Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al (livredor) wrote,
Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al

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Leaving LJ

As most of you know, about a month ago LJ suddenly changed its terms of service, in a really nasty way, with no warning and forcing people to accept the new terms in order to interact with the site at all. I confess I was not too bothered at first.

Yes, the binding version of the agreement is in Russian, but non-English speakers have to accept terms in English all the time, so turnabout is fair play. Yes, they're proposing to increase the advertising again (which is what drove me away from LJ nearly ten years ago). I'm particularly annoyed by the fact that the new TOS means logged out users will see ads on the actual journals of paid users. Yes, Russian law is homophobic and bad at privacy, but US law is also homophobic and bad at privacy, and I use any number of US-hosted websites including LJ up to last month, and including DW itself.

I didn't feel I had the moral high ground to refuse to post on a site that's hosted in a country that may at some point compel the site owners to take action that may harm gay people (LGBTQ people? my impression is that the worst persecution is targeted against gay men specifically, but I don't really know) in Russia. My judgement call had been that hey, I'm still on FB, and I know that Facebook has collaborated in spreading fake news to interfere in elections, has repeatedly banned or outed drag queens and trans* people, and has turned over the accounts, movement and association data of Black Lives Matter activists to the police. In fact I got the impression that SUP were doing the best they could to protect its non-Russian users, what with the loophole whereby paid users are still somehow under US jurisdiction. And even the horrible way of introducing the new TOS could be read as a deliberate warning to make non-Russian users take things seriously. So basically I was thinking, LJ just got one step worse, but it was already problematic (owned by a Russian company, even if hosted in the US, for example), and certainly not worse than Facebook.

But it turned out that the homophobia thing was a deal-breaker for basically all my friends. I admire you for being so moral, especially the straight people. People were just not willing to post content to a site hosted in a country that harms gay people. And really the only reason I was still posting to LJ at all was for the convenience of a few friends who strongly dislike DW. I had not expected that one more incremental step in LJ growing less and less moral would be the final straw, but the last few weeks have seen just about everybody up sticks and move over.

Dreamwidth now is just amazing, with nearly everybody back together in one place instead of spread over the two sites. I think it's probably around 2/3 of literally everybody from the heyday of LJ, but it really feels like the site has critical mass now, at least my corner of it. If I'm away from the internet for a day or two I can hardly catch up, and however much the underlying reason is depressing, it's been really great to see so many people I hadn't heard from for years popping up and rediscovering long-form blogging.

So having started out thinking, well, it's annoying but nothing much will change, I might as well carry on cross posting, the reality has been that there's basically nothing keeping me on LJ any more. I just unticked the box, and I've only now got round to making a post about it. I think I will not delete my old LJ because it's convenient to have an account for reading the last smattering of posts, and because I don't think my old stuff is particularly contributing to whatever evil Putin's government may be up to.

For people who want to stay (exclusively) on LJ, I certainly don't think badly of you. After all I very nearly stayed myself, and I know there are many reasons to continue with problematic sites. If you would like to follow my Dreamwidth, there is a feed at liv_dw, or you're entirely welcome to put that RSS into your feed reader of choice. You have to click through to comment; I won't see comments on the feed itself. You don't have to log in to comment, but please do write your name or handle, because I've had problems with an annoying anon guy so I want to know you're not him. I also very rarely lock posts, so you're not missing much.

I prefer comments at Dreamwidth. There are currently comment count unavailable comments there. You can use your LJ address as an OpenID, or just write your name.
Tags: lj

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