Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Taking a Stand for the Dreamers

Okay, I know this blog is usually about baking and canning and occasionally knitting or craftiness. But there has been some recent activity on Facebook that I feel needs to be addressed. If this all sounds insane or confusing, please feel free to click to a different page because I am about to go on about something I feel incredibly passionate about.

I have been writing since I was in middle school. I love the written word. I love to read it and I love to compose with it. It has been my art, my medium and my saving grace through many a dark point in my life. When I was in college, back in the early days of the internet and AOL, I began online role playing. For those of you who do not know what this is, it is best described as a form of cooperative writing. You create a character, get a few friends together, and you interact and weave a tale together. Its a great way to write, to vent and to meet amazing people. I still role play to this day with my long time partner,  Tori,  and together we have created a beautiful world that came from some of our brightest dreams and even darkest nightmares. You see this form of writing is more than entertainment or a way of creating. It is therapy. It helps to put your mind somewhere you never could in the real world and then work out whatever is troubling you in a healthy, harmless way. Sure beats drinking, drugs or injurious behavior. I would be lost if it hadn't been for some of the story lines that I had created with Tori to help me work out some of my more negative thought processes.

 Symbol copyrighted Sherrilyn Kenyon

So why exactly am I going on about this past time of mine? A little more back ground and you will understand. My dear friend Danyale recently got me into a wonderful book series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. And with this series there is a massive fan base! Beautiful, amazing, wonderful people that take time out of their real lives to create and maintain a profile on Facebook as one of the many amazing characters from this book series. And I know they are not alone. There are many character pages for various literary beings all over Facebook. Even I have one for my beloved long time role playing characters. Its amazing to interact with characters you love and see how their lives would have been long after you turned the last page of the most recent book.

But these people, these pages are now coming under attack. While Facebook is inundated with sales pitches for the latest weight loss fad, half naked young women seeking a liaison, or worse, predators seeking their next unsuspecting victim, the powers that be have deemed the profiles of book characters and role playing characters persona non grata. They have begun to, as the term goes, to flame these individuals demanding proof of their identity and shutting down their pages. Years of writing is being lost and friendships dissolved. I have seen profiles for pets, profiles for food, underage kids acting like some painted up pop star, and they are going after someone portraying a beloved book character? Where is the reason in that?! They aren't hurting anyone! In fact it is quite the opposite! They bring joy and light to the lives of fans all over the world. And the clincher, they have the support of the author. If anyone should have issue it would be her and if she's okay with it where is the problem? Disclaimers are clearly stated in all profiles that they are fictional characters and that material pertaining to the original work is copyrighted. So where is the problem? Where is the issue so huge that Facebook has deemed it necessary to target these people. And yes they are being targeted and it is time it is stopped. I am taking a stand for the dreamers, for the writers, for those that dare to reach out and interact with fans and creators and lovers of books alike.

Are they really hurting anyone, Facebook? Is it such a big deal for people to write as someone they fell in love with on the page? Why do you want to tear down this little fantasy world that we can all go for a few laughs, a few tears and ultimately an escape?

I appreciate everyone's indulgence in my slight deviation from the normal topics.

Brightest Blessings.

25 comments:

  1. Clears throat, swallowing loudly past a lump * Ahem, Brandi, Ash here from DH Origins Family. Your insight & passion & support means more than you can know. As we have ALWAYS said... THIS is the BEST unpaid job out there & what NEVER gets old, is when one of AG Sherrilyn Kenyon's fans finds us for the very 1st time... to see their excitement, their joy... how elated they are to not only get to meet their favorite character, but to be welcomed into our DH Origins Family... to belong is something that no amount of $ can buy... I have been writing & portraying Sherri's characters for over 6 years now & will continue to do so! Well over a year ago when FB really got bad, we had over 500 fans/family members sign a petition asking FB to create a profile much like what we have now but for it to be identified as a Role Play or Fictional Character account... FYI... ALL of DH Origins Family members not only have a well written Bio listed, but we also post SK's letter to Role Players & our Bio's state in BOLD FONT... Fictional Character of Sherrilyn Kenyon. We do NOT try to hide this... Anyways I digress, the petition that we had our fans/family members sign & sent to Facebook went ignored & unanswered... We would LOVE to stay on FB so that we can maintain our connection to SK, but we have taken measures & several in our group & our Sister group have now invested in our future... we are now building our own domain/site which will be for our Group/Family members & it will be a safe place to write. THANK YOU for taking this stand & voicing your support.
    PAX
    Ash Parthenopaeus
    Fictional Character

