elionwyr: (head piano)

So much for the reassurance that no change to the current set-up was going to happen.
(ETA: Ok, so this official response, sent out at the time, doesn't actually say 'no we won't be changing that'.)

And - YET! AGAIN! - it's a change that was made with no heads-up to the user base.

(You can see this for yourself. It's *not* just a new account thingala. If you go to your user page, the option to change your gender to 'unspecified' is no longer there. Which, frankly, ticks me right the hell off. I chose 'unspecified,' and I really don't like that - with no notification to me - my choice was changed to 'it's personal.' So yeah, disbelievers. This is NOT a 'lie' or 'misinformation' or 'overreaction', as was, um, shall we say 'suggested' last month. This is real, it's happened with no notice given, and it affects all users.)

If *ONLY* because of the upset within the user base about the proposed 'let's force new account holders to specify a gender' change last month (and ONLY caught because someone looked at the code; this time around, it wasn't caught), you'd think that the Powers That Be would have said, "Oh, so, yeah, we're gonna make a change after all."

Or is that just me falsely expecting logic?

You know the drill. If you give a rip - and many of you don't, and won't until changes are made that affect you personally..which will happen - let LJ know.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] azurelunatic points me to this proposed change:

(The link also shows the history of changes being made, so if you wish to accuse me of 'lying' about any of this, should the change have gone into play before read this? Don't.)

ETA also: This comment, also by [livejournal.com profile] azurelunatic, clarifies things even more. (Much thanks!)
elionwyr: (Default)
Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns. We understand that gender is not binary, and intend to respect that understanding for our users.

At this time, the code you reference is not live on the site, and will not become so in the future. We know that you, and many other users, have serious concerns about any requirement to specify gender, so we'd like to take a moment to explain events and our position further.

The intention of this code was to change the sign-up process to include a field for the selection of gender; that the code would completely disable the "Unspecified" option at the same time was deemed unacceptable. While the code in question had gone to our beta (testing) server, it had not gone to our production server, and will not do so due to this problem. Furthermore, we'd like to clarify that code posted to the changelog community is not always final, as such code must then go through the beta testing process and can often be changed before actual implementation.

Additionally, some erroneous information has been spread regarding the potential public display of the gender field. We would like to clarify that gender is not currently publicly displayed on the profile, nor anywhere else on the site, and there are no plans to change this behavior.

LiveJournal Community Care Team

ETA: Linked mostly for my own reference, but also a dang good 'yes this is a serious matter': http://zarhooie.livejournal.com/1741857.html
elionwyr: (evil)

Currently, you can - under your 'personal info' link - tell LJ if you are male, female, or 'unspecified.' What the links in the above post show is that the new code push for LJ will take away the 'unspecified' option when you create a new account.

For many people, gender ID - regardless of where it happens - is a Pretty Big Deal. It's pretty grey as to whether or not a user will be able to change that gender ID portion of their profile after the fact.

Dang good post about why this matters is here.

If the idea of being forced to identify yourself by your plumbing matters to you, there's a push to change your gender selection to 'unspecified' here and leave a comment POLITELY expressing your concern about this proposed change here.

ETA: Apparently not an issue (though I still think awareness of it is good and I'm leaving my gender unspecified.)

ETA 2: Just for reference (as I'm prickly about being accused of this being an issue of being 'misinformed') this is the bit of code in question that will not be used and specifies that yes, gender must be specified and NO it's not an oops:

+widget.createaccount.error.nogender=Gender must be specified.

+ $from_post{errors}->{gender} = $class->ml('widget.createaccount.error.nogender')
unless $post->{gender} =~ /^M|F$/;
elionwyr: (write hard die free)
There's not been much posted - that I've seen - to give us a clear idea of what impact the strike on Friday had.

There are some stats being batted around that indicate posting was down by 13% from the day before.
There's discussion about whether or not that could have been partially attributed to the day of the strike being Good Friday.
There's a question about how that compares to last year. (No data yet that I know of.)

There's a heckuva good chance that the percentage could have been higher had people that were opposed to the strike not gone out of their way to generate an excess of content to combat our lack of content.

Frankly, I am shocked that people were so moved by the idea of the strike that they decided to sabotage the effort. But there are enough people bragging about it that I have to reluctantly accept the reality of that reaction.

