May. 31st, 2008

52 Weeks Later

About a year ago, there was Strikethrough and it sucked donkey balls.

Now, the Russian Overlords at LJ have finally released some news on policy changes to make the insane all-or-nothing halfassery of their previous content policing go away.

Teenagers involved in porny fanart is a go again. Nipplegate has also been addressed with a reversal of the no boobies policy.

Nobody's been unbanned over any of it, naturally. Even though it stands to reason that the people who were banned from LJ have long since moved on and are not interested in going back, I would think that the least thing that would be in order would be some account reinstatements and/or refunds. I mean, in a normal face-to-face business you can always bitch to somebody and get a refund or what-have-you, oftentimes even if the stated policy of the company is that there are none. I guess the whole LJ trainwreck is just the Greater Interet Fuckwad theory in action on the small business scale, which makes me kind of weep for what's going to happen as the web continues to mature into something more and more resembling interactive television.

Hey, I'm still scarred over the bit in Minority Report with all the personalized real-life popup ads. That was terrifying. Moreso than the preemptive arrests and the whole exploitation of the children, to be honest.

I have been here at IJ for nearly a year-- I've only posted on LJ once since I moved, and since then I've just gotten in the habit of e-mailing everyone instead of using the journal as a bulletin board. I'm staying on IJ. The least reason is that I have a perm account here, gotten when they were still ridiculously cheap, no less. More generally, I just trust [info]squeaky a lot more than the committees that LJ employs. He's just all-around a lot better at customer relations, and if he makes a choice for the service he always explains what's behind it, so that even if you don't like the call you understand why he did it and get the hell over it. He has been insanely (ha) proactive in making sure that things are running smoothly, including the recent reversion to Google for ads even though it's a drop in funds because of the crap ads the other companies were throwing out. Yeah, there was that mess with the servers not that long ago, but again [info]squeaky jumped on it, got things straight, and used the opportunity to go ahead and make some nice changes with the hosting providers to avoid a repeat of the mess, keeping in touch and asking for feedback all throughout. I like competence, and [info]squeaky has got loads of it, unlike most of the paid drones at LJ.

Personally, I think it's a gyp that he didn't get the advisory position, but whatev.

So who else is staying on IJ? :D

Dec. 3rd, 2007

HOLY CRAP

So they sold LJ to the Russians. Sure, it's not the KGB or any of that paranoid bullshit, but two things in recent history show that this is not a good thing.

First off, SUP was at the heart of the rather massive scandal about the graphic execution movie that showed up in the Russian corner of Livejournal. (This was kind of an after-note to boldthrough's interesting ideas about pro-anorexia communities being legitimate group therapy.)

Second off, SUP-controlled LJ was an advertisement wasteland. (There's a whole tag devoted to SUP and their fail on no_lj_ads.)

Plus there's all that paranoid stuff.. I'm not thinking the Kremlin really wants to know all about Aja's love of Harry Potter porn, but given that the current Russian government is still running full of rats and fail.. yeah.

Probably doesn't help that the 6A staff is all set to partay down like it's 1999.

So I'm thinking of buying Cloud a perm account here just to slip [info]squeaky some more money for all his awesome. :D

Dec. 2nd, 2007

AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

IT HAS BEGUN. </mortal kombat>

Nov. 30th, 2007

$0.02

Journal Flags!

Admittedly, this is an idea that's been around on multiple sites and works well in other places on the interweb. I, for one, welcome the idea that the more paranoid among us will finally be able to put in the same (admittedly weaksauce) security measures on pron-on-LJ that you could put in if you had your own website. (Kids, you'd be amazed at how many morons you can trap with some basic HTML knowledge and being mean enough to break filename patterns. I used to get people whining at me on how to access MSTings of lemons I'd done as a teenager all the damn time.) (Yeah, I was one of those underage kids who was always sneaking looks at the porn too. Age verification smage verification. I stole a fantasy novel that had softcore porn in it when I was fifteen. My mother just shook her head-- it was HER book! :D)

I mean, most of the art sites have had tools like the flags forever. You certainly don't see DevArt melting down like it was the censorship wave of the future. They wank about other stuff there.

But LJ being the land of the drama llamagoat and all... Meh, I just don't know.

