Posts Tagged ‘LiveJournal’

Effectively BeFriending this 'Blog on LJ

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

It is possible for LiveJournal users to effectively beFriend me (in spite of my having deleted my old LJ), by adding external identity profile to their Friends lists, and by adding the syndication journal oeconomist_rss to their Friends lists.

External identity profile corresponds to my OpenID, and beFriending it would allow me to read and to comment to Friends-only entries. I have been pondering whether I should allow the profile to abide, because to me it looks uncomfortably like a LiveJournal account, and I of course chose to delete my LJ account in response to LJ policies. But I've decided that the distinction is sufficient that, at least for now, I will allow the profile to remain and will use it.

Most or all of you know about the syndication journal oeconomist_rss; it pulls the non-protected entries from this 'blog and temporarily makes them available on LJ such that they will appear on Friends pages. (The only present way to get the protected entries is to log into the 'blog using an ID and password got from me. Anyone who was on my old LJ Friends list can be assured of being given one upon request.) The syndication journal itself is actually not my creäture but that of 28bytes. Comments to the syndication journal itself are not registered here, and may therefore escape my notice.


Saturday, 19 April 2008

My LiveJournal account has effectively been purged. As of yester-day morning, I can no longer log-in with it. The diagnostic says

The database is temporarily in read-only mode, so creating new login sessions is temporarily down. Please try again later.

and the account is not yet explicitly declared as purged; but it has been removed from the Friends lists of accounts that had beFriended it, and I deleted the account on the morning of 16 February, which would be 61 days before I was unable to log-in. (Though one is warned that the account will be purged after 30 days, present practice is that it will be purged after 60 days.)

When last I looked, the user-name had not been listed as again available.

Not Crossing the Picket Line

Friday, 21 March 2008

I am going to respect the LJ content strike to-day by avoiding even visiting any LJ sites.

I believe that the strike comes far too late. I believe that mere strikes of any length are insufficient measures. I believe that this particular strike was announced with far too short notice (something like five days). And I believe that a one-day strike will produce unimportant statistical results, as it will be followed immediately by a surge of postponed entries and comments.

I also believe that, in response to any action that either seems serious or looks as if it might lead to something serious, the LJ administration will emit more unmeant pieties, and that a substantial number of those who engaged in the action will be all too eager to believe the pieties, rather than to extract genuine and significant commitments.

None-the-less, one forgoes very little not to under-mine this effort. Vayáis con queso.

But What's a Few More Lies?

Thursday, 20 March 2008

In his angry response to American critics and elsewhere, Anton Nosik has flatly denied referring to the Friday LJ boycott as blackmail. Unfortunately for Mr Nosik, a recording of the interview in which he did has been put on-line (7210 KB).

Between the Lines

Thursday, 20 March 2008

In the same message that I quoted earlier, a member of LiveJournal staff writes

Open questions
  • Subscriptions – Should moderators be able to charge for access to closed communities?

And people are responding, positively and negatively, on the interpretation that LJ is contemplating adding support for such subscriptions.

What is more likely to have happened is that LiveJournal has reälized that nothing in their existing rules prevents a maintainer from imposing subscription fees (collected off-site) as a precondition for membership in an LJ community journal, and that one or more cam ho is doing just this. LJ doesn't want to become known as infrastructure for sex work, but they'd probably rather not ban communities only open to dues-paying members of fraternal societies. So they're trying to figure out whether to effect some sort of ban; and, if so, then how to do so.

swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

LiveJournal has been so plainly busted for hypocrisy and for mendacity about the elimination of Basic accounts that they have decided to admit:

The announcement last Wednesday was a mistake in regards to Basic accounts, as the change was not clearly stated, it did not allow for you to provide feedback, and went into effect immediately. Many of you have pointed out that the decision worried you less than the way it was communicated. You should have been given a voice, and you were not; we didn’t follow our own rules, and we apologize.

Of course, if they were sincere about their own rules, then they'd roll-back the change, and run through the proper procedure. But they're not sincere; they're just trying to hold onto enough of the existing user-base to lure the sorts of users in whom they see their future.

Meanwhile, Anton Nosik has engaged in an interesting mix of denial, attack, and self-contradiction in an attempt to shut-up his American critics.

Nope; no sex, bisexuality, or depression here!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

BTW, for those of you who have not been informed:

LiveJournal reports a list of its most popular interests. On 6 March, LJ snuck-in a bit of code that filtered that list so that it wouldn't report bisexuality, bondage, boys, depression, faeries, fanfiction, girls, hardcore, pain, porn, sex, or yaoi as amongst these. After the filtering was discovered on 14 March, the administration was silent on the matter for days, despite many demands for explanation and for removal. The filter was removed on 17 March.

LJ spokesperson marta declares

I don't have a statement for some of your questions. I do know that it was a mistake, and not meant to be a judgment or company opinion of any kind. I will try to have better answers as the day progresses.

(Note that with her I do know that, she insinuates that she doesn't know more than she reveals. We may thus be fairly sure that she knows significantly more. In any case, the administration is plainly stone-walling.)

While I am not surprised that a change to filter the popular interests would be effected in the same unannounced manner as was the change which filtered specific interest searches, and I am not surprised that something like this filtering of the list of most popular interests would eventually be effected, I am none-the-less surprised at just how quickly СУП has been moving.

