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04 August 2007 @ 04:10 am
Part Two - Another Strikethrough?  
There has been hubbub over the Intertubes that after the first incident, charmingly referred to as the Strikethrough, where accounts of LiveJournal members were suspended after posting either art or fictional accounts of underage characters. At least, I believe that was the reasoning. Rolling Stone has a feature on a group that believes LiveJournal should engage in more Strikethrough-type activities, as well as the television show, To Catch a Predator.

Anyway, according to accounts being spread across the Internet, it appears that a second round of suspensions are underway, these permanent, non-appealable, and supposedly spread to other accounts that may be using the same e-mail address for verification. All such bans are also apparently non-reversible. User ponderosa121 and user elaboration are two of the more cited suspensions, but there may be more involved. The community named "pornish_pixies" has been warned about the appearance of art in violation of LiveJournal policy, likely the two pieces that resulted in the bans mentioned above. As a result of said warning, they have decided to lock the community and enforce age verification standards.

While one post about the first Strikethrough incident seemed clear and said “This was the actions of overzealous persons. Policies are under review, and we will communicate to you what we have made decisions on. Your fictional content, however, should be protected under United States Constitutional guarantees of free speech”, another seemed to say “This is the beginning of the new era of LiveJournal - all those posting material of underage persons will be banned without warning.” I may be putting words and intentions in the mouths of those two posters. Take all I say with at least one grain of salt. User "stormcloude" inquired as to which of these we should believe, and received a response that said, in essence, "The Second". (While stormcloude made the request, the response has been copied over to bubble_blunder’s journal, for purposes of maintaining and updating a list of current events.) The LiveJournal Abuse Team appears to have declared themselves the sole arbiters of what meets the standard of “artistic merit”, which, according to the Terms of Service, is within their right to do. Several users have asked whether LiveJournal would be smarter in deferring to established case law regarding what falls under obscenity versus what falls under child pornography, and synecdochic offers an excellent summary of what sort of legal environment has developed that makes this an issue. Matters of text have precedent behind them. Images, which appear to be the targets of the suspensions, regardless of the fictionality of the characters, or even perhaps their actual ages, are not as well-protected.

The facet of the current exercise noted most prominently is that rather than having their journal name struck through, indicating a journal that no longer exists, the user name appears, without the LiveJournal icon, in bold, and the name itself is hidden from several views, in such a way that casual glances may overlook the fact that someone has gone missing. This suggests the malice end of the spectrum. If LiveJournal is deliberately engaging in subterfuge or deception and hiding those affected by things determined to be Terms Of Service violations, it does not reflect well on how high the parent company, SixApart, holds their customer base. As with the last incident, there has been rumbling about packing up and moving to a different service, one with better Terms of Service. The difficulty in this scenario being that unless a significant amount of users decide to move elsewhere, there will be very little effect and business will continue as usual. In a twisted sort of way, one might see it as the start of a pastor’s famous poem.

It is unknown as to whether or not there have been more abuse reports made and whether there will be more suspensions and warnings issued. It does not go un-noticed by this particular writer that this difficulty began after the acquisition of LiveJournal by SixApart. New boss, new rules, new environment. There is, of course, the free choice to move elsewhere, the choice of staying along for the ride and either spinning the Russian Roulette of not being noticed, or the choice of simply not posting or being around material that could result in abuse notifications and a prompt ejection from LiveJournal. As noted in the comments, this last option is much like trying to avoid spoilers for the last Harry Potter book until one reads it - it’s not impossible, but it does require significant effort to achieve. And that’s before any arguments about shifting definitions or standards as to what’s a bannable offense. Until otherwise noted, it appears that Zero Tolerance is the standard from now on. Which does not bode well for anyone.

liz_marcs has begun a cataloging of events, as well as offering options for those wishing to move to a new service. bubble_blunder is also maintaining a listing of events and related materials as they develop. (Two sources, one location. Huzzah for aggregation, or something.)