We still don't even know what's supposed to be offensive or obscene content despite being promised better guidelines for months and months. I do admit that putting a flag in for offensive content, while making sense as a CYA sorta move, is something that makes me go WTF?! all over the place considering they should know by now how batshit their userbase is.

Still not returning to LJ, though two points to them for finally hiring somebody whose sole job is to deal with crazy users rather than having their socially inept coders doing it (millions of users being bragged about and it took this long to get customer service.. yeah).

In closing, have some Franziska boobs. :D

Aug. 29th, 2007

agagagagagagagag

The cricket has apparently left for greener pastures.

I am still quite sleep deprived. Going to bed early tonight.

This weekend I'm heading for the Renfaire for reals. (Woulda gone last week, but there was some car trouble and we decided to say screw it.) Pennsylvania Renaiisance Faire this time, since Mom got some coupons. I'm heading for the Great White North on Friday so we can go on Saturday, and I'll be back sometime on Sunday definitely. Might head back home by way of the outlet center along one of the routes home, though, since I desperately need new kicking hiking shoes as they're the best shoes in the universe but they're also six years old and starting to really fall apart now.

I can finally wear my renfaire costume, though. Complete with Renaissance boobs. And I might be able to score a nicer skirt from Mom's collection of them. :D I'm so taking my adorable blue dragon puppet. If only to keep myself from buying another one from Imaginarium yet again... There will undoubtedly be pictures later on.

I need to stop reading innocence_jihad... it does terrible things for my blood pressure. I have to give rachel some credit, though, if only because she really is trying so hard to get it even if she is continually failing miserably. I wouldn't have the guts to go right into the hyenas' den like she did, though admittedly she's getting paid for it. Looks like someone's in for Fandom 101, assuming she doesn't just run screaming.

Though.. it's still a stupid policy all round. I mean, people are upset that they can no longer depict teenagers doing what teenagers do (or at least, constantly think about doing when they can't actually do it) in their stories and art because... something. Fill in the blank, since everyone at Six Apart remains very tight-lipped about the reason why there's a sudden crackdown just on art and stuff in general as opposed to the continuing campaign to get the actual nasty places off the service. I think it's stupid that people are having to ask these questions about stuff that may or may not depict teenagers doing the deed. They're going it for reals, and often a lot younger than fandom's art portrays them, right here and now in the real world where people are fleshy and there are no emoticons. (Girls are getting into sex as young as 12 now. Trufax. We sexualize youth way too much in our society, kids-- especially girls-- get a lot of pressure to be sexy the minute they start feeling those sorts of urges, and it just spirals from there. But stifling fictional exploration of it won't make it go away.)

At least somebody managed to contact Pepsi and actually got the sponsorship pulled. (And definitely pulled-- that v-gift thing was designed to last a lot longer, and the other sponsored content it gone too! Score!) Somebody should probably just whip up a form e-mail to send to advertisers and keep it up to date. I imagine that we should probably contact HP sooner rather than later, speaking of getting LJ's sponsors educated about what kind of site they're really supporting.

Aug. 15th, 2007

TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!

The trainwreck just keeps on giving! Though now at least we have a working theory as to why Harry Potter! Someone's been trolling pornish_pixies and reporting the porn! (As we shall see, one of the reports could only have come from in the community because the post in question was friends-locked.)

cluegirl is the first contestant in the porndetta against pornish_pixies, and was warned for a picture that she'd deleted a week ago, and thank god for tech support savvy friends or else the offending pic would have still been in LJ's cache and she would have been TOSed for stuff that had already been deleted. (The "cheat code" for making sure that pictures are really off ScrapBook is to apparently throw a "/" at the end of the URL of the image. That'll throw you back into the image management system, and from there you have to re-delete, making sure everything is un-ticky-boxed. God ScrapBook is a clunker of an app.)

vikingcarrot was also given a warning e-mail for a locked entry on Ye House of Harry Potter Ghey, which had fairly ambiguous art accompanied by an age statement, which LJ staff has said in the past would be sufficient for people whose artistic styles left some doubt as to a model's age. The norse root vegetable has come out and said that in the original version of the contested post, she did mention in the artists's commentary that she'd been thinking of Draco as probably being around 16 in the picture, but she subsequently edited it after LJ's clarification post. (Hence, there's a bit less rage on her own behalf on this.. but this incident also proves that age statements don't mean squat.)

