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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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lj news and a new idea
children of dune - leto 1
I know we are all--*see-saws hand*--about the lj thing eleven-twelve days ago, but read the most recent news

Reproduced bit that made me slightly nervous.

One thing that people have been upset about has been the implication that the community standards would be set by Six Apart and not the community. I agree, and I was wrong to imply that. Six Apart is a critical part of the community (with the help of our paid users, we pay for bandwidth, employ the staff, and run the servers), but clearly the LiveJournal team and the LiveJournal users have a critical role in defining what is acceptable on LiveJournal. We know we can learn a lot from other communities that use a combination of reputation software and human judgment to gauge community opinion, and we are now actively exploring how we can let the community "vote" on what is acceptable content in order to create greater consistency.

When I say "vote", I don’t want people to fear that this will become the tyranny of the majority or mob justice. Metafilter, Craigslist, Flickr, Wikipedia, and many, many other sites effectively use these types of systems to make the jobs of their support teams easier and to reflect the standards of the community. Clearly law takes precedent over such votes, but in case where the line is not legal content but rather objectionable or acceptable content, community input can be a great help. Members of the team are starting to explore what is working for whom and we will share these ideas in more depth soon.

Hmm. Under ideal circumstances, I'd find this a fairly good idea. Except we do not live in utopia.

My Response

(cut quote from response)

Well, no. I thank you for the thought, but we self-police ourselves within our own diverse communities by fellow members, we contact abuse if we find something that breaks TOS, or we deal with it internally. It is flawed, but I do find it preferable to worrying not if my lj breaks TOS, but whether or not it will be voted off the island.


By mouseworks:

"we are now actively exploring how we can let the community "vote" on what is acceptable content in order to create greater consistency."

Bad idea.

You don't have a community here. You have a virtual city the size of Philadelphia (going by users active in the last month). Some of us have closed gated communities within the virtual city; some have security guards that question strangers; and it's a city of neighborhoods. Some things scale; other things don't. You need someone who has had experience with Usenet abuse issue and with LJ who is a professional, probably with help desk experience, too, who can be the equivalent of the police commissioner. You don't let Fred Phelps set policy for 13th and Walnut; you don't arrest and make martyrs of people who want to be made martyrs of, either.

Read the rest here. Very awesome response.

Hmm. I am wary.

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Wow. That is indeed troubling, and I think we just heard the other shoe in the process of dropping.

I think we should all be realistic about what it means when every time this guy talks to the users, he says another scary thing, even when he's ostensibly trying to apologize or reassure. It doesn't bode well for the relationship between the users and SA.

*nods* I really wish--I don't know. That he was a user, was a user before he bought the company, and actually did more interaction. Though that might not help either, but at least he'd know how to introduce this stuff and not put it in terms that freak us out.

I think this idea has a lot of potential for backfiring - more so than the wholesale deletions of Strikethrough. As you said, we don't live in Utopia. I can imagine the fandom wank now...no, no and NO!

I think most of mouseworks' post was valid. It was just the last few lines that I don't agree with and a post further down where it was mentioned that everyone should pay for LJ.

LJ is about diversity - not whether people can pay or whether their technology can handle the advertising of a plus account. And have none of these people heard of 'reading journals'???

Yeah, I'm not into the bit about paid journals, but the rest covers my feelings on us being more than one single community. At best, we are all a bunch of islands with loose affiliations to certain groups. It's--I don't know. Like he hasn't really paid attention to how *diverse* the groups here are.


So apparrently what he's saying is that next users will be able to vote people off the island lj?

but we self-police ourselves within our own diverse communities by fellow members

Yes. While this system is not always perfect (especially when it becomes caught up in shipping wars), it does work. I do think that Fandom_Wank does play an intergal part in holding fen to fandom community standards, and I've often wondered what fandom would look like without f_w.

I hate to say it, but I agree there, too. While F-W is not even close to ideal, it *does* tend to spotlight the worst of fannish excess and yes, there *is* grudgewank against certain people (and fandoms!), a lot of it does work to show what *not* to do or how not to behave in fandom.

