Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Angie Gallant and her book "review" revisited
Published on December 17, 2013 By Draginol In Everything Else

imageWhat do you do if your troll husband gets banned from a forum for being an obnoxious dick? Well, most people might ask their husbands what has gotten into them. Why would they put so much effort to alienate people that they would get kicked out of a forum that they’ve spent years on?

But if you’re Angie Gallant and you run a site dedicated to smearing other people, you respond by putting up a fake review of the book written by the person who was the target of your husband’s trolling. In Crazy Land, this apparently makes sense.

Angie Gallant, aka The Unamommer managed to summon enough bile to write a multi-page trashing of my little fantasy book I had written.  Let me emphasize this, she chose to target me specifically because of her husband’s obsession. I had done nothing to her (or her husband for that matter).  To this day, I have no idea how I became the focus of their family’s obsession.  Since 2010, she’s only had time to crap on 3 books (including mine) so the choice of going after me was no coincidence. Her husband got banned, she decided to blame the victim of her husband’s relentless trolling and spew forth her venom in a review that was presented as objective to the unwary.

One could almost respect her misdirected bile if it weren’t so petty, small and nasty.  While one could argue the strengths and weaknesses of the book all day, I will say this: Her venom is mostly directed at the grammar in the book and a political subtext that only exists in her imagination. Mind you, this is a book that was edited and published by Del Rey and had the same editors as Game of Thrones.  Anyone, including myself, can pick out bits and pieces of the book to ridicule but the same can be said for pretty much any book.  She doesn’t really target the story or the characters very much.  One hopes she hasn’t read Huckleberry Finn or we’d need to get her a fainting couch.

While it’s pointless to discuss the subjective merits of my book, I think it’s safe to say that the average reader would probably find her criticisms much more enlightening if they knew that they were written in response to her husband’s banning from a popular gaming forum. 

To illustrate some of the absurdities of her “review” let me point out a few lines from it to give you a taste.

Yes, he wants to build a border fence to keep the dark people and mutants out, and if that doesn’t work, he wants to burn the magical bridge.

If you’re bat shit insane enough, I suppose anything can be read into everything. In the book, there is no fence. There are no mutants. The people she represents as “dark people” are actually very light gray. I suppose you could call the bridge “magical” in the sense that the bridge has enchantments on it to make it more robust. 

So how does her interpretation match with the actual book? You have a continent that has been split into two. On the West side are the Kingdoms of Men and on the East side you have light-gray skinned beings called the Fallen.  Think of them essentially as Orcs from that well known white supremacist series called Lord of the Rings.

Now, you might wonder, how did she somehow imagine this story as some sort of illegal immigration allegory? That brings us back as to why her husband (and later her) got banned. There are right wingers. There are left wingers. And then we have…well I don’t know how to describe them. But to them, everything is seen through the eyes of politics.

To give you an idea, our olive-skinned hero is described as a “minority”. I kid you not. On a fantasy world we now have identity politics.  Here’s a quote:

There’s also the Handsome Knight Who Is Secretly A Titan and the Token Member Of The Minority With Special Powers…[emphasis mine]

A “Token Member Of The..” Now, I want to point out here that we have someone who’s lampooning my book because of my grammar while At The Same Time Is Capitalizing Every Word In A Sentence. I could go into some detail that most of her grammatical trashing has to do with the inner monologues of characters who speak in their own distinct ways but that would be too easy.

Let’s imagine a book where the good guys have built a fortress, let’s call it Minas Tirith. The fortress is built to keep an eye out for any hint that the bad guys, long defeated, might come back.  A normal person would probably not think twice about that.  But if you’re a left-wing moonbat you might write:

There’s even a point where one character, the lord of a white person keep built on the non-white people continent, has thoughts on how he would like to resolve the matter. [emphasis mine]

That’s an actual quote. The evil white people are stealing land from who? The native Elementians? What?