ETA: For all you late people to the game, vikingcarrot did post the e-mail exchanges she had with Abuse in order to stop a rumor about WB sending DMCA and C/D notices. Looks like age statements are indeed no help if LJ doesn't like your porn.

....and this is the reason I stay the hell out of Harry Potter fandom. :/

Aug. 13th, 2007

This begs to be iconned.

People are all like... Imagining the Attorney General reading it (between partying with rockstars) and going ZOMG I MUST TAKE ACTION NOW BUT WAIT THEY ARE INFRINGING COPYRIGHT TO THE BATMOBILE!!!! (charmian on the latest twist in the Six Apart meltdown)

I loled and would lol again, sir or madam.

I cleaned out my clothes and bought hangers today. Clothes shopping tomorrow, bitches!

Aug. 9th, 2007

The "LJ is pro-ana!" kerfluffle has made it to Big Fat Blog. Conversation is still fairly light (as it normally is on BFB), but hey, it's another subset of the mainstream getting informed about what's going on with a fairly large chunk of the internet.

It's sad that they have a point about the whole banning pro-ana would set a precedent that would let fat acceptance also face the axe due to society's OMG FAT WILL KILL YOU meme. Though honestly, speaking as an individual I'd rather see the pro-ana comms go and risk the FA comms going along with it than leave the status quo. Pro-ana is like a manual to killing yourself, and as much as I like my metaphorical warm fuzzy places if that's the price to pay to keep teenagers from falling into anorexia/sabotaging their parents' efforts to get them therapy.. people's lives are more important than my comfort zone.

Aug. 8th, 2007

My mind continues to simply boggle at the trainwreck that Livejournal has become. What started as a fairly annoying quest to rid the service of porn (already guaranteed to bring the wank but not something completely outrageos) has managed to fishtail spectacularly off the road of fail Six Apart was slowly driving down straight into the murky depths of WTFBBQGTFO. The terrible customer service, the pretty damn patently obvious lack of clear procedure for a process that desperately cries out for a clear procedure, and now the immortal "but pro-ana groups promote recovery!" from the latest shitstorm...

Sorry. I can't begin to fathom supporting a service that basically says that we'll tie up the abuse staff to go after porn, but we just can't touch communities that basically teach minors (since people suffering from anorexia are overwhelmingly young and female) how to commit suicide in one of the slowest and most painful ways possible. The only part of the TOS clarification that was clear was the section about how LJ also considers communities that incite users towards harming others and themselves and perpetuating hate speech to also be worty of immediate perma-ban. Yet LJ staff have said to users repeatedly and recently that they can't do anything about communities and users that are clearly doing just that.

Sorry, but safety of actual children > porn. I despair of Six Apart's LJ staff ever figuring it out, to the point where I'm seriously considering saying to hell with it and deleting the old LJ despite the fact I still use it to watch friends. (I am definitely resolved to go through and delete every single RP journal I left on there that I still have the password info to. No more inflation of your user numbers for you!) I don't want Six Apart to make a single cent off me-- they're the heartless freaks who promote the harm of children, and I don't want to encourage them any longer.

ETA cause I'm lazy: Nice Slashdot article documenting the fail. Best of luck to the souls doing government action and asking for refunds. Can anybody confirm just how those campaigns are going?

Also, [info]emilie_burns, it appears IJ ate your comment. XD I sent in a ticket, but I thought you might like to know that you have a gift for being an enabler of sporking.

Aug. 5th, 2007

BOLDthrough 2007-- BOLD text for BOLD stupid!

[info]liz_marcs is made of awesome.

She much more articulately sums up why most of the non-insane people are worked up.

Though I am still kind of boggling at why HP fandom seems to be the target du jour of Six Apart. My only guess is that Harry Potter fandom is the big one that's been in the news a time or two? And that there are too many Trekkies/Trekkers for them to go after without getting their tails seriously burnt? (I mean, c'mon.. there are 2-3 generations worth of Star Trek fans out there. Nothing could stop the Trek porn.)

