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Why are we holding the Content Strike?

Content Strike Friday March 21, from midnight to midnight GMT

We are holding the Content Strike because we want to demonstrate that LiveJournal is content-driven.

We are holding the Content Strike because we want the new owners of LiveJournal to better understand the power and resolve of the LJ Community of Users.

We are holding the Content Strike because all of us, Paid, Permanent and Plus users as well as Basic, want to demonstrate our solidarity as a Community of Users. We do not consider Basic users to be freeloaders, we consider them to be valuable content-providers and Friends.

We are holding the Content Strike because we ache to do something to show our displeasure, and commenting on the news post -- even with cat macros -- just isn't powerful enough!

I will be emailing and snail-mailing SUP that the strike has four terms:

  1. Restore basic accounts for new account creation.

  2. Inform users before any change to the site that affects how we use the site or demands on our resources.

  3. Run change proposals by the Advisory Board and take their advice into account before implementation of any change.

  4. Homophobia, misogyny, and racism must not be a part of the decision making processes about appropriate content of the site, including what user interests are deemed appropriate.

NOTE: I'm aware that there may be good business decisions for eliminating Basic accounts. If Basic accounts are to be eliminated, though, that action should be taken only after approval of the Advisory Board and consultation with the LJ Community of Users.

ETA: Credit and thanks due to lavendertook for the wording of the terms, with which I am in full agreement.


( 207 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 17th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)
Good stuff. I'll go update the post I just made on all this to link here.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - beckyzoole - Mar. 19th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ghd_mk4 - Jun. 26th, 2010 02:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 17th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
don't hate me...
Help me out with something, because I'm seriously conflicted. Not about the strike - I think it's maybe the only thing that might get their attention. And I absolutely think it's a stupid decision to eliminate basic accounts. That's like the people who think the only way newspapers will make money on the 'net is if we charge people to read articles. Um, no. We charge people to read articles and they'll go read someone else's articles. Duh.

I think they ignore the fact that basic accounts are how most of us started. We got into it with free accounts, and when we found we liked it, we started paying for it. Drug dealers know this, why doesn't SUP?

But. As much as I might disagree with SUP's decision, I don't think they had any obligation to tell us in advance, or take a vote or anything. It might be a wise idea to test the waters with the advisory board, but this is in fact a service business. I don't expect any other site to which I subscribe OR service I purchase to clear it with me or any of their customers before they change policy.

It does suck to join now, but if I'm not mistaken, they are still going to have ad-supported "free" accounts. Yes, that sucks too. But it is how just about every other blogging site stays alive. There is something to be said for being the only one who doesn't charge for a basic account, and I certainly don't think of them as freeloaders. That's why I'll participate in the strike.

I just don't get the democracy-in-action part of this. It's a paid service. They aren't under any obligation to us beyond keeping the servers running. Hell, I think I'd feel ten times stronger about the strike if it was solely about Item 4. Help me understand, because just about everyone on my fiends list is riled up about this and I respect their opinions and yours.
Mar. 17th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: don't hate me...
But. As much as I might disagree with SUP's decision, I don't think they had any obligation to tell us in advance, or take a vote or anything. It might be a wise idea to test the waters with the advisory board, but this is in fact a service business. I don't expect any other site to which I subscribe OR service I purchase to clear it with me or any of their customers before they change policy.

They don't have an obligation to us. It's just damn stupid to ignore the users and if we decide to walk, SUP is left with SFA. I for one have decided not to renew my paid account because I'm getting pissed off with SUP.

Or shorter version: this is irate user feedback. SUP is free to ignore it if they like - but it's at their own peril if they do.
Re: don't hate me... - ebourland - Mar. 19th, 2008 08:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: don't hate me... - cos - Mar. 19th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: don't hate me... - beckyzoole - Mar. 19th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC)
stewardess does a good job of explaining the issues around point number four over here.

Essentially, there's a list on LJ that's open to the public. It lists the top interests of the users, so people can see what's popular. Lj has removed items relating to GLBT politics (as well as some other rediculous things) from the list, despite them being on the top.

The article is much better at explaining it than I am, however.
(no subject) - frogboy3 - Mar. 19th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - enderu - Mar. 19th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ruakh - Mar. 20th, 2008 03:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 17th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you for doing this. (Made my way here from timeslipping.) I have no particular objection to the basic accounts thing - it's irritating, but to some extent it's the way of the internet. The thing with the interests, though? WORD. Is an unpleased Rhube.
Mar. 17th, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
Hallo! Glad to see someone's organizing something! I'm with the group who think it's not long enough, but personally I'll just make a point of avoiding LJ for the whole weekend. I'll just have to sew or somethings; Gods know I'm behind in it.

