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theljstaff wrote in lj_policy
As we're sure you remember, one of the goals LiveJournal, Inc. set last year was to review and post new policy guidelines in our 100 day plan.

We know you've all been waiting a long time for this to happen, and today, we're taking an important step in accomplishing this goal. We've reviewed, clarified, and posted a draft set of policies, and we'd like you to take a look at them here!

We also want to emphasize that this is a proposed set of policies. We've created these proposed policies as a starting point for constructive debate, as we feel that it is crucial to get input from you and LiveJournal's new Advisory Board.

For those of you wanting to compare this to the previous policy document, it's still up here. We have updated policies in a number of areas which have generated interest from users, particularly on non-photographic images of minors, harassment, inappropriate content, and hate speech.

With that said, we'd like to invite you to read and review these policies, and comment with your thoughts. In particular, we want to hear which policies you think should change (or are missing entirely), how you would like to see them changed, and your reasoning as to why you believe it would be a better solution for LiveJournal.

We will complete this consultation process by the end of May.

It was about time things would be more strict concerning child porn and harassment.
Thank you for this.

"Child porn" has always been strongly against the rules. What was up for debate was what "child porn" actually was.

When adult content flagging was introduced, I was under the impression that it was not mandatory. I'm dismayed to see that this policy requires graphic adult content to be flagged.

It isn't mandatory in that there is no negative repercussion for not marking it as such. If it's flagged enough times and is reviewed, the only thing that might happen is that it has an "Explicit" setting administratively set.

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To save time of many users looking at this, from the definition linked from the document regarding what is and is not child pornography:

This definition does not apply to depictions that are drawings, cartoons, sculptures, or paintings depicting minors or adults.

Can we get a clear statement that written stories do not fall under "Any photograph, video, or other similar content" in the definition of child pornography? I know that hp_hardcore would be disappointed if plain text qualified as child pornography...

Written stories are not images, and would not fall under this policy.

Looks great! Thanks for all the hard work y'all put into it.

Obscene Non-Default User Picture
Last updated: November 4th, 2004

Summary
User is using an objectionable non-default userpic.

Action
No action required.

Explanation
We don't feel it's our business to restrict what user pictures someone uses in areas which can't be reached randomly; if someone finds another user's non-default user pictures offensive, they can simply choose to avoid that user's journal.


I have never viewed this one, and didn't know it was ever there, and am glad it is.

Edited at 2008-03-08 07:02 am (UTC)

There is the problem of that user using that userpic in other journals, though, including communities. Maybe there should be a restriction on using those pics outside the person's own journal, or just in communities. Userpics could then be voluntarily or administratively flagged as "explicit" or "offensive", and those userpics could only be used within the specific journal where they're created, or only within journals and not communities. It might be too restrictive, but the only alternative I can think of is for journal owners and community mods to ban people who use offensive icons... which is even more restrictive. They could even go so far as to allow journal owners or communities to specifically set "allow userpics marked as 'offensive'" and people would know to avoid those journals if they're afraid to risk seeing something they don't want to see in a userpic.

In short, choosing to avoid one user's journal doesn't help when that user is posting in other places, so the "explanation" part of this policy is unfortunately incorrect. I think it needs new justification, if nothing else.

1. Non-Photographic images of minors: how will you determine if a drawing is a minor or not, and who decides it? Does the abuse team just know it when they see it?

At least you're not pretending it's illegal anymore.

2. Since it's not mentioned anywhere, are we to assume that fiction that may push the age limit is 100% allowed?

Edited at 2008-03-08 07:04 am (UTC)

I believe markf addressed #2 above: Written stories are not images, so this policy does not apply to them.

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This sounds relatively reasonable overall, especially the Standard Compliance Timeline.

Where's the catch?

LJ do something good and you just assume something bad is around the corner? Stop being so cynical.

In "Illegal content", am I understanding correctly that it would be against the policy's terms to advocate jaywalking as a safer way of crossing the street? Many pedestrian advocacy groups point out that jaywalking in the middle of the block can, in many circumstances, expose you to threats from only two directions and not three or four.

