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And we go to Plan B.

I have to admit - a lot happened over the weekend that made me think on this further, so I'm going to apologize and say that I don't believe that the first idea I had for this community is going to cut it any longer. The original plan was to put up a run-off poll between our top two candidates, but I've decided against that. I think it's highly likely we'll get the same results as we've gotten already, and we'll just waste time doing it.

I think that it'd be pretty redundant, and people are going to vote for who they're going to vote for anyway. I apologize to both rm and legomymalfoy for this, since they're the two who would have been fighting it out in our poll.

So here's what I'm thinking we need to do instead.

GET OUT THE VOTE.

I think we're on the same page in that we want one of our three top vote getters - legomymalfoy, rm and vichan to win. And that we don't exactly appreciate a lot of the things that have happened during these past several days.

legomymalfoy is currently up by 1200 votes over the next highest contender. (ETA: In the time it's taken me to write this post, make that 1000 votes.) Many people have weighed in with great support of her in our discussion posts. Several people brought up some concerns they had with her candidacy, and you need to figure out if you share those. rm also enjoyed good support in our community.

Splitting the vote is not going to work in our favor though. It is therefore my view that with legomymalfoy's current lead, that we should try to ensure we maintain that lead.

So if you have read through the platforms and feel comfortable/happy with legomymalfoy's candidacy, I strongly urge you to vote for her.

I also support rm and vichan's candidacies, and if this were a less weird election, I would much rather just run the poll the way I said I would. I just don't think that's a viable option anymore if we're to have any hope of getting the results we want.

Do *not* vote straight ticket - the math doesn't work in our favor that way. Mathematically speaking, our best option looks like voting in the following order on the LiveJournal election poll:

1) legomymalfoy
2) rm
3) vichan

AGAIN: Do not vote for the same person three times; that will not work and it will make the second and third votes not count. The total needed is fifty percent of all LJ votes to win so...yeah, we're going to have our work cut out for us.

If you decide you cannot, for whatever reason, support legomymalfoy's candidacy, switch those first two slots.

The most important thing to do right now is to SPREAD THE WORD. If you want any one of these three people to get a slot on the board, we are going to have to work for it.

Again, their platforms are

legomymalfoy

I have been mentally writing this post for the last week, and I'm sure it's still not going to cover everything I'd like to say.

I want to start by saying that I am running to essentially be an advisor. I am not running to push a personal agenda of mine. I am not running to push fandom's agenda. I am not running to push any agenda. That's not my job, that's not why I am here. That may not be the most politically correct thing to say in this election season, but I wish to remain 100% transparent with you. I would like you to have all of the facts before you make your final decision.

1) What do you think is the value of LJ?

When speaking about value, I feel that the irresistible value of LiveJournal is in its community. We are what makes LJ valuable. The users who post about their day, about their kids, about their last BDSM encounter, about sex and food and everything under the sun. Without its users, LJ is nothing but an empty husk. To continue being valuable, LJ needs to work on retaining existing users by keeping the aspects of the site that are most valuable to them, while at the same time attracting new users by making new features available and taking advantage of new ways of thinking.

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

Top on my list, is a usable site search that will allow users to search their entries. A search engine that is actually hosted on LJ, and not powered by and linked to a third party site.

I would like for LJ to treat all of its users with respect. Respect that we are smart. Respect that we are not "one size fits all". Understand and accept that site changes aren't going to make everyone happy, but work to a compromise which allows everyone to get as much of what they want as they can.

I would love for LJ to be clear on why decisions are made.

Finally, I would like to see LJ give clearer explanations in terms of policy. List updated policies in an easy to find place, and explain why we take action, and why we do not. A good majority of dissatisfaction with the Abuse Prevention Team (APT) comes from those who feel that we did not take the action they personally desired, whether or not the actions being reported were in violation of the TOS/US law or not. I feel that clearer explanations will a long way in this regard, since people have a right to know the standards to which they are being held

3) Why do you want to be the elected representative?

-I want to be the elected representative because I feel that I truly understand the needs and concerns of the community as a whole. I know what's broken on the site, and I know how to get these issues resolved. I know which policies aggravate them, and I am able to bring these topics up for discussion with other APT members. In turn, I can work with other Advisory Board members, explaining how things work to them.

-I am completely versed on site policy, working to uphold it on a daily basis.

-I am an incredibly patient, free-thinking and reasonable person. At the same time, I can be as stubborn as an ox when it comes to user rights.

-I am an active member of fandom. I know what issues are forefront with them, and would love to work on repairing the bridge between LiveJournal and fandom. It can be done, if we're all willing to work together.

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

I believe that first on the list for many would be any real or perceived censorship. Clearing up what is OK, and what is not would help put at least some of these fears to rest.

Next would be the issue of Basic Accounts. A compromise needs to be reached that would allow these account types to return in some form, while also allowing the site to grow.

As I mentioned above, I believe that misunderstanding of how the site works leads to a lot of tension and confusion. The community needs to know where the boundaries are, and why they get in trouble for crossing them.

