LiveJournal is Teh Evil, Film at 11

19 03 2008

So apparently there’s a content strike planned for Friday. Other than restricting basic accounts — which I suppose makes economic sense even if it’s gonna let the competition still offering free accounts eat them alive — I can’t seem to find a straight scoop on WHY there is evil afoot beyond that. I’ve heard vague rumblings about banning searching for “fanfiction” or “depression” which just seems abjectly silly. Can someone clarify in comments below, so I can work up a proper head of foaming rage? Thanks.

Even if LJ is evil, this has been my home for eight years. I’m not prepared to bail out and establish a blog somewhere else. My friends are here. My legacy is here. There’s very little say in the matter beyond that. Thankfully I use it as a basic creative soapbox and public log, not as a hotbed of controversy, so I’m rarely impacted by things like this. And don’t start quoting that damn “First they came for the foo” poem at me, thanks… it’s trite by now.

Still, if they are being stupid, I wouldn’t mind not posting on Friday. It’s not like I post EVERY day. *shrug* What’s the score here?

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21 responses

19 03 2008
19 03 2008
shadrad

I heard it was because they restricted the accounts without telling the Advisory board about it or announcing it correctly or something.
I dunno, I’m busy protesting something more important than LJ :U

19 03 2008
19 03 2008
ladybrick

Cool. I hadn’t really been paying attention. I already stopped giving LJ money but don’t plan on leaving, so…

19 03 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I dunno, I’m busy protesting something more important than LJ :U
A good perspective to have. Too many people fail to realize that fighting for their little Internet Dramas do not actually improve the world in any meaningful way. There’s enough true evils out there one can go butt heads with if they want to actually help.

19 03 2008
gothstar

Basically-
LJ got rid of any new basic accounts, a move which, when they vaguely mentioned it to the advisory board, they were told it was a bad idea. When they actually went ahead and did it they didn’t tell the advisory board.
They also for like a day or removed some things from the top interests pages ranging from fanfiction ro fairies to bisexuality to depression.
They’re crazy russians. I mean yeah, it sucks, but it’s a company. They just are having a hard time with realizing that the people with free basic accounts make a lot of the content that keeps the paying premium users here.
I’m not striking. I’m also not abstaining from posting due to good friday, lol.

19 03 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Much ado about nothing, definitely. I wouldn’t doubt LJ’s parent company would like to brush under the rug the things LJ is in/famous for, much as Linden Labs would really like people to stop thinking of Second Life as That Bondage Furry Griefer Palace K-Mart Kingdom, but unless they actually do something to stop that I don’t care. Accidentally knocking some keywords off a most popular tags list doesn’t count.

19 03 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I’m surprised nobody’s namedropped communist conspiracies yet. (Added irony to them dumping free accounts in favor of cold hard cash!)
Dropping free accounts is a really dangerous business move. Other social networking and blog sites have free accounts, ergo, LJ must as well or they risk being rendered even more irrelevant. It eats into profit margins, but it’s better than an exodus of your content into the free-account rich playgrounds of your enemies.

19 03 2008
shadrad

Well, of course my activism choice gets poo-pooed by anti-war activists or other such people, but I say that human rights is a fine cause to take up, and no more or less important than their own human rights activism.
Ah well. The internet isn’t as serious as I thought it used to be.

19 03 2008
gothstar

oh, they have, and there’s a poorly translated article floating around that the guy in charge of the blog division of SUP did. I mean, I guess it’s an alright translation, but the translator made some interesting word choices in ambiguous situations to make what the SUP man was saying sound even worse.
They didn’t drop FREE accounts, they dropped BASIC accounts. If you want free, you get ads, which is how most other sites are. I mean, from a business POV this could be an ok move, it may not, but the way they’re handling it is sort of shitty.

19 03 2008
cmdr_zoom

As I commented elsewhere – they said they’d create an Advisory Board, not that they’d actually listen to it.

