In the context of book reviews this topic goes back a bit. In the broader context it goes back even further. So, I'll try not to bore you with things you've already heard; though I do have to say that I find it incredulous that DH Lawrence was one censored.
What may be different this time is that the writers can say whatever they want; and it is the reviewers who are being called into question. There's a joke in there somewhere, but I don't know what it is.
One incident I've heard of happened in merry old civilized England. A writer found the reviewer who had one starred his book and hit her on the head with a wine bottle; hopefully already consumed. I may have the sexes wrong, but it doesn't matter.
The perverse thing is that many other reviewers then one starred the book; resulting in more people becoming aware that the thing existed; no doubt leading to greater sales than it would have had otherwise.
As far as I understand how it now stands, at least with "oh so" significant Goodreads, a reviewer can say whatever they want about a book, but are precluded from demeaning the writer. ................................. The slightest bit of thought about that indicates a sizable gray area. For me, I find it OK to make fun of books which are not specifically stated to be recollections of a writer's painful past.
In the real world the GR issue has seemed to evolve into a question of whether or not the reviewer has actually read the book. ........................... DUH!!! .................... We all know that this is a deflection, as there is no way one can prove whether or not they've read a book. But just like the investigation of Hillary's "inappropriate" computer usage, it keeps people away from hearing about the bankrupting cost of the now fourteen year old "War on Terror,." where it stands, the goals, etc. etc.
If that is somewhat palatable to my respected reviewers, I will now risk incurring your wrath. What you have said in your review is no more sacred than what the writer said in the book. Pragmatically, it is best for a writer to not confront their own reviewer, but another writer might well confront the review. The review is not the supremest of courts.
Reviewers have advised me that; "They can say anything they want, and that one cannot bully a book." Let me just say "OK," other nuances reserved for tangents dictated. Previously mentioned issues aside, it seems easy to follow with; "I can say anything I want and that one cannot bully a review." ........................ Free speech? ................ Nothing personal? ..................... I hope OK.
Right now my unscientific view of the situation is that there are plenty of crybaby writers, maybe spoiled by the high ratings they were given by the re-salable "free book"-in-return-for-an-honest-review-scam; the author swapping of "honest" reviews, or the fifteen buck per pop four and five star ratings available from numerous sources Amazon finds convenient.
But, it is also true, that there are at least as many crybaby reviewers, who seem to consider themselves un-impeachable. Right now, the power lies with them, as they fill the social book websites with their free labor; and writers are a dime a dozen, with a million e-books available at no cost everyday; 900,000 of them properly priced.
So, now that I've offended both sides, I'll close with this. When I have some interest in a book, I read the synopsis and some reviews. I make my decision when I use Amazon to view the first few pages. That and the ending are where the writers put their best stuff, and if they cannot compel my interest in the first five pages, it is invariably downhill from there. I mean this as both truth and a commentary on what the reviewing industry has degenerated to. It is just a regurgitation of what knowlegable readers have been openly saying for some time now.
The reviewers here on Booklikes seem to be bucking the four star-five star-Goodreads, marketing approach, which has already been seen as a joke. "Applause, applause," to take an early quote from Joni Mitchell. To paraphrase and attempt to make 2015 relevant another; "We are leaving. You don't need us." In time everyone followed or claimed to.
If I could offer any personal observation, it is that, it is that it is only in the interest of Amazon and similar stock-selling-machines that these things are any sort of "issue." We writers, reviewers, and most importantly, readers, have been tricked into supporting a monopoly of calculating haters. It will be only the first step into freedom when we take the easy road of standing against everything that they stand for. Its after that, no more futuristic than Amazon's stock price, when we might be able to tackle the other issues.
Hey. You know, at the core, we're all on the same side. Nuance, nuance, perceived nuance; easily seen through.