You see, in her mind, the land is divided based on skin color.  We have white people and “non-white” people (even though the Fallen are actually lighter than most of the Kingdoms of Men in Elemental and in fact some of the Kingdoms of Men are very dark skinned but that wouldn’t fit her narrative).  She probably realized at some point that crapping on the book for sentence structure of the inner monologues of different characters was too ridiculous to swallow and thus had to insert some bizarre racist/bigot subtext in order to justify her screed. 

What’s funny is that I’ve seen her and her friends talk about how it’s not cool to go after people in “real life”.  Apparently, that rule didn’t apply to me. I mean, I deserve to be hated because, I…because…um, I don’t share her political views I guess (I’m one of those evil libertarian types – look out or I’ll advocate that the government not do anything to you!). Therefore, I deserved to be trolled on a video game site and when her husband got banned for it (not at my request mind you, I had nothing to do with his banning) she decided to try to strike at me in a way that would hit home. 

So why do I bring this up now? Because, ironically, 3 years later I still hear bullshit from people who hear I wrote a “racist” book.  My fun little fantasy book, was twisted by her and her ilk into being something it’s not.  I had years and years of notes and concepts for the book in question.  It is a world and a story that I’ve long wanted to share and it has nothing to do with politics or race.

While I suspect she’s incapable of any degree of empathy, can you imagine how exciting it would be to have a book you’ve dreamed of writing be published by Random House only to have someone orchestrate a trashing of it because their husband got banned from a forum after they, for reasons no one understands why, trolled you for months?  It’s not like I did something to these people. 

In my career I’ve dealt with a lot of criticism. Some justified, some not. This was a case where someone went out of their way to target me in the hopes of harming me well outside some forum discussion.  And guess what? It worked. Congratulations.  Her and her friends managed to get my book review score down to 3 stars.  I have no idea what score my book would have “naturally” got.  But a half dozen 1-star reviews, led by her husband and with followers from her blog certainly ensured we’d never find out.  At various times, I considered organizing a counter to it. With millions of people to reach out to, it would be relatively easy to get a couple hundred positive reviews. But I decided not to. Whatever score it got, trolls and all, is what it got. I won’t even link to it here to emphasize I’m not trying to encourage reviewing it (it’s irrelevant now, 3 years on, nobody cares anymore about the book itself).

Anyone who’s played any of the Elemental games knows there’s no political overtones to them.  You could criticize it for not innovating on the classic fantasy tropes (Trogs and Urxen being various types of Orcs for instance) but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

What amazes me, is that someone who is supposedly a functional adult, a parent even would take the banning of their husband’s as an opportunity to put time and energy into trying to harm someone who had done nothing to her or her husband.  In hindsight, I should have vigorously responded to her disgusting, obnoxious and petty review.  You can’t let this crap stand or else it’ll take on a life of its own. It’s not a mistake I’ll be repeating.


Comments (Page 4)
on Dec 28, 2013

Since she purposefully and willingly created and distributed unfounded false statements regarding tangible goods that affect Brad's revenue I would think that there are more than sufficient grounds for a nifty lawsuit that would strike the troll in the weakest spot they have.

Brad did not flame back but merely pointed out the damage done to him in another public forum.

The high horse riders need to step the fuck down...

on Dec 28, 2013

I'm not sure what you all hope to accomplish by down rating my windowblinds. I'm not amused, I think it's petty, childish and unwarranted. I also believe this kind of harassment violates the TOS for this site and that notifying the powers that be is an appropriate next step.

on Dec 28, 2013


I'm not sure what you all hope to accomplish by down rating my windowblinds. I'm not amused, I think it's petty, childish and unwarranted. I also believe this kind of harassment violates the TOS for this site and that notifying the powers that be is an appropriate next step.

Are you trolling the people rating your skins?

on Dec 29, 2013


I'm not sure what you all hope to accomplish by down rating my windowblinds. I'm not amused, I think it's petty, childish and unwarranted. I also believe this kind of harassment violates the TOS for this site and that notifying the powers that be is an appropriate next step.

Jafo and I will look into the ratings and see what we can do. 

That said, while I don't agree that Emily (and I'm not accusing Emily of anything, I'm just observing that she linked to your skins) should try to make you feel karmic retribution, I hope you do see the irony in your response.

