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Believe it or not, there currently is some sort of LiveJournal wave of nostalgia taking place. It sort of began on Facebook where someone created a "secret group" to which LJ members were added. And, similar to the old "invite codes," other people started bringing in their friends who had (or have) an account to talk about, read about and think about the elements that they liked about it. What kicked it into overdrive was when Brad Fitzpatrick showed up with the three word comment: "I love this."

Suddenly everyone on FB who had an LJ was ready to chat it up with both Brad and with each other, and even though there were other attempts to relaunch things on this platform a number of times since SixApart moved out, nothing ever quite got it moving with this much gusto.

Why is it happening now? It could be a number of factors... not the least of which is we're getting sick of social media as seen in these other formats. Between the trolling of internet fiends on twitter and the ridiculousness of everybody you know on Facebook, LiveJournal suddenly looks like an oasis from the desert heat of hateful rhetoric, a storm cellar against that vast tornado of twisted words and concepts, fake news and biased views. It could be that there just is a desire to go back to a place that feels more safe, more secure. Or maybe people simply got bored and decided to come back here now.

For the record, the community of note is 2017revival, where people are posting memes about who they are, what they have done on LJ and what they might be looking for here, again. Active users on the old El Jay? It's starting to happen.

But...

There seems to be a little thorn on this rose, or, maybe more accurately, a worm in your glass of vodka.

LiveJournal has migrated its servers to Moscow.

What exactly does that mean?

The most honest answer is, we don't really know.

We do know that the Russian government has been targeting their citizens who have a Zhe-Zhe (that's how they refer to LJ there) who have been critical of them. But we have been constantly told that the Russian side of LJ and the Western side are two different animals... mirrored, yes, but separate.

Still, the fact that "Russian government officials now have access to the private information of people with these accounts," is definitely a damper on wanting to return here.

But that, in and of itself, might not affect us. After all, this is still a separate part of LJ. Have we been hacked by the Russians already? Have they already made copies of our LiveJournals? Do we need to pack it in?

Actually there is a likely threat. If the Russian government steps in and decides that Zhe-Zhe is simply too incendiary for their tastes, they might just shut the whole thing down, on their side. While that wouldn't affect us immediately, the question would be, wouldn't it affect us eventually? Even if our side of the servers remained running, who is paying for it, how is it being maintained and what happens to it if something happened to it?

And that brings us to the other issue that can't be overlooked... where are the Western LJ administrators?

As this story began to snowball, I decided to take a walk around LJ Land to see what I could find out about the people running it.

Turns out, I couldn't find out anything! I mean, we have people who are working as volunteers, very much like back in the late 90s early oughts, who fix any tech problems with the site for users. But what we don't have are representatives... the people who are the liaisons between the user base and the Board of Directors. Only it's worse because who are the Board of Directors?

Things changed severely when SixApart came in and tried to turn LJ into a profit making venture. Naturally, since they didn't know what blogging was all about, they made a couple of enormous errors and, once they wiped the egg off their faces, decided they didn't want to show their faces again. That's how we got theljstaff, a nameless account that allowed the administration the ability to make pronouncements, announce changes in policy, and explain issues (or more accurately ignore them) without needing to be targets for the derision of users who neither needed nor wanted what they were selling.

And once that precedent was set, it has remained. Why put up the names of actual people who could be blamed for something going wrong? It's much safer to keep that information hidden.

Of course, now, that's a definite issue, as who do we speak with about any of this, and who would or could clue us in about what's going on? And really, maybe there is a hierarchy of power that is in place. But the fact that I couldn't access it in any reasonable way, not even knowing where to look for even one name of a person who should be able to answer some basic questions about how our servers are in Moscow, is a little unnerving. I don't want to go as far as saying I'm worried, but it doesn't feel all that safe.

To wit, I have migrated the entirety of this journal over to Dreamwidth.org. I'm not certain what I should do about photos that have been stored on my LJ account. I'll probably need to figure out a new housing situation for them also.

I'm at: https://penpusher.dreamwidth.org/

It's an account I set up back during those 6A days, when it seemed like that group were going to turn their capitalist dreams into our blogging nightmares. How wrong we were!

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
xo_kizzy_xo
Dec. 31st, 2016 11:57 am (UTC)
My take:

Every time something happens on the Russian end everybody goes Chicken Little and runs over to DW, only to return here and abandon DW altogether once the danger has passed. To me, this is the same type of thing.

Everybody goes Chicken Little because we're never told anything. And maybe that's a good thing, in the sense that we know that 1) the Russian government doesn't give a whit about us because we're not criticizing their politics, and 2) because our end isn't involved with that, they're less likely to tinker with us.

LJ'ing is a whole different animal there than it is here. I honestly can't see the Russians examining everybody's LJ on this end.

We're on different servers. We may be affected by a DDOS attack but if the Russian server shuts down, does it means ours do too? That's what I want to know.

I've got a DW account. I haven't been over there in eons, especially since everybody uses it as a mirror. I did archive my LJ a few years ago. I don't even know if that's possible anymore.
penpusher
Dec. 31st, 2016 03:31 pm (UTC)
What makes this feel a little different are a couple of factors. The first is that even our servers, the Non-Cyrillic ones that house all of our journals were moved to Russia. Second is the fact that nobody on our side of LJ has made any comments about what has been going on. I mean think about it. If our server has been moved to Moscow, and we had to find out about it by tracing our own ISP signature, doesn't that mean that they either were hoping nobody would notice or that they don't want to discuss it?

Is there even a"Western LJ" group of administrators? Who are they? Why don't they occasionally issue some notes? Why wouldn't they tell us about this? Sure, it might be because they thought the user base would freak out a little, but by not telling us and having people find out on their own, it's making the user base freak out even more!

The point is, someone should be answering questions and it seems like nobody is there.
ravenfeather
Dec. 31st, 2016 05:02 pm (UTC)
I suppose I should work on getting my DW password back, just in case. I also need to bite the bullet and pay for a bigger Photobucket, since the LJ photo storage just does not work for me.

I have to admit though, if I find time to sit in front of a computer for longer than I do now, I would like to investigate new folks on my private group of friends.
penpusher
Jan. 1st, 2017 09:56 pm (UTC)
It's unclear what might happen next. And it's very possible nothing will happen. However I have to feel this is the most palpable threat I've seen since I arrived on LJ, so I'm not taking any chances. I even migrated a couple of other journals that I think are worth preserving, just in case.
ravenfeather
Jan. 1st, 2017 10:23 pm (UTC)
I see that someone on FB added me to the lj lives journal at some point... not that it will cause me to get on that site any more frequently.
ragdoll
Dec. 31st, 2016 06:04 pm (UTC)
I'm under the same name at DW. Will add you later.
penpusher
Jan. 1st, 2017 09:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks for adding me over there.
davesmusictank
Jan. 1st, 2017 03:31 pm (UTC)
I have also considered this and it is slightly worrying and enough for me to ghost my blogs to DW which i really do not like at all, but what can we do,so for now i will be staying here and see if this is just another scare in the tumultuous life of LJ.
penpusher
Jan. 1st, 2017 10:03 pm (UTC)
DW is definitely a beneficiary of this "Red Scare..." According to the Mark Smith, the tech guru at Dreamwidth, in a newsletter, dated January 1, 2017:

[we] welcome the large influx of people we've been seeing in the past 10 days or so. We've seen a huge increase in new accounts -- over 100,000!

Imagine, 100K new journals created in a week and a half! Everybody is thinking the same way... this server in Russia situation really seems precarious.

Though LJ is still my first home on the internet, it really feels like it's time to move. I guess we'll see what else we can find out in the next few days.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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