Rant on Kindleboards or Kboards Writer’s Cafe and a Warning to Authors

Snake_warning_sign

Warning: Poisonous Snakes!
Image is copyrighted CC: Image information: Flickr
Author Matt Frederick from USA
Reviewer KenWalker

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 2/7/2014) – It looks like another regular poster may have dropped out of the forum after complaining about being targeted.  If I recall, this poster was one of the people who foolishly posted income figures there (although, it appears that may not be the only problem). Now, I don’t think I should have to tell anyone with two functioning brain cells to rub together why publicly bragging about your income or sales figures is a bad idea, but that was, also, a recent topic of discussion there and most of the posters were all for it! Yeah, they’re a bunch of professionals – professional comedians!!! Here’s the link: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,177757.0.html   – and if you still don’t think that forum is a scary place, check this article out, especially the nastiness in the comment section: http://www.bigskywords.com/writing-blog/should-you-sue-your-ebook-reviewers

(Update of 2/8/2014) The above thread continues to grow along with the hypocrisy. They’ve, also, added a “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” thread – yeah, that’s a good question.  “Why are We Such a Bunch of Hypocrites?” would be better. In this new thread, the mods pretend they have no idea that a particular author, who the veterans there know not to name outright (the old-timers know what they can & can’t get away with) – Greg Strandberg – has been attacked repeatedly. He’s been called a variety of names in his absence on the first thread above. As always, a mod says, if you have a problem with someone here, report it (a little Nazi-style authoritarian system they have there) and we’ll take care of it. Well, okay – one of your anointed calls him a “dickweed,” at least, twice here and then he’s called “skeevy” here for posting the above-linked article on the wisdom of suing reviewers at his personal website.   And, then a few more people piled on… but, I guess this doesn’t constitute any kind of personal attack on a single poster there… right? Well, if the mods and the regular posters there say it doesn’t, then you can be sure it doesn’t.

Strandberg, predictably, is also being attacked by Kboards Writer’s Cafe regulars at his own blog. who are chastizing him and giving all kinds of unsolicited advice on what he should do. This is so typical.  How dare he express an opinion about something that differs from that of the narcissistic/sycophantic herd! He has my deepest sympathy.

Also – and this is a sparkling gem – one of the particularly vicious attackers on this forum admits that she has targeted people she didn’t like. Yes… it’s a confession!after so many denials of wrong-doing. Here’s a screenshot:

becca-mills

A whole bunch of the usual tormenters’ hideous faces are showing up on this thread.  And, at least, a couple of these people admit in their posts that they are not doing well – really have little if anything to contribute to any discussion about success at publishing or writing.  (Of course, they don’t – because they spend their time hanging out on this board – just lying in wait like a spider in a web – for the purpose of attacking anyone who they perceive as having a modicum of success. That’s exactly what happened to me.) There is a certain long-standing core group there who seems to thrive on any kind of strife. They get a psychopathic joy out of causing pain in new posters who wander in who are already dealing with a problem – – be it a writing or publishing problem or being harassed by others at the forum and they just pile on top one after the other.

Here’s an idea for the Kboards Writer’s Cafe people: Maybe treat everybody who wanders into your forum to ask a question about publishing or writing with some basic respect and not TARGET them and not, dear moderators, ALLOW and PARTICIPATE in the mobbing behavior that regularly goes on at your forum. Okay – group hug, now…

(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/

http://www.danielmedley.com/writers-are-a-bunch-of-bitchy-little-girls/

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!):

http://daringnovelist.blogspot.com/2011/07/i-quit-kindleboards-today.html

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:

wc-excerpt3

The following related posts were added to this blog in February 2014:

15 Responses to “Rant on Kindleboards or Kboards Writer’s Cafe and a Warning to Authors”

  1. Hi, could you please remove the link to my blog from this post. My post actually says the opposite of what yours does. I feel Kindleboards is too _safe_ — and too often conversations are shut down by people who are too willing to take offense. Thanks.

  2. I’m going to ask AGAIN: please remove the link to The Daring Novelist from the end of this post. My post was NOT warning anyone about any dangers of KB. It did the opposite: it points out that KB is too _safe_ for in depth discussion.

    I do not agree with you or support what you have to say. Please stop telling the world that I do.

    • But the “less than glowing terms” I used were in reference the kind of behavior you are displaying here.

      YOU’RE the one who brought me into this. I did not come here looking to argue with you. You’re the one who created this blog with no way to privately let you know that you have cone something very wrong.

      You dragged me into your personal fight. You claimed that I endorse you when I do not. You’re using me as a weapon against people I have no argument with.

      That is wrong on every level.

      You find it intimidating that I complain about this? What the heck am I supposed to do? Just let you defame me?

      If you had just removed the link to my blog and the claims that I endorse or support what you have to say, there would have been no problem.

      Please remove all references to me or my blog from your blog, and I will be happy remove all references to you from mine. I have no interest a public pissing match — and I am really angry that you dragged me into this one — but you left me no option to respond privately.

      • The Solution Says:

        I will not remove anything… I have the right to express my opinion and discuss my experience. I can’t control what goes on at your blog, but I have the right to link to it. Your original article discussed problems at the forum similar to some things I mentioned in my blogpost above.

        I never at any time claimed that you endorsed anything I said and I certainly never defamed you. I tried to protect you from yourself by not publishing your first two comments, but then you just had to keep on pushing, insulting, trying to intimidate and now making false accusations and trying to bully me.

