"LiveJournal represents social media without borders."
December 30, 2016 10:48 AM   Subscribe

As of a few days ago, the IP addresses for blogging service LiveJournal have moved to 81.19.74.*, a block that lookup services locate in Moscow, Russia. Now users -- especially those who do not trust the Russian government -- are leaving the platform and advising others to leave.

For years, the online blogging community LiveJournal -- popular in Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine -- has served as a key communications platform for Russian dissidents (the Committee to Protect Journalists earlier this month called on Russian authorities to release a LiveJournal user who has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for a critical blog post). Even after Russian company SUP bought it from California-based Six Apart in 2007 (previously), the fact that SUP continued to run the servers in the US meant that users felt relatively safe; a 2009 press release specifically said that LiveJournal, Inc.* would continue to run technical operations and servers in the United States (and claimed that 5.7 million LiveJournal users were Russia-based).

December 22 support request, following a multi-hour service outage: "Since yesterday's upgrade, our work firewall is blocking you because you appear to it to be based in the Russian Federation. Have you got a Western mirror I can use?"

Tracerouting livejournal.com now points to a Moscow location and an ISP operated by Rambler Internet Holding LLC, the company that also owns SUP. (Former LiveJournal user Gary McGath says that a few days ago, he checked the IP location of livejournal.com, and it was in San Francisco.) LiveJournal's official news posts do not mention the change; users have begun to ask questions there and on their own journals. Rumors have it that LiveJournal has also begun to delete the LiveJournal accounts of some Russian-language bloggers, especially pro-Ukraine bloggers. (Twitter search, anonymous comment.) Also, users can no longer browse and read LiveJournal over an encrypted (HTTPS) connection; going to https://www.livejournal.com redirects the user to the insecure site.

Some users are switching to the competing Dreamwidth service (which is based in the US and which can import LiveJournal entries and communities); new user statistics show newbyday new user numbers spiking up from a baseline rate of hundreds of daily signups to over 87,000 new users in the last week. The Internet Archive's ArchiveTeam was already on the case, given LJ's size, historical importance, and history of controversy and apparent state of decline -- they started archiving LJ's public posts in March of this year.

* The LiveJournal, Inc. website stopped updating in 2011 and started redirecting to LiveJournal.com in 2014 (though the LiveJournal.com contact page, privacy policy in Russian and English (last updated 2014), terms of service in Russian and English (last updated 2010), and abuse policy still say that LiveJournal operates out of California and is subject to US and California law.
posted by brainwane (89 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite

 
Welp, I'm increasingly glad I deleted my LiveJournal years ago.
posted by SansPoint at 11:05 AM on December 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


Some times you walk and other times you run.
posted by ethansr at 11:05 AM on December 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


And thus truly ends the Eyebrow_Thief's reign of terror.
posted by davelog at 11:14 AM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]






The only LJ blog that I'm remotely aware of is George RR Martin's. Time for Martin to switch over to Wordpress?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:27 AM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you are comfortable at the unix shell, I wrote a ruby script that will download a complete archive of your LJ account

I also started work on a Gomix Project aimed at doing the same thing as a web tool that anybody could use, but ultimately got bogged down with throttling problems. A lot of the functionality of sending user credentials to LJ and fetching each months' archive is there, so it's probably salvageable.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:28 AM on December 30, 2016 [30 favorites]


(I apologize for the Very Bad Code in the Gomix project. I am very much Not A Programmer, and I had the additional burden of not being familiar with either Javascript, jquery and Node.js when I started working on it.)
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:31 AM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


I used livejournal pretty heavily for fandom stuff, and other stuff for real life interactions. Then as I got older I stopped using livejournal, I realized fandom was so much better if I didn't actually interact with other fans.

Because other people are hell. They're all pretty terrible. Horrible people, saying shitty things all over other gross people in a big pool of word vomit that makes everyone around them miserable.

Now I just look at pretty fandom pictures scrolling by on Tumblr, quietly read fic with the comments hidden on AO3, and try not to speak to another fan about anything. I like my fandoms so much better now. From a distance.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 11:31 AM on December 30, 2016 [25 favorites]


Time for Martin to switch over to Wordpress?

