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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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To me, and hopefully to you, that paragraph in the terms and conditions looks more like it's really about non-consensual harm.

Does pandering to and encouraging the self-destructive behaviour of the mentally ill count as consensual harm, or non-consensual harm?

Is that a description of Live Journal / Six Apart, or of the other members of an eating disorder community?

LJ/6A isn't writing the posts in those communities, but by permitting their continued existence it is implicitly condoning their activities.

OK (and sorry that wound up as anonymous, there's no way to retrospectively admit to your authorship on LiveJournal, I thought I'd clicked OpenID but evidently not)

In that case I'd say that there's a confusing situation. Assuming you believe that members of the LJ communities are all anorexic (or have been, or fear that they are becoming) rather than more forum goons who think it's a game then the problem is that you've got one mentally ill person persuading another to do something neither of them is competent to know is a bad idea.

This is obviously undesirable, but I don't know that it's covered by the rule you're pointing at. To be clear, I wouldn't want to be responsible for providing a forum in which anorexics can urge each other on to increasingly dangerous goals, but then I wouldn't want to be responsible for providing a forum where people can recommend acupuncture instead of vaccination for babies, or tell someone with non-specific symptoms that homeopathy will be better for them than conventional medicine so they shouldn't see a GP. Yet that's the sort of place Six Apart have been running and seem content to continue.

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