I mean.. yeah, I stand by my earlier statement that there will probably be a kerfluffle about First Amendment v. Corporate Overlords in Internet spaces-- it's probably inevitable just as the country's political climate swings between liberal and conservative. (It's actually pretty healthy for a culture to do this-- during the liberal era, there's a lot of social change and during the conservative era, stuff that works tends to stick around while stuff that don't gets tossed.) But I also think that it's a kerfluffle that's best settled using normal grassroots action channels rather than drama-whoring, and it's a kerfluffle I think that First Amendment will win. We love porn free speech too much in this country not to-- hell, we are a country that was founded by a mix of criminals, fringe groups, and future corporate overlords and we still let groups have first amendment protection that most other countries would declare illegal.

I also think Six Apart has pretty much turned LiveJournal into a pit of voles, and there's probably no going back on that account and people should just STFU and move elsewhere. I genuinely feel for the people who have perm accounts, especially those who were actually reassured by the hazy reassurances and bought one in the last round of perm account sales. You have been suckered by the old bait-and-switch and it sucks to lose all that money. I would love to see Six Apart taken to task for its shitty customer service and shady business practices (bait-and-switch is illegal in a few states, dunno about Cali), but realistically I doubt it will ever happen. Especially since it's fandom that's been hit in the last couple rounds the hardest, and fandom is in general an insane bunch of wankers even in the best of times. (Except Trek fandom. But Trek is an institution.)

Aug. 4th, 2007

Thoughts on porn

A lot of people are (once more yet again) questioning why half of fandom is up in arms about the latest suspensions off LJ. I think it basically boils down to two issues-- one a big one that really does need to be addressed by legislation and soon, and one that's much smaller and can be handled by simple "power of the purse-strings" action. No need to symbolically burning curiously flame-retardant LJ shirts. (Which were likely purchased for the express purpose of burning. WTG, n00b.)

The Big One: Free Speech on the Internet

This one actually dates back to the Google vs. China kerfluffle in Janurary of 2007. Google agreed to create a different search engine for Chinese users that would censor out search results that didn't jive with China's censorship laws. They went ahead with the plan, despite pressure from the US government not to cave that (if I'm remembering right) even included proposed legislation against the move. Indeed, according to the ACLU the US government is actually fairly in tune with making sure that the 'net remains a free zone when it comes to personal expression-- they've struck down several proposed bills that would limit an adult's ability to have adult communications over the 'net, despite the fact that in each case there was a strong "THINK OF TEH CHILLUNS!!one!!1!" undercurrent in the legislation. So far, the only efforts the government has made towards regulating internet speech is to require filtering software on libraries and schools that receive federal funding-- and even so, a lot of libraries have opted out of federal funding rather than subscribe to the law. It's not illegal anywhere in the US to look at adult material in the privacy of one's home. Congress has wisely decided that families need to make those kind of calls on their own without Big Brother staring down at them.

No, the problem, ladies, gents, et al, is that the censorship online these days is coming from businesses. Google and Six Apart being the most prominently involved in major free-speech smackdowns. In both cases, they're using a fairly flimsy "it's against the law" defense-- what's really gotten LJers up in arms is that the artists were suspended over material that is, in fact, considered legal by the United States. (Because let's be honest, guys, gals, et al-- the "artistic merit" clause in the law is just an emergency escape plan for seriously messed-up shit and not intended for everyday use. Most judges and politicians are not that stupid. Not even GW Bush is that stupid!)

We're at another impasse where, though it's legal to talk/write/whatever certain things in real life, it suddenly becomes verboten in the privately owned internet space. Most people are used to the laws in RL applying the same way online, so this sudden corporate crackdown has left a lot of people really pissed off. At this time, we still have a lot of options-- we aren't being censored everywhere. But should the corporate crackdowns continue across the various big companies, there will undoubtedly be a large backlash and some kind of free-speech protection legislation will be passed to keep hosting service providers from kicking people just because they don't like what their userbase is saying. Will it be over Harry Potter porn? Probably not, especially considering JKR is on record saying that it should be kept locked and filtered and what-have-you. But things like this tend to either die in the pan (ie, Six Apart will bomb, the corporation will go bankrupt, and we'll all laugh from the sidelines) or snowball (ie, other hosting services and social network sites start up this kind of behavior). If it snowballs, enough people will get pissed off and do something about it, because eventually they'll step on the toes of mainstream people. That's just the way things work in the US!

