The review below was deleted by Goodreads, along with two others. I received the following message:
Re: [#104307] Deleted Reviews
Oct 11 at 8:41 PM
Your reviews of the following books were recently flagged by Goodreads members as potentially off-topic:
That's Not What I Meant!
Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Collected Essays)
As the reviews are not about the books in question, they have been removed from the site. You can find the text of the reviews attached for your personal records.
Please note that if you continue to post content like this, your account may come under review for removal.
The Goodreads Team
Since several other people have already posted copies, it seems illogical for me not to repost. Maybe Goodreads will indeed retaliate by removing my account. If so, it's been nice knowing you all!
In the shower just now, I suddenly had a Eureka moment. The aspect of this current censorship war that's been upsetting us most is the feeling of powerlessless. Goodreads can arbitrarily change the rules, and they hardly even bother to respond when we complain. But we are not powerless. There are twenty million of us, and only a few dozen of them. We just need to get a little more organized, and we can easily resist.
So here's one concrete way to do it, based on the legend of Hercules. You will recall that Hercules had a difficult time against the Lernean Hydra; every time he cut off one of its heads, ten more grew back. We can do the same thing if we adopt the following plan:
1. Back up all your reviews, so that you have a copy of everything you have posted.
2. If you think that one of your reviews has been unreasonably deleted by Goodreads, repost it with an image of the Hydra at the top.
3. If you see someone else posting a Hydra review, make a copy of it and post it yourself.
We can improve this basic scheme with a little thought; for example, it would be better to have a place where we keep HTML marked-up source of reviews, so that they can immediately be reposted with the same formatting, and we need a plan for duplicating deleted shelves. But we can sort that out later. Without getting too bogged down in the details, I'm sure you see what will happen. The net result of Goodreads unreasonably deleting a review will be that it immediately comes back in many different places.
People who know their Greek mythology will be aware that Hercules did in fact defeat the Hydra, and Goodreads can use the same method if they dare; they can close down the account of anyone who participates in the scheme. That will work, but I am not sure that anything less drastic will be effective. I think Goodreads will be reluctant to escalate to this level. A large proportion of the most active reviewers are now part of the protest movement, and they would be losing much of the content that makes the site valuable. Even more to the point, the media have already started to get interested (maybe you saw the article in the Washington Post). They would love the story, and it would create a mountain of bad publicity for Goodreads and Amazon.
I'd say the odds are heavily in our favor. Why don't we try it? I promise now to respond to any Hydra calls.