Intercommunity, that's what moderators are *for*, for God's sake. Each LJ community has it's own careful rules for membership. It's not like we don't do a pretty good job at policing ourselves for the most part.

yeah, I don't want to be voted upon. I wish they would just either say that they won't accept adult material period and let us get on with our lives elsewhere or just back the fuck off. I know I'm getting crankier and crankier about this but fuck. I liked the internet better when it was just a lawless wasteland populated by geeks and completely uninteresting to mainstream society. *grumpy old woman*


I--yeah. I want something definitive already so I know where I stand. It's uncomfortable to feel the rumblings of unclear change and feel--well, a little hunted, to be honest. If they want us out, dammit, give us some kind of two week notice so we can move our people and our communities and our structure over intact. And so we can start working on an alternative.

*sighs in frustration*

It almost makes me feel like we're the Rom, unwanted on the Squire's property so we'd best hook up the wagons, gather together the children, and head on down the road to the next camping ground. Maybe the next Lord of the Manor will let us settle in for the winter if we promise not to steal too much.

I liked the internet better when it was just a lawless wasteland populated by geeks and completely uninteresting to mainstream society.

Hell yes! No argument here...

Man, I just--arg, you know? Every time I start to question whether or not I jumped the gun in deciding to bail from LJ for at least a year, Berkowitz does something to reassure me that I haven't.

Okay, let me see if I can be more coherent about why this bugs me. I had issues with how the original event (suspending journals on a whim of panic) was handled, for a lot of reasons. The biggest reason for me was and still is that LJ no longer feels like a safe space to journal, either personally or fannishly.

I am really uncomfortable with the idea of having my journal evaluated by Six Apart staff or a (selected) group of LJ users to determine if it meets their criteria for community. Not criteria for legality or compliance with TOS, but criteria for community. Despite hemming and hawing to the contrary, that is what Barak Berkowitz is doing here. He wants LJ to be appealing to the casual observer, and also to the casual investor. What he fails to understand is that you can't sanitize LJ to that level and keep it relevant or useful to the people who use it. There are people who use their journals in ways that disturb me, and I use my journal in ways that disturb other people, undoubtedly. LJ was not and should not be intended as a squeaky clean place for people to all share the same, sanitary opinions, hold hands, and skip merrily down the path to SixApart's IPO. LJ is, as beanie_j so aptly said, about diversity. Diversity is not, and can't ever be, a sanitary and sterilized thing. People will dissent, will share uncomfortable things, and will do things that make each other feel horrible. People will also agree, will share wonderful things, and will do things that make each other feel fantastic. There will be any number of things that fall in between and all around those two concepts. Community is and will be exactly what you want it to be, and what is wanted varies, depending on whom you ask and when you ask them. That may not appeal to investors or to Barak Berkowitz's dreams of becoming wealthy via IPO, but that is what makes LJ appealing to the people who use it.

I could not have said it better myself.


(Deleted comment)
I haven't responded, no. For me, that is because he is being told this so many times and in so many ways, and it doesn't seem to be having the desired effect. He is trying to micromanage a series of interlocking, but barely related communities as a single entity. That's impossible. He does not understand LJ, and he gives no indication that he wants to change this. So essentially, now he's looking for an out. He wants to be able to make decisions, and not have the same frenzied outcry that he got when they suspended all of those journals.

What I'm noticing with him is that he will make a statement, and people will respond to it. They will offer ideas, corrections, clarification, and all sorts of other, useful things. He will then continue with his original idea, but tweaked just enough that he appears to be considering the most vocal input he's getting, but what he's actually doing is trying to convince people that his idea is actually their idea. I find that troubling.

Diversity is the strength of LJ - this ideal they have come up with is only going to stifle that. If you give people that much power, inevitably they will abuse it. Abuse will stop being about dubious and/or illegal content and become about vendettas against a person or group of people based on what? A black person writing about their views of white people in a less than charitable way? Devout Christians going after homosexuals? Shippers using explicit fic as a way of getting rid of their rival ship's comm? Where do you draw the line?

I use my journal for many purposes - most people on LJ probably do. The idea that there would be some kind of panel to read the contents of my journal to assess my 'suitability' to blog on the LJ platform gives me the chills. I could write one thing that someone finds 'distasteful' and lose my whole blog because of that. That is wrong - making the non-objective masses of LJ to become it's sanitation commission will end in tears. Something Barak should take into account while he's thinking about his IPO. Investors aren't going to be interested in something that is dead in the water because people are constantly in fear of being shut down and go elsewhere.

