where the writers are
Tempest in Teapot: Behind the Removal of an Author on Red Room

To be approved as a Red Room Author and to participate in our community, we require what would be required in any authors’ real life community: That people use their real names, have real published books they wrote, that they include real photos of themselves, that the work they contribute as original content is in fact their own, and that they are who they claim to be. Some exceptions are made sometimes in some of those categories if there’s a good reason (for example, a screenwriter or distinguished journalist with no book, a truly remarkable self-published author, a real author who writes under a few different names, or a political writer who prefers not to show a picture but we know they’re legitimate).

We are going to be extending the “real name, real photo, really their work” requirement to members, soon, too, not just authors. We’re proud to be building an authentic community based on who people really are. We want to support you in every way we can to build authentic relationships, express yourself, and achieve your dreams in real life.

By contrast, there are many communities online where individuals are supported in creating a pretend persona and relating to others through that persona, but Red Room isn’t one of them. Anyone who prefers to establish relationships and express themselves through a pretend name, pretend photo, pretend books, a pretend personal life, and so on, can find that very easily elsewhere on the internet, and they are free to do so.

Recently, a member had to be banned for misrepresenting every aspect of her identity and application, not to mention misrepresenting numerous irrelevant details of her identity and of her communications with Red Room. She realized she’d been caught, and as she has done in other online communities, she then went on the offense and attempted to gather support. I appreciate that this is the kind of community where everyone rushes to support a person who expresses unhappiness, however, please don’t assume that any representation made by any member about themselves or their communications with Red Room is necessarily factual.

When something or someone comes up like this, we handle it with integrity, following the well-researched facts, the applicable law, and common decency toward the offender. We don't let it derail our priorities any more than maybe one blog entry like this, which is focused mostly on the positive aspects of what we strive toward as a community, and not on any one particular incident. 

Everyone on the Red Room team works here because we believe we can build a valuable community and an enduring cultural institution, and so, it’s not constructive to spend our time responding to every rumor about what Red Room did or didn’t do. If we do, our energy will be focused in the wrong direction. Our philosophy is that it’s best to spend our time and energy building new features and improvements that you’ve requested, and supporting the community members who are contributing valuable ideas and building real relationships. The quality of our authors and members, in general, is outstanding.

Thanks.  Ivory Madison
Founder and CEO, redroom.com 

Comments
19 Comment count
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I see

I believe you, Ivory, and know a lot of work has gone into researching this case of fraudulant identity.

Thank you for keeping our Redroom community safe.

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Thanks for

the explanation. Tough situation all around.

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I also appreciate your

I also appreciate your explanation, Ivory. I understand Thomas's point that explanation doesn't equal proof, but I assume you and your staff checked out the concerns brought to your attention and took action based on the facts you discovered. Thank you for that.

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Frankly,

the whole idea gives me the creeps!  I don't like costume balls, and I like people to be who they are, especially here.

I wan't sure how to take all of this at first, but Ivory, very well said

Best,

J

.Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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The fraud threw me off balance

I am grateful I heard this on BBC Radio 3 today.  It is consoling.

"Prayer before Birth" by Louis MacNeice

I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.

I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.

I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.

I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.
 

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a fake

well, that was a humbling experience ... wow ... well, at least we know the RR people are watching our backs.  Talk about taking the bait hook, line, and sinker.  Had me fooled.  Ah, well - life goes on, folks

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Thanks for the

Thanks for the clarification, Ivory.  It's much appreciated.

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A question about being 'published'...

Hi Ms. Madison,

Thank you for watching our backs. I know how hard it must be to ban someone, especially since I had to do is several times back when I was a moderator on a message board.

But I have a question about publishing, and the Author requirements... If I create a comic (and/or comic series) and have it freely available for viewing on my website, without it having actually been *published*, would I be able to make an Author account or would I only have the requirements for a Member?

Thank you for your time.

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guidelines for author acceptance

Hi Smartryk,

First, I want to let you know I get and read all your emails to me about my Huntress: Year One miniseries, and I'm sorry I haven't responded (I get a lot of email). I really appreciate that you are emailing such nice things to DC editors about me, too. Thanks.

To answer your question: We have a two-page checklist we use when evaluating our members for "Author" status. It's more of an art than a science. In general, a full-length book published by a reputable publisher (not self-published) satisfies the requirement, but there are so many gray areas or exceptions, as I mentioned in my blog above, that it's more complicated than that.

