lydy: (me by ddb)
[personal profile] lydy
Nobody ever reads their EULA. It is known, Khaleesi. I have probably signed hundreds of them, and I have read exactly none of them. I am by no means unique. I am, also, living in the United States (it could happen to anyone!) and so subject to the laws of this benighted republic.

Why are so many of my friends, most of whom also don't read their EULAs, and none of whom live in Russia, all freaked out about LJ's latest idiocy? What am I missing? In what qualitative way is this crazy-assed EULA different from all other EULAs?

Date: 2017-04-10 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamshark.livejournal.com
I hope the people who are all freaked out about it are around to answer you, because I feel much the same way. I'm curious about what is in this EULA, but heavens to Betsy, not curious enough to READ the damn thing.

Wild guess - people are worried about their accounts being unexpectedly shut down by a Russian bureaucracy due to accidentally violating some Russian law that they don't know about?

Date: 2017-04-10 06:43 am (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Main)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
Not only that, but you can't read the EULA, unless you speak Russian.

All we non-Russian-speakers get to read is a non-binding English translation of it.

Date: 2017-04-10 08:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topum.livejournal.com
This is standard practice though. We non-English speakers do it all the time. Legal contracts and say audit reports in Asia for example are done in the same way, the actual contract is in local language with non-binding translation in English. If things go to local courts, local version is binding, local courts will work off local language version. LJ is now a Russian company based in Russia subject to Russian law with overwhelming majority of users also Russian so contract in Russian with non-binding translation in English is not strange. Yes, many multinationals maintain contracting in diff languages but LJ is too small for that now and our international segment is unimportant to them to do that. I would not worry about English translation being non-binding, it is still an accurate translation and I would assume if things went to court the outcome would be the same if proceedings were based on either Russian or English version but the Russian court will be working off the Russian version of course.

I would not worry about the English version being non-binding, just the actual content of the new TOS and what those changes might mean for you.

Date: 2017-04-10 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topum.livejournal.com
This is standard practice though. We non-English speakers do it all the time. Legal contracts and say audit reports in Asia for example are done in the same way, the actual contract is in local language with non-binding translation in English. If things go to local courts, local version is binding, local courts will work off local language version. LJ is now a Russian company based in Russia subject to Russian law with overwhelming majority of users also Russian so contract in Russian with non-binding translation in English is not strange. Yes, many multinationals maintain contracting in diff languages but LJ is too small for that now and our international segment is unimportant to them to do that. I would not worry about English translation being non-binding, it is still an accurate translation and I would assume if things went to court the outcome would be the same if proceedings were based on either Russian or English version but the Russian court will be working off the Russian version of course.

I would not worry about the English version being non-binding, just the actual content of the new TOS and what those changes might mean for you.

Date: 2017-04-10 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 2-on.livejournal.com
Ignore topumn, he's a russian troll.

Date: 2017-04-10 04:42 am (UTC)
boxofdelights: (foxy)
From: [personal profile] boxofdelights
Maybe people are extra anxious about Russia right now?

Some people say that agreeing to the EULA means agreeing that you are subject to Russian law against promoting homosexuality. Other people say there's another clause that says most of the new EULA doesn't apply to paid accounts.

I don't know, but I'm not willing to sign it yet. Maybe the greasemonkey workaround I'm using to read my flist will break, and I'll drift away from LJ; maybe they'll clarify the agreement in such a way that it doesn't make me feel like I'm agreeing to discrimination against sexual minorities. Don't know yet.

Date: 2017-04-10 06:48 am (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Main)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
FYI, the EULA says you agree to it by simply using the site, regardless of whether you check the checkbox. Checking the checkbox is simply a formality.

Date: 2017-04-10 05:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quadong.livejournal.com
What boxofdelights said.

But I actually read the new agreement, and I didn't see anything in it about agreeing not to promote homosexuality. I admit I skimmed at times. But even if there is/were, how could a Russian company enforce it on me here except by deleting my account? I'm sure that LJ has always reserved the right to delete my account on a whim anyway. I've never used LJ as storage for important data, so if my account gets deleted by the Russians, I will just go on with life.

Date: 2017-04-10 07:04 am (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Main)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
How convenient for you that you don't use your social networks for maintaining your social connections in ways that would be significantly harmed if you were to be suddenly shut out. Some of us aren't in that situation; for many years this was my main form of communication with a number of my friends, and to some extent that's still true -- without this or some mutually-moved-to equivalent, Lydy would probably completely fall out of my life.

The part where it appears to prohibit "promoting homosexuality" is that you specifically agree that in posting things you will comply with the laws of the Russian Federation, which include the laws discussed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Russia#Propaganda_bans.

Date: 2017-04-10 07:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quadong.livejournal.com
I acknowledge that you and others would be more harmed than me by having their LJ account abruptly deleted.

I think that if they started actually deleting accounts over promotion of homosexuality, most people would finish moving over to Dreamwidth. Or is there not a consensus that this is the to-be-mutually-moved-to-equivalent? That's how it seems from my corner of LJ, but I certainly admit to not having a global view.

