A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘livejournal

[NEWS] Five Internet links: Geocities, Livejournal, Tumblr, Quora, predictions

  • CityLab takes a look at Geocities, one of the first online platforms for websites, looking at how it tried to create and maintain online neighbourhoods.
  • Ars Technica looks at the promise–sadly unfulfilled–of pioneering blogging platform Livejournal. It really could have been a contender.
  • Think Progress notes, more than a month after the purge by Tumblr of NSFW blogs, the far right remains active there.
  • This Huffington Post India article looks at the rising presence of pro-Hindutva answers put forth by Indian users on Quora.
  • Ars Technica notes that researchers can now, even if you do not actively participate on social media, predict what your content would likely be.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 6, 2019 at 7:30 pm

[NEWS] Six links about the decline of Tumblr (#tumblr)

  • Slate notes that the example of LiveJournal, a popular social networking site that went under when its owners cracked down on fandom, should concern the owners of Tumblr.
  • Hornet Stories notes</u that the crackdown on NSFW work on Tumblr will impact LGBTQ people disproportionately.
  • Nathalie Graham at the Stranger notes what the crackdown on NSFW content on Tumblr might indicate about the future of the Internet, among other things.
  • Sean Captain at Fast Company looks at the desperate efforts of archivists to preserve some 700 thousand NSFW Tumblr blogs for posterity.
  • This Wired article looks at alternatives to Tumblr, like Dreamwidth and Pillowfort. Each is promising but each lacks some of the specific advantages of Tumblr.
  • My own Tumblr, incidentally, is A Bit More Detail. It will still be online: I still find it useful, and do not find a need to abandon this community as I did LiveJournal.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 18, 2018 at 10:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • io9 notes that Livejournal’s mascot Frank the Goat has made one last appearance, thanks to his creator.
  • James Bow announces that, after a month of writing and family, he’s back to his blog.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the far-right AfD in Germany is trying to stop marriage equality.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money rightly does not understand what people mean by talking of a Trump administration “failing”. It can still wreak terrible damage.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a lovely map of the Arctic circumpolar region of the Earth.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that tourism has become the dominant growth sector of the Greek economy.
  • Savage Minds shares Taylor R. Genovese essay invoking and exploring the magic and ritual of human spaceflight. (More to come.)
  • Understanding Society considers and approves of the idea of a guaranteed minimum income, necessary supplement in a time of scarce good jobs.
  • Unicorn Booty notes the many ways in which Trumpcare will leave queer LGBTQ people worse off.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Dale Carpenter again engages, after Texas’ ruling, with the idea of equality for all married couples.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that only a small fraction of Russia’s planned spending on the Arctic has actually materialized.

[ŴRITING] On the end of my LiveJournal experiences

Goodbye, rfmcdpei

Almost two hours ago, I deleted my LiveJournal. User rfmcdpei is no longer active on this site.

I do allow for the possibility that I might change my mind. Maybe I will bring it back temporarily, so as to convert it to some kind of personal docment via BlogBooker, or perhaps I will restore it in the name of minimizing link rot on the Internet and to continue to be able to read what few (ever fewer) people still write only on LiveJournal. This post, however, is the first post that I will not be crossposting from Dreamwidth over to LiveJournal, and no other post shall follow.

I did join the rush on account of the new user agreement unleashed earlier this week, of course.

Any number of news sources, like the Daily Dot and Boing Boing and Gizmodo and Charlie Stross at Autopope, have written at great length about the new terms of service agreement. That this agreement is not available, not in a legally binding form and not in a well-translated form, in the English language made the exodus inevitable.

Russia, as a classical dictatorship, wants to be able to restrict what people write about within its sphere, to do away with anonymity and to limit the range of permissible subject matter. LiveJournal, which happens to be based in Russia as a consequence of a long series of business decisions (bad decisions, I would argue, ones which kept LiveJournal from emerging as a lasting social network of worldwide scope), is subject. Therefore, anyone who is not dependent on LiveJournal is leaving a social network that appears to be fatally compromised.

(What is the opposite of soft power?)