Also, other types of recognition are in the works, such as "Journalist," "Editor," "Agent," Comic Book Creator," and so on, since many professional or notable writers don't quite fit into the "book" world but are a part of Red Room and absolutely are successful in one way or another (sometimes it's literary talent that gets people in, sometimes it's career success). And we will be verifying those as we do with Authors. Red Room should be a place where you can trust someone is, for example, a reputable book agent, if they say they are.

What you're describing is a self-published web comic. We are also eventually going to have categories for all types of self-published creators, to recognize their hard work and talent, too. So at some point you will be given the option to identify yourself and your work as "self-published web-comics creator." Self-identification will be allowed for professional status types that we don't put through a verification process. I hope that makes sense. And again, this is just the beta version of Red Room you're participating in now--there's so much more to come! We're listening to all the suggestions we get and building like crazy behind the scenes, and we will be all year (and beyond).

To summarize, right now, everyone is a "Member" unless they apply and are accepted as an "Author" but we're working on more options to recognize everyone, whether it's through a verification process for some types of status, or whether it's self-identification, for other types of status. I'm going to make sure all this info is in our FAQ. Thanks for asking.

Ivory Madison

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I never heard about this!

I miss all the best gossip...

Even not knowing the background, I do appreciate Red Room's integrity and care.

 

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When Writers Go Bad . . .

. . . imagine what might have been produced if all that time and imagination had been directed to create something of worth.

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Thanks and Thanks Again

I have quite a few thoughts about this disturbing situation, but I think I'll just leave it at thanks for taking the time to explain it. And thanks again for doing all of the heavy lifting in the Red Room.   

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Pitfalls

Ana Elsner:

I grew up with RADIO. Yes, I know: 'The Dark Ages'... You would tune in at a specific time for the news and your favourite programs, sit there and listen! And I mean: turn the two big knobs, left and right (one for the volume, the other to find the station on the dial), sit down on chair or sofa in the living room, and pay attention! Back then, the only 'casual' and continuous listening I did, via my newfangled portable transistor radio, was to AFN, (American Forces Network - Europe) and their stream of boisterous Big Band music which I loved.

Six decades later I have fully immersed myself in the electronic medium ('email' stands for 'electronic' mail) of the World Wide Web. - I cannot imagine my life without it.

The early internet started out, as most new things do, with a certain innocence and pregnant enthusiasm (and some measure of geek-ish-ness) and was far from being available to the masses.
By now, however, it has become a perilous turf to navigate, leaving you exposed to potential hacking, phishing, malware, viruses and a host of other pitfalls and dangers.  

Fraudulent impersonation and fake identities are annoying but less harmful to a virtual community such as redroom.com that does not engage in online financial transactions. It can, however, be devastating in its manifestation as 'identity theft' when used to empty accounts, and cause serious harm to the (unsuspecting) individual.

What it comes down to is, that both webhosts, such as redroom.com, and web-users like you and me, must exercise vigilance to protect against falling victim to online con-artists and criminals that use the internet as their hunting-grounds.

Read a related article here:
http://instaplanet.blogspot.com/2005/11/phishing-preying-on-un-informed.html 

::

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Authenticity

Anybody can dawn a bulbous red nose, fluffy red wig, baggy clothes and giant shoes and bulldoze around like a clown in disguise, but the impostor will eventually be unmasked.

 Ben Campbell www.lulu.com/bencampbell

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Wow...

Well, don't know what happened, or who was involved, but glad to hear that you are careful, that you are watching, and that there is good, level-headed intent behind it all.

 As a veteran of the Internet almost from it's inception, I have seen far too many situations where people used words and images and names not really their own to cause a variety of trouble...

I find it difficult enough to be myself most of the time...

 Thanks for the explanation of the standards, and their protection.

 

David

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You said:"The quality of our

You said:"The quality of our authors and members, in general, is outstanding."

I would add: So is,as a logical consequence,the quality of RedRoom.Outstanding too.

Best

Hammoudi

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It's true

Hammoudi, one of my most common affirmations in my Red-Room-related correspondence is that our success is a direct result of our members' contributions. Lots of business lingo is blown smoke, so it feels great to be able to write the simple truth.

Huntington Sharp, Red Room

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Ave, Morituri. Well, said.

Nothing much to add. I am me and ever shall be.

"Keep Moving Forward." - Walter Disney

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God, I wonder if I had a

God, I wonder if I had a ''relationship'' with this person...can you not name the individual so we can all be assured? I cannot understand why anyone would go to the trouble to invent a fake identity. They must be extremely lonely?