Mostly Harmless Mods (shareenjoyotp) wrote in mostly_ooc,
Mostly Harmless Mods


Okay, guys, here it is: The Poll. There's a bit of tl;dr under the cut, but we'd like to request that you please read it all, as it's all relevant to the issue at hand - that is, determining whether we keep Mostly Harmless on Livejournal or move it to Dreamwidth.

We have been approached by a few players and asked to consider moving the game to Insanejournal instead of DW, but we feel that, when it comes down to it, if we're going to be moving then Dreamwidth is the better choice for our game and players. We hope that anyone who has strong preferences towards IJ will consider what's presented under the cut, as it does list our reasons for specifically choosing Dreamwidth.

All blockquoted text is borrowed from the dramadramaduck community's post on this exact same topic, which can be read in its entirety by clicking this link.

Reasons why we should move:

Livejournal's new site design is inaccessible to many players.

The gradients and larger amounts of white space are causing eye-strain and headaches to what seems to be a significant number of players. Milage may vary from player to player, but the majority of reviews we've had from our players here at gargleblasted have not been positive.

If you're using a mobile device to tag, you're basically SOL.

LJ has stated outright that they will not be rolling back the changes, and it's going to get worse. Serious warning to those who are having headaches already, you may not want to click that link.

In contrast, Dreamwidth has a specific community as part of its development process to address accessibility issues and ensure that releases are accessible. Any user can join and comment there. It is here. The main site colour scheme is specifically designed with eye strain issues in mind, which is why it's a bit grey instead of white.

LJ's new site schemes removes functionality we've come to rely on to organize and play our game.

The new default layout no longer gives us the option to preview, spell-check, or include subject lines in our replies, and has completely removed the parent and thread options. The only option given to us for viewing collapsed threads are the expand links, which are fine if a thread is only a few comments long, but kind of suck once a thread goes over 10 or so replies.

The new icon picker forces the user to load all of an account's icons each time it is opened, which is fine if you only have 15 icons, but is not so great if you have 100. It also doesn't distinguish between active and inactive icons, and will load each and every one, regardless of whether it's actually going to allow you to use the icon you picked. There is no longer an option available to choose an icon by keyword, and no word on that option being made available again.
Though this is likely an unintended glitch, all comments from deleted journals are now hidden (though probably not permanently deleted as many people fear) which has broken a lot of old threads. Dreamwidth staff believe that the comments will show up on a community import, so they are not gone, but hidden on LJ. No word has come from LJ about why this has happened or if they're going to fix it.

It's true that there are workarounds for the new comment form using the S2 layout scheme and that LJ has stated that a skin will be installed in S2 (though who knows when) that will mimic the old site. However, the problem with this solution is that it is in S2. That means that S2's problems with threading will continue to be present. Long threads in S2 break and run off the page, and every time you reply it kicks you out to the main page. These issues have been ongoing for years with no change or improvement, and we have no reason to believe they'll be fixed. That's the reason we have all been using the workaround of not using custom comment pages all this time, but now we will have to to avoid headache-inducing layouts.

In addition to that, many of you have noticed and reported that in posts containing a large number of comments (our Winter Gala log, for example), many threads beyond a certain point simply do not appear when the page is loaded, so unless a player has a notif in their inbox or saved the link for that thread, there is absolutely no way to access it. We believe this is another issue with the S2 custom comment pages, and are skeptical that it will be fixed if LJ ever does release a skin to give us the look of the old default comment pages back.