Date: 2017-04-10 10:05 am (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Main)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
Yeah, moving to Dreamwidth seems to be the consensus from my corner as well ... but, particularly before last week, it was quite unclear how many people would move to Dreamwidth compared to dropping LJ-style social networks entirely. And I'm still not sure how much that's the case.

Date: 2017-04-10 03:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lydy.livejournal.com
I, too, am thinking about moving to Dreamwidth. But oh, gods, what a fucking pain. I have an old, discontinued theme from LJ that I really like, and I know my way around, and I'd have to import everything, and refriend everybody, assuming I can find them all, and stuff and stuff and my god, it's practically Minicon, and one of the things I purely hate doing is dicking around on my computer. Sigh.

Date: 2017-04-10 06:42 am (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Main)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
There are numerous things; here's a rundown of the ones that I am aware of.

First, there is the provision, up at the top, that the English version is not actually the legal agreement but just a convenience, and what we are actually signing is the Russian version.

Second, there is the statement that in posting content we will not "perform any ... actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation," which include a number of things only some of which I am aware, and does not necessarily include free-speech protections. The EULA also says that users "Guarantee to the Administration that Content ... meets all the requirements of the applicable laws," and are "liable" if it does not. Probably in practice their enforcement of that liability is limited to cancelling and deleting the user's account, but in theory it's not.

Third, the EULA requires that users "mark Content estimated by Russian legislation as inappropriate for children (0 −18) as 'adult material'", and there is some belief that this includes matter-of-fact mentions of same-sex relationships. As noted in the Wikipedia article I linked to above, the legislation in question has been interpreted quite broadly in practice.

Fourth, "User provides to the Administration an additional authorisation to modify, shorten and amend his/her Content, to add images, a preamble, comments or any clarifications to his/her Content while using it, and in certain cases based on the Service functions, an authorisation to use User’s Content anonymously." This is remarkably broad even for online services, and it doesn't really limit the "certain cases" in any meaningful way. This is the sort of thing that, at least a decade ago, regularly had people up in arms until the corporation in question changed their terms to be less over-broad -- no, I understate that; this is the sort of thing that even without permission to modify and add "clarifications", regularly had people up in arms.

Fifth, this now allows them to place advertising even on paid-user and permanent-user journals, and there are reports this is now happening when those are viewed by non-paid users. That's traditionally been a fairly hard line for lots of LJ users.

Sixth, just for extra annoyance, it includes, "The Administration may send to User ... third-party advertising using the email address provided by User."

And then, to make it extra confusing, at the bottom of the agreement it says, "Paid Services are not subject of this Agreement. The Administration shall not be liable for Paid Services. All Paid Services’ related questions shall be address to Live Journal Inc." Some have interpreted this to mean that the agreement doesn't apply to paid users at all, but it's not clear to me whether it means that or only means that it doesn't apply to the things that distinguish paid users from free users. In any case, customer service has explicitly reiterated that paid users are expected to agree to it.

I think, for most people I know, the two big issues are (a) the requirement that people treat their posts as subject to Russian law in all of its odiousnesses (and, in particular, the implication that they must actively self-censor by marking discussion of LGBTQ+ matters as 'adults only'), and (b) the sort of overall comprehensive cumulative flipping the bird that this particular EULA implies to just about everything that English-language paid and permanent users have cared about for the last decade and a half.
Edited Date: 2017-04-10 07:13 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-10 09:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kalimac.livejournal.com
Precisely. This is the sort of thing people have been up in arms about LJ doing for over a decade, long before it was Russian. And some of them were bailing out even then. I guess what I don't understand is why anyone who swallowed years and years of that should balk at this. If they find this unacceptable, they should have left years ago, probably at Nipplegate, which had all the same implications about "adult material' that the current EULA does.

Date: 2017-04-10 10:50 am (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Main)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
I have a couple of theories about why.

First is, while this many not be different in kind from previous things (and I'm just granting that for purpose of debate; I'm not sure I agree with it), I would say that it's definitely different in degree. This is significantly worse on nearly every individual front, and it's everything at once, and in the somewhat-long interim since the last major thing of concern, it's become quite clear that LJ management could care less about us -- whereas, with the issues of a decade ago, sufficient complaints did get them to listen and at least partially fix things.

There's also the simple fact that they chose to smack everyone in the face with the changes, whereas before most people weren't directly affected at all. Personally, a fair bit of my emotional annoyance about the changes comes from the way they did the "you can't use the site until you check the checkbox" thing. And, if you require people to actively not-leave, leaving becomes a much easier thing to consider.

Second, as I mentioned in another comment, leaving is for many people an extremely emotionally-expensive thing -- and, a decade ago, it was likely to be substantially more so. If you were doing it alone, or as part of a tiny minority of your social circle, it meant walking away from a significant community with no real options for regaining it. It was worth putting up with a lot of awfulness in order to keep that community.

