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

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Six Apart speaks? Doug and Anil

3 nursing moms and a few friends held a "nurse in" outside the Six Apart offices in San Francisco yesterday. talula_fairie reports:
We were outside on the sidewalk for about an hour and a half. Doug and Ginger came down within twenty or so minutes. They said they'd been looking forward to seeing us and brought sandwiches down when we didn't come up. Eventually after awhile the noise was so bad and my voice was giving out from trying to yell over some construction work that we came up to talk in the conference room at SA (as an aside, I found it very amusing to see the headquarters of Live Journal).

I basically reiterated everything Carrie has already told Doug. I said that I think he should just tell the Live Journal Abuse team that breastfeeding icons are ok, period, end of story, as long as the baby is latched on. That is pretty clear cut. It's hard to know exactly what he is saying when he talks, but basically he said that he doesn't want to be "autocratic" with the abuse team members. He went on about how they are a volunteer staff and how they would have to hire 4-6 full time employees to replace them. He said the only person he can be "autocratic" (I officially don't like that word) with is Denise.

Rather than add my thoughts I will include this from the person who sent it to me (I have permission to post it from a locked post on LiveJournal).
What bullshit. He's saying they can't make a simple change in the way the rules are implemented without approval from his volunteers? Who is running this company and why is he being paid a salary if he can't handle his own volunteers? And why not be autocratic with Denise, if it's her job to manage the team? He certainly needs to lay down the law about how they deal with users, and how they talk to them in communities.

In another less than great decision Six Apart Vice President Anil Dash posted a comment on a blog entry about the Step Apart from Six Apart day, defending LJ but not mentioning his sizable vested interest. Another commenter followed his link and took him to task for leaving that out, and other commenters are criticizing the content of his defense.

Says Rachel:
Please don't do that, Anil. People can worry about major things and minor things at the same time. The argument that "rapes go on in Congo" has been used to shut up American feminists long enough that it should be clear by now that it's only purpose is to hold up a distraction and say "Stop talking about things I don't want you to talk about."

Speaking of comments, I see the drama hounds are taking advantage of anonymous commenting here. I prefer not to delete any comments, because if you start feeding the trolls you have to deal with them vomiting it back up at you. If things become out of hand I will turn comment moderation on. Besides, as there is now an LJ community called nipplegatesnark, you can snark there!

Lastly this blog is having another traffic burst, so a reminder to new readers about the petition calling on Six Apart to reform LJ Abuse.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, what a pair of asses.

5:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Doug not think how ridiculous that sounds? I guess they didn't expect anyone to show up and put them on the spot.

5:32 PM

Blogger panda cookie said...

Ooops. I got carried away BIG TIME when the trolls came marching in. I'm sorry for that. I won't be doing it again. I'd rather see our cause be taken seriously.

I use moderated comments at my own blog. They actually have many benefits, and you may want to consider using them anyway. They really aren't that hard to manage, and if you'd like, someone that works for this blog could manage them for you. I would also like to offer my services here, too, so that I could maintain the comments if others don't have the time to. I'm online every night. Just let me know if you need me.

5:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Well, after speaking with Doug personally, I got the impression that they have weighed exactly how many people they'd piss off by allowing areolas in icons and how many people they'd placate by not allowing them. We're the lesser.

Doug said, "you could win the battle but lose the war." If we won and got what we wanted and SA laid down the law, all the people who ARE unhappy might leave..and there might not be an LJ. Now, I don't know if that is actually true or what, but it's somethign to consider.

The bottom line, I think, is that LJ is a business, period. They want to make money, and they are trying to make everyone happy so they can keep making money and running their business.

I felt that it was kind of them to be so accomodating to us at the nurse in. I feel they are more progressive than other pretty much all online communities. I also feel that if we really want to have our own way with blogs, we should host them ourselves rather than trust a company to do it."

7:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how "doesn't agree with me" has suddenly become "troll". Grow a spine, people.

9:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

People *were* trolling last night. They were saying things to get people riled up. It has nothing to do with having a spine.

10:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doug is piss weak.

12:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Monday three women went to SixApart's office in San Francisco for a "nurse-in" and were invited in to talk with Doug Bryan and Ginger Someone. Doug seems to be claiming that the problem is that he can't be "autocratic" with LJ Abuse volunteers:
but basically [Doug] said that he doesn't want to be "autocratic" with the abuse team members. He went on about how they are a volunteer staff and how they would have to hire 4-6 full time employees to replace them. He said the only person he can be "autocratic" ... with is Denise.

If true, this doesn't speak well for Doug's ability as a manager.

Using volunteer labour is cheaper. Volunteers don't have to be paid. If that's the only reason an organisation is using volunteer labour, the organisation needs to take a long hard look at what it's using volunteer labour for.

Livejournal needs a police force. Any big community does. And in my opinion, even a bad police force can be better than none at all. I think LJ Abuse is a bad police force, but it's better than nothing.

What kind of police force it needs depends on the nature of the community. A science-fiction convention generally does just fine with volunteer security and clearly explained rules: and in many ways, livejournal used to be run very like a science-fiction convention. But it's not: it's a corporately-owned online community running on corporate servers... policed by volunteers who are, according to Doug Bryan, not under SixApart's control. That's a bad police force, and Doug's toleration of that because he doesn't feel he can lay down firm rules for volunteers that they must follow, makes him a bad manager.

Of course, Doug may not have been altogether honest about this: it may be that he is blaming LJ Abuse because LJ Abuse is a convenient target for user rage, and he would rather have us blame LJ Abuse than blame Six Apart. If so, that doesn't just make him a bad manager: it makes him a bad human being.

I started out to write this comment just as a link to what-else-is-being-said, but the importance of Doug's claim has struck me in the writing of it: I'll be cross-posting this.

3:09 AM

Blogger Nicholas said...

I think they should hire those 4-6 employees!

If your enforement mechanisms are not fully controllable by the policy arm, you are in deep trouble...

3:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Told you so.

7:42 AM

Blogger Lindsay said...

I am the one that is quoted from, and Doug did tell me he doesn't want to be "autocratic" with the abuse team. He did say the only person that he CAN be autocratic with is Denise, jus to clear that up.

I really find it unfortunate that 6A appears to be so unwilling to overhaul their abuse team.

8:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree and though I've been "HidingMyself" (sometimes behind anonymous comment - sorry), I have been somewhat vocal on this subject from the beginning.

If you use the membership of the abusefest community as a guide and apply it talula_fairie's comment; It would mean that LJ/SA is using the opinions of 50-55 folks to represent millions of bloggers. And, somehow, the opinion of these kids outweigh the 1500+ LJers who mailed in protest and those that have been vocal, or have otherwise participated in this discussion. Sure, he and Denise may consider some of these people "friends", but as far as I'm concerned, it demonstrates a huge misplaced priority.


9:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doug Bryan is a spineless wonder. I'm amazed he can even hold his torso upright with that missing backbone and all.

What a wuss.

6:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Additionally, with respect to the additional info provided by talula_fairie;

If the stated way for Doug to get a change in the rules is to post an RFC to an abuse team community, then the already revealed "open prejudice", people trolling this forum using words like "win" and "lose", plus the idea that letter-writing campaigns would have no effect, it would seem that a change in policy would be a foregone conclusion.

9:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, if the opinions of the abuse team are more important than the opinions of hundreds of users including many paid users, and if the managers don't feel they can change policies because the abuse team doesn't like it, THEY NEED TO FIND NEW VOLUNTEERS or hire staff who can handlethem!!

3:19 AM

Blogger LJAB said...

Panda Cookie, thank you for the offer! I am going to leave it for now because the moment you start making decisions about what to allow and what not to allow, you get people accusing you of censoring them. I was thinking about what "rules" I would apply to comments and "no personal attacks on other posters" would be an obvious one, but then we'd end up arguing about whether comments like "Doug Bryan is a spineless wonder" count as a personal attack. I could turn off anonymous comments but anyone can sign up for a blogger name and they're still good as anonymous so I don't see a point in doing that.

5:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dialog. Huh.

11:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the managers can't manage they should be fired and 6a should hire someone who can.

5:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lj abuse team gets to decide what the policy is and they've volunteers? volunteers who are rude to people and who admit they don't listen to users who disagree with them! WTF SIX APART?

5:45 PM


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