The following meme appears to be spreading. (I got it from remark who got it from kamara on the LJ Support team, who got it from bubba and rahaeli, also on LJ Support, and so on.) It seems to be balanced, sincere, and well-written. The advice seems quite reasonable (although sadly, those who will need it most are also most likely to ignore it). The term, "we", implies that it was written by Someone Official within LJ, although attribution is never actually given (and should be).
My concern is mainly that a meme isn't necessarily the best way to propogate such information. Sure, they spread like wildfire, although there's not much to stop people from "enhancing" the message, sometimes subtly. But as viral as they can get, they still can't reach 100% of a given population.
I feel that there are better places where a similar plea can be shown, (e.g., news), and have much better effect, if it does, in fact, represent an "official" position (and I see no reason why it shouldn't). For best effect, before being placed in news, it could be placed into part of the sequence for new users. Even better, a flag could be maintained for every user to ensure that each person saw such a message at least once. Even better, such contact info could have explicit fields (with the same privacy assurances) within the LJ user data structure.
I'm not necessarily saying that any/all of these measures should be taken, but rather, if the concept is deemed to be a Good Idea, there are also Good Ways to promote it.
Here's the meme. Again, I'll stress that I did not write this personally, nor do I necessarily take a stand as to its correctness/usefulness:
|Please post your full name, date of birth, full address, and telephone number (plus cell phone number, if you have one) to your journal, as the first chronological entry (backdated) in your journal, with Private security, and leave a note in your userinfo indicating that you've done so. The life you save may be your own. In the event of an emergency, LiveJournal administrators can view this information -- and please believe that it is only used in the event of an absolute emergency. But you'd be surprised how many of those there are on a service with four million users. And in an emergency situation, every second counts.|
Yes, the Abuse team occasionally hears of users who plan to commit suicide, but there are other situations where having this information could possibly be of use to the police. There have been, for instance, phone posts that were interrupted by physical violence before, and other such situations. The Abuse team often gets reports of these things, and oftentimes, there is nothing we can do to help, because we can't find you.
Please take a moment of your time and make this post. Your privacy will never be violated except in absolute need, and though we hope it will never be necessary, it could prove to be very necessary indeed.
Originally written by rahaeli as a personal plea and does not represent any official position on the part of LiveJournal!
You can add this meme to your own journal by going here.
Attribution is shown above; I just toned down the color a bit. I also added the final line, so that if (when) this is passed along as a meme, it allow others to simply copy-and-paste the HTML as shown in my own journal.
Update: I updated the meme to indicate rahaeli's original italization, to give her credit directly, (I hadn't originally known the true source), and to show that this is not an official LiveJournal position. I did check with her first, of course, before doing this!