I think the petition is fucking stupid and an attempt to get people to stop writing negative reviews.
First, a recent study has shown that anonymity doesn’t make people jerks: people who are jerks online are actually just jerks in real life. (A study that surprises nobody who has ever talked to people both online and offline and realized that people online are…people.) So I don’t think that this would solve “the problem.”
Second, I put “the problem” in air quotes because I don’t even think there is a significant problem. I’ve rarely seen a so-called “bully” review that was actually a bully review. In general, the reviews that people call out as “bully” reviews are reviews that are critical of the book. And (if you haven’t guessed from the fact that I was critical of LBD) I’m okay with that. Some of them are snarky. Some of them are not nice.
Are there some scary people out there? Yes. Is there an occasional reviewer who crosses the line? I’m sure someone could dredge something up, although I don’t really personally go around looking for them.
But it defies belief to imagine that reviewers are jerks and authors are not, and that this is so true that reviewers need to be made vulnerable in a way that authors are not. Authors tend to have larger platforms than reviewers, and their capacity to do harm is larger. And even if the author herself won’t take action to harm someone engaged in criticism, there’s always the possibility that one of her fans might. It makes no sense to give reviewers less protection than authors.
Finally, as you point out, authors use pen names. I used one because a trusted mentor told me that writing romance would have a negative effect on my career. I kept my romance writing from my colleagues for years and years, and only started telling people after I quit my day job. It would be deeply hypocritical of me to think that writing romance deserves protection, but to shrug it off when some people might not want their colleagues to know that they review it.
So talk about my books however, and with whoever, and as whoever, you want.
Luckily, there is not a chance in hell that Amazon will give a shit about this stupid petition, so don’t worry too much.