Surrendering to the mystery (jenett) wrote in suggestions,
Surrendering to the mystery

A LiveJournal Culture Guide

A LiveJournal Culture Guide

Short, concise description of the idea
Something I've seen come up in discussion with a number of users (especially newer ones, and especially in light of some of the conversations about the removal of invite codes) has to do with the idea that new users may not understand some of LiveJournal's culture.

Some kind of 'official' (in the sense that it could be pointed to in Support answers and related discussions, nor in the sense of mandatory reading) could be very helpful - it would also provide a place for people new to the site to learn a little more about aspects common across the site, but which are cultural, rather than technical.

Full description of the idea
I see this (though I can see a number of variations) as having a brief explanation emphasising that LiveJournal is largely volunteer run, some explanation about Open Source, and some other basic information of that kind that affects general attitudes about site management.

Then would follow some basic and very general outlines of some different areas - not so much 'how to' (which the FAQs cover very well, in general) but 'where you might look for some of this information or some background'

For example, a section about how Friending works might say something like (this is a rough draft, obviously):

"There is a lot of variety in the way that LiveJournal users manage their friends list. Some people add only others they know and trust from other places online. Some people will add anyone who asks. Many people are somewhere in between these two points. Some people keep tighter limits on the number of people they list to better manage their time, others will list anyone, but may use filters to only read a small portion of their list regularly.

The best way to find out how a specific person manages their list is to ask them. Some users also list this information in their User Information page, or may create an entry that is always at the top of their journal which explains how they handle this.

For more information on how to manage your own friends list, see [relevant FAQs]"

One on communities might include something like:

"Community rules are set by the maintainer of the community. If you don't like the way a given community is run, we encourage you to create a new community with a similar focus but different rules. The Abuse Team can only interfere if there are Terms of Service violations in a community - not simply if a maintainer is unfair or if there are violations of a community's specific rules."

Bits I could see being of use (and I think there are probably more - these are just ones I know I've heard come up over time and which aren't really answered in FAQs clearly, or where they're buried in FAQs that people new to the site might not read/realise are useful.

* emphasis on the largely volunteer run bit and what that may mean in terms of response time (both in terms of Support/Abuse and in terms of response to issues in communities).

* about different ways people handle friending and some places to look for more info (i.e. user info, etc.) I've heard a number of people new to LJ not be sure if it's ok to friend someone without asking them directly first - new folks don't always think to look in the user info or don't know if it's ok to ask.

* that only a very few communities are 'official LJ' communities - the rest are volunteer run, and maintainers aren't required to be nice, allow everyone in, or whatever.

* that LiveJournal has a philosophy of trying to give as many options (for dealing with harassment, etc.) to individual users as possible, and encouraging self-reliance as much as possible. (But that there are further resources if that doesn't fix a problem.)

* that with over 700,000 active users, not everyone's going to get along. That's ok and expected - that's why the tools (and other resources) are there.

* general overview of resources (link to the FAQ page, link to the social contract, maybe a few others) so that people don't need to try and figure out what's where.

Again, I'm sure there are others.

An ordered list of benefits

  • A document which doesn't address directly explain policy or how to do things, but rather cultural issues.
  • A resource for people who honestly are willing to read more about the site, but don't know where to find it. (We shouldn't make people read *all* the FAQs to find some of this stuff ...)
  • A resource to be available for use in certain kinds of Support/Abuse questions (mostly when someone says they're new to the site/confused by something else being addressed) which would give them some further information.
  • A resource for people who have friends who are new to LiveJournal, but who don't want to try and remember to explain all of it.
  • It won't affect people who don't want to read it, but it is something I've heard a desire for from a number of people.
  • An ordered list of problems/issues involved

  • People would need to write it and edit it. lj_userdoc might be a good resource here. (If this suggestion is deemed to be a good idea, I'm very willing to do the work of writing up a first draft, but I'm very aware that it would need broad applicability to be )
  • It would need to be kept general enough to be broadly applicable.
  • It may need periodic updating, though I think that most of what I suggest above isn't likely to change drastically.
  • Some people may view it as 'rules' rather than 'info that might help' - careful attention to wording would probably resolve much of this.
  • An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation

  • To get it written: you need a list of topics to be covered, a draft, and then lots of input on editing to make it user-friendly, concise, and useable.
  • Somewhere on the site to put it.
  • Potentially an addition to the navigation bar (but not necessarily), but addition of links to it in other places (including the welcome message?)
  • Tags: site copy, usability, § historical
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