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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.
2nd-Sep-2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
A large portion of the outrage, my own included, doesn't come from the fact that it's possible to blur these lines, but that it's easier for other people to "out" each other in a malicious fashion, and possible to even do it accidentally. Just because someone doesn't intend to crosspost a specific comment to a friends-locked post, doesn't change the fact that it can happen, when the whole purpose of a friends lock to begin with, is to easier control who has access to the content you post online.

Then there's also the little fact that as long as you have a Facebook account, you can comment on journals that would normally require a LJ account to comment on, which completely obliterates the point of only allowing registered users to comment in the first place.

I wouldn't give a damn about a FB/Twitter crossposting feature, if it was an OPT-IN function, with either separate and clear settings for what you would allow to crosspost ("allow crossposting of comments on unlocked posts, allow crossposting of all comments, allow crossposting of comments on this specific filter only" etc), or a complete lack of the ability to crosspost something from a friends locked/filtered post.
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)
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