penpusher: (LJ Broken)
I can remember, way back to the day when I was setting up my Dreamwidth Journal account. It was during the madness that was the SixApart era, when we all believed that company was going to destroy LiveJournal with advertising and its overt capitalist practices.

Little did we know.

But that threat passed and things seemed to be a bit better when 6A sold LJ to SUP. Sure they were a Russian company, but the two halves of LJ were operated separately and nobody said much of anything to us. In fact, I started to see some Russian posts by users and it seemed like a way of seeing into a different world!

My DW account sat dormant with a single entry for about 5 years until the scramble over the LJ servers being migrated to Russia occurred at the end of 2016. Currently, my DW is *sorta* a mirror of my LJ account. I say sorta because I transferred my account over there via the transfer tool they have at DW. I did a post about the transfer, but to sum up the pertinent points:

1. It was very easy to do.

Despite having 16 years worth of LJ material, the transfer was simple, didn't seem to interfere with my being on the internet doing other stuff while it was happening and, even now, seemed to have gotten all of my entries properly - as well as the vast amount of comments. It took about 3-4 hours for the transfer to go through completely.

2. Could it be because I have a paid DW Account and a permanent LJ account?

I did spring for a year's worth of paid service from DW which I'm sure didn't hurt the process of transferring all my material. I have heard that some people have had problems with the transfer but I don't know a lot of details. It could have to do with other factors specific to those journals.

3. All of your LJ Links are unchanged.

If you reference a link to another LJ post in an entry, the link will continue to point to that LJ link in DW. If you want to make your DW "self contained," you'll have to meticulously go through each and every entry you made with a link to any LJ entry and manually transfer those to your new DW link. Sounds like fun? Try it for 16 years worth of entries.

Of course, that makes sense, because if you're referencing a journal outside of your own, it might not exist on DW or might exist under a different name. But it's just something to remember when you're considering this transfer.

Not to mention the photo hosting, which, if you're anything like me, would require another massive series of transfers and posts, and that's just to get the photos visible! Then, you'd have to link them to your entries.

4. LJ Username links remain unchanged.

This is sort of specific, but if you have referenced someone's LJ username in a post somewhere, and that person changed their name - here on LJ the username is updated to the new name or at least it was... on DW the original username is linked and again, it points to the LJ user, not to a Dreamwidth account. This is more anecdotal than anything because this issue won't come up that frequently, but if you're reading through an old entry, it might be a surprise to see a "former" name listed for a person you mentioned.

5. When you edit your entry on DW, it is automatically updated on LJ!

That's a huge time saver: If you edited a post on DW that was linked to your LJ, it automatically also updated your LJ with the edit! I tested it again and that interface still works. You can still post directly to LJ from DW and make edits. The reason I wasn't sure is because I posted a DW entry that didn't go through to my LJ, but that was because I hadn't yet signed the Russian TOS.

Now that I covered the technical, the bones of the story, let's get to the meat: the psychological. Here's where the story gets a little spooky.

Let's be brutally honest. DW is not really a community. It's a storage container. It's an attic. It's a safety net for your words and entries and memories of the glory of LJ long since past. If something were to happen to your LJ account, Lenin forbid, at least you still have the cadaver of what you created. And really that's what it is, because nobody is interacting with your past entries. And the problem is nobody on DW is really posting stuff that's current, unless it's just a mirror of their LJ entries, which people are still reading on LJ.

Several of my friends on LJ opened accounts on DW at the same time as my transfer and for the same reason, but there hasn't been any real interaction between us there. Everyone prefers to stay on LJ because this is home.

Now, I think if LJ actually were to disappear, DW *might* become something like a community. But, for now, that process is like attempting to colonize another planet. Why would you do it if you didn't actually need to do it?

Sure, there are always going to be the daring and intrepid few who are willing to leave behind the familiar and boldly go somewhere where nobody is. But that's sort of the opposite of what a social media site is supposed to be about. You're supposed to go to where people are!

So.

I have an idea. We could make Dreamwidth work. But it would take a drastic step. Here's the plan.

We have to make a pact.

We'd have to agree to go, to leave LiveJournal and we'd have to never look back because that's really the only way we could make it work. We'd have to drink this Kool-Aid together, all of us, or it won't happen.

