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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.


Under 6A, LJ suffered a lot of stupid decision-making, which is why SUP is now going to be saddled with a shrinking paid membership that's going to be very difficult to turn around, and a hard sell to the rest of us.

The core problem boils down to this: opacity and lack of respect.

Standard operating procedure has been to simply make major changes without any warning and by setting these things on by default, and dismissing those of us who do not want them out of hand as being uninformed or out of step with some shadowy, undefined 'majority of other LJers'. For example:

  • Those of us who don't want the Navstrip at the top are forced to do browser-side hackery to get rid of it, because another user has set it to 'Always Show' which overrides my preference of 'Never Show'. The closest to an explanation as to why overriding my preferences on my journal is acceptable boiled down to "It's for your own good and you're too stupid to see why. Quit whining."
  • Mouseover popup text on LJ icons obscures large chunks of the actual message that I'm trying to read. No warning was given of the change, and when first rolled out, it couldn't be disabled.
  • Commercial communities, which when first rolled out were completely indistinguishable from genuine grass-roots communities and seem to have been quite thoroughly repudiated by the user base, despite 6A's assurances that we "really really would like them".
  • Ad-sponsored accounts, reneging on LJ's promise of "no ads, ever"
  • Censorship by default, as set in this last round of changes. I don't object to setting my account to 'Adult Concepts'--there are things I write about that are not suitable for my young nieces. I do object to having filtering turned on by default, and to a flagging policy that has no clear standards for review or appeal.

Opacity is never acceptable in a public-commons such as this. Obviously, there are some things you're going to need to do as a corporate entity that will impact us users. Warn us about them. Give us fair and free input. Take us seriously when we say we don't want something, and when we say we do.

Without us, without the millions of us just chatting back and forth, paid and unpaid users all, your investment in LJ is wasted. A lot of us are willing to walk away right now. I've already seen it happen, most recently over the sale to SUP, because the user was tired of changes just coming out of the blue like that.

Also: entirely drop the following highlighted sections from the Board's purview, as quoted directly from your own post:

The LiveJournal Advisory Board will publish and update on a regular basis a clear a set of aims and values. This will address such vital community issues as privacy, security, taste and decency. It will also provide a forum to consider any relevant legal, political or religious concerns.

These are emphatically not your place to determine. Bluntly, it reads like censorship is just over the horizon. I consider the political opinions of some on the opposite side from me to be obscene -- but the very last thing I want is for them to be muzzled. They have the perfect right to believe what they do. The only time it becomes actionable is when a specific call to violence is made. Other than that, it is not your business.

Determining what is 'tasteful' or 'decent' is also not your job. By whose community standard can that possibly be determined? What's unacceptable here in Ohio may be flaunted in New York City. What's flaunted here may be unacceptable in Salt Lake City. Taste and decency need to be determined by the most liberal standards, and then give people the tools to censor not what other people publish, but only what they themselves see.


My biggest concern continues to be, as many others have already said (here and elsewhere, over and OVER), that LJ's management persistently cannot seem to:

--be prepared for incredibly obvious questions about newly-announced policies
--understand how quickly they need to know the answers to these questions
--explain the policies in ways that normal people understand them

Let me give you an example.



Here is what you are doing. You are showing up in lj_biz with a post like this:

Today, I am announcing a new policy. Under the new policy, people who are wearing the correct color of shirt will be given a bag of cookies. People whose shirts are within 120 degrees on the color wheel will be given one cookie. People in the remaining 150 degrees will be flogged. Thanks, have a nice day.

Here is what ALWAYS happens:

Within five minutes, 200 people will ask the incredibly obvious question. PLEASE tell me you know what that question is. You will then go through answering, 200 times, "lime green." You will NOT amend the original post to say "ETA: my bad, the correct color is lime green," and after a while, you will stop answering the question because you have answered it 200 times already.

Also, somewhere in there, some other people will say, um, hi, 120+120+150 ≠ 360, what gives? You will ignore this question.

Within a few more minutes, people will start finding that answer, and start going, okay, so, is lime green the same as neon green? Is that close enough for the bag of cookies? You will leave this question largely unanswered. They will get annoyed, because they have a neon green shirt and what to know if it will do. They will ask again, more loudly this time, and also start asking for a copy of the color wheel with the delineations clearly marked. You will advise them to google that, and state that the policy is clear.

