Apr. 26th, 2017 10:32 pm
fullofsecrets: (Default)
I feel a tremendous sense of relief over transferring my content to Dreamwidth. I've felt very insecure about LiveJournal since the change to the Terms of Service on 04/04/2017.

I believe in accepting everyone as long as they aren't hurting anyone else, and I am genuinely shocked by the persecution of LGBTQ people that's happening in Russia. I was really encouraged to see this post in the DW News community.

Also, I've been impressed by how welcoming folks here seem to be. Had I known, I would've moved here a long time ago!

fullofsecrets: (Default)
Something one might not realize if one has not posted to this thread: it is possible that there are far more responses to this post than the 15 displayed. I submitted the following on 04/14/2017, and have yet to receive any acknowledgment.

Why wasn't an e-mail sent out to all users advising them that this change was coming?

Additionally, I feel it would have been courteous to offer users a choice at the point of consenting to the new Terms of Service.

Instead of compelling users to accept the new ToS in order to even log in, it would have been better to give them a 30 day grace period following implementation. For example, if they selected the "Not Now" option, they could have been pointed to the Export Journal page to give them the opportunity to save all the content they'd created prior to this new situation.

I have had a LiveJournal for 16 years. While I still like the platform, I would have appreciated being given notice at least 30 days prior to the changeover.

Thank you for reading.

All comments to the thread are automatically screened: it requires the moderator to unscreen them. It really makes me wonder how many users have posted questions that are going unanswered.

I think I'd better look into Dreamwidth sooner rather than later.
fullofsecrets: (westscreech)
It seems that as of 04/04/2017, LiveJournal is under new management.

If you would like to review the new Terms of Service before logging into your account and being forced to accept them in order to do so, you can read them here.
fullofsecrets: (westscreech)
By now, you've probably heard the news that Amazon has purchased Goodreads. Many of us feel that, in the battle of the books, Amazon just made the online equivalent of the Louisiana Purchase, but we have concerns that only Kindle users will be encouraged to settle there. Personally, I just like to keep my data as compartmentalized as possible online, and I don't want Amazon to have my Goodreads content.

I've also read mixed reviews of Amazon takeovers. While Zappos seems to be mostly unscathed, Audible users (particularly those outside the U.S.) have reported problems under their new overlords, and users of Shelfari, a social reading site similar to Goodreads, say that they haven't seen any updates or improvements since the buyout. They seem to have annihilated CD Now.

Then, of course, there's the whole librarian debacle. After Amazon pulled its data in January 2012, librarians donated their time and talent to rebuild the missing links and images, all out of the goodness of their hearts. Now that Goodreads has accepted Amazon's offer, I can understand why those folks feel somewhat betrayed. They helped build Goodreads' successful community, and I surely haven't heard about any of them being compensated as a result of this transfer of power.

Another aspect of why I think so many of us are heartbroken by this announcement is the ongoing problem of walled gardens. Many of us don't like being confined to the boxes that Amazon, Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble, etc. use to contain us. Goodreads provided common ground for readers regardless of platform, and many of us feel that is a significant loss. I know I do.

Even if you don't factor in Amazon's previous buyouts, the working conditions for employees in some of their warehouses are problematic, to say the least.

In light of these issues, I've compiled a list of alternatives I plan to investigate:

Tested )

Untested )

Not considering )

I'll continue updating this post as I narrow down my options. Keep watching this space. :)

For additional perspective on Goodreads alternatives, Omnilogikos is testing various sites as well.
fullofsecrets: (Default)
In hindsight, I'm not sure why I bothered voting. For the first time, I really and truly wasn't going to do it, but I let myself be guilted into it by a family member.

A friend of mine covers most of my thoughts. I'm with her and with Cory Doctorow on this one:

Amazing to think that I'm relieved at the victory of the pro-wiretapping, pro-extrajudicial-assassination, anti-whistleblower candidate.

I have really had it with some of my liberal acquaintances on other social networks practically fellating Obama with their cheerleading. I haven't unfollowed anyone, but I did spend part of last night encouraging civility and reminding people to be gracious victors and not kick the other side when they are down, which had nearly zero effect. I reminded them of what empathy is, and to remember how they felt when their side lost. I am appalled by how people justify their behavior by mumbling, "they'd do it to us." As if that somehow makes it right. And you people call yourselves grown-ups? This is the behavior you are modeling for your children? Mob mentality is ugly, y'all, and it doesn't matter what view the mob is espousing, because it's pathetic for individuals to feel empowered enough to bully the other side because they happen to be in a crowd.

