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Brad Fitzpatrick

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On Leaving SixApart [Aug. 6th, 2007|02:47 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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There's a bit of accuracy in this ValleyWag story, in that I'm leaving SixApart. But the reasons ValleyWag cites for me leaving aren't so accurate.

Yes, I'm bored, but that boredom isn't SixApart's fault. I've been doing this whole LiveJournal thing for about 9 years now. Even though I haven't been working on LiveJournal itself for perhaps a year or more now, people still think I am, and it's probably time to distance myself from it and move on... I just need a change. LiveJournal's in good hands -- I'm not worried about it. I haven't touched the code or the servers in ages, so I know it's fine.

I've really enjoyed working with everybody at SixApart, especially on public projects like MogileFS, Perlbal, OpenID, djabberd, Gearman, TheSchwartz, etc. But all that stuff basically just works now[1], solving the problems they were meant to solve, and I find myself out of new things to work on.

Since I've always been just kinda been a floater engineer at SixApart, never really part of (or head of) a group, I just feel a bit detached now without something obviously broken consuming all of my time & attention. There are plenty of other groups at SixApart having fun working on other problems, so I could join one of those groups, but I think this is just a good point in my life to change directions a bit.

My apologies that there's not more drama to this whole story. :)

[1] Yes, things can always be better. But relatively good, compared to the past.


[User Picture]From: czircon
2007-08-06 09:48 pm (UTC)
LiveJournal's in good hands

You can't be serious.
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[User Picture]From: popcultureicon
2007-08-06 09:50 pm (UTC)
It would be unprofessional to say otherwise.
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[User Picture]From: randomsome1
2007-08-06 11:34 pm (UTC)
He'd be one of the very few maintaining some sort of professionalism through this entire mess.
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[User Picture]From: seishin
2007-08-06 10:11 pm (UTC)
I cant help but look with that statement but with a raised eyebrow and a scoff of disbelief, especially considering the current PR nightmare that 6A is inflicting upon themselves by ignoring the flood of comments at news and lj_biz.

I barely recognize this place from the one I signed up on back in 2001. :(
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-08-06 10:52 pm (UTC)
I didn't follow the latest child porn debacle, but as far as I heard: child porn. Even cartoons (even those based on underage characters) are incredibly illegal, and LJ's TOS can't permit it (or conveniently ignore it). Maybe communication sucked, but I haven't been following. I heard about it for about 30 seconds just earlier today.

In any case, LiveJournal's in good technical hands, even if communication about child porn suspensions is bad, if indeed that's what you're referring to.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-08-06 11:21 pm (UTC)
They weren't child porn! That's the whole issue. 6A is suspending users who write/draw gay erotica that is in no way child porn. And yet, they aren't touching some of the seriously disturbing, sick, misogynistic hetero porn communities. Discrimination -- it's the new black!
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-08-06 11:32 pm (UTC)
I hear two things:

"It's child porn!"
"It's not child porn!"

I just don't have time (or inclination) to figure out which is the truth. But "seriously disturbing, sick, misogynistic hetero porn communities" isn't illegal, so we're not suspending it. Child porn, however, is actually illegal. Very illegal. So it gets suspended.
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[User Picture]From: erastes
2007-08-06 11:43 pm (UTC)
I have to back up anonymous. At least two of the newly suspended LJ's were artists were draw fanart of adult characters, but granted they were porn.

I know that it's nothing to do with you, but I wanted to set the record straight.

Good luck in whatever you do next.
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[User Picture]From: insomnia
2007-08-07 12:11 am (UTC)
"child porn"

And can you tell me precisely where this child porn was, in order to justify *all* of the suspensions that occurred?

"Even cartoons (even those based on underage characters) are incredibly illegal"

Actually, that's not true... only a very small subsection of cartoons with naked underage characters or characters having sex could be considered illegal under COPPA.

If it was, you wouldn't be able to go into any Borders / Barnes&Noble and buy yaoi, yuri, and hentai manga, all of which frequently contain drawings of apparently under-18 minors having sex.