The only thing I have an issue with is number 4, and this is purely semantics. I think that using keywords like homophobia, racism, etc give them too much wriggle room. It's ghastly easy for them to say, "Oh, but we're trying to prevent it" or to claim that it's not bigotry, it's content maintainence. Instead, how about "censorship" in general without it being clearly defined in an easy-to-access place. The issue spreads well beyond homophobia, though that's where it's settling now. (For example, using this they can still censor depression and fanfiction.)

Just a thought.
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
Vaguelly unrelated, but your icon is a million different levels of love. ^^
(no subject) - tsukinofaerii - Mar. 17th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rhube - Mar. 17th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tsukinofaerii - Mar. 17th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rohaa - Mar. 18th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thedarksiren - Mar. 19th, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rohaa - Mar. 20th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
I'm just commenting to know that I'm participating in the strike and will be passing the word along, many people seem to be doing the same thing. =)
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
Hi! I saw the info on several people's flists and for the life of me, I'm seriously confused.

What do you want people to do?

I know why, understand why, but I don't know what is to happen. No posting that day? No interests lists? what?

Please help me. RL is not going down the toilet properly (sewage issues) and I need extra assistance in understanding anything, right now.
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks for coming over here, and asking.

No posting, no commenting. We will demonstrate that LJ depends on user-provided content, and the users are unhappy.

If you can stand it, don't log in or even peek at LJ for the 24-hour duration of the strike. But most important is to avoid adding any new content whatsoever.

In RL, I can think of few things more annoying than sewage issues. My sympathies!
(no subject) - thesoulbound - Mar. 17th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - causette - Mar. 18th, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sapphire_knight - Mar. 19th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
As Brad explains here, the business reasons aren't sound--SUP's business model for this user platform is flawed. there's a further analysis here.
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
I'm not so bothered about the change to the account structure as I am about the interests censorship.

I want to join in - the only thing that made me hesitate in taking part is the Blog365 challenge. I guess I could blog on InsaneJournal that day and record that entry as part of my summary. It's an honour system but I have a lot of honour.
Mar. 17th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, the interests censorship is further proof that they absolutely do not understand their core userbase, and is insulting to us.

I was about to suggest that you could get around the Blog365 challenge by posting just before and just after... then remembered that you live in GMT. (Couldn't just pop over to Amsterdam for the weekend, could you? Heh.) I think InsaneJournal would be honored to have you.
Mar. 17th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
*winces* Okay...

I am positively livid about the censoring, especially censoring 'bisexuality.'

I'm annoyed that they didn't tell us about basic account removal. I'm ticked that they didn't talk to the advisory board first.

However, I can, on a very basic level, understand WHY they removed basic accounts. Their account sign-ups have significantly dropped since 2005. (From upwards of 14,000 per day down to about 7,000 per day.) Added with the fact that several people stopped paying for their accounts due to what 6A did before SUP bought LJ. Most of that is roll-over of bad business from 6A's actions, but the point is that they likely are making significantly less money.

Yes, we didn't like their decision on basic accounts, and it was a terrible way to go about it - but the basic account problem is, at the core, a customer service issue, and nothing more.

I AM in full support of of bringing back invitations - giving paid and permanent users to create basic accounts.

But I'm not sure I can take part in the strike that demands they bring back basic as it was before. And the fact that it's listed first kind of puts me off from it.

On the basis of the censorship issue (which is far more morally important to me - SUP is essentially telling us - or not telling us - that they're homophobic), I still want to send a statement to them.

I just can't do it with this strike because there are too many clauses attached to it. :(
Mar. 17th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
This issue of interests has been resolved:

(no subject) - tsukinofaerii - Mar. 17th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beckyzoole - Mar. 17th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - princesskitu - Mar. 18th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beckyzoole - Mar. 18th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shadur - Mar. 19th, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vichan - Mar. 19th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beckyzoole - Mar. 19th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - details15 - Mar. 20th, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 17th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
We've got confirmation from the LJ Herald ( http://community.livejournal.com/the_lj_herald/80784.html?nc=8 ) that the interests are back up! :D
Mar. 17th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a good idea. If we don't show our displeasure they will go on like that.

I'll friended you if you don't mind. Great thing that you're organizing this.
Mar. 17th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)
If Basic accounts are to be eliminated, though, that action should be taken only after approval of the Advisory Board

That hurts my head. It is an Advisory Board, not a Governing Board. As in, they advise SUP/LJ - and SUP/LJ is free to follow that advice, or not. The Advisory Board doesn't approve, or disapprove, anything - that is not their role. They offer input on how they think things should, or should not, be done. But that's just one input into the decision matrix, and SUP may decide that they have good cause to make decisions counter to what the Advisory Board recommends.