Yes, Obama was better than Romney on a number of social issues. That doesn't make him a shining beacon of light, people. As Cory Doctorow said, "It sure would be great to get a progressive candidate who still looked progressive even when not standing next to Attila the Hun." Also, as Cory said, "Obama isn't a symptom of the surveillance age: he is one of its masters and chief proponents," and if you don't know this, you haven't been paying attention.

Look, I believe you should vote your conscience, but please stop acting like Obama is flawless. He isn't. Far from it. He has perpetuated Bush's post-9/11 doctrines instead of ending them as he promised when he ran for office the first time. Be honest and admit that we wouldn't have Janet Napolitano where she is if Obama didn't want her there playing Bad Cop.

My candidate never wins.

I am forever taxed without representation.

Yeah, you folks who are feeling angry at the other party right now? At least you have about 49% of the population with you, whichever side you're on. Me? I'm alone with a little over 1% of the population (about 1.50% in my state, if we count all third party voters). The internet is for all of us. The EFF stays vigilant, but when the presidential candidates completely ignore their existence ... well, by comparison, many of you 49 percenters don't know what being politically marginalized really is.

Is my little fraction the only group who cares about civil liberties enough to not chicken out and vote for one of the major parties because they're just too afraid of the other side? You get why that's a self-fulfilling prophecy, right? If you "want to vote for a candidate that has a chance of winning," then the candidate that you'd really prefer will never win. Don't tell me, "Yeah, I really wanted to vote for a third party," because if you really wanted to, you would've done so, rather than letting fear and peer pressure persuade you to "vote tactically." Don't give me embarrassed body language and try to placate me with pablum about "voting for the lesser of two evils." That's a crummy rationalization and you know it: what good does voting for any kind of evil do anyone?

Your tent is not big enough for me, Democrats or Republicans, because the voting majority doesn't give enough of a damn about the freedoms I care about.

I don't know why I want to keep believing that we can do better. I am consistently proven wrong. I wish I could stop caring and wanting to make a difference: being a fiercely defiant independent who's bucking the trend of being placed into a red or a blue box is almost certainly bad for my health.

Constantly frustrated idealist ... that's me.

Note: I also have a lot of respect for the Green Party voters, because taking care of our planet's environment shouldn't only be an issue when it happens to be trendy. We live here every single day, and it's up to us to make sure we leave it in good shape for those who come after.

Addendum, 5:27 pm: I didn't know about this when I wrote this post. At least that's a little bit encouraging.

fullofsecrets: (Default)
It's been a long time since I've posted here and I doubt I'll make it a habit, but I was very touched by this, and wanted to record it:

My friend, I'll call him T, wrote the following:

Thanks for the invitation to D*. This looks like a wonderful community of free thinkers. More and more the big dogs of social media are making me feel like an outcast from Minority Report. Let the web be free of identity scalpers! Kudos to your efforts.

I responded:

Awwww! *hugs* A big high-five on your Minority Report reference! Yes.

I don't know that I can take any credit for shaking my tiny, powerless fist. ;) I just think "Why does Google want to know this?" I think I'm old as far as the 'net goes, and I'm accustomed to the fact that I can enjoy a great conversation with someone without knowing his or her real name. In fact, from my perspective, I view it as a privilege to know someone's real name, rather than a right.

Somewhere in one of Miss Manners' books, she talks about the trend of people using their academic letters socially, and laments the fact that people are now deprived of the delight of surprise, such as the joy of talking with someone at a party, and finding out later that the lovely lady who adores gardening also happens to be the president of the local college.

I feel a little like that about pseudonyms and friendships. These days, one so rarely gets the opportunity to invite intimacy by saying "Please, call me Jane," when someone has politely addressed you as "Mrs. Baker." I considered it a real honor, as well as a progression and recognition of our friendship, to gradually learn each of your [guild members] real names ... but the point is that you, as people with autonomous control over your own names, gave me that friendly permission. You weren't pressured into it by Google or Facebook. It was an act of respect and affection between friends, and I think that's awesome. I don't think the power and meaning of that action of consent should be taken away and rendered meaningless by Big Social imposing its will just to sell us as a product.