I think they really need to step back and take a long hard look at what makes their community. LJ is made up of thousands of different types of communities, with many sub-types. You cannot police them all in the same way. Not to mention the users who make up these communities are from many different countries, with different cultural backgrounds and from different walks of life. My life experience is different from the next person - the next person's life might be a lovely bed of roses - mine certainly isn't and hasn't been.

In short, there is much in my particular microcosm of LJ that irritates and bothers me, but what kind of person would it make me if I voted, given the ability, to silence the voices of others??? I may not like what people have to say, but I don't have to listen to it. And my annoyance, or a communal vote thereof, should not be enough to take away the voice of anyone.

Oh no, not yet more boneheadedness from the landlord!

That "voted off the island" thing (good metaphor or whatever it is, btw) is most upsetting. Not only for the reality show feel, but for the likelihood of it turning LJ into a popularity contest. Or, rather, an unpopularity contest.

Well, we always knew they wanted to turn LJ into MySpace...

That part of the post made me shudder, and I stood frozen for a bout a while, and then I was so, well, weary fo trying to organise thoughts in a consistent and convincing way that I let it go. I'm still going to make my own website and move a lot fo content elsewhere, so...

But yes, these responses are exactly what I would have wanted to say. Yes.

(you know, though, that the come back goes along the line of "but Philadelphia, no matter its diverse communities, is entirely submitted to the laws of the state it's in AND the federal rules; so it's possible to create a set of rules that a variety of people can live with/in all the while attempting to PROTECT THU CHILDRENNE.")

that's pretty scary. I want rules abd not a moral policy! the communities can set up their moral policies up by themselves just fine.

I'm afraid that if this kind of system will be set up, people will uset for "I personally don't like thing X, so I will do everything to ban it for the others, too."

Yes, I found that extremely worrisome too.

I think it will certainly be interesting to see how this community vote goes, but I agree that they really don't understand how LJ actually works. And I think that because of that ignorance this is a bad idea. That said, well, it will be interesting to see if they go through with the vote what actually happens - because they have a lot of fannish users. My worry is that we will start seeing fannish groups going after each other, with vehement anti-slashers voting slash as immoral, some gen and slashers voting against chan or incest, some non-con dislikers voting that any non-con is immoral, etc.

You know, I don't have any undying loyalty to LJ - if they have decided that investors are more important than users and thus they want to create a more investor-friendly, less fan-friendly environment then they are entitled to do so. And I can leave LJ to those people who like what LJ will become.

My main concern as I see all of this unfolding is that I don't want to lose the fannish communities I am part of now (I don't mean literal communities, but all the webs we have to each other as private users). Everybody is saying I'm X over at wherever, but there doesn't seem to be a designated place where the vast majority of fans will migrate to. GJ seems the most likely one right now, but a lot of people are bringing up their corporate links already, suggesting similar things could happen there as on LJ. I just wish there could be someplace where we know everyone who leaves LJ will meet up again. I think that's what's disturbing me, the idea that if LJ goes then fans will scatter to various places and we'll have lost a centralized gathering place.

And if I understand his post correctly, this is always only above and beyond the legally deletable journals, i.e., he's trying to censor *more* rather than less...

let the community "vote" on what is acceptable content ..

LOL, whoever suggested or is going to explorer that idea, seemed to be having some serious good crack *g*

we are twelve or something million LJ here.
I wasn't aware, we had a ONE and ONLY community?!?!

they are going from one deep shit into another.

It's still sound like they want to create some sort of morality police state to me. They're just using different language. If they *really* wanted to protect the kids, why don't they make LJ 18+ only.


Not a good sign. We'll see what happens.

Wow, what a scary thing! Judging from my reading of comments on the news blogs, most mainstreamers think that fandom people are crazy and ridiculous. And we're a pretty small portion of the LJ community, even with fandom-counts granted. We could easily be overwhelmed and persecuted out of the whole LJ thing. *sad*

I hope he just said that to make people happy, without any intention of implementation.

This is why I'm glad I went ahead and made my InsaneJournal nice and comfy. For all I know, it may end up sucking over there, but at least Squeaky knows how to say the right things to us.

Yeah, I saw that and went "fuck no".

As significant a chunk of LJ as fandom is, I'm pretty sure it's still outnumbered by the kind of asswarts who show up in news and stupid_free to go "HUR HUR HARRY POTTER NERDS". Thanks, Barak, I really want them to have a say in what I write.

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