Livejournal Deathwatch continues

If there's a better example of how doomed Livejournal is than their latest news post, it can only be... their previous news posts. What qualifies as "major notes" on LJ now? "We fixed a bug that prevented you from giving us money." "We fixed a bug that caused us to steal your Amazon-affiliate-link money." "We added a server in support of a celebrity gossip community."


Since the gossip community has featured in the last three "major notes" news posts, I assume that's the only page on the site actually generating ad revenue.

I sure am glad they are paying someone to write fanfic about their goat mascot, though.

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25 Responses:

  1. lilmissnever says:

    I expect their next news post to be: Livejournal relocates offices to Metreon.

  2. cjensen says:

    Considering the horror of Facebook and other alternatives, this gives me a sad.

    Facebook's motto should be "hyperlinking is hard and no one writes more than a paragraph ever."

    • hallerlake says:

      "grim facebook future"

    • ramses0 says:

      Facebook is actually just a fancy RSS reader with some extra fiddly-bits. ie: per-item comments, per-item "like", minor "permissions" system, easy subscriptions, etc.

      It's a common topic of mind-wandering for me... how would you go about implementing "distributed facebook" using open technologies.


  3. blaisepascal says:

    The celebrity gossip community is the largest community in LJ, and has been a constant test-bed for scaling issues. It discovered the previously unknown 16 MibiComment limit on communities, and legitimate traffic to the community following the death of Michael Jackson had the same effect as a DDOS on LiveJournal.

    Since their recent news posts concerned stability problems and server upgrades because of their overall load, it's reasonable that they'd mention the community which stresses their servers the most.

    • dojothemouse says:

      The celebrity gossip community is an official responsibility of an LJ staff member. There's no question that it counts as news for LJ. What is remarkable is that one of their biggest feature releases in months is moving a celebrity gossip community between servers.

  4. violentbloom says:

    you're such a downer sometimes.

  5. bifrosty2k says:

    You need a goat, to BBQ.

  6. Shame there's nothing sufficiently better than LiveJournal to make the effort of moving to...

    • What about Dreamwidth? They're definitely doing much more in terms of development.

      • Dreamwidth doesn't solve the "I'm tied into a platform provided by somebody else and am doomed when they start acting like arseholes" factor any more than LiveJournal does. Sure, the Dreamwidth people might be acting less like arseholes than LJ right now, but I remember when LJ was sweetness and light too...

        • lionsphil says:

          I can't see a solution to that that doesn't involve everyone hosting their own blog software (and fixing up the "trackback" noise to weave groups and conversations back together like some kind of distributed open hypermedia system).

        • rahaeli says:

          We're (disclaimer: i own half of DW) working on the problem of cross-site federation, though, and we already have importing and cross-posting (right now just to/from LJ-based systems, in the future to/from wordpress, typepad, movable type, blogger, etc), so in the future there has the potential to be multiple DW-code sites working in federation, so that if we turn evil people will just be able to move their content along to the next node on their list. And if enough nodes in the group thought we were sufficiently evil, they would be able to cut us entirely out of the network and stop peering with us, and oh shit you were just mentioning usenet, weren't you ...

          But seriously, we don't have the majority of the federation features done yet, but that's because we've had a lot of things we've had to do, lots of bugs to fix, etc. (I mean, when we forked, the code didn't run except on Apache 1.3.) But we view social-network lock-in as a bug, not as the feature that a lot of social network business people view it as, and we are working to fix it as much as possible. (Some of the fixes are going to be more long-term, because they require major rewrites. Some of them are easy, and we've been doing them as we go. Etc.)

          We have another advantage in that we're entirely user-supported, so no venture capitalists to expect unreasonable short-term results or advertisers to either demand content restriction, suck away development time, or motivate us to do horrible privacy-busting evil scummy things. We're entirely dependent on keeping people happy for our income, and we have a reasonable and not over-inflated timeline and expectation of income/results. So, essentially, market pressure against being arseholes.

          None of which makes us immune to doing stupid things, of course. But we'll at least do them for different reasons. And we won't be spending half our news post time on the damn goat. :P

  7. recursive says:

    Subjectively, it seems as if the frequency of useless news posts have gone way up since the old days.

    Seconding all the sadness about it because facebook sucks in its myriad ways: That they hate privacy, that they hate the traditional web model of linking, that it's all twitter-like brevity.

    • tkil says:

      Subjectively, it seems as if the frequency of useless news posts have gone way up since the old days.

      To be fair, I believe they said they're posting more news because they were getting hammered on not being transparent enough.

      They can't win, really: people want more services, less inconvenience, and all for free. Unless a company is lucky enough to have deep pockets and a long view, the need to keep up cash flow now will inevitably lead to short, quick, alienating money grabs and losing long-term loyalty. Whether long-term loyalty is ever worth it, I dunno.

      Reminds me of a gem from a recent LUG post:

      My two cents. I don't know too much about the alternatives from
      personal experience, except that the quality of brands and the
      reputation of brands are distinctly related to each other, and
      cyclical. (Good reputation leads to bad quality. Bad quality leads to
      bad reputation. Bad reputation either leads to a disappearing vendor,
      or better quality. Good quality leads to good reputation.)

      I don't know where we are on that cycle right now, though.

      • jwz says:

        Really, at this point I just want bug fixes.

        But the fact that they stopped adding features years ago (even before Brad left, really) is why FB ate their lunch, which is why the "community" aspects that made this place interesting have all but disappeared.

  8. samildanach says:

    To my eye, there are three things that make LJ LJ: the company, the software platform, and the users. One can address most of the problems with the company by moving to Dreamwidth or equivalent, but I gather your complaint is equally with the software, correct?

  9. scullin says:

    I, for one, am exceedingly pleased that à la carte user pics are back, since I project at my current rate I will use up my given allocation by 2280.

  10. neacal says:

    Eh, adding features needlessly has been the downfall of many great apps, I'm sure. Certainly lack of new features shouldn't be used as a metric of obsolescence. Keeping things simple and understandable is also valuable, in its own way.

    I still like LJ better than all other social-bloggy services (with the exception of Twitter, but that's comparing Apples to Oranges). And I'm noticing that some people -yes, aside from myself- are starting to view Facebook privacy more critically, sometimes even closing their accounts there.


    Who knows. Maybe simplicity and utility will eventually win over the time sink and privacy breach that is Facebook, and people end up flocking to LJ... ;)


  11. luserspaz says:

    I actually clicked through to the news feed on
    m iPhone, only to find that I can't read it because there's a dark overlay containing a flash ad that I can't watch, and no visible way to remove it. Nice.