Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

Livejournal Update: Still Potentially Clueless

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Oct 31, 2012 @ 9:18 pm PDT

Livejournal has done an update on the new “friends” page and other rumors. Alas, some parts of it still worry me:

Customization options will be provided to allow you to configure the look and feel of the feed. This will include at least text size and background images.

Color me unimpressed. What they are not saying is that we will be able to get our scheme specific customizations on our friends page. My friends page is the primary way I interact with Livejournal. Not my journal page. My friends page. Screw with that, and I’m unhappy. Text size and background image is not enough.

Further, the comments on the post make it clear that this new friends page, excuse me, “news feed”, will be the only option once the beta period is over. If it is, I’ll only be reading LJ for those people still posting exclusively on LJ. As I’ve said before: if you have an RSS feed, please let me know about it. If you are on Dreamwidth, please let me know and please read/share/friend “cahwyguy”.

Existing paid or permanent accounts at that time will be treated as premium/elite accounts that will have access to even more features than exist right now.

They are getting rid of paid accounts in the future and replacing them with feature bundles. Fine. My account is permanent. This notion of premium/elite accounts does not have the notion of permanence. I don’t care about getting more features than now. I want all my icons to be there, all my posts to be there, and all my scrapbook images to be there, for as long as Livejournal is there. That’s what “permanent” means, and I will accept nothing less.

As a result of this, it is very likely that over the weekend I will import my account to Dreamwidth, and reconfigure the Livejournal Crossposter at cahighways.org to post to Dreamwidth, with Dreamwidth configured to crosspost to Livejournal. This means I won’t have access to my full icon suite at Dreamwidth, as I have a free account there. That worries me less, as with WordPress I’m including the icon as an image in each post, and I’m moving over those icons I want to keep over to WordPress.

I will be losing the ability to do polls (although I’m open to a recommendation for a WordPress plugin for polls). I’m also still looking for a WordPress plugin that will go through all my past posts, and import any images not in my media gallery into my media gallery, and then adjust the post to refer to that image (I don’t care about past videos). Again, recommendations.

I have done some improvements on the WordPress side, by the way. You can now subscribe to comments you make, and I’ve added buttons to make it easier to share posts. I also now have the ability to backup my WordPress site, including all comments. As a reminder, you can log into my site with OpenID, Livejournal ID, Twitter, Facebook, Google, WordPress, and Paypal. I can enable LinkedIn if people want me to, as well as a few others. Just let me know.

As always, I welcome your thoughts on what Livejournal is doing, as well as the transition I’m undertaking. I never thought I would be doing this back in 2004 when Nicole (ellipticcurve) introduced me to Livejournal. Then again, she hasn’t posted here in ages either.

 

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12 Comments

  1. estherchaya says:

    I keep intending to resume posting on LJ (well, WP with a copy to LJ), but… I just don’t have it in me anymore.

    Sigh.

    • cahwyguy says:

      With what you’ve been through the last year, I’m glad to see you still around and doing anything. You’ve been through so much and pulled through. Do what you can, and know your friends are here for you.

  2. Jesso says:

    I have a permanent account on LJ, and I’ve been around long enough (since 2001, holy cow) to see lots of drama over every change LJ has made in that time. Most of the time, I think the drama is just, that- drama. But this new friends feed thing is actually going to significantly impair usage of the site, and I’ve begun the process of moving to Dreamwidth. I’m working on importing my entries now, and I’ve moved all of my RSS feeds to Google Reader. I’m going to start encouraging my friends to do the same.

    The possible end of paid accounts is just icing on the crap cake. There’s no telling what they’ll actually end up doing. I trust them about as far as I can throw them right now.

    • cahwyguy says:

      I generally agree with you on much of the drama, but the friends page thing is how I primarily interact with LJ. I’ll move my reading over to where my friends are — DW or LJ — but I’ve already moved my posting to WordPress. I’ve become convinced this will be the last straw, which is why I’m moving my main mirror over to DW … but I’m not yet to the point where I’ll be likely to do a paid account there. Hopefully, importing entries and comments will be easy (although who knows how it will handle importing F-O and custom FL entries when the circles are different. Oh well… by now those entries are so old they’ve become unclassified public by virtue of age!

      • Jesso says:

        I sprung for $6.00 of paid time on Dreamwidth last night, which I think is just a few months. That should give me a chance to get in and really play in it. I set the importer running last night, and it looks like it got all of my entries and their security levels, but I haven’t really been able to poke at it yet (I’m busy prepping for NaNoWriMo). It did seem to miss my comments, but I submitted a help ticket and hopefully that can be fixed. My friend got his whole LJ moved over, comments and all, so I know it’s a thing that can be done.

        I tend to go the other way with my really old entries- they get made private, because no one wants to read those whiny posts from 16 and 17-year-old me! They are so bad.

  3. fiddlingfrog says:

    Huh. I didn’t know PayPal could be used as an authentication method. I’m not sure if that’s great (I can be sure I’m communicating with the actual vendor) or worrisome (now I’m broadcasting my PayPal account far and wide for everyone to see).

    After a bit of panic, I’m no longer too worried about the friends page change. Between any customization that LJ offers, and what can be accomplished with Greasemonkey and/or Stylish, I’m sure I’ll be able to read the page in the colors/fonts/sizes that I want. And with infinite scrolling something that can be turned off, I’ll be able to read backwards just fine.

