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a queer and pleasant danger
3rd-Sep-2010 12:41 am
I understand and share people’s concern about the new LJ Twitter and Facebook ticky boxes, but I also think LJ fandom has to face the fact that the cyber fannish landscape is changing, and we need to change too.

Fandom on LJ has always existed as if we were protected by a cloaking device. In the past, our fannish identities and activities were protected by the fact that few outside of fandom knew about LiveJournal, even though anyone could see our posts. Even when fandom or fanfic was been talked about, it was generally websites or forums that got the attention. Who ever heard of LJ?

If things on LJ got linked to, it was usually within a fannish space. Some were more public that others – I know a number of fans that didn’t like their fanworks being linked on TWOP boards for example but by 2006 many people were tagging fics on delicious. Fanvids of course have been out there on YouTube for years.

Word of LJ as a place of fannish activity got out. Blame Google and ONTD for that. Still, we on LJ pretended we were invisible. The whole LJ Strikethrough of 07was a shock as much for the fact that it made us realize that yes, people could see us, as anything else. It also reminded us that there are things we do here that we don’t want scrutinized. It’s not just about the disapprobation of fandom in the broader community, some things we do here are highly transgressive. Or in some places sort of illegal.

Then, in the last 3 years the blogosphere and social media sites have exploded, and moved beyond niche activities into being as much a part of everyday life as text messaging. The internet has been de-geeked. Suddenly your nana was on Facebook.

Fandom colonized these spaces too. While many on LJ were waiting to see if there would be a mass migration to LJ clones sites like Dreamwidth, a lot of LJ fans slipped out the back door and moved to Twitter and Tumblr. Facebook has had some fannish activity, but its pretty mainstream stuff. (I’ll admit here I am not actually on Facebook).

And the reality is people have been posting links to LJ on Twitter for ages. Do a search for Wincest or Destiel on Twitter and you’ll find fic and fanart and vid links. Tumblr is a hive of fannish activity both generated there esp in the form of art memes, but also by crossposting content to and from LJ and Twitter.

These new sites have different cultural norms to LJ too. The fannish community on LJ has developed over a decade accepted forms of behavior – cut for spoilers, don’t repost flocked material, credit fanworks etc - which are not being carried over for other sites. This is partly because of their different nature – for example Twitter is all about a public conversations in the moment, so you can’t expect people to not talk about an event (like the airing of a TV show) as its happening.

Also, the format and ways of interacting on other sites are more impersonal and there is, at least so far, less close knit fannish communities than you find on LJ (or a fannish message forum for example). It’s a desire to not be ostracized that is why we follow social norms - take away our connection to the community, and that changes. There is of course an exciting side to this, playing in spaces with less rules can be fun (until someone runs with scissors and it ends in tears).

Fandom has changed. LJ fandom has long held the conceit that we were the centre of fandom, or at the least the centre of creative fandom. That is no longer true (if it ever was). As an example LOST was a show where there was much more creative fannish activity happening in the broader blogosphere than here on LJ. And that’s true of many shows esp those deemed not slash worthy like Mad Men or Sons of Anarchy - both shows where my fandom life is off-LJ on media sites and personal blogs.

I think there’s an element of generational change too – the iGeneration who grow up with these interconnected sites may be less inclined to sequester themselves on LJ, or less likely to respect those separations. (yes those kids should get off my lawn)

The curtain has been pulled back, we can’t keep just keep pretending we're invisible. We need to be proactive in how we run our activities here - maybe its locking down personal info more; or creating separate fic journals. Maybe its locking down* the underage bestiality fic, and being less uptight about the rest of our porn. ETA: obv the current crossposting makes locking down more difficult.

Looking at the LJ stats thing on my profile, 50% of you reading this won’t be LJ users (or at least not logged in. I have no control over where you link this either within or outside LJ. The walls are coming down - with or without ticky boxes that’s already happened.