If there has been anything reported incorrectly, inaccurately, or the situation has changed and I haven’t noticed, feel free to comment, or, if you’re on my reading list, to post it to your own journal. I should pick it up. I’m not sure whether to maintain a single posting unit with a complete-as-far-as-I-know chronology, or to simply add updates as new information arrives. In either case, stay tuned. And if you haven’t invested in a journal back-up program, now may be an excellent time to do so. Just in case.
Current Mood: inquisitve
Current Music: Haibane Renmei - Rustle
Silver Adeptsilveradept on August 4th, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
Well, there is still the possibility that someone who can see locked posts finds the fiction and reports it as a violation of TOS for depictions of underage characters having sex. If the report abuse page really does say that materials under the lock are exempted (screenshots, anyone?), then the second journal-deletion is a very odd thing, because the entire journal is reported to have been locked.

Pornish_pixies wasn't axed the first time around, but it was a locus of the firestorm.

The current concession to the fact that teenagers do, indeed, have sexual relations with each is the idea of the "age of consent", which in many states is below 18, and some "Romeo and Juliet" laws that say that if two under-consent children are having sex, so long as they're close to each other in age, there's no statutory rape charge. (Which makes for problems, as noted before, when one who is over consent has sex with someone who isn't, even if they'd both been having sex before when they were both under-consent.)

Stirke-to-bold is less noticeable, I would think, and the strikethrough was an easy way of telling that the account that was is no longer. With the bolding and the non-linking, one might have considered it a glitch or some other odd thing, and then only later find out that there was a deliberate intent behind it.
Plain Rebecca Janeannaonthemoon on August 5th, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)
There's something wrong though about reporting something that's LOCKED as offending you, because the person who wrote it has it under a lock for a reason, and usually with appropriate warnings and flaggings before you get down to the actual story. If someone warns me "hey, the following fic contains x, y, and z", and I don't like reading that kind of stuff, I'd skip over that post/story.
Silver Adept: Heartlesssilveradept on August 5th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, but you believe in the general intelligence of everyone else and that they will respect those warnings and skip if they don't like it, or once the content is revealed to be something not liked, then they'll stop reading it, and possibly ask for a cut or other such things. Certain other types of people look at that, or even the cut, and say "Onoez! Some innocent will happen upon this and be scarred, or some pedophile will happen upon this and be aroused!" And from there, rather than becoming a potential, it becomes an actual, and so now this person is somehow encouraging corruption of innocents and pedophilia, and now they must be stopped, of course. Because even locked, an infinite number of innocents have already been scarred and an infinite number of pedophiles have jacked off to it.
Plain Rebecca Janeannaonthemoon on August 5th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
I really, really, hate crusaders who think they need to go out there and save everyone.

See, we all have our own brains, and our own likes/dislikes, and really, if people would be more tolerable over other people's likes, things might be a lot better.

And wanting to read a story about a sixteen year old having sex with their teacher who is at least 20 years older than them (harry/snape, for example) doesn't mean you yourself want to go out and have sex with a minor. Sometimes, things like sex (including rape) are written into a story as a plot point (though I also will admit there's a lot of PWP with smut these days). But even if it's A PWP, it still doesn't mean that the people who want to read it are going to go out and physically do it.

Silver Adeptsilveradept on August 5th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Sure it does. "Everyone knows" that people start down the road to pornography, pedophilia, homosexuality, and all those other sexual deviances through something innocent like a Harry/Snape fiction or picture. And then they find they like it in pictures and fictions, so they then want to see it happen to real kids, and then they start doing it to real kids. So all we'd have to do is get rid of the words and pictures, and nobody would ever become gay or pedophilic or anything else. We'd all live in our happily-married, no-premarital sex, heterosexual and religiously blessed marriages, where the women have as many children as they get pregnant by, nobody uses birth control, and God is firmly enshrined as the master and lawmaker of the country. Doesn't that just sound like utopia to you?
Plain Rebecca Janeannaonthemoon on August 5th, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)