As expected, the bullies came out in full force trying to rip me all apart, just as I predicted they would, with some even denying the irrefutable evidence. However, Patrick Brown and staff knew they couldn't deny it. So in the early aftermath of the story, he rushed like a Mormon on a mission for Brigham Young to "clean" it up.
We also witnessed the "rule" changes.
But seriously, did all of this work? Did this really help to protect the children? Or did he and the Goodreads staff simply "sweep it under the rug?" Well, we are going to find out. As promised, I said I was going to go back in and take another look. Although, I did something a little bit different this time. Instead of me going in and doing the snooping, to which the bullies started attacking me for my "undercover" work the first time, I decided to NOT join Goodreads this time. Instead, I got a "trusted individual" to join Goodreads (since I am banned) and had her take a look around for me. (She's a member of my family)
Call this me just shutting up the bullies.
I instructed her where to go, and how to look for the material in question. I covered all the bases for her. I told her to go to the public groups and capture screenshots. I also requested that if she found anything, to send me the links. What a lot of people don't know is, even if you are not a member, if you click the link, and the group is public, you can still see the topics and the actual role plays. Hence, it is public domain!
That should shut the bullies up. We know how they like to whine about "public" posts to the authors they bully.
Anyhow, she also joined some private groups to snoop around as well. And today, we get to sort through some of her findings. We also get to answer the question: Did Goodreads do anything constructive to stop the sexual role-playing between children and adults? We also get to take a look at how well they monitor these sexually charged groups, I.E., do they keep the minors out of them and away from adults in those sexually charged groups? Apparently so because from what I hear, they are not allowing sexual role-playing of any kind to take place. That's just what I hear. So yeah, this could be taken as really good news, right? So, what did my "family member" find?
The answer - as we go along here - may surprise.
Ready? .... Good! ... Let's begin, shall we?
For the most part it seems everything is okay. At first glance, things appear to be in order. Here is a screenshot of a group that was actually featured in my original post. They have taken the liberty to let everyone know that sexual RPing is off limits. Kudos for them. Take a look.
So did this next group.
And here is a suggestion by another groups mods who recommend their participants to "skip" through the sex scenes.
I guess this was to be anticipated. Much of the rebellion by the RPer's was to try and find a way around the new rules. (There's always going to be rebels, aren't there?) This is exactly what most of them do now. Here is a sample of what I am talking about. Notice where they ask, "Wanna skip?" and the reply of, "Yup." This is what they are doing now, they skip through the sexual talk after the hugging and kissing starts. My question is, why couldn't they have just done that to begin with? Not that I'm sure how much of an improvement this new tactic is, but it is an improvement. Maybe you will disagree or maybe you will agree. I'll let you decide.
Needless to say, this is somewhat encouraging. But this is just the surface, and on the surface, everything looks fine. Even when you get into the group and look around, they (the role-players) have appeared to clean it up. Even in a few of the private role-play groups she has joined thus far looks pretty good.
Now, my "family member" did come across a conversation during one role play where the participants were interacting not only in "role play" fashion, but actually holding a sub-conversation in parenthesis. (Which is standard practice) In this particular role play, the two participants were mentioning the new changes and how to get around them by joining the private "invite only" role play groups in order to engage in sexual role playing without the restrictions. This is what I figured would occur. Whenever you have rules, you have those who will "work" around them. I found this somewhat comical and yet, at the same time, mildly concerning. (Though my family member hasn't stumbled upon this yet, she says she will keep looking.) Take a peek.
I like where they say, "We're all 18" and "Lie your little ass off".
Now, what can we take from this? Is there still minors joining sexual role play groups and participating? If so, are they still involved in sexual role-playing with adults? I suppose we'll find out in time, once my family member gets into more groups. I hope she doesn't find anything. I really do.
Meanwhile, let's go to the next step, shall we? And by that I mean, are there private groups that advertise sexual role-playing in them and if so, are they allowing known minors to join where adults are also participants? After all, isn't this the goal, to eliminate that? To protect the children? Well, let's find out.
In this next screenshot, we will see where a group clearly showcases its intentions to "operate" within the new rules. They even make a little "@Goodreads" notation to indicate further that they will comply and "try" and clean it up and monitor it. Good for them. However, they also clearly state in the "rules" that sexual role-playing is not allowed, only kissing. Good for them! However, as I mentioned before, that is the surface. Look for yourself.
Now, keep in mind that at this point, all of this information can be seen publicly. Even if you are not a Goodreads member. Even the members list is viewable publicly. You don't need to even be a Goodreads member to view it, much less, a group member. All you need is the link.
