The Wikipedia Project
In early 2006, a series of articles (about twenty-five, actually) were created on Wikipedia. An edit war ensued between the pro-Stanek users (who, I suspect, were all actually Stanek himself, although at the time it was assumed they were a group of rabid Stanek fans. However, as we know, Stanek doesn’t really have any fans) and the regular Wikipedia editors. You can read a good recap of the incident on this LiveJournal post.
Setting aside the fact that Wikipedia is not a place for people to create “tributes” to you, it was not deleted by author bashers or because it was threatening. It was deleted because it wasn’t notable:
There was even a warning posted on the administrator’s page about it, titled, appropriately enough, “Beware the Stanek”.
The most ridiculous, I think, were the insertions of Stanek’s work onto completely unrelated pages…such as the page for literacy:
Interestingly enough, Stanek has a reproduction of the page on his personal website, with this note:
It’s rather odd how both Stanek’s page and the Squidoo page uses the exact same phrase “so threatening to certain persons”. It’s almost as if they were written by the exact same person.
The Robert Stanek Message Board
Robert Stanek’s message board is incredible. If you’ve never been there, I strongly recommend spending a few minutes browsing through it.
I don’t think it’s a real stretch to guess that 90% of the users and the posts are from Stanek himself, with one or two posters being actual fans and the rest of the registered users being people who hate Stanek and just registered to read the members-only forums.
As far as I can tell, this is the only Stanek messageboard on the internet. Which is odd. Most authors have several good-sized messageboards devoted to their works, with a few smaller ones floating around. If Stanek is truly the internationally bestselling author he claims to be…shouldn’t he have a few more members on his messageboard?
I decided to scout around the internet and see how many members the messageboards for other fantasy authors had (numbers collected on April 23, 2011). This is without even bothering to try and find the largest board for each author, this is just the first results through Google:
- MuggleNet Forums (J.K. Rowling) – 92,995
- Inheritance Forums (Christopher Paolini) – 34,219
- Westeros (George R.R. Martin) – 17,639
- NeilGaimanBoard (Neil Gaiman) – 10,558
- RA Salvatore Forums (RA Salvatore) – 6,242
- Robert Stanek MB (Robert Stanek) – 658
It’s interesting to note that the last post was made on Dec 2, 2012. Stanek’s rabid fanbase hasn’t bothered to make a single post in over two and a half years? (as of June 2015)
I guess Stanek either doesn’t have the time or doesn’t care enough to keep a fake conversation going on the board. For example, last fall his new graphic novel series, A Daughter of Kings, was published. The board admin, “Shire Hobbit”, started a thread about it. It’s been over a year since that thread began…and no one has replied to it.
Another interesting thing to note is at the very bottom of his forum, he has a link to his top 25 fan sites.
You would expect, that if the Official Robert Stanek forums have a link to the top 25 fan sites, these must be pretty legitimate sites, correct? Well, you’d be wrong. In fact, it doesn’t even link to the top 25 “fan” sites, it links to the top 34 “Ruin Mist” sites. Note the specific lack of “fan” listed there. So let’s go through and analyze these links, shall we?
- http://www.ruinmist.com/ – this is Robert Stanek’s site.
- http://www.robertstanek.com/ – also Stanek’s site.
- http://ruinmist.proboards.com/index.cgi? – Stanek’s message board.
- http://www.geocities.com/ultimatescifi2002/ – dead link to a geocities account. Okay.
- http://www.geocities.com/mac_t5/ – another dead link.
- http://www.angelfire.com/scifi2/robertstanek/ – a website with a few paragraphs about Stanek, written in the exact same style as most of the other Stanek wikipedia pages, and then a list of all of his books.
- http://www.geocities.com/barbjackson5/ – dead link.
- http://ruinmist.tripod.com/ – a website that hasn’t been updated since 2005 with essentially no information on King’s Mate or gaming.
- http://farjourneys.tripod.com/index.html – hasn’t been updated since 2003. The website is about why Robert Stanek and independent publishers are awesome. The arguments are remarkably similar to arguments Stanek makes on his own pages in favor of independent publishers.
- http://epicwriters.tripod.com/ – active link, someone talks about how Stanek, Tolkien, and Lewis are his favorite authors. But mostly Stanek.
- http://aliciareynolds.tripod.com/ – active link, someone who says she’s Adrina Alder. In terms of actual content, there’s an interview that is also on Stanek’s website, although they disagree as to who exactly is doing the interviewing. There’s also two exhaustive lists of Stanek’s books. Odd how random fans on the internet take the time to list all of Robert Stanek’s books, the ISBNs, and the recommended ages.
