Barak Berkowitz (barakb25) wrote in news,
Barak Berkowitz

moving forward

I want to say thank you to all of you who have been giving us a chance to correct the issues around suspended journals, and particularly to the abuse volunteers who have been working tirelessly to keep up with your feedback and correct any remaining problems. If there is any doubt, the abuse team thought they were executing exactly the policy that we wanted them to execute, and they thought it was as dumb as you did. The unfortunate fact is, a large amount of the problem was a failure in communications. That is my failure, not theirs, and I am very sorry about it.

Over the last week, we have been making significant progress in clarifying and redefining or policies and procedures.

  • We have gone through another review of the journals that were suspended last week, and we have restored a few more of them. We will continue to work with people who feel they have been suspended in error.

  • We have had our first call with the EFF and exchanged information about where we are now. They have shared with us some ideas about who they think is doing a good job on these issues. We will continue to consult with them over the coming weeks.

  • We have reviewed what we could have done differently with the entire LJ team, and next week we will have a discussion with the abuse volunteers about the same issues.

  • We realized that we need to clarify policies and procedures BEFORE we give feedback to journals that were taken down and then put back up. That will not take place for a while, and none of these journals will be suspended again without prior notice unless clearly required by law (that effectively limits it to child pornography or a copyright violation reported under the DMCA).

  • A number of you have discussed how we might make amends for our mistakes with the people who had their journals suspended incorrectly and with the community. We have been listening to your ideas, and expect to announce a program this coming Tuesday.

  • We have realized that as we review policies it is important to also look into copyright issues. We have opened a dialogue with Creative Commons about ways we can make it easier for users to be clear about content that they are willing to share and content they wish to maintain ownership and control over.

While we have a great deal of work left to do, I want to share with you some of the ideas we are exploring:

One thing that people have been upset about has been the implication that the community standards would be set by Six Apart and not the community. I agree, and I was wrong to imply that. Six Apart is a critical part of the community (with the help of our paid users, we pay for bandwidth, employ the staff, and run the servers), but clearly the LiveJournal team and the LiveJournal users have a critical role in defining what is acceptable on LiveJournal. We know we can learn a lot from other communities that use a combination of reputation software and human judgment to gauge community opinion, and we are now actively exploring how we can let the community "vote" on what is acceptable content in order to create greater consistency.

When I say "vote", I don’t want people to fear that this will become the tyranny of the majority or mob justice. Metafilter, Craigslist, Flickr, Wikipedia, and many, many other sites effectively use these types of systems to make the jobs of their support teams easier and to reflect the standards of the community. Clearly law takes precedent over such votes, but in case where the line is not legal content but rather objectionable or acceptable content, community input can be a great help. Members of the team are starting to explore what is working for whom and we will share these ideas in more depth soon.

How can you help?

  1. Be patient; we are trying to do this right and incorporate a broad range of feedback, so this will take some time.

  2. Keep sharing your opinions and your ideas. We really are listening.

  3. Read these posts. Many questions I have seen have been answered in previous posts, particularly in the update in my first post:

  4. Volunteer for the abuse team. It takes time and dedication, but you can really help:

  5. Understand that there is no perfect solution, and compromise will be needed.

Following this post, I would like to move this discussion to the lj_biz community. When we have announcements about new policies, we will of course post them here, but I think lj_biz is a more appropriate place to keep people informed of status and to discuss ideas.

Once again, I want to thank you for your feedback, your ideas, and most of all for your passion for LiveJournal.

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