ETA: hanks to the pingback bot thing I know this post been linked on other LJ sites, Dreamwidth and Delicious. LOL. who needs ticky boxes.
2nd-Sep-2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
Fandom has changed. Also, fandom is changing and fandom will change. It's always followed the trends of the internet and innovations in technology and media sociability, and there's no reason to believe it will stop now -- or that it should. (Honestly, it surprises me that LJ fandom has remained as static as it has, considering the number of different fandom communities and social structures I've been a part of over the last 14 years.)

I admit, I'm less worried than some about my fannish life being posted, with or without my knowledge, on Facebook. Mostly because the circles I run in on LJ are completely different from the ones I'm a part of on other sites. There's no reason for anyone to connect the two identities, and if they manage to? Well, that's an internetty Easter egg for them.
2nd-Sep-2010 03:13 pm (UTC)
I certainly agree, and we are in a time of flux now which I am fascinated in, because for the last few years we've speculated on what the next big shit for fandom will be, and to some extent it started happening without us noticing!

I think much of the ticky box reaction is based on this tapping into people's anxieties, rather than a real threat of exposure. It's more that discomfort in being observed, rather than a real threat your boss will stumble on a crossposted comment and unmask your porn writing fannish identity.
2nd-Sep-2010 03:24 pm (UTC) - Re: peek-a-boo
I'm ambivalent about the tickey boxes, however, a person is now a tickey box away from posting f-locked content to their own [most likely public] posts. Takes more effort to 'copy and paste' f-locked content to public entries. {chuckle}

As to changing face of communication, most of the folk I've seen weren't concerned about that; they were worried about LJ making it that much easier to crosspost f-locked commentary, even though folk could distribute whatever information, where ever they wanted, before.
4th-Sep-2010 08:56 am (UTC) - Re: peek-a-boo
(here via metafandom I think it represents an enforced change to the culture here. The effect—even, the intention—seems to be that the old ways become unimportant, that friends lock ceases to be something that matters, and that privacy is for boring or silly people. Presumably TPTB want lots of FaceBook users to ride merrily into LJ-town, but they won't know, or maybe even notice, the rules here. Of course it has always been possible to break friendslock, but mostly, people *don't*—or only out of acknowledged malice or 'for the greater good'. This new way means people will be offered a means to break friendslock without even noticing it was there.

Edited at 2010-09-04 08:56 am (UTC)
2nd-Sep-2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
Yes to all of this. Personally, I often link to new LJ posts on my twitter. NOT on facebook. Facebook is an RL space. My mother has me friended.

That wasn't my problem with the new "feature." My problem was a) Pointless spam. What is even the point of broadcasting an individual comment out of context? and b) users having the option to broadcast their comments to my locked content. Sure, anyone I don't have friended can't actually read the rest of the post, but depending on what the comment is, that might not be necessary to do some damage. I want to be the one setting the rules for what can be seen on my entries, and if they're locked, they should stay that way. SURE, technically someone could copy and paste not only their own comments, but my actual entries, but I think almost everyone agrees that this is an incredible violation of both privacy and trust. On the other hand, even a well-intentioned friend could accidentally click a ticky box that is right above the post button.

I don't need the option to go away, really. I've got a script that makes the boxes disappear for me, now all I need is for LJ to put the privacy of my journal content back under my control and I'm good to go :-)
2nd-Sep-2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
well we know people will pointlessly spam! I can't understand why people have their tweets crossposted to LJ!

Certainly anything with a ticky box is begging to be ticked! Remember when LJ introduce the "abuse flag" that you just had to click to report someone?

I am certainly not saying keep the ticky boxes - I think my point is more that some people seem to be reacting as if crossposting isn't already happening and that LJ continues to exist in some sort of internet cone of silence.
2nd-Sep-2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
I don't want the walls to come down even if I can't do anything about it..

I friends lock for a reason.. my lj has personal stuff on it too as well as fan stuff that my flist and I share as personal fandom fun. this should not be privy for anyone who decides they want to share it on their pages.

