Whatever Happened to the Goodreads Sociopaths?


Yesterday, December 3rd, the crusading anti bullying group Stop The Goodreads Bullies announced that they were closing down in A final Note to Our Readers. This group was specifically set up to fight on the side of all Independent writers who had been targeted mercilessly by the internet sociopaths who descended on Goodreads in numbers from its parent company’s ‘chat rooms’ specifically to target ‘Indies’.

The real problem was that a small number of Goodreads’ actual staff members were part of the whole sorry affair, siding with the in-house bullies against the Indie writers, who Goodreads officially censured if they dared stand up for themselves, often by closing their accounts. Eventually Goodreads were forced into taking action to clean house.

While its true that some of the more rabid bullies have been removed, whether or not all have gone is still uncertain.

What the Indie community is now most concerned about is where did they disappear to?

These days they can no longer hide behind pseudonyms, apart from various forums like Amazon’s infamous ‘chat rooms’. One or two individuals who fit the now classic bullying profile are surfacing on legitimate sites which act as an outlet for Indie articles and short stories.

I got that now familiar pit of the stomach ‘Oh God, not again’ feeling the other day when I was mercilessly attacked on what I thought was a safe site. The individual in question finally showed his true colours by openly accusing me of plagiarism. Another person was quick to side with him by attacking a fellow Indie writer who had decided to support my claim of non plagiarism!

Sadly there are many different individuals in society who, while initially appearing plausible, will eventually not be able to hold back their true selves any longer. The particular one I am speaking of has, since he joined the site, been acid tongued to say the least, not just towards myself, but several of the other contributors on more than one occasion.

The problem is that you could pass someone like this in the street and not be able to distinguish them from the crowd – see the following article for a description of the sociopath and how he or she sets up their targets .

Now, while I am not actually suggesting for one moment that the individual who decided to attack is a sociopath, his actions never the less are the classic ones most Indie writers who have been targeted in the past,  are all to familiar with – bide your time, sucker them in, then strike!

Will I be returning to the site in question? Sadly not in the immediate future. It’s a crying shame really. It is a brilliant forum. Its owner is an absolute sweetheart. But until she introduces a method of comment approval, regrettably I won’t be contributing any more in the immediate future.

Out of respect for her and her site I will not be naming either. Nor will I name my attacker.

No matter whether you are an Indie, or a conventional writer, we all have to put up with the odd pedant from time to time. It’s par for the course. But if like me you are an Indie writer, trust me when I say that the bullies are still out there…

15 thoughts on “Whatever Happened to the Goodreads Sociopaths?

  1. As you know, I have a number of blogs and websites, Jack. All of them have been attacked at various times by the types of commenters you mention, as well as spammers. I made the decision a year ago to close all of my open forums and comment streams and approve them manually. A pain, but unfortunately very necessary.


  2. I found this before… Peter’s Laws (The Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive)
    If anything can go wrong, fix it! (To hell with Murphy!)
    When given a choice, take both.
    Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.
    Start at the top and work your way up.
    Do it by the book… but be the author.
    When forced to compromise, ask for more.
    If you can’t beat them, join them, and then beat them.
    If it’s worth doing, it’s got to be done now!
    If you can’t win, change the rules.
    If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them.
    Perfection is not optional.
    When faced without a challenge, make one.
    “No” simply means begin again at one level higher.
    Don’t walk when you can run.
    Bureaucracy is a challenge to be conquered with a righteous attitude, a tolerance for stupidity, and a bulldozer when necessary.
    When in doubt, THINK!
    Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.
    The squeaky wheel gets replaced.
    The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live!


  3. Love those Merle. 🙂 Yeah there will always be a$$holes who waste their time being a$$holes instead of actually contributing something positive to the world. I’d almost be paranoid, if I didn’t find them sad and pathetic people.


  4. You have chosen the best path of defense, give them nothing to comment on. It drives them nuts. Unfortunately it also sends them on to find another hapless victim. It is all about pounding their chests and saying ‘look at me!’ Hopefully the site owner will quickly realize that this is a poison that will affect her entire site unless she steps up and does something quickly. Good article Jack. Sorry you had to leave a site you like.


    • Thank you for your support by commenting on the article in question in the particular site Robynn. I do appreciate it. I saw that there have been nineteen other comments as well as yours, one from the site owner herself.
      Quite frankly I do not need the personal sorrow caused by the attack. What really sickens me about the whole sad affair is the presumption of my guilt to the charge of plagiarism, directed towards me.
      Had I ever read the book I was supposed to have plagiarized, or even seen the movie, I would be the first to hold up my hands and cry “Guilty as Charged!”
      The problem is that my attacker isn’t interested. He arrogantly believes he knows best…


  5. I think that the site in question re shutting down is more of a hiatus status. No one that has been attacked either as a writer or a reviewer that sides with a writer, and has invariably been bullied will ever let down their guard. There are times that one must retire to regroup.

    Sociopaths AKA Psychopaths have a negative imprint on their own psyches. The only way they can feel empowered is by bullying others into submission. They feel nothing, some of them were made by adults causing the schism in their psyches, others were born. One cannot hide from them, one must fight back, but the only way to win the war is taking the high ground while gathering the tools for the inevitable battle.

    The reason Goodreads decided to enforce the rules appears to be twofold – the Amazon buyout, and the fact more of the fighting spirit authors were attacked, and instead of retreating to a prolonged licking of wounds, bound their injuries, signed up to be part of an army to combat the misery bullies leave in their wake. Blogging about the inequities, speaking out, and yes, using in return the quashing comment tool the bullies are fond of wielding, and hammering away on the legal side of the issues is slowing down their advance. Too, they do not care who they devour, and infighting is best left to them.

    The site you vacated for now, I am sure will go through the stages of destruction before rebirth, and if it does not, you have the fortitude to go forward in your writings welcomed by your following that continues to grow.


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