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My Thoughts on The Great Unpleasantness

As of this morning, LJ has admitted that they kinda screwed up with all this.

Good on them. I do think that the people who are still burning with hate and mistrust really need to take a few deep breaths and gain a sense of perspective.

I absolutely do not agree with what LJ did. I do, however, agree with what they were trying to do, which seems to have gotten lost in the hysteria of "I WANTZ MAI SNARRY POOOOOOOORN!" This had nothing, really, to do with your fanfic, people. The sites they were trying to obliterate--and rightly so--were sites for actual pedophiles, who seem to be in the habit of gathering on the internet and reassuring themselves that their urge to molest children is a right and proper thing. A similar kerfuffle happened on Second Life not too long ago, and the fallout is still falling.

I'm finding it weirdly amusing that apparently a lot of the misunderstanding springs from what people use an Interests list for. It's like Friends List drama writ large--"But you FRIENDED me! I thought that meant you were my FRIEND!" Well, no, it can also mean that you're too polite to say no when someone asks, that you feel the need to friend somebody because they friended you or that you just like reading a certain person's journal. In the same way, listing something in an Interest doesn't always mean it finishes the sentence "I like ______", even if they do suggest that as a way of narrowing it down. Most people had assumed that it was more of a keyword thing than necessarily an "I like" thing, (you know, that you're interested in it) and treated it accordingly.

I think when the accounts are combed through, Mr. Berkowitz will find there were rather more than "a dozen" that were deleted in error. And I hope Mr. Berkowitz will weigh his words a little more carefully before he speaks to the press in future.

And for people who are screaming that this "took too long"--Get. A. Grip. This whole thing rose and fell in a matter of days. I know that seems long in Internet Time, especially when you're compulsively hitting the Refresh button to see if anything new has happened, but in Real Actual Human Time, this was actually a pretty fast response. Imagine what would have happened if this thing had dragged on for weeks. (Dude, if you thought you were sick of pirate songs now . . . )

So kudos to LJ for moving in the right direction. I'm still withholding complete approval until I see how the undeletion shakes out, but I am encouraged by these latest developments.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 31st, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
Meanwhile, this affected my world not at all, as I was in research paper and thesis hell, and had almost completely blown over by the time I had a moment to do anything fun like, you know, sleep, or read LJ, watch Woozle do ferrety things, or eat something more exciting than cold week-old pizza.

Censorship is a hot button for me, and groups of people whose stated purpose is to Protect The Chilllldrunn tend to be (TEND TO, i.e., "ON OCCASION IT HAPPENS THAT...") overly hysterical and shuffling the responsibility for monitoring their own sproggen onto other people, which makes me see red. If you worry about what your child sees / does on the Internet, here's a tip: MONITOR WHAT THEY ARE DOING, don't just bung them in a room alone with a non-NetNanny'd computer and then fuss if they get into porn or skeevy IMs, because as a parent YOU are the one who should be watching what your child does. There are ways to password protect your machines, and to disconnect modems, and to block wifi and broadband connections when you are not there to observe.

The same groups tend to (TEND TO, i.e., "ON OCCASION IT HAPPENS THAT...") be conservative Christian groups, and I hate to break it to those folks, but the Internet is international, and not everyone thinks Jesus was way cool, or that Christian tenets and morals are the One True Way, especially if those tenets are being interpreted by Joe Average (and not someone who has studied comparative religions, sociology, philosophy, spirituality, et cetera) using a Religious Right slant. For instance, your kids will not go to Hell if they are tolerant of others and open to different / opposing points of view, such believing that homosexuals have a right to exist.

The biggest problem with how LJ handled the situation is that the banned first and asked questions much later. Flagging these accounts as being potential TOS abusers and giving notice that they were under review would have been a smarter move.

You know what? Astrologically, the moon must be in DramaWhore and trined with Wanker, because several communities blew up in floods of WANGST! and FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!s and SOCK PUPPETRY! and EXAGGERATIONS! and 576-page-long threads of DID NOT / DID TOO!!

Since I am not 12, and since I have been online since shortly after dinosaurs roamed the earth, I have seen too many of these situations to get too personally caught up in them. At best, I may be moved to report on things IF it looks like the information may be censored at some point. The minute someone engages in MASS BAHLEEETIONZ, I'm going to find and post the info if I can, just because hiding something that was posted does not "un-say" it, or cause it not to have happened. Censorship is LAME.