I place my writings on an open journal to share my personal lj is not for sharing and this whole mess breaks my heart. If by choice or by theft I'm sure something will be thrown out there that I wanted to be private.

I guess heavy duty filtering for all personal entries will be required.

just sad
2nd-Sep-2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
I would hope that until LJ fixes this (hopefully soon!) then the same etiquette that keeps people already from reposting stuff you've posted under flock would stop them crossposting comments on those posts.
2nd-Sep-2010 04:07 pm (UTC) - peek-a-boo
I'm sorry, but your reaction is just way too rational and mature for me.

It's so much funner to be all flaility.
2nd-Sep-2010 04:09 pm (UTC) - Re: peek-a-boo
Sorry, i am aware that i do fail at LJ and I should've gone with a capslock post of rage. *g*
2nd-Sep-2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
There's a lot here for me to think about. I may not like it, but I think you're making some valid points.

I'm still super unhappy about the flocked post's subject/snippets being allowed to be reposted, though.

Locking down more - that's def. something I need to do, so thanks for the reminder.
2nd-Sep-2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
As I said to someone above, I think fannish etiquette will generally keep people from crossposting comments on flocked posts, the same way people generally respect flock. But I do think people generally prefer to pretend no-one is looking at us, and that is just not the case and hasn't been for a while.
2nd-Sep-2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
See, my problem is that I keep my facebook and twitter mostly G-rated in many ways because RL friends and family are on there. They know that I'm a supernatural fan, my dad even knows about the Supernopoly, but I'm not very keen to have them sumble upon my crazy fandom capslock squee-posts or the porn. All my fic is Flocked here, and when I post to comms, it's members only, so that way I'm making fairly sure it stays where it's supposed to stay. Sure, there's a small risk one of my RL peeps might click a million random links and end up on here because the internet is a village and such, but mostly I'm ticked off because... what's the point of Flock if people can Xpost it? It's not even just fandom stuff, it's private RL stuff too that my parents or boss do NOT need to know about. So yeah, NO thanks!
2nd-Sep-2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
I suppose the point is people can repost flock material anytime. We rely on trust that they won't. And of course this feature adds a new easy way of doing it. But as I said above I think people will respect not xposting the way they respect flock nromally.
(Deleted comment)
2nd-Sep-2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
I think LJ has certainly gotten a lot of feedback about why people don't want the feature as is and hopefully they will change it soon.
2nd-Sep-2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
this is sort of depressing.

2nd-Sep-2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
I think I'm already echoing what other people have said but I don't care about the actual integration of this on LJ. Do I like it? Not really. But I don't care about ticky boxes or if other people post their stuff to FB or twitter.

What I DO care about, however, is that the CONTROL has left my journal. I don't have to post anything I don't want anywhere else. But that doesn't stop someone else from doing it for me, either on purpose or accidentally. THAT'S the issue here, not that fandom is evolving. Because this issue has raised far more than fandom, it's raised the issue of personal security as many, MANY people have issues with family, friends, stalkers and exes so to boil it down to people being upset that their fannish lives could be revealed is only a tiny part of this.

I don't want my fannish activity posted to FB, no, and right now that's MY only concern but if this had been 7-10 years ago I'd be a lot more worried that someone who stalked me could be connected to my journal instead.
2nd-Sep-2010 10:07 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with you. I think- my point is that I think many people have operated under an illusion of a level of privacy on LJ that didn't really exist and that I think people need to be more proactive about protecting their privacy.
2nd-Sep-2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
Well, if you're gonna be an adult about it and act all mature I guess that's fine. If you're into that sort of thing. ;)
2nd-Sep-2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
This post is shiny and I wish to give it a high five.
3rd-Sep-2010 02:56 am (UTC)
Like this post :D

I watch and read all the articles and sites and things telling us the tale of Lack Of Privacy On The Internet and how everything is merging. This is just one more of those things.

