AngiePen (angiepen) wrote,

Moving -- Some Practical Questions

I have to admit that I'm still hoping things will get better right here on LJ. :/ I know, that hope is becoming more and more forlorn and less and less realistic. Not only does LJ not seem to be capable of verbalizing (or textualizing) its actual policies in a clear and unambiguous manner, it also seems to be doing a bit of thrashing when it comes to actual policy implementation. E-mailed warnings? Chance to comply? Suspension with review? Deletion with no recourse? They really need to figure out how they're going to handle suspected policy violations, publicize their procedure and then stick to that procedure.

Aside from the fact that they're in dire need of an all-hands meeting where the law is laid down about people saying really godawful stupid shit in public while wearing their staff hats. [eyeroll]

Even if I were all gung-ho to leave right now, though, even if we set aside the issues of keeping track of scattered friends and making do without the bells and whistles we're used to, there are some practical concerns which I've never seen addressed in any significant way.

JournalFen is established and very fan-friendly, at least for certain segments of fandom. But I've been on JF for almost two years and although I cross-post all my fiction there, when I went looking for communities to link it to I found nothing at all active. Nothing. Everything (with the caveat that I didn't look outside my main fandom) was dead, and even when it'd been "active" it hadn't been terribly active. The complete lack of any significant fanfiction environment makes JF very problematic for me, despite the fact that I and all my stories are over there already, which one might think would make it the obvious place for me to transfer my online home. JF fandom seems to be mainly centered around RPGs, though, and I don't do that anymore. It was suggested by a JF booster that I could start whatever fic coms I wanted and that's certainly true, but it takes more than one person to make a successful fic com, as all the people who've started the ones lying moribund on JF have already found out. I'm nowhere near influential enough as a fan to be able to start a fic com or six and have any significant number of people come play just on my say-so. I don't have the influence to make any significant additions to the JF fannish culture, and until someone else with significantly more influence does so, that fannish culture isn't set up to serve my needs.

GreatestJournal seems to have some similar issues. Someone back in... early June I think it was, when we'd first started talking about moving off of LJ, talked about GJ and said it's the same there -- that fandom on GJ is mostly roleplayers rather than fanficcers. She also said that they have a lot of established customs and taboos and ways of doing things of their own, which isn't at all surprising but they're different from those of LJ fandom and she was of the opinion that if people just wandered over there and tried to set up shop it could cause a boatload of friction and fireworks. For example, it's apparently very much Not Done to comment to someone's story (or RPG scene or whatever) and say something like, "Wow, that was hot!" in praise of a particularly successful sex scene. How many LJers would get bitten by that particular rule, if we migrated over there? I'm not saying it'd be impossible to, for example, set up separate areas for the different populations, although that sort of segregation, with large numbers of newcomers moving in and taking over and disrespecting the customs of the natives, doesn't have a great track record in realspace. [wry smile]

InsaneJournal -- I haven't poked around on IJ, nor heard anyone talking much about the fannish culture there, but I will say that the "insanity" theme of the service as a whole doesn't really thrill me. If it were just the name of the service itself then that'd be fine, whatever, but apparently it's a system-wide set of themes and labels. Even aside from the potential for offending people who take that sort of thing seriously, the fact that the system owners think that forcing this kind of cutesy global theming on everyone who uses their product is a fantastic idea sort of says something about them, you know? [dubious look] And I don't know anything about the fannish culture there nor whether there's a healthy fanfic environment in place -- does anyone know?

And all I know about DeadJournal is that it exists. No one seems to be flocking over there in any great numbers.

Then there are the technical and logistical issues. Say what you like about Evil Corporate Moneygrubbers but they can throw money at problems and issues. The fact that their servers can handle thirteen million journals means that they have room for us, and the fact that we're only some fraction of their business means that we fit here comfortably. The other systems, because of the very fact that they're not moneymaking business concerns (or at least not very large ones) have much tighter resource budgets. JF has had "Too many simultaneous users" errors recently as it is -- and we're supposed to dump even five thousand new active users onto that service? [another dubious look] From what I've heard, GJ and IJ are similarly small, which means that even if fandom could agree on a migration destination (which is a whole 'nother can of weasels) none of them could take us. They just don't have the capacity -- not the servers, not the throughput, not the twenty-four-seven staffing required to keep everything constantly up and tweaked. Heck, I'm not convinced that all three together could take us, if we split into three groups and spread out among them and used the RSS feed tricks people have been posting about to stay in touch.

Even if we were willing to pick a service and say to the owners, "Look, we have five thousand people who are each willing to hand you money to upgrade your hardware, software and staff," is there anyone out there who'd be willing to do that? There's a difference between running a small hobby-site, around your day job and your family and your own fannish activity and whatever all else you do, and making the committment to scale up to a full-time-plus commercial operation, including the hiring and management of employees. Do any of the people running JF, GJ or IJ even want to do that? It'd be a major lifestyle change. And that's assuming they have the knowledge (technical, business, management, personnel) to make the upgrade successfully if they chose to try.

These aren't issues which can be brushed aside but I've never seen anyone address them. And while I'm not on GJ or IJ, the recent posts by the JF owners make them sound pretty content with the fact that fandom is not flocking over there in droves. Nor have I seen the JF owners (or the GJ or IJ owners) doing any active marketing to try to persuade fandom to choose their service as its next online home. I'll grant that posting such a notice on LJ itself would be tacky [cough] but nothing's stopped them from posting a large, detailed and enthusiastic-sounding invitation on their own journal systems and encouraging their members to spread the word. There are enough people on all four journal systems that word would get around, along with links to the fandom-enticement posts, so everyone could read them and use that info to make their choices. Why haven't they done that? Do they want us?

I don't think they do. A few, sure. A few hundred, maybe. All of us? Or even a large chunk of us? It sure doesn't look like it to me.

Tags: fandom, issues
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