Picking your fights – internet brouhahas

There have been a few big fights lately on the internet and I wonder if it makes sense to ever throw your hat into the fire – yeah I know, mixed metaphor.wildebeest fighing on the serengeti

LendInk, Paid Reviews, Sock Puppet Reviews.

Here’s some information about each of the three controversies.

LendInk, facilitated the legal lending of ebooks and some authors decided it was a piracy site and took it down. Check out Claire’s post over at Raynfall.

Paid reviews, some authors have been paying for reviews and that felt like cheating to all kinds of people.

Sock Puppet reviews, some authors were creating identities on sites like Amazon and not only leaving 5 star reviews for their own books, they also left 1 star reviews for their “competition”.

For information on both of these review issues, check out Konrath’s post on it.

Why people respond and what happens

I think there are two main reasons people respond; they want to clarify or they want to defend.

The clarifiers will jump in early as the supposition builds and sides start to form based on guesses. They’ll provide some facts or perspective. They’ll try to cool the rhetoric. What happens is they create all new sides to the fight. It seems that attack is the choice of the anonymous internet personas. If someone clarifies, someone will jump in and attack them for putting the facts on the table. Then we get the defenders involved.

The defenders sometimes come it at the beginning to defend  the actions or intentions of the people initiation the storm. They will come in again as the factions shatter. Defending one side and creating more shards.

Should you dip, dive or stumble into the fire?

Why not? I think it can be a great place to give your opinion on anything. I hope people think before they start throwing around accusations and threats, but if you have something to say, why not say it.

I’ve put my fair share of comments on the various posts about each of these issues. I try not to sling mud; I try to understand the problem before I jump in, and I’m willing to change my opinion if I see cause.

For LendInk, I really wished that the original authors had done their homework before attacking a great site. I hate the fact that some of them feel that they are still the saviors of the universe despite the facts, but it’s easier to take that attitude on the internet than it is in the real world. I can click away from the discussion, it’s hard to walk away.

For the paid reviews, I’ve come to believe that it’s just marketing. It feels a little icky, but there’s a lot of marketing that feels that way.

For the sock puppet, well, as Joe Konrath says, some people are just dickheads.

Do you like to jump in and stir the pot? Or, are you a lurker? Or someone who likes to try to spread reason?