By having more than one Identity online, you run the risk of having those Identities linked. It's my view that we, as a society, shall have to accept that people do have those different selves. Just as we talk differently to our friends/boss/parents/children, so, too, do we act and talk differently about different things to people on the internet.

I expect that down the track we shall have to have new laws that ensure we are not discriminated against due to what we did on our own time X years ago. So long as it does not impact on how we do our jobs, it should not have a negative effect on employment.

Sure, there's a way to go before we get to this point, but my studies/readings/conversations have gotten me to the point where I do not fear being "outed" (sorry. I know you hate that word being used in that way. I don't have another concise word yet to use in this instance). I feel I can fully justify any actions and have my crate ready to be stepped on should someone try and take advantage of my Online Presence and treat me as I feel I ought not be treated because of it.

Meanwhile, I think LJ hasn't done a good job at explaining exactly what the ticky boxes do (ie. reassuring that flocked entries cannot be seen unless they could have otherwise be seen; telling us whether a comment on a flocked entry can be seen when ticky box is ticked).
3rd-Sep-2010 03:25 am (UTC)
Yes, i think its an evolving and difficult area. In some ways fans are ahead of the game - we've long been used to separating our identities, whereas so many people new to online life don't even think of it.

And yes, LJ has failed in either testing whether this feature was desired, or well designed. And of course fandom came up with code to get rid of it within 24 hours.
3rd-Sep-2010 05:55 am (UTC)
I think a lot of fandom still has the mindset from the years of "slash- the love that dare not speak its name". Even though times have changed, and younger people are in fandom who weren't around for that era, the weight of the history is there.

The fannish culture encourages us to hide ourselves, the slash, the adult fic/manips/whatever, from the rest of the world. Whereas in truth, we should only be hiding things from places they're not appropriate, and slapping a warning/rating/label on the rest.

E.g. If your grandmother was coming over, you'd hide the pr0n DVDs. But your peers? Why should we care?
5th-Dec-2010 11:29 pm (UTC) - very late reply, sorry!
Because a lot of my peers have the same attitude as my grandmother. At least as regards some points of belief. And maybe my attitude, as well; I would certainly hide my porn from my friends, because I consider my sex life to be something that isn't shared with anyone but the party/parties involved. Unless I'm sleeping with them, my peers don't need to know about my fantasies. Not least because I know some of them well enough to know they would be completely appalled, and that's something I don't want to bring into our friendship.

In short: sometimes you are friends with people who do not share all your values; and you should be able to interact with them without rubbing your conflicts in their faces -- same as in public, where you, y'know, Just Don't Mention Stephenie Meyer (or atheism, or millionaire tax cuts, or whatever it is you and your friend disagree on).

I imagine it might be even worse for people who live in small towns or other situations where RL friends might simply be people you've known all your life (like my current housemate) and might not have anything except your location in common...
3rd-Sep-2010 10:00 am (UTC)
D: Internet, why you trying to make me quit you?

(I only found out about this reading your post and going 'what did I miss?' oh man, time to flock all my immoral fanart lol)
3rd-Sep-2010 06:42 pm (UTC)
Interesting post!
4th-Sep-2010 07:56 am (UTC)
Came here via DW's metafandom post. I agree with what you said here.

...Where do I find the Sons of Anarchy fandom?
4th-Sep-2010 08:11 am (UTC)
Hi! - there's not much! On LJ I follow sonsofanarchytv which is mainly news, ep discussion with icons and some fic. I follow creator Kurt Sutter's blog - its absolutely fascinating and he's both enetrtaining and snarky. For good ep discussion I used to go to Mo Ryan's reviews on the Chicago Tribune - she's now with AOL's TV Squad - she's thinky with a fangirlish enthusiasm. There's also a Sons of Anarchy WIki.

Can't wait til the 3rd season!
4th-Sep-2010 02:41 pm (UTC)
This is an interesting post. Reading it reminded me a bit of the shift from mailing lists to LJ years ago and how that created a stir until fandom created its niche in LJ.
5th-Sep-2010 02:22 am (UTC)
Here via dolorosa_12.

