Here we are facing a bright new year filled with possibilities and new adventures. I guess the first order of business is put to rest the crap of the old year, so I’m going to chat about that for a bit, then close the door for the last time on this particular subject. It’s cost me too much lost sleep, anger, and wasted emotion, so it’s past time to end it!
As many of you know, I’ve had my troubles with that wonderful social networking giant Facebook this past year. Plus, added in to the mix are the online actors known as role-players. Both have caused a lot of unnecessary stress throughout 2011, and the month of December saw me make some major changes regarding both. So, let’s look first at Facebook… We all use this hugely popular site for promotion, networking with other writers, staying in touch with friends–that is the purpose of the whole thing anyway, and it’s a lot of fun, in spite of the vast numbers of hours many of us “waste” on it. I enjoy my groups and pages and the camaraderie that often comes into them, the immediacy of it is what makes it like conversation, and when you’re laughing with friends from all over the world, it’s a bit of special magic and makes everyone feel close; the miles that separate don’t exist in these situations. So, yeah, I enjoy that aspect of it. However…
In 2011 my pages were deactivated several times after reports from people who took offence to a photo or a statement made, and at one point I was informed my pages were to be investigated. I’ve used Facebook for about 2.5 years, and until I was found by role-players, I had no problems at all with anyone on the site. So begins a tale that started late in 2010, went through 2011, and is now ended. Most of you who know me have seen me support the people who at their core, I believe, mean well when they choose to bring to life an author’s characters for fans. The intent has often been stated as a way to keep interest and enthusiasm alive between books in a series, etc. I think that idea is good. The fact is, for too many of the players it soon mutates into something far less “noble” and they lose sight of some hard, cold truths. The most important of those truths being the moment you create an account that uses the name of an author’s character, you are violating Facebook policy, and the author’s copyrighted material.
A few authors of very popular books have succumbed to the pleas of players and have sanctioned “official” role-play groups and support them. So, more power to them all. I hope to hell said authors never regret their decision, because in all honesty, this past year has taught me to be highly suspicious of anyone who hides behind an identity not their own. J.R. Ward’s hugely popular series The Black Dagger Brotherhood seems to be a huge role-play favourite world, and she is very out-spoken against role-play of her books. I used to think she should revisit her decision, now I applaud her for seeing what many don’t–that her hard work is often used to attack, bully, and persecute fans of her talent. I’ve watched it happen, over and over–and how are you supposed to report if you’re being harassed by some player you only know as Ward’s Wrath, or Tohrment, or Phury, etc.? You report that profile, it goes down–maybe–and an hour later they’re back with a new profile and back in business, and you’re labelled a trouble-maker and put on a block list by the group administrator.
So, as an author, I have to say that if I am ever lucky enough to create a fan favourite series of books there is no way in hell I would ever give role-players my sanction to play the characters in my books. In fact, I would very vocally fight against it. I do believe there are some truly talented writers involved in role-play, and I congratulate their creativity, but it would be better served by creating something that belongs to them, not others. Hard line? Maybe. But I got to this point the hard way, having been dragged into more bullshit drama than any sane person would ever tolerate. In fact, at this moment I have been put on one of those infamous block and delete lists by a paranoid admin who took a personal issue and brought it over to her groups and involved well over a hundred people who don’t have a clue what really happened. It’s irrelevant anyway, a week before any of this shit started I’d spent two days systematically deleting every role-player I had as a friend on Facebook, it amounted to a staggering 300+ people.
So, for me, the drama has ended. While I support creativity in anyone who wants to write, never again will I cheer on bullies with no conscience about using any author’s work to hide their malicious, obsessive bullshit politics. Role play groups on Facebook all have private groups where fans and readers are discussed, banned, reported, deleted, etc., all at the whims of people who haven’t got the honesty and decency to come to you as their real selves and discuss whatever is up their ass. Secret groups exist where they attack each other on a regular basis, and frankly, I’ve had more than enough. This ate into my time and sanity for an entire year, and when I reached saturation point I got rid of it–now it’s going to stay gone.
So, 2012 dawns with a clean slate, and a world of wonderful new stories waiting to be told, and interactions that are positive and free of bullying, lies, and all the other shit that caused Facebook to deactivate my pages and investigate me. Happy New Year everyone, and it’s good to be back!!