LJ-specific tag to restrict access inside an entry
Short, concise description of the idea
Text inside an entry encapsulated by <lj access=private> will only be seen by the owner; encapsulated by <lj access=friends> will only be seen by the journal owner's friends.
Full description of the idea
A new lj-specific tag (or rather a new functionality for the <lj> tag currently used only for <lj user=>):
<lj access="right"> , where "right" can be one of: public, friends, private. Alternatively, these can be separate tags e.g. <lj-private>, though I'm a bit concerned about polluting the tag namespace in this instance.
Text encapsulated by opening/closing invocations of this tag will only be seen by all/friends of the owner/the owner respectively. The "public" option does nothing, it's there for aesthetic completeness.
An ordered list of benefits
Suppose you're describing some event of your life in your journal, in a public entry. There're often some things you don't want the public to know, but you want to remember for yourself. Or maybe just let your friends know. Right now the only recourse you have is to add a new restricted entry with this information; however, if the "private" information is tightly integrated in the story told in the public entry, this is very inconvenient.
Similarly, the feature can be used to allow private venting and name-calling: you want to record your attitude but not make it public.
An ordered list of problems/issues involved
This feature is not at all problems-free.
On the technical side, it's not hard to implement; it does, however, make creating a journal view or a talkread page even more dynamic a procedure than it is now. It won't, I think, involve too much CPU power/time to weed out, at the time of formatting, the sections of the entry which the remote viewer has no right to see.
On the UI side, the biggest problem is that I feel a need for some way to clearly mark the restricted areas as access-restricted, and yet I can't think of any good ways to do that (I'm a moron when it comes to UI). The reason it needs to be done is to avoid e.g. friends commenting on or quoting access-restricted parts of the entry in comments. Or the journal owner being aware that the sensitive parts of the entry are in fact restricted and invisible to others, when he views the entry later.
Finally, on the creeping-featurism side, a case can be made for more fine-tuning of the "friends" access, allowing friends groups-specific access. Yet I feel that this would be too unwieldy for users to manage, too confusing and easily messed up, as well as probably more of a bother to implement.
An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation
Implementing it is not too hard.
Deciding whether it deserves implementation is what needs to be discussed.
Hmm... one last afterthought is that perhaps it can be made a paid-user feature. I'm not sure how tempting an incentive it can be, though.