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Here Be Bears
Something there is that loves the bear.
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23rd-Sep-2020 06:44 pm - This journal is now Friends Only.
Swimming Bear.
Given the way LJ seems to be changing in such a way that it's harder to protect the privacy of users of the service, I have decided to make my journal Friends Only (including most old entries here from the past 8 years, which used to be publically viewable.) This means you will need to have an LJ account, and be added to my Friends list in order to read any journal updates I make, and to comment on those.

If you add me as a Friend, I'll have a look at your journal and your User Info, and decide if I want to add you back or not. If I've added you as a Friend, I won't be offended if you don't wish to do the same.

Please note that I DON'T want people on my Friends list crossposting comments directly from my journal to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, and I will (regretfully) de-friend anyone who does that. I'd rather be clear about it than have a misunderstanding. On my part, I will also NOT be crossposting any comments I make in any of your journals to Facebook or Twitter.
Spirited Away - Not Alone
For those of you in the UK, Groupon are matching donations to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund for Japan and other affected areas, pound-for-pound, up to the £70,000 mark. 100% of your donation goes to the Red Cross. Donations start from a minimum of £2, and can be purchased in multiples of that value.

There's another 8 hours 25 mins to make a donation, from now.
25th-Feb-2011 02:17 pm - Save Our NHS.
Do Not Want - Tux Cat
Save Our NHS. If you're a Brit, you might want to sign this petition, urging your MP to vote against the 3rd reading of the hugely unpopular Health and Social Care Bill in the House of Commons.

About the bill

The government’s proposed Health and Social Care BIll represents the most radical change to the NHS is its 60 year history. The Bill will alter the way the NHS works by increasing commercial competition and changing the way services are commissioned and paid for.

There has been competition within the NHS for some time, although so far this has been mainly confined to the provision of services. The proposed legislation would fundamentally change this model so that the planning and commissioning of services would be subject to greater market forces, rather than being planned for the benefit of everybody, regardless of who they are or where they live.

We think these drastic measures will eventually lead to inequality between different areas of the country, reduced public accountability and generally poorer levels of patient care. The reforms could also lead to some services being cancelled altogether if they are not ‘commercially viable’ - this could leave vulnerable and under-represented groups - such as the elderly or disabled - at greater risk of losing out.

The financial cost of these reforms will be immense, and will take its toll on NHS budgets, which are already being squeezed by cuts.

Most of the major groups representing British healthcare professionals have voiced serious concerns about the scope and speed of the plans, including The British Medical Association, The Royal College of Surgeons, The Royal College of Nursing, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, Unite and Unison - to name just a few.

Many healthcare charities have also come out against the reforms, including The Alzheimer’s Society, Asthma UK, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Diabetes UK, National Voices, Rethink, The British Heart Foundation and The Stroke Association.
The petition will ask for you name and postcode, so that it can inform your MP that you, as a member of her/his constituency are signing it, and urging her/him to take action accordingly. You can also choose to have your name excluded from being listed on the website (under the statistics section) if you want to.
23rd-Sep-2010 05:49 pm - LJ FAIL: They think we're stupid.
Do Not Want - Tux Cat
You'll all have read the most recent news update by now, the one in which LJ staff try to con users into thinking that they've "addressed" our privacy concerns by announcing that they're making changes to crossposting to Facebook and Twitter.

Actually, they've taken a step backwards on that. In a prior update, news said:

we'll be modifying the comment cross-posting portion of the Facebook and Twitter Connect feature so only comments on public entries (those marked 'Everyone') can be cross-posted. Once we implement this change, it will no longer be possible to cross-post screened comments or comments left on Friends Only entries.
Now they're saying that Cyrillic users can crosspost comments, even from F-locked entries:

If you've opted into Cyrillic services, you'll still be able to cross-post protected and screened comments.
Spot the difference? I should think so.

AND this is still not what I and many other users were asking for, which is an ability to opt individual journals and communities out of having any comments or entries crossposted to TwitBook.

They've also not clarified the difference between LJ's Terms of Service regarding Intellectual Property rights for users, and FB's TOS. And they've not made any steps to warn LJ users that connecting their LJ accounts to FB will see their FB username posted on their LJ profile page - which since many FB users use their Real Life Names as their FB usernames, could mean that people accidentally out their RL names on LJ. Users should be warned of this before they click on "connect".

Basically, LJ is counting on the idea that users will see lines like "We're pleased to announce key changes to the Facebook/Twitter Connection that address your main privacy concerns", and be too stupid to realize that what is being offered is actually a repeal of what was offered before, and is not what we were asking for originally. It's like Facebook's Zuckerberg calling all users of that service "dumb fucks" - they think we're too stupid to notice the kind of switches they are trying to pull on what is promised, and what is actually delivered.

