cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,
cupidsbow
cupidsbow

Why I give a shit, too

I had been planning to make a post today about why I thought the recent LJ purges were not actually about trying to stop pedophiles hooking-up, but now I don't have to, because rahirah has said it all more succinctly than I could have: Why I give a shit.

I will admit that when fandom first began its hysterical response, I was undecided on how significant the deletions really were. The more I read, however, the more alarm bells went off; the more I learned, the less it seemed to be about stopping unlawful behaviour, and the more it seemed to be about making LJ look "pretty."

By the time Barak Berkowitz (barakb25) made his first announcement in news, I was convinced that the purges were more about LJ's reputation than stopping pedophilia. He said, "As most of you know, LJ has a zero tolerance policy toward content that supports child abuse, pedophilia, or sexual violence." But in none of his recent updates has there been any mention of working with the authorities, or a reputable anti-sex crime community group (as opposed to the deeply worrying Warriors for Innocence or Perverted Justice groups), in order to achieve this goal. If SixApart and LJ are seriously reviewing these issues, why are they not consulting with experts (especially as they got it so wrong when acting alone)?

In fact, the only group Berkowitz has linked to is the EFF, and while I think getting them involved is a good idea, a group focusing on internet rights is not actually the first resource I'd expect LJ to turn to if stopping the formation of pedophilia rings is really still on the agenda. And if pedophilia rings are not still an issue, why not?

The fandom response was primarily concerned with the differences between fictional pedophilia/incest/rape and inciting real sex crimes; that said, no-one was arguing that accounts being used as pedophile stalking grounds should remain. In fact, in the 5000 comments (which I did not read all the way through!) on Berkowitz's first post, several people said they'd previously reported such activity and that their reports had been ignored by LJ.

This is why, after my initial caution, I decided that fandom's response, while clearly self-interested (and I think a little too much so, given the complex issues), was actually the right one, and I'm proud of it. Accounts were not allowed to be disappeared into the night! Furthermore, I think we should continue to question LJ's policies, and we should be keeping track of what content is considered questionable, and how questionable content is defined. We should be saying, "Don't shut down queer/erotic/female/transformative/survivor/guilty/non-white voices." If we want our internet spaces to remain part of a public debate culture, we should be saying this loudly!

And as rahirah points out in the post I linked to above, I think we should question our own prejudices too, because what I'm personally comfortable with is not necessarily the best arbiter of where censorship/taboo/illegality lines should be drawn.

ETA: Another interesting essay addressing the issue of corporate versus private interests has been posted by elements, "User Generated Content" & Ownership: The User as Citizen.

ETA 2: I've just found a del.icio.us tag put together by imaginarycircus, which seems to have links to just about everything posted about Strikethrough07.

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Tags: discussion, fandom, links, politics
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