Eventually people will start saying, so, okay, fuchsia is clearly in the flogging area, but what about violet. Does tint matter? You will again advise googling the color wheel, and state that the law is clear. You will not notice that you have just changed the word from policy to law, and when someone points this out, you will cite a code which opposes your point, but clarify nothing.

A couple of days later, you will post a new policy statement: Some people are having trouble with the policy, but not to worry, borderline cases will be referred to an unnamed group, who will make the decision. Sometimes, they will only flog people once and then give them a cookie. That borderline is somewhere around that 120 degree mark. A more thorough explanation will be forthcoming.

The more thorough explanation will never arrive.




So, what you are doing is failing to anticipate the obvious, failing to respond when the obvious happens, and failing to follow through. These are all easy things to do, and man, I know that with a user base of thousands of active users, communicating well is hard, but the fact that it's going wrong time after time after time means you aren't learning, and that bothers me. I want you to do it well, and I also want you to learn from when you don't. I want you to find someone who can read the posts before they are posted, and tell you what the obvious questions are, and then? I want you to edit the posts and try again UNTIL there are no blindingly obvious questions, BEFORE posting. And then? I want you to realize, when a whole bunch of people ask the same thing, that you need to ETA the post. And then? I want you to follow through as promised, by which I do mean AS promised, not "in some completely other way entirely."

You left out the part where two hundred users insist that LJ has no right to reward or punish people based on their shirt color, and the replies from six others that yes they do, it's their service.

And the three guys who keep demanding to know how a color-blind person can tell what kind of shirt they're wearing, followed by referals to third-party software that allows you to scan a corner of your shirt and report what color it is, except that "Lime Green" isn't one of its options.

And the dozens of posters asking if the shirt in question has to be worn on the torso, or if it's okay to wear it as a hat. Plus one jerk who says he wears shirts as pants, and really, nobody wants to know how that works. He offers pictures. People tell him to go away.

And an incredibly cute picture of a bunny rabbit wearing a lime green easter egg on its head saying "I CAN HAZ CUKKEEZ PLZ?"

And a less-cute picture of hippie protesters in the 60's burning a huge pile of lime green t-shirts.
Plus a photo of some guy wearing a shirt that's directly opposite of lime green on the color wheel, with the colors inverted.
And a kitten stretched spread-eagle on a cushion, wearing a fuschia sock with holes cut for its head & forelegs, and a caption that says "BONDAGE KITTEH... WANTS A FLOGGING."

Cue three dozen people to bitch about the macros and insist that dammit, what's so friggin hard about getting a lime green shirt?

Followed by someone saying that lime green is against their religion or sexual orientation's rules for public behavior, and exceptions must be made.

gaaah... I understand that there's a lot of wank involved. But we *are* capable of spotting the real issues, and you nailed them.

Ah, I have a question as well.

As someone from the USA, I am told that my freedom of speech is protected. Of course, as a corporation, LJ can do whatever it wants, including what it HAS been doing - making horrible decisions that prevent free speech, free exchange of ideas, and encourage spamming, advertisements above content, and prejudice.

Now that LJ will be run by a Russian company, will this improve or get worse? I'm concerned that things will become MORE restrictive, not less, due to the Russian ownership. Russia - in the USA at least - has a strong reputation for limitations on free speech.

Granted, this might be propaganda, or outdated information. We aren't exactly educated much on the outside world here. It would be really good to hear from the new owners of LJ on what their attitudes on free speech are.

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

Freedom of speech is my greatest concern. That said, I'm American, and maybe I don't have a total understanding on Russian laws concerning that. I don't want my 1st Amendment rights violated (or any other rights for that matter), but I'm not Russian, so will that even matter to you? Really, will it? I'm not even being sarcastic or condescending here... I'm really serious...

A few other changes I'd like to see, make some improvements on the "new and improved" customization area, and please FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY, get rid of the FUCKING FLAGGING SYSTEM... Just do away with it completely! This is me on my knees begging. You see that? *is on knees begging*... Please do not fuck up our beloved LJ anymore than 6A already has :(

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

Two sites that I particularly like with regards to LJ duplicates and policies I like are InsaneJournal.com and Scribblit.com (the latter is still in beta testing mode). Hope my feedback was helpful, but will you even listen? 6A never did... will you?

oh and get rid of ads for chrissakes! we were promised no ads, so we want no ads.

