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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.

I think you're going to find that LJ will have it's first year where it loses membership overall, if the new Flagging policy is retained.

You can put all the safeguards you want on it - in the end, any staff that you set up to review flagged content are going to be overwhelmed by the number of people who might have an axe to grind. Once that happens, things will start getting done automatically just because there are multiple flags. I've seen it happen on too many other systems to beleive that this will be any different.

If you retain the flagging system, you will lose paying members, including myself - even though my journal is Friends-only. I won't be a part of a community run by people who will act this capriciously toward the membership.

In the hope that the more times you get to hear it, the better...

I too would like to take this opportunity to ask for better opportunities for user input before changes are implemented. There are so many talented, knowledgeable and eloquent people on LJ - draw on their experience in dealing with things like the possible need for a content flagging feature (and abuse thereof) instead of going right on ahead with a system which is obviously flawed and not thoroughly thought out.

Also, I agree with comments above that written documents like TOS, new user guidelines, etc, should be clearly formulated and procedures for complaints transparent the first time they're posted. Terms like several, multiple and most freqently, used in the past days to describe how many flags it takes to impose an adult setting on an entry, are simply not good enough.

1. this flagging thing needs to be revised or scrapped. If you don't scrap it, "hate speech" needs to be expanded to include, at the very least, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, country of origin, and disability status.
The TOS and abuse policies also need to be more transparent.

a quick usability issue

please change the layout of this community so navigation (for pages of comments) is also at the bottom rather than just at the top of the comments. it's inefficient to have to scroll all the way back if one actually cares to follow all the comments.

Re: a quick usability issue

I wish they'd set all official communities to *not* use the customized community layout in comments, but instead the LJ default layout.

As it is, I append ?style=mine to the end of official comm urls, so I can see them in the default style.

No ads on Paid and Basic accounts. This is what I signed up for and in case of my paid account - paid for.

if paid accounts have to start seeing ads I am SO gone.

I would like for LiveJournal to be run by people who understand it - people who have used the site for a long time, know the ins and outs of it, and are deeply and personally invested in it, not just on a business level. I would like to hear official announcements coming from real people instead the ambiguous theljstaff, so I can know whether, for example, I am hearing from someone at SUP or someone at Six Apart or someone I've worked with and learned to trust in Support.

As a Support volunteer, I would like to be able to offer real solutions to people instead of constantly apologizing for, for example, the inability to recover an account if you have forgotten the password and changed your email, or having to tell people that they have to accept a cookie from snap.com to disable Snap Shots. Where there are loopholes, I would like either to be able to tell people about them, because it could solve their problem, or I would like to see the loophole closed, so I don't feel like I'm withholding information, even if it's information people could figure out on their own. When the adult content flagging came out, Support volunteers should have been told right away what would happen to accounts that were incorrectly marked as underage, rather than having to wait while dozens of requests built up before we got an answer for that, because these things should have been thought about in advance. And I'm not criticizing the Support staff, who are wonderful people and beyond dedicated to LiveJournal, but the management team needs to have answers ready before the most obvious questions are asked.

I really appreciate the opportunity to beta test the releases, but I would like to be able to offer feedback on whether the things in the release are a good idea (ideally, before they even find their way into a release), and not just whether there are any technical problems with them. As an example, I don't even use the navigation strip, but I can't see any reasonable explanation for why the log-in box was removed from it, and it's awkward to try to explain that sort of thing to users who open Support requests when we don't even understand it ourselves. It would be nice if news posts would include a preview of upcoming features rather than simply announcements about already-implemented new features. I would love it if LiveJournal would regularly poll its users to help prioritize what to have developers work on next, or at least have a more transparent (and expeditious!) process for what happens to suggestions once they are submitted to suggestions.

And I agree with the comments from other Support volunteers. I think the Support team should have more opportunities to offer feedback to senior management. I think the Support team should get more public support and recognition from LiveJournal's senior management. The advisory board is a good idea, but I don't see how two users, even (especially?) if popularly elected, will be enough to give you anything like a representative insight into what LiveJournal users want.

Edited at 2007-12-03 07:14 pm (UTC)

My main concern is the lack of a clear, detailed explanation of what kind of content is permitted. This has been promised multiple times over the last few months, and still hasn't materialized. Artists and writers on LJ are using this site to post their creative work; that work is sometimes sexually explicit or offensive to some people. It would be nice to know exactly what content LJ permits and what it doesn't before investing more time or money in staying on LJ.

