Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Ongoing Authonomy saga...

This morning, the revamped Authonomy is up and running (if rather slowly). So what are the big changes they have put in place?

Well, my two gold stars on Torbrek and Remix are now medals. This is to clear the way for a brand new star system, where you can rate books with one to six stars.

Here's how it's described:

6 stars – Excellent: Publish it. I’d buy it myself and recommend it to everyone!
5 stars – Very good: Should be on the bookstore shelves already!
4 stars – Good: Shows real promise.
3 stars – Average: Readable, but still needs work.
2 stars – Poor: Unlikely to attract readers in its current form.
1 star – Awful: Pulping is too good for it!

I think this is a bad idea; when I joined a beta Authonomy in 2008 from YouWriteOn, one of the things I liked was that it was not possible for people with a grudge or rivals to mark down my book. The worst they could do was not back it. This system is open to abuse - the revenge review was a known phenomenon on YWO.

Harper Collins say multiple accounts (sock puppets) will no longer be tolerated. But a quick look round shows that many of them are still there. They'll need to work on this, if they mean it.

The ranking system has changed. This can only be good, as it was not working big time before; some writers are already grumbling that their books which they have laboured (!) to get high in the charts have dropped overnight. I notice there's a book written entirely in Bulgarian at number 31 in the chart - interesting. Time will tell whether the new system works.

My feeling is that, so low had Authonomy sunk from its bright beginnings, that any change has to be for the better. But it hasn't so far done enough to make me want to return.


  1. I haven't joined Authonomy for all the reasons you've mentioned, but maybe these changes will be an improvement? I'd heard too much about it being more of a popularity contest than anything else. Fingers crossed for your books, Lexi. Hope it picks up and will wait to hear whether the site becomes any fairer or not.

  2. Clair, I have a delightful feeling of detachment from Authonomy these days. It's like realizing you no longer love someone and are free.

    The chart I care about these days is on Amazon...

  3. A book in Bulgarian at no.31?!?

    I can see how grading/rating someone's work can lead to abuse and unhappiness. I remember the star grading system at YWO and the negativity and dissatisfaction this generated from certain members.

    I think maybe they need to cull their membership and start again! Or is that too drastic?? LOL!

    It'll be interesting to see how the changes will pan out in six months time.

    Take care

  4. Kitty, I think the thing is that people like me who don't like what has happened at Authonomy have left, and those who remain thought it just fine as it was.

    They are now a bit disgruntled, so HC could find the site strangely empty...your idea of starting all over again is not a bad one :o)

  5. I left Authonomy more than a year ago, when I grew sick of the ranking system. I don't hate the new idea, but that isn't doing nearly enough.

    I might consider returning if they implement an anonymous commenting and support system, but I doubt that will happen. Once enough people complain, they'll probably just change it back anyway.

  6. So many people felt as we do, JE, and left; which in my opinion (see one of my earlier posts) is why HC are finally making changes.

    Like you, I fear it's too little, too late.

  7. There seems to be a lot of argument over there, I peeped in then closed the tab again smartish! Perhaps the new system just needs time to bed down?

    I might take a look at the end of November to check out the quality of the books at the top of the chart then. If the changes have worked, I guess they'll be better than before. We'll see...

    Thanks for keeping us updated, Lexi.

  8. I've just had a look, K, and I see what you mean! People who've spent months pimping their books are now complaining about losing 'six months' hard work' and threatening to take their books off the site.

    I have to admit to finding it hilarious. But it's nice to see Rik back - a great chap, and I thought he'd left HC.

  9. I don't see anything that can truly help authonomy or any other "peer review" site. The problem is the way so many people choose to conduct themselves on the internet. Looking for a bit of nasty notoriety of the playground variety? Like to be mean with no real consequences? Have a vastly inflated opinion of your own work, or what is more likely, a real insecurity about it that demands tearing down what other have done? Then these essentially anonymous peer review sites are just the thing.

    You are right to pay more attention to your Amazon charts. That tells you what Real Readers really think. And from what I see they are telling you "Well done!" and "Can't wait for the next one!"

  10. You're right, Alan, and once a bad ethos sets in it's terribly hard to get rid of.

    If I were in charge, I'd be far more root and branch in my approach; Authonomy is a bit of an Augean stable.