I spent several years of my life to write that book. Because I annoyed some woman's husband on a game forum (and I have no idea what I did to annoy him) who in turned trolled me on that game forum until he got banned, I ended up having my book's rating trashed on Amazon and smeared as being racist which was (to use your words) "petty, childish, and unwarranted".  

3 years later I write a post on my own forum about the ordeal and critiquing just how outrageous her "review" was and you give moral equivalence between myself and her? Really?

Do you honestly not see the remotest of parallels? 

on Dec 29, 2013

Thanks Brad, and Jafo as well, for looking into this. I do see the irony in this although I never mentioned anything about your novel or the ratings or the reviews it received. I stand by my original comments that her piece was not trolling but an outright flame against your work. I do think you responded in kind. I hope I did not indicate that it was irresponsible of you for your post, I think you have every right to defend yourself.

I did look at probably seven or eight sites that had reviewed your novel and only found one other racist comment, can't put much stock in that. Although at one site I did notice a five star rating from a Brad that looked a lot like you. I was hoping to find the book reviewed at a few libraries (NY Public, SF Public and Chapel Hill Public) but your novel wasn't to be found.

What I also find ironic is that those that found her piece to be vindictive and reprehensible for potentially impacting your rating/sales would indulge in the same small behavior by down rating my blinds. I guess they meant it to prove a point. Might as well key my car or egg my house.

on Dec 29, 2013

WebGizmos
Never waste time trying to explain yourself  to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.

on Dec 29, 2013

Okay, I guess I need to fess up here. I tried to ignore this thread but it kept popping up. Calling the original critique "trolling" is unfair to those that troll. It was a flame job. I think it is because it attacks someone on a personal level. Brad's response was pretty vitriol as well. In example;

One could almost respect her misdirected bile if it weren’t so petty, small and nasty.

 that's flaming.

Never once did I mention any part of either post, never took a side on content and only focused on the fact the posts appeared to be, in part, birds of a feather. (tit for tat, or something)

I almost thought Jafo had me when he caught my gist/jest reference.

Some of you failed poorly, I mean below acceptable human standards. Do you think down rating someone's work for spite is mature. I hope you that stooped this low will at least get a slap on the wrist, Brad willing.

Anyhow, this was an example in "how to troll".  

on Dec 29, 2013

12 years of being an Admin on these forums has afforded me plenty of opportunities to hone my troll-hunting 'radar'.  I can even pick the ones who 'think' they're being subtle.

I don't think 'fairness' is something one needs to ascribe to the act of trolling.  It is nothing more than low-level low-class bullying - being a nuisance at another's expense.

Mostly the nuisance value is sufficient to cease bothering with them - they're simply deleted from the site/s.  Other times a rap on the knuckles suffices.

Bullying is a different order of magnitude...and in social media sites has led to suicides.

The issue with lesser variations of trolling is the possible use of false-hood or slander/libel [depending on whether you see it as written or spoken] which can incur material 'loss' or character assassination to/of the victim/target.   That really needs repercussions for the troll - ideally through the legal system, as it does in other spheres of interaction.

There are moves afoot to criminalize bullying, and that's a good thing, although too late for too many.

I also still think too many people attach too much nobility to the concept of 'free speech'  and use it as their inalienable right to say anything they like...inclusive of slander, or even IF it drives someone to suicide.  On a lesser level they perhaps feel that trolling is simply another aspect of exercising this 'right'.

I guess the bottom line is...

People have a right to be arseholes.

But site administrators everywhere reserve the right to whip their arses....

 

on Dec 30, 2013

My 2 cents: the majority of people are not too bright and they're brought up with lots of fighting in school, so naturally the internet is full of a-holes and full of complete and utter nonsense everywhere. Sometimes you wonder if there's a competition going on about who writes the most incredible nonsense. I think the worst ones are journalists and opinion writers, although they don't fall exactly in the majority category; even bright people can sometimes write complete and utter nonsense because they're susceptible to tunnel vision and mindless copycat behaviour, but they can mask that by their good language skills ... anyways... you just have to live with it even if it sucks.