1) There's little point in going over and over the free-speech argument others have made, so I'm going to choose something a little different: the almost obsessive tinkering with the user interface and features, in particular suddenly foisting a major change on us with no notice and then seeming surprised when you get thousands of annoyed users.

The recent 1,000-tag limit is a good example: for various reasons I use tags a lot, and have gone over the 1,000 mark. Now, I can't use any tags I haven't already used in the past, unless I go back and delete some. But since you haven't provided any tools to do this automatically (say "delete all tags unused in the past X months"), I would have to do it manually from the tags page.

There seems to have been a "change or die" mentality within 6A. The thing about that is that it's not always a good idea - older American LJers will recall the "New Coke" fiasco. We are not MySpace, and if you change everything for no reason, we are not going to go "Ooh, shiny!" - we're going to go "Oi, stop messing us about!"

2) LiveJournal, about three years ago...

1) My greatest concern is actually with customer service. I hope that this post represents a change in customer service policies, but I dislike the way you treat your paying customers when they express concern, fear, or anger over changes in policies or in format of the site. I know a new employee was hired specifically to address this situation. Still, I feel that, in posts such as this, when someone takes the time to write indicating their concerns, they should get some response. I've left well-though-out and drafted comments before without any indication that they were ever acknowledged by livejournal staff. Believe me, I understand the case of having pages upon pages of comments, many of which may be the same, to respond to. But I have to do it in my free time, and your employees, in theory, can be paid to do this. In the reality of that situation and the fact that it takes me only a couple hours, I don't see what excuse there is for not responding to each member and customer who takes the time to express something. Also, if you did respond to members, then you would get fewer comments. Often I have seen the case of someone asking a question, no one answering it, and then a hundred more people ask the same question in addition to insulting whatever staff members are not answering them.

Many of us feel as if this is our home. It's fine and we understand that you are the parents, but please don't throw out the furnature or kick us out of the house or ignore us without some warning or explanation.

2) I'm not a member of a large variety of other sites, but to some degree good custimer service should be invisible. Customers are happy and therefore don't need to interact with the head honchos as much. The best example I can give is actually livejournal in its early days when we felt it was being run by a person, who was updating us as to what he and his team were doing, what ideas they had, what their concerns were. We felt as if we were part of the dialog, even if we had minimal actual input in the decision-making process.

1. As LiveJournal becomes owned by a Russian company but managed by a U.S. company, what set of laws regarding expression, privacy, and so forth will apply to bloggers?

The Russian political climate seems to have taken a turn towards autocracy with chess champions jailed for speaking out against the ruling party. I have concerns too about respect for expression and privacy by the U.S. government as well, but (1) I at least know the law here and (2) I can work to change it. What about intellectual property laws? Will users be allowed to post content which is legal in Russia but not in the U.S.?

If Russian authorities can dictate expression and privacy constraints on this site, I may have to set up shop elsewhere.

2. Google doesn't physically locate servers in China nor are they owned by a Chinese company, so they can offer services to Chinese citizens without the long arm of Chinese policy all over those users' data. (Whether they do isn't fully transparent, but they can.)

All of the expression and privacy standards on LiveJournal are going to stay the same. Just as a point of correction (even though it seems nitpicky) - LiveJournal, Inc. now owns and operates LiveJournal.

LiveJournal, Inc. is a US corporation located in San Francisco and subject to US and California laws. While LiveJournal, Inc. is owned by SUP, that doesn't change LJ, Inc.'s legal responsibility or the laws it needs to follow (which are purely US).

I'm sure that other people have raised this already and I apologise for the fact that I don't have time to read 250+ comments when I have a portfolio that I'm supposed to be working on for my Historical Fiction class. But that project in and of itself does tie into my primary concern about LiveJournal at the moment. It has been a concern since that Strike Through incident and is actually two-fold.

a) As a writer I need a clearly spelled out for me guideline as to what it is that is a breech of LJ's TOS to the point that it will get either this account (which is permanent) deleted, or any of my other accounts that I use for writing for fun on the fandom level.... because honestly? Since Strike Through I am actually worried that I'm going to say something out of utter frustration in my personal journal when I'm venting about real life stuff that will get my account, that I've had and used regularly for five years deleted and the contents of which sent off into the internet ether, as it were, given how minor/sort of ridiculous some of the offenses were for journals to get deleted in that period.

