LiveJournal now bans political talk, LGBT talk.
April 10, 2017 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Thanks to Russian Internet laws, LiveJournal posters are forbidden from certain topics of interest. Now that LiveJournal is now owned by Russians and the servers are there, LiveJournal has now banned "political solicitation" discussion, which can refer to fun things such as criticism of the Russian government and talking about anything LGBT-related such as slashfic. Yes, this applies to you even if you're not in Russia.

From the io9 link:
"earlier this week the user agreements were changed to prohibit “post[ing] advertising and/or political solicitation materials unless otherwise directly specified in a separate agreement between User and the Administration,” or “perform[ing] any other actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation.” In addition, any blogs that get over 3,000 visitors per days are now classified as media outlets, so they can no longer publish anonymously, use obscene language or share “extremist materials.” The new agreement is designed to put the site in compliance with Russia’s internet laws."

From engadget:
"Your data is up for grabs as well as it will be "available to [Live Journal] and may be used at its own discretion legally, including targeting the advertising to the User." And if you allow it, your IP address "may be available" to other users on the service.
But since LiveJournal is Russian-owned and its servers reside on Putin's soil, the most that can happen to non-Russian users is their accounts can get shut down. Folks in-country, however, may face a different set of consequences."

Given that some famous science fiction authors such as George R.R. Martin and other well known sites like ONTD still remain on LiveJournal for the moment, it's reasonable to wonder if those people can/will move their journals. MeFi's Own cstross is moving his private account already. Looks like some others are too.
posted by jenfullmoon (59 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
This new Russian era is going to be a real peach.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:04 PM on April 10, 2017 [20 favorites]

I moved mine when they bought it which was a while back. Ten years?
posted by Peach at 3:06 PM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Although I did it almost a year ago, I feel uncomfortable that I didn't delete and purge my old Livejournal sooner. The Kompromat potential is equal parts hilarious and daunting.
posted by theraflu at 3:10 PM on April 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

Makes me glad I wrote everything there in such a veiled way. That used to annoy me; why can't I write about things clearly and plainly? Now, well...

My last post was a little over a year ago. I guess it's well past time to just archive and restructure what I can and let go. LiveJournal was a special place for me; but as we continue to stumble into the cyberpunk dystopia promised in my youth, I guess that kind of social writing is going to just die out. Nearly everyone in a position to do anything about it seems determined to turn the internet into TV 2.0, with any potential for threats to hegemony and authority scrubbed out.
posted by byanyothername at 3:11 PM on April 10, 2017 [9 favorites]

I'm sure Katrina vanden Heuval will be along shortly with an op-ed telling us this is all cool.
posted by PMdixon at 3:17 PM on April 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

Jesus. I had a LJ blog for years and years, back when they were a home for cranky misfits of every orientation. I used to post about my drag club adventures, moan about my bad gender days, all that. Now my entire existence would be a violation of their TOS.

Maybe this is one for Ask Metafilter, but does anybody know how the hell I can download/archive my entire LiveJournal, before they purge me or they go kaput? I'd like to have some way to save the whole damn thing, but I've never found a program that did the job. I've used LJarchive, but it still seems to be connected to the LJ server somehow and I get the feeling that if LJ ever went away my archive would too.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:24 PM on April 10, 2017 [17 favorites]

My Facebook feed has a small but vocal contingent of people who seem to believe that everything the US government does is shit and everything the Russian government does is legit. I have some amount of sympathy for the former view, but ... really?

(Of course, these people are outnumbered by those who seemed okay with Obama bombing stuff but are outraged by Trump (or Bush) doing same.)
posted by Slothrup at 3:25 PM on April 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

@Ursula Hitler you can probably back it up at Dreamwidth somehow? I haven't done it, but I know others who have.

There's a way to crosspost on both Dreamwidth and Wordpress using If This, Then That commands, if you want to truly host your own content.
posted by subdee at 3:29 PM on April 10, 2017

Ursula Hitler, if you get on Dreamwidth, you can use their LJ importer (it's processing a longer-than usual queue at the moment). Here's a guide.

