such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (m: katie [glasses])
+ In department of 'omg this had better be a totally unfounded rumour': Fox to commission a RTD-penned US remake of Torchwood? WHAT. And I am just not thinking about how I would feel if it did turn out that RTD did indeed blow up his old show then go and make a brand new shiny one. May this never come to pass!

+ In happier news, [livejournal.com profile] queerlit50 is starting up, similar to [livejournal.com profile] 50books_poc. Read some queer authors! Tell me about them! :D My reading list for the next few weeks includes Sarah Waters' Fingersmith, Mary Renault's The Persian Boy, and Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint, so I will probably chat about those over there.

+ Also, [personal profile] oxoniensis's ninth porn battle is taking prompts.

+ eta: Also! The [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti auction closes in just over 24 hours. There's a lot of things still available over there very reasonably, and everything's all listed and indexed so it's easy to find something you might like.
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (m: gwen [wtf])
Oh god, and I was having such a nice day!

So, Roman Polanski. cutting because everything about this is both infuriating and potentially triggering )

---

Fail of a different kind (this mostly comes via [livejournal.com profile] sheafrotherdon): the Lamda Literary Foundation, dedicated to promoting LGBT writers & work dealing with LGBT subjects, has recently changed its criteria for the annual awards that they give out such that awards should focus specifically on LGBT authors. This has raised questions that [livejournal.com profile] rm talks eloquently about here - personally, I don't actually know how I feel about it. I can see the perspectives for and against, and I think it's complicated issue that's worth talking about, the right to know and/or the relevance of someone's sexual and gender identity. I didn't have the spare brain power to give it much thought, however. But NOW some straight, cisgendered people have become all outraged about the notion, and this is all so predictable.

I really, really do not have the energy to read through the all the links, comments and discussion, and all the fail therein, but I will signal boost and say that there are link pages here and here and also linkspam.

---

SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE. A NICE DAY. THAT IS WHAT I WAS HAVING. I'm going to get back to that now.
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (other: oh god no)
Some of the many, many things that have sprung up in the last few hours: )

New Developments:

Publishers Weekly has the story that this is all due to a "glitch" - the site's having difficulties, apparently, so here's a screencap courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda: Amazon Says Glitch To Blame For "New" Adult Policy.

LA Times updates with this exchange with Director of Corporate Communications Patty Smith:
"There was a glitch with our sales rank feature that is in the process of being fixed," she wrote. "We're working to correct the problem as quickly as possible."

And I asked Patty Smith this:
From a layperson's perspective, this glitch does seem to have affected certain types of books more heavily than others. In fact, only one of the top 10 books in your Gay & Lesbian section continues to have a sales ranking (the Kindle version of "The Picture of Dorian Gray"). No other section is similarly affected. Can you comment on that?

The reply:
Unfortunately, I'm not able to comment further. We're working to resolve the issue, but I don't have any further information.

Dear Author on why the glitch reasoning doesn't hold water.

Seriously, what kind of glitch is that, a Cylon virus or something?

[livejournal.com profile] copperbadge makes a lot of sense.

And then! [livejournal.com profile] tehdely has a theory, namely that this happened owing to a third party attack in a very similar way to Strikethrough. What's important to note is that it doesn't get Amazon off the hook. The fail comes in the following flavours, as far as I can see:

One: there exists a system such that adult content is 'blacklisted'. If it's a bestseller, it won't be shown, if browsers are putting in general searches, it probably won't appear. Authors can't track their sales. It's purposely made really difficult to find. Which, uh, kind of defeats the point of a bookshop. It's not equivalent to creating some kind of safe search option, or putting things on the top shelf. To continue the physical shop analogy, this is like having to walk up to counter, knock three times and utter a codeword, then name the precise title you want and get it handed furtively over to you in a paper bag complete with dirty look from your cashier. Which is decidedly not okay.

