LiveJournal

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LiveJournal fundamentally changed the way many fan fiction communities oriented, bringing the personal aspect of fen's lives to a much central part of the fan fiction community. Its popularity also helped bring the demise of the importance of mailing lists in a number of fan fiction communities.

History

1999

  • "March 18, 1999 — LiveJournal starts (first entry ever: [1], however the earliest dated entry is from November 1997 [2], possibly copied from the founder's personal website; first version of the server code: [3])" [4]

2000

  • On May 31, 2000, users were able to add subject lines to their LiveJournal entries. [5]

2001

2002

  • On May 3, 2002, Web interface starts getting translated into other languages [12]" [13]

2003

2005

  • In January 2005, LiveJournal "and its parent company, Danga Interactive, to Six Apart of San Francisco and relocated to the Bay Area a month later." [23]
Whether or not those suspicions are justified, the stakes in the Sup deal are high for both parties. LiveJournal as a brand is tied to free speech, and a wrong move in a region like Russia could damage that brand worldwide.

— Quinn Norton , http://www.wired.com/politics/onlinerights/news/2006/11/72060


2006

2007

  • In April 2007, LiveJournal experienced a Denial of Service attack. After that attack, LiveJournal experienced a number of server related problems, which frustrated a number of fandom based users. This included not getting comment notifications, being unable to post and being unable to reader their friends lists. These problems extended well into June 2007.
  • On July 18, 2007, LiveJournal issued a "Clarification regarding the content that would be prohibited under our policy on illegal and harmful activity". [25] This set parts of fandom off again who still had not forgiven LiveJournal and 6 Apart for StrikeThrough.

2007

  • In the State of the Goat, LiveJournal apologized for its handling of the events of StrikeThrough and BoldThrough.
  • On January 22, 2008, LiveJournal had some load issues. This was attributed to people posting to and looking for posts about the death of Heath Ledger. [34]

2008

  • On May 30, 2008, it was announced the legomymalfoy won LiveJournal's English language advisory position. [35] There had been a number of complaints regarding her election because she refused to step down from LiveJournal's abuse team.
  • In late October 2008, LiveJournal faced extensive downtime as they moved their server farm to Montana.

2009

  • In early January 2009, the Gawker reported that LiveJournal had laid off 20 of its 28 staff members. They also characterized the site as being home to "troublesome clique of Harry Potter erotica writers, whose outré tastes ran afoul of LiveJournal's efforts to comply with U.S. child-pornography laws." [36]
  • During mid-December 2009, users got upset over the idea of implementing a mandatory textbox for gender to appear on people's profiles. The situation quickly escalated and was called gender!fail. See gender!fail for more information.

Paid Accounts

When LiveJournal first started offering paid accounts, there was a lot of uproar amongst the fandom based user base. They feared that paid accounts would look to TPTB like attempts to make money off fandom. They feared it would leave LiveJournal to getting threats of legal action from TPTB which would endanger their fannish communities. Such threats never really materialized and the community largely forgot about this discussion.

Viewing Advertising

On July 30, 2006, bradfitz wrote in lj_biz regarding paid and permanent accounts viewing advertising:

  • sponsored "whatever" are ads -- don't worry, we (at least most of us?) realize sponsorships are the same as ads. and we remember which account levels see ads and which don't. For clarification for outsiders:
    • Free / "Basic": limited ("basic") features, no ads.
    • "Plus": more features, ads.
    • Paid: even more features, no ads.
  • paid users won't see sponsored stuff -- ignore the previous post. paid users won't ever see ads. that's why you paid, and we're not in the business of pissing off paid users. (just in the business of writing misleading posts to paid users, apparently... *sigh*) [37]

Strikethrough

A chart comparing mentions of LiveJournal strikethrough and FanLib. Chart was made on June 28, 2007.
Comparing MySpace pedophile references to LiveJournal's StrikeThrough and Boldthrough according to BoardReader.
Our decision here was not based on pure legal issues. It was based on what community we want to build and what we think is appropriate within that community and what's not.