I have long had alternatives ready. Back in October 2012, I blogged about how I had moved away from LiveJournal as a primary blog, towards Dreamwidth for LiveJournal-like social networking and to WordPress for the more blog-like functions. I am losing nothing as a consequence of this. My regrets about this are not especially profound ones, characterized much more by wistfulness and nostalgia than by serious regret.

rfmcdpei has been around for a month short of fifteen years. It’s amazing.

LiveJournal was always been there for me. I remember reading Tom’s LiveJournal, and the LiveJournals of others, back in early 2002 when I was so desperate to connect with anyone. I remember how excited I was when I got an invite code from Darren back in June of 2002. I remember writing an online diary of my life there, and then, first slowly then with speed, transforming this diary into a blog. I know that I met all sorts of people who I know nd like even know there, came to learn all kinds of things there, helped other people learn through LiveJournal. In my life, LiveJournal was a huge net positive.

And now it’s over. It’s an era that was bound to end, I know, and what an era it was. Thank you, LiveJournalers and LiveJournal founders, too, for making this so good and fun.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 9, 2017 at 10:46 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling notes the terminal problems of Livejournal.
  • blogTO names five up-and-coming Toronto neighbourhoods.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at asteroids and other bodies in space that might be natural vehicles for travelling between planets.
  • Crooked Timber links to a grim analysis of the prospects for the United Kingdom’s Labour Party.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting a search for Beta Pictoris b as it transits its star.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the importance of Chuck Norris in Ceaucescu’s Romania.
  • Savage Minds looks at reasons why anthropologists have failed to join in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
  • Torontoist notes the generally low quality of jobs created recently in Toronto.
  • Window on Eurasia links to two scenarios for Russia’s collapse, looks at conflicts in Russia-Belarus relations, and considers two Estonian novels recently published regarding Russian invasions.

[META] On one impending good reason to move from Livejournal

Dwight on Facebook linked to a Metafilter feature noting that the servers of Livejournal–the social networking and blogging platform I got started on, the social networking and blogging platform that I still use–has moved to Russia. In light of that country’s issues with basic freedoms, it’s probably worth considering ending blogging on this platform.

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).

[. . .]

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.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 2, 2017 at 5:15 pm

[FORUM] What social networking sites are you active on?

Two weekends ago, I had to reset the passwords on my different social networks. My E-mail had somehow become compromised, and my Facebook was briefly used to post spam in a single discussion group, so everything had to be changed, immediately.

I had to go to Facebook; I had to go to Livejournal, that site that started everything; Google+ and my linked accounts at Blogger and YouTube had to go; Tumblr was followed by Instagram and then by Flickr; my Twitter and LinkedIn, more peripheral than not, had to be changed. Even the Dreamwidth that is basically a backup for Livejournal, and the other sites (Quora, Goodreads, Yelp) that are functionally closely linked to Facebook, had to be changed.

What about you? Where are you active?

Written by Randy McDonald

October 2, 2016 at 11:59 pm

[WRITING] “The lost infrastructure of social media”

Some time ago, Bruce Sterling linked to Anil Dash’s essay (published at Medium) describing the many features of the early blogosphere that were lost in subsequent generations, but could plausibly be brought back.


As extraordinary as it seems now, there was a point when one could search most of the blogs in the world and get a reasonably complete and up-to-date set of results in return. Technorati was a pioneering service here, and started by actually attempting to crawl all of the blogs on the Internet each time they updated; later this architecture evolved to require a “ping” (see Updates, below) each time a site updated. On the current internet, we can see relatively complete search results for hashtags or terms within Twitter or some other closed networks, but the closure of Google Blog Search in 2011 marked the end of “blog search” as a discrete product separate from general web search or news search. It’s easy to imagine that modern search software and vastly cheaper hardware make it possible to recreate a search engine for frequently-updated sites like news sites and blogs, with domain-specific features that general tools like Google News don’t offer.