If you don't want to use Dreamwidth, ArchiveTeam recommends some backup/export tools.
posted by brainwane at 3:32 PM on April 10, 2017 [16 favorites]

over 3,000 visitors per day

Well, that's not a metric anybody could possibly manipulate, is it?
posted by Sequence at 3:32 PM on April 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

On Dreamwidth, you can also claim your OpenID account to your Dreamwidth account. If someone else copied their LJ to Dreamwidth, your LJ comments will show up as the OpenID ";" claiming the OpenID to your Dreamwidth account makes those old comments redirect to your new Dreamwidth instead.
posted by nicebookrack at 3:37 PM on April 10, 2017

For mass deletion/backup, my go-to app has been the older but still servicable LJ-Sec client. There isn't a way to mass-delete Livejournal entries without a client.
posted by nicebookrack at 3:38 PM on April 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Isn't banning slashfic from LiveJournal approximately like banning trees from a forest?
posted by Wolfdog at 3:40 PM on April 10, 2017 [38 favorites]

. LiveJournal

no doubt many powerful people in the 'Land of the Free' are watching this and taking notes. (I'm looking at you, Peter Thiel, Facebook part-owner)
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:42 PM on April 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

I've been moving the fandom communities that I control over to DW when the news hit, I think last week around Thursday or Friday. I'll have to purge some of them off LJ since they do have some slashfic in them, but the only thing in my personal LJ is a notice that I've moved over to DW.

Many of my fandom friends have been moving their stuff that didn't make it over to DW in the last migration which was Dec 2011/2012, when the DDOS attacks started.
posted by tlwright at 3:42 PM on April 10, 2017

🚨 Vladimir Walking post 🚨, anyone?
posted by acidic at 3:48 PM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Folks who are new to Dreamwidth: here's a "getting started" community you might like to join, with tips and links to communities where people are meeting new people to befriend.

I had previously misunderstood some of the new Dreamwidth user stats and accidentally inflated them - DW co-owner Denise says, "one new user creating an account and then importing their journal from LJ can cause dozens or even hundreds of new 'accounts` (actually OpenID placeholders) to be created in order to properly attribute comments".
posted by brainwane at 3:50 PM on April 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Related and ominous: Chechnya has opened concentration camps for gay men.
. . .
posted by eviemath at 4:08 PM on April 10, 2017 [17 favorites]

Related and ominous: Chechnya has opened concentration camps for gay men.

Chechnya's warlord, Kadyrov, rules there on Putin's suffrance. I wonder if this is a trial balloon; try it in the laboratory that is Chechnya and then expand it to Russia proper, perhaps reviving all that old gulag infrastructure sitting idle...
posted by acb at 4:35 PM on April 10, 2017 [8 favorites]

The Dreamwidth import is pretty quick and easy! This was the last straw for me as well.
posted by corb at 4:48 PM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

It is a sad day for LJ, viewed over the long run, but the contrarian in me gets a little annoyed when people act like it's a shocking new crisis. No, guys, the minute a Russian company bought LJ, it became subject to Russian laws. The TOS, honestly, has f-all to do with it.
posted by praemunire at 4:55 PM on April 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

But of course, the US is just as bad, criticizing Russia is just a new red scare, Russia today is the moral equivalent of global socialism and therefore good, any counterweight power to the US is good because the US is so terrible, etc etc.
posted by Frowner at 4:55 PM on April 10, 2017 [14 favorites]

There was a whole big thing linked on Kotsko's lefty blog (which blog I really like, actually, normally) about how really this whole "Russia is homophobic" thing is just an anti-Russia scare got up by the West as a political thing. This left internationalist woman wrote a huge piece about how actually, all the gay men targed in Russia were pedophiles, so beating and burning them on YouTube was not really that bad, and we in the West were just being fooled into thinking that they were ordinary gay men. Her whole post was full of "debunking" these awful violent videos of, like, teenage gay boys being beat up.

Naturally, "identity politics" are totally unnecessary because bold revolutionary comrades are totes on the side of the queers.
posted by Frowner at 4:59 PM on April 10, 2017 [30 favorites]

In the aughts, there was the Great Purge of In 2017, it was the purge of Livejournal.

Your fandom, too, could be next.

