June 8th, 2007


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: http://news.livejournal.com/99159.html

  4. Volunteer for the abuse team. It takes time and dedication, but you can really help: http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=57&view=full

  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.

Who needs a bear hug?

It's been a rough week all around for the LiveJournal community and staff, and I've got to admit I'm a little nervous to come back and post to news! Everyone on the team is truly sorry for what we all went through, and we’re hoping to get back to our version of normal as soon as we can.

We thank you for the calls and faxes, comments and posts. While we can't answer each one individually, we did take note of everyone's input and will be using that to improve our process and policies going forward. Do note that barakb25 just posted again here, prior to this post. We're going to be moving future announcements and discussion regarding these issues to lj_biz.

Now, to completely change the subject, here's the latest news!

DDoS Attack & LJ Downtime

For about a week, LiveJournal suffered from a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack and at times we were being hit with over 10 times our normal traffic load. This type of attack can cause LiveJournal to be completely unavailable, so when they happen our top priority is to keep the site up and running. Unfortunately, some of our defense mechanisms caused problems for legitimate users and we're really sorry about that. As of Wednesday, June 6th, the site should be back to normal for everyone.

We dislike downtime and degradation of service and assure you we did everything we could to restore service as soon as possible. The experience has allowed us to learn a bit more about how to handle such attacks, so we will be even better prepared if it happens again.

New Logged-In Homepage

Thank you for all the feedback and bug reports you offered while we were beta testing the new logged-in homepage! We’ve addressed the issues you brought up and it's now live for everyone to use.

We wanted to create a page that pulled together some of the more useful information around LJ, and bring in some of the most frequently-used modules from My LJ as well. We'll be building new modules as other features become available (like private messaging, and improved directory and content search). Stay tuned!

New for Paid Members: Poll Notifications

You worked hard to craft up that creative poll, now you can track when someone votes in it! To get notified when any poll you posted gets new votes, paid members can subscribe to the new notification under My Account.

Calling All Beta Testers: Vertigo Testing

We're thisclose to launching Vertigo, which is the "vertical" version of the default "Horizon" site scheme with all the navigation links going down the left side (rather than Horizon’s "horizontal" drop-down menus across the top). We've been collecting and incorporating your feedback since the last beta test, but we still need your help here in the home stretch.

We're looking for users to test in various browsers and give us bug reports for both Vertigo and Horizon. Join the beta test and follow the feedback link to share your thoughts.

V-gifts For Every Occasion

In this brand new batch we've got virtual gifts for Father's Day (Sunday, June 17th) as well as new ways to commemorate birthdays. The new birthday gifts will sure come in handy when you get a reminder for a friend's upcoming birthday.

Speaking of LJ friends, one of the coolest things about the LiveJournal community is the depth of friendship and relationships a lot of us have fostered and relied upon for support here, both in journals and communities. We're adding a few gifts you can send when someone's been a good friend, including our first animated v-gift: the bear hug.

You can select and send your v-gifts through the Gift Shop!

Who needs a bear hug? Tell us why you need a bear hug in the comments, and we'll send some to a few random commenters.