Two: the system by which things are classed as adult and then treated in this way has something SERIOUSLY FISHY going on. Either outside users have complete control over what gets flagged, which is terrifying, or (more likely) there is someone, somewhere, either pushing the policy through initially or at least approving the requests.

Three: the result is that all sorts of things are being targeted in a very hypocritical and bizarre fashion. Queer lit has obviously been hugely affected, but so have a lot of pro-sexuality books of varying stripes, feminist books, even a book about supporting suicidal teenagers. Meanwhile, a thriving double standard exists as explicit heterosexual romance remains front and centre.

Four: a mere two days ago, before this became the catalyst for the whole storm, this was explicitly confirmed by the site - In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

That ain't no stinkin' computer glitch. Some real live person or group of people, somewhere, has screwed up enormously to allow for this to happen. As a consequence, we currently have no reason to trust any of the sales or search information Amazon gives out, and unless the site comes out with a much franker explanation and apology, I have no reason to trust them again.

ETA1: Dear Author: Amazon Using Category Metadata To Filter Rankings? It explains a lot, like how Heather Has Two Mommies and John Barrowman's autobiography in hardback got filtered, while The Parent's Guide To Homosexuality and Barrowman's paperback edition did not - the former are categorised as Gay & Lesbian, the latter are not. As the site says: "It appears that all the content that was filtered out had either 'gay', 'lesbian', 'transgender', 'erotic' or 'sex' metadata categories. Playboy Centerfold books were categorized as 'nude' and 'erotic photography', both categories that apparently weren’t included in the filter. According to one source, the category metadata is filled in part by the publisher and in part by Amazon."

ETA2: Now on The Guardian!

ETA3: this guy claims to have done the whole thing, this user says 'not so much' - I'm inclined to believe the latter purely because previous evidence did not at all point to an external troll, but I know nothing about code. [livejournal.com profile] furiosity talks about it here. [livejournal.com profile] jonquil has a timeline here.

ETA4: Amazon responds! "This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection."


This post on Dreamwidth
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (xkcd [not your main problem! | mcee])
Some of the many, many things that have sprung up in the last few hours: )

New Developments:

Publishers Weekly has the story that this is all due to a "glitch" - the site's having difficulties, apparently, so here's a screencap courtesy of [personal profile] cleolinda: Amazon Says Glitch To Blame For "New" Adult Policy.

LA Times updates with this exchange with Director of Corporate Communications Patty Smith:
"There was a glitch with our sales rank feature that is in the process of being fixed," she wrote. "We're working to correct the problem as quickly as possible."

And I asked Patty Smith this:
From a layperson's perspective, this glitch does seem to have affected certain types of books more heavily than others. In fact, only one of the top 10 books in your Gay & Lesbian section continues to have a sales ranking (the Kindle version of "The Picture of Dorian Gray"). No other section is similarly affected. Can you comment on that?

The reply:
Unfortunately, I'm not able to comment further. We're working to resolve the issue, but I don't have any further information.

Dear Author on why the glitch reasoning doesn't hold water.

Seriously, what kind of glitch is that, a Cylon virus or something?

[personal profile] copperbadge makes a lot of sense.

And then! [personal profile] tehdely has a theory, namely that this happened owing to a third party attack in a very similar way to Strikethrough. What's important to note is that it doesn't get Amazon off the hook. The fail comes in the following flavours, as far as I can see:

One: there exists a system such that adult content is 'blacklisted'. If it's a bestseller, it won't be shown, if browsers are putting in general searches, it probably won't appear. Authors can't track their sales. It's purposely made really difficult to find. Which, uh, kind of defeats the point of a bookshop. It's not equivalent to creating some kind of safe search option, or putting things on the top shelf. To continue the physical shop analogy, this is like having to walk up to counter, knock three times and utter a codeword, then name the precise title you want and get it handed furtively over to you in a paper bag complete with dirty look from your cashier. Which is decidedly not okay.