If we all don't go, it will collapse, because we know that people stayed behind in the old place and the temptation to return would be too great. And once a few people started going back, then everyone would. And it would be over.

Doing this will not be easy. It's going to feel a little bit like killing a parent. After all, we all grew up with El Jay. It's like a constant, always there for us, ready to accept us as we were, to listen to what we had to say, to share our stories with people who cared about them. Now, we're talking about turning our back on it completely? This is a harsh choice.

But LiveJournal isn't that blog service any more. It's LiveJekyll and it feels like it's time to Hyde. Think about it. If you won't go now, with all that has happened already, what would it take to make you leave?

Yes, it's possible that everything will remain as it has. But when they migrated the servers to Russia, we were told that the "western" side of LiveJournal would remain its own entity, and we now know that is no longer true, as we all had to sign that Russian TOS to retain our journals. Who can say what other "adjustments" are on the way?

Okay. I mixed up a batch of Dreamwidth Drank. Here it is.

http://www.dreamwidth.org/

But, and I'm completely serious about this, we ALL have to drink it, and drink it freely, because we think it's the right choice to make. This isn't an ultimatum. You can still say no and ignore it all. Remain on LiveJournal until Vladimir gets tired of allowing it to exist.

But if you want to retain a blog community on a platform like LiveJournal and be free of whatever Russian influence is about to happen, think seriously about where we're going.

Those are the alternatives as I see them. So tell me. How will this story end?

//

This entry was written for LJ Idol using the prompt Campfire stories
penpusher: (Dean Wild Hare)
Hey!

This is my first ever cross post from my account at Dreamwidth, my alternate home on the internet. When I first got this Dreamwidth account, I did do a "First Post" on March 24, 2006, in what was my 5th Anniversary of my LJ. Unfortunately, that post was devoured when I transferred the entirety of my LiveJounal to Dreamwidth so that record is gone, but my journal is preserved, which I guess is the important thing.

It doesn't feel like almost 16 years of blogging. Or maybe it does. Or it really hasn't been because I took off months at a time when I wasn't writing here at all. But I do need a place to write, and there really isn't another like LJ er, DW.

I would make the following notes about the transfer.

1. It was extremely easy.

Despite going back through 2001 (and the handful of entries dated prior to that), it was just a couple of clicks to get the transfer set up and running.

2. It was successful.

Though I have heard that some people have dropped entries, my journal was transferred successfully without any issue - a feat that could be because I have a permanent account on LJ and now a paid account on DW. Though I also transferred a couple of free LJ accounts over (with a lot fewer entries, of course) and that seemed to have been fine.

3. All your LJ links remain LJ Links.

If you reference a LiveJournal post in one of your archived entries being transferred to DW, that reference will still point to the LJ link. That means, if you actually want to turn your DW journal into one that is self contained, you would have to go through and change those links manually to connect to the DW post you were referencing.

I expect that the same would be true going from DW to LJ. So that would be inconvenient, for certain... especially for me because I have linked pertinent entries to each other frequently and it would take a lot of patience to comb through all of the archive to adjust them all!

4. LJ user links remain unchanged.

If you have written the name of an LJ user in an entry, and that person had since changed their username, the original name still shows up in the DW post. I think that if you clicked the name, the link goes to a "non existent" user page. Again, this would have to be corrected on a post by post basis, manually.

5. When you edit your entry on DW, it automatically gets updated to your LJ!

I discovered this just now, but I had a typo on my DW entry and I noticed it when I was reading through the LJ version. I corrected it there, then found another on Dreamwidth. When I corrected THAT one, and came back to the LJ version, it was already fixed! Handy Dandy!

Meanwhile, are you on Dreamwidth? if you are, please add me to your journal there... I know a couple of folks like [personal profile] binaryorchid, [personal profile] jazzy_dave and [personal profile] ragdoll have done so already!

And yeah! On DW, to link someone's journal name in an entry, the term is

[user name=username] with the "[ ]" standing in for the "< >," just to get you up to speed on the HTML.

