May 31, 2007 6:12 PM PDT

LiveJournal apologizes for mass deletion

LiveJournal apologized Thursday for a mass deletion of sex-themed discussions that purged literary criticism and accounts belonging to role-playing game characters and led to an unprecedented user revolt.

In a public announcement, Barak Berkowitz, chairman and chief executive of LiveJournal owner Six Apart, said, "Well, we really screwed this one up" and promised to reinstate a wide swath of communities that were deleted as part of the company's attempt to eradicate pedophilia-related discussions.

"Over the next few hours we will review the journals that were taken down and wherever appropriate we will restore these journals or communities," Berkowitz said. A day before, in an interview with CNET News.com, he had defended the deletion as not required by law but part of an effort to set standards based on "what we think is appropriate." (About 500 communities were removed.)

LiveJournal's famously tight-knit community of about 13 million users had mixed responses to the apology Thursday: some applauded the company's frankness, while others called the deletion unforgivable. Comments ranged from "I'm just glad to see that you're honestly trying to fix the situation" to "you guys screwed up big time, especially in the eyes of someone like myself, who spent 150 bucks to help me enjoy my fandom experience here" with a paid account.

The mass reinstatement means that the deleted science fiction and fantasy "fandom" groups--many of which boast sexually explicit fiction written by fans about characters such as those from the Harry Potter or Buffy the Vampire Slayer universes--began reappearing Thursday.

'pornish_pixies' celebrates its return
One Harry Potter-themed group called pornish_pixies celebrated its return by posting an erotic story of a teenage Harry having intimate relations with arch-nemesis Draco Malfoy. One restored group deals with fictional tales of incest. Another, called lol_porn, includes links to bloopers and other unintentionally amusing pornographic Web sites.

What outraged the LiveJournal protesters earlier this week is that the censored discussions and accounts went far beyond what they believe was necessary to target pedophilia. One post noted that two journals were deleted on grounds that "that they in some way encouraged illegal behavior" even though the accounts belonged to clearly labeled fictional characters in a role-playing game (one listed as interests "beating people up"). Another deleted community was home to Spanish-language discussions of Vladimir Nabokov's famous novel Lolita.

A "fandom_counts" group set up as a kind of petition to draw attention to the protest had 29,423 members as of late Thursday.

LiveJournal's terms of service bans "objectionable" content and says any account can be deleted "for any reason." But the company also claims to "provide users with as much freedom of speech as possible."

LiveJournal has said it was responding to complaints from groups, including one called Warriors for Innocence. A representative from the group, who gave her name only as "Sues," said in an e-mail Thursday that "we did not knowingly report any 'fandom' communities or role-playing journals."

In posts to her personal blog, Sues describes herself as an ardent conservative who views homosexuality as "sick" and a "twisted agenda" and lumps gays and lesbians into the same category as pedophiles and rapists.

In her e-mail, Sues added, "While we sympathize with those who had their journals inadvertently deleted as part of LJ's efforts to clean up their online community, LJ's terms of service are clear in this regard; they've simply chosen to enforce them."

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10 comments

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people need to..
get outside. Talk to your neighbors.. make friends. Get the hell
away from your computer. Get some damn exercise for God's
sake.... can't you see where this is going?
Posted by Jesus#2 (127 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sure
Eventually these writers might end up walking down the street into a theater and begin bringing their written art to the real world in the form of dramtization.

Bad thing about the real world. Its this concept called "the public" and within it, you are 'limited' to what you can do. An eye cannot choose what door to open if the door is invisble (meaning if you are there, you can't avoid looking). Online however, you have to open the door (access the content). (Cause you were wondering, yeah within a theater you choose to go there... but what about in a town courtyard?)

I can't say that these groups deserved to be deleted. I mean there probably was a few, but when you consider that all online blog/journal systems (with the exception of myspace) have a rating system of age content.

For example, Xanga's system rates on a though e.

A - All Ages
B - Basic Guidance
C - Caution
D - Descretion advised
Ex - Explicit Content

And based on your age, you cannot view certain levels any by default setting, all users can't view above A really.

So considering it was in the unwritten blogring rules to rate your story approatley or fear getting it deleted, a large portion were rated correctly, I see no fault on the users part of writing fantisies.
Posted by timber2005 (720 comments )
Link Flag
Ultra Conservatives are the Fascist's Running Dogs
Cute. Seems to me that Warriors for Innocence are anything but.

The sort of people who equate gay & lesbian with pedophilia and rape, labeling all of them as sick and having a twisted agenda; are probably the same sort of people who get their kicks out of targeting people like Matthew Wayne Shepard.

Nazi Germany did the same thing, so I guess there's historical precedent which makes it okay to engage in hate crimes. Seig Heil Sues!
Posted by Dr_Zinj (727 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Revealing
Wow - in just a few words, you manage to express your hatred, your bigotry, and your ignorance - nice job!
Posted by MikeeeC (43 comments )
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Yeah, but...
Another one for Godwin's law, although I agree with the sentiment.
Posted by talia_ali (3 comments )
Link Flag
See what happens when Christian conservatives run amok?
These people have no tolerance and treat a 3000-year old fable as
an instruction book for life. They're almost as crazy as
Scientologists.
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
An you've managed to reveal . . .
. . . that you are no better than Sues.

We've suffered through hatred, bigotry and misunderstanding for lifetimes and now that we're fed up with it and not tolerating it any longer; people like you are criticizing us for it. Where is the non-hatred and understanding of the Christian right and why aren't you bashing them for their lack of it?

We're not going to take it any more; the line has been drawn and we will no longer allow your double standards, rhetoric or thinly veiled attempts to destroy what we naturally are to stop us giving you back exactly what you've earned.
Posted by psychosmurf (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This Comment Was Meant For Dufus MikeeeC . . .
. . . Not the article.
Posted by psychosmurf (60 comments )
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