*squeaks in terror*
A big blanket thank you to everyone who commented and passed around the link so people can see the exchange for themselves.
But I also feel like I need to reiterate something that I've said previously: 6A/LJ is private property. I understand that. I also understand that 6A/LJ has the right to dictate the terms under which we use their service.
My problem with 6A/LJ is the same as it's always been: Sucktastic customer service, of which the linking issue is just the latest example.
The policy as spelled out by "Alice" (who I think is simply a nom de plume used by all members of LJAbuse) has not been spelled out in any public forum where customers can read it over for themselves, it's not part of the ToS as it currently exists, and it's yet another example of 6A/LJ going back on its word that we the customers would have at least some input into any major policy changes.
I also understand what exactly "Alice's" message said: As it stands LJ will not be seeking out and checking your links for ToS'able content. Instead, they plan to leave that to the trolls who'll have easy access to a "Report Abuse" button when they finally find something in your old posts that will make your life marginally more difficult.
LJ also will not suspend or delete you for ToS'able links, nor will it count as one of the two strikes against you, provided they can tell from the context that the link was not ToS'able at the time you posted it (i.e., some porn-porn-porn operator is now where your cool link used to be).
Of course, where this leaves people who are posting ToS'able links because they want to discuss an issue/situation/problem that's being discussed elsewhere is really an open question.
Also left for an open question: What will constitute "proof" to the satisfaction of LJAbuse that you didn't mean to post a link to dirty-bad-wrong-dot-com? We've already seen evidence that artists slapping "these characters are over 18" all over their erotic artwork are still getting suspended and strikes against them whenever LJAbuse randomly decides that the disclaimer is a big ol' lie.
In short, my big ol' problem with the linking issue — other than the fact that I've never encountered anything like it in the more than 10 years I've been online — is that "Alice's" word does not hold the same weight as a public post on one of the official forums. We also (again) have no transparency about the process LJAbuse goes through to investigate a complaint, guidelines that LJAbuse has to follow when reaching a resolution, or a step-by-step process a customer can go through to appeal a "strike" if it is leveled against their journal.
In short, we're relying on the word of someone who is probably a volunteer with no decision-making authority discussing the linking issue in broad terms in private messages. Someone higher up in the food chain can counter the assurances given (such as they are) and do something completely different.
Besides, it's not like 6A/LJ has gone back on its public and official statements to the customer base over the past few months, is it. [/sarcasm]
Because, remember, we are responsible for what we link to and we've been told that it's probably a good idea to go back and check our links. Not just any blogroll we've got to the right or the left of our entries, but every single link ever linked in an entry.
That's not even taking into account that we, the customers, still don't have very clear guidelines about what's ToS'able and what isn't. Somewhere between the (not allowed) child porn and the (allowed) Nazi-white-power-race-baiting communities is a big ol' field of grey that is not defined at all.
It's that field of grey that's the killer. Step onto the wrong shade grey, even if it (from your point of view) is a lighter shade of grey than the stuff that's allowed, you could find yourself with (at the very least) a suspended journal and a strike closer to the banhammer.
And on another note:
If I hear "child porn" or even just "porn" thrown out one. more. time. as an "example" of what's ToS'able, I'm going to scream.
For the last freaking time people, this isn't about child porn or any other kind of porn. Child porn is the shiny, shiny, shiny example that 6A/LJ keeps throwing out hoping that it'll get the discontents to shut the hell up. It's the big, fat, ugly stick that certain trolls and outside parties who want to "clean up LJ" are using to beat people who've got the temerity to disagree with them and call them exactly what they are: "trolls and vigilantes." It's the big ol' paintbrush that is being used to paint everyone who's pissed off about 6A/LJ's bad customer service as drama queens and whiners.
In short, it's the weapon people are trying to use to shut down debate about what is fundamentally a bad customer service issue.
So for the last time:
Thinking that LJ/6A is overstepping its bounds; asking LJ/6A to finally come clean and update the damn ToS so that everyone is clear about the ground rules; and demanding transparency in the overall disciplinary process does not equal drama queening because someone is taking away the Harry Potter pr0n or harshing on fandom's dirty little pleasures.
I'm not saying that there's no drama queening going on (because God knows there most certainly is), and I'm not saying that for some people that it really is about the right to access porn of all stripes (because God knows that for some people it is).
The fact is that for an awful lot of us (probably the majority) it's about demanding that 6A/LJ act like responsible landlords, grow a damn spine, and start treating us like customers instead of a disposable resource made up of misfits incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time.
So, for God's sake, stop saying that it's all about porn. Because it isn't.