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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!


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.


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

This entry was originally posted at http://penpusher.dreamwidth.org/745945.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 6th, 2017 10:57 pm (UTC)
See if Gary will start up Dreamwidth Idol.
Apr. 10th, 2017 05:12 am (UTC)
The test probes are happening...
Apr. 8th, 2017 03:39 pm (UTC)
I'm here until Idol moves. I have all my best entries saved in a file. No need to save entries re my cats or my mother.
Apr. 10th, 2017 05:13 am (UTC)
Gary is testing DW Idol - he has the community name already and is checking out other elements of Dreamwidth... We'll see what happens.
Apr. 9th, 2017 12:16 am (UTC)
So instead of the CIA, the FBI and god knows who else, the KGB is watching us? How cold war. I'm pretty sure they aren't the least big concerned about anything you've got to say.... they're trying to control their own people, who these days make up the majority of LJ users.

Maybe I'm blasé, but not being an American or based in the US, it's always been outsiders who are watching my every move, so does it matter if it's different outsiders?

Edited at 2017-04-09 12:17 am (UTC)
Apr. 10th, 2017 05:10 am (UTC)
Here's the problem with all of that.

I agree that basically Russians don't care (much) about what westerners are saying, especially if it has nothing to do with them, which it usually doesn't.

The problem is that since the servers got migrated to Russia, everything we post is going through that part of the world, which again, probably isn't a big deal.

The big deal happened when we all had to sign that new Russian TOS. And I know that many have said, oh, but that TOS is boilerplate and we all have to sign stuff like that for any site and facebook is far worse, etc.

The thing was, we were told that the so-called non-cyrillic side of LJ was a separate entity from the Russian version. With all of us needing to agree to their TOS, that is no longer true, which means that if Russia decides to shut down their half of LiveJournal, they will not be allowing our side to remain up and running. The whole thing will go away.

With so many dissidents and protesters using Zhe Zhe (their term for LiveJournal) in places like Ukraine and even within their borders, it seems possible... maybe even likely... that there will be a termination in the future. How many years/months/days/seconds that will take to occur is unclear, but we are now operating on a Russian blogging platform, that much is the truth. So, my suggestion is to leave now while we get to say how we go, rather than wait around for the inevitable that we won't get to control.
Apr. 10th, 2017 10:30 pm (UTC)
My decision is easy. I will follow Idol. If it moves, I move. If it stays, I stay. I will let those knowledgeable about these things figure it out. I really appreciate all this information!
Apr. 10th, 2017 11:06 pm (UTC)
So, I know this journal was created for Idol, but did you ever have a personal journal here? I think that might make a difference about it.

I'm pretty sure that most people are of the camp that states where Gary goes so goes the fun. And if you don't have a journal where you interact with other people just as a matter of course, not a matter of reading and voting, there isn't any other way of looking at that!

Just based on what I'm observing, there's a scramble for the lifeboats element on the decks of the Titanic by some. That's a little too dramatic, even for me!
Apr. 10th, 2017 11:56 pm (UTC)
I already have an account there, and I cross-post almost everything, but

DW is not really a community. It's a storage container. It's an attic.
THIS is the painful truth.

I've had an account over there for years, and some friends have permanently migrated. But the community and discussion just aren't the same. Hardly anyone ever comments on anything.

So, I won't be drinking the drank. But if others do, I'll sip a little. ;)
Apr. 11th, 2017 04:28 am (UTC)
I think we could turn it into a working community, but since we already have this one, there's no real desire to do that. Also the thinking that we're just using that area to preserve the past likely has some bearing on being able to make that conversion!

It's possible that we really have no ability to change DW into a real LJ style community - or maybe that's not even possible anymore as people have taken to other social media styles for a quicker and less verbose reward. I'm not the one to ask!

I'm tilting at windmills, if I'm being honest. And I don't even own any part of Dreamwidth! But thanks for commenting.
Apr. 14th, 2017 04:43 am (UTC)
I created an account on DW back in 2006 or so, whenever it was they came up with it. I've recently backed LJ up over there. I tried, back when I first popped over there, to have a reading page, to interact. And ... flat.

And I'd be fine with moving over there now, if everybody did. But, I was a button or box to make it link to FB. I tried to manually link a DW entry on FB and only got an ugly url link, no preview box. That seems like such a small, easy, thing to add in. :/

Honestly, I feel like I'm losing interest in blogging, other than my knitting business. Maybe it's time to shutter it in more than one way.
Apr. 14th, 2017 05:08 am (UTC)
There was a mad scramble back around 2006 between dreamwidth, insanejournal, I think blogger was in there too and maybe a couple of others. There was no consensus on where to go (but also no imminent threat of needing to go) which meant two things: it was splintering communities and it meant that people may have created another journal but still remained on LJ.

This is why we would all basically need to go to the next best place, if there is any interest remaining in this form of social media.

Dreamwidth seems like the best option of any, since it's mostly all of the LJ source code and the concept is similar. As a perm account user here, I never thought I would have to give it up so, it is a tough decision for me. Maybe you're right, though. Maybe the whole "blogging" concept, as it was defined by LiveJournal all those years ago has finally reached its conclusion.
Apr. 14th, 2017 11:37 pm (UTC)
My use of LiveJournal is exclusively Idol related these days so if Gary goes so do I.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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