im - mask
  • atrata

vague sort-of update

Hey everyone.

Been a while, hasn't it? Yeah. There isn't much of an update, I don't think, and I'm not sure what to say. I remain of the opinion that LJ isn't really the best home for fandom. The issue, though, is that there aren't a lot of options. People (myself included) aren't going to leave LJ for greener pastures unless the pastures are quite shiny (in terms of awesome features and ease of transition) and their friends are there. A fannish journaling site has the potential to be amazing, but it would definitely not be easy or cheap or smooth sailing. It requires a lot of resources and knowledge and skills that I don't personally have, and I don't know if I could find them. I'm working on it, in a fills-the-empty-spaces-of-my-time sort of way, but there aren't a lot of those.

I still think about it, though, all the time; for a while I was thinking maybe it could live on the Google App Engine, but there's a no-porn policy, so that idea died within about five minutes of inception. It was attractive, though, because it took all the infrastructure issues away. Alas.

So, yeah, I don't know. I'm still thinking and talking and recruiting and brainstorming and occasionally hacking and coming up with insane ideas. Maybe the thing could be distributed, maybe the porn could be encrypted on the server and decrypted by the browser, maybe the thing could be on a pre-existing platform so all we'd need to do is write a few plugins and package everything together, etc. The leaving LJ idea isn't dead, but I'm not as optimistic as I once was that it can happen soon (obviously). So I feel like right now the thing to do is try to make the best of the situation here.

To that end, please vote in the LJ Advisory Board elections. Others have discussed it at length in more eloquent terms than I have time for right now, but the point is that if we want a fannish representative on the board, we need to make our voices heard. There's more information at fandom_votes, so please check it out and vote if you haven't already done so. You've got till Thursday, 9pm PDT.

ETA: There are some comments coming in regarding the status of other projects, so I figured I should link them.
  • Current Mood

Introducing LJ United

Hi. My name's Mark. Some of you might know me from as LJ's first "All things Business" Manager in the early, freewheeling days of the site before it started becoming yet another dotcom.

Recently, I created ljunited -- a coalition of LiveJournal users dedicated to putting forth a slate of two qualified candidates for the upcoming LJ advisory elections, drawn from individuals who believe strongly in the original promise of LiveJournal.

Specifically, we believe in:

Working with the community, for the community.
Honoring the status of every account.
(That means supporting and championing your free speech!)
Maintaining the uptime and performance of the site.
Staying advertisement free.
Never sending unsolicited e-mail.
Supporting the Free Software movement.
and ...
Protecting your privacy.

It's a simple promise. A list of goals to aspire to that plenty of LiveJournal members theoretically believe in.

... and yet, it doesn't always work out that way in practice, does it?!

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That's why I stress the need for unity. Because, this isn't just about you. It's about us.

Join LJ United

Help us take strong, principled steps to bring back our rights, and to resist further attacks on our fellow LJers. 

We're looking for members who aren't willing to cave on issues involving the rights of any LJer, just because they happen to be an early adopter, or a breastfeeding mother, a survivor of child molestation, a sex-positive advocate, a Harry Potter fan, a Russian teen angry at the police, a Chinese dissident, a person who glorifies drugs, a person who worships a banned religion... or you.

"I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write." - Voltaire

As we've seen, it's too easy to scapegoat one community or group of people.  That's why we need unity. Help us appoint representatives for LiveJournal who aren't *just* strongly supportive of fandom, but of ALL the promises that were made to us over the years, and of ALL our rights and freedoms.   

I don't care whether you are still on LiveJournal or have let your account go inactive, having moved on elsewhere.  There is still a fight to be fought, an argument to be made, and a reason to cast your vote and try and turn back the tide.

If you feel powerless and alone in the fight, but know some friends who feel the same way, spread the word, because WE WANT YOU.
If you would like to run as a LJ United candidate, embracing the promise of the site and representing us all, WE WANT YOU.
If you are tired, dispirited, frustrated... ready to pack it all in, but hanging around on LJ for the sake of your friends, WE WANT YOU. 
If you are tired of watching your friends be targeted, and wonder what will be next, WE WANT YOU.
If you personally have no worries and no fears, but you can't stand LJ's policies anymore, WE WANT YOU.  

Join LJ United.
Let's stand together. 
im - mask
  • atrata

the following are presented without comment. except for the parts with comments.

