When I posted my item on "The Terrible Secret of Livejournal" in 2007, it attracted a lot of comments. I've since changed the code that runs my Web site, and it's not easy to import those old comments as regular comments in the new code; but I wanted to preserve them, so I'm posting them here in the form of another entry. New comments are disabled here; you should add them on the concluding page of the article.
It should not be thought that Six Apart have completely clean hands here. I'm not by any means a big fan of Six Apart. It's partly because I'm not a fan of Six Apart that I've left Livejournal and given up my paid account. Nothing in the previous section should be taken as my saying that Six Apart are perfect. I think they're basically doing the right thing, but what have they done wrong?
In the previous section I mentioned that fandom itself is considered a perversion. I don't think most people in fandom are willing to admit that they know that. It might be another terrible secret - the terrible secret of fandom. The thing is that fandom is about creating a line that separates Us from Them. That's the point. That's why you joined - remember? You wanted to be among your people and escape from the ones who aren't your people. The trouble is that when we separated ourselves from the mainstream, we created a really good reason for the mainstream to separate from us too.
I'm hearing another round of rumours about Six Apart, the company that runs Livejournal, and its deletion of Livejournal users. It sounds like they've changed their code to make it less obvious when a user has been deleted (by hiding usernames or something, instead of showing them in strikethrough), and they're continuing to not follow their stated policies of issuing warnings and conducting reviews and so on. The fandom community is up in arms, and the current situation is seen as an example of Six Apart not sticking to the promises it made last time there was a round of deletions. I think the time has come for me to reveal the terrible secret of Livejournal - the one big issue behind this situation, that neither side wants to admit even to themselves. Because of this one big issue, I think that fandom is making unreasonable demands of Livejournal. This is a sort of open letter or reality check for the fandom community: you can't expect Six Apart to give you what you're demanding, and you need to recognize why.
Just a note for long-time readers: as you can see, I've been gradually posting material copied over from the old site. I don't have a clear handle on what does or doesn't appear in the RSS feeds, nor what RSS readers (and syndicators such as Facebook and Livejournal) do with backdated entries. I'm going to post some old material as new postings, with or without notes at the top mentioning that it's reposted; other old material will be posted under its original date, and in that case it most likely won't appear in your reader. The "archive" links don't seem to work for old material, but that may be fixed at some point, and it remains accessible through the page-by-page and tag-based navigation as well as the search.
I'd like to remind you that I've also created a Japanese-language section. Items from that will not appear in the main RSS feed through which you're reading this entry; if you want to subscribe to it, you have to subscribe that page's RSS feed separately. The two share the search feature and tag cloud, but most other things are separated. I expect traffic on the Japanese side to be low but nonzero; subject matter will be determined by my language skill as it advances, but at the moment it'll be pretty elementary. Some day I'd like to be able to translate a lot of my "greatest hits" material, but my writing style in English leans heavily on technical skill in the language. It would be hard even for a native speaker to translate my work and have it still sound like my work, and it'll be a long time before I reach the level where I can do that myself.
Revised version of a Livejournal posting of 27 August 2005.
I consider astrology to be primarily a form of art. It's a way for us to express our creative powers. From that point of view, asking whether celestial forces influence the tenor of our lives becomes somewhat like asking whether The Starry Night is an accurate portrayal of how some real starry night physically appeared, such as might be produced by a skilled but not particularly artistic photographer. It's just not an interesting question.
Desdemona, agent's daughter
Never would you cross the water
For the men who sought to take
Your quiet voice, your hidden face
Des, you held a thousand heroes
Peaceful in your arms.
Walked on the beach today
Met John all a talk-talk
All a comfort my mind.
No chance in Hell I'd sell my gold for mud
And give up hope of wiping off the stain.
She tapped in vain and never tasted blood
The toxic arrow lost into the sky.
Now chance repeats the lesson; have I learned
This random mapping on the complex plane?
I stalked the archer, saw the fire, was burned;
Devoured the pseudoscientific lie.
One day defines the gap from thee to thee
One speck of dust can tip the cloud to rain
In one night both of you could take from me
The difference I can't plausibly deny.
Corroborate the price at which I'll sell;
Dial in the bids, and ring the opening bell.
Where have ye been all the day, fair son of mine?
Where gat ye your dinner this long lonely while?
I did eat with my sweetheart, who put me on trial
I was flogged for my crimes and all covered with bruises
They were red and white and they were green and yellow