Lastly, what do *I* used a Friends List for? People with similar interests, and since I am a serial obsessive, I have many mild interests that I am not always as into a few days / weeks / months later. I don't monitor my friends' profiles to make sure they haven't turned into Bad People.

What do I use Interests for? "I like this stuff at the moment." Also? Used the suggested "I like __X___" statement when phrasing my interests. The thing is, when you say "Interests," don't be surprised if someone uses the field to put down things they are INTERESTED IN. As someone else said, a site for fans of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit may put "serial killers," "child abuse," "rape" in the community profile ONLY because these are serious topics the television show addresses, and there are legitimate reasons to discuss those topics. Since there is no "what this community is about" keyword list function akin to Interests, you have to use the tools you have.

Of course, I wouldn't put those things in my Interests, because I'm aware people use them to search for other people, and, duh, putting "NAMBLA" in your Interest list is likely to draw people who are both anti- AND pro-, but that's just me.
May. 31st, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
Well, despite the fandom hysteria, this wasn't really about protecting the cheeeeeelllldrunnn from the nasty, nasty pr0n.

This was about communities that were the pedophile equivalent of pro-ana communities. People with a common sickness supporting each other in getting even sicker. For me, that really IS the point where "freedom of speech" veers into "clear and present danger" territory.
May. 31st, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
Again, actually examining the communities first would have prevented a lot of crap.

Also, First Amendment protects unpopular speech (you know that, of course), including that of sicko pedos. LJ has the right not to provide hosting space for it, but their right to talk about it is protected. Their right to ACT on it, of course, is not.

Allowing an outside group to make their administrate decisions for them was also a stupid mistake. They should have said "our business, ergo our problem; the Internet is not made up 100% by Americans and different places have different laws; oops your agenda is showing, now butt out".

Investigating the WFI's concerns? Very reasonable response.
Banninating with wild abandon? Idiocy.

You think they've paid for it yet? Will it take a million angry furrys and Snarry ficcers and Wincest fans emailing them VERY ANGRY ALL CAPS SCREEDS, or two million?

Will their servers be able to handle the Apostrophe Abuse Overload?

On a related note, how many "LJ, you dorks, fiction isn't real life" icons does one site need? :) Not that I'd disagree with the Fucking Obvious, of course!
May. 31st, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm completely with you on the fact that this was A Very Dumb Way To Go About It. Don't get me wrong on that. But I get a bit queasy at the notion that pedophiles were using LJ as a gathering point.

Yes, talking about it in and of itself, does no harm. But if you're talking about HOW to harm and ENCOURAGING that harm . . . I really feel a line needs to be drawn.

And as SL proved, where pedos gather, the porn follows. Not written--photographic. Demand fuels supply, and actual children are being exploited to fulfill that demand, even if the viewer never harms children directly himself.

Do we really want LJ to be a place where people can hook people up with that?
Jun. 2nd, 2007 02:36 am (UTC)
Anticipating bad behavior is fine. Punishing in advance of any actual bad behavior? Dicey. Pedophilia in and of itself is bad, but if they aren't molesting or using child pornography to get their jollies, they aren't misbehaving, legally speaking.

Yes, though, the minute child porn / plans to molest are broadcast, it is time to get the authorities involved.

And really, what would have been a better way to deal with people you suspect are posing a clean and present danger to kids? Yanking a blog or comm, or actually alerting the cops in their area? Let me think on that one for a while. :)

Yanking blogs is a placebo for actual appropriate action if you think a child may be endangered.

And I agree, not everyone is a hippie who thinks child porn or incest or child molestation is way kewl rad. Far from it.

Perhaps I am coming from more of a pure logic space rather than an more emotional space. Emotionally, I want to roast their balls over a hot fire (those that have balls) even before they act on their urges. Legally, and logically, I see discussion of bad behavior as being separate from actual bad behavior.
May. 31st, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC)
Not everyone is a hippie with no sense of what's appropriate, either. Amazingly, it's not just Christians who don't approve of incest and child porn. Who would have guessed?
May. 31st, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
Astrologically, the moon must be in DramaWhore and trined with Wanker

*carts off to metaquotes*
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )