Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The right of free feedback

Following is feedback to Amazon regarding the profile page of reviewers. (The popup message box includes the question "How could we improve Profile for you?")

Customers should be able to contact reviewers, by email or through messages to their user accounts. If a reviewer has not checked the box to be notified of responses to their review, they receive no feedback if they never return to the page where they left the review. Allowing a reviewer to have a little fun trashing a book, for suspect reasons, and never having to account for it is not a freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. When a person employs his right to free speech, he should understand that freedom of speech guarantees the right of free speech to those who would challenge what he has said. A person is free to speak his mind, but that doesn't mean that he's free from having to take responsibility for what he says.

As an example, consider this reviewer's review of "The Talpiot Find" in light of the review by noted author Michael Nava for another of my books, "Secreta Corporis," which I have included on this book's page (near the top of the page). The two opinions of my ability to write are diametrically opposed. When one looks at the only two other reviews this reviewer, James Reynolds, has submitted to Amazon, the shallowness and brevity of which make one wonder if he's actually read those books, one could begin to suspect that they were submitted to obfuscate the ulterior motives of his review of this book. Is it possible that this reviewer disagrees with the premise of this book but is attempting to keep other readers from this book by giving the impression that the book is poorly written? Amazon policy should not allow a deceptive tactic of this type to go unchallenged. If a reviewer disagrees with a book's premise, his review should discuss the premise, not the book's writing style. I have responded in a comment regarding the review. Has the reviewer seen my comment? It can't be known whether my comment was forwarded to his email address.

If the profile page of a reviewer allowed for comments to be sent directly to the reviewer, it would call the reviewer to account, and would provide the reviewer an opportunity to defend his statements. The reviewer's email address doesn't need to be displayed publicly on his profile page; a comment could be submitted via a link allowing Amazon to pass the comment on to the reviewer at their discretion. I hope Amazon will seriously consider adding this feature to the reviewer profile page.