I heard he'll do it in March 2017
posted by thelonius at 11:31 AM on December 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


I wonder whether this means that Russia's "gay propaganda" laws will now be enforced across LiveJournal.
posted by acb at 11:32 AM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]




...and that's why you leave it to the professionals, folks.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:39 AM on December 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Haven't been back much since that sad day Elyse Sewell's blog went dark.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:40 AM on December 30, 2016 [14 favorites]


This is why I made sure last night that everything had been transferred over to Dreamwidth. Hopefully this will revitalize DW for a while. At least until the Republicans pass a "gay propaganda" law at least.
posted by happyroach at 11:42 AM on December 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


I guess maybe it's time for me to finally figure out how to import my various LJs to my Wordpress site. Preferably with the comments intact. Or at least go download archives of them all.
posted by egypturnash at 11:45 AM on December 30, 2016


acb I wonder whether this means that Russia's "gay propaganda" laws will now be enforced across LiveJournal.

If there's ever a reason for any Queer person to ditch LiveJournal now, it's this.
posted by SansPoint at 11:47 AM on December 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


I wonder what ONTD will do after this.
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:51 AM on December 30, 2016 [12 favorites]


I'm jumping on this right now. Can anybody give more detail on the "Import Friends" option, described as: Imports your friends as OpenID accounts and puts them in your imported access filters. This will automatically import your custom security groups.

What all does this actually do? Create accounts of some kind for a bunch of other people? Does it detect whether there already are accounts by those names and merge them? I know at least a couple of people on my old friends list already have official DW accounts of their own.
posted by jinjo at 11:52 AM on December 30, 2016


Innnteresting... looks like LJ has been blocked at my work. My work filter isn't particularly onerous, although there are sometimes odd choices as to what it will block; unless there's been a lot of porn and spam (I mean, more than I remember there being the last time I was on regularly, which has been years now), maybe it's something else, such as this news.

Oh, well, no big loss. I used to be a pretty regular reader, but the last thing on it that I was really interested in (besides the occasional glimpses at TWOW on GRRM's LJ) was City of Heroes, so late 2012 for me. scans_daily had moved to Dreamwidth (after a short sojourn at InsaneJournal) in '09, and the other online community that I'd been part of (which itself had moved to LJ from Delphi) was falling apart. Sic transit gloria Internet 2.0.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:52 AM on December 30, 2016


I haven't used my LJ in ages, but I did meet my now-finacée there. I'll have to text one of the moderators of the group we met in and see if she can download the community account entries as well. (Can this be done with the tools linked above? Has anyone tried?)
posted by komlord at 11:55 AM on December 30, 2016


Yeesh, after using this as an excuse to read through my old entries from ages 15~27... DELETE DELETE DELETE.
posted by wcfields at 11:56 AM on December 30, 2016 [19 favorites]


@jinjo: There is a bit more of an explanation here in this FAQ post.

Essentially, LJ users can login via OpenID to comment or read at DreamWidth. If you want your LJ friends to be able to access protected entries, etc, this would enable them to do so. It's not creating a new account or anything like that. I don't think that it will merge accounts with the same user name, but I'm not positive about that.

After hanging on for a long while, I've finally pulled the trigger & deleted my LJ. I've been on DW since 2009, and imported my LJ then. I haven't been regularly crossposting for years now, but I still had a few friends on LJ & mainly kept my account active to read them. This is the final straw, though. (And there have been a lot of straws.)
posted by dryad at 12:00 PM on December 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


LJ has been my RSS reader for years. I would miss my last three remaining updating friends. :(
posted by jillithd at 12:02 PM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Anyone who thinks that having the Russian-company-owned servers in Russia rather than the US makes a significant difference in their effective data privacy is just nuts. There are reasons to put your servers in certain countries rather than others if you're worried about aggressive copyright enforcement, but, geez, if Russians already control the data--and they do--then moving the servers does little to nothing worse. And if someone's maliciously decided to retain the data, then "deleting" your account isn't going to do you any good, either.

I mean, I do understand not wanting any association of your work with Russia at all, so delete if it bothers you, but the sudden panic is bizarre to me (the First Amendment? Really?). The most appropriate time to freak out was several years ago when Six Apart sold out.
posted by praemunire at 12:06 PM on December 30, 2016 [22 favorites]


I drifted away from LJ rather than deciding to leave. My friends list just got less and less active until I stopped checking my feed.

