rm (rm) wrote,

LJ Advisory Board

Well, I've been officially certified as a candidate in the LJ Advisory Board Election and I've been offered the opportunity to talk a little bit about where I stand in a post that will be linked to from the poll.

Four questions were suggested to all the candidates for this post, and since this isn't a format I've pursued before, I decided to run with it.

As some of you know, I will actually be in Sicily for the next week (I leave later today), so my access may be sporadic during that time, but what online time I have will be dedicated to this election process, which I believe has the potential to make LJ a better place regardless of the outcome.

What do you think is the value of LJ?

For me personally, LJ has been a way to stay in touch with friends, hone my writing and document my life for myself, and at least intermittently, for the amusement of others. I met my partner here. I found support when I was diagnosed with a rather unpleasant genetic disease. And I have fun talking about the things I'm passionate about from fencing to fandom.

While those LJ experiences are far from uncommon, they don't even begin to speak to the totality of LJ's value both as a platform for personal expression and a tool for community development. LJ gives the user the unique ability to feel both less alone in the world and more singular, whether on issues serious or trivial.

LJ allows users to experience both the world as they wish it to be, through connections with like-minded individuals, and to witness the world as it is through exposure to those of completely different circumstances and views.

What changes would you like to see LJ make in the next year?

The number one issue has to be better and more respectful communications between LJ and its users. Every other concern (and there are a whole bunch we'll get to in just a second) can only be addressed if this happens. That means LJ has to recognize that users generate the content that brings in even more users that in turn generate the revenue in an ideally constant cycle. LJ's users -- free, plus and paid -- are the building blocks of the revenue model and should be treated accordingly.

What does that mean?

  • It means we need a clear TOS that is uniformly enforced.
  • It means we need communication with users whenever the TOS is updated.
  • It means we need a system for dealing with abuse and other user concerns that is transparent and allows users to present their side of the case -- justice without defense or appeal is not justice.
  • It means we need an LJ administration that recognizes and is comfortable with the diversity of its users and their interests.

    Practically, what needs to happen in the next year?

    LJ needs to finally resolve the free speech issues that began with Strikeout and Boldthrough. While as a private corporation LJ has the right to decide what type of content it will and won't allow, my argument is for the broadest range of speech permissible under the laws of California (where LJ is incorporated). This level of free speech should be the right of all LJ users, regardless of location or topic. Political speech needs to be protected. Religious speech needs to be protected. Creative speech needs to be protected. If it's legal speech it should be permissible on LJ.

    LJ is a platform. Not a parent.

    LJ needs to address disability issues. This includes getting the ALT tag working for our visually impaired users and apologizing to users with mental health/illness issues for essentially erasing their existence from the site in the debacle with the top 100 interests list.

    LJ needs to honor its original commitments made to the users. These include the ongoing availability of free accounts and the right of every user to experience an ad-free LJ if they so choose.

    Why do you want to be the elected representative?

    To be frank, I hemmed and hawed about running at the beginning. This job is going to be hard. It's going to be time-consuming and it's going to be thankless.

    But the fact remains that I have a set of unique characteristics and credentials that make me believe I am the person who can most make the LJ powers-that-be listen.


  • I currently have early adopter, paid and free accounts.
  • I am a professional author whose publisher advertises on the site.
  • I have an extensive professional background in public relations and marketing.
  • I have the previous experience of working for an on-line community of which I was also an active part.
  • I already have a good rapport with staff members on several of the current user concerns. At the same time, I have no personal friendships or loyalties to the staff or other powers that be.
  • I am relentless, clear, and systematic when it comes to problem solving.
  • I love LJ with all my heart, but I am not a cheerleader. I will call it like I see it, and can be both diplomatic and aggressive.
  • I am resilient.
  • I am an active and proud part of fandom (HP, Torchwood/Doctor Who, Riverside, His Dark Materials, Kushiel, etc.)

    Everything that makes me not cuddly in most circumstances makes me perfect for this job.

    What do you think are the community's greatest concerns?

    Communication. Respect. The safety to be ourselves. The right to be ourselves. What the TOS really means. Free expression. A high quality user experience. Features that work. Features that matter. Preservation of community. Preservation of LJ's unique culture. Accessibility. Usability.

    vote RM!
    Keeping LJ a place we want to be;
    Making LJ a place we want to stay.

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