Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Warriors For Innocence declare War on LiveJournal

Also known as "Strikethrough 2007"

As I'm sure many of you are aware of by now, an internet blogging site called "Warriors For Innocence" has, with the help of LiveJournal, affectively taken down a number of communities and personal blogs dealing with shota, lolicon, rape, and incest. This was first reported to me last night via Warren Ellis' Blog.

Here are some of the facts that I can make out, difficult as it may be to decipher through the dribble that plagues most LiveJournals.

On May 18th, Warriors For Innocence wrote an open letter to LiveJournal and Six Apart stating:
I have found many ads on very inappropriate web pages that are hosted by These ads are in close proximity to such subjects as Child Rape, Child Molestation, Child Abuse, Child Pornography, and other disturbing topics. I am sure that as a responsible and well respected company, you know nothing about this, just as the advertisers on LiveJournal do not.

I have been in contact with the LiveJournal Abuse Team about this very issue for quite some time now, and my concerns have fallen on deaf ears. I have also contacted Six Apart, but never received a response ...

...I have contacted these advertisers and informed them of where their ads are placed. I have had nothing but shock and thanks for my efforts. These ads are placed through Google Adwords and Google Adsense. The companies buying these ads do not know that they are paying for representation on web pages that list interests as "child abuse, child f***ing, child molestation, child porn, child sexual abuse, f***ing kids, f***ing little kids, f***ing young girls, kiddie porn, child sexual abuse, incest" and more.

I have taken many screen shots of these disgusting pages with the ads on them and will be glad to email them to you if someone will contact me with an email address to which to send them.

Unfortunately, these ads not only appear on individual sites, they also appear on general category pages, some of them called “f***ing children”. These general category pages will have the ad at the top of the page and show many sites listed that are “interested” in the same category.

Since there are literally thousands of sick pedophile and child sex sites like this on LiveJournal, merely requesting to have the ad removed from a single page or site will not stop the problem. The advertising companies have had to ask to withdraw their ads from all of in order to protect themselves and the reputations of their companies. I have emails from several advertising companies who have done just that.

Your advertisers are leaving LiveJournal. LiveJournal is doing nothing to stop this. You need to assess this situation and consider “cleaning up” LiveJournal and removing the sites that not only list these “interests” but also describe in graphic detail the sexual abuse and rape of children as young as 3 years old.

It’s time to value child safety above free speech. It’s time to do the right thing. If morals will not compel you to do this, then maybe loss of advertising dollars will.

As I see it, LiveJournal and Six Apart folded to WFI, and as of last night, systematically began purging LiveJournal communities and personal journals. Today WFI made this statement on their blog:
Setting a new precedent, LiveJournal, owned by Six Apart Incorporated, deleted over 500 of its sites or journals today. Responding to requests from Warriors For Innocence, LiveJournal chose to remove sites that promote pedophilia, child sex, child abuse, and other illegal activities.

LiveJournal has revised their Terms Of Service (TOS) to include new standards that will ensure that they protect the safety and well-being of everyone who visits LiveJournal.

And in an interesting statement, among accusations that WFI was targeting innocent groups, Lolita Fashion, survivor communities, and communities discussing the novel Lolita WFI points the finger back at LiveJournal and Six Apart by saying:
You may find it easy to blame us for the deletion of these sites, but we are disturbed by their deletions as well. LJ is obviously trying to avoid accusations of discrimination by deleting all sites with specific interests listed. They made that decision, not WFI. Go ahead and point a finger at us. Call us vigilantes and idiots. Accuse us of banning or deleting you. But you forgot something. LJ is hosting your sites. It’s their call, not WFI’s.

Warren Ellis, who really first broke the news to the blogging community, wrote today on his site, this amazing statement, that I find to be very powerful and well thought:
Without contradicting my previous take on the situation:

Until such time as LiveJournal/Six Apart work out how to tell the difference between fantasy fiction communities/support groups/fashion discussion communities/survivor histories and actual criminal use and traffic, and restore those fiction groups and survivor support teams to full working order, my own LiveJournal will become read-only, and I will produce no new content to be read on that system.

I do believe that some stupid people got what was coming to them today. But a lot more people have been mistreated by LiveJournal for no reason beyond blind panic. I see no reason to tacitly support that by continuing to write under a LiveJournal URL.

Clearly this is a very tough situation for LiveJournal and Six Apart to have been caught up in. I will not display my personal views on the matter here, but rather want to inform people of what is actually happening. Warriors for Innocence, by name, are warriors, and warriors incite war. The war that they seek is against pedophiles and to protect the innocence. But every war has victims, and the victims today have been the many LiveJournal users who are not pedophiles, but by expressing strange and deviant interests have had their right to post on LiveJournal revoked.

LiveJournal is however, working with the victims of their own attack by providing them with software to help back-up all their old entries both on personal journals and on communities. catrinella provides many useful tools and tips over in this entry. ancarett also provides users with helpful advise on how to have your voice heard in this era of electronic correspondence, no matter what your stance on the matter may be, including the phone number for Six Apart's office.

