You know, I tried to let this go.  I really did.  It's just been sitting there, gnawing at me.  At the risk of offending those who frequent those forums, I just feel compelled to share.  First, let me say, I do not participate in their discussions.  I find no reason to stick my two cents in so that someone can turn around and pounce on me.  Frankly I have better things to do.  I can assure you, the forums are not for the feint of heart.  The discussions I've seen are controlled primarily by people who come across as pompous, arrogant, and frequently rude.  They are extremely clickish and do in fact remind me of schoolyard bullies.  They jump on people who are new to the posts and they encourage and applaud each other.  Having said that, I can tell you that I occasionally see a thread that catches my eye and curious person that I am, I will take a minute to see if I can figure out the topic.  There have been two of those lately.   The first was one on authors who review their own books, get friends or family to review them or possibly pay people to review them.  Since this is a subject that has been on my mind lately, I wanted to check it out.  What I found were posts by many of the same names I've seen in the past and they were discussing how they can tell which authors had fake reviews.   It appeared that they go to a great deal of trouble to make these determinations, basing them on things such as the reviewers, how many reviews they have, how many total reviews a book has, whether they're all five stars, etc.  Huh?  Who has time for this?  Wouldn't it just be simpler to read the sample?  What about the new author that has two great reviews?  Would this author automatically be condemned for having two five star reviews?  I personally, wouldn't want to be responsible for falsely accusing someone of writing their own reviews.  Yes, I know it's done but I'd like to believe it's fairly rare.  I personally don't usually leave reviews unless I've read something that no one else has reviewed and I really liked it.  I don't base my own decisions on a book's reviews because what I like, others may hate.  I've read books with fifty or sixty good reviews that I really didn't like.  I always read the sample and make my own decision.  But, for authors who are trying to get started, who have written a good story, I will tell whether or not I loved it or hated it.  I won't critique the book because I don't want to unduly influence someone else.  This is just my personal take on book reviews.  

Now, a day or two after I abandoned the discussion about the reviews, I came across one where they were asking whether or not what they posted constituted cyber bullying.  Well, duh?  Truly, if you have not read any of these posts, check them out.  You can debate the definition of cyber bullies all day long and it won't change the fact that if your posts are cruel, sarcastic, and hateful, and only serve to encourage people to tuck their tail and abandon a discussion, then yeah, you are a bully.  I don't care what you call yourself.  

Now I doubt that those same people will lower themselves to the point where they will read my posts, but just in case, I will admit that I don't frequent the forums.  I don't read the entire thread.  I will read part of it and then abandon it.  I'm sure that these same people cannot rule all of the forums.  Good god, there are only so many hours in a day and they must devote a fair share of those to the forums but they can't spend all of their time there.  

Why do I care?  I've spent the better part of my life studying human behavior and all I've ever determined for certain is that I still don't understand most of it.  However, it does still fascinate me.  And... I really don't like bullies.


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