It actually makes me feel quite sad in hindsight. I made some really great friends on LJ, but we all slowly drifted away. Not so much apart - just away. Some of it was the great splintering of fandom platforms, and some of it was getting older and busier. I wonder if could contact some of them now without it being too awkward.

I really do miss them sometimes. :(
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:09 PM on December 30, 2016 [15 favorites]


The most appropriate time to freak out was several years ago when Six Apart sold out.

you're asking a community of creatives to freak out at the practical, technological implications and not at abstract signifiers

strike one, buddy
posted by runt at 12:11 PM on December 30, 2016 [15 favorites]


I think there were a lot of folks out there (myself included) who were occasional LJ users and kind of meant to leave but had significant things keeping them there - like, oh, friendships? Embarrassing number of years of journal entries? Good memories? That kind of stuff. I've been on LiveJournal longer than pretty much any other thing on the internet. My email account is years younger than my LJ. Facebook didn't even exist when I started using it.

I knew in the back of my mind that I probably ought to move on. But I needed a last straw, and this was it. I agree I probably should have bounced a long time ago.
posted by potrzebie at 12:18 PM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


My concern, and I am not a lawyer, is whether this move means LGBTQ-friendly blogs can be prosecuted under the propaganda law. Granted, many people have been freaking out due to data breaches, disappearing content, increased malware advertising, and perceived censorship since the Russian buyout so this isn't new.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:20 PM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


The most appropriate time to freak out was several years ago when Six Apart sold out.

Six Apart sold Livejournal to SUP in 2007, which is to say nearly a decade ago.

That assumes that many, many people didn't make changes then. I think I've logged into LJ maybe once in the past 7-8 years, looking for an old post, and started shifting away from it at the time of that original sale. All the fandom stuff I follow is now on AO3 and Tumblr. Lots of people did make changes to how they were using the service at the time that happened; others are making changes now, and a lot of those are people who likely weren't actually using the service or were just starting to use it at the time that Six Apart was last involved.

A lot of the people impacted now, today, are Russians. In Russia. Virtually everything they do will involve Russian companies. They aren't going to be able to live a life without interacting with any company in Russia. They're allowed to prefer that their data be hosted elsewhere without being purists about not interacting with any company headquartered in the same country they live in. The fact that they didn't currently exist in perfect safety doesn't mean that this change doesn't suggest that things are about to be less safe than they were before.
posted by Sequence at 12:21 PM on December 30, 2016 [21 favorites]


Moving that quantity of data across an ocean and duplicating the infrastructure to serve it up is no small feat (and no, they did not ship physical servers to Russia); to panic now because the gateway IP finally switched over is closing the missile silo doors post-launch. What would LJ be without freak-outs though?

I have physically moved a bunch of LJ servers and one literally gave me a hernia. Got some cool scars out of it at least.
posted by bizwank at 12:25 PM on December 30, 2016 [9 favorites]


Barbelith>LJ>FB

The names got realer and realer and the assholes got weeded out. Still, I miss the anonymity and the freedom of conversation it brought.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 12:25 PM on December 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Anyone who thinks that having the Russian-company-owned servers in Russia rather than the US makes a significant difference in their effective data privacy is just nuts.

So I had a whole comment written out to that effect (and agree with on the whole, esp. about that First Amendment nonsense) until I read the thing I linked above. Specifically this part (I cleaned up the translation a bit so it won't match the link exactly):
During this period, Russia had jailed not less than a thousand people for posts, replies, likes, shares, retweets and crossposts in social networks. but none of the indictment were based on the user data received by the security forces from LiveJournal Inc administration service in California. In my own criminal case has syskarey correspondence with the [LiveJournal Inc] administration contained a polite but categorical refusal to provide my personal data, as the request does not contain any legal basis for its disclosure.

There is no longer a basis for such refusal. Since LiveJournal is now physically hosted on the territory of Russia, all the confidential information of service users is available for domestic security services in real time, in accordance with the requirements of SORM SORM-2 and-3 to the Russian sites.
So if I am interpreting all this correctly, this individual claims that the Russian-owned company refused to give over to Russian authorities information located on a server in California, and now that will no longer be the case.