While no official statement by LiveJournal or Six Apart has been posted yet, I'm sure that we'll see one within a few days, if not sooner.

I will say this on the matter, LiveJournal has been around since 1999, and I'm sure that through the many years they have had a number of complaints from various organizations, watchdog groups, and government agencies. Warriors For Innocence cannot be the first. But as any good company, LiveJournal and Six Apart has a team of lawyers, and while these complaints must have surfaced before, they have been able to deal with them in their own, albeit slow way. Most likely through individual suspension of accounts as complaints have been lodged. What I find most astonishing, is how quickly LiveJournal responded to this matter not from a government agency, not from a large watchdog group, not from the media, but by a small group of bloggers. This small group of bloggers did nothing more but to go for the jugular. They went for the cash vein. And it is through this means, through the this threat that LiveJournal and Six Apart have decided to act.

Monday, May 28, 2007

How Star Wars Still Rules the World

We've been head over heals in love with the R2D2 Mailboxes that the USPS has thrown towards us in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars. Or was it their feeble attempt to distract us from the still rising cost of postage? Either way, these metal marvels are a fun way to celebrate 30 years of Star Wars ruling the world.

But these droid themed mailboxes aren't the only way people have remembered Star Wars this year. Celebration IV was underway this weekend in California, as thousands of fans massed together to share in their favorite nerd past time. Dressing up like Storm Troopers hoping to get laid by that hot girl dressed like Leah.

Amongst news and release of the new Clone Wars trailer, there was something else that caught my eye.

As reported by Metaphorge a few days ago, The Vader Project shows off 75 of the top artists and designers as they revision the iconic Darth Vader helmet.

The Vader Project is presented by Master Replicas Inc. and curated by Dov Kelemer of DKE Toys. Kelemer gathered 75 of the hottest underground and pop surrealist painters, artists and designers to participate. Each artist was given a Master Replicas 1:1 scale prop replica of the actual Darth Vader helmet used in the Star Wars films. Each helmet served as a blank canvas for each artist to paint, design, mash up, and customize.

A list of artists is also available at The Vader Project and a Flickr Gallery of the helmets can be seen here, though there are no artist names matched up with the artwork.

My favorites include Alex Pardee:

and this scary one by Jim Koch:

This one by MAD is definatly a nod to the roots of Star Wars:

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Did Facebook Just Jump the Shark?

I logged into Facebook today, mostly to check the "News Feed" section. Its a great way to, you know, stalk your friend. They're your friends, right? Why can't we just ask them how they're doing? We don't. Instead we wait and refresh the page to see who is dating who, which event our friend attended, and to try and find horrible and incriminating photos of our coworkers.

Well, despite the fact that Facebook is just another in a long line of social networking sites, I like having a profile on it. There are a number of reasons why Facebook holds up and is far superior to MySpace. One, it just looks nicer. Also, there's this sense of privacy on Facebook that I don't get through MySpace. There is this sense of organization through Facebook that MySpace just can't hold up to.

I believe it's because Facebook actually gives very little control to the user. You can add your friends, your interests, your albums, user pictures, and comment on your friends pages. That's about all you can do that would change the look of your page. Where MySpace allows way too much user control. You can change the background, add music, videos, have horrible glittery text, and if you're really good, completely change the look and layout and make it unrecognizable as a MySpace page. Sometimes MySpace profiles will crash my browser.

But now Facebook has added Applications. Applications allow outside developers to create widgets for Facebook users to embed in their profiles. You can choose from things that allow users to see the latest mp3s you've listened to, play music in your profile, and add movies. Digg has gotten in on this sweet deal, letting users see articles that you've recently dugg. Jesus, there is even a Hot or Not application. Politics aren't spared either. You can add a "directional compus" that allows users to really see where you stand in the world of politics, and there's even a "Obama '08" application that will keep you informed of the latest Obama-related news and video clips.

So now Facebook has gone even further down the same road as MySpace, but I'll give Facebook this, all of these applications are well placed and hidden. They've always given users the choice to hide information that you might not find crucial while surfing your friends pages. Even though I'm complaining now, I'll probably make use of some of the more informational and web-smart applications. But you'll never find my picture popping up in the Hot or Not section!

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Purpose of Blogging Is ...

Salutations, Greetings, Hola, and Salame!

It's 4:ooam and I'm sitting around my tiny apartment watching X-Files reruns on TNT. God bless 'em. Plenty of Law & Order in the day time, and plenty of X-Files at night. I think that's a pretty deep look into my life, right there.

I've started this blog on a whim because of what a friend commented about me the other day. He looked down on me and stated, "L, you're too nerdy to be a hipster. You're a nerdster."

Ladies and Gentlemen, truer words have not been spoken about me.

Within the confines of this blog, you will find reviews of many kinds. Music, concerts, anime conventions, games, movies. You'll most likely find rants, fueled by the same interests. I'll be talking about Columbus (Cbus from here on out) too, because Cbus is my stomping ground, my heart and blood flow through these filthy streets.

So thus begins our wonderful journey together. Who knows what will happen, what dungeons will stumble upon, what monsters we'll fight together?

Let me equip my +3 shirt of blogging.