Anne Rice has given an interview to The Guardian arguing that Amazon reviewers are being mean to her and should have to reveal their real names.

"They've worked their way into the Amazon system as parasites, posting largely under pseudonyms, lecturing, bullying, seeking to discipline authors whom they see as their special prey."

She's signed a petition to that effect that has about 1,000 signatures. Amazon is pretty much silent on the issue (which makes sense - better to be nice to people who buy books than people who write books if you are trying to sell books.)

Rice does make some valid points - in the sense that people who write reviews that are nothing more than "this author should die" should probably be banned from the system. But, Amazon can do that without taking away everyone's anonymity.

Beyond that, I can't imagine anything at this point would stop people from posting some mean comments about Anne Rice books.

Lord knows some of her books are awful - I'm looking at you "Violin" and "Lasher" - and people are going to say shitty things about them no matter what.

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That said, the larger problems seem to be on the forums section of Amazon.

"My experience with the gangster bullies in the forum has been very bleak and ugly," Rice writes on the petition to Amazon. "I post there under my own name. They blatantly violate your guidelines with personal insults and harassing posts. If you would only apply your own guidelines this would greatly help. I feel a lot of these people are obsessive abusers who have found some sort of dark home on Amazon tormenting writers. I urge you to take action."

This seems like an issue that could be solved by forum moderators - because while I think people should be able to say awful things about awful books, getting threatening towards writers themselves is beyond the pale.

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