blue (abluegirl) wrote in suggestions,

Improvement of Virtual Gift System to Protect Against Harrassment

Improvement of Virtual Gift System to Protect Against Harrassment

Short, concise description of the idea
In my social circle on LJ, the use of anonymous virtual gifts for stalking, harrassment and hate mail have become a problem. To prevent this problem, I would like to present a number of suggestions that would protect users from this kind of harassment.

Full description of the idea
There are virtual gifts on LiveJournal that can be construed as "mean-spirited". These are are the Black Rose (which signifies death and hatred) and the Ripped Out Heart. Past gifts that fall into this category include the Lump of Coal and the Bag of Dog Poop. While these gifts may be appealing to a small portion of the population, most interpret them negatively.

On a number of occasions I have witnessed these virtual gifts being employed as mean-spirited hate mail by cowardly individuals. Because they can be sent anonymously, users of malicious intent can use these v-gifts to target and harass other users. Unlike anonymous comments, these v-gifts cannot be tracked via IP, and they cannot be blocked from a user's LJ. Users can delete these V-Gifts after receiving them, however, the fact that they received them in the first place may be very upsetting. Their effect on the recipient cannot be erased.

These Virtual Gifts (the Black Rose and the Ripped Out Heart) are being abused by cruel and mean-spirited individuals, and are a vehicle for harassment, hatred and animosity. I believe that they should not have any place on Livejournal. I would like one of the following suggestions implemented:

a) these two Virtual Gifts removed from the available V-Gifts on Livejournal, with the understanding that no similar virtual gifts will be made available
b) the removal of the option to send virtual gifts anonymously, thereby removing the cloak of anonymity from these malicious users. The benefit of this suggestion is that no virtual gift may be used to send hate mail.
c) allow users to opt out of receiving anonymous virtual gifts to protect themselves from this kind of harassment.

Because this has become such a large problem in my social circle on LiveJournal, i created a petition that has been digitally signed by a group of LiveJournal users. I hope that you will take their opinions into consideration with my own when reviewing this suggestion.

I realize that this suggestion has been made before, but considering the current magnitude of the problem, i think it is time to reconsider it.

An ordered list of benefits
  • Increased security through the reduction in abuse potential

An ordered list of problems/issues involved
  • Reduce potential money LiveJournal would receive from virtual gifts. However, i would suggest that it is unethical for LiveJournal to derive profit from the harassment of its users, and therefore as a corporation, i would hope that it would choose not to do so.

An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation
  • * A section on the editinfo page to opt out of receiving anonymous virtual gifts
  • * The removal of the ability to send virtual gifts anonymously
Tags: abuse, gift shop, security, virtual gifts, § implemented, § rejected
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