The internet may not be as forever as we might like.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 5:04 PM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have an old livejournal that I never really used for anything important. Tempted to leave a big ol' pro-LGBT screed and an F-you to Putin on there and see how long it takes for them to delete it.
posted by Aleyn at 5:26 PM on April 10, 2017 [6 favorites]

I feel the same way, Aleyn. My livejournal was boring and just me whinging about my terrible, boring life mainly. I feel it's very much time for an update (not that my life is any less boring but maybe I could just use it To Send A Message).
posted by h00py at 5:48 PM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've watched every Livejournal PR fiasco from when they first decided to allow advertising, to Strikethrough, and later the sale to SUP, and... yeah, advertising killed LJ; it just took a while.

I suspect the new Russian Overlords are not going to be crawling through 15 years of fannish and activist history looking for blogs to prosecute; rather, they'll be banning new activity as they notice it, prosecuting anyone in easy reach of Russian law, and selling the email addresses of all open accounts to everyone who'll pay for them.

The new TOS also includes their right to send ads directly to their users, and that's likely much more valuable to them than attempting to enforce Russian content standards on legacy posts from people living on another continent.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:53 PM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

But of course, the US is just as bad, criticizing Russia is just a new red scare, Russia today is the moral equivalent of global socialism and therefore good, any counterweight power to the US is good because the US is so terrible, etc etc.

There's a certain breed of leftist who's so sold on the axiom that the US, as the spiritual home and/or geopolitical manifestation of Capitalism (or, even worse, traitorous Bourgeois Liberalism), is the source of all evil that they're willing to twist themselves in knots into recognising anybody who's against America as being at the very least a Honorary Socialist and thus deserving of uncritical backing. (Think George Galloway heaping praise upon not-even-Marxist tyrants as long as they were sufficiently anti-American in their rhetoric as an archetypal example, though it's too common for one example to epitomise it.) Outside of the reactionary right, support for Putin in the west these days seems to come mostly from these folks.
posted by acb at 5:55 PM on April 10, 2017 [19 favorites]

The Dreamwidth importer doesn't grab images, alas.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:03 PM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

So, if I sign up for Dreamwidth, will I be able to download my archive? I'd like to finally have the whole thing on my hard drive, not just move it to some other site.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:24 PM on April 10, 2017

Among the recommendations from Archive Team for LJ backup tools, I can endorse ljdump - I used it a few months ago to export my LJs (including their comments) to my computer before I deleted my accounts, and it worked well for me. It does require a bit of familiarity with how to use command line tools.
posted by dreamyshade at 6:39 PM on April 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I don't know from command line tools or Python or any of that business. It's surprising how difficult it is to find a tool that just downloads your LiveJournal to one big doc file or something basic like that. I've tried a number of programs over the years and usually they either crashed repeatedly or saved the archive to some format I'd never even heard of and couldn't seem to open no matter what I did.

(This was me.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:46 PM on April 10, 2017

Outside of the reactionary right, support for Putin in the west these days seems to come mostly from these folks.

Just as a reminder, these were the nihilistic leftists who promoted Wikileaks. I'll bet money some of those fools actually have Livejournals.

Identity politics don't matter to a lot of people until it happens to *them*.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:58 PM on April 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

I hadn't used LiveJournal in years and years, but it was an important part of my internet social life in the early 2000s, and I made a lot of lasting friendships there. I'd been thinking about deleting my account there for a long time, but I had a permanent account (lifetime paid membership) that I thought might be worth hanging onto - but this latest news was the last straw and I deleted my account over the weekend.

For those of you comfortable using the command line to run some well-documented steps, there's a MetaFilter project from Sokka shot first from last year that made downloading my journal to XML files very easy. I'm not sure if it's possible to import these into Dreamwidth or any other service, but I don't plan to do that anyway - I'm just glad to have my journal backed up to my computer in case I ever want to look up anything I wrote years ago.
posted by jessypie at 7:09 PM on April 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

Some years ago I moved my sad little blog from LiveJournal to Word Press and WP took all my LJ entries without a fuss. I'm kind of hoping that someone is telling GRRM it's well past time he does the same thing.
posted by Ber at 7:14 PM on April 10, 2017

Related and ominous: Chechnya has opened concentration camps for gay men.