—Six Apart CEO, Barak Berkowitz, http://news.com.com/Mass+deletion+sparks+LiveJournal+revolt/2100-1025_3-6187619.html


Strikethrough is the name of the events in late May 2007 when LiveJournal suspended a number of journals at the urging of Warriors of Innocence[38] over keywords related to those journals which Warriors of Innocence saw as fostering illegal and immoral behavior like rape, incest and pedophilia. In the process, a number of fandom based journals were deleted. One of these journals was Pornish Pixies. Parts of LiveJournal fandom were really unhappy and there was talk about moving to other blogging sites but it never really happened. Some of the fear about this was exacerbated in parts of the LiveJournal fannish community by the FanLib situation.

Strikethrough II/BoldThrough

Chart comparing LiveJournal BoldThrough versus StrikeThrough references for the period between May 13, 2007 and August 13, 2007. Chart from BlogPulse.

On July 19, 2007, LiveJournal clarified their position regarding content that was allowed on the site. It tweaked off some people because it occurred after the sale of permanent accounts.

Interestingly, she chooses to show Harry only half-hard, which is very unusual in explicitly sexual art which tends to glory in the "great big cock." Sexuality is more effectively conveyed here through Snape's position, stretched out and intent, and Harry's posture. Through her use of light and dark your attention is drawn up Harry's chest to his face which is blurred (emphasizing physical experience over emotion), his head tipped to the side, his posture exposed, open and receptive.

— icarusancalion, fandommer describing the work of the suspended artist , http://icarusancalion.livejournal.com/665208.html


By August 3, 2007, LiveJournal suspended two pornish pixies members, elaboration and ponderosa, for posting images of a Harry Potter characters who was a minor in a sexually explicit way. One piece of fan art featured an age ambiguous Harry Potter, aged between 14 and 20, recieving oral sex from Snape, his 38 year old teacher.

Dear LiveJournal user ponderosa121,

It has come to our attention that one of your entries, located at http://community.livejournal.com/pornish_pixies/470020.html, contains drawings depicting minors in explicit sexual situations. Such content is in violation of our policies, and we take action when it is reported to us.

Due to the nature of this violation, your accounts have been permanently suspended, and we regret that we cannot allow you to create additional accounts on LiveJournal.

—Scott, LiveJournal Abuse Prevention Team , http://www.greatestjournal.com/users/ponderosa121/805.html


By August 4, 2007, the people protesting LiveJournal's suspension policies were doing so on news and lj_biz by, among other things, spamming posts with cat macros. Once the first page of news posts was filled, most of them moved to lj-biz. They also protested by sending complaints to Six Apart's local Better Business Bureau and to LiveJournal sponsors. [39]

By August 6, 2007, voices from fandom on LiveJournal who were neutral regarding LiveJournal's actions began to emerge to counter the negative responses. Metafandom began linking to more of these posts.[citation needed]

On August 7, 2007, LiveJournal clarified its policies, but still left some fans confused. Some people reacted by claiming that LiveJournal allowed racist communities and pro-ana communities. Both of those, the anti-LiveJournal crowd, claimed were similarly offensive and LiveJournal should go after them. The LiveJournal support team tried to address some of this in the comments but their explanations were not consistent, further frustrating some parts of fandom. The fandom_lawyers community continued to discuss the legal implications, but as of yet, no one in fandom seems to have filed suit against LiveJournal.

By August 8, 2007, at least one television station, this particular one based in Nashville, had linked to a pro-LiveJournal article. [40]

Despite the representation by many people on LiveJournal that LiveJournal was going after fandom and this was an issue that all of fandom should be concerned about, there was a distinct lack of caring about this issue by larger fandom communities on mailing lists, Quizilla, Google Groups, FaceBook, MySpace, Xanga, EZBoards and elsewhere. The issue was also largely ignored by most fandom newsletters on LiveJournal and was mentioned on very few communities on LiveJournal and didn't put a dent in activities in fandoms like Kingdom Hearts or CSI located there.