In the early days of blogging, not every publishing tool supported comments natively; as a result, third-party commenting services popped up to meet the need. As the major tools incorporated their own commenting features, comment services came to be used primarily by big publishers using unwieldy content management systems that didn’t natively support commenting features. In the earlier era, comment systems were built without anticipating the ways that online communities would grow, and these serious design flaws enabled the widespread abuse that we see online today. Newer tools seem to be trying to put the genie back in the bottle, but large publishers are increasingly shutting down comments entirely rather than investing in building a healthy community.


One category of interaction between sites that’s nearly disappeared is the idea of structured responses between different authors or even different sites. Though Medium supports a limited version of this feature today, early tools like Trackback and Pingback made it possible for almost any site to let another site know that their story or article had inspired a response. Typically, those responses were shown under an article, similar to comments, but once Google introduced its advertising platforms like AdSense, links between sites suddenly had monetary value and spam links soon followed. A modern reinvention of Trackback-style features could connect conversations on different websites in the same way that @ replies work on Twitter.

I would also mention, as Dash did, Friends pages like those of Livejournal.


Written by Randy McDonald

August 29, 2016 at 6:45 pm

[WRITING] On the death of Livejournal, part x (Kazakhstan)

Going through IWPR’s recent archives, I was very surprised to see the article “LiveJournal Returns in Kazakstan, But Now Facebook is King”, by one Botagoz Seidakhmetova, which noted that the ban on Livejournal had been lifted in Kazakhstan in November after four years. That it had been banned at all is something I had been unaware of–Global Voices had noticed this back in September 2011, but I had not seen it.

The authorities in Kazakstan have unblocked the LiveJournal blogging website, four years after shutting down access to it.

A government statement on November 11 said the decision was taken after unlawful material – religious and extremist propaganda and information about weapons – were deleted.

[. . .]

Commentators suspect that LiveJournal incurred anger because opposition leaders based abroad used it as a platform for attacking the government. One was Rahat Aliev, former son-in-law of President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who went into exile after being prosecuted, and proceeded to publish allegations of wrongdoing by Kazakstan’s leaders.

Aliev is no longer a threat to the government – he committed suicide in a Vienna prison in February 2015.

In all likelihood, LiveJournal is no longer relevant since most of its users have shifted to Facebook.

Pavel Bannikov, a Russian-language poet who used to use LiveJournal, recalls how influential it used to be – literary journals would find new content on the site and approach writers to seek permission to print their poetry.

“It’s good that LiveJournal has reopened. But in Kazakstan, LiveJournal won’t become what it was in 2007, when everyone used it as a news source,” Bannikov added. “I’ve noticed that in the last three years, virtually all the active, engaging users – the ones you’d like to read and hear their views – have gone over to Facebook.”

In that Livejournal, no longer a global contender, seems to be now substantially limited to the Russophone world, that it has been so thoroughly kneecapped in one of the largest Russophone countries about is not a good sign. The damage inflicted just can’t be reversed, not without some further and wholly unexpected shift.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 25, 2016 at 10:47 pm

[META] What are the stories behind my Livejournal userpics?

At the beginning of the week on Livejournal, first Keith R.A. Decandido then Steve Roby took part in an interesting meme. What are my Livejournal userpics, and what are their backstories?

This, my default icon was posting, is a crudely grayscaled version of a photo originally taken of me by Bill Pusztai in January 2005. We were just outside the CIBC branch at 90 Danforth Avenue when I got a phone call from some telemarketers I was working for part-time, telling me that my week-long trial was over and I was done with them.

This icon, used for my [FORUM] posts, is drawn from a photo was taken by my ex, G., as I was leaning back against his balcony on a warm summer night.

This photo, which I use for my [PHOTO] posts, was a selfie, taken as I was standing in front of the shiny gold-impregnated windows of the South Tower of the Royal Bank Plaza complex.

My [CAT] icon is taken from a photo I took of Shakespeare when he was young, barely more than a year old, swiping at my visiting mother’s leg.

I do not use my [OBSCURA] icon much any more. It’s a shame, since there’s so much photography I see on my Flickr feed that I would like to highlight, but not such a shame, since to my embarrassment I can’t remember where I got this photo of a vintage 19th century camera. I hope it was from the Wikimedia Commons.
obscura forget where

Written by Randy McDonald

December 11, 2015 at 12:07 pm