This is stuff from the mod queue and my inbox. I really love that you guys submit posts and links, and I really hate that giant red "reject" button, but I think it's better to try and round up links in news posts than fill up the f-lists of a couple thousand people (!!) with small chunks of info.
Now, in regards to the name post... we're not there yet, but I think we're getting closer. Some thoughts:
  • I agree with the many people who are against having the word "fan" in the name, because we don't want to alienate non-fen.
  • If, however, we're intent on something with that f-a-n letter combo, we should look for something where it's subtle, already part of a larger word (e.g., "fanfare," suggested here (with others) by copinggoggles).
  • I also don't think we want to be all INTRNETZ IZ SRS BIZNEZ about it, so we should go for something with a hint of whimsy.
  • tekanji makes a good suggestion here: "I would recommend combining two words that describe what kind of service you're offering (ala. Live Journal, Word Press, Type Pad). Maybe figure out what features will make your service stand out and create a name from that."
Further thoughts and suggestions? Keep 'em coming! I am obviously unfit to make naming decisions, because the Mafia fangirl in me will go with "Our Thing" and call it good. Remember that we can also make up a word or egregiously misspell something. It's the web2.0 way!

the virtues of going non-profit

elements  has another great post about users, representation, and "impossible possibilities" that we should all be reading. Many of the ideas listed are relevant to the project being discussed here. Snip:

"The only way we can move en masse to another site is if it's something with what we need built right in to the way it's structured. And oddly enough, the main thing we need is NOT "freedom of speech" or assurances that the site is fan-owned or pro-fan. What we need is a site that is designed with user needs taking explicit priority over profit, and with a user voice built in and guaranteed from the ground up.

What I mean by users over profit is not that the site can't make money. What I mean is that the goal of the people running the site shouldn't be making the site look good - ie, be "monetizable" - with the primary purpose of eventually selling to a bigger company or holding an IPO that will make the original financers of the project rich.

This needs to be a site created for the public good, and the public good ain't ever made folks rich.

Luckily, it's possible to run a small company without the need for insane growth and glittering visions of IPOs - provided you can get past the initial investment period and then get and keep enough regular customers to pay your bills and salaries. Even better, if the site were part of a nonprofit, there'd be a built in prohibition on IPOs and sellouts (though being a nonprofit is not a guarantee an organization will be well-run). Nonprofit doesn't have to mean financially struggling, or even poorly-paying for employees. It just means, not driven by the desire for exponentially maximized profit made on the backs of an uncompensated and unrepresented user base. It means, operating a public good.

So one possible long-term way out is the </a></b></a>otw_news model, whether or not a blogging service would be part of the fanarchive project. Another is some of what’s being discussed over at </a></b></a>fandom_flies. I lean right now to thinking it oughtn't be quite exactly either, because fans are better protected when intermingled with non-fen, and because, heck, I want to take all my Livejournal community with me, not just the fandom part of LJ. This journal isn't even a very fandomish journal. I want this site for a lot more than fandom, and I think other people would too.

A lot of comments to my User as Citizen post mentioned modeling after a credit union. I like that idea (it's the core of my stakeholder model for reforming existing sites, mentioned later). There are a lot of options when you're starting fresh and you want to be user-owned. As a company, you can choose a stakeholder/shareholder route; as a nonprofit, you can choose various types of membership; there are possibilities for combining in odd and exciting ways, with some legal consultation of course. I'd love to see these ideas built in from the ground up to </a></b></a>fandom_flies."
im - mask
  • atrata

weekend update

Howdy, fandom.

The technobabble update is that I'm in the process of setting up a dev box. I've got the subversion repository set up, and now I need to configure it to allow multiple users. Then I need to install TRAC, and hook it in to the resository. Then we get coding. The dev team itself is not quite hammered out yet, but it's close. I still have e-mails to send and e-mails to read and e-mails e-mails e-mails, but once the hammering is done, I'll let you guys know who is rocking the behind-the-scenes development work.

One thing I really need to get better at is sorting or noting comments as they come in. I didn't make a running list of name suggestions as they appeared in my inbox, so it took me forever to go through the five pages of comments on that post and find them. Here they are:
  • our thing (okay, that's stil me, but a few of you said you liked it!)
  • postnet
  • crack rack
  • fanthing
  • fandomain
  • sanctuary
  • fantastica
  • fan_freed
  • zippy
  • fandom world
  • fanverse
  • fanspire
  • fanspiration
  • archnalunity
  • the place (because it's time)
  • fanhaven

Other suggestions?

And, last but not least, I set up fandom_flutter as a place to vent, share, post essays, etc. It's still moderated, in order to keep out spammers/advertisers/whatever, but I hope people who are interested in discussing the further implications of the exodus will head over there. I'm going to clear out the mod queue for this comm, and I hope anything that gets rejected will end up over there. I guess I'd like to try to keep this community for Project-related updates. I dunno. It's a fuzzy line. And I've maybe had some drinks, so it's clearly time to step away from the laptop.

"The User as Citizen"

Taken from robin_anne_reid  : "User Generated Content" & Ownership: The User as Citizen.

