Editorial -- Livejournal Employee Publicly Mocks Fandom
Leva CygnetView all articles by Leva Cygnet
Let me back up and explain something: I really have my feet in two worlds. One of them is the business world and the other is fandom. From a business world aspect, I am shocked by Abe Hassan's comments and from a fan perspective I'm rather furious at the moment.
My day job is working customer service for Fortune 100 company with a very sensitive client that has a few million members. I am used to assessing situations, dealing with them professionally and efficiently, and solving problems. On a day to day basis I may deal with everything from highly unprofessional and very angry customers to inquiries from the client's bigwigs about problems that I personally have to solve.
There are times when I am very unhappy with the customers. There are times when, believe me, I say snarky things in private that are born of frustration and outrage. However, I cannot fathom ever publicly mocking customers the way Burr86 has done in this thread. It's beyond the pale. If I did something that unprofessional towards the customers I deal with in my professional life I would be marched out of the building immediately. I'd be lucky if my boss allowed me to clean out my desk and didn't just FedEx me my knick-knacks in a cardboard box.
Simply put, we are his customers and he just made fun of us in public.
Burr86, for those who aren't aware, is Abe Hassan, one of Livejournal's employees. He has written policy posts on Livejournal at community.livejournal.lj_biz, so he's important enough to be a public face for the company.
And he is mocking us. Specifically, he is mocking the fans who are protesting Livejournal's policies. His comments seriously ticked me off; I found them insulting and belittling.
I'm not going to discuss my personal tastes here, except to say that pr0n is not my biggest area of interest in fandom. However, I have been one of the people publicly defending fandom (including those who create smut), both on this site and in posts on Livejournal and elsewhere. I have also defended Livejournal, on occasion, because I thought I could see their point of view too.
And by mocking the people defending fandom and demanding better treatment, he mocks me. And he mocks everyone else who have protested this issue. And there are tens of thousands of us who are speaking up.
Personally, I think that:
1.) Livejournal needs to have a clear, consistent policy on what is, and is not, acceptable, so that we are not guessing. One of the artists banned had a lifetime account. I ask you, who would risk a lifetime account worth at a minimum $150 if they didn't think the content was allowed? She guessed wrong and lost.
3.) In the case of a pic where there is a "grey area" a warning would be appropriate. And given the number of artists who are influenced by anime, where all characters can look very young to Western eyes because of stylistic issues, this is doubly important.
4.) If Livejournal chooses to terminate the contract of a user then they need to refund the user's money. This is only fair and is good customer service. I don't care what their contract says. There's "legal" and then there's "what's right" and what they are doing is wrong.
5. Abe Hassan's statements mocking fandom need to be addressed by Livejournal, and an apology issued.
However, the whole thing has left a powerfully bad taste in my mouth. Now that we know how at least one high-ranking employee at Livejournal feels, I will not be renewing my paid account with Livejournal. I've had enough. I have no faith that Livejournal respects me as a customer and I'd rather give my money to a company that does.
Edit: Unsurprisingly, the post has been removed. However, this does not change the fact that Abe Hassan has made his sentiments known. If anyone has saved the discussion and posted it elsewhere please let me know; I'll link to it.
Edit2: Moderation is now on sitewide for the near future. I am currently monitoring the site in real time and will release posts that are on-topic very quickly, probably within moments. Edit4, reiterated: Comments slamming fandom or of a religious nature will be deleted. The only people who will see posts that are derogatory toward fandom are the site's editorial staff, and we will summarily delete said comments. Oh, and we've heard it all before. (So, Pbbbb.)
Edit3: There are multiple links to the offending posts in the comments below. Thanks to everyone who saved them. The most complete appears to be here.
Edit5: Just for the record, I should add that I am not one of the people calling for Abe's termination. The guy screwed up and while I think he and/or Livejournal should apologize everyone's entitled to a few mistakes and forgiveness is a good thing. Livejournal as a whole, however, seriously needs to look at their customer service and make things better if they want to have any prayer of keeping their not-unsizable fannish customer base.
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