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Wed, Aug. 8th, 2007, 02:11 pm
estioe: Official statements in the lj_biz post (title taken from the post with the links in question)

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to send you over to this post, in which the lovely user aura218 compiled a nifty list of all official statements from LJ staffers on the most recent post on lj_biz.

On a personal note, I believe that rachel isn't an official worker of LJ/SixApart.She is! Just found out. Sorry for the mix up. Also, it seems she copied word per word a paragraph from another user. Original post here and rachel's response to someone else, here. If you scroll down to the very bottom, the original writer of these words even says that she's unsettled that she was basically copied from.

Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007, 08:49 pm
eleraama: LJ_BIZ UPDATE

Illegal and Harmful Content Policy Clarifications
We are sorry it has taken so long to address the concerned community members. From reading the recent comments there's a lot of misinformation regarding the two users who were permanently suspended on Friday. In this post we're going to try and condense and reiterate all of our recent policy clarifications as well as address the most frequent questions we've seen.

To begin, we'd like to restate our policy on illegal and harmful content:

Our goal is to encourage and promote a free and open community. We will only intervene to the extent needed to remove illegal and harmful content that is reported to us.

I. Content which violates LiveJournal’s policy against illegal and harmful content is:

a. Content that intrinsically violates existing United States or California law; in other words, where merely possessing, displaying or transmitting the content is a crime. This includes child pornography and threats against the President and successors to the Presidency.

b. Content that encourages or advocates hate crimes, the abuse of children in any form, or rape, even if the content itself is not illegal and may be protected by the First Amendment. This portion of the policy reflects the especially reprehensible nature of these activities; users who encourage or advocate these acts, regardless of their motivation, are simply not welcome on LiveJournal.

c. Content that solicits the commission of, seeks customers for, or provides instructions for illegal activities that would cause immediate and lasting physical or economic harm to others.

Review Process

II. We do not review content until it is reported to us. We will accept all reports of material that is reported to us, regardless of the source, but we will only take action when that material violates our policies.

III. Reports of policy violations must include the full URL(s) of the content to be reviewed.

IV. We will review private content for violations of this policy only if the report provides a reasonable basis for us to believe that there is a violation. We will not review private content in response to an unsubstantiated report that there is a violation “somewhere” in a private journal or community.

Actions where violations are questionable

V. We recognize that the nature of this policy is such that there may be edge cases in which policy violations are not clear. When this is the case, the reported content is reviewed by Abuse Prevention Team members, LiveJournal staff and Six Apart management regarding what action to take.

In such cases, other publicly viewable portions of the journal or community may be reviewed to determine if other clear or potential violations of this policy exist, which may serve as additional context for making a more informed decision.

----------End Policy Statement------------

Because this still leaves people with questions and concerns about this policy, here are some more answers to the most frequent questions we've seen.

* How do these policies apply to images of minors who are not real?

To ensure that we are compliant with child pornography laws, we have decided to treat any content which contains a graphic visual depiction of a minor (anyone under the age of 18, as defined by Federal and California state law) engaged in sexually explicit conduct as a violation of our policy regarding illegal content (see this link for definitions of graphic, visual depiction, and sexually explicit conduct). We feel this approach creates the clearest guidelines possible for users to follow and for the Abuse Prevention Team to enforce, and minimizes the risk of an incorrect evaluation of material. In short, we want to eliminate child porn from being hosted on LiveJournal.

* How do these policies apply to text?

Written material -- fictional or not –- is also subject to Federal laws. But as we stated in a previous post, over the years we've looked at thousands of reported journals and communities and we rarely have come across a case of creative fiction or fanfic text that warrants review.

* How is LiveJournal determining whether figures depicted in drawings/artwork are underage?

A number of factors are involved in making this determination. Any stated age of the individuals present, the apparent age of the people or characters present in an image, and outside knowledge of the person or character's age are all taken into consideration. The only one of these factors which can be evaluated alone is how characters present in the image are drawn, and this is only done when there is simply no other information available to help determine age.

* Does content that is posted behind a friends lock, as private or under a custom friends filter have to conform to the same standards of acceptability as content that is available publicly? Does content posted on a journal that contains advertising have to conform to the same standard?

Yes, these are held to the same standards. Content must first be reported to the Abuse Prevention Team. If the report contains information which gives the team a reasonable expectation to find a serious violation of our policies present, they will investigate. If there is no strong evidence provided to give the Abuse Prevention Team reasonable expectation of finding a major violation of our policies, the content will not be reviewed.

* What is the correct avenue for a user to take if they would like to appeal a suspension?