I don't think there's a threat to non-Russian based users that didn't exist ten years ago.

Any Russian-speakers please feel free to contradict my correction of the translation.
posted by griphus at 12:27 PM on December 30, 2016 [19 favorites]


Even if the move to Russia doesn't result in changes to LJ and its users, the removal of HTTPS means that bad actors between you and LJ can now snoop at your internet traffic. LJ doesn't need to hand over my stuff if you can just scoop it up unencrypted.
posted by boubelium at 12:32 PM on December 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


The names got realer and realer and the assholes got weeded out.

Yeah, that's a hard pass on my explicit Doctor Who fic being linked in any way, shape or form to my real name. Presence of assholes > my boss knowing about my selfcest kink.

I've been meaning to archive and delete my LJs for ages.

I'll tell you all one thing, being on LJ after it was bought by SUP and became a central platform for Russian opposition was a pretty good intro to what happens when Putin decides he'd like you to be quiet now. State-sponsored DDOSes on LJ were frequent occurrences and hey rest of the world, thanks for electing all our favorite candidates, and that sure is a nice internet you have there, it'd be a real shame if someone were to say something mean about us and something happened to it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:40 PM on December 30, 2016 [12 favorites]


In case someone wants to try a new thing, imzy [wiki] has open registrations now.

I've had a LJ since 2003 and at some time I even bought a perm account, but it's been gathering dust for years. Even the DW account I migrated to has been unused. Nowadays it's tumblr for nerdery, twitter for socializing and facebook for the family.
posted by sukeban at 12:45 PM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Dreamwidth unfortunately doesn't really have image hosting, and unfortunately most of my old stuff on LJ was pretty image-heavy. Wordpress.com?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:56 PM on December 30, 2016


Also, I have a lot of hope for Imzy having come to the conclusion that online spaces need 1) boundaries other than tagging ontology and 2) a banhammer. But it's still feels very small.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:58 PM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


In retrospect, I should have highlighted the removal of SSL more in this post instead of focusing so much on the server move.

Carrie Stevens, in commenting on this move, tweets: "Last summer, Russia passed laws that require service providers to retain communications & metadata: 'New Russian Data Laws Worry Rights Activists, Telecom Companies'"

"What is going on with LiveJournal?" has more questions and concerns from an LJ user.

Sokka shot first, I hope you do not feel bad that you made a thing that is useful to you! For all I know, some of those other command-line tools are not actively maintained or aren't maintained by a person who is in my communities and is responsive; I'm glad you made one.

Most LJ support requests are openly readable, which is how I found one where a user is hoping the servers have moved to Russia so LJ users won't be subject to the Orwellian US censorship regime.
posted by brainwane at 1:02 PM on December 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


At least until the Republicans pass a "gay propaganda" law at least.

Given that LJ is open-source, someone could set up a LGBT+-friendly LJ-alike in a sympathetic jurisdiction like, say, Sweden or Germany or somewhere.

(OTOH, LiveJournal and its variants are also based on ancient legacy Perl code from the 90s, and lack modern amenities like an OAuth-based RESTful API (hence not much of an app ecosystem), so perhaps it's time for someone to write a modern LJ-alike that's not saddled with tech debt. Anyone who has ever lurked on the Dreamwidth announcement list will know that their tech progress reports are basically variations on sweeping out the Augean stables of buggy old code that dates back to when Linux came on floppies.)
posted by acb at 1:06 PM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Brainwane: Not at all. I always had the sense that I was probably duplicating a lot of functionality, and—the tool was useful to ME, and I learned a lot making it, so no, no hard feelings whatsoever. :)

Anyway. Maybe it's finally time to make that "Imzy opened to the public" post...
posted by Sokka shot first at 1:17 PM on December 30, 2016


this individual claims that the Russian-owned company refused to give over to Russian authorities information located on a server in California, and now that will no longer be the case

I think you're right that it's potentially at least (I don't pretend to understand the inner workings there) a signal that any liberal resistance in the company to state control is done.

