Why I should be your LiveJournal Advisory Board representative - Jay Maynard

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008


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2045 - Why I should be your LiveJournal Advisory Board representative

I'm one of a bunch of folks running for the LiveJournal Advisory Board. I think I'd be a good user representative to LJ because I understand that, first and foremost, this is a community of folks who put their hearts and souls into their journals and the communities that form around them.

The folks who got appointed to the board have suggested that the candidates answer the following questions:

1) What do you think is the value of LJ?

This is going to sound corny as hell, but I'll say it anyway: LJ brings people together. It lets them share their thoughts, and lets others comment and discuss and bond. There are folks I've gotten to know a lot better through LJ. I hope folks have gotten to know me better the same way. Communities with common interests can share those interests. Individual people can find others with the same interests. We come to understand each other a little better.

2) What changes would you like to see LJ make in the next year?

The biggest change I think needs to happen is that LJ needs to put its users first. This was sadly lacking all through the Six Apart era; I watched people leave because they got tired of Six Apart treating them with contempt. The emphasis has been on advertisers and on avoiding being the center of attention from pressure groups. LJ management needs to understand that if the users all get unhappy and leave, the advertisers will too. The pressure group problem, on the other hand, goes with the territory, and the only appropriate response is to deal with the real problems and ignore the groups otherwise.

3) Why do you want to be the elected representative?

I want to make LJ a place where the users feel that they're the focus. I'm tired of watching my friends give up and depart for other similar sites; this defeats both the inter-journal linking and the larger sense of community. I've been around communities of people for my entire adult life, and understand how they work. I think I can help LJ understand how boneheaded moves like the strikethrough will affect the LJ user community. I'm also experienced enough, and mature enough, to explain things and persuade corporate managers that they should do things the right way.

I've got experience in being a member of, and an advocate for, and even a manager of different communities of different sizes. I understand how they work. I know what people want from them. I know how to make them better, and what makes them dry up and blow away.

4) What do you think are the community's greatest concerns?

The biggest concern that I see is that the community thinks LJ sees them as just hits on a web page and free content providers, not as an active partner in making LJ a great resource for users and owners alike. This has GOT to change. If left unchecked, it's toxic.

The poll opens tomorrow. I'd like your vote.

current mood: [mood icon] determined

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:rbradakis
Date: - 0000
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From:insomnia
Date: - 0000
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Hi! My name is Mark Kraft, best known on LJ for being its business manager in its early, pre-dotcom days. (See this Aug. 2000 post by Brad for an explanation.)

I wanted to get ahold of you as you are one of the candidates for the upcoming election, to let you know about my latest project, ljunited.

It basically grew out of concerns I had that something needs to be done soon in order to turn LJ around from the brink, as well as a general awareness that LJ's advisory board election would turn into a popularity contest, unless enough people united in a way to both elect a strong candidate and to give them a strong grassroots organization behind them so that the advice they give to LJ's management would be less likely to be ignored.

LJ United's platform, and the basic beliefs that unite our members, are primarily based on the original promises that were made to LJ... the ones that have been systematically broken by LJs management for years, at the cost of the site's longterm growth and success.

These original promises are:

Working with the community, for the community.
Honoring the status of every account.
Maintaining the uptime and performance of the site.
Staying advertisement free.
Never sending us unsolicited e-mail.
Supporting the Free Software movement.

In addition we also explicitly support:
- free speech for all LiveJournal users
- the privacy of LiveJournal's users
- the rights of fandom in all its forms
- our fellow LiveJournal Code sites, who we view as rightful users of LJ's open source code, and as an essential part of the greater LiveJournal community

Our goal is to work towards defending and restoring the original promises made to LiveJournal's members, standing up for the free speech of LiveJournal's members, restoring LJ's original strong support for community-based Open Source Software development, and restoring community participation in the successful operations of LiveJournal.