The whole reaction to this took me by surprise because I had completely forgotten how fannish LJ is. My public posts are automatically picked up by my Facebook (which I hardly ever use otherwise) and I use the "share" link on my journal to post a link to Twitter as well. So I thought this was a great idea.

The cross-posting comments concept, though. I have no idea why anyone thought that would be useful. And if only they hadn't, because then they would have saved the poor LJ staff a whole bunch of stress and drama.

Even so, the likelihood that someone is going to uncover someone's LJ identity through a random comment cross-posted to some unrelated-in-real-life person's Facebook is so slim it's almost impossible. Especially when you pair it with the fact that no-one on LJ is likely to turn on the cross-posting comments thing in the first place.

Weirdly, my own reaction to the whole thing is that I might not want to have LJ as my blogging base purely because I don't want to be hidden away - I want to connect to other sites and people as much as I possibly can. LJ has always made it easy to keep yourself hidden away and to protect your identity as much as possible, which makes it pretty rare in the online world. I can see the appeal; I'm just not sure that appeals to me.

I think it took a good deal of courage for you to post this in the face of all the negativity that is building in response to the issue and I respect that a lot.

ETA> Friending you because your journal seems interesting plus you're from my city. Yay!

Edited at 2010-09-05 02:29 am (UTC)
5th-Sep-2010 02:53 am (UTC)
Hello fellow Melbournian! Thanks for your comments. While I am fannish in places other than LJ, what I value here is the ability to make connections and be part of something that is more like a community than I find elsewhere. And I want a place to post my underage mpreg fics that feels like a safe space. I just think many fans here are trying to ignore the interconnectedness between sites that has - as you point out - already occurred. Social media and the blogosphere is in a time of transition and we need to think about how and where the LJ incarnation of fandom best fits.

8th-Sep-2010 01:38 pm (UTC)
Hmm, see, my problem is that I don't want my flocked posts or the contents therein posted willy-nilly. Generally, people don't link to locked posts (what's the point, right?), but I'm really uncomfortable with the idea of someone making a really insightful comment on [insert sensitive topic] and then taking the easy way to spread it around, therefore making it public that I'm discussing [insert sensitive topic] behind a flock. And, truth be told, Insightful Teal Deer is really the only reason to use this sort of thing, making the threat of deliberate sharing that much greater. (Come on, when we come up with something really deep to say, don't we all like to spread it around?) Sure, Insightful Comment is Insightful, and I don't actually have any problem with people copyapasta'ing it elsewhere unless it quotes me, but if it was a copypasta thing they probably wouldn't include more context than "a locked post" and definitely not a link. The lazy way (which will inevitably be used) exposes me a lot more than I'm comfortable with, and the hard way would encourage more thought to be put in the matter. I don't have an FB (the melding of RL and OL is just creepy to me, so I never bothered—my online life is entirely separate from my meatspace), but the lack of control really makes me antsy. Even just an ability to prevent crossposting by individual entry would make me feel a lot better.

I suppose you could say that it's the lack of control more than anything else. For myself, I wouldn't be turning off the comments for more than a handful of occasions. But that I'm not allowed to? That bugs me. And there's a wiff of more real life/meatspace life integration on the wind that has my old skool bones all jittery. Other people can have that, but I want the ability to keep tucked away please and thanks. I've had enough issues with LJ stalkers finding my address and workplace this year.

At this point, the silence is upsetting me a lot more than the crossposting. Even if LJ had only said "tough cookies", I probably would have stayed with crossposting from DW. As it is, I'm gone. :\

ETA: Here from Metafandom @ DW

Edited at 2010-09-08 01:38 pm (UTC)
8th-Sep-2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
I find it interesting how this software addition is obvious changing your relationships - in that the people you have previously trusted not to break flock you now think will not be trustworthy when faced with a ticky box.
9th-Sep-2010 05:02 am (UTC)
HEE. I must admit - once I realized that the facebook and twitter didn't post your content - just the links to it with the commenter's response - I just don't understand the uproar.