Users wishing to appeal their suspension can submit a request to our Abuse Prevention Team as outlined at http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=105.

* If a paid or permanent account holder is suspended is there any avenue available for them to request a refund from LiveJournal and/or Six Apart for their unused paid time? If not, can you give a reason for this?

As stated in our Terms of Service, "Paid accounts are nontransferable and non-refundable." While a limited number of exceptions to this rule are made under some circumstances, accounts suspended for violations of the Terms of Service will not be refunded.

*Can a warning system be put into place regarding prohibited content, much the same way that there is a 3 strikes rule in place for copyright violation complaints instead of banning users on their first offense?

Content that meets this definition is likely to be illegal under child pornography laws so we cannot continue to host it after it has been reported to us and we have reviewed it. Users wishing to appeal their suspension can submit a request to our Abuse Prevention Team as outlined at http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=105.

* Do you plan to change the Terms of Service to reflect this policy?

No. The Terms of Service is not a document designed to detail every specific situation. Specifically, the content covered by this policy consists of various violations of Section XVI, Part 1, or content that is unlawful, harmful, abusive, obscene, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.

--------End Q&A-----------

We recognize that some of you may dislike this stance, disagree with how we implement the policy, or disagree with our evaluation of certain content. Our goal is to keep the site running, thriving and growing, and to that end we must take a firm stance on illegal content. We appreciate the community's engagement in this issue and have put a lot of thought and effort into making our policy as easy as possible for the community to understand.

Some of you took offense to a comment made by one of our staff members burr86 in a community dedicated to ironic humor. No one is perfect, and in this case he exercised bad judgment, especially since his jokes made him seem to feel the opposite of how he really does. We are positive that his intention was merely to blow off a little steam in a highly stressful and intense situation, and he did not mean to belittle these issues or fandom as a whole. Abe is an active member of the LJ community and does a tremendous amount of great things for the community behind the scenes. We have reminded our team to be respectful of possible interpretations of their comments at all times.

One thing we've heard loud and clear through all of this is that you want us to do better in our communications to the community. We appreciate people like bubble_blunder 's efforts to help aggregate and articulate concerns of the community like he attempted to do in his open letter. How can we do better? We welcome your suggestions in the comments.

Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007, 02:08 pm
whatifisaidno: (no subject)

For Everyone, (from fandom_action):

This all began with 6A/Livejournal's lack of reliability when it comes to the TOS. This is the open letter to Livejournal and Six Apart by bubble_blunder requesting (very eloquently, I might add) clarification of the TOS and other recent concerns. I suggest anyone who plans on keeping their livejournal and even anyone who doesn't to read it and sign if they agree. It can't hurt; After all, we might be here for another couple months. There are over sixteen pages of "signatures"; I just signed the seventeenth.

Especially regarding the United States, obscenity and copyright:

Here synecdochic writes the most important thing I've read regarding fandom this week. First of all, obscenity law in the USA doesn't care if the minor depicted in a sexual explicit situation actually exists. Last year John McCain introduced a bill to further lock down on "child pornography." One that would require any website, or "social network," supporting the suspected material to report it, and report all the real-world identities and ages of its users.

Rep. Steven Chabot (R-OH) has introduced a bill that strengthens copyright laws. This bill modifies existing laws to make it possible for you to be charged criminally for copyright infringement and increases the penalty for such infringements. While this law is mostly designed to help the RIAA and MPAA send people who use P2P networks to jail (and make more money), it could also be applied to the fandom world.

Because it could also result in 6A being held criminally liable for hosting what some might report as "illegal" fanfic and/or fanart, it is very important that this measure not be passed. If you click on the link below, there is a form you can fill out to automatically have your local politicians notified that you oppose this measure.

This is our first chance to act as a community for our rights. Lets make sure we stand up for what we believe in.


Both of these links are courtesy of ithiliana. More information can be found in their journal and at fandom_action. Even after we've moved to a new home, thankfully far, far away from 6A and their iffiness, these issues will still exist elsewhere, but we can begin preparing for and acting on them now.

Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007, 12:01 pm
atrata: the tentative plan.

The current unpleasantness has hit CNET again. This comm is linked at the bottom.

And, see, what happens when I post and then go to bed is that I wake up to 150 comments that I've only been able to skim. But I did skim over something a few times that needs addressing.

A few people have (rightly) brought up the question, "Okay, this sounds totally shiny, but, uh, how much is it going to cost?"