The project I am working on for that afforementioned class focuses on a real event that has been covered numerous times in fiction and film in Quebec, and therefore in French. There is a character in there, the one driving the story despite not being the main character, based on a real child named Aurore Gagnon (you can find all the details you could ever wish for at CanadianMysteries.ca) who was abused by her father and stepmother and who eventually died because of this. One of the things that came up again and again post-strike through was that we could not be permitted as being seen to promote child abuse or harm to others... If I were to post an exerpt or even a detailed plot summary once I was far enough into the novel, would there be enough of a distinction made between the fact that though I was dealing with real events in the early 20th Century, and was writing fiction based around that, I was in no way supporting how these people treated that child?

b) Then there's those for fun fandom level accounts and the communities that usually have two or three members and a closed membership in which the on going threads are kept... Most of these characters, depending on canon timeline, are in grade 11 or 12, 16-17-18 years old. Some of them are older, but by two years at most, and this is a rare exception given that the majority of my 'characters' are from shows like Buffy or Veronica Mars. At times they do end up in sexual situations. Would this be seen as promoting children in sexual situations when they're fully consenting with a partner their own age? In the case of the minor Buffy character she is actually married, but I don't know if people reporting or investigating would read far enough to find that out.

There are two other issues that come out of these games... by Veronica Mars canon, she was raped pre-series. Would mere mentions of that event be enough to get the account deleted? And what if we're dealing with same-sex sexual situations? How are those handed?

Teenage sex, pregancy, marriage, even rape, heterosexual or homosexual happens. All I'm trying to do by including it in my writings on the fandom level is be true to life. I push things no further than Big Love did this year when you consider the fact that two teenage characters on that show were shown somewhat graphically having sex.

Am I worrying over nothing? I hope I am. Is there a way to mark specific entries in my own accounts for their age ratings, because I use these accounts in various places, and copy entries of posts from those communities into the account itself.. I'd hate to have to lock the entire thing from people below a certian age for a handful of entries.

My other minor concern is a change to fees. They've been the same for the 5 years I've been there, and I do pay for paid time to get the extra userpics on some of the fandom accounts, and I'm on a fairly fixed budget. I can't afford a drastic change... but everything above is really my primary concern.

I would love to see LJ TELL us about changes BEFORE they just go ahead and do them. It would go a long way towards keeping their users happy.

I am aware of a site that used to handle things in a way that I liked. It was called LiveJournal. It presumed that adults were perfectly able to decide for themselves what they did and did not want to read, use back buttons when they saw something they didn't want to read, and apply warnings to their own posts where they felt necessary if something was being posted, be it material inappropriate for children or spoilers for last night's television shows.

Then LiveJournal was bought out by a group of people who wanted to make money from advertising. Suddenly it was presumed that users were too stupid to police themselves, and also too stupid to handle a straightforward explanation of changes in the terms of service. So those policy changes were made suddenly, without warning and without any explanation of exactly what they would mean. They were applied arbitrarily and with a heavy hand, usually resulting in a few days of chaos and "apologies" from the management that were really more huffs of annoyance that the pesky users of LiveJournal were getting in the way of the management's brilliant business scheme.

This new flagging system would seem heavy-handed in a second grade classroom, let alone on a major blogging site. There have always been places to report inappropriate material; those places have always seemed perfectly capable of investigating and coming to extremist conclusions (Harry Potter fan artists are underage pornographers and should be banned permanently, etc.) To allow every user with a grudge, a quick temper or a twitchy finger to report any other user on a whim, without any clear explanation of when or how or why such reports will be investigated, whether there will be any punishment for filing false reports or rounding up mobs to gang up on given users, etc. is asking for trouble for every single user as well as the entire management team.

When laws are flamboyantly being broken -- when someone is being stalked or harassed or when photos of exploited children actually appear online -- this community is overwhelmingly supportive of management ridding the community of such behavior. But management is ridding the community of...well, the community. People are being punished for things that are neither illegal nor specifically against the LJ terms of service, except as any given person in the management office decides to interpret those terms on any given afternoon.

I am a permanent account holder. The only thing I want is my LiveJournal back the way it was five years ago.

1) The overwhelming concern for the 8% of your userbase (via your own stats page, if I did the math right) under 18 resulting in this insanity regarding "adult content" on livejournal.

