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Thanks, Brad.

Thanks and good luck to Brad -- can't wait to see what you do next. And a big hearty fuck-you to rumormongers who stir shit up just to demoralize people who do good work. If you don't have enough drama in your life, go make something that millions of people think is valuable.

Just to make it clear, my frustration was with Valleywag gossiping about Brad and LJ and 6A without ever contributing anything positive to our community. I was not complaining about anything that people have said on LJ. (Except giving a bunch of good charities a bum rap, but that was only a few folks.)

That being said, anybody in our community who's got something they want me to pass along to the LJ team (we're definitely listening, and working to improve how we communicate) is more than welcome to comment here or on email or anything else.


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I believe the major problem here (and from what is obviously being repeated nine hundred times over on the lj_biz post) is miscommunication, and in the instance of actual communication, untimely response. SixApart is a major business in the realm of the blogging/journaling world and I (and most other users) can understand if you're busy. That's fine! But it is horrible Public Relations to leave something untouched for such a long time span.

Especially after we had been promised by Barak that it would not happen again. You made a mistake then, and you seemed to fix it, yes. But the important thing is to learn from the mistakes, and do better this time. You didn't. You've messed up again, and it's just sending it further into a spiral.

WORK on the Public Relations. Be EXPLICITLY CLEAR when giving answers, or 'clarification'. The recent post in lj_biz is confusing and misleading, if you think about what we've been told before (no bans before warnings, conflict about what's 'acceptable' and what's not allowed) and quite frankly, is lacking for something that has taken this many days to draft.

I am not writing this to say that I'm packing up and heading for greener pastures. I'm staying put. I LIKE IT HERE. I just honestly hope you guys can deal with this in the correct way, and quickly, to mend the wounds and calm the storm.

Alison aka moofoot
i appreciate everything you've said here, and i don't disagree with any of it. believe me, i'm equally frustrated at our own shortcomings here, but I promise you we're working on it, despite what it might seem.

i think the flip side of it is, people are getting more and more dedicated to/effective at sussing out any possible negative connotation to anything we say. and that makes it really, really hard to respond quickly -- imagine being outnumbered a million to one and then trying to figure out any wording or phrasing that might inspire a fit of pique in anybody in that crowd. I'm not saying that it might not be *justified*, just that the effort of doing that (and yes, the emotional toll of getting slammed while you do it) slows things down, too.

I'm trying to figure out how we solve that. FWIW, I agree that we should be more responsive, but I've also seen that some of the worst damage to the mutual trust between us and the rest of the LJ community comes when we rush to respond to something, too.

Like Abe's joke, for instance -- if he weren't just blowing off steam and, you know, being human, he would totally have understood how things could be misconstrued if he'd have taken the time. But if we take long enough to make sure all our ducks are in a row, we'll have people upset about that, too. I'm sure there's a happy medium, but it'll take time to work out.

And to tell you the truth, the real issue is that, as long as some people don't trust us, someone's going to find fault. We *literally* dealt with one journal in a million (well, two journals in two million) in the case of last week's incidents, and people still feel like they're next in line. That's a trust issue, and it's something that's going to take time (and some forgiveness on both sides) to clear up.
My god, does your whole company suffer from terminal foot in mouth disease?

*headdesk* Guys, hire a PR person. Seriously. It's not even funny anymore, just pathetic and oh-so-very-very-sad.

You guys could hire someone with more class to do your public statements...hey, I hear Don Imus needs a job...

*eyerollsnortgroan* Invest the money. Hire a pro.
I laughed at this. ♥
Seeing as the lj_biz post is full and you are soliciting comments, I'll give you mine, for what it's worth: choose someone among the paid staff and have them sit down and read the entire lj_biz post replies, noting down all the questions that were asked and compiling them into a list. Then, have a staff meeting and discuss the questions brought up. Finally, post a news post with the list of questions gleaned and their official answers in as clear and precise a language as possible. (An lj-cut is probably in order as the list is apt to be long.) Please try to avoid business double-speak, ambiguous wording, and trendy phrases.

Oh, and please make sure it's on news, not lj_biz, because this is news as it is side-wide and affects your entire userbase if you really are going to enforce it consistently. To my knowledge, lj_biz was never used for policy discussions before.
As you are soliciting feedback - I would like to point you in the direction of femmequixotic's open letter to LJ/6A on behalf of pornish_pixies.