But Russia is not a country currently enjoying the rule of law. It's very difficult for me to imagine successful resistance to any state order re: data regardless of where the servers are located. In the United States, a company might at least in theory put up a jurisdictional/extraterritoriality fight for years, court rulings would probably be respected, and (under most circumstances) extralegal forms of persuasion would not be attempted against the company. In Russia, they'll just keep breaking your fingers til you give them what they want and/or hack your systems and take it.
posted by praemunire at 1:23 PM on December 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


I wonder why they dropped the HTTPS support -- if they were completely under state control they would keep HTTPS on since it would still have the appearance of security for unsophisticated users. Plausable deniability for the state? A canary to warn users?
posted by benzenedream at 1:25 PM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just look at the latest lj pictures (note: randomly very
NSFW)
posted by hexatron at 1:28 PM on December 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've been hosting that LJ images page (linked just above) for a long time... I may finally sunset that. I don't have any specific reasons to, but my vague discomfort has been growing steadily for years.
posted by danny the boy at 1:36 PM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


They're allowed to prefer that their data be hosted elsewhere without being purists about not interacting with any company headquartered in the same country they live in

"Hosting your data elsewhere" means hosting it with a company not already actually under the power of the Russian government. This is not a question of being a purist, this is a question of not deluding yourself on an issue where it's important to be realistic. If people were under the impression that their data kept with a Russian company run by people who live/work/have roots in Russia was even vaguely safe, then they were kidding themselves. I guess, then, if this is what it takes to snap them out of it, it will be a good thing. But the harm is done.

It wouldn't exactly surprise me if this move turned out to be part of an initiative to further lock down social media in Russia and/or bring increased pressure on Russian activists who use social media, but in itself it doesn't change much.
posted by praemunire at 1:55 PM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Just imported my old blog to Dreamwidth, as well as my ongoing translation of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight (currently about half done; I keep telling myself I'll start again).
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:32 PM on December 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I guess I'm one of the OG Livejournal users with a still-active account. It's been about 16 years (!!!!) and I still log in daily. Sure, it's nothing like the glory days of 2004-2006ish, but I have a close-knit group of friends who also post frequently. Just the other day I commented that my dog was 8.5 years old...and immediately was flooded with comments and memories of the day that I got her!

I've imported my stuff to Dreamwidth and I will move over there if need be, but I'd hate to see LJ disappear. I love the format, the longform blogging platform, the way that friends groups can be set up, the image hosting, etc.
posted by Elly Vortex at 3:44 PM on December 30, 2016 [9 favorites]


Russians took over *my* LJ years ago. I think even they've lost interest at this point.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:39 PM on December 30, 2016


Yeah, that's a hard pass on my explicit Doctor Who fic being linked in any way, shape or form to my real name. Presence of assholes > my boss knowing about my selfcest kink.

Is it really selfcest if you ship different regenerations? (And now I'm scratching my head trying to remember who I used to follow on Tumblr who had a whole elaborate Doctorcest AU on AO3 with all the time loops planned out and everything so I can recommend them to you.)
posted by dialMforMara at 4:54 PM on December 30, 2016


/first-time commenter

Anyways, I have a personal LJ (since 2006) and I was part of the migration to DW (Dreamwidth) in 2011/2012 after the DDOS attacks made the site near unusable. I left my personal account still active as I had fandom communities that I managed attached to it, but basically, DW is where I do a lot of my fandom things besides AO3 & Tumblr.

I exported my journal over to DW (which was painless) so everything is safe, so all I am doing is deleting everything on my LJ because I really don't trust the fact that SUP has physical access to the data and as the servers are not located in the US, that makes it really iffy for trusting that my data is secure. Especially without HTTPS.

Right now I'm running a program called LJ-sec that's letting me delete over 800 posts at once. My stuff. Not yours, SUP.
posted by tlwright at 5:10 PM on December 30, 2016 [3 favorites]



Is it really selfcest if you ship different regenerations?


Um. Clones and/or versions of the same person from different dimensions. If that's wrong (and I'm pretty sure it is), I don't want to be right.

posted by soren_lorensen at 5:27 PM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]



Barbelith>LJ>FB

The names got realer and realer and the assholes got weeded out. Still, I miss the anonymity and the freedom of conversation it brought.


Are you using a version of FB where the assholes have been weeded out, and if so, how can I migrate to it?
posted by tealdeer at 5:38 PM on December 30, 2016 [15 favorites]


I don't think there's a threat to non-Russian based users that didn't exist ten years ago.