To this end, I have attracted about 200 fairly motivated people in the past few weeks from various communities, as well as two of the most serious candidates running for the election. We voted to endorse rm, who is a very knowledgeable, thoughtful individual with a lot of persuasive oomph who has been on LJ since its earliest days.

One person who joined us you might know as Squeaky, the guy who runs InsaneJournal. He has a lot of issues relating to the open source side of LJ that he thinks should be addressed, and I tend to agree with him there... He's also been talking about doing independent development on the LJ code.

I'd like to ask you to join us, as we could definitely use your advice and assistance. We're ideally looking at getting candidates to support our positions, and potentially to urge their supporters to back rm as their alternate candidate of choice, so that in the event they can't beat the most popular candidates, they can at least see to it that a skilled candidate is elected who will specifically address their interests.

Our goal is to see to it that everyone's rights are respected, rather than face the kind of "divide and conquer" scenarios we have seen over the past few years, where some minority of users have their freedoms impinged upon. We should stick together on these issues, as enough people's rights have already been imposed upon.

Thanks -
Mark
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From:serenadesha
Date: - 0000
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I saw you on the list of possible representatives, recognized you as the other southern-Minnesota Schlock fan, and decided to see if you had said anything about what you'd do on the advisory board. I definitely approve of your stance, and since I sort of know about you, I feel I can safely vote for you. Thanks for stepping forward to do this. :)
From:seeds_of_peace
Date: - 0000
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Totally voting for you & plugging you in my LJ!
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From:necro1000
Date: - 0000
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I thought I'd let you know I just voted for you. Good luck to you.
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From:ekatarina
Date: - 0000
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Heard you on CBC the other day. Nice interview. Hope you had a good time at the event.

Ekatarina
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From:emmapheonix
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Sounds about right. I concur!
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From:jesurgislac
Date: - 0000
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Since May 2006 - the rules got changed in a 1984-like mode in late April 2006 - anyone whose default icon depicts a baby at breast is at risk of being suspended from Livejournal.

SixApart offered as a defense that they don't believe babies should be breastfed in public, and that in any case that kind of enforcement is something that LJ Abuse do and they don't try to nitpick LJ Abuse's decisions. (LJ Abuse say that the new owners have made no change in the old rules.)

For anyone following the anti-breastfeeding campaign by SixApart, their treatment of Livejournal users in 2007 and 2008 came a reprise: they lied, they were disrespectful, they made clear that their customer base was their advertisers and Livejournal members were product for sale, even Permanent or Paid accounts.

I doubt that this much-touted advisory board will have any power to do anything, but it would be nice to know that members elected will use whatever voice they have to make a thorough stink about the actions by Livejournal's owners - going back to their first cleansing of Livejournal, the purging of icons deemed "obscene" because they depicted a baby at breast.

Is this something you'll do?
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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Sure, I'll raise that issue. The decision seems downright silly to me. Making silly decisions is not putting the interests of users ahead of the interests of advertisers. There are lots of things they should be paying attention to; that's not one of them.
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From:jesurgislac
Date: - 0000
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Thank you. You've got my vote.
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From:thecanuckguy
Date: - 0000
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And you got my vote too. If it wasn't for vakkotaur I wouldn't even know there was an election (nor would I know most about what LJ does, to be completely honest I'd just use it as a personal blog, blissfully unaware about the underpinnings of it). I've looked at a few other candidates' pages as well and while I've found at least two that also deserve my vote and are quite professional, yours definitely impressed me the most. (Keep in mind that this is completely unrelated tot he fact that I know you as well, I'm sure I would be equally impressed if I saw your page for the first time.)

You have my vote - as my first choice.
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From:aurora_linore
Date: - 0000

boo

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Haha, your a Tool fan...
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From:melissasutton
Date: - 0000
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where does one vote?
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From:lionsphil
Date: - 0000
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By the looks of this, over here.

Talk about underpromoted. I only knew this was going on because someone who has left LJ asked me if I was following teh drah-mah.

Ah, joys. In the time my ISP went down, it closed. So much for "all week".

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