What a shame.

However, consider:

The idea of the strike inspired Nossik to belittle the concept to the press.
The action of the strike inspired people to generate more content than they normally would have.

Amazing how the decision of a bunch of people to protest with silence the actions of the owners of LJ generated so many reactions.

Amazing how much power silence can have.

Will our strike make a difference in the long run? I don't know. Sadly, I am one of many that believes the only vote that will actually count is the financial one.

Can I be persuaded to continue to financially support LJ? No. I may do so for another month while I finish my preparations to house my blog elsewhere; but, ultimately, I do not have faith that the owners of LJ will stop making business decisions that affect us without talking to us first. So much, SO MUCH, of what has gone wrong over the past few years could have been averted had The Powers That Be chose to communicate with us, the users of LJ. Instead, decisions and changes have been made with no warning, with no communciation, and then there's been backpedaling and apologies offered...until the next time.

I see no reason to not believe there will continue to be censorship here on LJ.
As it stands right now, the owners of LJ are perfectly willing to lie to us about their actions - example: claiming the dropping of certain interests from the daily top interests list was a bug when it clearly was NOT.

I believe accounts will continue to be deleted with no warning, for no reason other than a wrongly perceived issue - as in the deletion of communities created to discuss Lolita, for fear this was promoting child pornography.
I believe decisions will continue to be made about the management of LJ despite the opinions of folks on the LJ Advisory Board, like, oh, the creator of LJ.

I know many of you feel the changes made, and the arguments raised, have not affected you, because you do not write fan fiction, or create fan art. You don't feel affected by the changes made to sanitize the face of LJ to the general viewing public.

I hope you're right. Because I do love LJ, and I would love to be proven wrong about where I see the changes leading us. But each time LJ screws up, I grow less and less surprised. And I believe with all of my heart that we will each find ourselves affected by these changes, and voicing our displeasure with our lack of money, or with our silence.

LJ Strike

Mar. 20th, 2008 10:50 pm
elionwyr: (write hard die free)

I am participating (albeit a bit late) in the LJ strike...to compensate, I will stay dark until 11PM Friday night.

This is not a dummy account, created to falsify the numbers of accounts producing no content.

I love the community that is LJ.
I have paid for the service because I value the service, and I appreciate the changes and growth that has happened here since I first signed up in 2004.

I am participating in this strike, just as I have marched in protests and signed petitions and written letters, because I believe it is important to exercise one's right to say this is wrong.

The repeated attitude of 'corporate' LJ towards its users is wrong.
This list of grievances details these wrongs.
Trying to create a sanitized public vision of LJ by deleting accounts with no warnings, by altering data to remove 'undesirable' interests from 'most popular' interests lists - these things are wrong.

I am a writer. I am a bisexual woman. I struggle with depression. I am a long-time financial supporter of LJ. I exist.

Our voices, our content on LJ, our financial support of LJ, matter.

As does our silence.

/turn off light
elionwyr: (Default)
Anton Nossik has more than one LJ; he posts an explanation of the article I quoted yesterday here:


He claims to be misinterpreted.

In the comments:
* Another Russian-speaking user disputes Mr. Nossik's claim of being misinterpreted.
* He is invited by the editor of Firefox news to 'set the record straight'.
* The editor-in-chief of izbrannoe.ru offers to make the audio file of his interview available for review, as a response to his claim that his original words were misinterpreted/misrepresented.
elionwyr: (Default)
Found here.
Interesting that SUP is the victim, and there is no mention of changes made with no communication to LJ users - over, and over, and over again; nor is there an attempt to address the idea that SUP has been trying to sanitize the public face of LJ to attract investors; NOR, hey, um, actually..having LJ advertisers called DID cause the policy change which sparked mass journal deletion by management with - say it with me! - no communication beforehand.

Oh, and Mr. Nosik? I'm not a fake LJ user. My accounts were not created just for Friday's strike. And I am offended by your blanket accusation of such in this article.

Anton Nosik, The director of the blog division of SUP corporations, explained to the reporter of "AND" magazine what is preventing the administrators of Livejournal from cancelling the decision which discriminates new users of LJ that joined after 12th of March

Users that are unhappy about the fact that the right to a base account is reserved only for bloggers that registered before the 12th of march, are calling for a boycott of your resource. How massive do you expect this boycott to be?