I love that, in the middle of the fandom flailing, you're talking about jaywalking. I love it with drawings of jello of dubiously legal age, even.

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Regarding the 'Ban Evasion', so that the person cannot use an alternate lj to rejoin the community from which they were banned, add a feature which will allow community moderators to ban the IP so rejoining is impossible in communities with or without open membership.

I've seen many instances where people have multiple lj's and troll. They're banned and back in a few minutes with a journal they've previously set up or a new account they've created.

Allow banning of the IP for a permanent cure.

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Users who have posted non-photographic images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct will be required to remove the material, following the Standard Compliance Timeline.

...

We are not making any determination on the legality of non-photographic images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. This is simply a type of content LiveJournal has decided not to host.


How will LJ be determining whether the people in these images are minors?

Probably by going on what the person posted.

I'm happy about the Standard Compliance Timeline. Thanks for being reasonable, at long last.

That's been policy since at least 2001.

I believe the content described under "Inappropriate Content" is already covered under "Illegal Content". If you're saying that advocating rape is subject to LJ penalties not incurred by advocating murder, you might want to point that out explicitly. (And if that's the case, why is advocating murder not subject to such penalties?)

That's what I'm wondering, too. Since rape, pedophilia, and child abuse are already illegal, and thus advocating them is already a bannable offense, why have extra penalties that apply to them and don't apply to other heinous crimes? Is LJ saying that murder is not as bad as beating children? It also makes it unclear how much the "theoretical, academic, or personal experience discussion" caveat applies in regards to those specially inappropriate activities.

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You've done the homework regarding the new policy guidelines.

What I found most favorable was the format you chose to break down each policy point. Please keep it in this form. It makes the new policy much easier to read, and for some of use, this format does reduce the eye strain.

My rating: A+

What I found most favorable was the format you chose to break down each policy point.

That's the same format they've used for the abuse policy for years (see the current policy).

As anandrine mentions above, explicit clarification is needed on the matter of who determines violations of Non-Photographic Images of Minors and what the criteria are.

Lack of communication on that precise issue was one of the main causes of the extreme unpleasantness that was this past summer.

The matter is complicated by variances in artistic style and ability, and by the fact that it is impossible to 'card' a borderline picture. Will the Abuse Team allow statements of age to stand as the determining factor in borderline cases?

You beat me to it!

I took down my Taito stuff after strikethrough because I was paranoid, a clarification would be good for all.

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In Threatening Content, you say that threats will not be acted on when "the poster has neither the ability nor intent to carry out the threat". It seems to me that this ought to be either-or. If the poster clearly says "I wish you were dead, and if I weren't quadriplegic I'd beat you to death" (intent but no ability), or "I could slit your throat for that, but I don't want to do jail time for your stupidity" (ability but no intent), in my opinion, no action should be taken.

If someone makes remarks like that, he or she is being emotionally and psychologically abusive. That is not acceptable behavior in any arena, especially when you have people such as me present--those with Asperger syndrome and severe depression--who are especially likely to have a severe reaction to such behavior and/or remarks. You also never know when a user might already be living with such abusive behavior in their lives and come to Live Journal as a means of escape. Encountering that kind of abuse is the last thing those people would need.

Will there be any policies addressing LJ identity theft? I have had a previous account hacked into 3 times and had that person use it to impersonate me all over LJ, getting me banned and my accounts suspended. When I brought this to LJ they wouldn't help and said they would not access their information to find out who he was or his IP as I had no proof it was not my doing. LJ had the information and proof but would not help. Will any situations of LJ hacking be addressed?

Might that be covered under "Invasion of Privacy?" I'm not with LJ so I can't say for sure but the wording of that seems to cover what you're talking about.

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Most of these are very well-worded and excellently done. Also, thanks for no longer equating artistic images with child pornography...having that distinction is definitely a good thing to keep from ruffling feathers more than they already are.

