When to ban (again)

So Ramon of LitRPGPodcast got banned from the LitRPG forum.  I am not surprised in even the slightest, as I’ve covered Aleron’s typical behavior towards banning and his practices in general.  On the latter issue, he went after Dave Willmarth for having the word “Land” in his title, so I feel safe to say that I called that one.  For the former, this episode is illustrative.

Ironically, I don’t actually think Aleron’s reasoning is wrong in this situation.  I just think, like all things involving him, his post hoc justifications aren’t the real reason why he does anything.

Aleron told me not to post on his group any links to my website or articles, even though I don’t earn money from them.  Meanwhile, Ramon was allowed to for nearly two years.  I never pointed this hypocrisy to Aleron, since I enjoy Ramon’s reviews.

At this point, I can’t figure out any reason to even go to the LitRPG forum.   Authors aren’t allowed to answer questions of their own books. They have to post the exact message Aleron wants in the back of their books. Not a link to his group, not a “You should check this out” blurb, but an exact word for word copy of his own written endorsement.

It’s an embarrassingly ham-fisted entry that reads something to the effect, “If you like this book, you should read the Land.  It’s like WarHammer 40k and Ready Player One had a sexy baby.”  It’s as convincing an endorsement as a captured soldier’s confession.

Aleron treats other authors very well, thank you for asking

I have a more accurate endorsement for Aleron’s books:

It’s as if World of Warcraft and Ready Player One were plagiarized by the Ying Yang Twins and sent off to the press without an editorial pass.

Now he’s banned one of the most popular podcasters from his platform, with the same limp wristed and feeble excuse he gave when he banned Travis Bagwell and other authors, “If you like them, you can just go follow them.”

Anyway, so the story from Aleron goes, people complained to him about Ramon’s reviews, so he banned him.  The problem is:

  1. No one has seen these complaints.

    I made a pie graph to illustrate my trust of Aleron.
  2. Ramon is known to be a fair and thorough reviewer.  Even when I’ve disagreed with his reviews, I’ve always thought they were fair based on the standards that he sets out.  (He will literally give you a copy of his standards if you ask him.)
  3. Authors usually beg him for a review. I understand no one wants a bad review, but um, that’s part of the writing game.  Not everyone likes your writing.

The last point is the most important, I feel.  Ramon has gone out of his way to give exposure to new authors and their books.  Anytime I have a question about the genre, I tag him in a post because he’s the guy to ask questions to.  Looking for a particular novel?  He’s there to help you out.  Outside from a few Patreon dollars, he hasn’t asked for anything to perform this service, and he does it whether you give him Patreon dollars or not.

The most common objection I hear is that he’s too powerful, that he’s the one-stop shop for LitRPG.  The screenshots in the thread show that the admin was scared of Ramon for this reason, so hammer ban.  This is pretty much the same situation as with Travis Bagwell.  History repeats and all that jazz.

As for that objection, I find it baseless.  One, most people use the reviews off of Amazon for their decision to read a book.  Ramon’s power is greatly exaggerated in that regard.  Two, he lets Ray Johnson give a differing opinion on his show, reviewing the audiobook productions of various works, and Ray has publicly stated that Ramon has never tried to influence him.

Three, as someone who reviews books on occasion, it’s very time consuming.  The reason why Ramon is top of the game is because he puts in the work.  If you want to become a top influencer, you’ll have to do the same.  As Britney Spears once said, “You gotta work, bitch.”

Ramon has been a vocal, enthusiastic, and positive influence on the community.  May many more podcasts be made.

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