LiveJournal: When the LJ abuse prevention team become the abusers, who will protect the LJ users?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

LJ Abuse, lending Stalkers a Helping Hand

The Blogging Times writes: Ripping LiveJournal A Well-Deserved Hole
The tale begins with Alex Lucard’s name and a popular British author’s preoccupation with the occult and Lucard’s name (spell it backwards and add an “a”) . This obsession led to him harassing blogger Alex Lucard on his LJ blog for many years and not only going after Lucard, but leaving lascivious comments about Lucard’s LJ friends as well.

After Lucard contacted LJ support and explained his situation, the man in question, Sean Manchester, a public figure in Britain, who has appeared on radio, documentaries, and penned several books decided to turn the tables on Lucard by stating he had been publicly exposed (re: named as the stalker) on Lucard’s blog and that this was illegal. LJ sided with Manchester and suspended Lucard’s account.

Lucard told the Blogging Times:
LJ basically said, “We don’t care. You wrote his full name and it doesn’t matter that he has six books published, tons of books written about him and that even six months ago UK courts once again ruled him a public figure. We’re going to ignore legal precedent and suspend you because he complained about his name being written in your blog.”

Lucard writes:

Basically here’s the deal. If you read me, you know that for years, this guy named Sean Manchester has stalked me. He’s a self professed “vampire hunter” that’s been made fun of by everything from the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK to Ramsey Campbell and Neil Gaiman mocking him in writing. He’s appeared on radio shows, done documentaries and has 6 or so books published and probably three times as many written about him. He’s been listed as a public figure since the late 1960’s. That’s nearly 40 years.

Why does he stalk me? Well, spell the last name backwards and that’s a pretty good hint.

OMG! My name almost is an anagram for Dracula! Holy crap! Obviously I am the lord of the undead! Bring me human blood and a pile of earth to line my coffin with! Sigh…

At first it was just crazy ranting emails, but then it eventually spread to my livejournal. He’d attack me, attack LJ friends, and even attack other anon commentors that would turn out to be rival occultists/vampire hunters. He’s been considered a right nut for over three decades by everyone who has ever encountered him.

Eventually though he decided to play nasty. He would complain to LJabuse that his name was showing up in my LJ and that it was an invasion of his privacy. Never mind that all these conversations were started by him or because of his stalking, or that the comments he was complaining about were often HIS OWN. Somehow he decided a public figure shouldn’t be talked about negatively. Even though every court on earth has laughed him right out of it every time he’s whined.

Six Apart's companies have done this sort of thing before, but last time SixApart CEO Barak Berkowitz made his apologies for the error: To put this situation mildly, this request is ridiculous…You should have every right to post whatever you want, even if it happens to be libelous - which I personally don't think it is in this case…the namby-pamby recommendation for "fixing" the issue seems childish and ineffective to the point that it shouldn't be suggested at all.

That was to founder Mark Pincus, after they attempted to censor his blog to have him remove the full name of a public figure. Will Alex Lucard get a similar apology, or is LiveJournal Abuse beyond even Barak Berkowitz's control?

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Blogger Dave said...

10:37 AM

Blogger Крокодил Гена said...

Are you going to cover the Lolitagate scandal? From what I've heard, LJ Abuse unprovoked suspended every user and community who had "lolita" in their interests, even if it was the books Lolita or Reading Lolita in Tehran. From the little I know of internet law, actively policing like that would violate their common carrier status, which is their stated reason for not disciplining for copyright violations unless someone files a complaint.

11:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been a year since your last entry and there have been major LJ dramas and mass suspensions since then. I hope you come back and update this blog with info on Strikethrough '07 and the current policy debates. Barak resigned from 6A and LJ has been sold to a new owner. A lot of people are moving to instead.

11:10 AM


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