What do YOU think?
LiveJournal's New Flagging Policy -- Right or Wrong?I came home today from the Davis Cup Finals (mentioned here) to find my friend Joey fatjoey completely up-in-arms about the latest news (see this entry at that community for the December 2007 post) here at LiveJournal.
LiveJournal FlaggingHow do YOU feel about it?
Joey is an extremely intelligent and well-educated young man -- who happens to be openly (and outspokenly) gay. He has a minor in political science and is fascinated by political history.
Many of Joey's entries here at LJ focus on slash (male/male fanfic) and political satire. He's a very funny guy -- but also a serious guy.
We sat and discussed the issue for some time. For those of you who might not know about this, it's now possible for people to FLAG individual entries and/or entire journals here at LJ. This means if someone is unhappy with the content of your blog, then they can click a button that flags -- letting the LJ ADMIN know how they feel.
As I said to Joey, my personal issue is that people can flag secretively. I feel that every time an entry or journal is flagged, the person posting the entry and/or the journal owner should be notified about the flagging -- and should see who flagged them.
Further, I think there should be a new tally added to the Profile page -- one that shows exactly how many times the owner of that journal has flagged entries and journals. With the current system, there's no way for us to know if we've been flagged or not.
I'm fine with the idea that we should 'self-govern' our blogs -- though I have to admit that I don't believe in CENSORSHIP of any form. If the question here is keeping minors from reading certain materials, then I think it's up to whomever governs these minors to manage that -- the same way my own parents managed what I was exposed to as an underage person.
By the way, it's utterly ridiculous for us to even pretend that teenagers don't know about and think about sex. However much adults might wish that this weren't true, we should know better. Just think back to when YOU were in high school, for heaven's sake.
I used to work as a volunteer for the major AIDS organization here in the Pacific Northwest -- and I'd like to mention that there are two forms of sexual activity that are extremely safe: fantasy and masturbation. Allowing youth to read fanfics -- and other sexually explicit materials -- encourages fantasy and masturbation more than any other type of sexual behavior. Yes -- I know that there are a lot of people who are opposed to masturbation, but it seems to me that this is certainly preferable to activities that expose minors to possible venereal disease, AIDS (a possible death sentence) and pregnancy. No, I'm not suggesting that reading fics will prevent minors from engaging in other sexual behaviors. I'm just pointing out that providing 'fantasy fodder' can be a good thing -- not a bad one.
Joey mentioned that he's received feedback for his slash fics where people have praised him for helping them to come out (as being gay). He's also been told that his work helped people to better understand what gay sex was really like. Some of this feedback has come from parents of gay children, by the way. So I fail to see how this can be a bad thing.
I was lucky that even though my parents were conservative in many ways (they were Republicans most of their lives -- and both voted for Nixon, if you can believe that), they were liberal about censorship. My sisters and I were allowed to read what would today be labeled as 'Adult' books from a very young age. My parents felt that this meant we'd take our questions to them -- rather than try to find answers on the street.
My parents were smart. Because we could read what we wanted and look at what we wanted we never had the feeling that there was some 'forbidden' thing that we needed to strive for. Young people find censored items more appealing -- not less! (Don't we all?)
Joey is convinced that certain people who have been stalkers and trouble-makers here at LiveJournal will see this as their chance to cause more problems. He's a cynical guy, but with good reason, I'm afraid.
Personally, I hope this won't turn into a Salem witch hunt -- but I have a bad feeling about it...
I'm not sure what any of us can do to reasonably display our unhappiness, but I'd like to find a way. Sticking our heads in the sand isn't the answer -- but neither is beating up the LJ ADMIN. There must be some middle ground.
Anyway, I'd love to hear what you think, so please share!
And if you don't have Joey fatjoey as a friend, considering adding him. He's a very decent and fun-loving person who has sometimes gotten a raw deal. But I think he's really worth knowing.