Goodreads Promises to Fix Bungled New Relationship Rules

118841012_7041556c99[1]Goodreads caused numerous problems for its members when it enacted a new set of follower relationships last Friday, and the problems haven’t diminished in the following week.

The social network announced on Monday that it had revised the follower relationships to address some of the complaints made over the weekend. Three days have passed since then, and based on what I am reading in the member comments I don’t think Goodreads got all the bugs worked out.

According to Patrick Brown, the director of author marketing:

  • We have made Friends and Following two separate actions. The authors you were friends with will now just remain your friends, and you’ll only be shown as a friend and not a follower on their profiles. If you want to see their blog and get updates about new releases from them, you can then choose to follow them as well. Any Followings that were created based on people being Friends with an author will now be rolled-back. You don’t have to take any action for this to happen.
  • If you are friends with an author or if an author is following you, you will be able to see this when you are looking at that author’s profile.

That is going to fix one of the major problems with the rules enacted last Friday, but that does not appear to have happened as of Thursday morning.

Under Friday’s rules, members could no longer have relationships with authors, but instead engage with author pages (in Goodreads’ words). Authors were no longer members of GR, but were now pages (things). One of the problems that caused was that members could no longer be friends with an author as a person but were instead forced to be a friend+follower of an author page. That included existing friendships with authors, much to everyone’s dismay.

Under the revised rules, members will be able to be friends with author pages. However, I’m getting mixed reports that the revised rules haven’t been put into place, and  bugs introduced by the rapid changes are still cropping up.

For example, if an author sends a friend request to a member, that member is automatically made a friend and follower:

I just got a confirmation about about 5 minutes ago that an author I never heard of is now a new friend (not top-friend) of mine, and while I am sure he is a wonderful person I did not initiate the friend request. Yet here he is… and now I am following him.

The rules announced on Friday, as well as bugs like this, have lead many (including this blogger) to conclude that Goodreads fixed something that wasn’t broken in order to add more ways to market to members.

This would explain why GR didn’t simply revert to the old rules, but instead is trying to fix the problems they caused with this ill-considered change.

image by OpenSkyMedia

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Greg Stranberg26 March, 2015

    Gosh, why the sudden change? After all, when it comes to Goodreads, isn’t it act first, think about consequences last, and inform people not at all? I’m disappointed.

    1. Connie Bailey27 March, 2015

      This does seem to be a Goodreads tradition.

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