    My only remaining concerns are with the navigation options. I use the filters on the navstrip extensively, and the little tab on the new friends page doesn’t yet work as a replacement for that. Plus, the calendar has never really worked right and I use my links list a lot to navigate to a couple custom views of the friends page.

    As for importing to Dreamwidth, if you do end up importing comments please keep an eye out for any of mine. I have strong ethical objections to the comment and community importer on DW, and whenever I find an imported comment/entry of mine over there I either edit or delete it and leave a note pointing back to its original home on LJ.

    • cahwyguy says:

      Re: Paypal. All I know is that it is one of the options the Social Login supports. Given that your account name is usually just your email, all it is doing is validating your email. No one has ever used it, to my knowledge.

      Re: The friends page change. I just strongly prefer the look and feel of my Friends Page that I have now — it ties into my main site. I don’t use Greasemonkey or Stylish — I’m not trusting of a lot of browser plugins. That doesn’t mean I won’t use the new friends page, only that I want to have to use it as little as possible.

      Re: Dreamwidth import. The only reason I’m doing the import is to preserve things in case LJ goes *poof* in the US, which seems to be the direction they are headed. I”m curious the basis for the ethical object — the comments are still attibuted to you, they still are attached to the same post. The only thing is that there may not be a notification that this is a copy of the original post, but I’m not sure I see that as an *ethical* objection. I would like to know the ethical concern before it initiate the import this weekend.

      • fiddlingfrog says:

        My concern comes threefold. First, DW assumes that you, the importer, has the right to move my words from one service to another. Legally, their lawyer argues that my comments to your journal, or my entries to your community that you control, are contributions to a group work with you as the publisher. This is supposed to keep the copyright of my words with me, but allow you to alter how those words are seen.

        The thing is, that argument flies against everything I expected when I submitted my comment/entry over at LJ. I knew you, as publisher, could delete my comment/entry. I knew you could alter its appearance, or even its visibility. But I never expected, or consented, to having my work republished elsewhere.

        Which brings me to point two. Moving my comment/entry over to another service deprives me of the same control I had over it on LJ. Once you’ve made a comment/entry on LJ, you can always delete it, even if the publisher has changed your access so that you can’t find it. In some cases, you have to resort to manually constructing the delete URL, but it will always work. And on LJ, if you’re deleting your account you can also choose to delete all your comment and community entries at the same time.

        On DW, if you’re lucky enough to know where your comments/entries have ended up, you can delete or edit them. But there’s no notification system to let people know when or where their comments/entries have ended up, so you end up losing track of all those words. And if the publisher has denied you access, you can’t make any changes because the URL tricks relied on comment or entry numbers that all got changed in the importation. DW doesn’t offer the option for people to delete all their comments and entries when they delete their accounts, and they’ve said they’ll never offer this option.

        This is a problem for people who were relying on the control that they had at LJ. Whether they need that control to keep their online presence manageable for professional or personal reasons, or just like to know that they can always disappear, it’s something that they had over at LJ and that they lose when their words get moved to DW.

        And finally, and this is really more of a 2A rather than a 3, DW introduced the ability to “claim” an OpenID last year. This means that someone with a standard DW account can say “This OpenID is me” and any comment/entry assigned to that OpenId will be assigned to that standard DW account. This one’s a mixed bag, because it gives more control to those who have moved to DW. However, it also opens up avenues where compromised security (i.e. lost control of your LJ account) can lead to a loss of control over on DW. Even if you later regain control of your LJ account, it can be too late to fix the damage on DW.

        Overall, none of these objections are insurmountable, but DW hasn’t made much headway in assuaging the concerns I and many others have had over these problems.

        • cahwyguy says:

          Interesting. I’ll have to see what options DW provides during the import process to respect this. If there is confidence that our LJ accounts will remain around as long as LJ remains around, then there is no need to import comments. A simple “This post was imported from XXX; comments may by found on the original post.” will suffice. Otherwise, I can see the concern, but need to find the balance between keeping useful information and respecting the author’s rights. Luckily (at least in the case of my particular journal) nothing that is in the comments is likely to be of significance in the future. You can’t always say the same in fanfic journals.

          That said, I’ve always been surprised that WordPress seems to give me the ability to edit comments made by someone else (not that I would do it except in the most egregious of cases, and it would be clear that it was done and what was done). I don’t know how much of a factor that will be for people.

          • fiddlingfrog says:

            nothing that is in the comments is likely to be of significance in the future.

            Actually, most of the arguments along these lines came from people who wanted to keep a lid on personal details, rather than roleplay/fanfic journals. “Oh yeah, I’ve been to the Hippodrome, it’s only a couple blocks from my house” can be an innocuous enough comment, but if you start suddenly receiving death threats its exactly the kind of thing you want to eliminate quickly.

            Funnily enough, it basically puts DW on the opposite side of the argument as the whole Facebook/Twitter crosspost debacle a couple years ago. I can’t count how many people were outraged that somebody might want to crosspost their own entries or comments to Facebook/Twitter but then, without a hint of irony, moved their journal to DW and imported all the comments that somebody else had written.