a fair and balanced birdthing (raaven) wrote,
a fair and balanced birdthing

Sold Out

Thank you to everyone who commented on my previous post. I created it to test the crappy new settings that 6Apart implemented Thursday night without telling anyone. I listed my journal as containing "Adult Concepts". Because, after all, my mortgage and house purchase are adult concepts. The upshot is that everyone could(I think) see my entry, but those of you who do not have an age listed in your profile got a page with the message "You are about to view content that may not be appropriate for minors." and requiring you to verify that you're over a certain age. I have since removed that setting because I think it's annoying and stupid.

I haven't followed up until today because I was a) busy doing weekend things and b)wavering back and forth between vituperative, angry ranting and rage-induced glossolalia. Turns out that it's just as well, since today brings a great big, important update to the situation (see below).

When I say that they didn't tell anyone, I suppose that I should clarify that I mean anyone that doesn't stay current with lj_biz, since that's the only place they bothered to mention it. As with some previous contentious announcements, many of us suspect that it was posted only there (instead of in lj_news, where it ought, by rights, to be) in the hopes of it sliding by the bulk of the userbase, which is never a good sign.

Anyway - LJ now has a new "feature" has three main parts - the first of which is a special button called a flag, which appears above every post and every journal, and on the status bar thingy if it's active. This button allows you to easily notify the Abuse Prevention Team of various things about a journal or post. You have five choices: Explicit Adult Content, Offensive Content, Hate Speech, Illegal Activity or Nude Images of Minors. The management apparently wants to encourage the use of these flags by everyone on LJ. The fun part? Nothing but the last category (and even that is arguable) is clearly defined (for instance, currently LJ only identifies hate speech as that which promotes violence against a specific racial or ethnic group, while California law - to which they are subject, being located there - is far more inclusive).

Better? Oh, yeah, it gets better.

Despite the fact that none of these is clearly defined, in response to queries about people misusing these flags to harass folks they don't like, the APT can decide (arbitrarily, as far as I can tell) that the user flagging the material loses his/her voice if their flags repeatedly "do not meet the standards" of the flagging terms. Those standards which 6A has repeatedly refused to define clearly.


So. Part 2 is, they'd really like everyone to self-label their posts (or their journals) as having "Adult Concepts" or "Explicit Adult Content". And if you don't label them so, but enough people flag them in a certain way, it will be done for you - with no notice. So your readers may be getting messages from your journal that require them to verify their age (because we all know that no one lies about their age) to read your content - all without your knowledge.

Recourse is limited to opening a case with the APT. Who will then (when they work through the thousands of flagged entries in their queue to get to your protest) make an apparently arbitrary decision about it.

Part 3 is the implementation of a search filter (and this may be the most heinous of all the parts) on your journal. The DEFAULT of this new thing they implemented but didn't tell anyone about is Moderate Safe Search. So if you don't go in and change it (here), you're automagically in safe mode. Without your knowlege. Regardless of your age or preference.

Todays News:

The sale of Livejournal by 6Apart to a russian media company (and by media company, I mean glorified ad agency) called SUP. SUP has been, for the last year or so, the management team for russian LJers, a fact which has already caused many of them to go silent or go elsewhere to blog. Anton Nossik, the CBO (Chief Blogging Officer, can you believe?) and Alexander Mamut are just two of the company's core group who have in the past been closely entwined with an assortment of russian political machines (in a negative, Big Brother sort of way, from what I've read).

The new management (and honestly, I think this is new only on paper, and that the deal has been in the works for the past year, and that many of the censorship and policy-muddying issues experienced in the past year-plus* originate with SUP) claims that they want to make LJ a good and welcome place for LJers, and they ask for policy input here. rm has some excellent info here:


I myself have no faith in the supposed request for input, and would like to note that InsaneJournal.com has permanent accounts for sale for $40. And yes, I bought one.

*Breastfeeding icons banned, the Strikethrough Disaster, and the Boldthrough followup
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