Advertisements continue to be a large issue for many of us on LiveJournal. If they are going to remain on the site, and I am fairly sure that they will, we need to continue to keep them hidden from paying users, and in general ensure that they are treated as the necessary evil that they are rather than something desirable.

Link to Platform Post

rm

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?

1. It means we need a clear TOS that is uniformly enforced.
2. It means we need communication with users whenever the TOS is updated.
3. 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.
4. 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.

Why?

1. I currently have early adopter, paid and free accounts.
2. I am a professional author whose publisher advertises on the site.
3. I have an extensive professional background in public relations and marketing.
4. I have the previous experience of working for an on-line community of which I was also an active part.
5. 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.
6. I am relentless, clear, and systematic when it comes to problem solving.
7. 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.
8. I am resilient.
9. 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.

Link to Platform Post

vichan

Who I am: vichan member of LJ since 2003; first as homicidal_nny before switching to my current name.

What you can expect from me: I have no ulterior motives in running. My interests lie with LiveJournal alone. I am not previously connected to LiveJournal aside from being a user. I am not connected to the advertisers. I have not rubbed elbows with LJ staff.
I represent the user because I am the user.

Why I am qualified: This is not just the LJ Advisory Board. This is the first incarnation of the LJ Advisory Board. Whoever sits on the board for this first year will not only be setting a precedent for future board members, but helping LJ as a whole understand just what role the advisory board will play.

I have experience in building things from the ground up. I was selected as a first year member of the Summer Institute Young Adult Panel for the Unitarian Universalist Ohio-Meadville District Summer Institute. This panel planned and executed the young adult program at OMDSI. Following my first year of service, I was elected to come back and serve for two additional years. In addition to this, I was hired by my current company two years ago to build a brand new printing department from scratch. I operate and manage that department to this day.

My experience with planning committees and a career in management give me the ability to look at any situation with a level head, and an understanding of when compromise is necessary and when it isn't possible. Given the diverse userbase of LJ, I know that 'perfection' will never be reached, but that steps can be taken to make sure we reach out to each and every user.

The Change that LJ Needs - Communication:
I would be an asset to the LiveJournal Advisory Board because I understand how vital the issue of communication is.

Despite repeated user requests for more transparency from the LJ staff, we have continuously been on the receiving end of substandard communication.

When changes or problems arise, getting answers has been like pulling teeth. Communication from the LJ staff should be early, often, and precise. LJ users are not ordinary customers, they will nitpick everything, and they will report problems to each other. The fact that recent changes have been discovered and reported by users, rather than staff, has only escalated the irritation of the users.

The LJ staff can appease their customers by being honest and upfront. If change is coming or has come, the users should hear this directly from the LJ staff before the changes begin to impact day to day use.

An additional problem is that we do not have a sufficient central location to retrieve important information. Instead, we have had a variety of communities and are continuously redirected to one or another depending on our interests. To name just a few, past and present, news, lj_biz, lj_2008 and lj_policy have all been used to relay important information to the users. These communities have actually been very useful, as they allow users who may be interested in one aspect of LJ but not another to keep track without getting information overload. However, when vital information is scattered between these different communities and posted in one area but not another, we have a problem. The official LiveJournal News page does not include some of these important communities, making them difficult for users to find.

Why I am running: I would love an opportunity to give something back to a community that has given me more than I can say. I am hoping that I will have a chance to take part in LJ's future. Recent changes on LiveJournal have upset the daily routine of the users. I have kept a close eye on these events, and I believe I have given a balanced view of every situation that has come up. For example, I created fandom_counts a little less than a year ago during the original Strikethrough. I did not create it as an act of protest against Strikethrough, but as a reminder of the awesome presence of fandom on LJ. I've stuck to its original purpose, and the community still stands as a reminder of just how much LJ means to fandom, as well as what fandom means to LJ.

In addition to fandom, I've used LJ to keep in touch with family and friends, as well as network with other users who share my interests such as music, recording, and baseball. Since my interests are so diverse, I've come to realize just how unique each and every LJ user is. We are not a few hundred groups of users. We are several thousand individual users. My goal is to help the LiveJournal staff reach out to all of them without leaving anyone out in the cold.

Over the past year and a half, I've seen my friends' list shrink as users leave LJ for 'greener pastures.' I want to prevent this from continuing. LiveJournal is more than just a website or a social network. It is a truly unique community that has been built, nurtured, and cared for by the people who use it. Without us, LiveJournal is just an empty space on the internet.

In Conclusion:
Do you want true user representation on the board? Do you want someone who will make sure all voices, great and small, will be heard? Do you want clear communication? Vote vichan

Link to Platform Post


You can VOTE IN THE 'OFFICIAL' LIVEJOURNAL POLL HERE.

If you already voted, and wish to change your vote, you can edit your poll answers here.

ETA: An Open Letter to Fannish Community Moderators - if you'd like to help out by e-mailing a moderator of a community you belong to, please go here. Or if you moderate a community, check this out.

Comments

thickets
May. 28th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
Wow, that is not cool (the death threats). Whoever made them, to whichever candidate ... that is just plain ridiculous. :(

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