I don't know any of LJ posters familiar to me, those I have friended and commented, that would want to join said boycott. I honestly don't know any people that would seriously take up that initiative. So I am presuming such an idea to be marginal at best. Something like calling all the advertisers in the American section of livejournal and calling on them to cancel their ads

Have they actually called them?

Of course not. Where will you find such idiots that will call serious companies? It's one thing - to call a newspaper in hope that they will give you 15 minutes of fame on their page. But a proper firm? The first thing you'll get asked is "so who exactly are you trying to reach? What is this about and why the hell should we care?"

So you're sure there will be no boycott?

No, I didn't say that. Because any person can create several hundred fake LJ accounts, comment in them that on the 21st of march I will be silent in protest. Then you journalists can quote those fake users and list the names of those that were silent that day. And add a cute catchprase like "that's just the top of the iceberg".

Do you believe then that there's no real reason for LJ users to be upset?

First let's try an understand what constitutes a base account. At one point those accounts were the main offering on LJ. Due to the poor financial situation of the creators, the lack of money for development. And that's when LJ was not a business, it was a hobby for students. Then users were told, and I quote, "Even if you pay, you will receive NOTHING extra for it. Your money is a donation. Do you like the project? Donate!" Such a model was in place from 1999 to 2005. Base accounts are inherited from this model and the mentality that went with it, a part of which is the fact that banners are evil.

Since then a few things happened, both with LiveJournal, and with those that carried with them such a mentality. Compared to a paid account, the features offered in a base account are Spartan. To give such anachronistic features to new users should not be standard practice. Kind of like mobile phones of the early 90's.

But there are people, who don't need smartphones, and just need a communications device for the minimal affordable price. Let's say I want to start a blog in LJ, but I hate advertising as a concept in our lives and I have no money for a paid account. I can't?

Today you will not be able to start a blog in LJ. As you would not, for example, on mail.ru, google, yahoo... There no longer exists an entity on the web, which, without specifically being a charity, would refise to make money - be it from users or from advertising. This is normal, you don't walk into a store and ask for free products.

So you're saying your service is the last in the world that turns down charity?

Actually the charity was turned down, in effect, not by LJ but by its users. Over the last 2 years base account registrations cover about 10 percent of new users. And a good portion of those are virtual, created by already existing users for spamming, increasing search engine ratings, leaving comments that would get their account banned. So there is no real demand for base accounts, it's not a viable product. So we took it off the shelf. Users of existing accounts are still not forbidden to make their accounts base accounts (if they want to switch from driving a Mercedes to a Zaporozets [car shittier than a yugo -translator])

So why would you not grant new users the opportunity to lose their mind in such a way?

In my opinion, they should be given that option. But since the new rules there hasn't been a single verifiable person who would have claimed that his right to a base account has been violated. Nonetheless, I don't believe we should forbid bloggers that join after the 12th of march to downgrade sponsored or paid accounts into base accounts. I hope we will make the matching change. But this does not depend on me, it will be the collective decision of the company.

When will that decision be made?

That's the problem. Because of the blackmail that has begun, our hands are tied.


Let's say, I say to you, mr. Journalist, "I think you put an extra comma here". Your natural reaction is "Oh, you're right" or "Let's ask the editor". But if I come to you and say "Take away the comma or I will beat you" Will you really go checking your spelling after that?

In a situation where people are trying to scare and blackmail us, threatening to destroy our business, there are business reasons for not rewarding such behaviour. This is not just human psychology, which retaliates more the more it is pressed. Problem is that there's never been a successful company whose success was based on bowing to collective resistant forces. No decision - no matter how correct -should be based on pressure.

It would be more prudent to review this decision in the coming days. But smart corporate politics dictate that we must now wait for the boycott. Let it come. So that the subject of people's frustrations, threats and scares will be closed. And then we can discuss the problem in detail.

This is not the first challenge issued to LJ in the last few years

How effective are these challenges?

So effective, that during the first year (from October 2006 until the end of 2007) of our work with LJ, its user base (who were actively persuaded to stop using LJ because the "Kremlin" and the "KGB" were now behind it), has doubled, from 700 thousand to 1.5 million users.