  • Livejournal has a primarily adult userbase, based on your own user stats. Thus, opting IN to adult content is rather doing things the wrong way around in my eyes.

  • Livejournal's only way of confirming adult status is by an unverifiable user input of birthdate. Thus, this policy which is upsetting to many is utterly useless in the first place.

  • Allowing users to pass judgment on the content of other writers in this way is a system begging to be abused during "flame wars". We are told this will result in disregarding input from those wrongfully using the flagging system. But this will also overload the support team even further, pushing genuine support requests into a longer queue. Allow users to flag their own content, maintainers to flag community content and leave it at that.

  • Also, Adult content has not been sufficiently defined. Sexual content seems to be the guideline. Will self harm and excessive violence also be defined as adult content? Im specifically thinking of the Pro-Anorexia communities on livejournal.



2) Lack of transparency and communication with the userbase

  • Implementing changes without advance notice needs to cease. TOS changes need to be reflected in the written TOS documentation BEFORE they go live, and they need to be in clear language that will be understood by the average layman. The corporate speak and legalese isnt understandable to many. I have some experience with it myself and I find it difficult to figure out what you're getting at at times.

  • FOR GODS SAKE REVAMP THE FAQ ALREADY. And put it, and the TOS back on the ribbon where they're easily findable. The site structure here is nuts, but thats understandable considering it wasnt built to be this big.

  • Consolidate the Information channels. For gods sake we've got news, lj_maintenance, paidmembers, lj_biz and now lj_policy and lj_2008. This is insane. Communication with the userbase needs to be more centralized as well as more transparent. Probably your best bet would be to take news, kill comments to the journal and make it PURELY for announcing updates to the other LJ information channels. No advertising, no silly plugs, *just* notices that X comm has been updated regarding Y. Then we could easily click over if interested. Setting it as a watched journal by default for all users should be ok if updates are only a few lines indicating new information is available elsewhere.




Consolidate the Information channels.

Agreed. I think I have 7 LJ information comms to watch, and I know there's more. And it's hard to find information of changes etc etc. I'm sure this is what they want (at least if they post in one of the communities, they can say the information is out there), it's frustrating as a user.

My greatest concern about LJ's policies is the lack of clarity about those policies. Personally, I think that leaving wiggle room is a good thing. Ideally it lets the APT make human decisions and allows them to be less strict than they have to be. But it's widely perceived as a problem because the APT is not trusted. The APT has been left holding the bag for poor management decisions (like the one that led to Strikethrough), and has not had much of a chance to show that it is trustworthy.

Suggestion:

Give the staff and key volunteers on the LJ APT and Support teams human faces. A Volunteer Spotlight community, perhaps? Featuring one person per week; commenters could ask questions of him/her and get to put a human face to the vague and scary Powers That Be.

Imagine what a difference a post like this could make: "Hi, I'm Jane, and I've had a journal here for six years. I live in Chicago with my partner Helen and our three pet ferrets. I'm an enormous manga fan and attend Anime Central every year. But I'm an even bigger LJ fan. I started volunteering about two weeks after I got my first journal. The funniest abuse report I ever handled was when someone threatened to report LJ to the ASPCA because we were feeding Frank all those deleted posts. At first I thought it was a joke, but it turned out that the guy was serious! The thing I love best about LJ is that it's a great place for geek communities."

Heh. I should write that up for the suggestions community...

Or even take that faceless official staff icon and let official staff members personalize it and use it under separate staff sock-puppet accounts (IE: "LJ_Admin_Jane"), so we at least know the difference between who is actually responding to us.

(Having them use their own private accounts would be bad, I remember how all the old school LJ team members had to lock down their journals and put up big frikkin banners that said "TAKE IT TO SUPPORT, THIS IS MY PRIVATE LJ AND I WONT HELP YOU HERE".)

1) I'm very concerned about LJ's recent move to enforce "community standards" on freedom of speech via the flagging for adult content model.

2)I'd prefer if flagging were voluntary and could only be done by the community or journal owner. I do not like the idea of others being able to flag my content. Yes, I know you put some useful limitations on this like the fact that it takes multiple users flagging content to alert livejournal's abuse team. I know there are also limitations on the number of flags a user can submit per day.