Ominous to the point that if this wasn't real it would read as parody:
The report was published on the 1 April, prompting the spokesperson for Chechnya's Interior Ministry to dismiss the claims as an "April Fools' joke".

The press secretary for Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, described the report as "lies" and stated there were no gay people in Chechnya.

"If there were such people in Chechnya, law-enforcement agencies wouldn't need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning," he said.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:30 PM on April 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am really, really terrified for queer people in Russia.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:04 PM on April 10, 2017 [20 favorites]

"Surely this ..."

-the creators of Ello.
posted by komara at 8:56 PM on April 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

PMdixon: "I'm sure Katrina vanden Heuval will be along shortly with an op-ed telling us this is all cool."

God, there's a name I haven't thought about in YEARS.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:38 PM on April 10, 2017

I've had an LJ for nearly 16 years now - and I'm keeping mine for the sole point of posting pro-LGBTQ articles. Publically. Mine's imported to DreamWidth, if it gets nuked.

Bring it.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:20 PM on April 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

I started my LJ in 2001. While I've been happy at Dreamwidth for several years (I bought a seed membership when they started), it's going to be hard to pull the plug.
posted by suelac at 10:25 PM on April 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

A few years back I mostly quit writing stuff in my LJ and moved to writing it in my own blog, hosted on my own site, which would then cross-post stuff to LJ. And Facebook for what it's worth.

Every time I write a new post I now get an error from the LJ cross poster plugin telling me it didn't go through, because I need to agree to the new TOS first.

And, you know, I just... don't think I will.

Instead I'll see if the archive I pulled when LJ stopped really being a thing is anywhere on my computer, and do a new archive of it if not, and then say so long and thanks for all the fish to Brad's wayward child.

I'm still sleeping with one of the people I met there on a weekly basis. It'll feel weird to have it pretty much Really Gone.
posted by egypturnash at 10:34 PM on April 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

who's so sold on the axiom that the US ... is the source of all evil

American Exceptionalism is nothing if not protean.
posted by non canadian guy at 11:43 PM on April 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

My LJ has been unused since 2007-2009, but I've spent these last three days deleting everything. The worst thing is, around 2004 I bought a perm account.
posted by sukeban at 12:35 AM on April 11, 2017

(By the way, I used LJ-Sec for turning everything into private and then deleting the posts, and Semagic for making a backup of the pictures in scrapbook. I already migrated everything to DW in 2009)
posted by sukeban at 12:37 AM on April 11, 2017

I dunno guys, the worldbuilding in this latest Gibson seems a bit too over the top.
posted by ominous_paws at 5:57 AM on April 11, 2017 [6 favorites]

I mainly just use my LJ these days for reading other accounts, but I'm going to miss it.
posted by drezdn at 5:58 AM on April 11, 2017

Ugh, I've been avoiding signing the new TOS for a while now. I've had a permanent account for a long time and I heard that allegedly the new TOS doesn't apply to paid accounts, but I doubt that's really true. (And apparently you have to accept the new terms to port over to Dreamwidth.)

I wonder what will happen to places like ONTD?
posted by sperose at 6:29 AM on April 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've had an LJ for nearly 16 years now - and I'm keeping mine for the sole point of posting pro-LGBTQ articles.

Let us know how it goes.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:58 AM on April 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Made a backup dump of my LiveJournal in case I want to bring this shit back up on my own webhost (Egad, over 1000 entries between 2002-2011) and deleted it.

Come to think of it, most of it was boring geek rambling. But what could be more hideous LGBT propaganda than happy-boring ramblings of a bisexual transwoman. Egad, reading the blog, someone might get the idea that I was having fun oftentimes - that clearly won't do under Russia's current laws.
posted by wwwwolf at 9:31 AM on April 11, 2017

Is anyone talking about getting a snapshot of everything?
posted by quillbreaker at 10:18 AM on April 11, 2017

From the Engadget piece linked up top -
Facebook is at 21 million monthly users - er, what?
posted by doctornemo at 10:36 AM on April 11, 2017

posted by happyinmotion at 11:41 AM on April 11, 2017

I imported my LJ to DW ages ago, but never deleted my LJ. I'm in the process now of overwriting every post with "ха ха нет" ("ha ha no"), then deleting them, individually. (Using Python.) Juuust in case.
posted by XtinaS at 12:03 PM on April 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I anticipated this when they moved the servers to Moscow a few months ago and relocated everything to dreamwidth. I loved lj and made a lot of friends there, and am sad that this is where we are now.

