Watch out for flying pigs!

LiveJournal are bringing back basic accounts! SUP have just done the improbable and actually *listened* to their userbase!

They want to plaster them with ads, of course, and there are four complicated proposals that i can’t get my head around. Not that i really care much, so long as they don’t put any ads on the RSS feeds.

The full, amazing, story about SUP bringing back LJ basic accounts

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Melancholy

It is with sadness that i reflect upon how great LJ once was, and how much i miss it.

I wrote a little letter to Brad. I made some spelling mistakes in it, which unfortunately i can’t edit now, but this is what it was supposed to say …

Dear Brad,

I am having a solemn afternoon, reflecting on what LiveJournal used to be, how much i loved it, and how drastically it has changed beyond all recognition.

I was a huge LJ fan once upon a time. I had a paid account, not because i particularly wanted the extra features, but because i wanted to support something that i loved so much. I actually enjoyed the days of invite codes because i loved to invite people! It gave me such satisfaction to look at my list of ‘children’ LJ accounts. I really got to know people … i used to call it LifeJournal instead of LiveJournal because you could become so intimately involved in people’s lives.

It had such a cosy home-grown feel. I used to like that little picture of you working hard on your computer, dreaming up exciting new features for us! News posts were a reason to get excited; i would eagerly go and try out whatever feature you had just released! These days a news post is a cause for despair: what awful idea have they cooked up this time?!

Now everything that was good about LJ has gone, and i feel so sorry for you. Six Apart and SUP have murdered the site that you created, loved and nurtured. They have mangled it and corrupted it into an ugly monster with no resemblance at all of the friendly place it used to be. Many of the userbase have become disillusioned, communities have become fractured, friends have left and gone elsewhere, and i feel i have lost touch with some of my closest friends because we no longer have this constant of LiveJournal to keep us all together.

I’d like to express my sincere condolences to you for what LiveJournal has become.

However, all is not lost, and i have to thank you for the gifts you have left us with. The original spirit of LiveJournal still lives on, through the open source code that other sites have taken and kept pure. No matter what SUP end up doing to LiveJournal, the other sites (particularly InsaneJournal) are learning from those mistakes and remaining true to what their userbase want. I must also thank you for OpenID which is truly the saving grace of this whole LJ disaster. Without it we would really become isolated from each other. There are other things that help keep us together too: RSS feeds and trackbacks. But OpenID is, in my opinion, the most innovative piece of technology that the Internet has ever seen, and i thank you for it from the bottom of my heart.

Though my words are insufficient, please feel the depth of my emotion as i grieve for what is lost, and thank you sincerely for what we still have.

With love and best wishes,
Aimee.

I had forgotten how much LiveJournal once meant to me until i started writing about it. It is so sad what has happened to it, and strengthens my resolve that i will never ever, under any circumstances, let anything like that happen to MyChores.

I wonder whether Brad will reply to me?

Unbelievable!

And now i hear LiveJournal, in their infinite wisdom stupidity, have dreamed up ANOTHER account type!! Just a way of cramming a few more advertisements into their site! Whatever were they thinking?!!!

And what was it they said a couple of weeks ago about three account types being too complicated when signing up? Idiots! I wish SUP would just come right out with the truth: “Yeah, we’re greedy selfish bastards who just can’t wait to make a whole bucket load more money out of you suckers!” Cos that really is what they’re saying, whether it’s in those words or not.

LiveJournal boycott

I know there are some LJ people who read this, so you might be interested to hear about this:

One day LJ content strike on Friday

I’m not actually sure whether this will make much difference, but it might be fun to do anyway, particularly if it encourages people to look into migrating elsewhere.

Here is a nice compilation of LJ’s greatest f***-ups (also known as How not to do business on the net).

Here is some information on how to leave LiveJournal.

And here is an excellent post about OpenID and how to use it between LJ-based sites.

The new place of choice seems to be InsaneJournal, which appears to me to be an excellent choice. I would also re-iterate my endorsement of WordPress, either hosted on wordpress.com (easy peasy) or hosted yourself by downloading from wordpress.org (harder but very rewarding!).

More about LJ

Brad Fitzpatrick was against the removal of basic accounts.

Makes me wonder what the advisory board is for really, if advice gets ignored!

Also, OH MY GOSH, this comment from January 2005 is stunningly prophetic.

“it will be about 2 years before major decisions start being made that are not the ones that Brad and the other officers would’ve made”

“LJ will eventually no longer be a labor of love for those behind the curtain, and the founders will move on”

“LJ is officially a business, and will be run like one — right into the ground, if necessary.”

LJ does it again!

Why is it that LJ can barely ever make a single news post without doing something stupid and irking everybody off?! I think they love the drama. I bet they have board meetings going, “What crazy thing shall we do this time to annoy everyone even more than last time?!”

This time they have made a wonderful announcement of all the marvellous things they have done since being acquired by SUP … they just conveniently forgot to tell anyone that they have stopped allowing people to create new basic accounts. Which just seems so awfully underhand, like practically everything that LJ ever do! It didn’t take long for people to notice, and for the drama to begin.