I still the idea of flagging should be left up to the author of a post. "Community standards" are just a way for the majority to suppress the minority. Also there are real and palpable consequences to having my entries flagged as adult. They won't appear in lj searches or be indexed by search engines like google. They're no longer public. That's suppression of freedom of speech. Also if I want "of age" people to read my adult entries they now have to create an account. That's not convenient.

I just had to add another comment that I think is exemplary of what has been wrong with LJ under Six Apart ownership.

1)Strikethrough '07. Yes, we still remember this and we're still pissed.

Others have said it before me, but I'll repeat it. Never, ever, makes major changes, delete someone's account, switch their post or account to "adults only" without giving them warning. This is more than an issue of netiquette; it's a blatant disregard for your user base.

We'd like warnings before major policy changes so that the feedback you always ask for might be listened to for once. We'd also like it if you pay attention to our feedback when we don't like a new feature or policy and change it.

We also don't want to see something like Strikethrough repeated with the new flagging policy. I don't want to see LJ deciding what I can and can't say in my journal. I also want to be able to repeal each and every time a post or my journal is flagged as "adult."

And in a broader sense, I want to Livejournal to stop making decisions as though advertising money is the bottom line at the end of the day. The users are your content; we are your business and we could leave at any time. I want our satisfaction to be the primary concern at LJ.

Nothing else like Strikethrough, for a start. And for seconds, repeated updates about any changes that are going to affect users - it's no good having 8 or 9 separate communities for LJ updates that affect people because not everyone monitors news, lj_releases, lj_biz, etc. - if something changes that's going to change how I use the site, I should know about it, and quickly. News posts (i.e. the ones that go to the front page) once every few weeks aren't exactly enough.

Like so many other people who've commented on this post, I find it difficult to pinpoint my greatest concern about livejournal's policies. Six Apart has done such a thorough job of alienating its customers over the past few years that it's almost impossible to pinpoing which is the most egregious insult. In the end, my concerns really boil down to three issues: trust, respect, and accountability.

1. Trust. Broken promises = loss of trust. Any six-year-old could tell you that. By breaking its promises to us regarding advertising on the site, promising clarifications on TOS changes and never following through with them, and soliciting user opinion which it then fails to acknowledge or consider, Six Apart has shown me that it can't be trusted as a company. Not only couldn't I trust it to keep its promises, but I also couldn't trust it to hold the interests of its paying customers over the interests of its advertising sponsors. Only time will tell if Sup will be more trustworthy, but you know what they say: Once bitten, twice shy.

2. Respect. This is a huge one for me. Like many others have said, I absolutely do not get the feeling that the LJ administration respects its user base. Respect means approaching users as if they were mature, intelligent, adults. It means acknowledging valid concerns as such, acknowledging and considering the opinions you so often ask for, and, for God's sake, assuming that we're all smart enough to find the back button if we stumble across something we don't want to see. It certainly does not mean assuming that users are guilty until proven innocent, and throwing around terms like "child pornographers" to people who absolutely don't deserve them. It's also telling that the company does not respect its LGBT users enough to include sexual orientation and gender identity on its list of hate speech.

In addition to showing disrespect for its customers, though, Six Apart has consistently shown disrespect for Livejournal -- the Livejournal that we all knew and loved, and not the kiddie-oriented MySpace clone that it seems to be turning into. There's a reason that LJ users are here, and not on MySpace.

Accountability. It works both ways. First, as a user, I need to know what I'm held accountable for on LJ. That means a clear and consistent TOS. Second, it means that you, as a company, need to be held accountable for decisions that severely impact your customers. As others have said, a customer service department that actually works with the customers would be a huge step in the right direction. So would more transparency in the Abuse Prevention Team's decisions, and a sincere and consistent effort to answer the questions that your customers pose to you.

The only site I knew of that did a good job of addressing these three issues was Livejournal, before Six Apart took over. It's sad. I joined up with LJ in 2002 under a different journal, and for most of my time here, I've kept a paid account -- not because I really used the extra features, but because LJ was such a fabulous site that I wanted to support it in any way I could. I never imagined that I'd someday decide that LJ would not get another cent from me unless it cleaned up its act. Sadly, that day has come and gone. I decided against renewing my paid account after strikethrough, and I'm not willing to buy even a 99-cent virtual gift from a company that has so thoroughly managed to alienate so many of its users.

Thank you! This comment eloquently expresses my concerns.