Two: the system by which things are classed as adult and then treated in this way has something SERIOUSLY FISHY going on. Either outside users have complete control over what gets flagged, which is terrifying, or (more likely) there is someone, somewhere, either pushing the policy through initially or at least approving the requests.

Three: the result is that all sorts of things are being targeted in a very hypocritical and bizarre fashion. Queer lit has obviously been hugely affected, but so have a lot of pro-sexuality books of varying stripes, feminist books, even a book about supporting suicidal teenagers. Meanwhile, a thriving double standard exists as explicit heterosexual romance remains front and centre.

Four: a mere two days ago, before this became the catalyst for the whole storm, this was explicitly confirmed by the site - In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

That ain't no stinkin' computer glitch. Some real live person or group of people, somewhere, has screwed up enormously to allow for this to happen. As a consequence, we currently have no reason to trust any of the sales or search information Amazon gives out, and unless the site comes out with a much franker explanation and apology, I have no reason to trust them again.

ETA1: Dear Author: Amazon Using Category Metadata To Filter Rankings? It explains a lot, like how Heather Has Two Mommies and John Barrowman's autobiography in hardback got filtered, while The Parent's Guide To Homosexuality and Barrowman's paperback edition did not - the former are categorised as Gay & Lesbian, the latter are not. As the site says: "It appears that all the content that was filtered out had either 'gay', 'lesbian', 'transgender', 'erotic' or 'sex' metadata categories. Playboy Centerfold books were categorized as 'nude' and 'erotic photography', both categories that apparently weren’t included in the filter. According to one source, the category metadata is filled in part by the publisher and in part by Amazon."

ETA2: Now on The Guardian!

ETA3: this guy claims to have done the whole thing, this user says 'not so much' - I'm inclined to believe the latter purely because previous evidence did not at all point to an external troll, but I know nothing about code. [personal profile] furiosity talks about it here. [personal profile] jonquil has a timeline here.


This post on LiveJournal
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (other: oh god no)
Via [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong:

About two days ago, gay and lesbian books started to lose their Amazon sales rankings on their profile pages. Each Amazon product gets a sales ranking after at least one sale, which affects where the book will appear in some searches, bestseller lists, etc.

[livejournal.com profile] markprobst emails in and gets this response:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

[source: here]

Hmm. Okay. Trouble is, Amazon's version of 'adult' seems to be anything that's either categorised as 'erotica' or 'gay/lesbian', leaving gaping discrepencies in what has and hasn't been spirited away. To wit, via [livejournal.com profile] rwday:

Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet? Adult. No rankings.

Alan Moore's Lost Girls? Not adult. Ranking. (This is an adult graphic novel. Trust me on this one.)

Mark Probst's The Filly, a YA novel dealing with gay themes? Adult. No ranking.

Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love, Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Wolf and the Dove, Bertrice Small's Skye O'Malley? Explicit heterosexual romances. Not adult. Ranking.

Alex Beecroft's False Colours and Erastes' Transgressions? Explicit gay romances. Adult. No ranking.

Nookii: The Grownup Game for Playful Couples? Not adult. Ranking.

The Dildo Master DVD? Not adult. Ranking.

Realistic White Boy Vibrating Dildo. Not adult. Ranking.


[source: here]

There's an updating links collection going on here, a stream of Twitters here and a list of affected authors is being collated here.

So far, amazon.co.uk and other branches don't seem to have enacted the same changes. I'll edit if I find out otherwise.

(I really would try and stay up to the minute on this today, but I've got to finish my [livejournal.com profile] springtime_gen entry, so help me. *runs back to writing*)

ETA: Targeted books now include children's lit (Heather Has Two Mommies) and anything dealing with 'alternative' sexuality, like books with sex tips for people with disabilities. Playboy remains unharmed, while titles such as -- oh god, I can hardly type this without weeping TEARS OF RAGE -- Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape are ushered away from the public eye.

Also, word on the street is that .co.uk's been affected too, I'm off to investigate.