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    1. Thank you for all that you do Ash. I had to honor a promise, and I may not have said promise, but in my heart it was what I intended the day Simi asked people to take to their blogs. So when I saw that Tory was deleted, I did just that. I'm just sad that right after I did, Simi was taken too. I can see how much all of you love what you do, and love your fans, and it takes an amazing, special kind of person to do that for nothing. But then again, it isn't nothing really. But its not something that a person on the outside could see or measure by their own ideas of worth. I wish I could give all of you a huge hug right now because I can't even imagine what it is that you are all going through. And I know to outsiders it may seem silly, but to us, to the people who know what it means to become so much of a world they love, its devastating. I just hope that they can be brought back and everything resolved once and for all.

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  2. Hello Brandi, I am Rhage, from JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood group, the now defunct BDB~Unbound. At the end of August 2013 our group was decimated by Facebook. It was methodical and planned. They started with 5 profiles on day one and every day there were more and more gone. The profiles could be replaced and most have been; you can't keep a Role Player down. The Hurt and Pain comes from the loss of the written word. Facebook will not allow you back on to copy and paste your stories. Our pages were skeletons. You had storylines that were incomplete and empty. Things that you will never get back. The other painful thing was watching the fans reactions, the tears and the pain that they felt. And we were helpless to stop it.
    We have started our own website for RPers. A combined effort from our BDB group and the DH Origins group. Were our writen word will never be quieted again.

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    1. knuckle bumps Rhage * Well said Vamp & damn proud to share our new safe place to write with you guys, damn proud!

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    2. Hi Rhage! I think its great that you are helping our DH origin family! I *blushes darkly* haven't read the JR Ward books yet, BUT! They are on my must read list! My friend has been bugging me for ages to get into them! I am a slow reader because I tend to wrap myself up in so many things at once! But I really appreciate your comment and all that you are doing for DH Origins as I am sure all the members and fans do too! You are awesome!

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  3. Thank you for posting this. My bet is that if you really want to find out "why", it all goes back to money in some form or another. Now that they are public, the investors want Facebook to prove that all of their users are real people. So they cull a few profiles that are easy for them, based on reports from people who have nothing better to do.

    Our group has been incredibly lucky *knock on wood* to have not been hit hard and not in some time.

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    1. The last time for DH Origins was 9 months ago & we lost about 75% but Facebook returned all but 2 of them. We just do not want to go through this again. Both from the standpoint of a writer as well as the fans/family members... it's not worth it to be on guard when it is within our grasp to guide our destinies... build our site & then we are ALL safe

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    2. I just hope that the end result of all this is we can figure out a way to protect people online that are writing and doing what they love.

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  4. Hi Brandi, Fortune here. I'm an original character playing in the SK universe. I'm with DH RUS and have been for awhile now.

    I wanted to give you some insight into the inner mind of what I like to call "The Facebook Gods."

    See, Zuckerberg and the other computer nerds, are taking a lot of heat from parents. This "cyber bullying" is a huge a problem and a lot of parents are fed up. About a year ago, I lost my cousin due to this cyber bullying crap. She took a gun to her head and was gone in seconds. It wasn't until after her death that her parents looked at her Facebook account. The amount of people who had posted demeaning and disgusting things was outrageous.

    But what does this have to do with Role Play?

    The problem is that is easy for people to create false accounts with the purpose of performing evil. Teens create these accounts for the sole purpose of causing others harm. It's easier to bully someone and not get caught if you hide behind a false profile. So to counteract this, Zuckerberg and his minions have decided that NO ONE should have a false account.

    To be honest, their way of thinking makes sense. I'm not saying that I completely agree. I'm just saying I understand the why. Let's face it. RP isn't always as harmless as we make it seem. I've been stalked, harrassed, hacked, bullied, and flat out used far too many times to count. There ARE people out there that don't use RP for what we do. These people use our make believe world as a place to prey on others. It's hard to know for sure who you are speaking to at any given moment. It's just as hard to know the true intentions of the person on the other end of a profile.

    We do things to keep ourselves safe. We don't share personal information, we don't let ourselves get too close to people we don't know. But the fact is, we always set ourselves up for the potential to be bullied.

