This is a response I left to several comments I read on a private email loop, though it also responds to a much of what I've seen discussed about the #AskELJames event. I read a little of the hashtag; my time has been limited. Much of what I saw was snarky and actually clever and funny to me because of my personal thoughts on the series. Some was downright trollish and mean, of course. I have yet to learn how and if she responded to such comments. Feel free to enlighten me here or make other comments, though I can't promise a quick response because holiday. :)
While I can't condone some of the behavior, the conversation some (snarky)comments sparks is legitimate, particularly in the realm of misrepresenting the BDSM culture, perpetration of rape culture, misogyny, and the disturbing psychopathic characterization depicted and glorified in the story. At least in SFF we are very much in the habit of discussing the social aspects and ramifications of the stories in our genre. Maybe crime fiction (which is where I personally would shelve the books) or in romance, that isn't the habit. And yes, SFF gets our fair share of snark and trolls and disagreements during social issue discussions. (Google Gamergate and Sad Puppies/Hugo to see what I mean.)
Just because someone writes something snarky or rude on the internet doesn't always mean jealousy. I think the writing style and popularity of the work is a conversation definitely worth having, whether we find the writing and subject matter "good" or not. Instead of responding with "you're jealous" why not ask, if someone crits the work, Why do you think it is so popular? What about the story appealed to today's culture? How important is sentence stringing compared to story? All really interesting writerly topics, at least to me.
Re: Twitter. It has a different look and feel than other online and personal interactions, but it doesn't mean the conversations there aren't worth having. Twitter is not all soundbites and snark, and to claim that shows probable ignorance. Language and conversational style are dynamic and living; Twitter is a great example of that.
I totally disagree with the "blame the victim" "she should have known better" attitude. It's old-fashioned, narrow-minded, unrealistic, fails to recognize the constant barrage of hate many women experience online, and most importantly, ignores that folks are still are out there having lots of fun and worthy interactions. Of course assholes exist on the internet; I have no doubt the author and her publicists are well aware of them and of the negative opinions surrounding her work. Newsflash: we all experience that. But the very second we STOP talking and putting ourselves out there (or doing so in a pay-to-play/limited/victim-
role-assuming/paranoid way) is the very day the assholes win.