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theljstaff wrote in lj_policy
Welcome to lj_policy!

We're glad you're here. This community will be used to gather your opinions about social and community policy.

We understand that there is a lot to absorb and process right now with the creation of LiveJournal, Inc. Since this is a transition for all of us, we want to initiate a dialogue with you, the users. We feel it is very important to hear your concerns before we release any changes to current policies, and we want to start this process right away.

As a starting point, we don't want to just guess what's important to you; we want to hear about it directly from you. Please take a moment to answer the questions below:

1) What is your greatest concern about LiveJournal's current policies?

2) Regarding your primary concern, are you aware of a site that handles that issue in a way that you like?

This is just a starting point to get your initial ideas. We know you have a lot more where these come from, and in the coming days and weeks we will make sure you have a chance to voice your opinions. We look forward to your comments.

Since when did "Third Reich" become an adult concept? Why does anything having to do with it now fall into the banned interest category? Are we to be expecting Marxist revisionism in the WWII history groups soon as well?

So much for freedom of speech.

I want a refund.

1) What is your greatest concern about LiveJournal's current policies?

It is difficult to know exactly what is happening in the censorship area. I am concerned about any restrictions you might impose on me. LJ has been a wonderful experience for me for quite a few years and I'd like it to continue.

2) Regarding your primary concern, are you aware of a site that handles that issue in a way that you like?

I don't know about any other sites.

1) Abuse of the flagging feature. I hate it, I don't like to see it.
2) No.

One of the changes that 6A made that absolutely infuriated me was the ads. I don't want to see ads anywhere on this site, period.

And I have to add my voice to the chorus that the flagging system and general censorship that has been occuring is unacceptable.

And don't make stupid changes to the site that nobody wants instead of, say, upgrading the servers. Move the damn userpic option back down to the bottom of the update page, where it was perfectly fine and TONS more useful before 6A started screwing around.

I'd like to make some suggestions, in the vague hope that someone's listening ...

1) STOP IT with the arbitrary no-warning permanent suspensions and bannings, unless someone's done something clearly illegal. And make it clear that you're stopping it.

Set up a clear system of warnings, and a transparent system for appeals against bannings and deletions which are felt to be unfair.

I recognize that there are grey areas and tough stuff to deal with, and that (when it comes to things like drawings of possibly-underage fictional characters) you guys are dealing with external legal pressures in the US which are themselves scary and messy and unclear.

But people will be much more prepared to trust LJ to handle those decisions if we can see that you're doing it in a measured, fair and consistent way, and aren't going to be stampeded into idiocies (like banning all journals with specific words in their interests) again.

I think there are areas where much more clarity is needed. But I've also seen some people asking for very very precise specifications of what is and isn't permitted by the TOS, in a way that, as a former list mod, I suspect may not always be 100% possible for you to provide (there's always that one thing -- or ten things -- you couldn't have anticipated).

And I think that's partly because we've been scared by what seems like a "one slip and you're gone for good" policy, and the impression that bannings are being made and reversed in an arbitrary and unpredictable way, by people who don't necessarily have a clue about the communities they're dealing with.

In that context, grey areas and fuzzy boundaries aren't okay, because if you stumble into one by mistake, you're screwed.

Rebuild the trust so that people don't feel, "Shit, I could wake up tomorrow and find my journal's been deleted for who knows what reason with no chance to appeal," and I suspect that people will cut you a lot more slack.

2) Make a positive, public commitment to freedom of creative expression and discussion.

100% free speech is not necessarily what everyone wants; I doubt that fandom's actually going to rally en masse in support of, say, Neo-Nazis.

But people want to feel confident that LJ is not going to cave to pressure from external religious and political forces to censor creative writing or criticism of the government, for example, whether that pressure's coming from Christian fundamentalist right-wingers in the US, or Putin's cronies in Russia.

So - an advisory board with user representation? Difficulties of implementation aside, that's potentially a good idea. But if you announce that it's going to be dealing with questions of "taste and decency" -- people will freak, because we don't know what that might mean for us, but it doesn't sound good.

Fandom communities, creative writers, Wiccans, atheists, GLBT people, people who are kinky or polyamorous, people who are critical of their governments -- right now, a whole lot of LJ users in these groups are worried that "taste and decency" and "political concerns" could easily be applied in a way that discriminates against us.

We need reassurance that that's not going to be the case. Maybe that's something you take for granted, but there are a lot of people feeling vulnerable.

3) A moratorium on any more new censorship/flagging/banning/filtering features. Really. Give it a break. Give people a chance to calm down and see how existing features shake down and whether they get abused. I'm burned out on waking up, checking my friendslist and going, "Oh hell, what's LJ up to now?".

Right now, it seems like it's been one thing after another, all targeting and restricting "adult content", all affecting fandom (among others), and regardless of the merits (or not) of individual changes, it's making people feel nibbled to death by ducks.

Inevitably, people are left wondering: do you just not want any "adult content" at all on LJ? what's this going to lead to next? is the new "voluntary" flagging system going to lead to banning people who don't "voluntarily" flag adult content? etc. etc. etc.

And that affects reactions to any new changes; people panic because we don't know.

Honestly, I don't give a damn if you want to block people from using racial slurs as interest search terms; I don't think it's out of keeping with the existing "no hate speech" policy.