On August 13, LiveJournal clarified their policy to only include photographic images involving minors being considered child porn, thus allowing fan art to continue. [41]

Chart generated on August 14, 2007 comparing references to MySpace's crack down on sex offenders on their service to LiveJournal's BoldThrough and StrikeThrough.

On August 14, elaboration, one of the two suspended users, had her account reinstated by LiveJournal. [42]

On August 14, LiveJournal sent an e-mail to LiveJournal user vikingcarrot regarding a piece of art that had been labeled as 18 years old with their new standard "first strike" warning regarding inappropriate content. Vikingcarrot removed the material but requested clarification for the removal reason, as the piece was clearly labeled and within an FLocked post. On August 16, LiveJournal included the following in their response:

I understand that your entry was changed in recent days to change the subject's listed age to mark Draco as being over 18. Such disclaimers are taken into consideration when evaluating content that rests on the borderline, but they are not the only factor we consider, especially when the subject himself appears much younger than 18.

Your drawing was reviewed by a team of LiveJournal volunteers and staff members, and all were in agreement that the subject in question appeared as underage, regardless of the disclaimer you had placed upon the entry. This is why we requested that you remove the material.

http://vikingcarrot.livejournal.com/322208.html#cutid1 ,


On August 14, 2007, LiveJournal sent an e-mail to LiveJournal user cluegirl which said:

Dear LiveJournal user cluegirl,

We are contacting you regarding an image within your ScrapBook account that has been reported to the Abuse Prevention Team: http://pics.livejournal.com/cluegirl/pic/00069d7r

Thisimage depicts a minor in an explicit sexual situation, and such contentis in violation of our content policies. We are requesting that youremove the image from this entry as soon as possible, but no later thanSaturday, August 18 at 12:01 AM EDT, to prevent further action frombeing taken against your account.

Regards, Renata LiveJournal Abuse Prevention Team

http://cluegirl.livejournal.com/871126.html,


On August 15, 2007, the two letters were reported on GreatestJournal's fandomtossed. [43]

Handling DMCA Takedown Requests

Meyshi

The following is a brief timeline of some of the events involving a fan fiction writer named Meyshi filing several DMCA takedown notices through LiveJournal in order to get sporkings removed.

Dear LiveJournal user malganis,

We have received a report, properly formatted under the provisions set forth 
by United States law, indicating that your entry located at 
http://community.livejournal.com/deleterius/2742169.html violates the copyright 
of another. As such, we hereby direct you to delete that entry and cease using 
the material on LiveJournal as soon as possible, but no later than Tuesday, 
July 31st, 2007 at 00:01:00, to avoid further action against your account.
[45] [46]
Dear LiveJournal user mcpo_john117,


We have received a report, properly formatted under the provisions set
 forth by United States law, indicating that your entry located at
 http://mcpo-john117.livejournal.com/187033.html violates the copyright
 of another person. As such, we must request that you remove that entry
 as soon as possible, but no later than 0:01 AM EDT, Aug. 15, 2007, to
 avoid further action against your account.


If you feel that this report is in error and that your use of the
 material is allowed under copyright law, you are entitled to file a
 counter-notification, also under the provisions of US law; please contact us
 for information on how to do this. Filing a counter-notification
 indicates that you are willing to defend yourself in a court of law against a
 claim of copyright infringement.


Regards,

Douglas

LiveJournal Abuse Prevention Team 
[60]

Communities

Communities were created as a way to centralize some of the fannish activity on LiveJournal as otherwise, it would be hard to find a place for discussion of certain topics.

Fanthropology

Fanthropology is one of the discussion communities of record on LiveJournal. It is one of the discussion communities of record with a membership of over 1,000 people. It is followed by such people as Lee Goldberg and other professional authors. It is run by Steven Savage and was a community that moved from a mailing list to LiveJournal.

