Rant on Kindleboards or Kboards Writer’s Cafe and a Warning to Authors
Since things have really blown up over at Kboards (fomerly Kindleboards) Writer’s Cafe on a big long thread with a lot of drama, it seems like the warning issued about this site in the previous blog post (Rant on Nuts in Writing Forums) was not strong enough.
The main danger of this site to any independent author or publisher is that it appears to be a perfectly legitimate place to get help, information and to possibly interact with other indies. But, this is a veneer and a very thin one at that.
The recent blow up, which was started by none other than one of the moderators, is nothing new. Like any forum, it goes through some ups and downs, but certain characteristics remain a constant there, even when the waters appear calm on the surface.
These characteristics are evidenced in their latest rumble in which they expelled a member suspected of trying to lure female posters into discussions about abuse. It resulted in some long-time members leaving. This is not news, but part of a pattern of sexism at this forum where men have been allowed to call women revolting names and the subject of rape is brought up regularly in response to… well, almost anything, at all.
Posters voiced their complaints about feeling uncomfortable with others who engaged in stalking behavior and regularly discuss disturbing ideas that feed their sexual fetishes.
A lot of the thread, which is very long, included material that was deleted by the moderators. One of the posts that seems to have been deleted criticized the moderators for starting the thread in the first place. After all, if there is a moderation problem, that’s a problem for the moderators and should be dealt with as quietly as possible so as not to create a huge explosion. One can only conclude that the moderators must enjoy the drama.
Another poster who complained of being stalked around the board was brushed off by the moderators until a final post on the subject of bullying resulted in that poster being threatened. The moderators quickly erased a couple of pages of material related to that. Overall, women and LGBT posters seem to be the ones most likely to complain of discomfort at the site or report feeling attacked.
The following quote from a poster there called “Spirit Flame” sums up the culture of this board with regard to bullying of new members: “Moderators will take a holiday and only lock the thread once one of the bigger regular KB members are directly attacked. They won’t protect you unless your part of the established clique here. They will even make tidy the posts to protect the guilty, much like those people in movies.” (Reference: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,122087.msg1816232.html#msg1816232)
Other complaints about the forum include too much emphasis on promotion and gaming the system. For example, authors sometimes request the help of posters there to push their books up in Amazon rankings. If you’re part of the in-crowd there, this probably works, but if you’re not, it would surely backfire very badly!
Posters who have made the mistake of advertising themselves there must tread on eggshells not to incur the wrath of the others. The moderators have a god-like status. To question a moderator will immediately bring the wrath of their worshipful following down on your head. They started their own thread about their poor job of moderation and expressed surprise when they were questioned and criticized. This is a sin for which posters are made to pay. Generally, they are just made so uncomfortable that they leave and do not return. Nearly all of these things can be seen embodied in just this one thread, except for the parts they expunged, which included criticism of them and a threat to one of the posters. What a fiasco!
Now, imagine for a moment that you went wide-eyed into this forum thinking it was the friendly, helpful place it seems to be. If you shared information about yourself and your work everything might have gone along fine for a little while until one of the favored posters there took a dislike to something you said. After that, you may be stalked around the board and have an increasing number of posters attack you. Now, you have a problem if you have allowed these people to know where to find your books. Many posters have picked up stalkers from this board. This was widely reported in the spring of 2012 when there was a great exodus of erotica writers, mostly women, who were being stalked, ridiculed and treated abusively by forum members.
The Writer’s Cafe at Kboard (Kindleboards) is a good place to study narcissists and see examples of narcissistic behavior. Narcissists look for people in whom they see a weakness to prey upon; they have an excessive need to be admired and have grandiose perceptions of themselves; and narcissists see themselves everywhere, so if you post about something there, you’ll notice a number of people will say that it is about them. They may accuse you of talking about them, even when you don’t know them and have never heard of them before. They worship themselves and when they get in a pack, they worshipfully praise one another
The Writer’s Cafe at Kboards should be avoided at all costs by any serious writer. The same can be said of GoodReads, which is another place where writers are encouraged to post their work, post about it and interact with readers. It quickly becomes a playground for narcissists and narcissists aren’t just nuts, they’re very dangerous nuts as you can see from previous posts that discuss Vanity Authors and the dangers of Writer’s Forums.
It’s always good to take caution in forums not to disclose too much information about yourself. But, when it comes to this forum, it is probably best avoided altogether. There is nothing to be learned there, unless, of course, you are making a study of narcissistic personality disorder.