The answer is, honestly, I have no idea. But what I do have is a plan. It goes like this: I assemble a small, crack team of developers. (This part is in the works.) We build the shiny. They're all volunteers, so this won't happen overnight. However, I don't think it's going to take a year, either. We release and open it up to limited beta. I will front the cash for that myself (and also for the lawyer to write the TOS). I am not about to ask for money for an unproven product and system. If the site is popular, and if it looks like it's going to take off, and if there is demand, we incorporate as a non-profit, appoint a board, and start the fundraising to buy some hardware. If it doesn't look like it's going to take off, hey, everyone who worked on it has a cool project to put on their resumes. Fandom moves to an LJ clone, and life goes on.

Throughout this process, I intend to be as open and transparent as possible. I intend to solicit feedback from fandom every step of the way.

Is it perfect? No. Is it fraught with danger? Maybe. Will I get any sleep in the next year? Doubtful. Is it something? Yeah. I feel like... I don't know. There's something in the air. It's time. This feels different and exciting and new, and maybe this plan is insane but I think it'd be equally insane to sit here and do nothing at a time like this. We have to try, dammit, and if we try and fail, so be it.

So. I have a bunch of e-mails to write to volunteers, but in the meantime, here's the list of starry-eyed optimists I'm looking for:
  • 2-3 pythonistas, anal about test-driven (& agile) development, familar with version control
  • 1 db god (mysql or postgres pref.)

Any takers? Comment or e-mail me (atrata at gmail.com).

(Er, if you fit one of these things and have ALREADY volunteered, I promise I will send you e-mail in the very near future. I've got a little folder of people who've kindly volunteered, and I need to look at everything in that folder more closely. That said, it wouldn't hurt to send me another e-mail, because I'm drowning in it and my mail client has been very, very weird about actually delivering my mail lately.)

Love! So much love.

Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007, 08:36 am
thefannishwaldo: Making the migration... slowly - help?

The bane of the Mac user's LJ life is the number of reasonably decent posting clients that are out there that eventually develop bugs, but are no longer developed. I've been through XJournal, iJournal, Phoenix and DeepestSender. Blurgh.

Can someone recommend a current Mac program that will let me simultaneously post to LJ, IJ, GJ, et al? I know a bunch of PC folk who have found a way to do it, but I haven't seen anything around for the Mac. Thanks!

Tue, Aug. 7th, 2007, 01:53 am
atrata: age restrictions

Man, I had a great time today reading all the comments in the features post. There's a lot of really good stuff there. Some of it's completely insane, and some of is likely far too server-intensive to be supportable (right away, anyway), but the thing I like most is just, you know, once we stop thinking strictly in LJ terms, it's like this whole new world opens up. And it's a whole new world of awesome.

I've been working on compiling the most asked-for features and discussing them, and I have been working on it on and off for, uh, five hours now! Time for a break. I'm going to try to have it up tomorrow.

In warm-off-the-presses news, looks like brad is leaving 6A for greener pastures. (Like us! (Hopefully!))

antennapedia has written a journal migration tool that will grab all your entries and post them in an LJ clone such as InsaneJournal. It'll run on Mac OSX, most *nix boxen, and Windows machines on which you've installed python. I tried it out and it ported everything to IJ quickly and easily and I feel this is more proof that python scripts can save the world. My corner of it, anyway.

Now, okay, one thing that repeatedly came up in terms of features, and which has come up again and again when talking about the site in general, is the age-restriction issue.

Let me start with what I think is possible, and I happen to think it'd be a nifty bit of code. You create an account. You enter your birthday. Displaying it is up to you. But the system keeps track of what it is. Communities, individual posts, and individual journals can be designated 'mature,' and the system automatically filters younger users out of those posts.

But it would also filter out lurkers. And I kind of like lurkers. I was a lurker once. (And actually, I still kind of consider myself to be one, considering my utter ineptitude at commenting on the posts I read.)What would it mean for us to lock them out of the picture? Sure, there are a lot of fen here on LJ, but no one really knows how many fen are not on LJ. We know they're there, though. How many of you have websites where you track click-through rates? Do your stories get far more clicks than they get reviews? Where does traffic to your site come from? How many of you keep your stories in archives that tell you how many times a story has been viewed? What's the highest viewcount? And how many reviews does that story have? What are the chances that everyone who looks at that archived story has an LJ? Wants an LJ?

There is a great post on this subject here by heyheyrenay. That post links to this one, by litotease, an eloquent lurker who was locked out by all the kneejerk comm and f-locking that happened after Strikethrough. Check it out. Read comment after comment saying, "if fandom locks down, I'm locked out."

And the shiny code to designate 'adult' communities? Would lock those communities down.

So... I don't know, guys. I really don't. My inclination is always, always to go with inclusion. What does everyone else think?