It sets out, in what I perceive to be extremely clear language, the issues that part (if not most of) fandom has with the current set of clarifications.

Personally, I would be incredibly pleased if you, or someone on the LJ/6A staff could go through these point by point and clarify the matter. I find the most disturbing aspect of this entire debacle is not that you are changing or implementing the terms of service, but that there is little clarity. From what I have read, this is making us feel less and less secure on Livejournal - and now there seems to be this, well for lack of a better term, rats-leaving-sinking-ship (cannot think of better phraseology, not impugning LJ/6A) response.

Thank you for your time, and please, even if you do not reply to this comment, take a second to go and look at femmequixotic's open letter - it should be of great help in indicating the issues that require clarification.
Seconded. The issues listed in femmequixotic's letter really need to be addressed by 6A/LJ, and immediately.
Wait, I want to revise my previous comment, where I talked about what you can do to start regaining our trust.

Put a stop to this, now and forever. I don't think I've ever seen such rampant unprofessionalism, from the icon to the grammatical issues to the little dig at the end. "Why are you protesting, comrade? Perhaps your own papers are not in order? Let's have a look, yes?"

Seriously? That's the attitude, now? Anyone protesting the unfair treatment of their friends, the heavy-handed corporate intrusion on legal content that never before presented a problem, the utter inability of this company to show an ounce of respect to its paying customers -- anyone protesting any of that must be doing so because they have something to hide?


You want to regain some trust, maybe start by telling rachel to stop interacting with customers. While you still have some.
To say nothing of the fact that she's now copying and pasting another user's comment without attribution.

I'm trying to remain civil here, but seriously, 6A, did you even have her fill out any kind of application? Given that she doesn't even seem to understand how to use the shift key, I'm inclined to think you just put your users' names on a wall and threw a dart at it to see who got the job.
Hi. I don't know you and normally wouldn't barge into your journal, but you've asked for things to pass along and so I'm going to comment. I'll keep it short.

I think what's upsetting to most users is the permanent suspensions with no warnings. Even after all these questions have been raised, LJ has given no clear reason why immediate site-wide banning is necessary in a case that is not obviously illegal. Why can't the offending post be deleted and leave the rest of the journal alone? Obviously I don't know about "all of fandom", but in my little corner, this really isn't about "porn". LJ is more than that. We talk about our children and our recipes and the yardwork that's not getting done, and "omg how do I fix my computer?", and post pet photos, console each other after accidents and do shout outs to make sure our flist hasn't been involved in the latest bridge collapse or bombing or plane crash... Friends on my flist bought my daughter Christmas presents last year when my husband was unemployed, sent me books to help me study for the GRE, and finally convinced me to go get my master's degree. And yeah, we share artwork and writing, some of it adult in nature. We're not perverts or pedophiles, and there is no reason for all that day-to-day living to be obliterated because of one vaguely over-the-line post, especially when that line has been kind of invisble for most of our time on LJ and is just now being clearly defined. There's no reason we can't have a system for removing questionable content while allowing the rest of it to stay. If there is a specific legal reason that can't happen, an explanation of it would go a long way.

Thanks for listening.
Perfectly said.
Four things:

1. The post at lj_biz mistakenly refers users wishing to appeal their suspension to FAQ 105. This should have been FAQ 106. (FAQ 105 is mentioned twice. In both instances, it should be 106. This needs to be edited fairly quickly for accuracy's sake, before you get fans complaining that they were deliberately sent to the incorrect FAQ 105.)

2. I agree with moofoot's suggestion that when something erupts and the LJ team is taking the time to draft a good, precise, comprehensive answer, the very first thing that should be done is to make a small update post saying "We understand that there have been requests for clarification regarding ______ and while we are not prepared to answer questions at this time, we are working on it. Thank you for your patience."

Then go back and update this every 12 hours or so, just as you would update an out-of-service status report, even with nothing else than "Still working on it, haven't forgotten you, too busy to talk right now".

3. I understand why the two latest suspensions happened. What I don't understand is why these people were suspended permanently. Why were they not allowed to delete the offending drawings, or to label them to make it clear that the people in question were meant to be 20 years old, or whatever it would take to protect LJ legally? As far as I know -- and I only know what I read in fandom -- neither one of them had an extensive history of abuse, nor were all the content of their journals in violation of the TOS (as FAQ 106 specifies).

