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Dept. of LJ

Any Thoughts on the New Live Journal User Agreement?

Right now it looks as if I can't sign in unless I click "agree" - or more accurately, as if I'll be signed out if I don't click "agree." And from what little I can make out of the new agreement, it's looking less and less like I actually would want to click "agree." Still, perhaps it's not as dire as it seems? I'd love to be pointed to anyone's review of the new agreement (which, per the notice, doesn't appear to be binding in English. When you're redirected to what is referred to as the binding agreement, you discover it's in Russian Cyrillic.) Does anyone have more information that I can view while signed out? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

ETA: AAAAAnd I can't crosspost unless I click "agree." So there's that.

ETA 2: I signed the agreement so that I could fully access my own account. However I will probably post an announcement letting people know that as of a date certain (possibly April 30), I'll be importing everything from LJ and deleting that account. If folks want to stay in touch, I'll provide an email account, and I'll also urge folks to sign up for, at the very least, a free Dreamwidth account. Any comments I may have made on other peoples' LJ, any deathless prose that the world might lose forever when I disappear ... will, well, be lost 

ETA 3: Reasons for my proposed plan of action? 

For one thing, the English translation isn't trustworthy, by TPTB's own admission; they state that the only "valid" agreement is one that's in Cyrillic Russion. For another, it appears to contradict itself on whether the new Russian Federation laws apply only to people with free accounts or to people with paid accounts (now rechristened Professional Services Packages). 

For yet another, it doesn't make clear the difference between the entity that owns the entire blogging platform, which is now under Russian Federation law, and the entity that supposedly will handle paid users accounts, still referred to as Live Journal Inc. I suspect there's really no difference. 

And another problem? If you read through the non-official English version of the user agreement one thing becomes clear: they state they can censor anyone's journal for political activity or for things that the Russian Federation considers 18+/stuff. Such as anything that mentions the very existence of gay people as, you know, people. 

I know a number of people have pointed out that those laws will probably only be applied to Russian bloggers. A) Just because I'm not affected doesn't make it any more palatable to me, and I'm not interested in even passively supporting the censorship of other people. B) "probably" is a weasel word in these circumstances. 

I think this is the last straw for me. It's a shame, but not a tremendous one. I've been slowly moving over to Dreamwidth anyhow. 

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/658309.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here, but prefer to read over on DW. You can comment there using open ID if you don't have a DW account.


( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 4th, 2017 03:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, the whole 'can't sign in until you agree' left a bad taste in my mouth. It rather pissed me off that a page that I had opened was just under the agreement (where I could see it) and that I PAY to access my account (and have for years) and they felt they could hold what I've paid for hostage until i agreed to their bullshittery. And it was definitely head-tilty and contradictory bullshittery. I super-pissed because this is my Happy Place. My HOME. And while Russia/Russian entities may own the damned thing, I've been paying (as have a few others) to say what I want, when I want, how I want since I've owned an ElJay! The idea of being 'monitored and censored' depending on the whims of another country is irritating and yes, bullshitty. I don't like the idea either of what I pay to further propagate prejudice and a terrible ideology that I do not agree with.

Do as much as I hate it, I will be paying to transfer my icons and things over to DW. I will keep my ElJay, but I will be backing up things at DW regularly - and I will be letting my account lapse here. Just because of this horse-shit. Meh.

Still pissed that my stuff was held hostage so they could try to throw a poorly worded litany of crap at me and force me to say 'yes' to access my own account. And the attempt to blow sunshine up my ass wasn't missed by me. UGH.

Apr. 5th, 2017 12:01 am (UTC)
I just figure that the Happy Place can be a moveable feast. So if LJ stops being amenable to the feast, we move it, and make our own new banquet hall! Moving the feast doesn't make it any less wonderful!