Mon, Aug. 6th, 2007, 09:08 pm
kujo_hikaru: Passive Aggressive Stop-gap Measure

Not sure if anyone has thought of this yet, but if we all were to consume the full amount of our services provided by our paid LJ accounts, we could potentially cost them some serious money.

I’ve been in web hosting a long time, and I can tell you the first rule to making money is oversubscription. They may give us paid account holders 2GB of storage space for our scrapbook and voice posts, but they don’t have 2GB of actual space for every member. Voice posts are a biggie, because there are real costs associated with it (they need to pay for that 800 number, after all). I suggest everyone max out their voice post allotment by calling in until they fill that full 2GB (or whatever your account comes with) up to the max. Sit on the phone humming for an hour, or recite the Constitution over and over. Hell, read the latest Harry Potter into the phone and post it. The more time you spend on the phone, the more it costs SixApart.

Don’t have voice posts on your account? I suggest that you upload as many large pictures as possible to get as close to that scrapbook quota as you can (and tell your friends the same). I think 39,000 people, each with up to 2GB of space, would get some attention.

Most of all, spread the word! We need as many people as possible to upload and record as much as possible to cost them as much as possible. Make pissing off a paid account holder bad for business. They took on the risk that charging only $20/year would cover the costs of running this place, so we need to make sure it hurts them where they seem to care the most: their wallets!

EDIT 8/7/2007 00:03 CDT: D'oh! Didn't look close enough at the FAQ about voice posts. They have a 5 minute limit. Oh well, just upload a bunch of pictures to fill the space.

Mon, Aug. 6th, 2007, 10:50 am
atrata: apologies for the lack of ticky boxes.

Happy Monday, fandom.

Old business: squeaky19, the owner of InsaneJournal, has shown up here to categorically deny that his site has anything to do with Six Apart. In case anyone was still wondering.

More old business: This comm is now moderated. My mod stick grows pokier. Spam me all you like (not that anyone has). Spam the watchers and we have a problem.

Now, on to new business.

I haven't talked to every member of fandom. I haven't read every single thing everyone has to say. But I have read a lot. And fandom seems to be pretty well divided. Shocking, I know, but bear with me. Here's how it shakes out:
  • People who are staying right here, thanks very much

  • People who want to leave
    • People who are looking to jump to an LJ clone
    • People who are not married to that idea
Those who want to move to an LJ clone, please keep an eye on Scribblit (best accomplished by staking out twocorpses' LJ. But she and I have talked, and we have quite different ideas. She wants to put together a journaling site that has some better features and a TOS that doesn't suck. She wants it to be a cool, fun, friendly place to hang out, for fen and non-fen alike.

And that? Is awesome. I encourage you to check it out and support her if you're so inclined.

But me, I have crazy mad plans. I continue to feel that people aren't going anywhere without their friends, and that the people who feel unthreatened by the Sword of 6A Damocles won't move unless they can move someplace shiny. And that means new code, a new site.

I was going to make a poll, but it turns out that free users don't get polls. Fancy that. So we're going to have to do this the old-fashioned way.

So tell me: If you could make the uber-fandom journaling site, what features would it have?

Here's an idea I'm in love with at the moment. You go to make a new post. There's a drop-down menu where you say if it's a regular post or if it's fic (or art, or meta, or whatever). If you go the regular post route, you get something a lot like the LJ update screen. If you're posting fic, there are some fields for you to fill in (title, rating, notes, etc.). When you post it to your journal, you can post it to your website at the same time. Or you can post it to an archive (ideally, otw_news). Don't have a website? Disable that option. Don't write fic? Disable that option.

So let's hear it. Go nuts. I'll share my crack pipe and you tell me your pipe dreams.

Mon, Aug. 6th, 2007, 08:30 am
sailorcelestial: Reach out to More People

Someone in the news posts mentioned an LJ friend of theres who had no CLUE anything was going on at all.

This is a concern, because that means no everyone who could potentially help with both the protest effort and the movement away from LJ is being reached.

So I'm just asking everyone that if you haven't already posted something about the current situation in your personal journals, something public to reach not only your friends list but everyone who might read your journals, then please do post something now. If this is going to work, if we are all going to manage to get out of here at the same time, then we need to reach out and let as many people know as possible.

Don't just post, encourage everyone to care, get involved, and post. The more we are, the stronger the chain of communication.


Edit: Thanks frabjously for the correction on which place I meant for the posts.

Mon, Aug. 6th, 2007, 02:37 am
atrata: Mod stick.

Guys? Srsly. No memes. No icons. No ads. No spam. No cat macros. (Well, maybe in the comments.)

ETA: Going moderated.

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