I was added to a group on Facebook a short while back. A Pagan group combating plagiarism. A subject dear to my heart as we know. For the most part it was fairly quiet to begin with, except for frequent reminders that anyone who has the admins blocked will be removed from the group and that lurkers will be removed.
A bit strange on the lurker front, but okay.
Then someone posted about a new-old-recycled-but still with all the same errors book that had popped up on Amazon. I very quickly learned about an interesting person or group of people (theories are varied) who have published a number of books. When the first book was approaching publication, the publisher pulled it as the plagiarism content was too high. They even blogged about it here and here.
If I’ve understood this correctly, the books were then self-published and up for sale on Amazon, where they met with resounding criticism.
Now identical books have been (self) published but this time by someone else who claims to have no knowledge or association with the previous author.
The Amazon reviews on the new books are certainly um, well, interesting, but it gets frightening when the author or friends of theirs start attacking the reviewers. Claims are made about sock puppets and then private information (addresses and phone numbers I believe) are posted on these reviews and on facebook. What’s even more frightening is that someone got a threatening phone call from one of this group, and they had gotten the wrong person. Similarity of Amazon pseudonyms had caused the mistake, perhaps, but what started out as defending their dreadful work has become stalking and something a whole lot more sinister.
After all of this was documented and discussed on the facebook group, someone states that these people are the reason this group was created and the reason behind the lurker rule. The whole reason is to keep an eye on these people? Really?
Now I do understand that these people are more than just a little unhinged, obviously out for the quickest buck they can and their books are cut and paste from google searches. But to create a group purely for the purpose of keeping an eye on them and combating their crimes against paganism? Strangely enough, a link was provided for the website Problematic Pagans and yet none of this problematic group seem to be mentioned on it. Wouldn’t this be one of the most appropriate places for such information?
Maybe there is a reason that this “author/coven” are paranoid and now on the offensive – people are out to get them. If they were ignored and allowed to sink into the obscurity that their work deserves they wouldn’t be quite so prominent or getting as much attention as they are.
Has the phrase “Don’t Feed The Troll” never occurred to this group?
The more attention they get, the greater their notoriety, the more people wonder if perhaps they’re just being picked on by big bad meanies. As my mother used to say, ignore them and they’ll go away.