From The Guardian:
Anne Rice has tackled vampires, werewolves and witches in her fiction, but now the bestselling novelist is taking on a real-life enemy: the anonymous “anti-author gangsters” who attack and threaten writers online.
The Interview with the Vampire author is a signatory to a new petition, which is rapidly gathering steam, calling on Amazon to remove anonymity from its reviewers in order to prevent the “bullying and harassment” it says is rife on the site. “They’ve worked their way into the Amazon system as parasites, posting largely under pseudonyms, lecturing, bullying, seeking to discipline authors whom they see as their special prey,” Rice told the Guardian. “They’re all about power. They clearly organise, use multiple identities and brag about their ability to down vote an author’s works if the author doesn’t ‘behave’ as they dictate.”
Rice herself was a victim of the Amazon “bullies”, when earlier this year she began to give advice to would-be writers on the retailer’s message boards. “The discourse was meaningful and productive, questions asked and answered, and it was generally very enlightening,” said Todd Barselow, the freelance editor who launched the petition to try to convince Amazon to change its policies. “Then the bullies, trolls, jerks, whatever you want to call them, found the thread. That’s when the attacks started happening. It got very ugly very fast … With each attack, Anne tried to diffuse the situation and out these people for what they are: bullies. Well, that just made them frenzy even more. Eventually, I left the thread. It got too ugly for me. Anne stuck it out for a while, but finally she called it quits, too.”
. . . .
She told the Guardian that “it’s an obsession with them, a sport, a full time hobby”. ”I think the anti-author gangster bully culture is made up of individuals who desperately want a place at the table in the world of books and readers,” she said. “I hope Amazon and other book websites do eventually clean them out. They certainly don’t serve the true book buyers and readers of this world. And they are gratuitously destructive towards the creative community. They are like termites in a beautiful wooden building, there for what they can get for themselves, quite oblivious to the building’s purpose or beauty.”
Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Nick for the tip.