Dreamwidth has additional functionality that will benefit us as roleplayers and moderators

Dreamwidth isn't just an LJ clone. They have made a lot of improvements to the site that are specifically targeted at fandom and roleplaying, or which had other reasons for implementation and merely benefit us. A short list:
  • The tagging system is better, allowing tiered tags and with a more advanced tag management system
  • Longer usernames - 25 characters instead of 15
  • Longer comments (16,000 characters) and posts (300,000 characters O_O) making modding easier (no more broken up Taken Characters List) and playing easier for the tl;dr-lovers among us
  • Ability to have fully-screened conversations - excellent for moderator purposes such as on the suggestion/complaints post.
  • Sticky posts without forward dating (though just one. Forward dating still works, too)
  • Expandable LJ cuts - A neat feature when just scanning your flist and deciding which posts to tag into. You can just hit a little triangle to see what's behind the cut without having to go into the post itself
  • You can include the reason for editing a comment
  • When you change icon keywords, it doesn't break old ones, so the icons stay the same instead of reverting to the default (Suki nearly cried when she saw this)
  • Because of the way notifications are formatted on Dreamwidth, people who use gmail labels to sort their tags can also sort by game
  • There is NO LIMIT to the number of friend adds you can do at once on the admin console, so you could redo your flist in one go, making it much easier to keep up with journals.

Livejournal does not value us as paid users

As of right now, ad revenue and the Singapore blogshopping market are Livejournal's major financial contributors, and paid journals make up only a small part of their revenue. As such, they are not afraid for us to take our business elsewhere. Here is an article about the Singapore market.

This attitude is reflected by the paid (not volunteer) staff who are often dismissive or just plain rude to users when issues are brought up. igrick (whom most of you have probably heard of by now) is head of LJ Russia, and basically told us not to let the door hit our asses on the way out. There is more discussion here under Administration. I advise you read that entire entry, actually. If you'd like more information, there is a lot of additional research and it's all good stuff, most of which I'm not including here. I don't want this post to be any longer than it already is!

In contrast, Dreamwidth does not have any advertising on their website and is fully funded by paid users, running with a surplus of funds just on that basis. I have had or witnessed tonnes of dealings directly with staff and they have been universally friendly, welcoming, and thoughtful. They take user concerns into account and take the time to explain things. User suggestions are regularly implemented as features.

One of our players pointed this out to us, regarding the Singapore blogshopping market as being one of LJ's major financial contributors:

"This is distinctly false. Forbes Magazine Russia interviewed Ingrick on the 29th of December and said that Russian users don't have ads and don't make revenue for it. On the other hand, American users make up the significant portion of the total revenue and paid/permanent accounts make up 50% of American revenue income."

So basically, Igrick is aware that he's gunning to lose a significant portion of his company's revenue, and doesn't care.

The translated article can be read here. It's pretty interesting reading!

Livejournal does not value our right to do what we do

Dreamwidth specifically welcomes fandom and RP and their business philosophy reflects a desire to be a welcoming home for fandom. Check out this Diversity Statement for an example. I think it's non-controversial to say that LJ doesn't seem to have any particular desire to have fandom be a part of their service.

In fact, not only does Dreamwidth welcome fandom, but they put their money where their mouth is, which is almost unheard of. Dreamwidth has taken stands against corporations on behalf of their users in the past. The reason they don't have a Paypal option for paying for accounts is because Paypal demanded that they change their TOS to censor users engaging in legal expressive activity.

In the past, LJ has unilaterally banned users engaging in the same kind of free expression. I think most of us remember Strikethrough, and the interest-based banning incident. This sort of thing is of importance to our game, because many themes that are explored within roleplaying are on the edge of respectability.

Essentially we have survived on LJ by flying under the radar, and trying to work within censorship rules that are not clearly defined. Many of you may remember that we began being more strict about LJ cuts and locking adult-themed entries after Strikethrough. At Dreamwidth, this would not be necessary, though cuts will obviously still be good, to prevent people from being triggered, we won't have to worry about censorship.

Livejournal is not a reliable service

Sad as it is to say, DDoS attacks have affected our ability to play, and LJ has grown more and more unreliable over time. LJ clearly does not sufficiently test their releases before releasing them, causing outages and breaking functionality unintentionally quite often when an upgrade happens. We are having to implement workarounds to our workarounds [...] just to use the site properly.