And as far as conflicts go on the internet... I've been in one myself and it wasn't funny. I'm sure the other guy was a nice person in real life but he had some skills to completely tick me off. It just starts and gets worse and worse and in the end it gets a life of its own. Even if it's ridiculously out of touch with reality. Fortunately that was a long time ago, but it still gives me a very bad feeling thinking back about it. But I've not really learned from that experience because recently a similar thing happened in real life and that was much worse. Hopefully it won't happen ever again, I just need to mark my territory - till there and no further!

 

on Dec 30, 2013

Is there ever a time when trolling/mass downvoting is legitimate?

 

One situation that came up recently: A game "journo" (sorry Adam), and some music guy from MIT write what is pretty much a hit piece on the FGC.  They try to sell their book.  Folks from that community (many of which tried to point out the inaccuracies , both civilly and uncivilly, but they were ignored/mocked) despite to downvote the book.  Legitimate downvote or troll?

 

This is not comparable to what Brad went through, but a counterexample of where a mass downvote/tro;; might be a good thing.

 

Is trolling a legit response to trolling?  (I'd consider their lecture a troll given how cherry-picked it was- it felt like something out of FOX or MSNBC)

 

on Dec 30, 2013

I also still think too many people attach too much nobility to the concept of 'free speech' and use it as their inalienable right to say anything they like...inclusive of slander, or even IF it drives someone to suicide. On a lesser level they perhaps feel that trolling is simply another aspect of exercising this 'right'.

What would you do, make trolling illegal?  Do you really trust the government to get that right?  Mark my words, this type of legislation has a habit of nabbing the people you don't want it too...there are examples of this in the past, but my favorite is the Sherman Anti-trust act....it was meant to break up monopolies, but it ended up being used to outlaw labor unions, a sick irony of sorts...make trolling illegal and you'll probably have people use it to bully someone with a minority opinion...

In short, this is just not an area I trust the government to regulate...if Stardock doesn't like my trolling then let SD ban me...if facebook doesn't like my comments then let facebook ban me...I would rather 100 different private entities define trolling 100 different ways and act on it with 100 different procedures than risk the one definition and procedure used by the government be wrong...

on Dec 30, 2013

it still seems gmc2 is the only one that understands the concept of trolling.

 

trolling would have been:

- giving the book a five star rating.

- praising the author for his poetic deconstruction of the English language.

- pointing out how brilliantly the author uses the fantasy genre for an allegory on current political events (the critic would have to pretend to be an extreme right-winger himself)

 

what she did was writing a negative review. the racism part in my opinion was unnecessary, but i have seen worse examples of political correctness. Frogboy thinks the review was written with malicious intent and the that the book was downvoted on purpose on Amazon. i think he might be right about that. i also think the book isn't great at all.

the few five-star ratings on the book on Goodreads.com don't look genuine as well. so it seems to work the other way round also.

lesson learnt: don't trust negative or positive customer reviews on the internet, at least not until the number of reviews has reached an amount of statistical value.

on Dec 30, 2013

Sometimes it's the Internet/Forum equivalent of 'suicide by cop'.

The troll pushes just once too many and his plug is pulled.

Did he jump or was he pushed?

Ah...an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum...

on Dec 30, 2013

Calling the original critique "trolling" is unfair to those that troll. It was a flame job.

I'd tend to agree that this couldn't really be called trolling. Trolling typically involves behavior with the intent to annoy, deceive, enrage, or just waste other people's time, and generally for little purpose other than the pleasure of feeling clever or superior.

On the other hand, the reviewer sought to do direct harm by trashing the book and impacting sales, though it doesn't really fit under the flaming category either because of the context (one-sided and unsolicited, in a forum where the target cannot directly respond).

That said, the distinction is largely academic. All of those behaviors are the realm of sociopathic or malicious assholes (not to be confused with 'honest assholes' who are just rude).

Life is too short to waste trying to hurt or get a rise out of random people on the internet. So we kindly help them find another hobby.

on Dec 30, 2013

Argung semantics. Perhaps the OP should have substituted asshole for troll.