        I only placed a link to an article you wrote at the very end of my article, which is a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do – people place links to other people’s articles, all the time. Then you started your little harassment campaign. The blogpost stands… my experience stands… And my opinion about that experience stands… I will not back down to bullying either on your beloved Writer’s Cafe Forum or here at my own blog where I have protected speech.

        This is exactly why my experience and the experiences of others at that forum should be discussed and people need to be warned.

        Thank you for illustrating my point so well.

  3. You have the right to express your opinion — you don’t have the right to claim it is mine. That’s the only issue here.

    And I did not ask you to change your post one iota, except for you claim at the end that I endorse your position. The only reason I put that request in the public comment box is because you are hiding behind anonymity, and I have no other way to communicate with you.

    What’s totally bizarre here is that your post stands on its own just fine. You don’t need to steal fake endorsements from others to validate it. The only thing that draws doubt on you is your insistence on dragging others in to “support” your point when they don’t support it at all. Why create that doubt in the first place? I don’t understand.

    I don’t know who you are. I don’t know why you insist on dragging me into it. This is what happens when you abuse and bully people — they defend themselves. If you keep doing it, they keep defending themselves.

  4. Angry Writer Says:

    Thanks for posting the link to “Kindle Boards Suck!”. That blasted forum is nothing but a waste of time, and the regulars do a fine job of chasing people away.

  5. Angry Writer Says:

    Thanks for the props! You’ve got a great piece here. I bet those KB mods hate seeing their dirty laundry being left out to dry. I can’t believe DaringNovelist went back to them. What a bum!

  6. I haven’t been on the Writers Cafe for about a year and a half now, and I am very surprised to see how bad things have gotten there.

    When I first went there I had just written a short story collection and was trying to find some advice on the best way to publish it.

    The experience wasn’t all bad. I did find some posters who gave some honest advice as best they could regard my questions, (mostly regarding US Tax file numbers) but for most of it, the posters were just trying to push their own promotions.

    As for the ‘in crowed’, I have to agree, there were so many people online, but not many who were willing to communicate with a newbie like me.

    I have read Angry Writer’s ‘Kindle Boards Suck’ blog, and the Q& A that was posted was a fairly standard conversation.

    I feel sorry for any new writer who is generally looking for advice. There are some useful blog’s around these days, it would be best to start there.

    • The Solution Says:

      Thank you for your comment.

      I think you’re right about blogs being good places to look for help. Also, searching forums like the regular KDP Amazon forum can be helpful.

      I posted a couple of questions as a newbie there with no problem until about the third time I did it. And, then I was the equivalent of being “chest bumped” – like when a guy does that to another guy IRL – by a poster there who I think they may have permanently banned after their March 2013 blow-up. But, it was allowed and happened in real time in front of one of the moderators and then they continued to enable this kind of aggressive behavior – not only toward me, but other posters there. And, then there was the subject of violence (against women) being brought up repeatedly – aggression toward women posters is a problem that has been allowed to fester there and for that I blame the moderators because they see it and allow it to go on until it snowballs and then finally something big has to happen like, for example, “the thread” linked to above before they do something about it. By that time, a lot of damage has been done and they end up losing a whole bunch of posters.

      But, it’s mainly a whole nest of people with poisonous personalities and like Angry Writer said, it’s hard to imagine they get any writing done when they have thousands of posts there. The first dangerous thing about Kboards Writer’s Cafe is that it appears like a legitimate place to get help, but this is all an illusion. The second most dangerous thing is probably that it’s a huge waste of time. The third big problem is that if you do share anything about your work there, which you are encouraged by the people running the place to do, you can acquire a mob of online stalkers who will harass you elsewhere and leave negative reviews at your sales pages. I’ve seen this complaint over there numerous times in the past.

      Thanks, again, for your comment.

  7. Disgusted Says:

    I have also wondered how anyone who posts thousands of times gets any real work done. Some of the regulars pipe in on every thread! Funny thing is, checking their books often reveals terrible rankings (with a few exceptions). I have gone there for information and sometimes I can find answers, sometimes not. I do notice that when I (as a newbie) post a question or observation I get few responses. I resent the fact that it seems I must ‘earn my stripes’ before I get any actual help there. So, no more time suckage for me.

  8. I’ve picked up some useful things in the Writer’s Cafe, but I don’t spend a lot of time there, and I walk very lightly. I will say, though, that I stand by everything that I wrote in my post to which you linked.

    BTW, thanks for the link.

  9. […] This is a rant site – a place to vent, as I’ve called it many times before my self-therapy.  I look back at some of my angry rants at the beginning and I think it must be working a little bit because I really am enjoying myself. And, I’ve especially enjoyed today’s Writer’s Cafe at KBoards drama.  As I ranted about sometime last year, I had an unfortunate encounter with some very nasty posters there when I wandered in to ask a question that was about publishing. Just the nature of my question seemed to lead some of the disenfranchised members of their group to believe that maybe I was just a little too successful and I was immediately attacked by some of their regular members there.  I posted about it here:  “Rant on Kindleboards or Kboards Writer’s Cafe and a Warning to Authors.” […]

  10. […] of the behavior, especially the contrite behavior of one of the posters at the very end of “Rant on KBoards Writer’s Cafe and a Warning to Authors,” you’ll see that there is what looks a lot like not just loyalty, but fear of the […]

  11. […] of rants on strange and disturbing author behavior would not have happened had it not been for the mistreatment I received there about a year ago – not only by some of the regular posters, but by more than one of the […]

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