- http://www.geocities.com/teamvickers/ – dead link
- http://www.angelfire.com/realm2/stanek/ – essentially, it’s a list of Robert Stanek’s books, with a short comment about each one. Like, “I love Robert Stanek’s books. Start here” on the first one, and “I love Robert Stanek’s books. This one rox!” on the second one. You can really see the time and dedication this fan put into explaining why Stanek’s books are so good. The best comment, though, is “The BEST in the series! This makes everything else look like Harry Potter.” You mean in the way that this series is absolute shit and other books are good, like Harry Potter? Okay then.
- http://liz_s0.tripod.com/ – a tastefully bad fan side with hilarious misspellings because the author is clearly a young girl. My favorite part of this is the quote about Keeper Martin’s Tale “Totally kewl but since it’s the adult versin my moms won’t let me read it!” Of course. After all, it’s not like the adult and children’s versions are completely identical…oh wait. Also, if her mom won’t let her read it….how does she know it’s totally kewl?
- http://www.geocities.com/wishidgonefishing/ – dead link
- http://groups.msn.com/ruinmistchroniclesandkeepermartinstale/ – dead link
- http://www.geocities.com/temporalgates/ – dead link
- http://dungeon28.tripod.com/ – this appears to be the odd fantasies of someone who has been to Imtal. There’s a few pages with a short paragraph about nothing, and then a bunch of links to Stanek’s books on Amazon. I can’t believe this site is #18. There’s no content on it!
- http://www.tvpress.com/ – Robert Stanek’s site.
- http://www.angelfire.com/empire/kingdomelves/ – A list of Robert Stanek’s books. Apparently they’re awesome. That’s about it.
- http://www.geocities.com/wishidgonefishing/robert_stanek – dead link. Also a duplicate of #16. You’d think the author of this list would notice that.
- http://www.geocities.com/admtbama/ – dead link
- http://www.geocities.com/palewizard/ – dead link
- http://www.tvpress.com/1575450429.htm – Robert Stanek’s site. Also, a dupe of #19
- http://www.geocities.com/bookpress2002 – dead link. Also, apparently this was supposed to be Robert Stanek’s bibliography. Yes, apparently all that’s needed to get into a list of Stanek’s top 25 fan sites is to have a list of his books. Instead of…I dunno, a review of Stanek’s books? Thoughtful discussion of Stanek’s books? Any type of actual user-created content related to Stanek’s books?
- http://lists.topica.com/lists/explore/read – hasn’t been updated since 2005. All of the posts were made by a single account and no one ever discussed any of them.
- http://hometown.aol.com/m4trv3/ – dead link
- http://www.tvpress.com/fanpage.htm – Robert Stanek providing links to how you can advertise his books. Also, a duplicate of #19 and #24.
- http://www.geocities.com/benjamintaylorus/ – dead link
- http://www.geocities.com/tekken527/ – dead link
- http://www.tvpress.com/web/rs-web.htm – Stanek’s site. Duplicate of #19, #24, and #28
- http://groups.msn.com/ruinmistchroniclesandkeepermartinstale/home.htm – dead link
- http://www.tvpress.com/keepermartinstales.htm – Stanek’s site. Duplicate of #19, #24, #28, #31
- http://www.tvpress.com/ruinmisttales.htm – Stanek’s site. Duplicate of…well, you get the idea.
LibraryThing is like an online book club. You can list all the books you own, get recommendations for new books, browse your friends’ libraries, and things of that sort. Of course, it was only a matter of time until Stanek got wind of it…and decided to start spamming it for all he was worth.
It began in early January, 2011:
The discussion was quickly moved over to the official spam reporting thread, where founder Tim Spalding got involved:
It didn’t stop there:
Just what, exactly, did Tim Spalding do? I’m glad you asked:
Tim Spalding was kind enough to email me with his phone number. I called him and we spent some time chatting about Robert Stanek and his many exploits, including the evidence that Tim had amassed – particularly IP addresses. Stanek, is, of course, a computer expert – he’s written a number of nonfiction computer books for Microsoft, which I believe is how he makes his living, considering how poorly his fiction sells – and that’s how he’s able to exploit computer systems that are automated. If a person stops and spends the time examining the evidence, like Tim Spalding did, they can figure out what Stanek is up to. I assume that much larger companies like Amazon.com get millions of reviews a month and can’t individually track down people like Stanek. So a clever computer expert who can falsify IP addresses can get away with it.
Until someone with too much free time on his hands, like me, gets annoyed with him.