And this is nothing new.

Livejournal is not trustworthy

Twice now that I'm aware of, LJ users have mysteriously had automatic payments turned on without their consent. LJ staff called users "slanderers and liars" when they claimed it had happened to them.

LJ Staff have stalked users and gone unpunished. One source for this, and more on R's post linked above.

Reasons that are neither for, nor against, moving

We will lose some players

The sad fact of the matter is that this is going to happen no matter what the ultimate decision is.

Other games have already begun moving, or are also in the same consideration period as we are

As we're sure many of you are aware, campfuckudie, luceti, and singularity_rpg have all recently completed successful moves, of which nearly the entire game in each situation was unanimously in favor. It's a domino effect, really: The more games opt to move, the more that will follow. The upside to this, is that, those players who happen to be in multiple games might find that most, if not all of their games, will eventually relocate. This is not to say that we are going to move just because everyone else is! Ultimately, we're going to make a decision that we feel is best for as many people, and the game, as possible. However, we do feel that this is something worth considering when deciding whether or not to make the move ourselves.

Dreamwidth functions just as Livejournal previously did before their recent update

LJ Login and LJ Juggler both have Dreamwidth settings. Additionally, the price of paid accounts is relatively the same. This chart here breaks the premium accounts down between both sites, as well as their costs.

LJ Paid + 70 iconsDW Paid - 100 icons included
One Month -- $3
Two Months $7 $6
Six Months $21 $17.50
One Year $35 $35

Additionally, Dreamwidth has expressed their desire to add icons 'a la carte' for users who still feel the price of a paid account is too steep for the amount of icons they have/use. Considering the speed with which they rolled out their community importing function in response to user requests, we have a good feeling they'll be making this a priority as well.

Why We Would Not Move

Moving will be a big job and may be too disruptive to the game as a whole

If approached in an orderly manner, we actually don't expect moving to be as awful or as disruptive as it might first sound. While we're still waiting for Dreamwidth to OK the importing of communities with over 100,000 comments (gargleblasted has a couple hundred thousand over a million, g/j guys <3), we're not anticipating we'll be ready to move until the end of the month at the earliest, if that's the decision the game comes to, so by that time traffic will hopefully have calmed down considerably on DW's community import servers.

As to moving itself, DDD's plan of attack is basically how we would go about it as well:

1. We would pick a day, say January 15th, which would be the Official Move Day
2. Between now and then, we all play! There's no need to stop.
3. Meanwhile, players will make new journals and be added to the community on Dreamwidth. Mods will assist players in getting invite codes if necessary and to set up their journals and make sure everyone is properly added. Players import their own journals. (Note: Dreamwidth is running a special right now, so no invite codes are needed until January [15th]). Players help those of limited means to get paid accounts for those who need them. Anonysanta strikes everywhere!
4. On the Official Move Day, any new posts must be made on Dreamwidth, though backtagging will still be permitted on the Livejournal version. Play starts to transition to Dreamwidth overall.
5. Whenever community import becomes available to a community of our size, Mods will initiate the import of comments for all communities, and we let that run its course.
6. Backtagging shifts to Dreamwidth. All the comments are there so we can just pick up where we left off!
7. Maybe in a few months, we'll do a third import of the community to pick up any stragglers.

The whole process should be fairly seamless, with no need for people to 'start over', so while it is a big job for the moderators, the players shouldn't have much of an interruption in playing. We've had worse disruptions during DDoS attacks.