And if you have any other questions about transferring your journal to DW, let me know.
penpusher: (LJ Broken)
Believe it or not, there currently is some sort of LiveJournal wave of nostalgia taking place. It sort of began on Facebook where someone created a "secret group" to which LJ members were added. And, similar to the old "invite codes," other people started bringing in their friends who had (or have) an account to talk about, read about and think about the elements that they liked about it. What kicked it into overdrive was when Brad Fitzpatrick showed up with the three word comment: "I love this."

Suddenly everyone on FB who had an LJ was ready to chat it up with both Brad and with each other, and even though there were other attempts to relaunch things on this platform a number of times since SixApart moved out, nothing ever quite got it moving with this much gusto.

Why is it happening now? It could be a number of factors... not the least of which is we're getting sick of social media as seen in these other formats. Between the trolling of internet fiends on twitter and the ridiculousness of everybody you know on Facebook, LiveJournal suddenly looks like an oasis from the desert heat of hateful rhetoric, a storm cellar against that vast tornado of twisted words and concepts, fake news and biased views. It could be that there just is a desire to go back to a place that feels more safe, more secure. Or maybe people simply got bored and decided to come back here now.

For the record, the community of note is [livejournal.com profile] 2017revival, where people are posting memes about who they are, what they have done on LJ and what they might be looking for here, again. Active users on the old El Jay? It's starting to happen.

But...

There seems to be a little thorn on this rose, or, maybe more accurately, a worm in your glass of vodka.

LiveJournal has migrated its servers to Moscow.

What exactly does that mean?

The most honest answer is, we don't really know.

We do know that the Russian government has been targeting their citizens who have a Zhe-Zhe (that's how they refer to LJ there) who have been critical of them. But we have been constantly told that the Russian side of LJ and the Western side are two different animals... mirrored, yes, but separate.

Still, the fact that "Russian government officials now have access to the private information of people with these accounts," is definitely a damper on wanting to return here.

But that, in and of itself, might not affect us. After all, this is still a separate part of LJ. Have we been hacked by the Russians already? Have they already made copies of our LiveJournals? Do we need to pack it in?

Actually there is a likely threat. If the Russian government steps in and decides that Zhe-Zhe is simply too incendiary for their tastes, they might just shut the whole thing down, on their side. While that wouldn't affect us immediately, the question would be, wouldn't it affect us eventually? Even if our side of the servers remained running, who is paying for it, how is it being maintained and what happens to it if something happened to it?

And that brings us to the other issue that can't be overlooked... where are the Western LJ administrators?

As this story began to snowball, I decided to take a walk around LJ Land to see what I could find out about the people running it.

Turns out, I couldn't find out anything! I mean, we have people who are working as volunteers, very much like back in the late 90s early oughts, who fix any tech problems with the site for users. But what we don't have are representatives... the people who are the liaisons between the user base and the Board of Directors. Only it's worse because who are the Board of Directors?

Things changed severely when SixApart came in and tried to turn LJ into a profit making venture. Naturally, since they didn't know what blogging was all about, they made a couple of enormous errors and, once they wiped the egg off their faces, decided they didn't want to show their faces again. That's how we got [livejournal.com profile] theljstaff, a nameless account that allowed the administration the ability to make pronouncements, announce changes in policy, and explain issues (or more accurately ignore them) without needing to be targets for the derision of users who neither needed nor wanted what they were selling.

And once that precedent was set, it has remained. Why put up the names of actual people who could be blamed for something going wrong? It's much safer to keep that information hidden.

Of course, now, that's a definite issue, as who do we speak with about any of this, and who would or could clue us in about what's going on? And really, maybe there is a hierarchy of power that is in place. But the fact that I couldn't access it in any reasonable way, not even knowing where to look for even one name of a person who should be able to answer some basic questions about how our servers are in Moscow, is a little unnerving. I don't want to go as far as saying I'm worried, but it doesn't feel all that safe.

To wit, I have migrated the entirety of this journal over to Dreamwidth.org. I'm not certain what I should do about photos that have been stored on my LJ account. I'll probably need to figure out a new housing situation for them also.

I'm at: https://penpusher.dreamwidth.org/

It's an account I set up back during those 6A days, when it seemed like that group were going to turn their capitalist dreams into our blogging nightmares. How wrong we were!

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