Earlier this week, we reported that LiveJournal set off a new round of criticism from its tightly knit user base after it permanently suspended two accounts housing fan art of Harry Potter and friends in sexual situations.
After days of silence, the site's staffers on Tuesday evening published an entry on their business journal in an attempt to clarify the online-journaling server's policy on "illegal and harmful content."
In short, the staffers said they don't review content unless it is reported to them, and when policy violations aren't "clear," they congregate members of the site's Abuse Prevention Team members, LiveJournal staff and parent company Six Apart's management to make a decision.
In an effort to comply with federal and California child pornography laws, the staffers said they have opted to treat any "graphic visual depiction of a minor...engaged in sexually explicit conduct," apparently fictional or not, as a policy violation. "Any stated age of the individuals present, the apparent age of the people or characters present in an image, and outside knowledge of the person or character's age are all taken into consideration," the staffers wrote.
They also said that besides a "limited number of exceptions," they're sticking to a line in their Terms of Service that stipulates that paid LiveJournal accounts aren't refundable. And as for some user gripes that the offending account holders weren't warned to remove the violating content before their accounts were suspended, LiveJournal said it cannot continue to host content that would likely violate child pornography laws but said users can appeal their suspensions.
The post quickly sparked thousands of new comments and questions, ranging from "I believe that your stance on how to tell if characters are of a certain age is still rather vague" to "Thank you. Hopefully this will silence Generation Whine a bit more."