It's interesting; someone over on Dreamwidth mentioned that non-North American LJ/Dreamwidth users have had to put up with American Internet law, and I think it was said with the idea that if they could put up with that, why shouldn't we North Americans be able to put up with other laws? I may be wrong in my interpretation. And my answer (at least in my head; I haven't responded over there yet) is a) as many problems as I may have with current American/North American Internet laws and/or regulations, I have a shit-ton more problems with the censorship in Russia. And b) I'm not asking anyone else to do anything; I'm telling people the way I feel about things that affect me.
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Apr. 8th, 2017 06:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 8th, 2017 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 4th, 2017 03:20 am (UTC)
Not deleting - I have a permanent account plus several thousand icons from posts, along with other reasons - but I might friend you on DW?
Apr. 4th, 2017 11:50 pm (UTC)
Of course! I'd love to friend you over there!
Apr. 4th, 2017 05:37 am (UTC)
I'm going to keep my LJ account for now, but crosspost from DW. I'm Editrx there if you would care to follow me. I may even update more often than I have been.
Apr. 4th, 2017 11:52 pm (UTC)
I think I've already followed you, but I shall make sure of that, once tonight - The Nightmare of Reporting On Six Election Races With 29 - count 'em! 29! - Candidates is over.

I love my job. I really do. But tonight? Not so much ....
(no subject) - editrx - Apr. 5th, 2017 04:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 7th, 2017 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 4th, 2017 07:47 am (UTC)
OTOH, what user agreements don't look sketchy when you read them? And it's not actually sinister to want to update one!

Maybe there are questionable things, but I didn't especially notice anything reading through and people seem prone to panic too hastily every time LJ does anything at all lately - and all it does in the end is damage this kind of journalling, as people go to Twitter, tumblr and Facebook, or just go. They already had the right to terminate users' accounts and censor things previously - it's what happened in strikethrough, when LJ was US owned! (I suspect any mainstream blog service provider must have some sort of clause like that, or they wouldn't be able to remove dodgy blogs when alerted to them, or deal with people abusing the service). I mean, I'm not a legal person, so it seemed exactly as scary as every other internet user agreement I've signed, which is to say, baffling and alarming! All of them! But even if it's a reason to leave surely not to delete everything you'd previously posted? If they wanted to do evil with it, it's presumably already done.

Edited at 2017-04-04 07:48 am (UTC)
Apr. 7th, 2017 10:56 pm (UTC)
It's taken me days to respond to everyone, (covering six local elections with 29 different candidates was bad enough last week; this Tuesday was the election, and I'm still recovering from the fun of visiting precincts, interviewing voters, chasing after winners and losers after the polls closed and the next day, etc. etc. ad (it seemed like) infinitum.)

It's given me a chance, though, to read other peoples' responses to the TOS, to think more about it myself, and to consider folks' arguments for staying on LJ, or for reconsidering my view of the TOS.

One thought that certainly applies to me, and may apply to others who are thinking of getting the heck out of Dodge LJ: I'm not panicking over this latest TOS change. I'm angry about it. I suspect there are a lot of people talking about leaving LJ who aren't panicking - I'll bet they're just as angry and fed up the lack of respect reflected in the manner the TOS changes were introduced. That isn't to say that there aren't people out there panicking, but I'm willing to bet more people are just fed. the. fuck. up.

I don't think that anyone disputes the fact that any government on this globe has laws in place that can censor or take down blogs; some countries have really draconian censorship; others have the kind of censorship the U.S. and other Western countries have; somewhat less draconian in a political sense, but scarier in terms of corporatist-oriented censorship or just out-of-control data-gathering, which isn't censorship, but is quite as bad.

But after a certain point, one reaches that up with which one simply cannot put. And for me, that may be this.

Another thought I've had: I don't think leaving LJ need mean the end of interactive long-form blogging for any of us - not if people are serious about sticking with interactive long-form blogging.

On the other hand, I've read numerous commentaries by a load of people who seem determined to despise Dreamwidth would simply look at it as another potential home and not something to dislike. (This isn't you, by the way; I know that, and I want to make sure you understand that this isn't aimed at you!)