4. burr86 is very popular, and has in the past been referred to by fandom/angry users as "the good guy", "the only one who gives a damn", etc. So now there's this hugely emotional reaction of anger at perceived betrayal. Poor kid. I'm glad for his sake that he didn't take his computer with him, so he can enjoy his vacation.
hrm... i have ~200 more mutual friends than burr...
I wouldn't normally post this directly to a staffer's personal LJ, but in this specific post you're asking for things to pass onto the LJ team. I've got a good one for you.

Open letter to livejournal, regarding proanorexia communities.

"I will begin by stating that my intent with this is to get proanorexia permanently suspended. First I will provide numerous specific examples of how this community encourages self harm, and then I will explain why I think suspension is the only option."


"I will give Livejournal 48 hours to respond to this open letter. If, after 48 hours, I have not received a response, and proanorexia hasn't been suspended, I will send this letter to every media outlet I can get ahold of, as well as organizations dedicated to stop eating disorders, such as NEDA and ANRED.

If any users would like to help me, you can firstly comment to the post in my personal journal with your 'signature', so Livejournal can see how many people feel the same way. Secondly, you can give me contact information for media outlets and anorexia awareness organizations. Thirdly, you can pimp this post far and wide. The more people we have, the more likely it is that livejournal will respond."
Also, in addition to my previous comment.

You may want to look at this community. True, it's yet another thing to look at, or keep track of, but if this is going to be where several people post their issues/concerns, then it would be good for you to have it as a resource.


Again, good luck.
Thanks for the tip -- i'd been checking in on i_j from time to time, but i'd been reluctant to actually join the community because I figure, with posts like "spam this guy" about me, I probably would be intruding. If I go where I'm not welcome, I'm probably not gonna be very helpful. :)

Sometimes I participate in communities where I think I can add something useful even if they disagree with LJ policy; I've had a really positive experience and learned a lot from no_lj_ads, for instance. I think most of the people who are there at least begrudgingly try to concede that I have tried to honor the spirit of the community.

I'll try participating more in i_j and see if I can help out.
I have a suggestion about communication.

One thing I've found extremely confusing in all of this is the way that Six Apart/LJ employees seem to blur the line between their professional and private personae.

Creating the new "official" journal to make announcements at LJ biz was a good idea. However, that positive step was immediately undermined by the fact that people who are apparently LJ employees jumped into the threads and started answering questions and making policy statements *on behalf of the company*. On some subthreads they at least identified themselves as LJ employees, but on others they seemed to assume that everyone would just "know" who they were. Well, I'm sorry, but I myself had never heard of coffeechica or rachel before, so how am I supposed to know whether they represent LJ or might just be random users spouting off their opinions? (Furthermore, what's to prevent a troll from setting up an account and making posts purporting to be an LJ employee, just to stir up more trouble?)

To make matters more confusing, these employees then go on to make "unofficial" comments using the same journal name. Again, it seems LJ customers are supposed to have ESP and "know" not only whether someone is an employee or not, but also when they're speaking officially and when they're speaking privately.

You really need to make these lines clearer. Give employees "official" accounts (which, ideally, should be listed somewhere in the userinfo page for communities such as LJ biz), perhaps with a company icon to make them clearly recognizable as such, and then have them use *different* journals whenever they're not speaking on behalf of the company. This would be the equivalent of uniforms or name badges, so that your customers will know who they're talking to.
OH! OH! To tag on to the not being able to tell LJ staff from LJ customer/free loader, I suggest that LJ staff have a different icon next to their name than the little non-face person. I don't know what icon to make them have, but a different one would be good.

Maybe give the face person a different shirt colour or something? I don't know, but I think it would be helpful in figuring out who's staff and who's not (assuming people are willing to take the time to look. I, myself, don't usually look at usernames in comments :$).
1. Get some better legal advice and get it from more than one source.

2. For sweet heaven's sake, get some PR people who will respond clearly and in a timely fashion to your users' concerns. Having this happen after you pull a permanent account sale amkes you look like a bunch of shell-and-pea hucksters.