However, the Illegal Content portion is still somewhat unclear. For starters, would it be possible to include a link to a list of illegal actions in the US for the non-US LJ users? (I'm not one of them, but I know there are a ton who mentioned during the whoel debacle last year that they didn't know what was and wasn't legal in the US so how could they know if something they posted violated LJ's rules?) And also, is there a way you could clarify what qualifies as instrinsically illegal? I figure it's safe to assume that encouraging rape or murder falls under that, but what if someone says they wish that someone would kill the president for example? Threats against the president are illegal. I just think it would be a good way to CYA if you clarified that a bit more, even if it's just to link to a list of illegal things in the US and to say, "None of this is allowed."

would it be possible to include a link to a list of illegal actions in the US for the non-US LJ users?

Can I just second that? For example in almost every country outside the US, and in most states inside it, sexual minors are 15 years or under - so a 16 year old discussing her sex life would not be doing anything illegal in her own country, but I gather she would be encouraging Californian teens to do something illegal. As a middle-aged Mum I would prefer not to read about it, but I only chose this example because it is a difference in law that I know about.

"Summary

Non-photographic images (cartoons, drawings, etc.) of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct are present on LiveJournal.
Action

Users who have posted non-photographic images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct will be required to remove the material, following the Standard Compliance Timeline.
Note

We are not making any determination on the legality of non-photographic images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. This is simply a type of content LiveJournal has decided not to host.
Explanation

LiveJournal attempts to grant users the ability to express themselves in as many ways as possible. In the case of this content, however, LiveJournal has chosen not to host it due to its highly controversial nature."


Who has the say in whether a character is a minor? Many characters in anime look pretty much the same between the ages of 13 and 18 depending on the show, on top of which, there are characters who are in their 100's but look to be in their teens (example: Hitsugaya from Bleach and he is most definately not a minor. ) Some people also draw in the chibi style, in which case it's harder to tell and would be specifically against that persons art style.

Plus, which countries definition of "minors" There are people on LJ from all over the world and 17-18 isn't uniform (which is what I'd assumed you meant. I know in some places it's as low as 16)


These questions aren't fully answered in the guidelines. I'm no artist, but I have friends who are and I'd rather them not banned because of a few pics...especially since some of them only check their journals once a week and the periods only three days.

Regarding "Requests from parents".. how do you arrive at 13 as being the magic age? 18 is the age of majority and I am responsible for my child until she is 18.

US Law. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act specifies a lot of things that websites cannot do with information about children under 13.

A comment on the self-harm subheading: anorexia is not the only eating disorder which may have communities centered around its' promotion as a healthy lifestyle. Bulimia does as well, and you could probably find general eating disorder communities that address things such as binge eating disorder, athletic forms of anorexia, and ED-NOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified).

Also, I'd question the phrasing "communities which promote anorexia as a healthy lifestyle choice". Most of the communities I've seen don't promote it as a _healthy_ lifestyle choice; rather, they phrase it as a lifestyle choice. A fair number of the pro-ED communities also seem to be turning to harm-reduction techniques, as opposed to flat-out promotion of the eating disorder lifestyle (whatever that entails). How will it specifically be judged whether a community is promoting an ED as a "healthy" lifestyle choice? Or will all communities who state that EDs are a lifestyle choice be banned? Would harm-reduction techniques be inappropriate (both for pro-eating disorder communities and communities which deal with drug usage)?

Thanks for your response.

I love how they are so quick to answer other questions but the eating disorder ones. It is such a sticky subject. :-/

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I am simply amazed at all of the pervs here that want to protect their right to post kiddie pr0n cartoons... (sigh)

That's so not what this is about. I lost two RPG journals in the first strikethrough that belonged to RPG characters who were villains just because they had "rape" listed as an interest, even though the rules of the RPG explicitly state that no nonconsensual sex will occur "onscreen". I got them back--because I tracked down Barak Berkowitz through a non-LJ blog~!

There were several people who were essentially banned from LJ for posting anime-style drawings of Harry Potter characters (who were drawn and labelled as adults, but the Abuse team decided they were children based on the HP labelling and the fact that anime style art makes people look younger and prettier). They lost multiple journals and had their names vilified.

Most of these people are women. If you're picturing a bunch of middle aged paedophile whackos jerking off over crude cartoons, take your head out of it.

(The moral of this story: don't shoot your mouth off about other people's concerns if you don't actually know jack about what's really going on.)

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