Now, because they "claim" that there is no sexual role-playing going on, they are still a private group. You still need to request membership. (Oddly enough) And, because they say there is no sexual role-playing going on inside, it is okay for both adults and minors to be members. Well, I was able to view this member list and saw for myself that yes indeed, there are both adults and minors in this group. Not only are the members list publicly viewable, so are the profiles of these members. Here are a couple of them. A female adult and a 16 year old boy. Check it out. (I have whited out the minor's face and name despite the fact that anyone can view his face and name publicly) Clearly, Heather, the female adult, looks well over the age 18, agreed?
Now, since we have established that this group advertises itself as a "non sexual role-playing" group, it is okay "on the surface" if there are both adults and minors in this group, right? Well, if only that were the case. You see, despite their advertising of being non sexual and adamantly declaring in their rules section that they are going to comply with the new Goodreads rules, when my family member tried to join in March, this is what popped up. Take a look.
That's right, it says: "This group may contain adult content"
I think we all know what "adult content" means, right? So, if this group contains adult content, then why is there a 16 year old boy in this group? And if he is in this group, are there others under the age of 18 in this group? Are there any underage females in this group? Are there any adult males in this group? We already know there is at least one adult female so, I suppose one could speculate the last two questions. Or do we have to speculate?
Here, let's take a deeper look, shall we?
Also listed as a member of this group is a girl by the name of "Sky - Thing 6". I also think she may be a minor, but I am not entirely sure, and we will touch base with that question again shortly. Here is a peek at the members list. See for yourself. "Sky - Thing 6" is the last one on the bottom to the right.
Here is "Sky - Thing 6's" profile.
So, we have established that she is a girl per her profile, correct? Now, back to the question regarding her age. As I stated, I am not sure how old she is, however, maybe we could ask Jude Henderson. You see, as the next screenshot will show, "Sky - Thing 6" is a mod in her Goodreads group. Take a look if you don't believe me.
So, perhaps we could ask Jude Henderson how old exactly "Sky - Thing 6" is. And why she has a mod (if she is 18 or over) that participates in sexual role-plays with minors in the group or (if she is under 18) why she has a minor mod who participates in sexually role-play groups with adults?
My family member was successful in joining this group and is scouring it religiously to see if there is any hanky-panky going on. So far, nothing, except a suggestion in one of the topics that sexual role-plays could be taken to "messages". other than that, so far, they seem to be keeping it clean or at the very least, trying to anyway. So again, that is good news.
Now let's depart from any possible speculation and go head first into reality. Remember when Patrick Brown announced "changes" to policy and a commitment to "cleaning" this illegal activity up? I have to admit that so far, it appears to be the case. Remember also when earlier I said "It all looks good on the surface?" Well, now we go beneath the surface just a little and see if there is any group not being monitored. Here is a group called "Anything And Everything" role-play. Check out their banner.
Now check out this role play topic in that group.
It reads: "Master and Slave". (Oh, goody!)
Now, this group is "public". Anyone can join. It is not private. (Yet) And even after my story broke, and all the promises and assurances by Patrick Brown that "HE" is on the job, I go in and not only find adults and minors as members of this group, but I also find this: (See the screenshots)
WARNING: Graphic language and sexual content!
Did someone fall between the cracks?
Here is another one that did. It's called "Forbidden Romance RP". Not exactly hiding their intentions, are they? Anyhow, this is also a public role-play group with adult and underage members. Here is their group banner.
In one of their chat topics, they ask the mods how old their characters can be. Check it out.
It seems they have no problem with characters being as young as 15. Good to know. For the most part, it all seems to be mild erotica at best. Most of the role-plays were just beginning when these screenshots were taken. But they are headed in the "wrong" direction. Some of the role-play topics revolve around kidnapping and rape. These next couple of shots demonstrates where this particular role-play is headed.
The role-play between these two is "To be continued ..."
Then there is this role-play in the same group that also just began at the time of this posting. The first shot has our players asking what to play, kidnap/rape or incest? They decided on kidnap. Check it out.
Here is the character description for the female.
Here is the male character description.
Their characters are a 17 year old girl and a 25 year old man. The role-play is about kidnap and rape. Now, I am going to pause here for a moment as I reflect to something the bullies said about me and my books. (Since they are so adamant in their stance against rape, as you will see in this next shot.)
And "YAL Book Briefs" adds her two cents on the subject of rape in Belle's "fake" review of my book "Year Of The Cat", where "Zoe's" comment can also be seen.