LiveJournal Demands that Users Forfeit Cards

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Over at LiveJournal, some of the subscribers are planning a one-day boycott, to protest the elimination of Basic accounts. From Russia, we get the response of Anton Nosik:

В ситуации, когда нас пытаются шантажировать и запугивать, угрожая уничтожить наш бизнес, есть бизнес-причины не награждать такой род поведения. Это не просто психология человека, который упорствует тем больше, чем грубее на него давят. Дело в том, что никогда в истории какого бы то ни было успешного предприятия успех не достигался путем покорения агрессивной недружественной воле. Никакое решение — даже самое правильное — не должно приниматься под давлением.

Было бы, наверное, правильно этот пассаж про 12 марта пересмотреть в ближайшие дни. Но с точки зрения разумной корпоративной политики теперь придется дождаться бойкота. Пусть уж он пройдет. Чтобы тема народного негодования, угроз и запугивания была закрыта. А уж после этого обсуждать проблему по существу.

which may be translated

In a situation where someone attempts to blackmail and to intimidate us, threatening to destroy our business, there is a business reason not to reward such behaviour. This is not simply human psychology, which resists more strongly the more that it is pressed. The fact is that in the history there's never been a successful enterprise whose success was achieved by submission to aggressive, hostile demands. No resolution — not even the most correct — should be made under pressure.

It would probably be correct to reconsider the change of 12 March over the next few days. But from the point of view of reasonable corporate policy now it is necessary to wait-out the boycott. Let it pass. So that the subject of popular indignation, threats and intimidation would be closed. And after this close, to actually discuss the problem.

For the full article, see Желающим предоставят пещеру in Избранное for 18 March. For one translation thereöf, see the entry of LJ account darkrosetiger for 18 March.


Friday, 14 March 2008

In case some of my readers could benefit by the consolidation, I here bring-together more of the reports on the elimination of LiveJournal Basic accounts.

Without prior announcement, Basic accounts ceased to be an option on 13 March.

When LJ was asked to restore the option, Jason Shellen, VP of Product Development for LiveJournal, made the ridiculous claim that the elimination was to help new subscribers:

From a product perspective it was more about creating a new registration process that was easier for new users to understand. I'm sure it's been ages since many of you signed up for an account, but it was quite confusing and included a table of options that was not very inviting to new users.

He expressed offense when he was called on having transparently lied.

Brad Fitzgerald, the original creätor of LiveJournal and a member of the Advisory Board, objected to having not been presented with the idea in advance except as a sort of trial balloon to which he had objected. Danah Boyd, another member of the Advisory Board, likewise objected to the failure to consult, and indicated some of the mentality of the present management:

When I get my feet back on the ground, I intend to talk with the folks at LJ, but I can already predict the first question: what can we monetize? how can we grow?

Fitzgerald had already told them how Basic accounts monetize:

In any case, SUP apparently sees no value in freeloaders not looking at ads, not paying, and oh wait… producing most the content for other members to read, other members who are looking at ads and paying for their accounts.

This elimination of Basic accounts isn't about actually maximizing profit; it is about a childish desire to grab money more immediately.

LiveJournal began admitting that it was a business decision:

Over the past 24 hours many of you have asked whether the changes to the account structure (removing the option of creating new basic accounts) is a business decision. It is, emphatically.

c·news, a Russian-based IT WWWeb journal, picked up the story, and reported Anton Nosik, Chief Blogging Officer for СУП, as saying:

We do not consider it necessary to inform those, who have not opened a basic account during 9 years of LiveJournal’s existence, that there is no such an opportunity any longer

Which implicitly refuses to acknowledge that all users, even those who do not plan to creäte new accounts, are affected by this change qua members of a community (and that users with existing accounts often want additional accounts). It also reveals that СУП more generally resists transparency, which resistence is also exposed in the same message in which it was admitted that the elimination of basic accounts was a business decision:

We're still working out how to strike just the right tone when communicating with such a diverse and complex collection of communities.

which is to say that previous pious words were empty, and they can't even figure out quite how to fake openness without giving away more information than they wish.

Another Turn of the Screw

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Without prior announcement, it is no longer possible to creäte a Basic user account on LiveJournal. The change wasn't presented to the Advisory Board for prior discussion. (When I want your advice, I'll ask for it!)

Even Brad Fitzpatrick has been roused from smug complacency, albeït perhaps only because of his commitment to a business model:

In any case, SUP apparently sees no value in freeloaders not looking at ads, not paying, and oh wait… producing most the content for other members to read, other members who are looking at ads and paying for their accounts.

Presumably СУП understands that, for the time being, existing Basic accounts cannot be mandatorily converted to Plus accounts without alienating most of their content providers, but believes that a fair number of potential future subscribers who would have chosen the ad-free option will go ahead and chosen the Plus account (or perhaps now even the Paid account), such that any actual net loss of content providers will be more than off-set by greater ad-density (and by subscription fees).

Unless their model fails in sufficiently spectacular manner, when they reach the point where active Basic accounts are perceived to be a sufficiently small share of existing accounts, these will be converted to Plus accounts after some subsequent major (or ostensibly major) software change.