It is with great sadness, a heavy heart and more than a little anger that I hereby resign my membership from your online community. A member since 2008, I will be deleting 497 book reviews this week. As I'm sure you have guessed, my discontent largely stems from the events of the past few days.
In all of my years as a Goodreads' member, I have never been involved in any controversy. I largely avoid the forums in favor of simply checking in to see what my friends are reading. My most controversial shelf label is "Did Not Finish". I've never participated in a reviewer-author argument, although I have been the recipient of a handful of not-so-nice messages from authors who were unhappy with a less than five star review. On the whole, I'd say my personal experience with Goodreads has been rather benign.
One could say, in fact, that I have no dog in this fight. I might very well continue on my merry way, using the features I've come to love on Goodreads, interacting with my small circle of friends, and keeping track of the books I read just as I've been doing since 2008. I might, that is, if I did not possess a moral compass.
It's this moral compass, you see, that tells me the actions that Goodreads has taken over the past week are just plain wrong. While I do not dispute your right to take these actions, it was done to make one particularly vocal group of users happy while sacrificing the freedom of expression of all users. To prohibit discussion of author behavior in a review (excepting autobiographies) is ludicrous. The deletion of entire bookshelves and reviews with no advance notice was lacking honor. The deletion of bookshelves regardless of their names just because they contain certain authors is madness.
What I am seeing is an online community that has decided it's interests lie more with authors and publishers than it does with readers. And while there may be short-term revenue in that interest (your flashy-ads must be generating some big-bucks), it might behoove you to remember that without readers to actually visit and review books on Goodreads, there is no Goodreads. (Okay, so there might be a Goodreads, but it wouldn't be using up much bandwidth and trust me, that's not how you want to save money.)
You are entitled to run your company as you (and Amazon) see fit. I am entitled to post my reviews where I see fit. I no longer see fit to post them at Goodreads.
If you ever change your policy, you can find me at where freedom of expression still reigns supreme.