But if you code it so badly that it also blocks "hospices" and self-chosen identity terms like "transfags", and start blocking terms like "genocide" where there could be numerous legitimate reasons for a search - that bothers me, because it seems like a kneejerk policy that's been badly-implemented.

If the "adult content" labelling is an essential "cover your ass" policy in the US climate: okay, I suspect a lot of people can live with it as a voluntary option, if it's clearly communicated and explained.

It's not going to be effective in keeping out any teenager who's smart enough to realize that all they have to do is log out and click "Yes, I am over 18" -- but really, that's a feature, not a bug.

("But, Mr. Scary-Right-Wing-Fundie-Parent, we have all this age-verification in place! It's not our fault that your darling daughter Chastity lied on the click-through!")

But address people's concerns about how it works, and show that you're willing to work with us to sort out the details, make it work in a sane, sensible and convenient way and not as a tool for censorship or harassment (and seriously, not via suggestions that people should send you their government ID, because that's taking a simple problem and turning it into a whole new can of worms) and clarify what it actually means.

And if you want people to accept a content labelling/filtering system, then it needs to be clear that it's a measure to protect LJ from external pressures for more stringent censorship -- in other words, a way of assuring that people can have more freedom behind an adult content label, and not a stepping stone to more restrictions, bannings, etc.

Assuming that's the case.

4) Bear in mind that most of us don't give a damn about "widget functionality" (or are actually happier with an uncomplicated site).

Shiny toys can be nice, and nobody says no to extra icon spaces. But I'd trade any amount of glitzy new features to be able to feel confident that I and my friends and my communities and my fellow bloggers will get a reliable service and be left in peace.

I don't want to have to worry about this stuff. I want to know that -- given I'm not a Neo-Nazi or child pornographer, and am not stalking, harassing or comitting hate speech against anyone -- I will be left in peace to get on with my quiet fannish existence.

If you can provide that, there is a strong possibility that I and others will give you money. Which is normally considered a desirable business goal, yes?

I've had a great time on LiveJournal. A lot of my friendships and my social interactions have begun through LJ (especially given my disabilities). I don't want to have to go elsewhere. Very few of us do.

From the LJ TOS:
"All Content posted to LiveJournal in any way, is the responsibility and property of the author. LiveJournal is committed to maintaining the Service in a manner reasonably acceptable to all audiences but is not responsible for the monitoring or filtering of any journal Content."
Ummm... you really might want to look into changing that since you've apparently decided that you certainly will monitor and filter journal content. Oh, and this too:
"Within the confines of international and local law, LiveJournal will generally not place a limit on the type or appropriateness of user content within journals. Those users posting material not suitable for all audiences must agree that they are fully responsible for all the Content they have posted anywhere on the Service. Should Content be deemed illegal by such law having jurisdiction over the user, you agree that LiveJournal may submit all necessary information to, and cooperate with, the proper authorities;
If you plan on changing the service you really need to change the Terms of Service.

It's not your job to act as a parent - that responsibility rests solely on the parents themselves - and the recent "improvements" and "features" that you've implimented (openly and aggressively opposed as it is from your paying customers) indicate that you are swiftly moving toward strict censorship and content filtering ideals.

The adoption of ads on the site bothers me to no end. LJ handled it correctly back before 6Apart took over.

Here is an example of how this policy is not working.

ruckawriter has been talking in his LJ about the rape case in Saudi Arabia in his entries. today's entry consisted of some mild political snark and the mention of the word "rape", with a couple of links, mostly to info that is on the BBC's main news page.

This entry was flagged and set as "Adult Content". He was never notified of this change - in fact he has been too busy earning an actual living to follow the 6-7 communities needed to keep abreast of this stuff. The first he learned about this was when a puzzled reader commented on it.

My understanding of the new policies is that 1) someone had to flag his entry and then 2) someone from LJ had to look at the flag message and change the settings on his entry. Is this in fact what is supposed to happen?

How the He11 can this be "adult content", which is supposedly "Content that is graphic and explicit (depicting nudity, sexuality, or violence) that is appropriate only for adults and is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. This label does not imply that the content is considered obscene, just that it is not appropriate for minors." - Yet it is appropriate enough for CNN and the BBC?

(Deleted comment)
what we think clearly doesn't matter. things are going to be done whether or not a majority agree. there is no democracy.

i wanna read this fellow's eljay and it won't let me ;__;

1) What is your greatest concern about LiveJournal's current policies?

About the Tags... my entries are WEEKS behind now in tagging, simply because i can not easily rename my tags... as it says i have TOO many.. I am not going to edit over 400 entries individually to get this to work.

Increase it to 2000, not many people have 2000, but im sure a fair amt. have 1000+...

2) Regarding your primary concern, are you aware of a site that handles that issue in a way that you like?

LJ before november or whenever it was

I simply use my journal to write my thoughts. My journal is flagged adult but most of my entries are friends only.

I don't write hateful things because I'm not a hateful person. I guess I'm not so worried about the politics of what's going on behind the scenes at LJ because LJ is simply a vehicle for me to express my personal, and sometimes, political points of view.

I don't see anything overtly nasty about defining/updating your policy. For those that spend a lot of time ranting here, they probably aren't following the policy or they feel entitled to direct what is a commercial undertaking.

I am also a father of 2 children so flagging and securing material that shouldn't be seen by minors isn't a big deal. I don't see anything wrong with what your doing.

Just my two cents...Thanks