October 1st, 2006


More Clusterfun than Chef and Filetmignon's last big downtimes! (An lj_biz summary.)

Poll #6666666

Open to: All, results viewable to: All

So how's about some Sponsored Communities, in addition to the Plus accounts, huh? (Oh, and, um, paidusersmightkindaseeads.)

View Answers

Run away screaming
1024 (80.0%)

Politely decline
256 (20.0%)

Cautiously try some
2 (0.0%)

Enthusiastically try some
1 (0.0%)

(Propz to Berv for these excellent poll answers, which I swiped from her. Definition of cheese may not be sanity or stomach-safe. )

Somewhat later...

bradfitz: "Holy hell, sorry about that. Communication is not our strong point this weekend. Lemme get the red pen and re-do that post. Previous stuff still applies: you paid, you no see ads. OMG. Sales and I are going to be having a nice long talk, as much as I hate taking time away from the geeking. SMS is totally for the win, though, and we're willing to let free users use it if you recognize that THERE WILL BE ADS on that part of the site, just like your buddy with the Plus account, the one you don't comment to anymore. Sponsored comms are going to happen, but they'll be well-labeled. And I totally want to use the word "clusterfuck" to describe this situation, but I can't put that in this post and get away with it, so forgive the typo, 'k? Now. I'm'a leave for the weekend and address the rest of this on Monday."

Slashdot Refugees: "You know you love us."
Snarky Users: "Um, no."

Relieved Users: "OMFG THANK YOU BRAD WE LOVE YOU MARRY ME THINK OF ME FONDLY! (Please promise me you'll try...) "
Relieved User: "Well, now what do we do with the angry mob we assembled?"
Relieved Users: "Party time!"

Annoyed Users: "But we'll still see those comms on the front page when we log in. We don't have the choice to avoid them."
Support Volunteers: "Um, you do know you can log in using the Navbar and never see the front page, right?"
Annoyed Users: "Brad, reality check. You're no longer paying attention to LJ. LISTEN TO US. We are saying NO here."
Annoyed Users Who Swore They Were Leaving Last Time: "LJ, YOU ARE LYING LIARS WHO LIE!!"

Luddite Neophobic Users: "STOP giving us new features. Or at least make them opt-in only."
Observant Users: "If they were opt-in only, no one would use them, if these comments are any indication. Maybe LJ wants us to at least try the shinies before declining them."
Neophobic Users: "No. Enough with the bells. Enough with the whistles."
Opinionated Users: "Navbar hate thread forms over here! Tips on how to get rid of it when it's forced on! Come one come all!"
Detail-Oriented Users: "The Console is fun."

Feedback-Oriented Users: "There are still a few issues with how sponsored comms come up in searches, though."
Cynical Users: "And here comes the damage control. How come Brad only comes out for the damage control?"
bradfitz: "Dude, I sold this thing so I could concentrate on the geeking, and not have to go play with users all the time. I come out and raise hell if things start going wrong, but otherwise, I'm in there with my headphones on so I can't hear y'all screeching."
Brad's Fanclub: "Where's 6A's respect for Brad? OMG CORPORATE CORNHOLINGS ALL AROUND. It's not your fault we're in this handbasket."
Other Cynical Users: "This munged-up announcement and then retraction was a ploy to get us to accept it. Notice how this isn't in news?"
Concerned Users: "So exactly how much is LJ going to bow to these sponsors? Will LJ start jerking the users around at the whim of the sponsors? How much of our data gets shared? Do they get to spam us? Give us some reassurance here. Please."
Concerned Anti-Establishment and Explicit Slash Writing Users: "Please tell me they get dumped if they try and commentspam us. If Warner Brothers sponsors comms, they had better not take my disestablishmentarianism icons and my graphic NC-1701 22+ chan slash noncon away from me!"
Anti-Fanfic/RP Users: "...wait, this could make fanfic and RP go away? I ♥ this."
Constructive Critic Users: "How about an extra section on profile pages, for sponsored comm memberships, that gets hidden from Paid users? Or you could switch to a different financial structure."
Detail-Oriented Users: "'Mostly not evil people' work for LJ? Um."
Archive.org and Google Cached Page Fans: "LJ, YOU ARE LYING LIARS WHO LIE!! Um, that is to say, you say it ain't a slippery slope. I see you sliiiiiiiiding."
Constructive Critic Users: "And something you haven't thought of yet but I see 1000 other people have mentioned: there needs to be a separate little picture for the sponsored comms. This one: $!"
Users Who Have Read the Previous Post: "Um, they're planning on that already. Though maybe not with that picture."

slashdot: "Pwned."
LJ: "Dude, it causes a tiny blip on LJ's servers when /. hits us. We could totally /. your ass by linking you in news."

