Has the owner of Spoutible become the most hated man in Romancelandia? Or is it all just a big misunderstanding?
First, what is Romancelandia? It’s a term used to describe the world of romance readers and writers. Not all fans like the term, but it’s a convenient way to discuss the field.
What Is Spoutible?
Spoutible is a new social media site that got a lot of positive interest. (Some call it the “whale app.”) It’s easier to use than Mastodon, and it looks much like Twitter. Spoutible officially launched on February 1, 2023. I like the interface.
Spoutible was created by the founder of Bot Sentinel, which was created to fight harassment and disinformation on Twitter. The idea that the founder of Spoutible was fighting against harassment seems like a good sign.
So What Went Wrong?
A few weeks after the launch, some romance writers and reviewers had questions. They pointed out that the site’s Terms of Service (TOS) and Adult Nudity & Sexual Content guidelines were too broad. Could they be banned simply for discussing their books or linking to them?
As an example, one of the rules bans users from, “Sharing or posting sexually suggestive or explicit content, including images, videos, and text, that are not sexually explicit but still violate the community guidelines.”
Hmm. What is “sexually suggestive”? That’s open to a lot of interpretations. Does that mean an author can’t show their new cover because the characters wear something sexy? Or that they can’t even discuss a kiss?
This may have started with romance author Jackie Barbosa. She had questions about why one of her posts was removed. She was accused of “bullying and harassment” and banned from Spoutible. Her posts were removed by the site (hmm), so she can’t use them to prove her innocence.