It seems to me that those leaving LJ and heading for Facebook, Twitter or tumblr - and not going to another long-form blogging platform such as Dreamwidth - aren't doing so because of this latest insulting turn of events; nor did they do it in the past because of any of the previous insulting turns of events. If that had been the case, they would simply have hied themselves over to Dreamwidth - which is, after all, an interactive long-form blogging platform built on LJ's format and there for their use at any time. Since they didn't do that, I have to assume one of two things: they were tired of this form of communication, and would have left no matter what or b) they had something against Dreamwidth.

In truth, I don't know why people decided to leave LJ for communications platforms that I regard as inferior for long-form communication. (I mean, I use Twitter to keep up with fast-moving news events; I use FB to keep up with family and that's about it. I don't tumblr because it makes no sense to me.) But people getting angry about what LJ has done have the option to go to another platform that's almost identical. If they don't, that's truly - and I mean this in the kindest sense - their problem, because they're missing the chance to create a new home.

BUT - all of this is Just My Opinion, and can be disregarded as such! And you, my dear, are a perfectly lovely person; your comment simply gave me something I could bounce ideas off of.
(no subject) - lost_spook - Apr. 8th, 2017 07:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 8th, 2017 04:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lost_spook - Apr. 8th, 2017 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 8th, 2017 06:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lost_spook - Apr. 8th, 2017 07:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 4th, 2017 10:21 am (UTC)
Waited to see somebody say something about this...

Well, on one hand it came out of the blue, but on another hand, when servers move to Russia, it's a self-evidence that soon there'll also be an adaption in user agreements due to this.
Concern goes with me at about the 18+ topics too. LGBT is one thing (only a minor topic), but more it becomes a concern for me how do topics about violence get treated in Russia? I've got a lot of dealing with that stuff besides all the political texts. And I've already got to be careful enough because of German authorities and lurkers which wait to find a possible future terrorist only by his blogposts and the topics he's interested in. That's already not too easy; and I personally don't have the many problems that those people make out of them talking about that stuff or integrating violence as a part of life that just exists.
Russian part of the internet also does a lot of things which are criminal by their own laws too and nobody cares, but how's that kept over here? Throughout the years never had any problems with it, but it's not final that this can't change...
So, yeah, a few question marks and insecurities for what this practically means to one. Also, what does it mean exactly for all those which aren't residents of the Russian Federation? Juridically one knows what your own authorities would do, but a platform also doesn't want to lose users, so what about "gifts out of customer-friendliness" - are there some or not?
It would be good knowing anything officially so that one knows what he can rely on.
Apr. 7th, 2017 09:26 pm (UTC)
I've been crazy busy this past week, which is why I'm taking so long to get back and respond to peoples' comments. The delay has given me some time to read others' reactions to the TOS, and to think more about how I'm responding to it. I'm sure that you've read a lot more commentary on this since posting your comment here - and you've probably read commentary that is far more informed and thoughtful than mine.

One thing your post reminded me of is the fact that the globe is criss-crossed by the Internet; pixels cross borders far more easily than people or goods do, even though there are sad and unjust exceptions to that (the Great Firewall of China, closed loop internet ecologies such as those in Iran, etc. etc.) That brings netizens up hard against the contradictory laws of the countries from which they post and those of the countries in which their posts are read.
(no subject) - matrixmann - Apr. 7th, 2017 11:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 8th, 2017 06:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - matrixmann - Apr. 8th, 2017 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 4th, 2017 02:29 pm (UTC)
I'm staying on LJ and seeing what happens to my Whitechapel comms (backed up on lj) which have a lot of slash content.
Apr. 4th, 2017 11:55 pm (UTC)
That's a reasonable approach to take. The slash content might be a good "canary in the coal mine" by which to measure.

