I see many of the decisions being made on this page (and here at LJ) and I'm left wondering what you (Brad and the management) want Live Journal to look like? What's the future? Will things become more or less democratic (it seems to be the latter)? Is there room for everyone - or is there just room for the most popular, the most rules-abiding? Why is the TOS so incredibly vague? Do you trust anyone enough to enforce things evenly? Why has both the Abuse team and yourself taken on a management style of putting out fires rather than establishing policy and people having to just deal?
I ask these questions not to be inflammatory, but because I wonder if you all have asked them yourselves. I care about Live Journal as a community, but there's elements that disturb me quite a bit. [Edited to add: What I'm concerned about here is how some of the more bandaid-like solutions will affect Live Journal down the road and how the decision-making is done (not who is doing it).]
That said I have some suggestions that may well solve many of the questions and problems addressed in this community without breaking it and may provide additional revenue streams as well.
1. Provide age/behavior-related zones: These would range from a G-rated zone that is heavily moderated to an R-rated lightly moderated (or community moderated, not LJ-moderated)zone to an utterly un-moderated zone where only likely threats would be actionable - one would have to determine this at creation of their journal and be modifiable later. This would provide those that want freedom to have it and those that want a more sanitized experience to get what they want. There could be temporary changes to your LJ settings to enable one to see other-wise rated pages. Those in the un-moderated zone could see anything and still post anywhere - but be temporarily to permanently banned from the G-rated zone if repeatedly behaving inappropriately there (within strict guidelines - not the TOS the way it is currently). I realize that this may be more than a little bit of work - but it does provide for the greatest breadth of LJ users without dumbing down the experience.
[Edited to add: To clarify I'm not asking for (or desirous of) moderation akin to what goes on in bulletin board type sites but that there would be grades of attention paid on each area by Abuse.]
2. Create "gated communities" and private journals:
These would be paid-only journals that could only be read once approved by the person owning the journal via email. All other info would be blank for a person that wasn't added. This gives those people who want a more secure, insular experience to have one - and provide LJ with additional cash for the trouble. I realize that it goes against many of the ideas of LJ but it seems from many of the comments I've seen that it's something some people would like.
[Edited to add: This is not currently available. There is similar functiionality but in this model you wouldn't be able to see anything other than a user info page with their nick and an email address - no page. Same with the comms.Also I'm most assuredly not asking this for myself.]
3. Eliminate the new banning rules:
They shouldn't be necessary and there should be room for everyone on Live Journal.[Edited to add: I find the aggregation of those banned a real problem. I also find that banning someone from one's friends of list unsatisfactory from a community viewpoint, hence my other suggestions.]
4. Democratize LJ_Abuse:
Currently Abuse takes care of issues as they are reported. While I realize that there's no way (and no desire) to police the entirety of Live Journal I think there are ways to make it more fair and improve Abuse's image.
a) Make the TOS clear and obvious so that interpretation can't be taken to an extreme. I can't think of any journal I've ever read that couldn't have been suspended given the way it's written now.
b) Run abuse cases along the same lines as court cases with the attendent responsibilities and openess. Rather than operate in secret, all cases would be public (other than those involving likely threats of violence)both sides could make a case with Abuse only acting as judges/mediators. Others could make their points known as well, allowing a more democratic process.
c) Make being on LJ Abuse a duty not a job. Along the lines of serving on jury duty this reduces the likelihood of the abuse of power that always occurs when one has it. It also forces everyone to have to wear the shoes of their fellow journalers. This would be for a set period of time and participation would be mandatory.
These are just ideas - and they're certainly tweakable - but what I don't want to see is the continuation of policies that favor the popular and overly vocal minorities. Thanks.
[Edited to add: I think that there's room for everyone here on LJ.I also think that increasing democracy isn't such a bad thing. I may not be eloquent but what I'm attempting to do is broker a peace that gives nearly everyone what they want and end mass suspensions while still keeping the flavor of LJ the way it is now.
Dialog and providing alternate solutions to my mind can only be for the good. Any good compromise will displease everyone. I may well have succeeded on that score at least. ;)]