Every time this happens i hear more and more people saying they are fed up with LJ and will leave it for good. I’m glad i can just sit over here from my little place of calm and watch the fall-out from a safe distance. I certainly see no reason to encourage any new people to join LiveJournal. WordPress is the place to be now, folks! :)

LJ have done it again!

And it’s all kicked off again over in LJ-land, reminding me strongly of the climate in which i left LiveJournal, and making me all the more glad that i did. Now i can just sit back from a distance and watch everyone battle it all out, point out the many inconsistencies and shortfalls of this new censoring system.

I think the most telling comment i have read is this one:

I’m a mom, and as a parent I’m offended that LJ and other institutions/companies are usurping my parental rights, responsibilities, and obligations in order to “protect” children of parents whose sole purpose in life is to tell other people how to parent their children while not parenting their own.

Yup, even parents are annoyed about this! In fact, i don’t think i’ve yet found somebody who is pleased about all this. A few people say it’s a good idea in theory, but that’s as far as it goes. It’s way too open to misuse.

Well done, LJ, for your TRIUMPHANT FAIL!!!

The big plan

In this exciting day and age of dispersing away from LiveJournal, i have come up with a plan.

  1. I will post in this blog alone. At the moment i’m not sure whether i will post in communities.
  2. Anyone is welcome to follow the RSS feed, syndicating it on other journals if they wish.
  3. I can use Bloglines to follow friends and communities wherever they are.
  4. I have accounts at LiveJournal, DeadJournal, GreatestJournal, InsaneJournal and Blurty. I would create one at Scribblit and JournalFen, but it seems to be turned off at those sites at the moment.
  5. I will use OpenID to comment wherever i can, or else use my ID at that site if OpenID is not enabled, or if the entry has anonymous commenting turned off.

The more i think about it, the more ridiculous it seems that OpenID is treated the same as anonymous. Because it is in fact the complete opposite! Brad Fitzpatrick went to all this trouble to design a way of authenticating and proving you are the same person across multiple sites, and yet for years it has been given the same status as anonymous commenting. That’s beyond ironic!

The only thing i’m worried about in this plan is becoming flooded by cross-posted entries. Maybe not in personal journals; i hope people will give an indication of which is their main journal … but i can see the potential for community cross-posting increasing exponentially!

Feeling sleepy …

I have had a very hectic day week year. We had to do a demo today on the new version of our software, which really isn’t very reliable yet, and i felt awful, letting our product manager go into the demo not really knowing whether the demo would work or not. It relies on network connectivity and all sorts of things can go wrong, so it really was dodgy. Apparently it went quite well, though.

I really need to go to bed at a good time tonight because i have had too many late nights recently. Part of that is due to the whole Six Apart fiasco, but mostly it is due to me having poor self-control!

LJ support have been quite nice to me, replying to my abuse report. They pointed me to a suggestion that OpenID comments be treated differently to anonymous comments, something that i would appreciate greatly. I’m glad that it hasn’t been forgotten.

I’ve been having an idea of a way of forming communities in a similar way to an RSS aggregator. Something about posts i make being automatically cross-posted to a community on another site, either individually or chosen by tag (ie every post i make with a particular tag could be sucked up into the community). That community would of course have its own RSS output which people could follow. I’d love to code something along those lines, but i would be better off leaving it to the experts in the RSS aggregator domain. I have been wondering whether it might already be possible with Bloglines, but i don’t think it is quite.

Two more things … i might fancy learning Interlingua … wonder where i can attend classes? … and Nye has made a lovely MyChores post – it’s things like that which make me very happy i made MyChores!

Considering having a change of heart

I learned once, in the context of spirituality, to ask myself the question: “Is it possible that there is something i do not fully understand … the understanding of which could change everything?”

I think that could apply to this LJ/6A situation too. Having just read The terrible secret of Livejournal i think i have just realised something. I need a little more time to think about it, and the implications, but in a nutshell it says that Six Apart have done fandom a huge favour by not saying what’s legal and what’s illegal. I think one paragraph of the article sums it up very well:

The best thing Six Apart could do for fandom is basically what they did. They said “We will obey the law.” They have to say that. They didn’t say what the law actually entails, which means they didn’t admit to knowing what the law actually entails, and they didn’t force us all to have the very unfortunate discussion of how much fandom material is actually legal. They said “We will ban anyone we know is doing illegal things through Livejournal.” They also have to say that. They didn’t say how strongly they have to know you’re doing illegal things to warrant a ban. They didn’t say it – because it would be suicide – but they came as close as they possibly could to saying, “If you make sure we don’t see it, we’ll let you post what you want to post. And we’ll try hard not to look until we’re forced to.”

I still don’t think Six Apart handled the situation very well; permanently deleting was a bit much in my opinion, i don’t like the underhand removal of the strikethrough, i can’t believe it took them 5 days to even acknowledge they’d noticed something was going on … and i am still waiting for a public apology from burr86. Add to that all the other things i’ve disliked about LiveJournal over the years, and i am very happy to be out of it. But i have definitely softened my opinion of Six Apart since reading that article and considering what i did not fully understand.