The audience of LJ is divided into 3 groups. There is the silent majority, which uses LJ for their own needs and is indifferent to who, when and with what money made such a resource and supports it. There are the positive minority (7-10 percent in the Russian LJ), these people like LJ, they consider it useful and want it to develop further. They help us, including constructive criticism, thanks to which we correct our mistakes. And there is the third category. They endlessly, during the entire existence of LJ promote lour initiatives, whose only purpose is to bring harm to LJ, its founders, their goal is to criticize, destablilize and ruin our reputation. They are usually motivated by wanting to attract attention to themselves. And they are successful every time.

Their rhetoric is always the same - regardless of whether one blogs in English from California or in Russian in Moscow. These are the people that at one time wanted Brad Fitzpatrick to resign, when he was the sole lead of LJ. They asked to call each advertiser which cooperated with LK and to threaten them with harm to their reputation, if he doesn't stop putting ads on LJ. They advocated going to competing platforms first for one reason, then another.

It's understandable that journalists need sensations. A scandal in LJ -it's good material. The amount of corrections that LJ received, the amount of improvements and time spent on development, of course noone cares about that.

The administration has reversed or corrected decisions, published apologies, restored accounts which were blocked due to differing points of view, made corrections to rules of use... With constructive dialog with LJ users, we can reform anything.
elionwyr: (write hard die free)
Anton Nosik, Chief Blogging Officer, SUP and LJ user [livejournal.com profile] dolboeb - info here, posted in his Russian blog today that:

"In this situation, where they attempt to blackmail and to intimidate us, threatening to destroy our business, there is a business-reason not to reward this behavior. This is not the simple reaction of being more resistant the more pressure is applied. The fact is that through history no successful enterprise runs by being subjugated by unfriendly forces. No change, even the most correct one, will not experience some resistance."

This rather startling message is taken from http://www.izbrannoe.info/30184.html, translated via Babel Fish (pending a more accurate translation), originally posted about at http://news.livejournal.com/106909.html?thread=70316701#t70316701

Um. Apparently, folks, that content strike on Friday? Really is being taken seriously.

..And considered blackmail.

Another article here.

Really, do consider being part of the content strike. Details below. )
elionwyr: (Default)
I received this email tonight:
Below is an answer to your support question regarding "^^censoring of
interests list"


Thank you for contacting us about this matter.

We became aware of an issue which involved the most popular interests
list over this past weekend. The list has been restored to the proper
format today.

We apologize, and this will not happen again. It was never the
intention to insult anyone or to make a judgment on the content of these


More info on what happened here:
elionwyr: (cupcake)
In yet another move that passive aggressively says, "Hey, fandom and non-straight people, we don't want your kind here!", LJ management has decided to censor its popular interests list.

""Using the wayback machine, I was able to compare Livejournal popular interests from May, 2007, with those of today. In order of size, these are the interests SUP has disappeared from the daily popular interests report:

Sex, Boys, Guys, Girls, Fanfiction, Yaoi, Hardcore, Porn, Bondage, Faeries, Pain, Depression, and Bisexuality." - [livejournal.com profile] stewardess

In effect, this is LJ saying, 'O HAI! No one here is actually listing faeries as an interest - la la la, we can't HEAR you! Don't be scared away, potential investors! Ain't no faery-lovin' bisexual bondage boys on LJ! Nuh-uh!"

Oh, and? Was there any sort of formal announcement about this?

Gee. What do YOU think?

http://shadesong.livejournal.com/3538128.html - news link and a more thorough update

http://news.livejournal.com/106909.html?thread=69992605 - one user's very thorough response and challenge

I'll repeat what I've been saying all along...these changes WILL affect you eventually.
They attacked breast feeding icons. Ehhhhh...not such a big thing.
They attacked fan fic, in a Very Sneakily Timed way. Ehhh...not everyone reads or writes fan fic.
They deleted LJs for inappropriate content without fair warning being given to the users to fix what was being flagged. Ehhhh...it wasn't that many accounts. What's the big deal?
They're now censoring their own reports so that the daily count doesn't truly reflect what its users are listing as interests. The inclusion of bisexuality and depression is very telling, IMO, and while I do not list them as interests hey, lookit that! A direct hit! Well...but you can still HAVE those interests, so, who cares?