More significantly, I'm terrified for all LGBT folks in Russia, Chechnya, and other former Soviet states and increasingly worried for us here in the US.
posted by bile and syntax at 12:12 PM on April 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

This left internationalist woman wrote a huge piece about how actually, all the gay men targed in Russia were pedophiles

In kind of a sick parody of concern for the exploited, while one of the anti-gay vigilante groups operating in Russia under "Occupy Gerontophilia" uses fake dating profiles to set up dates between teenagers and older men, sometimes with the implication that the teenagers would be prostituted, they actually publicly humiliate and shame (on film) the teenagers who show up to the meeting.

Meanwhile, a more violent sister group operating under the name "Occupy Pedophilia" has mostly been involved in luring gay teenagers (e.g., a 19 year old who was lured by the promise of meeting with a 16 year old boy, which is above Russia's age of consent; some of the victims who were lured were under 16 themselves) to be threatened, tortured, and sexually assaulted on film. Leaders of the group are (content warning for link, contains disturbing stills from torture videos) on record as saying that they believe all homosexuals are pedophiles. They also believe in a shadowy government conspiracy protecting pedophilia rings (sound familiar? one of the main justifications for Pizzagate was that the operator of the restaurant was a gay man). One of their leaders is a literal neo-Nazi who also founded Format 18.

So the infiltration of this propaganda into Western leftist circles is truly frightening.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:43 PM on April 11, 2017 [7 favorites]

(Honestly if anyone has a problematic obsession with gay teenagers I'd suspect the imprisoned neo-Nazi at the head of Format 18, since he seems to be pretty monomaniacal about bodybuilding, dominating and torturing gay teenagers, pouring urine on them, and filming them with sex toys. The leader of Occupy Gerontophilia has also apparently tried to extort one of his victims into sex, though he later said he was joking. It reminds me a lot of the American cop who wanted to use the court system to force a teenager to take pictures of his genitalia in an underage sexting case that was being inappropriately prosecuted as child pornography -- to my complete lack of surprise he was later found to have preyed on children as young as 11. But that's just armchair psychology: it doesn't have much of a bearing on the political situation, except to illustrate how the oppressive political climate ironically gives cover to actual sexual predators.)
posted by en forme de poire at 2:54 PM on April 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

Grumble. Dreamwidth feels like those pants that I swear are going to fit if I lose 5 pounds and wear the right heels. It's essentially the same platform so I don't know why it feels that way, but it does.
posted by joycehealy at 9:32 AM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Many, many years ago, my friend from college and I used livejournal as the forum for what we called "the fakes," and what I can only describe succinctly as character blogs--basically fictional characters we invented elaborate lives for and blogged about in the first person. There was an ostrich called Susan (lj: smellslikecher) who had a sexual attraction to skyscrapers and an uncle who was an octopus. There was a poet called Dave-id (lj: mahpimpjournal). There was a re-imagining of Antonin Scalia as an impish twelve year old girl (lj: Scalia). There was God, who was a man in a bald wig (lj: goddly). There was Geddy Lee, who was annoying and repetitive (lj: the_gedster). There was a bat who wrote absurdist erotica (lj: mimsymimsy). There was a man who survived by eating only Butter and Twat, and who was into weird capitalization (lj: mmmmtwat). There was a very typical teenage girl who sometimes spouted fountains of politics-based rage (lj: kissandresistme). There were more.

(We also lived out the drama of our early 20s largely via livejournal. I haven't updated mine at all for years, and I haven't updated it in earnest for about a decade. I also used to have a website where I'd post javascript quizzes I wrote, and people would post the results on their livejournals and they'd spread. What a time).

I spent about an hour yesterday giggling about what the Russians will think if and when they run into the fakes.
posted by millipede at 10:27 AM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

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