If anyone wants to make a Dreamwidth account, I understand that till the end of Sept, you can do this without needing an invite by using the code "VOX" on DW.
Avatar Appa Facepalm
... this comes to light, about Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

A series of "embarrassing and damaging" IMs from Mark Zuckerberg have been confirmed as real by The New Yorker, and by the Facebook founder himself. Among them, an exchange once leaked to Silicon Alley Insider in which Zuckerberg explains to a friend that his control of Facebook affords him access to any personal information he might care to access on any Harvard student:

ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
ZUCK: just ask
ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
FRIEND: what!? how'd you manage that one?
ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don't know why
ZUCK: they "trust me"
ZUCK: dumb fucks
Click through to read more.

Stay classy, Zuckerberg! You too, LJ!

The New Yorker article on Zuckerberg is an interesting read as well.

Zuckerberg and I talked about this the first time I signed up for Facebook, in September, 2006. Users are asked to check a box to indicate whether they’re interested in men or in women. I told Zuckerberg that it took me a few hours to decide which box to check. If I said on Facebook that I’m a man interested in men, all my Facebook friends, including relatives, co-workers, sources—some of whom might not approve of homosexuality—would see it.

“So what did you end up doing?” Zuckerberg asked.

“I put men.”

“That’s interesting. No one has done a study on this, as far as I can tell, but I think Facebook might be the first place where a large number of people have come out,” he said. “We didn’t create that—society was generally ready for that.” He went on, “I think this is just part of the general trend that we talked about, about society being more open, and I think that’s good.”

Then I told Zuckerberg that, two weeks later, I removed the check, and left the boxes blank. A couple of relatives who were Facebook friends had asked about my sexuality and, at that time, at least, I didn’t want all my professional sources to know that I am gay.

“Is it still out?” Zuckerberg asked.

“Yeah, it’s still out.”

He responded with a flat “Huh,” dropped his shoulders, and stared at me, looking genuinely concerned and somewhat puzzled. Facebook had asked me to publish a personal detail that I was not ready to share.
Yeah. Not everyone wants to out themself or be outed that way. It looks like that is lost on Zuckerberg. Would it be lost on LJ too? A lot of people have posted the example of someone crossposting a comment in reply to another person's post in a journal or community, where the OP may be discussing their sexual orientation, and the commentator may be saying something like:

"You'll need to come out to your family and friends at some point."

And then there's a link to the OP's journal, or to the post on the LJ community in the commentator's crossposted comment on FB.

It's all data which 1) can be mined on FB, and 2) may reveal things about other LJ users on FB when they haven't given consent to that information being placed there.

I don't think it's rocket science to understand why a lot of LJ users might want to be able to disable crossposting for their journals or the communities they run. If we leave aside the privacy issue for a moment, here's more on Intellectual Property rights by no_prey_remains. And more here again. Interesting reading, eh?

Things on LJ could be done differently. I like this suggestion by cactuskim. I think it would give people choice while keeping them informed. Will LJ consider implementing something like that instead? I doubt it. But I think it's still worth mentioning and reading, because it's still a good idea!
11th-Sep-2010 06:07 pm - LJ FAIL: news update.
Avatar Not The Cabbages
There's been an update on news.

This is a good start, but it's still not enough for me.

  • I still want to be able to opt-out of crossposting altogether for my own journal, and the communities I manage on LJ. Not just in Friends-Only entries, but in public posts too. Why should LJ make it easier for other people to crosspost from my journal? I would still rather that they have to go to the trouble of copy-pasting content if they want to do that. Also, what happens if some LJ newbie comes across my journal, hasn't read my profile - where I explicitly state that I don't want crossposting from my journal - and then when seeing the crossposting buttons when commenting here, thinks that I must be OK with that as a standard response.

    All of this means that I am still reluctantly keeping commenting in my journal to Friends Only, because I don't trust users who I don't know, and who may be new to LJ, to respect my wishes here.

  • Also, LJ have not clarified that they will make it clear to users connecting their FB accounts to LJ that their FB username (very often people's Real Names) will appear on their LJ profiles under "external services". LJ users should be notified that this will happen in advance, so they can make fully informed choices about if they want to connect both accounts or not.

  • None of this clarifies or addresses the differences between LJ's TOS and FB's TOS, in terms of Intellectual Property Rights. This should also be made clear to users, and I still resent LJ making it easier to crosspost content from my journal, or my communities here.
  • Bear Raises Paw.
    If, like me, you disabled pingbacks but your journal still seems to be sending those out anyway, you could try using a shortened URL when you link to other LJ posts or comments. For instance, from this service. That will apparently help.

    I've also been told that it may help to ban pingback_bot from your journal. You can do that by clicking on "Settings", "Privacy", then "Ban and unban users from commenting in my journal", and then put "pingback_bot" without the "", into the big text box, and click on "ban users".