It's stupid - but the only difference is you now KNOW about it. Fanpop, tumblr and the dedicated fandom sites already do this on a fairly regular basis.

The pingbacks don't seem to be an invasion of privacy so much as saving those inclined from having to refresh LJ Search every hour.

My online fandoms start in 94 on forums. To me, the appeal of LJ and the blog services is that it's cheaper than buying your own domain and less of a hassle having to store and retrieve your own content.

Even those I'm closest to on LJ - I'm close because I met them on forums first.

So yeah - LJ privacy seems to me equivalent to my dog, Rocky, hiding his head under the bed in storm while the rest of his 80 pound body sprawls across the floor.

I made a conscious decision to use Dreamwidth more because LJ keeps making poorly researched and often very buggy upgrades. A couple of them cost users money that cannot be documented or reclaimed.

I also moved because LJ's reaction to things just seems off and sloppy. I'm worried about my content. I want it somewhere as a back up and with Dreamwidth I retain the best of both worlds.

Fandom isn't a main consideration for me for choice of blogs. As long as my RL name gets clean google hits - because my industry checks - I don't care who links to what as gigglingkat.
9th-Sep-2010 05:06 am (UTC)
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<i.lj>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

<i.LJ privacy seems to me equivalent to my dog, Rocky, hiding his head under the bed in storm while the rest of his 80 pound body sprawls across the floor.

YES - gorgeous and true analogy!
5th-Dec-2010 11:49 pm (UTC) - very late; sorry!
I'm kind of baffled by a lot of the responses that run, "well, what are the odds of your workplace finding ONE twitter/FB comment and linking it to your LJ name, anyway? It's got to be infinitesimally small, so relax!"

Maybe I'm just a paranoid who needs to relax, but -- it seems to me that when crossposting a comment one would probably provide some sort of context, yes? Along the lines, say, of, "I came up with this answer to Amazonfail during a discussion with ElJayName, who works for Amazon and first noticed the ranking error."

Right there someone has just linked your LJ handle to your employer. And who's likely to be reading posts about Amazon's latest screwup? Customers, certainly. But I imagine that employees (and some of them bosses) are probably interested in being pinged when their company name comes up... and whether it's your boss or just a coworker who says, "I wonder who that is?" they now know what LJ to look at.

I don't know about you, but assuming there's not a thousand employees in your workgroup, I suspect a lot of people's coworkers could figure it out from a look at your name, profile, and any open posts, or at least narrow it down. Especially if your handle is, say, "my3alsatians" or "iluvmalfoy": people tend to name themselves after their interests, so if you've shown anyone at work your puppy pictures or they asked about your "Alsatians Are Awesome" bumper sticker, or you discussed the latest Harry Potter movie with them at the coffee room...

My coworkers at (Big Shipping Company) could probably have ID'd me online if someone pointed out my LJ to them; my gender and location were in my profile, and I'd talked with them enough that they knew some of my interests (sci fi, Harry Potter, horseback riding, my favourite dog breed... all things mentioned in my Interests).

So: no, I think it's highly unlikely someone's boss would stumble across the right LJ at the right time and figure out the identity of the user; but this linking thing? That spreads the name out there and might connect it to specific things, as well as placing it in sight of a larger number of people in position to identify me. (I would estimate very few of my coworkers have an LJ; but I know a lot of them have FB, and no few of them do Twitter.)

But maybe I'm just paranoid, and the vast majority of cross-site posting is all about cooking and fanfic and never about anything one's workplace (or co-workers) might be into.
6th-Dec-2010 12:24 am (UTC) - Re: very late; sorry!
Isn't the simple answer that you shouldn't post the name of your workplace online? Or at least keep it behind flock. problem solved.
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