Our president is a Russian puppet.

You may want to re-examine your premises for coming to that opinion.
posted by ocschwar at 5:39 PM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


President-elect! We still have 3 more weeks of something resembling a functioning country, and I for one want to savor it.
posted by tealdeer at 5:40 PM on December 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Right now I'm running a program called LJ-sec that's letting me delete over 800 posts at once. My stuff. Not yours, SUP.


I would not be too sure that the it;s doing anything other than hide your posts. Putin's people are good with the cyber.
posted by ocschwar at 5:41 PM on December 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just look at the latest lj pictures (note: randomly very NSFW)

This is a very kitty new year message
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:18 PM on December 30, 2016


@ocschwar That is a good point, and I am double checking with my LJ. So far they're poof. But then again, this is the Internet and somewhere everything lives forever.
posted by tlwright at 6:35 PM on December 30, 2016


tlwright: Bits of mine can be found on web.archive.org but not much.
posted by SansPoint at 6:53 PM on December 30, 2016


Well, that's kind of interesting... my old LJ is missing the last few posts I made on it. (Including the one where I told people that I wouldn't be updating it for the foreseeable future.) Hmm.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:04 PM on December 30, 2016


I've been hosting that LJ images page (linked just above) for a long time... I may finally sunset that. I don't have any specific reasons to, but my vague discomfort has been growing steadily for years.
posted by danny the boy


As a former LJ addict (who dumped it when SUP sold out.) I just wanted to say thank you for hosting that page all these years. <3
posted by keptwench at 7:41 PM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]



At least until the Republicans pass a "gay propaganda" law at least.

Given that LJ is open-source, someone could set up a LGBT+-friendly LJ-alike in a sympathetic jurisdiction like, say, Sweden or Germany or somewhere.


Um. Um. Dreamwidth is right there you guys
posted by sciatrix at 9:50 PM on December 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


I've been trying to get Dreamwidth to properly import my LJ for more than four years now. Sigh. And it only took 11 months for my latest ticket to the support page to get a reply!
posted by TwoStride at 10:06 PM on December 30, 2016


Deleted mine. When they wanted to know why I said "Politics."
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:19 PM on December 30, 2016


Right now I'm running a program called LJ-sec that's letting me delete over 800 posts at once. My stuff. Not yours, SUP.

I would not be too sure that the it;s doing anything other than hide your posts. Putin's people are good with the cyber.


This all seems like a lot of trying to swim upstream in the river of time.

First, why presume a live migration? Maybe the contents of the SF servers were backed up and restored. And even if not, why presume they were wiped? Instead of becoming a static offline archive.

Second, why assume LJ doesn't have regular internal backups under the control of whoever owns it?

Finally, there's nothing to have stopped Russian hackers from having mirrored the contents of LJ (or specific journals of interest) in the past, if there was something to care about there.

Leaving the service seems like the safe move, but I wouldn't rely on any expectation that deletions are effective against the platform owner.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:55 AM on December 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


The only LJ blog that I'm remotely aware of is George RR Martin's. Time for Martin to switch over to Wordpress?

He's holding out for a better Wordpress for WordStar plugin.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:36 AM on December 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I feel as uncomfortable with having my stuff hosted in the US/UK as in Russia. It's not like the UK is any better, what with laws forcing your ISP to log every website you visit and concrete plans to block adult websites which don't meet arbitrary UK age-verification requirements. And the less said about the US approach to internet privacy, the better.

My email is in Germany (with Posteo) and my web stuff is self-hosted on a Netherlands VPS I control. It all has to transit a UK network to reach me, and of course no country is perfect, but I feel more comfortable not just handing everything over on a plate every day. The fact that I'm not using Gmail and Facebook probably already has me on some sort of GCHQ list of awkward buggers. I wouldn't host stuff in the UK if it were free.