That's changed since then. DreamWidth, unlike InsaneJournal and DeadJournal and the other early forks, has long-term viability -- but it took it most of a decade to really get there. Nine years or so ago, a few people found LiveJournal's direction unacceptable, and started building DreamWidth. Over the last five years or so, I've watched as people on my friendslist start having "mirror" accounts on DreamWidth, and posting there with content duplicated to LiveJournal. But a week ago, nearly everyone was still reading things on LiveJournal, and so most of the comments were here. I've watched that slowly change, but it's been slow. And it's been clear that that's a reaction to concern about LiveJournal's policies and direction -- people weren't leaving as such, but they were definitely putting plans in place.

Also, a thing that's changed is that LiveJournal is no longer the sole keeper of online social circle for most of the people here; it's one of many places, even for those of us who eschew Facebook.

So, we have (as of a week ago) a situation where, if I switch to DreamWidth only, I'll still see most of the posts I would see on LiveJournal, and probably a third of the comments. If I don't crosspost, a number of people won't see my posts, but enough people are also reading DreamWidth that some will see it. It would be an annoyance to leave, but not catastrophic to my engagement in this social circle.

That's a much lower bar than things were at in the previous up-in-arms situations. And so a number of people who hadn't left before decided this was the last straw, and left for DreamWidth-only. That lowered the bar further; if several of my friends are posting only on DreamWidth, that means more of my other friends will be reading on DreamWidth and seeing DreamWidth-only posts and commenting there. And so we get an avalanche.

Or, in short, the thing that's new this time is that, because of the previous things, people had built a place to jump to without losing the community they have here -- which took years, but now it's been years and the escape plan is now in place. So we were rather in a spot where a small additional catalyst could cause a lot of people to actually leave.

Anyhow, those are my guesses.
Edited Date: 2017-04-10 10:54 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-10 03:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lydy.livejournal.com
That makes much sense.

Date: 2017-04-10 10:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiantsoul.livejournal.com
I agree.
Over the years:
1. I have changed.
2. LJ has got worse.
3. Other social media and blogging platforms have got better.
Far easier to leave today.

Date: 2017-04-10 07:36 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
For me it's the fact that after agreeing to the new TOS, I discovered that benign entries that were friends only were now public. There was nothing offensive about them but they were for my friends only.

I deleted almost everything.

Date: 2017-04-10 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lydy.livejournal.com
That does not appear to have happened to me. I checked. It would be a problem. My f-locked posts are mostly about other people, and the occasional unkind thing that I needed to say, but not say to the general public. If those became unlocked, and people went back to look, people whose feelings I did not want to hurt might get hurt. But what you say does worry me.

Date: 2017-04-10 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It was definitely a shock for me. Luckily I had already deleted all of my "ranting/venting" type posts. I've not logged on since.

It's the principle of it all. If I wanted those public, they would be public. Don't take anything that I've made for friends only and say here you go everyone, take a peek.

Keep checking regularly.

Date: 2017-04-10 10:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] livejournal.livejournal.com
Hello! Your entry got to top-25 of the most popular entries in LiveJournal!
Learn more about LiveJournal Ratings in FAQ (http://www.dreamwidth.org/support/faqbrowse?faqid=303).

Date: 2017-04-10 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lydy.livejournal.com
Ah, LJ, so weird, so clearly dying. How on earth did this post get to be in the top-25?

Date: 2017-04-10 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mlknchz.livejournal.com
Agreeing to the new TOS;
a) is coercive, as you HAVE to do it to be able to access your content to import it to another site.
b) Gives at LEAST tacit cooperation to laws that prohibit " homosexual propaganda".

It doesn't matter if that is enforceable in any country but Russia, what matters is your acceptance of being bound by "the laws of the Russian Federation", which is a point of conscience for many people. If it's not for you, *shrug*

Date: 2017-04-10 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lydy.livejournal.com
I'm not sure that a EULA is the place where I wish to spend my energy in fighting for LGBT rights -- a EULA that, as far as I can tell, is essentially unenforceable in the the United States. I get that they could delete my account, and that would be a terrible thing for me. So I will probably try to archive or migrate my LJ. But I do not feel particularly complicit by having checked a box acceding to an agreement I can't even read, were I so inclined to read it, which I'm not.

Date: 2017-04-10 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mlknchz.livejournal.com
As I said, it is a matter of conscience. Decent people can differ on those. Personally, I do not feel bound to the ToS as it was accepted under duress.

Date: 2017-04-10 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lydy.livejournal.com
Yeah, I am not going to pay any attention to the EULA, either.

Date: 2017-04-10 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
http://www.towleroad.com/2017/04/livejournal-russia/

Goodbye LJ. It's been an interesting 15 years.

Date: 2017-04-10 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm not sure anyone has noticed this but LJ doesn't have a privacy policy anymore. Maybe it's just that Russian Law doesn't require one, but personally it makes me less inclined to use the site. I don't trust LJ not to share my information in ways I disagree with.

The Russian government will be monitoring LJ posts. That's the whole point of moving the servers to Russia. Control over content, it's a simple fact. Maybe they will only monitor Russian citizens' posts for "subversive" material but there is a good chance anything you put on LJ will end up on a Russian government server eventually.

I'm leaving ultimately becasue I don't feel safe, comfortable or welcome on LJ anymore.

Date: 2017-04-10 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I agree

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