The more I think about the current Goodreads policy on "author behavior", the more bemused I feel. At first, I was reluctant to believe that Goodreads could actually be following advice from StGRB, a notorious crank site. It seemed too much like a conspiracy theory. But the picture emerging on Ceridwen's Tumblr
does rather seem to be pointing in that direction.
If Goodreads really intends to delete reviews commenting on author behavior, which is what they say, they have chosen an odd selection for their initial batch. Why haven't they clamped down on Quran reviews, which often upset the many devout Muslims who post here? I considered removing my own review,
but most of the Muslims on the comment thread have assured me that, despite their religious beliefs, they found it very amusing; indeed, I am satirizing atheism far more than Islam.
Other reviews, however, are in a different category. For example, Rita's review
cites chapter and verse to argue that the Prophet (PBUH) was a pedophile. Although Islamic tradition maintains that the marriage of Mohammed (PBUH) with his twelfth and final wife 'Aisha was consumated when she was nine years old, Muslims emphatically do not view the matter in the way Rita presents it. It is clear that many people have been very distressed indeed by the review. Yet somehow it has been allowed to stand. I suppose one can argue that Mohammed (PBUH) is technically not the author of the Quran, and hence that there is no problem, but it seems a little risky to me.
Frankly, I don't get it. Surely the feelings of a few obscure self-published authors can't be more important than those of the site's hundreds of thousands of Muslim members? I'm curious to see what happens next. Meanwhile, I have just backed up my own Quran review to be on the safe side.