While current law bans *ALL* photographs showing minors having sex, it doesn't ban cartoons of minors at all, unless they are obscene pornographic images of prepubescent children... and by pornography, they mean sex or highly implied sex.

So Calvin can still run around naked to his heart's content.

As an ISP, SixApart/LJ had a responsibility to take down any specific materials reported to them that violated these rules. They greatly overstepped the rules of how such abuse was dealt with in the past and made sweeping, draconian decisions about what part of the LJ userbase were "undesirables".

Frankly, I'm surprised that:
1> You never bothered learning such things, even though you did handle a considerable amount of abuse issues yourself in the past.
2> You are defending 6A actions.

(Well, actually, I'm not surprised about either 1 or 2, but the point is, I should be. I imagine that many other LJers would be surprised.)
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[User Picture]From: czircon
2007-08-07 12:38 am (UTC)
I was really referring more generally to the way that nearly every change that's been made since SixApart took over has taken LJ further from what it was when I got my account and from my understanding of what you wanted it to be in the first place -- i.e., the fact that it's getting ever closer to actually looking like that April fool's news post from a few years back. But yeah, now that you mention it the last few rounds of suspending accounts without warning have made me less trusting as well. Sure, this time they can just say "but it's child porn! Nobody likes child porn!" to justify everything, but it sets a dangerous precedent.

Anyway, I certainly don't blame you for wanting to get away from this crap, but in terms of the non-technical stuff I do find it hard to believe you're happy with the direction LJ is going, given your reactions to some of the much smaller changes made soon after the sale.
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From: heartsansraison
2007-08-07 12:51 am (UTC)
First of all, they aren't in good technical hands. Second of all, I'm not even Harry Potter fandom, nor am I involved in any fandom actively at all. I don't even have a paid account any longer, nor will I ever again. LiveJournal's contempt for the very people who made it a saleable concern, the vastly unprofessional behavior of both abuse team and other allegedly professional people employed by LiveJournal are so appalling that I was not at all surprised to find out that the charities involved in the donations via the sale of permanent accounts were decidely questionable.

I was one of early adopters of LiveJournal and used to be impressed by communication and customer service. Now, I'm appalled at the values, policies and behaviors there.

And the blanket accusations in both these debacles appear to be based on complaints that aren't even properly investigated for accuracy.

Simply appalling.
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[User Picture]From: havenstar
2007-08-07 01:03 am (UTC)
Well. Deleting my other comment because other people have said basically the same, and because hell, I don't blame you for not following the mess when it's no longer your mess. I'm just saying, man, I am so not into child porn, yikes. And congrats on getting the hell out of here.
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[User Picture]From: xlerb
2007-08-07 01:42 am (UTC)
This is Not Your Problem. In fact, it is entirely understandable for you, at this point, to go dancing through the tulips shouting “LA LA LA NOT MY PROBLEM ANYMORE!”, though the LJ userbase would likely misunderstand.

Nor, I suspect, was this your problem even before you left, at least not in recent years, in that it's not a technical problem.

It's a shame that people feel the need to bother you about it, instead of those whose actual job it is to handle LJ policy oversight and PR and such; but I hear they haven't been terribly communicative of late....
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[User Picture]From: froganon
2007-08-07 02:25 am (UTC)

"...cartoons (even those based on underage characters) are incredibly illegal..."

Actually, they are not 'incredibly illegal'.
see Ashcroft vs. the Free Speech Coalition, 2002.

Live Journal has the right to decide what will and will not be hosted on Live Journal's servers. There is no debate in that statement.

The problem arises when the user base has no clear definition of what is okay or not okay. Much better to say, "Listen up folks, no pics of naked kids or naked cartoon characters or naked fictional characters whether or not they are appearing to have sex because we say so." Any statements about kiddie porn, supposed kiddie porn, the Miller test, obscenity, erotica, artistic merit and etcetera leaves far too much open for interpretation. And the mess.

I would prefer that Live Journal not hide under the cloak of supposed illegality. Clear-cut guidelines and a clear-cut TOS are preferable to ambiguity. That is just me, though. And at any rate, the world will keep going on just fine without my input.

So I will say to you Brad, sincerely, best wishes on all future endeavors and leisure pursuits.

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