The change from SSL to plain HTTP in this particular case is concerning - I don't understand why a web service in 2016 would drop SSL when the general direction of travel is the other way. But the change in IP address from the US to Russia in itself isn't causing me any particular alarm.
posted by winterhill at 4:27 AM on December 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Obligatory Onion Talk
posted by flabdablet at 5:58 AM on December 31, 2016


Um. Um. Dreamwidth is right there you guys

It's also in the US (the Bay Area, IIRC). All it'll take is President Pence to adopt an all-Dominionist administration and amalgamate the FBI, DEA and NSA into an Inquisition to hunt down queers and D&D players and it becomes functionally the Dutch National Archive during WW2.

Canada should be safe (for now). Germany (notwithstanding its position in the middle of the Central European Plain) should be safe (“here, we have fascism in our past; you, however, might have it in your future”). Scandinavia should be OK unless the Sweden Democrats and/or Anders Breivik's old chums in Norway get into power (which, until this year, most would have dismissed as a possibility). Iceland has good privacy laws and a solid culture of democracy, but it's not Switzerland, and if the international order collapses, one side or the other will grab it and impose whatever order is expedient to them. It may be interesting to see whether Ireland strives to distinguish itself from an increasingly closed Britain, and/or if Scotland gains its independence, what it will do.
posted by acb at 6:11 AM on December 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Migrating my LJ to DreamWidth. I'm mildly frustrated. I'm not a super-savvy user and don't really have a firm grasp on the situation, but I don't feel I have the time to actually do all the reading and learning necessary to get a firm grasp, and I feel the MeFi community overall has a general degree of savviness that is definitely above addressing.

Like when the mechanic tells you you need a replacement part for your car that will be $500 and you think well, I don't completely understand this, but he's a mechanic and I'm not. So here I am migrating.

I miss LJ. 10 years ago I belonged to a tiny little corner of the site composed of book nerds from around the world, some of whom I got to meet IRL. Now most of us are friends on FaceBook, but it's definitely not the same. I still update occasionally, but it's just an update to a personal log now.
posted by bunderful at 6:41 AM on December 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


Archiveteam has only done some spidering to try to list all the blogs there; have not started backing any of them up AFAIK.
posted by joeyh at 6:52 AM on December 31, 2016


A degree of savviness that is above average. I don't even know how that happened.
posted by bunderful at 7:38 AM on December 31, 2016


For those of you who are installing ljArchive to run a backup of everything, you may have issues syncing with the latest release. I just got a doctype error, for example. The solution is in this thread - there's a patched version that should work.
posted by gchucky at 10:04 AM on December 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


This datacenter move is nice for Russian non-dissidents, and anti-USG dissidents, at least, I guess. They go from being definitely pwned by the Russian Federation (via company ownership) and the USG (via physical location) to being definitely pwned by the Kremlin and only maybe by the USG. Seems prudent with the USG president making all these cyber threats.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 12:27 PM on December 31, 2016


If 2016 takes ONTD too, I might die.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:52 PM on December 31, 2016


I wonder what ONTD will do after this.

Well, ONTD-Political has been pretty much dead, after playing it's minor part in making sure that Clinton was defeated. Recently, the only one posting of note is an alleged Leftist activist who's been positing repeated attacks against the DNC.

My guess is that ONTD has fulfilled it's role, and will be mothballed until 2018 and 220, when it will again be full of Leftists who will be attacking the Democratic candidates. Until then, it will deny that there is any problem at all with LJ being headquartered in Russia.
posted by happyroach at 6:15 PM on December 31, 2016


Uh, I'm thinking ThePinkSuperhero is talking about ONTD, the original. I would certainly miss it!
posted by jillithd at 7:18 AM on January 1


Thanks for the heads up. Most of what's gone on my lj the last several years is my comics, since a bunch of people use it as a feed for that, but there's plenty of personal shit and I do make comics critical of Trump's relationship with Putin. Probably no one cares unless someone really runs out of gay propaganda to go after (gay propaganda: I exist, fuck off if you don't like it) but I don't need to turn a blind eye to what's happening to queers in other countries, or to Ukrainian dissidents, or to any of the other numerous people Putin doesn't like. My lj is going to be deleted as soon as dreamwidth finishes the import.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:50 AM on January 1


This datacenter move is nice for Russian non-dissidents, and anti-USG dissidents, at least

Or at least it might have been had the Russians not installed a puppet government in the US.
posted by acb at 12:16 PM on January 1


I was just talking to someone today about how much we missed LJ. I opted out in 2007, due to stuff related to censorship and the sale, but the community there has never been replicated anywhere else for me since.

