Quick quiz: which of the following counts as bullying?
- A critical review.
- An extremely snarky critical review loaded with GIFs.
- A reviewer telling the author of the book that she is uncomfortable with him commenting on her review.
- A post on a second blog by a second book blogger detailing why a reviewer might be uncomfortable with an author commenting on the review.
- The same author being shut down by commenters on the second blog after he attempts to air his grievances there as well.
- The author of the second blog being harassed on Twitter by (male) fans of the (male) author and (male) bloggers who disagree with her post, including name-calling and accusations of bullying, misogynistic slurs, and a rape threat.
- Despite what Nathan Bransford may think, no.
- Still no.
- Still no.
- Also a no.
- The blogger won’t admit it as such, but in my view – yes, absolutely.
By this point the Twitter shitshow has dissolved in platitudinous (but still wise) advice by John Scalzi on communication issues, profanity-laden (but also wise) advice by Chuck Wendig on not responding to critical reviews, and conversations within the SF/F industry on the dividing line between fans and creators, if such a line exists at all.
What’s not being discussed in the strong undercurrent of misogyny that’s belied this recent debate. And that’s a shame.