19 03 2008
jengagne

Even if they deliberately knocked them off… and put them back… case closed eh?

19 03 2008
jadeleopard

I’m participating in the strike because of the way it was handled. They provided no notice, and did not inform the user base at all. When people complained they said that they changed it to make the sign up process simpler (obvious lie is obvious). I’m not upset that they removed the basic account, I’m upset that they are treating their customers like crap.

19 03 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

It is all pretty dumb, yeah. So hey, strike all you like. :) I have no objections. I’m just glad it’s simple idiocy and not malice.

19 03 2008
danel4d

Well, yeah – I mean, it’s an Advisory Board – gives them advice to which they may or may not choose to listen. If it was something else, it should really have a different name.

19 03 2008
danel4d

From what I can tell, it’s a mixture of all the pre-existing fannish resentment from previous events bubbling up again, motivated in part by a few rather minor and perhaps understandable actions by SUP, but fairly poorly handled.
The first is that from a few days ago, new users will have to choose between Paid or Plus(with ads). Used to be you could have Basic, which was primitive but both free and ad-less. As Nosik pointed out in the Interview of Doom, not only are Basic accounts really primitive, but they’re basically a charitable service – they receive no income from them at all. Moreover, he also claims that hardly any new users get them anyway, and those who do are sockpuppets and stuff. Well, fair enough – but sockpuppets can be fun too, and are popular with the role-playing crowd.
The real problem was the way they handled it, however – rather than announcing it, they tried to sneak it through, and then claimed it was done so as not to confuse new users.
Then, into an atmosphere of some anger and tension, someone discovers that they apparently removed a bunch of sex-type possibly controversial things from the big list of most popular interests. It was fairly obvious to me that this was done to make it difficult for hacks to just write stupid articles about “Filthy Interwebs Lifejournals with Sex and Depression”. Unfortunately, the people who discovered it were in no real mood to be charitable, and geeed each other up into perceiving this as a direct homophobic attack upon them personally. It was in turn poorly reported and passed on, eventually reaching everyone as that LJ were to directly ban or censor all of these things.
What. A. Kerfuffle.

19 03 2008
lirazel

I still give LJ money (picture lady likes pictures). I kind of believe in paying for what I use, since I can pay–and no ads once I sign in is a good thing. No ads at all would be a better thing, but servers and electricity and programmers aren’t free.
That being said, the whole take-what-we-give-you-and-like-it thing will not fly long in the West, you cute l’il Russkies! Just sayin’.

20 03 2008
damienroc

I’m not sure that’s really a fair perspective. It’s essentially saying that if something isn’t truly meaningful, it’s not worth fighting for at all. Which causes all sorts of problems because of the subjectivity on what’s truly meaningful, not to mention other issues with ignoring the ‘little things’.
This isn’t really an issue of activism. It’s a disagreement between a company and its customers (past, present, or potential). While it hasn’t affected me personally, I can see the point that if the company isn’t providing an adequate service, the customers can and should complain about it.

20 03 2008
jengagne

I believe he’s referring to Shadra’s recent efforts in real-life protests for larger causes than customer service.
That doesn’t mean he’s saying “it isn’t truly meaningful” or that “it’s not worth fighting for at all.” Oy vey.

20 03 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Correct. I meant that a customer service issue is a bit trumped by gross violations of human rights. Both are good things to fight for but it’s important to have a sense of perspective, and many INTARWEB DRAMAS lack that, overemotionally assigning life and death importance to what’s really just a matter of economics and service agreements. Bring the proper level of combat to the battle, eh?

21 03 2008
Anonymous

Very funny…
The fact that they’d be willing to cripple their user base was really entertaining to see, especially since I recently saw an illustration that showed how the majority of blogs in existence link up to each other. It had one little clump off to one edge that barely connected to the rest of the blogosphere, and there was a footnote pointing out the clump as LiveJournal. Heh.
-NeoVid

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