Support: "Brad! Your communication boo-boo, YOUR FAULT. Not Rah's. WE KEEL YOU."
bradfitz: "Sorry. My bad. ETA: Not Rah's Fault!! MAJOR BROKEN COMMUNICATIONS HERE AT LJ CENTRAL!!"
Observant Users: "... no fucking shit."
Reproachful Users: "'ETA: Sorry Rah' does not cut it. You have more problems than you realize."

Page 4 Commenter: "'Clusterfuns.'"
Non-US Users: "There is not enough voice post love for us."
Political Debaters: "Politics wank thread forms over here!"
Annoyed Users Who Swore They Were Leaving Last Time: "Still sucks. Still haven't left yet."
Righteously Annoyed Users: "Try more with the 'asking us first' or at least the 'telling us well in advance' rather than the 'sneaking stuff in and then announcing it', eh?"
Cynical Users: "Stop talking down to us. You suck."
Optimistic Users: "Thanks for not talking down to us. You rock."
Drama Fans: *pass around popcorn and brownies*
People Who Still Maintain an LJ For Some Unknown Reason: "So why don't the people who are bitching about it just, you know, leave? I did."
Disgruntled/Disenchanted Paid Users: "This is not the kind of service I paid for. Why should I keep a paid account if Plus accounts get all the cool stuff for free?"
Irate Trolls: *troll*
Haters: *hate on Rah*
Easily Amused Users: *get involved in fun comment threads*
Thoughtful Users: *realize that their lengthy, well-considered essay responses just ended up on page 42 because the quick-comment people got here first*
Random Commenters: *make no sense*

This summary has been brought to you by Henrik Nyh's adaptation of the LJ Thread Unfolder with "Unfold All" (a GreaseMonkey script for FireFox), and 12 cups of coffee.
phone, cordless phone

Position Paper: the current stuff

Core beliefs that I hold about the current wankosity:

I believe that there are bugs.
I do not believe that they are malicious bugs.

I believe that LJ wants more money. (Most companies
If it were a choice between more features or less features, LJ would prefer more features.
If there were enough money from subscriptions to support more features, LJ would have no ads.
If it were a choice between ads and no ads, LJ would prefer no ads.
I believe that LJ would rather get the excess in money from other companies by letting the companies have access to selected features of the userbase (adspace) than drumming up the difference NPR-style from end-users.
More features beats no ads.

I believe LJ is still watching out for the userbase vs. advertisers.
I believe that spamming rules will apply to advertisers too.
I believe (hope!!) there will be rules like that if an advertiser spams up the place, that they will no longer be advertising on LJ, and they will be banned. For at least a year, if not forever.
I believe that LJ would not let an advertiser dictate policy on the site at large. That is to say, the advertiser will be able to keep their individual community in any way they pleased, just as any maintainer is. However, outside of that community, their word is not and never will be law.
I believe that if potential advertisers were to crack down on content that is public on LJ, they would be doing so already. There are enough people who like fic and stuff that they'd not make that kind of tradeoff. Also, I don't see LJ doing The LJ Police and going looking for any suspicious content. Like with the Great Boobie Fiasco, the only userpics that got cracked down on were the ones that got *reported* or noticed. I could name right now one community that is not only probably not OK under the ToS, but in fact is blatantly *against* the TOS, if not even the law as well. It exists because the members of the community are working in concert to keep it under the radar of anyone who would be negatively interested in same. (However, it is well-enough publicized that if someone were looking to bust it, it would not exist.)
I do not believe that LJ would do business with a company that insisted "you will make your userbase as a whole conform to my standards". That would make for an actively hostile blogging environment.
I believe that the only sort of information that LJ would release about the userbase is aggregate data, never individual records. (I work in a damned survey research call center, so I know how aggregate data works.)

I respect the fact that LJ makes its internal processes so transparent to the end-users. I am comparing this against things like Yahoo and Google, not against how LJ was in the past when it was essentially just Brad.
I think that the business experts in the company do not like sharing so much information about the company when things are in the planning phases like Brad used to.
I think the LJ community in general is used to being treated like stockholders of a company, with that level of consideration and veto power.
I think the business management portion of the 6A community is not used to treating end-users as stockholders, not even end-users who pay. They're figuring people will vote with their money, and not used to the idea of letting the end-users vote down unpopular ideas. They may be used to giving the thoughts of the end-users some consideration, because they want it to be pleasant for the users, but they don't treat the users like equal partners and don't include the users in on planning. They present things as fait accompli and see what little tweaks can be made. Unfortunately, when Brad and LJ old hands present stuff, it's in a style that hearkens back to the old "users are shareholders" days, in an environment where we just aren't.

So far as I'm concerned, if LJ does switch over to a users-like-stockholders model, only paid and past paid users should be given a *vote*. Others should be listened to in the aggregate, but follow the money.