1. The internet is like a vector of infectious disease. Why do you think “viral” has become such an important concept? Just as in real life, the infection spreads quickly, takes a toll, and then fades away. Lately, we have Author Behaving Badly and Author Letting Her Side Down, and everybody and their cousin has to get a word in, even if that word has already been said innumerable times.
But these viruses have their uses. For one thing, they’re great for anyone interested in human behavior. The Author Behaving Badly epidemic still seems to be going strong, with one blogger mentioning today that there are now over 300 comments. I quit reading after the first hundred, noting the patterns developing, which included people trashing the Badly Behaved Author just because they could. In any “discussion” that stirs strong emotions, you can count on people jumping on the bandwagon even though they have nothing to contribute. You can also count on the comments either going completely off-track or spawning multiple off-track threads.
Are writers any less prone to bandwagon behavior and what we might call Commenters Behaving Badly than any other segment of the net population? Absolutely not.
2. The “discussion” about Author Letting Her Side Down has apparently become just as vitriolic as the Author Behaving Badly. I haven’t bothered to follow this one because the author in question isn’t someone whose work I would ever read. And no, not even out of curiosity. This is a case of success “proving” that being an indie author doesn’t consign you to the lower depths of ignominy and obscurity. Having so “proved” this point, Author Letting Her Side Down had the gall to sign up with a “real” publisher, with whom she’s going to make even more money. Rather than being seen as an instance of someone who’s thought deeply about what they want to accomplish for themselves and worked hard to achieve it, Author has been put on a pedestal by a segment of the writing community that badly needs justification for their own choices. Is it any surprise that Author’s decision to sign a contract is seen as a betrayal? “You’re one of us, so we own you, and now you’ve betrayed us” is a common mindset, so nobody should be surprised by the uproar.
It’s all just human beings behaving like human beings. Ugly, but fascinating for anyone with a sociological bent.