Most of these changes have happened with little to no communication with the users of LJ, despite promises of doing so *next* time each time they get caught not doing it.

It matters.
Don't fool yourself. It's going to get worse.

If you don't follow the links, do consider joining up with two protests.

ETA: "Also if you can encourage people to Digg this: http://www.illusiontv.com/news/2008/03/livejournal-vs-fandom-again/ we're hoping to get it to rise to the top as one salve in a making Wired or Boing Boing or something write about LJ's biggotry. It's fan-focused because that's the outlet in question, but it mentions the depression and bisexuality problem as well." - [livejournal.com profile] rm

1) Postcard writing campaign
Honest, it's easy. )

2) Content strike, proposed by [livejournal.com profile] beckyzoole
The one-day content strike is on for this Friday, March 21, from midnight GMT to midnight GMT.

For 24 hours, we will not post or comment to LJ. Not in our own journals, not in communities. Not publicly, privately, or under friends-lock.

This is a protest that will have long-lasting effects, showing up forever in the daily posting statistics.

This is a protest that will not harm LJ in the long run, as leaving LJ might do.

This is a protest that will demonstrate the power of community, as all users unite to support Basic users and the concept of adfree space.

This is a protest that will educate the new owners that LJ is driven by user-created content.

How Can I Help?

DO post about this in your own LJ.
DO post and comment about it in appropriate communities.
DO remember that it's based on Greenwich Mean Time, which may not be your local time.
DO turn off LoudTwitter and your RSS feeds for 24 hours.
DO feel free to friend me for updates, and defriend when the strike is over.

DON'T forget to get permission from community mods before making an off-topic post or comment about the strike.
DON'T be spammy with your posts or comments about the strike.
DON'T forget to turn your LoudTwitter and RSS feeds back on when the strike is over.
elionwyr: (cupcake)
When LiveJournal, Inc., was launched in December the new team made it very clear that LiveJournal was going to change. We also said that we would respect the values and legacy of LiveJournal. But, we can’t ignore the fact that as LiveJournal nears its second decade it needs to make some business decisions.

Over the past 24 hours many of you have asked whether the changes to the account structure (removing the option of creating new basic accounts) is a business decision. It is, emphatically.

Overnight you also raised legitimate concerns about how this change was unveiled - message received, loud and clear. We're still working out how to strike just the right tone when communicating with such a diverse and complex collection of communities.

(/commentary on -- Oh, puh-leeze. If management hasn't figured out yet how exactly LJ users wish to be informed of policy changes? They are beyond willfully stupid. - /commentary off)

LiveJournal has been run as a business from its humble beginnings. Since then, it has grown into a pretty successful company: blazing a trail for blogging and journaling, providing employment for many people, building a community of volunteers, and creating a culture of openness and collaboration which is admired across the globe.

And we are building on this heritage. That means new ideas, new features, new colleagues, new offices, new technology, new hosting facilities, new products, new policies and, yes, a new account structure.

The changes will require not only an investment in time, energy and money from us but also engagement, understanding and ideas from all of you.

(/commentary on -- "So lay down, flip over, and take it, beyotches. With no lube. Because this is emphatically about what WE want." /commentary off)

We hope you will embrace the new features that we introduce+ and you may certainly criticize the ones you don’t care for. But to make our intentions clear, LiveJournal needs to develop: we don’t intend to undermine the culture of LiveJournal, we intend to invest in it.


As always, the users are quick to cry b***shit. Thank goodness.

+ See? I'm not imagining the 'no lube' thing.
elionwyr: (write hard die free)
And this screw up is a whole new kind of sneaky.

It's not a 'hey let's change policy when we know a huge chunk of our users won't be around to notice' thing.

No, it's a 'hey let's change policy in a way that the creator of LJ has recommended against, and let's do it as an oh-by-the-way in a news post'.

As of yesterday, new free accounts on LJ will have ads.
Lack of ads has been one of LJ's strongest selling points with users, and the existence of them seemed to be a guaranteed thing.

Is it a huge thing? Depends.
Does it affect those of us who pay for our accounts? Not really.
Does it affect those of us that have existing free accounts? Not yet.
Is it yet another a suck-ass way to do business? Yup.

Read more here:

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