Yet another rant, yet another what the fuck moment chez aztec.
On Sunday, Wendy posted her feelings about the current state of the romance blogging community.
On Monday, Sunita posted her reaction to that post.
Below are my responses to both blog posts, in the order I posted them.
At Sunita’s, I commented:
But I was surprised that people didn’t talk more about the fact that such simultaneous personas are not at all unusual. I’m not talking pen names, I’m talking full-blown personas, with separate social media accounts and blogs and biographies. I can think of any number of people off the top of my head who have done this in the past or are doing it now.
I am aghast that this is, apparently, common practice.
As you say, pseudonyms and pen names are common enough, and I have no problem as long as there is disclosure, and readers can find the information relatively easily–say, link to the alter-ego’s author page or what have you.
But what you are talking about, having two or more full blown personas without disclosure? It is that Jane did that and that apparently a number of people knew from the beginning while the rest of the world was, yes, duped, that fractured my trust in her. It is the fact that to this day the blog pretends to be by readers that finished off the job.
For years some people have scoffed at the notion of a romance community online, while some of us clung to the idea that it was possible for readers to connect as readers and to create bonds of trust.
So much for that notion.
At Wendy’s, I said:
Warning: rant ahead
I read this post last night and didn’t know how to respond.
I am not on twitter or Facebook, and the more I learn about them, the less likely I am to join either. GoodReads was never my thing, but after selling out to amazon? Zero incentive to make it my thing, even peripherally.
Like you, I feel ignored–that lone, small voice no one hears.
Then, this morning I read Sunita’s blog post about trust and secrets in romanceland, and I’m reeling.
Am I the only imbecile around who thought that, unless people disclosed it, they only had the one identity?
Because from that blog post, it would seem that a number of fairly well known people online are happy to have two or more fully constructed personas, through which they interact with other people without disclosure.
Not, mind you, pen names or pseudonyms, against which I have nothing. Hard to, when I have never been online as anything but azteclady myself, since 1999 or so.
Then we have the threats. I got a comment on my blog a couple of weeks ago linking to the STGRB site and stating that I should be sued alongside Jane Litte.
I didn’t approve the comment, but I didn’t delete it either. It sits there in my pending approval queue, reminding me of the risks I run every time I post anything, including the mildest review.
Should I be sued for my opinions? Hell of a world to live in, should that be the case.
There is the threat of doxxing, which also looms large for people in fields where most people conflate 50 Shades with porn, and romance with trash. Who wants to lose their job because of their hobby? Who wants to become even more vulnerable to violence, simply because some asshole thought women having opinions and daring to express them, deserve to be raped, beaten, killed?
More and more I am taking the stance that I am talking to myself. That there are very few people I can trust to be who and what they say they are–many fewer than I trusted just a few weeks ago.
Merriam commented at BookThingo, in part, that:
bloggers need to be running a mental checklist so they are consistent and comfortable with themselves. The mix of friendships, power relationships and business has tripped up a number of people besides Jane in this mess. If they had been asking themselves questions along the way, doing a conscious testing of their ethical approach to their blogging, it might not have trapped them in this public disaster
I will continue to be true to my own code of ethics and stop expecting anyone else, with very limited exceptions, to adhere to any code of ethics at all.
And I won’t expect anyone to trust me either. Why should they?
Sad as hell, but probably a lot less painful than continue to trust people only to be slapped in the face over and over and over with the truth.
I know that those last statements will offend some readers and bloggers, and I understand why it would–but saying anything else would be lying, and that’s exactly what has me feeling so isolated right now, knowing that there are a lot of people out there lying to me, without any compunction.