As I've recently invited many new people to join and read our little production, I figured I'd take a moment to reiterate how this journal works. This will be a two part post. The first part will focus on how we work. The second part will focus on what specific features LiveJournal or another site could do better to serve our needs. (And there's a lot on that second part). It's my hope that the final version of this post can be linked to from our profile page and/or memories.
Why we do this
The name of the journal comes from the fact that one of the first times that the monkey and I played, I shaved his head down to nothing. The reference is from Fight Club, where the character Tyler Durden remarks of a short haired minion: "Like a space monkey ready to be shot into space". Also, later on, when the monkey's hair grew out, he looked quite a bit like a fluffy spider monkey.
We do this for a number of reasons (and I'll leave it to the monkey to comment on hers). I'm an open-source advocate: if you come up with something that works, I believe you should share that knowledge with others so they can acheive the same results. I believe peer-review and public sanity-checks are an important part of any process, and I want to be able to share what I have, fully, with a select group of friends who know where to look.
Both the monkey and I post to the same journal. We have different speaking voices and tones, which over time you may be able to pick up. I (the top) am a computer type, an open-source advocate, and a programmer. The monkey is a feminist, a liberal-arts major, and a book lover. If the tones aren't obvious, You can tell who is posting mainly by the tags: almost all our entries are posted with the tags "entries posted by the top" or "entries posted by the monkey".
The monkey is genderqueer, I use both sets of pronouns for him, both in real life, as well as on this journal. I've been told by some people that this is confusing, but it's really simple: if I'm talking about someone else, and using pronouns, it's the monkey. I try lately to keep the pronouns the same from paragraph to paragraph, and to lead each paragraph with a reference to the monkey by name.
On many entries, the monkey and I will respond, inline with the text of each other's entries. In general, we do this by editing the entry, and adding text in bold (for the top), or italics (for the monkey). Sometimes, comments are posted in reply to other comments, but we strive to maintain conversational readability. We could use have used colors, but typing <b>this</b> is a lot simpler than typing out <font color="red">this</font>. Usually, when we annotate, we append this to the tags, e.g. "entries annotated by the monkey".
The monkey and I have been in past relationships, with people we'd rather not be reading this. We believe in plausible deniability. While we are present on other kink-related sites, we do not use our profiles on that site to refer to this journal, nor do we list our usernames for those sites here: we may pass this information privately to people we trust, but even then, on those sites, there's no connection to us, directly.
The monkey and I don't use our real names. We don't use the names of our friends. We refrain from mentioning much about geography. While our journal will show on person A, B, and C's friends list (on their profile), you cannot view on this journal's profile who has it friended. If for some reason a person would rather not be seen as having such a journal friended, they can either bookmark the journal itself, or syndicate the journal's RSS feed.
Because the bulk of entries are posted publicly (the exceptions are works in progress, or cases where things have been said that need to be "swept", things said by mistake and the like), the user-experience from reading via the RSS feed is remarkably the same as reading via a friends-list. We rather enjoy knowing that anyone could read this: I (the top) find it makes the medium more liberating, a more lasting memoir than something left only to be read by a select group. We have a term for this: "texthibitionism".
One of the biggest reasons we use livejournal is because it's easily anonymous, simple to use, and it's one of the most common blogging communities out there. Tools are set up to flag that yes, this content is adult oriented, while at the same time not requiring any special web hosting account, software to maintain, or money to pay. When posting images, we only tend to post to the journal's image hosting feature itself, or direct-link, thus everything's kept on neutral sites.
By default, all comments are screened. If you tell us it's okay to unscreen a comment, we will. Livejournal will not let you reply to a screened comment, so in order to reply to any comment, it has to be de-screened for at least a moment. If we're going to reply to you, your comment will be visible for at least a moment, although we general compose comments offline, de-screen entries, post a reply, and then re-screen both your comment and ours. (If this sounds arduous, it's because it is.)
We have had at least one person admit to using our real names in a comment, in order to ensure we wouldn't de-screen it. If you want to be sure your entry stays screened: just ask!
What I hope to do tomorrow is take each of the points above, and turn them on their head: in this post we've detailed what we want to do and why. Tomorrow, I'd like to suggest better ways that all of this could be done. The point is that right now Livejournal may be one of the best vehicles for this medium, but if we could design it from scratch, or suggest features, where would we go?