Hate memes

Hate memes started in 2003 as a way to anonomously criticize fen that other fen didn't like with out fear of retribution. These memes were found in the Queer as Folk, Smallville, Stargate and Harry Potter fan fiction communities. These memes were usually hosted on LiveJournal and were frequently removed from the site for terms of service violations.

Fandom Wank

Fandom Wank was created on LiveJournal on October 16, 2002. [62] In 2003, Fandom_Wank, a blogging community dedicated to finding all the wankish fandom oriented discussion, informing the masses about it and generally having a good laugh, faced a number of issues this year as it began to form into one of the most influential communities in fan fiction. The community was ToSed eventually from LiveJournal. It eventually moved to Blurty, before finally ending up on JournalFen.

Meta fandom

This is a moderated newsletter community. It is highly influential in that it contains compiled lists of posts dealing with discussions taking place on LiveJournal. It is the panfannish newsletter of record. It is followed by the likes LiveJournal admins who want to keep track of fan activity and Lee Goldberg.

Newsletters

Newsletters appeared around late 2004. They are frequently one fandom or one pairing specific. They gather things such as lists of fanart, lists of stories, announcements of ficathons, links to meta discussion.

Fandoms

Harry Potter

The Harry Potter fan fiction community started a mass migration to LiveJournal around 2002, culminating this move by late 2003.

During the fall and winter of 2001, the Harry Potter fandom received a large influx of media fen. These fen included Luthien, Tboy (Lynda), iibnf (Bernice), Ellen Fremedon, and seeker (Brenda Antrim). By and large, these media fen congregated in Snape slash fandom, and specifically on the Snapeslash mailing list found on Yahoo. [63] The new mediafen were largely congregated on LiveJournal. Many of these new media fen became part of the Snape/Harry pairing community. This community had just become popular, in a large part due to Telanu's "Tea" series. [64] It was this group of media fen who had begun to, at this time, use the "smoosh" style pairing names. The term that Snape/Harry slashers ended up using was "Snarry."

The Harry Potter LiveJournal fandom has a tendency to characterize itself as being filled with smut and kink. People bemoan the lack of gen. Some vocal members of this community celebrate the liberation they have on the site to post and explore their sexual fantasies, interests and issues through Harry Potter. This material is celebrated, by some members of fandom, as empowering to females. For this reason, LiveJournal Harry Potter fandom is frequently viewed by outsiders as being filled with perverts. People in the Harry Potter LiveJournal fandom have tried to combat this perception with out much success.

Star Trek

The Star Trek community never really moved to LiveJournal. It continued to be focused on mailing lists, message boards, fandom specific archives and Usenet.

Gundam Wing

The Gundam Wing fan fiction community started migrating to LiveJournal around 2002, though it continues to have a strong following in both mailing lists and forums.

J-Pop Entertainment RPS

The Johnny's Entertainment fan fiction community is similar to the Harry Potter fandom, in this case. Members are often characterized to be perverted, and there is a lack of gen fanfiction that is considered popular. Among the users, however, there are many (like misticloud and trivial affair) who are very dedicated and adept at producing RPS in a manner that is astonishingly worshipped.

External links

StrikeThrough

  • (hoping for) A Fistful of Change: A chronological breakdown of the deletions, communication errors, and various shortcomings, from Strikethrough to Boldthrough.

BoldThrough

On July 18, LiveJournal finally clarified their posting policies regarding content. Parts of LiveJournal fandom are busy discussing this. Below are a few links to that discussion.

Harry Potter Spoilers ToSing


Power Outage


SUP LiveJournal Acquisition

On December 2, 2007, the announcement was made that LiveJournal was acquired by SUP. [65] There was a fair amount of discussion generated by this.

LiveJournal Advisory Board Elections

See Also

LiveJournal on FanHistory.Com
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