This is a great post, and I suggest everyone read it. Many of the issues we've discussed here are also brought up there. One of my favourite parts:

This issue of ownership is much bigger than Six Apart and Livejournal, because it's really about how we as a culture construct the new class of relationships between citizens and businesses that is embodied by the interactive, hyper-connected social nodes that form the new structures through which modern humans are organizing our public lives.
DevilYouKnow: indulging_breck

Problems with LJ feed size on IJ

I'd set up a number of syndicated feeds on InsaneJournal to LJ communities, and for some reason the newsletters were all not coming through whereas other communities were (usually quite quickly). I put in a support request about it and received the following:

"Syndicated accounts will only update if the feed file is under 300KB in size. If there is a larger RSS feed -- for example, the RSS feed of the metafandom community on LiveJournal is 374 KB -- then the syndicated account will return the "too big" error you have seen. (The frequency of
updates does not have an effect, since LiveJournal's syndicated feeds display a limited number of entries at a time.)Collapse )
If there would be a better/other places to post this, please let me know, but it seems to me this could be a potential problem for people wherever they're setting up shop.
im - mask
  • atrata

finally, the post of doom!

Results of the Request Post of Doom, plus comments from the other journals and from e-mails, under the cut. Sorry it took me so long. It's kind of huge, and I'm ill today. Note that something's presence on this list doesn't mean it's absolutely going to make it into the software. It's a long list, yo. I think we'll be putting it to the community to find out which of these features are most important and are therefore things we should focus on first.

As you read them, maybe see if you can come up with some name possibilities? The project really needs a name (I have gone all mafia about it and taken to calling it "our thing," which probably won't work), which will make it easier to talk about and enable us to get started on cool things like logo contests, to keep people excited and involved.

I'm also going to refer to LJ plus its clone sites (JF, GJ, IG, Scribblit) as "LJC."

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Whew. Okay. That's a lot. But see what I mean about how awesome it will be if we can even do half this stuff?

So. Anything I missed? Other thoughts?
im - mask
  • atrata


Man, I really really wanted to have the Features Post of Doom up, but I'm still compiling. Yesterday I sat in a bar for three hours after work and made notes. Nineteen pages of them. *grin* If we can get even half of this stuff done, it's going to be totally awesome.

Now let's do the news.
  • No one really cares about my e-mail issues, but I was having them, and now I'm not. I still have a zillion comments to go through, though, and I estimate one-third of the comments directed to me never showed up, and also there are a few hours of time where I just wasn't getting any comments that were left. So I apologize for kind of sucking at correspondence right now.

  • I need someone who still has a paid account to help me. I'm certainly not buying one, but I can't post polls, and at some point polls are going to be required. I'm sure there have been people volunteering to help me mod this comm, but see previous bullet point.

  • I cleared out the mod queue by just rejecting everything, largely because I let stuff pile up and then I didn't want to approve stuff and have all the posts show up at once. (I couldn't figure out from the FAQ if that would actually happen. Does anyone know?) Sorry for the mod fail. Here's what was in the queue:
    • LJ layouts ported to GJ, for those of you moving sooner than later and wanting your layouts. Posted by slash_eater.

    • A webmonkey tutorial on protecting content on your websites; a BellaOnline tutorial on forms and passwords. Posted by dracothelizard for people who want to put up websites and password-protect the fic and art hosted on those sites, as a possible solution for people not ready for The Great Migration but who don't trust LJ with their work.

    • treewishes was wondering if LJ even really cares about us and our paid accounts anymore, now that they have advertising dollars.

  • metafandom has the list, as usual. I'd like to bring attention to femmequixotic's open letter to 6A/LJ, which nicely highlights the remaining issues. (There are plenty.)

  • synecdochic has written a post about being heard in the right places. Personally, I'm not inclined to fight LJ on anything. I don't feel the need to yell at them or try to screw them over. I just want to pour all my efforts into getting the hell out of here as quickly as possible.

...which leaves me with these words of wisdom from insomnia, writing in this post:
Truth is, the future belongs to you, and not to Brad or Mena or Ev or any of those other sold out dotcom slackers who are too busy with the keynote and cocktail circuit to get an honest 20 hours of coding done in a day. They're a good six years past their prime, and that's a century or two in 'net years. You don't need these people who seem to have lost their way and their ideals. You don't need their bloated stacks of code, their crumbling edifices, and their failed idealism. You don't need to feel like the barrier to making something meaningful is too big and too insurmountable, and you certainly don't need to think that everything has been done, either.

You only need to do something new or do something better. Your failure, if you have one, is not a lack of ability, but a lack of effort and/or a lack of vision.

Identify a problem. Fix it. Hack the planet.

So let's get hacking, yeah? Yeah. I really will have the features post up soon.
I enjoy acid pops

I just want to make sure everyone has seen this buried subthread

We report child pornography to the NCMEC, as required by law.

Scroll down to markf's reply in particular. It's heavily implied that ponderosa121 and elaboration were reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Harry Potters Children.

I'm going to check innocence_jihad and if this isn't already there, I'm gonna crosspost it. Sorry if you see it twice, but I'm finding that a lot of people haven't lurked quite as aggressively as I have and haven't seen it.