My secondary concern is the way changes have been communicated over the past few months -- changes announced in terms that were easy to misunderstand without important information being included, news posts left for days without comments being answered or any response to users' concerns being offered, policies "clarified" again and again in contradictory terms, users suspended without being given a chance to remove material they hadn't known was a TOS violation ...

Understandably, this leads to worried, angry users. Changes need to be announced in as clear and detailed a way as possible, with people's likely concerns already addressed, and there needs to be sufficient staff to answer users's remaining concerns quickly, before concern turns into panic and anger.

1) What is your greatest concern about LiveJournal's current policies?
My biggest concern is the new limit that LJ has placed on the tag system, and the effect that it will have on LJ's communities.

2) Regarding your primary concern, are you aware of a site that handles that issue in a way that you like?
Most sites have an unlimited tag system in place, as did LJ up until a few days ago.

Edited at 2007-12-03 07:02 pm (UTC)

Stop the Big Brother BS...

I think that you should stop the big brother stuff. If someone has a complaint about a journal, they can report it to LJ via email or through some reporting menu that they have to go find. This flagging journals and having buttons and such just reeks of a Big Brother watch dog thing that makes me very uncomfortable. I think that you should take all of that out and just let people notify you of such things via email. If someone's journal or a post is offensive...let them report it and have to take a REAL ACTION to do so. Clicking to do it is lame.

I think leaving it this way will lead to people reporting erroneous crap. You should have to WORK to report someone. Not just click a button.

Most other sites out there have a reporting thing in this manner. No one else I know lets you

Also---I would like to see the number of tags set back to unlimited. I run communities and I use tags quite a bit. We need these in order to organize our journals. Thank you.

Edited at 2007-12-03 07:09 pm (UTC)

my greatest concern

my primary concern:

nannying. please stop it. my content ought to be subject only to actual laws, not your layperson interpretation of what those laws might or might not cover. it is up to law enforcement and the courts to enforce those laws, not you. your recent concern for the childruuun is ... touching, i'm sure, but it is window dressing which does nothing to make the service safer for actual children. show that concern during sign-up, then leave your users' content alone unless you are served with a subpoena.

secondary, almost as important concern:

transparency and communication as regards new features and new policies. tell us ahead of time what to expect, clearly. whenever possible, make it optional, and establish opt-in, not opt-out procedures. by communication i don't mean "shmooze the users after the fact", but clear, corp-speak free interactions before, during, and after a change.

i know you're no experimental free-speech-loving hackers but you possibly see LJ as nothing more than a happy cash cow. fine by me (though it is a loss, but i got over it with 6A). still, happy cash cows can be milked longer with good communication and transparency as well. consider it.

a site that handles the primary issue the way i like? https://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/help/abuse

who are you anyway? i don't mind (obviously) responsible pseudonymity, i don't need "real" names, but anonymity such as used for theljstaff does not instill me with trust. new boss same as the old boss? who is actually listening? do i need to repeat myself because it's somebody else now than last week, or not?

I agree with virtually everything that's been said here, and I've remained silent over the last couple of "huge" issues LJ has had with its so-called "community" over site and policy changes mostly because I felt uninformed and unable to properly convey my thoughts. I'm under the impression now that the entire reason people are so vocal about these things is that I must not be alone in this feeling of inadequate information.

Only yesterday did I finally trudge up some articles about 6A's acquisition of LJ and decide to read through those to see what's been going on now and before, to gain a better understanding of a site/community I liked, but rarely felt comfortable being a part of over the past two years or so. I've become much more avid in my use of LJ over these past two years, finding that the learning curve was swifter than I had expected and the community itself was friendly and easy to communicate with. Having said that, my concerns are as follows:

First; a full-hearted agreement with everyone over a clear and available explanation of policy/allowed content/etc. I'm aware that's precisely what this community seems to be aiming towards attaining, so I have hope here. I had never been concerned with what content I did or didn't post before this whole "strikethrough" uproar not quite so long ago--evidently I was under the impression of the 'original' LJ I've heard so much about: if it's not illegal and you're not breaking any laws or doing harm to the site itself, have at it. The 'moral police' have got to go.

You're never going to make everyone happy--you're better off leaving the group who started all of this ridiculousness to moderate their OWN internet usage, their OWN children's internet usage and behavior, and their OWN moral interests.