ETA2: Yep, as the list here continues to grow (STEPHEN FRY, GUYS), UK listings are most certainly there, though weirdly not in any sort of consistent fashion. What the hell is going on?!

ETA3: Amazon Rank.

ETA4: Wait, this happened back in February? WTF.

ETA5: (oh hell oh hell this fic will never get written!) Here's an example of what the direct impact of Amazon's shenanigans is - the top two results on amazon.co.uk for 'homosexuality' are now Can Homosexuality be Healed? and A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality - and .com is even worse.

ETA6: !!! The Amazon Rank link is already the second result on Google. Internet, ilu sometimes.

ETA7: LA Times covers the story. #amazonfail is the top trending topic on Twitter, Amazon Rank is the top search result on Google, holy hell.

ETA8: I'll be poking through the amazonfail tag on delicious. In the meantime, off to sleep for me! New post tomorrow, probably.


this post on Dreamwidth
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (jack [jazzhands! | copperbadge])
Via [personal profile] rydra_wong:

About two days ago, gay and lesbian books started to lose their Amazon sales rankings on their profile pages. Each Amazon product gets a sales ranking after at least one sale, which affects where the book will appear in some searches, bestseller lists, etc.

[livejournal.com profile] markprobst emails in and gets this response:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

[source: here]

Hmm. Okay. Trouble is, Amazon's version of 'adult' seems to be anything that's either categorised as 'erotica' or 'gay/lesbian', leaving gaping discrepencies in what has and hasn't been spirited away. To wit, via [livejournal.com profile] rwday:

Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet? Adult. No rankings.

Alan Moore's Lost Girls? Not adult. Ranking. (This is an adult graphic novel. Trust me on this one.)

Mark Probst's The Filly, a YA novel dealing with gay themes? Adult. No ranking.

Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love, Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Wolf and the Dove, Bertrice Small's Skye O'Malley? Explicit heterosexual romances. Not adult. Ranking.

Alex Beecroft's False Colours and Erastes' Transgressions? Explicit gay romances. Adult. No ranking.

Nookii: The Grownup Game for Playful Couples? Not adult. Ranking.

The Dildo Master DVD? Not adult. Ranking.

Realistic White Boy Vibrating Dildo. Not adult. Ranking.

[source: here]

There's an updating links collection going on here, a stream of Twitters here and a list of affected authors is being collated here.

So far, amazon.co.uk and other branches don't seem to have enacted the same changes. I'll edit if I find out otherwise.

(I really would try and stay up to the minute on this today, but I've got to finish my [livejournal.com profile] springtime_gen entry, so help me. *runs back to writing*)

ETA: Targeted books now include children's lit (Heather Has Two Mommies) and anything dealing with 'alternative' sexuality, like books with sex tips for people with disabilities. Playboy remains unharmed, while titles such as -- oh god, I can hardly type this without weeping TEARS OF RAGE -- Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape are ushered away from the public eye.

Also, word on the street is that .co.uk's been affected too, I'm off to investigate.

ETA2: Yep, as the list here continues to grow (STEPHEN FRY, GUYS), UK listings are most certainly there, though weirdly not in any sort of consistent fashion. What the hell is going on?!

ETA3: Amazon Rank

ETA4: Wait, this happened back in February? WTF.

ETA5: (oh hell oh hell this fic will never get written!) Here's an example of what the direct impact of Amazon's shenanigans is - the top two results on amazon.co.uk for 'homosexuality' are now Can Homosexuality be Healed? and A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality - and .com is even worse.

ETA6: !!! The Amazon Rank link is already the second result on Google. Internet, ilu sometimes.

ETA7: LA Times covers the story. #amazonfail is the top trending topic on Twitter, Amazon Rank is the top search result on Google, holy hell.

ETA8: I'll be poking through the amazonfail tag on delicious. In the meantime, off to sleep for me! New post tomorrow, probably.


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