Yes, the famous bully "Zoe" admits she misread my quote, but still doesn't care for rape in any sense be it literally or figuratively. Wouldn't it be interesting to know her thoughts about this kind of role-play? I think we already do. For the most part, the rest of her bully friends agree with her, like "YAL Book Briefs", who also seems repulsed by the word, much less the act. Wonder how they will defend this? Time will tell. Meanwhile, back to the role-play where in its early stages, we are treated to this: (After the kidnap has occurred)
Can't wait to read where it goes from here, right?
I have to this point seen a lot of positive changes and I realize there is a lot of role-play groups on Goodreads, but Patrick, if you're reading this, you missed a couple. You might want to jump on it. (And again, these are only the public groups. Can't wait to see what she uncovers in the private ones.)
Even after all of Goodreads changes and new rules, warnings and the like, these two groups thus far appears to have snubbed their noses at it all. They better get with the program or I will expect Patrick and or a staff member to go in there and "clean it up"!
I'll keep an eye on it for you and let you know if anything was done.
I think what is somewhat disturbing is this: There does seem to be a new practice going on and it is when some of these role-players want to have a sexual encounter with their charries (characters) in the role play, instead of playing it out in the group, they take it to private messaging. Here is an example. It's a group called "Forever Role Play". Here is their banner. (Check out the rules box)
Did you see where in the rules box the mod says: "3. EXPLICIT SCENES ARE NO LONGER PERMITTED ON GOODREADS." Then proceeds in parenthesis: "(See me for more information)"
Here is my concern: The two mods of this group are adults. Here are their profiles.
Why am I concerned about this? Because, there are also minors in this group. It's a public group. And I am wondering if the mods are recommending that role-players take their sexual content to GR private messaging. Like these two participants decided to do.
Kitty is an adult, as her profile will show. It is not private and she is a fruit basket manager. I underlined it for you to see.
The other participant might well be a minor. As I mentioned in my original report, adults have the option of making their profile public or private, however, minors have no choice, they have to have a private profile and it can only be seen if you are friends with them.
This makes me wonder, is Kitty sexually role playing in private messages with a minor? And if so, what is Goodreads doing (or going to do) about it? The staff at GR has the ability to go into that private profile and find out if Jesse is a minor or not. They also have the ability to go into both of their private messages and read them to see if indeed they are role-playing sexually in private. If Kitty is indeed sexually role-playing in private messages with a minor, then Kitty is breaking the law.
While we may never know the truth, the point is, when you mix adults with minors on a website where this kind of activity is going on, where will it lead? Let's face it, this is too scary to imagine. So sure, while there is still some sexual role playing going on, as proved in this report, there has been an effort to clean it up. However, the dangers have not gone away. The majority of sexual role playing has now been taken to private messaging. Your kids are still at risk of being taken advantage of by adults where sexual role playing is concerned.
Maybe Goodreads could announce that they will be randomly checking private messages of role players to see if adults are sexually role playing with minors in private. Maybe if these adults thought that they could still be caught, they wouldn't do it. Maybe Goodreads could actually have someone from their staff to check private messages of role players, especially when you have a situation such as this where the role players announce in the group to take their sexual role playing to private messages. If I had the ability as a staff member, and I saw this, I would check to see if Jesse is a minor on his/her profile and if he/she is, I would then go into his/her messages (and Kitty's) to see if they have role played sexually. And if so, I would report Kitty to the authorities.
Perhaps now that Amazon bought Goodreads, these things will be addressed more thoroughly, especially when in the group name, they clearly showcase their intentions. This stuff isn't hard to find if you know where to look. And to think, I didn't uncover this, my family member did, and she is a novice where Goodreads is concerned so if she can find it, why can't Goodreads find it?. Maybe Goodreads will go a little harder in trying to uncover this crap. Then again, maybe donkeys will fly from out of my butt.
Okay, be nice Carroll, they are - for all intent purposes - trying to work on it. Give them a little more time.
Hey, screenshots don't lie people.
I'm Carroll Bryant .... and this is the Looking Glass.
Things we learned today:
* Sexual explicit role-playing is still going on - on Goodreads, but not like it used to be so far
* Adults and minors are still participating in these sexually explicit role-plays
* Patrick Brown and staff still have their work cut out for them
* Some groups have fallen into the gaps or got overlooked
* Carroll is confused as to why this is still taking place on goodreads after all of the rule changes
* Carroll has a staff now?
* Over-all, thus far, things appear to be shaping up, but children are still at risk
* The sexual content of role plays are now being taken to "private messaging"
* The sexual content of role plays are now being taken to "private messaging"