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The Great Enabler

So far, I've refrained from posting about the Great Slashthrough (or whatever it was called). The calls for fandom[*] to up sticks and move to an LJ-a-like are, quite frankly, daft[**]. The big issue to arise from this is the nature of the interpretation of LJ's terms of service. As a company incorporated in California, LJ's legal context is understandably parochial, but the breastfeeding usericon debacle showed one thing to be clear. Despite the provisions in the Californian civil code with respect to public breastfeeding (Cal. Civil Code § 43.3 (1997)[***]), LJ/6A have so far demonstrated that they take a more conservative line than that which is required by the letter of the law. With this in mind, their attitude to drawings of possibly underage fictional characters doing rude but consensual things to each other was entirely predictable.

Less predictable is their attitude towards pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia communities, or ana/mia if you'd prefer to pretend that they're lifestyle choices and not life-threatening psychological conditions. I became aware of these a couple of years ago, but never really gave much thought as to whether they represented a contravention of LJ's terms of service. Given the following clause, it's fairly clear to me that they do:

XVI 13. Promote or provide instructional information about illegal activities, promote physical harm or injury against any governmental entity, group or individual, or promote any act of cruelty to animals. This may include, but is not limited to, providing instructions on how to assemble bombs, grenades, and other weapons or incendiary devices;

I'm then more that a little disappointed that LJ/6A have chosen to ignore communities that exist to enable self-harming behaviour, as this quote suggests:

we allow pro-anorexia communities to remain because they are, in most cases, serving as support groups for the members. Silencing them won't make their problems go away; we'd rather allow them to heal together as a community.

Let me restate that: LJ/6A is happy for communities that promote self-harm to remain because they're support groups? If that isn't enabling destructive behaviour, I'm not sure what is. Lest this be mistaken for a member of LJ staff voicing their personal opinion, we were later reassured (by the same person) that this was official policy. Either LJ/6A's policy is straight from cloud cuckoo land, or they need to rein in their staff before they commit another policy blunder.

(and a tip of the hat to hanacandi for spotting this)

[*] At this point I should point out that this is primarily the Harry Potter fandom I'm talking about. Quite why they describe themselves all-encompassingly as 'fandom' when they have little overlap with mainstream SF fandom is quite beyond me. But I digress.

[**] I'd also ask where the HP fandom was during the spat over breastfeeding images in default usericons.

[***] 43.3. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present.

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It isn't just the HP fandom. Stick's might not be up and moved but a fair chunk of my fannish flist (none of whom are HP fandom) have created journals on alternate systems, are backing up their journals over there and setting up to cross-post to both LJ and where ever else. I'm been seeing some backing up and doubling of communities as well. That is definately more of a shift than I expected to see, but from the comments I have read people who use their journals to post fic or art are unsettled enough that they don't want to risk everything being deleted even if there work doesn't fall into the current contentious zone.

I'd argue that some individuals in the HP fandom were involved in the breastfeeding issue but they were involved as individuals rather than as members of the community because it was a general issue rather than a community issue. In political terms it was a free vote rather than a party issue.

Okay, I was only seeing the HP fandom part of it; media or slash fandom would perhaps have been more accurate. However media fandom + slash fandom != 'fandom'. There's a lot of other stuff out there which can quite reasonably be called fandom (in the broad-church-SF-fandom sense), to whom this fuss is largely irrelevant.

However, the deleted material that spawned this fuss came from HP fandom, and the issue of child pornography (see Dr Nick's excellent summary of this issue below) is one that would seem to bedevil the authors/artists of adult-rated HP fanstuff.

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