Maybe I'm a perfectionist, but I don't think Facebook and Google+ are good enough. I'm not on board with "good enough" just so I can talk with family and friends. Those are valuable, treasured interactions: shouldn't I entrust them only to a network that is seriously invested in protecting our privacy?

I still love the tweet I saw that pointed out that "The bank only asks me to show my ID to the teller. Google wants me to show it to everyone in the bank and beyond."** I also like this post about having good reasons for not wanting to cross the streams, and that Google+ doesn't respect the compartmentalization that long-time netizens have already done to manage the separation between their public and private lives.

Over the course of time, my dear guildies have learned just about everything about me that there is to know -- more than many of my real life friends, particularly those who don't game. That trust has been earned during a decade's worth of laughter and adventures together. Those relationships are far too precious to hand over to business entities that want to monetize them.

I also think about the fact that I want my niece and other children to grow up in a world that still has some concept of privacy. We're already filmed almost everywhere we go. Should my young niece's future employer be able to find photos of her perhaps doing something embarrassing when she's sixteen? I don't think someone's process of individuating into adulthood in their late teens should be a determining factor in whether or not they're hired for a job at 30. I'm going to do what I can to protect them from being tracked everywhere they go and in everything they do.

Ummm, I went longer with this than I intended. :) Thank you for reading, though, sweetie, and thank you for coming over here.

Thanks, as always, for listening.

PS: You make a very good point about D* being a community of free thinkers. I'm a little emotionally divided: I want D* to succeed in a huge way and triumph over Big Social, but I also want to guard and preserve the cozy atmosphere present in the dialogues with early adopters.

I don't suppose I can have my cake and eat it, too, huh? No? Didn't think so. ;)

T responded:

As usual, your critical thinking skills are poignant and enviable. They also illustrate how easy it is to become naive and complacent in the world of "Big Social," as you so aptly name it. You are very brave in standing up for your ideals, and there is much to learn from it. Thanks for sharing your missives, I enjoy reading them. :)

*blush* :)

I've just been trying to do what I feel is right, just the same as when I left Facebook to protest their handling of users' data. Still, these are some of the nicest compliments I've ever received in my entire life, so I wanted to record them. :)

Maybe his kind words mean so much to me because T is someone I've met through a nym -- he got to know the real me's ideals and beliefs, and liked that person. This post by Emlyn explains it really well:

The types of people with a pseudonymous online life tend to live, I think, in geographical environments very unlike their online worlds. These are conservative, sleepy parts of the world, where the normal people they meet in everyday life, the family members that they love, the work colleagues they go drinking with, are largely clueless about and uninterested in the online world.

Separate Identity netizens aren’t participating in online life as an economic activity, or for networking per se; it’s really purely social. They are doing it for fun, for connection to other people who get it, for self expression. To that end, a Handle is a badge, a marker to say “I belong”. It also communicates something about the online personality (probably often as distinct from the offline personality).

I currently work in a job where my views on certain subjects differ from those of my departmental head. That's fine, and I generally keep my mouth shut there, but using a pseudonym enables me to voice my opinions with less fear that said employer will find them and associate them with me, despite the fact that I voiced them outside of my place of employment.

A compliment to my face in the real world can be, and often is, impacted by a lot of different factors. A compliment from a long-time friend online is based on my own sincerity, and thus, has a certain purity. It is untainted by perceptions of how I look, what I'm wearing, and so on. Given that, I value it especially highly.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I believe we have the capacity to be our very best selves online, unfettered by preconceptions about race, economic standing, geography, and the like. Someone who has a bias against Polish people in real life might not realize for a long time that one of their best friends online is Polish. Wouldn't it force the biased party to reevaluate his or her perceptions if he or she found out after the fact, rather than up front? Wouldn't that individual be less likely to befriend someone named Jacob Jaworski on an identified web site like Google+, thus reducing the chance to narrow the divide?

I'd say that there are times when we're better off without real names. In this current partisan climate, it seems just another way to categorize and separate us by our differences, rather than uniting us through our commonalities.


** I must confess to beginning middle age on this one. I check the #nymwars on Twitter about once a day, sometimes twice, and in the flurry of tweets, I blanked on to whom I should attribute this quote. I am even more embarrassed because it was made by my new friend AdmiraliPhone. I should've done better! Here is the link to his original awesome tweet. My sincere, wholehearted, and humble apologies, Admiral. Thank you for letting me know in the most tactful and kind way possible, and I hope you'll forgive me for the oversight!
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