author safety survey

A writing forum I visit (Absolute Write) had a post recently about an Author Safety Survey, which sounded odd to me so I clicked on it. I expected to see something about writer’s cramp or carpal tunnel syndrome or maybe the perils of too much caffeine.

Instead I learned that the survey, conducted by an organization known as Bookangel (which apparently gives away free ebooks), asks about online harassment, stalking, death threats, and even physical attacks on writers. The decision to conduct this survey was based on recent discussions in their own forum about such things happening to writers. Based on what I’ve read, these attacks aren’t necessarily based on the nature of what is written (though that too) as on the nature of the writer. Skin color, sexual orientation, faith, and even politics seem sufficient for a burgeoning body of trolls to attack writers.

I haven’t ever experienced anything like that. Granted I’m not a high-profile writer, but I thought I would take the survey since the more people who do, the more accurate the results. (Proving that I actually did learn something from that horrible statistics class I had to take in college.) Yet as I was ticking through the questions (the whole thing takes about ten minutes), I recalled a specific incident that did happen to me.

Long ago I maintained an online presence using the name Pablo. (A few old-time internet friends still call me by that name occasionally.) Specifically, I was posting on a forum about rural living (because cabin). I made some assertion or gave some explanation, and I got a response from a man (?) who said he would never listen to anything said by someone with a name like “Pablo.” I suppose it was intended as a ethnic or racial slur, which bounced off my white skin but was no less ugly for it.

I realize this is pretty mild as online abuse goes, but it did speak directly to me about the level of hate that has apparently always been around and has been given voice recently by internet anonymity and reckless demagogues.

If you’re interested in taking the survey and adding your voice to the results, you can find it here.

Explore posts in the same categories: Rants and ruminations, Uncategorized

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One Comment on “author safety survey”

  1. Libby Says:

    Yes, it is way too sad. I have not been affected by it so much, because I’m an introvert.


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