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In my last post I attempted to once again review our "Rules of Engagement" for using this Livejournal to interact with the public and our friends. As promised, in this post, I plan to speak briefly on those same topics and how the blogging engine could be improved for these points.

Posts

As noted before, this is a shared Journal. Livejournal has two journal types: personal, and community. In a personal, it's ideally designed for one person. In a community, the poster is shown on all community posts (e.g. user "Bob" posting on community "Foo"). There's no way to configure a community as "anonymous", so that only the community owners/moderators can see who posted things, and so I would log into LJ with my "normal" username and just post here as I would to any other community. Or perhaps, instead of putting my "normal" LJ username on, allow me to define a community-specific nickname, like we currently do with tags. It's a little annoying, but we've got established workarounds for it.

Annotation

Since LJ assumes one person is doing all the edits to a post, our annotative style is also largely a hack. Having wikipedia-viewable revisions, with the ability to review (settable on a per-post basis as to if anyone can) and revert posts could be incredibly useful. While I don't use the WYSIWYG editor (I edit in raw HTML) it might be nice if each "user" could have a default style for new text (i.e. mine would be bold, the monkey's would be italic).

Privacy

This is a big one for me. I would very much like TopTheMonkey to be a closely guarded secret, even to its very existence. It's syndicated on several RSS feeds (like hackersluts.com). But it's shown in a few nifty tools like the LJ mindmap thing that "hey, you seem to have a lot of friends in common with TopTheMonkey. I'd really like two options here: One that lets US control if the journal will show in other people's "friends" lists, on their profile. The other that lets people optionally show it.

Yes, there's the moot point that even if TTM is not showing on your friends list it will still show on your friends PAGE, which really can't be helped. But if people are looking to know what kind of friends people keep, or find mass-correlation, people look at the profiles, not read all the friends pages.

Comments

Another thing that's lacking heavily on the LJ side. Enough-so that I'm going to make a list:

  • There's no way on a public journal to make a "private" or "forced screened" comment.
  • There's no way to reply to a screened comment without de-screening it.
  • There's no way to post comment-specific rules on every comment page (i.e. "don't use our real names")
  • There's no way to "censor" a comment: i.e. post an edited or blacked out version of it (I would be happy to selectively replace text with XXXXX but not have the ability to do direct edits -- again, if someone used my real name is a good example). I can already think of an easy way to enforce this with diffs.
  • There is no way to anonymize a comment publicly, but show the owner privately (i.e. to the journal owner).
  • There's no way to make an anonymous comment, but ensure that you get replies (i.e. so LiveJournal knows but you do not).
  • There's no way to make a *screened* comment public-but-anonymized at the journal owner's discretion (i.e. when you de-screen it)

Conclusion

Thanks for bearing with me on this. There's a lot about LJ that could be improved in this way, when talking about everything from rape recovery, to drug use, to personal history, where better privacy is just possible. I doubt that any of this will effect change on the LJ side, but it's a poigniant topic in my mind for other reasons. I promise, the next entry will contain some sexy things.

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topthemonkey

October 2012

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