Second, the implementation of features that nobody around here really cares for and/or wants at all. We choose LJ over facebook and myspace (two sites which I loathe with an unfathomable passion) entirely because of the streamlined simplicity, the focus on an open forum and a place to talk/communicate with others over these silly widgets and gadgets and features that so much of the 12-year-old AOL user (apologies to any intelligent persons who fall under that category) population of the internet is fascinated with. We chose LJ because we do not want these features. If we wanted them, we'd go to facebook and/or myspace. Please stop trying to gradually shift LJ into that territory, it feels as though we're being forced towards the crumbling edge of a deep chasm we'd really prefer not to see the bottom of thank you very much.

On a similar note, the implication of features without informing the users is amazingly frustrating. If you're going to change things without letting us know, at least tell us afterwards, would you? This seems to happen often.

Last of my primary concerns relates to the article I was reading only yesterday about 6A's acquisition of LJ. It sounds to me as though the original goal of LJ was an ad-free environment where users could talk freely so long as there was no actual illegal activity going on. 6A appears to have gradually combined these original values with "let us make money, as this is what every company in the world's primary goal is". Now, I'm not saying that's particularly a problem. I can see the value of Plus accounts and I'm not about to go on a crusade trying to make LJ completely ad-free.

HOWEVER; after a quick traverse through SUP's Russian LJ home page and one significantly frustrating browser crash at the number of banners and ads I was met with, I'm worried about exactly what direction that may or may not take.

In any case, I'm worried about the same things I'm sure everyone was worried about at 6A's initial acquisition--where do SUP's values lie? Are they oriented towards giving us site changes and widgets we don't want, making money, competing with other "blogging" sites over the number of users entirely for bragging rights, or a pleasant and welcoming environment/experience for those users?

I'm hesitant to leave LJ now that I've become so accustomed to it and grown to like it so much, so I remain pessimistic but hopeful, as I did through "strikethrough '07".

(Evidently I started hitting comment length restrictions, there.)

My site of choice and preference is not the greatest of alternatives to point out, as it is oriented towards a different goal. DeviantART has been my 'internet home' for the past six years, and I bring it up for only one reason. It too seems to be sliding down the same slippery slope LJ has stumbled upon; lack of clarity to site policies and violations, lack of open communication with the users and their opinions, changes without our knowledge or consent, "flashy" add-ons that at least half of us are largely unhappy with (the other half being 12-year-old AOL/myspace users themselves who seem to skip along merrily through the internet with little care in regards to site functionality), and most importantly--money-making oriented primary values of the site and staff.

DeviantART's decline in user appeal and happiness is what made me shift my time and interest to LJ in the first place. If LJ follows that same path towards the edge of this deep and ominous chasm I mentioned, I'm really not sure where else there is for me to go. Rest assured, it won't be here.

At the moment, it seems like moderating "adult content" is LJ's biggest concern, while at the same time there are no clear guidelines as to what that is. I'm disturbed by the new stuff I found about making decisions on "religious and political" things. LJ shouldn't make any decisions on those grounds, because they have no relevance.

I liked the way LJ was run pre-Six Apart.

Hear Hear!
I, for one, will not be renewing my paid account until these issues have been clearly addressed. I encourage others to do likewise.

Just about what everybody has said and I'd like to see the issue of advertisement/sponsored content and paid account addressed and definitely resolved. LJ promised they would work on it several months ago. We haven't heard anything about it then. So it's hard to believe they're doing anything at all.

1) My biggest concern, honestly, is that I don't feel the LJ administration can be trusted. We've been fed so many lies and so much misdirection lately that I just cannot summon up any faith whatsoever in the people running the site. Clarifications are promised, and never forthcoming -- or if they do come out, they only serve to augment the confusion, not clear it. The staff has an absolutely abysmal record when it comes to communicating with its members -- we get spoon-fed platitudes rather than actual answers. Explanatory posts take an extremely condescending and patronising tone towards the users. I feel like y'all hold us in absolutely no regard whatsoever. I'm tired of feeling like a cash cow.

I'm also tired of decisions being made -- on all fronts, TOS policies, "adult content", interface changes, the new restriction on tags, the horrifying flag feature -- without any consultation of the userbase. These things just get inflicted on us with absolutely no warning, which just adds to the "LJ doesn't have any respect for us" feeling I've been getting for the past couple of years. And then, adding insult to injury, in every post you encourage us to give feedback... which you then proceed to duly ignore. Once I would've said you were just ignorant and oblivious to what it is your users want -- but I feel like we've made our voices heard, repeatedly, so now you're either just willfully not paying attention, or you do hear us, but you just don't care. It's not a good feeling on our end.

2) IJ seems to be very aware of what its members want. I haven't spent a lot of time over there, but they seem to be going out of their way to please their members, whereas LJ seems to be going out of its way to piss us off at every turn.