated, since it seems to indicate that the forum welcomes dissenting views.
    “So here’s the thing. Many of us passionately disagree with each other, about everything from politics to religion to using the serial comma. But what makes AW the amazing community that it is, is that we manage to create an environment of inclusiveness, in spite of our differences.”
    I guess all that has gone out the window … I hope AW can find a way back to where it needs to be.

  12. dude, don’t even worry about it. Mac bans people all the time. She’s probably just a miserable person who mines bits of pleasure out of banning people who don’t subscribe to her beliefs or the beliefs of the mods. Is she even a published author? I don’t think so.

  13. Oh, one more thing. You’ll notice that many of the authors on AW are amateurs anyway. Authors who actually gravitate up the food chain inevitably leave AW in the dust. I think it’s a place for people who don’t know any better. Once you learn what’s worth knowing, you realize what a waste of time AW really is and move on.

  14. I would really love to take a look at the actual post, but I have been banned too. With that said, everything in this post resonates with me.
    Even though I gave opposing views, I was polite about it, and focused on what I wanted to bring to the table. I didn’t mention names and kept the tone positive.
    A lot of people saw that and joined in, giving their thoughts. Some thanked me. Some sent me private messages and rep comments thanking me.
    Of course, the AW hawks swooped in for the kill, jumping on the defensive, and called mommy. Needless to say, I was berated, had my words twisted completely out of context.
    Yet the AW “elite” members get to talk to me any kind of way they want, using inflammatory language saying my thread was “pissing them off.”
    In any case, I tried to deal with them in a polite, mature manner– saying something to the effect of “if this thread, which was meant to be positive, is really ‘pissing you off,’ maybe you should exit.”
    Thread closed. Paraphrased PM from mod:
    Your post is offending people.
    When I brought up the people who thanked me for the thread, I told her that if she closes the thread she is essentially silencing people who think differently.
    The moderator (who turns out to be the owner of the site, I believe,) essentially told me “I don’t care. Take it up with the main forum mod.”
    OK, but you’re the one who gave me the time-out, so shouldn’t I be taking it up with you? Not to mention the fact that you own this site…
    I see now why people PMed me rather than say something in the thread. They were afraid to speak.
    In any case, I decided to leave because it was becoming clear that anything that came out of my mouth, no matter how benevolent I tried to be about it, was going to upset them.
    I created one last post that said I was leaving, and that I was really thankful to meet the people I had and for anyone who still wanted to use me as a resource or simply stay in touch, to contact me. I didn’t say why I was leaving. I didn’t leave any nasty comments.
    When I went back to see if anyone had any concerns about how to reach me, or if certain AWers were nasty enough to be rude to me even then, I saw that even THAT thread had been closed, within moments of posting it, with a message from a moderator that said “if you gotta go, you gotta go.”
    What does that even mean? Please don’t leave this ambiguous comment on my thread to imply I’ve been forced to leave by a moderator. In any case, I PMed this mod and told him that I really didn’t want to misconstrue what was being said, and asked if he would mind explaining.
    Of course, when I go back to check and see if he responded, I get a message:
    “You have been banned for the following reason:
    We’re just helping you find the door. You can appeal via the Contact Us Form on the bottom of any forum page.
    Date the ban will be lifted: Never”
    I’m sorry, what? Date the ban will be lifted: never? Wow. That seems awfully close-minded and dramatic for the situation, and I’m not sure why I would file an appeal to come back to a forum that has treated me with malice and disrespect and told me that I can come back NEVER.
    I’m so glad I found this post (and a lot of other posts by people who have experienced the exact same BS) because I was really offended. I thought it was personal– It’s really not.
    Sorry to leave this long rant, but I figured this was a safe space where adults could speak their mind (even if it’s a really long-winded one xD)
    Again, I really appreciate you sharing your story. You have no idea how just reading this has lifted my spirits.

    1. Thanks for the note. Sorry to hear that they’re still up to the same old stuff. But it doesn’t shock me.
      Thing is, the only people they hurt in the long run are themselves and the other members there. Lots of other places to go, where dissent isn’t silenced and honest debate is welcomed.

      1. Yeah. Though, after that experience, I’m not sure I would look for somewhere else to go… Seems best to just avoid it altogether. That situation sucked up an entire day of which I should have been doing so many other things, and I tend to avoid people who make me feel terrible…
        The thing is, most forums breed cronyism, and AW is no different. I suppose my first mistake was thinking that a group of writers would be above that ^^; In any case, if you have found another place to go that’s better, please tell me; I know more than one person that is interested…

  15. That’s funny she banned anyone as a lair when she in fact lying about her identity. Macallister Stone is fictional. Her actual identity is Melodi Sherman. On top of that, her business license for AbsoluteWrite expired in 2009.

  16. Like how is that board getting away from this obvious misrepresentation of the facts? If I self-pubbed my book, I’m not going to be binding the book myself, doing my own editing, or making my own cover.
    Now I did make my own cover for a poetry book, though that was a mistake that I made I’m not proud of. I knew the board hated slef-pubs, sort of. But I had no idea it was this bad.

  17. One other thing, I’m noticing something more sinister going on. Whenever I try to speak politely, they (it almost seems like) deliberately misconstrue what I say mean something it doesn’t. Like these days they don’t even try to understand what I’m saying.
    I’m thinking I’m going to just lurk for the time I’m not banned there.

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