3. Apply the TOS equally. Apply the TOS equally. Apply the TOS equally.

People are up in arms not because you went after fan art, but because you went after fanart depicting same-sex pairings. Furthermore, in a very weasel-worded response, you claim not to be changing the TOS, but the interpretation.

If you set out to really piss people off, you have managed beyond all expectation and congratulations are in order. If not...
Anil, just an observation: It doesn't matter who you aimed the comment at, it was unprofessional and unprofessional behavior and poor customer service have been one of chief complaints customers have about Livejournal.

When I first saw this comment I assumed it was aimed at me. I've ***defended you*** on bulletin boards. I've also defended Livejournal at various times. And I've been a Livejournal user since 2003, currently have two paid accounts, and I've convinced quite a few other fen to join Livejournal over the years.

I also wrote the article about Abe on Firefox News because I found his comments very unprofessional and, I suspect (like this post), they are symptomatic of a corporate culture with some serious problems. That article on Firefox News was what I assumed you were originally referring to when I saw your comments. Fortunately, I chose to queue my response to review it later after I'd slept on it a bit and I'm glad you clarified. I am hardly trying to tear down Livejournal but I do have a rather bad reaction to unprofessional behavior that directly insults me when I have been a rather loyal customer.

You guys seriously need to look at how you interact with customers and with the media and you need to take a serious, long, hard look about the image that Livejournal is presenting to the world. At the moment, it's a highly uncomplimentary impression. Posts like this one do not help.

At the moment, I have very little trust that Livejournal can be impartial, trustworthy, or fair and I'm only still here with two accounts for business reasons. Otherwise I would have canceled my accounts long ago. And I am one of the more level-headed and pragmatic fans you'll ever encounter, and yes, I GET IT about why you do need to do something about the adult content. I also get that you're in a very tough position, stuck between fandom and some real legal, financial and image concerns.

However, you're just going about handling the issue entirely the wrong way. If you want some suggestions I can give them but everything I would say has been said, repeatedly and loudly and very clearly, by others.

However, one thing I will say is that speaking as someone who handles customer service for a living: You might enact a company policy that NO employee, from the top down, comments on Livejournal policies or issues on the site except for an authorized PR person. Make sure the PR person is a very talented, persuasive writer and has an actual background in PR, as well. Having someone who is a skilled writer and talented at PR as your company's public face might go a long, long way towards mitigating the worst of the wankst.

Leva Cygnet
You made it? Fine. So take care of it.
Hi. Thank you for putting this out there - your offer to pass concerns along to the LJ team is appreciated.

For the record (whatever record that is) - there are users out there who are demanding immediate resignations/separations/head-on-sticks. I'm not one of those. I know the staff at 6A is made up of people who are human, and all humans make mistakes. I have every bit of faith that you people are TRYING to make things work - I think you may have just underestimated the volatility of your user base.

I'm another person chiming in on saying that the big issue here is the communication. The fact that it took five days for any kind of response after the initial uproar started, and it's now been another four since the last bit of communication? That really says something. That coupled with the fact that the clarification on your ToS has not been posted in news is making many users feel as if the staff are being evasive.

Many users submitted questions on the policy regarding links to off-site content that otherwise violate the ToS had that content been posted on LJ's servers. They were told by LJ abuse that it would be dealt with in the same fashion. I strongly disagree with this, as it seems to be violating your own ToS. Also, a link could change overnight for a variety of reasons. Something that wasn't in violation of the ToS one day could change the next day to something that IS in violation of the ToS.

I submitted an LJ support request concerning your policy on RSS feeds/syndicated accounts. I submitted this question on Thursday morning, and I have not yet heard anything - yet another demonstration of a lack of communication. If you are dealing with links to off-site content in the same manner you handling ToS violations on LJ's servers, how would you handle a syndicated account that feeds something in violation of LJ's ToS? If no one owns a syndicated account and you are unable to deleted them, what could you do?

That being asked, I will say that I don't expect improvement overnight. I acknowledge that change takes time. You have time, at least from me - I have another year before my paid account expires, but I won't be giving LJ another penny until I'm satisfied with the service. This is giving you more of a chance than most retail stores get - if a customer receives bad service there, they're usually out of there right away. Something to keep in mind - your users are giving you more of a chance than they would give most others.

Thank you again for your offer to take comments to the rest of the LJ team.
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