    If that works for you, you may want to spread the word around too.
    6th-Sep-2010 09:35 pm - LJ FAIL - The FAILage worsens.
    Do Not Want - Tux Cat
    So it turns out that while LJ's been remarkably slow and feeble with responding to users here who have problems with pingback bugs, or with the whole crossposting to TwitBook situation, LJ have not been slow to update their Facebook page.

    I guess that shows where their priorities lie. Neglect customer service to your existing customers, including paid users, and instead concentrate on trying to be flavour of the month on FB. But as other people have been pointing out in news and lj_releases, FB and Twitter users don't pay for TwitBook. They are used to getting things for free. Whereas a proportion of LJ users regularly pay for these services. So LJ may temporarily attract people from FB - people who are not used to paying - but at the same time, they're alienating their existing customers - including paid members, who ALREADY generate income for them.

    Meanwhile, many of those people are opening up paid accounts on Dreamwidth. So the money is flowing away from LJ to one of their business competitors.

    That's a dumb strategy by LJ. But it gets worse though. LJ's using the photo of the week on their FB page. As that commentator in lj_releases notes: "Wonder if those photographers know this?"

    You can see my reply to that comment in that thread. But I have enough concerns to also want to post that here. I wrote:

    That sucks, because according to FB's TOS, that gives FB use of the photographer's photo. WITHOUT the photographer's consent.

    1.For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos ("IP content"), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook ("IP License"). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
    That is different from LJ's own TOS:

    LiveJournal claims no ownership or control over any Content posted by its users. The author retains all patent, trademark, and copyright to all Content posted within available fields, and is responsible for protecting those rights, but is not entitled to the help of the LiveJournal staff in protecting such Content.
    Yeah. Not only is LJ NOT helping to protect the content, but they are sending it onto FB for FB's use, without the consent of the photographers.


    If those were my photos now being spammed onto FB without my permission and so given to FB for their "royalty-free, worldwide" use, I would be sending LJ a MASSIVE invoice now, in terms of lost licensing fees on the photos.
    Do Not Want - Tux Cat
    Looks like the post over on news hit the magic 10,000 comments mark, which means no new comments can be posted there now.

    So instead people are commenting on this post on lj_releases instead. Heh. Go to it! :^)

    Don't forget there's also this poll to vote in, which we know LJ staff members are watching. That's topped the 10,000 mark as well, but should still be able to take more votes.
    3rd-Sep-2010 06:25 pm - LJ FAIL - Pingback b0rkery.
    So bad.
    Also, I have opened a support request about pingbacks, because as I discovered yesterday thanks to cleolinda commenting on my journal, there seem to be pingbacks being sent out from my journal entries, even though I've disabled pingbacks myself.

    The pingbacks FAQ says:

    The pingback system is mutual; when you choose to receive pingbacks, you are also choosing to send pingbacks to others when you link to their content.
    But I have pingbacks disabled. So WTF is happening there, eh?!

    Also, as you can see from the chunk of the original journal entry which cleolinda received in her pingback, that is not a "brief quote" of text, as the pingbacks FAQ suggests it would be:

    Pingback notifications include the name and URL of the page that is linking to your entry as well as a brief quote from the text where your entry is linked. [Emphasis mine.] Pingback comments to your journal will be left as screened comments. Please note that pingbacks only work for public entries. Friends-Only or Private entries cannot receive pingbacks.
    It's a whopping huge quote, and the section where I linked to cleolinda's journal entry only comes at the end of it. I agree with what cleolinda says about that, especially about how this adds to the privacy invasion problem when some people are getting pingbacks from other people's F-locked journal entries.

    So there's clearly problems with how pingbacks have been implemented and are working (or NOT working as they're supposed to!) There's a very thorough description of one person's attempt to test pingbacks here.

    As you can see from the comments to this entry, in both cases, the pingback went through, even though those accounts are supposedly set NOT TO EVEN SEND PINGBACKS.

    And as you can see from the comments to this entry, in both cases, the pingback went through AGAIN. (Trust me, I double-checked to be sure that both accounts were set with pingbacks DISABLED. They were.)
    So it looks like I'm not the only one who has experienced this bug.

    Man, it's bad enough LJ push through measures which they haven't properly beta tested, or run past their own account holders in advance. And then that is a bad surprise which pissess off thousands of people. Worse still though, they push through buggy measures which aren't working as advertised. It's a really lousy implementation, and I think they should just totally reverse the changes for now, until they can figure out the next step properly. Leaving all this crap in place is just going to make more users annoyed and alarmed - especially if the new "features" are buggy and unreliable, and we can't even trust LJ's own FAQs to properly describe how they are actually working.
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