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On the whole FB-Twitter repost thing: A few words
cap, captain miss america
So, LiveJournal just created a feature that isn't particularly well-thought-out.

Is anyone surprised? I am not. We're kinda used to them not really thinking about how many users don't use their journals as traditional blogs. Some people do, and those people, I am sure, would love to have all the features a traditional blog has. Other people don't, and in those cases, these new features are potentially problematic in the way they're structured now.

Telling LJ you don't like them is awesome. That is a good way to respond to something you don't like.

HOWEVER, I am getting really sick of commentary from people on my friendslists and elsewhere that suddenly assumes people who have been given access to their locked posts for years are now going to misuse that trust, when they didn't misuse it before.

Yeah, there are plenty of cases of people leaking information from LJ to other places. It's been happening for years and years and people who do that are usually douchebags-- although not always; I can think of a few cases where it was really important that information from a locked post was shared. But the majority of times, this is an asshole move.

But the vast majority of us are not assholes. We respect the trust of people who allow us to see their locked posts. We have never shared information that was not intended to be shared, or have only shared it in cases where we felt an obligation to do so. We respect the line between people's different internet personae and we do not cross it.

I do not treat other people like potential criminals. If someone hurts me or does something to wrong me, I treat them as a person who has wronged me, until such a time that we can work out our differences, if I believe that's possible. I believe that it is inherently unkind to treat a person who has done nothing wrong as if I expect them to. It's something you see in a lot of workplaces, an uncomfortable relationship between management and their employees, where employees are treated as potential thieves. Sometimes, entire shifts of employees are fired, even ones who have proven their trustworthiness over months and years, because of inventory loss. I believe that is a wrong way to treat human beings.

And so, I also believe it is a wrong way to treat human beings to level threats at people or to take action that shows an inherent mistrust of people with whom you have trusted information about yourself until now. If you do not trust people to respect your privacy and the privacy of your other friends, don't let them see information that you do not trust them with. If your friends claim to mistrust other people in whom you have placed your trust, ask whether that is reasonable. Ask if your response would be the same in a face to face situation, if one friend told you that they do not trust someone whom you have known and trusted for a long time. Me, I would be insulted if someone came to me and said they expected me to change the way I run my journal because they did not trust and respect my judgment, or felt that they were entitled to decide who should have access to my posts of certain types. I have chosen whom to share what information with. I should not have to amend my choices to suit someone else's inherent mistrust.

I realize that plenty of people have felt betrayed by other people regarding lack of prudence as far as sharing internet information. But that lack of prudence, or deliberate disregard, has been going on since I first came online in 1995. No new feature is going to suddenly turn people who weren't assholes before into assholes. Do not trust people who have shown disregard for you in the past-- but do not treat people who have worked hard to gain your trust and respect as if they are potential threats. They do not deserve it, and that display of mistrust is, to me, more hurtful than most of the mistakes people could make.
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I left some serious and critical comments on the LJ post. I think that the option to have this feature is an inherently good one, because it does help a segment of the LJ userbase. I don't like the idea of journal owners getting to decide whether this feature exists in their journals, because comments on posts are the copyright of the person who left the comment, not the person who keeps the journal, and they should be allowed to crosspost them if they see fit. However, the journal owner should be able to specify what type of link, if any, is included in those crossposted comments-- do they want them to be divorced from their journal completely? Do they only want links in them if it's a public entry? Would they prefer a username link to a specific journal URL link? All three are feasible options, and I'd like to see them implement the same feature while opening up those options. And then leave users to trust their friends to use good judgment. Crossposting a comment that quotes a locked post is poor judgment. But I think most people would consider that before posting.

I genuinely don't think this was such a huge error on LJ's part in terms of offering the feature. I do think they erred in not giving the feature more customization. They do have a pretty good record of fixing things when they realize they've fucked up. It would just be nice for them to do more research before implementing fuckups.

You have a good point about the copyright of the comments, and if the first option (divorced from the journal owner completely) was available...I have to admit my reaction would've been different, despite my dislike for Facebook.

I know 8,000+ users are really a small segment of the user base, so this feature is probably here to stay. What bothers me is that if there wasn't a simple market survey to gain awareness of these concerns beforehand or even a pilot program to iron out the bugs...how can I trust their professionalism with the data they already have on their users?

It seems they're not learning from past fuckups on how to manage these types of change, and that is what I find worrying.

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