If I had more than this journal, I might be more averse to leaving. (Actually, I am an administrator on a long-moribund comm, and it'd probably be nice to be able to check in on it, but I think I can do that without having an account. I'm not going to ask the owner of the comm to consider archiving it over on DW; she's sort of fallen out of active fandom, for some perfectly understandable reasons.
(no subject) - liadtbunny - Apr. 5th, 2017 03:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 8th, 2017 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 4th, 2017 02:50 pm (UTC)
I guess it's time I went over to Dreamwidth and started doing something with my account there. I'll send you a friend request if I can figure out how. Gaah.
Apr. 4th, 2017 11:56 pm (UTC)
Are you named the same over there? I can grant you access and subscribe to your journal. I'm kaffyr over there, and you can grant me access and subscribe to my journal. That's all you need to do!
(no subject) - eaweek - Apr. 5th, 2017 04:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 7th, 2017 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 5th, 2017 11:04 am (UTC)
I've been crossposting from DW for years, but most of my flist are still either just on LJ or active on it, and I (like them, no doubt) have been apathetic about moving. Will pay more attention to friending people over there now - have just done you :)
Apr. 7th, 2017 09:29 pm (UTC)
And I've responded. Hi there!

Edited at 2017-04-07 09:29 pm (UTC)
Apr. 7th, 2017 03:10 am (UTC)
It hasn't really occurred to me to check your LJ until this morning's kerfuffle. While the way they sort of snuck the change in alarmed me, I didn't realize it would be such a big deal in the English-speaking LJ, since, going by a quick glance through the new TOS, it wasn't anything that Russian LJ users didn't, in theory, have to face already.

(I say "in theory," because enforcement of the law has never been consistent)

That and I didn't think that you would care all that much, since your posts are cross-posted from Dreamwidth anyway.

I will probably put together a longer post on my LJ tomorrow (too tired tonight - been working all day). But looking at the relevant provision of the agreement in the original Russian, it says that "[The user] is obligated to mark content that's not allowed, under the relevant legislation of the Russian Federation, to be disseminated to children (ages 0-18), using this Service's functions." The "mark" part gives me pause, because it's not actually clear if they mean something like what Russian newspapers and websites (including LJ's corporate sibling Gazera.ru), where they put an "18+" stamp in the bottom of every page, one that's easy to miss if you don't scroll all the way down, or marking the post as mature.

(ETA: Okay, I clearly didn't read that section carefully enough. As I mentioned in the post earlier today, the language is alot more clear than I thought. I guess I was more tired than I thought)

Of course, the real question in this situation isn't so much what the language means, as what do Russian law enforcement would take it to mean if they ever want to pursue people for violations of the new TOS. Which, again, it's hard to say whether they would do it, because the enforcement has never been consistent. My mom's Russian-language LJ hasn't been touched since the "gay propaganda" law came into effect, and she's been pretty vocal in her support for gay rights. And there are other examples of LJs that, technically speaking, violate Russian laws. Some of them are even posted from within Russia.

For me, my attitude is, fuck it, I've been here since 2005, I am not going to leave now. That and there are still comms and Russian LJ users I follow, and LJs I would like to be able to keep commenting on (mostly my mom's). If they ever go after my mom and some others, I might change my tune (and, if all else fails, I do have a Dreamwidth account I barely use, which can be pressed into service, if necessary), but until then... DDoS the land and TOS the sea, you can't take LJ from me, козлы недосраные (that Russian curse was directed towards SUP, not anyone in the comments)

Edited at 2017-04-07 08:49 pm (UTC)
Apr. 8th, 2017 12:23 am (UTC)
"Goat underdog"? That's what Google Translate says the curse is. I am intrigued!

I'll probably comment over at your LJ on some of the things you said; I'm still in the process of making up my mind, but as I said to >lj user=lost_spook>, I'm not panicking about this; I'm pissed about it. And while I agree that Russian law is honored more in the breech - and hits Russian users more - than it would ever affect anyone outside the Russian Federation, I still don't like it.

I'm rather grumpy right now, but maybe I can think about it in a calmer fashion tomorrow.

If I do finally decide to completely delete what I've got here, I may still keep an eye on folks who make the decision not to cross-post from Dreamwidth, but I'll be posting anonymously, with my name at the top or bottom of the comment.
Strannik's Russian Swears Lesson - strannik01 - Apr. 8th, 2017 12:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Strannik's Russian Swears Lesson - kaffyr - Apr. 8th, 2017 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Speaking of writing - strannik01 - Apr. 16th, 2017 05:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )

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