    And THAT is why Facebook targets us. It's not a matter of money. It's a matter of saving face in front of the media.

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  5. I am no stranger to the bullying and dangers that accompany role playing online. I've had my share of bullies and stalkers. Even had someone threaten to make things up and send emails to my husband claiming that I had been in some way unfaithful. So I can respect the attempt to shield people. But the fact that they are going after DH Origins family members so earnestly leads me to think this goes well beyond protecting people from cyber bullying.

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  6. Brandi, your loyalty & willingness to go the extra mile, to post how much you care astounds me. There are no words to explain how touching this is

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    1. I am honored by your words and I do care very much and hope we can find a resolution. Thank you.

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  7. You have all made me feel welcomed into your world. I was in love when I opened the first book, and when my friend showed me DH Origins and family, I was just floored by the amazing community I found there. You have all become treasured friends to me and I have just angered and saddened that such a thing is happening. I know what its like to lose years of work. When AOL shut down their chat rooms and profiles, I lost so much of my work. I can't imagine the pain that any of you feel when things like this keep happening for no logical reason. I will always stand up for what I believe in and this is something I feel very strongly about. I just wish I could hug each and every one of you right now. <3

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    1. We are honored that you feel that way Brandi. We have tried to have such a place that is safe for both the RP'rs along with our DH Origins Family members. You are all treasures to each and every one of us

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    2. I know I haven't known you all that long, but the moment I was shown DH Origins and everyone there, I was welcomed like an old friend and it touched me. I love reading what everyone posts each day, it really brightens it up for me.

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  8. Brandi, thank you so much for this. You are a awesome person. I am only a fan. But the SO and BDB have etched a place in my heart. It's so unfair. In the last 2 years we have harassed 3 times majority. And messed almost weekly. As I said to begin with Thank you.....Barbi Davis DHO fAmily member....

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    1. Barbi you have been part of this family for a long time & your support means a lot to all of us. Thanks.

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    2. Thank you Barbi! I have found friends among the folks of DHO and I am meeting more and more each day. I can't believe this has become essentially a witch hunt! Its crazy! But I will stand with everyone and hopefully we can all find a way to still keep in touch and share.

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  9. Thank you Brandi for this. I am as well a huge Sherrilyn Kenyon fan and love the role players that I have on my friends list. It sickens me that if you searched a favorite celebrity you are seeing a thousand different profile pages of that one person all claiming to be that person and is either harming that celeb's image with their fans which is flat out wrong. I used to have Karen Marie Moning Role players as friends from her Fever series and they too were thrown under the bus and had their profiles deleted by facebook. This is wrong on so many levels, it's ok for someone to literally steal the identity and receive the adoration and love from that individuals fans, however a fictional character who is not breaking any laws is targeted. It's beyond wrong and we as fans need to put a stop to this. The only reason I sign onto facebook lately is to see Acheron's, Simi's, Tori's, Fury and Lia's, etc's posts they make my day and the DH Origins Family should be left alone, along with all the other Role Players who interact with fans and who share the same love of a person that a beloved author has created.

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    1. swallows loudly past the lump * Ahem, Thanks Connie, your support means the world to all of us your entire DH Origins Family.

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    2. Thank you Connie for you comment! I'm actually rather new to the series, only been a few months reading it, thanks to my friend Danyale, and I fell in love right away! And when she showed me DH Origins and the profiles of all the characters I was coming to know and love, I honestly squealed like a preteen at a One Direction concert, I will not lie. And being a long time role player myself (going over the ten year mark now I think...eep closer to 15! yikes!) I was so upset when I saw what was happening. I just can't believe there is so much trash on Facebook and this is what they choose to go after. makes no sense!

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  10. WAY TO GO GUYS AND GALS! Unless you count my raving suspicion that Im not truly human, Im not much of an RP individual. I do, however, love most of SK's series and I love to follow the day to day interactions among you all. It allows me to, at least passively, step out of my own life with some much needed fantasy. STAND YOUR GROUND and KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

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    1. knuckle bumps Jon * Thanks Jon your support means a lot to all of your DH Origins Family. Like I have said before, writing for Ash has been the best unpaid job I have EVER had. Interacting with all of you, our family members is such a bonus.

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    2. Thank you Jon! I will do what I can!

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