Dreamwidth has some functions that aren't as good/Dreamwidth is different from LJ
There are some ways in which Dreamwidth isn't as good as Livejournal:
  • They require invite codes, though they do have ways of working around this. It's not hard to get invite codes, and communities like DDD would be able to get mass invite codes to hand out on an as-needed basis.
  • There are fewer payment options. Again, workarounds exist for this, and the reason for the lack of Paypal option is one which I think we cannot really complain about. There are whole communities devoted to helping users who don't have credit cards get paid accounts. That is something that we as players can help each other with very easily.
  • Livejournal has now rolled out editing of posts for all users, while it's only available for paid users on Dreamwidth. YMMV on this. Livejournal only did this because they removed the preview function and people got upset.
  • There are no S1 journal layouts on Dreamwidth. In fact, there are fewer layout options in general, though more are being added all the time, and Dreamwidth has a community devoted to layout development by users to be added as official layouts.
  • Also the HTML works a bit differently, for example, tables don't work the same way, so we will all have a bit of a learning curve about this. [...] (Kiwi's note: Xy and Pie are our go-tos for HTML and coding woes; they're both ready and willing to help should help be needed!)
  • Dreamwidth isn't pretty LJ blue. There is a workaround for that, though, to make it look exactly like Livejournal. And there are actually several ways that Dreamwidth can look. There is an option in your account settings, to make it purple, black with white text, or a stripped-down minimal view. So if you don't like the red, there are other options available that don't in any way affect the functionality of the site.
  • Friend lists are a little different - you have to subscribe and grant access separately. It's two buttons to click when friending instead of just one, or if you use the admin console it's more text to copy (oh noes!). There is still the option to just check the comm's friend list, instead of keeping up with the FA/RL. (But as mentioned earlier, the FA/RL will be far easier to keep up with on Dreamwidth because they don't have limits).

We will lose paid time we spent already
Yes. I have done a lot of investigating of Open ID and looking at options, and there's no getting around that, unfortunately.

However, if we move, there's no reason why you can't continue to back tag on LJ until the paid time runs out, if all players involved in the thread agree, since we'll likely do an import down the line to capture any missed comments. Obviously new posts would have to go on the community to keep things organized, so players don't have to look in two places.

And quite frankly, at least this would be the last time you have to worry about losing paid time. Dreamwidth is instituting the ability to cash in unused paid time for points, which you can use to buy paid time for other accounts. I seriously screamed when I read about this. How many times have I dropped a character with paid time still left on his account and it was wasted? So many times, ydek.

Other Concerns Not Already Mentioned

Can Dreamwidth handle the additional traffic?

Signs point to yes.


Now that that's out in the air to be mentally digested, we would also like to make an announcement that we hope eases the amount of stress on you guys during this time.

As of now, and until a final decision regarding the move has been reached, we will be SUSPENDING ALL ACTIVITY CHECKS. We're aware that, with the current state of LJ and the game on people's minds, drive to tag and post has taken a nosedive. We don't want to stress out, or worse, penalize players for something that is realistically out of their control. Additionally, any posts or threads or logs you feel up to making during this period will count whenever Activity Check goes back into effect, so this way no effort is wasted! Applications and reserves will still be handled as per the norm.

And now, on to the poll!

Please copy/paste the form in the text area into your comment, and please respond to this poll with one of your in-game journals. Replies are screened - this is a one-on-one communication between individual players and moderators. As of last count, we have 163 players in-game, and we are really hoping to get as close to 163 player responses as we can, but we also realize we can't leave this poll open forever, so we'll be closing it and posting the results on Sunday, January 15th (Sooner, of course, if everyone comments before then!)

Name: Your name as listed on the Player Contact page
Should we move to Dreamwidth?
(Please select only ONE option, and delete the others.)
× Yes, and I will drop if we stay on Livejournal.
× Yes, because I have accessibility issues with Livejournal.
× Yes, but I'll stay with the game.
× I have questions/concerns before I can decide.
× No opinion.
× No, but I'll move with the game.
× No, and I will drop if we move.

Lastly, we'd like to thank everyone in the game for bearing with us through this trying endeavor. This place wouldn't be nearly as amazing without such a stellar playerbase, and we're seriously thankful for you all. Whatever we decide, and come what may, we want you to know that we're ever your humble mods, and we're thankful you chose to play here.
Tags: !important, !mod post

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