First, that having a permanent account means you have pretty much zero influence with LJ. [wry smile] When people started up with the, "I just cancelled my automatic payments," and "I downgraded my Plus account to Basic," and "I was going to buy a permanent account next month but now I'm not," I realized that I have absolutely nothing to threaten LJ with. Which is... sort of weird. I mean, what, "I'm never going to spend ninety-nine cents on a gift cartoon for anyone ever again!!" doesn't have quite the same threat value, you know? They've already gotten all the (significant) money they're ever going to get from me, and actually my leaving would benefit LJ -- they already have my money but if I left I wouldn't be using any of their resources anymore. Umm, yeah. Oh, well.
Second, that although it was cool for Mr. CEO to deal with the situation himself (when he finally did) and to do the mea culpa thing and admit they blew it pretty radically (and he does deserve some props for that because he could easily have passed the job off on a minion) I noticed that at the same time he couldn't quite help trying to slosh some of the blame on us, the users. In his news post from late last night, he said:
There were a number of profiles that expressed “interest” in activities that most of us would agree put children at risk, notably pedophilia and child rape. Both in the instructions for profiles and in other places on the site we make it clear that interests listed should be evaluated within the context of “I like x”, “I’m in favor of x” or “I support x”. As many profiles are the only public part of a private journal and profiles serve partly as an advertisement for people of like interests, it is important that the content of a profile can be evaluated as if it stands alone. If your profile were to express interest in pedophilia with no other content that describes this interest as in helping survivors or protecting children from it we must read the profile as “I like or I support or I’m in favor of it.” For this reason we suspended profiles that meet this criteria.
Unfortunately, that interpretation hasn't been made clear anywhere before, or at least not anywhere I've ever seen it. When you go to edit your interests, you see these notes off to the side:
Short single-word phrases are best.
Rule of thumb: You should be able to put the interest in the sentence "I like ________".
When referring to nouns, use the plural form for consistency, e.g.: "I like DVDs" instead of "I like DVD".
GOOD Example: biking, snow skiing, computers, dvds, mp3s, cheese
BAD Example: I like lots of bands and watching movies and talking to friends and going to clubs. That sort of stuff goes in your bio below.
In that context, one gets the impression that the "I like ______" example is only there to show what forms to use, to emphasize that one's interests should be nouns and verbs only, and that nouns should be plural rather than singular. This is reinforced in the next paragraph with the "DVDs" versus "DVD" example. Nowhere does it say, or even imply really, that you'll be absolutely held, in an enforcing-the-TOS sort of way, to the "like" part of their example sentence.
I get the strong impression that they were searching rather desperately for some way of pinning at least part of the blame on the users whose journals were deleted, some way of saving a tiny bit of face after the initial apology and admission of having messed up. I'm not impressed, frankly.
If this is how they intend to regard interest lists in the future then they need to rewrite the notes which go along with editing interests. There needs to be a specific statement that you will be assumed to like, support or advocate anything in your interests list. And there needs to be a specific example of how to list a negative interest, so people who want to discuss issues in a negative way can indicate that they "like" rape survival or "advocate" anti-pedophilia or whatever. There's never been any indication that we should or needed to jump through those kinds of semantical hoops and it is not our fault for not having done so in the past. If they want us to do so in the future, they need to make that very clear, right there in the "EDIT PROFILE" page. Because even now, they can't assume that every single person who has an LJ right now is even aware of this issue, nor can they assume that someone who gets their first LiveJournal in a month or six months or a year will be aware of it. It needs to be right up front, clearly stated and with examples.
Third, and deservedly last, I noticed that when Mr. CEO finally did get around to making a statement to the masses, and a halfway decent one despite my caveat above, the very first response from a user was some moron posting "FIRST." [eyeroll] Lovely. Gotta love LJ.