I waver a decade later on whether leaving was the right thing to do.
posted by EinAtlanta at 1:03 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Well, technically, LJ pretty much seems to be running more or less smoothly, the horrible glitches seem to have been fixed. the changes that killed the fanfic and roleplaying groups, well...

But the community, well that's pretty much dead. From my perspective, what really killed it was things like Racefail and the dedicated efforts of people like Requires Hate. There really is't much left except for a few good blogs, like James Nicoll, heron61 and rfmcdpei.
posted by happyroach at 3:21 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


I'm not panicking. But I did go ahead and delete my LJ. It was already friends-only and crossposted from DW; it's a small step to remove it completely.
Not that I trust the US government, because I don't. But I don't trust the Russian government, and SUP, one bit either. And I do trust the staff at Dreamwidth.
Mark this remark from Mark, one of the owners:
I want to personally say that Dreamwidth is committed to openness and protecting the privacy of our users and their data. While we must of course follow United States law, we take a very strong position on the protection of your data. We'll do everything we can to be the best we can in this area. In other words, see the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Who Has Your Back? 2015 report. While Dreamwidth is too small to be evaluated by the EFF, I am committing us to earning all 5 stars. Stay tuned for more on this from us in 2017.

I think that particularly in the current political climate of the United States (and the world) it is very important for people to take a stand for what they believe in. So: I believe that real, honest privacy and using an online service should not be incompatible goals -- and as much as it is within our power, Dreamwidth will be a place you can have real, honest privacy.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:16 AM on January 2


[A couple of links deleted from the post by request of OP for privacy reasons.]
posted by taz at 6:37 AM on January 2


Hmm, turns out that the teenage LiveJournal I thought I deleted years ago still exists. Of course I forget the login information, and the only email addresses associated with it are ones I no longer have access to. Luckily all but the top post was set to friends-only. Is this something I should lose sleep about assuming 90% of my posts were benign American teenager shit (though I was a bit of an activist back in the day...)?
posted by mostly vowels at 1:14 PM on January 2


As a techie, I too am a bit mystified at the sudden panic at the servers physically moving to Russia... but as someone who has wanted people to get off of LJ for some time, I'm certainly not one to complain.

Ideally, though, we'd all be using some distributed *waves hands* encrypted system where our posts are not stored in plaintext on central servers... but I'll take Dreamwidth over nothing. :-)
posted by Belostomatidae at 12:54 PM on January 3


It's kind of galling to finally realise I was probably not ever going to go back to LJ, despite being one of the "permanent" users. The sale to SUP and some of the subsequent site-degrading changes were the biggest reason I wasn't keeping up with things there (oh, how I missed being able to go back to the last time I'd read & get caught up in one big binge!), and trying to restart during a heavy DDOS attack period was less than satisfying.

Because of all that, I'd mirrored my LJ to DW years ago but there was some glitch getting the comments over. Fixed that yesterday. No idea if I'll actually post on DW, but I guess we'll see.

In the meantime, I've joined Imzy (thanks for noting it's open!) and am still stubbornly designing that fanciful platform in my head where the people and the data and the fun are all hanging out together without causing security nightmares for anyone.
posted by batmonkey at 1:59 PM on January 3


The new Dreamwidth signups had been slowing down, and then today the stats show that yesterday saw the hugest spike since 2011, almost 25,000 new signups in a single day. I wonder if something provoked a new wave of imports.
posted by brainwane at 2:49 PM on January 19


The new Dreamwidth signups had been slowing down, and then today the stats show that yesterday saw the hugest spike since 2011, almost 25,000 new signups in a single day. I wonder if something provoked a new wave of imports.

Could it be the idea that the unfortunate events of tomorrow might potentially embolden the Russian government?
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:47 PM on January 19


The new Dreamwidth signups had been slowing down, and then today the stats show that yesterday saw the hugest spike since 2011, almost 25,000 new signups in a single day. I wonder if something provoked a new wave of imports.

Payment processors are cracking down on 'indecency.' Fetlife has lost its merchant accounts, for example, and a bunch of edgier groups were deleted. Is that 25K all LJ imports?
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:55 PM on January 19


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