Read other articles warning of the dangers of this forum:
(Link added on 5/15/2013) – This is someone else’s excellent rant on Writer’s Cafe Kboards in which the author likens participating in the forum to attempting “to swim with starving sharks”: http://thebigrant-matt.blogspot.com/2013/01/kindle-boards-suck.html
(Link added on 5/9/2013) http://sapphicscribe.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/tell-it-like-it-is-tuesday-april-writers-room-101/
(Link added on 5/9/2013) http://cyberxtasy.com/kboards-good-or-bad-for-writers/
Update added on May 8, 2013: The article about Kboard Writer’s Cafe, entitled ”I Quit Kindleboards’ Writer’s Cafe Today,” linked to below has been altered a couple of times now by the author since I first posted the link. The original version discussed the culture of the Writer’s Cafe Kboards forum. You’ll find snippets from the original in a couple of the articles linked to above and an excerpt from it in the form of a cropped screenshot is preserved below, in which the author writes, “I’ve never been in a writer’s group before which was so hostile to talking about writing. It was clear when I joined that a lot of people wanted to talk about writing, but were afraid to.” The author of the blog, who goes by, “The Daring Novelist” and “Camille LaGuire,” seems to be upset that I linked to it as you can see from the comments below, which I regarded as an attempt to intimidate me. Linking to an an article on the web is not copyright infringement and another person sharing their experience and opinion about something that differs from yours is not a reason to request a link to be removed.
The original article spoke well for itself, but the author, first deleted it, replaced it with a second version, then deleted that one and then erected another in which the author is unprovokedly rude toward yours truly. Note: I do not know this person either online or IRL. I only very briefly interacted with anyone at the Kboards Writer’s Cafe over the course of a few weeks prior to the time the events I describe above took place. I don’t stick around anywhere there is abusive behavior going on, especially when it’s directed at me. I found the article linked to below just like I find most of the others I link to in my articles, which is by doing a search at Google. I found it while searching for the terms, “Kindleboards Writer’s Cafe” and “hostility.”
This person’s behavior is pretty typical of my short-lived experience with other long-time members of Kboards Writer’s Cafe forum: If you post about a writing or publishing-related experience there, such as copyright infringement, piracy or traditional publishing or if – God forbid! – you rightly criticize something about the forum, and one of the regular, active posters takes offense (yes, offense to your experience!), you will be harassed – only there, it’s by a mob. That is what happened to me.
Furthermore, I have observed over the course of more than two years as an occasional lurker there and in other writer’s forums that lots of people have had big problems at the Writer’s Cafe at Kboards – I’ve told my experience and I’ve told some of what I saw go on. I told the whole story above in third person for my protection and I think it’s clear why it’s important to protect yourself from such people. My blogpost reflects my experience and my opinions - and it might save other people some grief – so, it is going to stay right here!
Why this person seemed to take such personal offense to my simply placing a link at the bottom of an article on a related subject and why they have gone to so much trouble deleting and altering their original article because of my blog, which gets very few readers, I don’t know. But, there are people who simply cannot tolerate a differing opinion or even the expression of a different experience, which is something I talk about in numerous other blogposts here.
Here’s the link to the Daring Novelist’s current version of the article, “I Quit Kindleboards’ Writer’s Cafe Today” (as of May 9, it was altered, again, and re-titled, “KBoards Rocks – (was I Quit Kindleboards’ Writers Cafe Today)” Very weird!):
In the above current version, the author expresses gladness at me (and other women posters) being bullied (and one of us threatened) off the forum. I have no idea how bullying women posters off the forum - women who have had rape brought up to them over and over again by male posters for no reason and who were the victims of being lured into conversations about sexual abuse by perverts (See my “Rant on Rape Trolls and Online Psychopaths” ) is a good thing. But, again, this is typical of the kind of invalidation and victim-blaming I experienced and observed going on there.
Click the below to read an excerpt from the original:
This entry was posted on March 23, 2013 at 11:42 pm and is filed under crazy people, narcissism, trolls, writing with tags abusive, aggressive, authors behaving badly, bad experience, bullies, bullying, clique, cliquishness, confrontational, dangers of online forums, hostility, indie authors behaving badly, invalidation, kboards, kboards writers cafe, misogynist, misogyny, mobbing, online mobbing, rape trolls, sexist, writers cafe. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.