As for consultation with the LJ Community of Users - that's generally not a good idea. A bad way to run a company is to run your decisions by your user base. Listening to input in general, doing surveys, data mining, etc, are all good ideas. Floating decisions out for consultation with the users - a very bad idea. Because any decision is going to annoy and/or upset some segment of users, and all you'll do is spend time trying to deal with the squeaky wheel.
Mar. 18th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
Whew... a voice of reason. Thank you!
Mar. 18th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
I'm in, though clearly I've missed the most recent kerfluffle.
Mar. 18th, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC)
i join this, they should brung back basic accounts!
Mar. 18th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
I've had a Basic (not paid for) site for over a year. I love LJ & as I'm on a low income, it's cos it's free that appeals. I've made loads of friends too.

Am I right & you are saying Live Journal now consider me to be a 'free-loader'?

Are they planning to get rid of free accounts?

If so, I'll definitely be joining the strike!

Mar. 18th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
No, they're not. They've eliminated the Basic accounts for new users signing up, now the only free option is Plus -- the ad-driven one. It won't affect you, and future low-income users can install Ad-Block.
(no subject) - rohaa - Mar. 18th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caprinus - Mar. 18th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beckyzoole - Mar. 19th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rohaa - Mar. 19th, 2008 08:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nimbrethil - Mar. 19th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 18th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
I reposted information on my LJ. Someone should get this onto Metafilter. I actually don't know how...I am just a reader not a contributor.
Mar. 18th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
Homophobia, misogyny, and racism must not be a part of the decision making processes about appropriate content of the site, including what user interests are deemed appropriate.

Can you please point out where any of the above has been part of their decision to do away with new basic accounts?
Mar. 19th, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
Um, yeah.
(no subject) - awetitu - Mar. 19th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 18th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
I'm currently on the fence with this, because I'm not sure I understand completely what's going on. (I'm often out of the loop with these sort of things...)

For one, I do think we should be informed of all major changes, but I was under the impression that there are still Plus accounts, which are completely free. That's how I started out on LJ. So I guess I'm not entirely sure why basic accounts are needed when they have plus accounts for free that offer more than basic accounts... or is this more about letting us know about changes rather than this particular change?

I think that covers the first three points. My only other question is about #4. I'd just like to know more about what's happened (or happening) concerning that. I just don't exactly understand the point it's making- maybe I'm not reading it right, or something, but... I don't know, it has me slightly confused.

If you could clarify or answer any of my questions, that'd be terrific. I just don't want to blindly give my support to something that I don't completely understand.


Edited at 2008-03-18 06:26 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - high_striker - Mar. 18th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beckyzoole - Mar. 19th, 2008 01:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 18th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
No thanks.
Mar. 18th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
I'm in. I don't necessarily need to see free accounts back; to me, invites would be fine too. I'm feeling more strongly about the censorship and the general lack of decency LJ has shown towards its userbase recently.

Perhaps not everyone can totally, 100% agree on all those points. Does it really matter? Do we really expect them to honour all four, to the letter? Or are we trying to get their attention and let them know that we WILL be listened to (or else)?
Mar. 18th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
Mar. 18th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
I originally came to LJ as an early adapter, way back when on another journal. By the time LJ caught on, you could only sign up with codes. Remember the "codes?" Or you could purchase your account. Anyway, then they brought back the free account. Now it seems like this'll end up being the same thing.
Mar. 18th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
I started with a Basic account and an invite code.

Of course, I'm older than dirt. ;-)
Mar. 18th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC)
I don't mind about the basic accounts, that's a business decision and no one is entitled to anything free. However, the censorship of people's voices to portray a false reality with regard to the interests? That infuriates me. I'm in.
Mar. 19th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
Can I join? My account used to be basic, until it was changed to paid as a gift. Does this mean when my paid account runs out, I'll be kicked off LJ? I think it rather unfair...
Mar. 19th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)

There's a conflation happening here between basic and free. I don't like Livejournal very much right now and I am leaving for greener blogging pastures, but I despise disinformation in any form. The original post here has not done a good job of getting their facts straight.

Livejournal is not not not not NOT eliminating free accounts. They are eliminating the basic account, which is free AND not supported with ads. The plus account is also free, but ad-supported. LiveJournal has NOT said they are eliminating free accounts at all! When your paid account runs out, it'll be reverted to a plus account.
(no subject) - beckyzoole - Mar. 19th, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 19th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC)
I'm in (I have a basic account and would hate to loose it).
Mar. 19th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC)
there's a lot of misinformation going on here.

As it stands now, LJ is saying they will not allow basic accounts to be created from now on, but existing basic accounts are not affected.
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