It's my personal sense that online free speech in privately-owned services will become this decade's Napster hullabaloo. I'm just hoping that the government sides with Joe Average Citizen on the issue this time. (I still have nothing but contempt for the RIAA. May recording artists wise up and go independent, so that your days of ripping off both artists and consumers end.)

The Small One: 6A's Customer Service is Made of Fail and Lose

Okay, so fandom is going apeshit again over the deletions. Some of their saber-rattling even makes GW Bush look like a brilliant stategist. And now they're trying to co-opt a song from Wicked after ruining that cool song from Pirates 3 for everybody. Not cool, kids. Not cool.

Still doesn't change the fact that Six Apart can't even seem to handle simple customer service issues. (Hell, Barak might even fail to ask if I wanted fries with that.) Still doesn't change the fact that a pretty good majority of people are willing to work with 6A, have been making reasonable points and requests to find out what, exactly, is or is not all right. And 6A has done nothing but dither and contradict itself over the matter, then tried to play art critic in a lame attempt to justify this latest round of suspensions. And let's not get into the whole getting rid of the strikethrough tag thing. That's just lame.

As several people have pointed out, they'd be less upset if 6A just came out and said "No more porn involving individuals (fictional or not) that are/were? minors." (I stuck the were in there since, in at least two of the four recent cases, nobody in the art was drawn to be a minor but the art did involve characters who are in their teens in canon.) Nice and clear, and if there was bitching at least reasonable people would be able to get rid of the stuff that was objectionable and everyone would eventually be happy.

Instead, 6A said "Oh no no, fandom is fine. We know it's fictional (and therefore legal)!" and then turned around and suspended a bunch of fairly well-known artists, citing that the material was illegal, and when people pointed out that no, it was legal according to child porn laws (which I'm sure everyone is sick to death of looking at these days) they said "No, it fails on the artistic merit clause!"

Luckily, it's a big internets and there is a solution to this-- get the hell out, spend your money elsewhere, and watch Six Apart die a slow and horrible death from the sidelines. If one bothers to even keep one's eye on the place when it turns into a bigger pit of voles than it already is. Nobody signed a contract in blood to stay on LiveJournal, and generally if a company has customer service that fails that hard, one takes one's business elsewhere in the real world. Should work just fine here in the magic tubes.

Starting online petitions, filling up news comment threads, and burning strangely flame-retardant clothing isn't going to change the bottom line. It might make people feel better, but it won't change the bottom line. Taking your money away does that. Destroying their adviews does that. Members who signed up before April 2006 with way too much free time and money on their hands might even be able to hammer them with lawsuits over changing the TOS if they want to. Negative word of mouth would probably be pretty crippling too, considering that Six Apart isn't a major corporate entity like MySpace. (Which, hillariously enough, a lot of teenagers are abandoning in favor of Facebook these days.)

The More You Know!

So yeah, that's why people are upset. Honestly, even if you have no thoughts on the merit (or lack thereof) of porn, you should probably at least be skeeved over the shitty customer service that Six Apart offers to its clients. Sure, they could delete anybody they wanted to tomorrow. I could run my car off a cliff tomorrow if I wanted to. Doesn't mean I'm that kind of moron, and Six Apart shouldn't be either.

Jun. 20th, 2007

fuck the what?

Warriors for Innocence is continuing their campaign, this time sending e-mails to companies with Google Ads that show up on LJ. One of the guys who posts on dark_christian happens to work for a travel company and got one of the WFI e-mails.

I know it's popped up on [info]07refugees as well, but goddamn when are these guys going to get lives?

Also, did you cool kids see the latest post in lj_biz RE: Strikethrough? Talk about an object lesson in bait-and-switch. Holy hell, what kind of moron buys an expensive service without knowing the terms of use? And like many others, that whole unwilling to host line makes me go ugh. Quite possibly 6A could lose Safe Harbor status if they take their objectionable content witch-hunt too far-- any provider that edits the content on the site becomes legally responsible for the content when if they just leave it alone barring a legal order, they aren't held responsible legally. (Obviously a few of the MySpace scandals have shown that someone can still sue the provider for damages, but a prosecutor couldn't drag them in on charges. But holy hell, man, you can sue a hairdryer maker because your dumbass grandma decided to use the thing while sleeping in her filled bathtub. What.. you didn't know that's why those idiot warnings were on your hairdryer?)