delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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Everyone loves LJ drama, right?
drowning man
I was going to keep quiet on the whole LJ drama thing, but I just can't resist, I'm afraid.

(For those fortunate few who don't know what I'm talking about, I suggest keeping it that way.)

What the whole thing reminds me of more than anything else is an inept cartoon villain. Te story goes something like this: pesky hero rises up to defeat the big bad villain. Pesky hero isn't very strong, so villain thinks "I know, I'll send my weakest and generally most clueless underling to kill him!" Hero then dispatches this useless minion, learning from the fight and becoming stronger in the process. At this point, instead of sending someone vaguely strong after the hero, the villain sends his second most hapless thugs, who also get beaten up. And so it goes on, each time the villain underestimates the hero and the situation just gets worse and worse until eventually you find the hero strapped down to the laser doomsday device and you know the villain will be dead next act. And all the time I'm thinking "why didn't you just send someone competent to squish the wannabe hero back at the very beginning and save yourself all this bother?"

The situation on LJ is similar. At the start, what they should have done was said "we realise that you're not going to like this, but here's why we're doing this. We've consulted with the advisory board and with our experienced staff, and here's what we're doing to minimise any potential problems." People wouldn't have liked this, but by and large I think they'd have dealt. Instead, they try to solve the problem in the manner requiring least effort: hide it. That didn't work, so the next step should have been to apologise, then go back and do what they should have done in the first place. Instead, they throw the smallest amount of resources possible at the situation, with the "oh, we didn't think you'd care, it was just to simplify the sign up" hand-wave. That didn't work either, and the crowd just continued getting more and more angry. Next step was the "oops, sorry you got mad" entry. At each stage, instead of doing what's necessary to deal with the problem, they're trying to solve it with the least possible effort, underestimating things, and just making matters worse. If they carry on at this rate, they'll have an angry mob in the streets of San Francisco baying for their blood, and the time when the problem could have bee easily dealt with will be long gone.

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(Deleted comment)
To an extent, maybe. But as Brad said, it always used to be supported by the idea that the free users were creating the content the paid users wanted to read. I pay to get extra icons, to make my friends page look good in a way that suits me when I read it, to syndicate RSS feeds easily, etc.

But without the majority of my freeloading friends, there'd be nothing here for me and I'd just go elsewhere. And some of those freeloading friends will become paid users eventually.

I'm not sure Brad's model was that effective, but it kept the site going for years. I think they broke it in a really bad way with the miss handled implementation of ads initially, and the new fuss has really annoyed me—I only redid my sticky post over the weekend, the mouseover text for signing up still says "select basic"—I was going to try to encourage a bunch of readers to sign up so they could comment, but, well, not going to do that now.

Time to dig out the migration plan and crossposting software (again)

I think it's more that it takes a couple years to become attached enough to LJ to want to pay, and sometimes ot have the means to pay. LJ attracts a lot of younglings who simply cannot pay, but they grow up, and the ones who stay often do pay.

In my social circle (yes, not representative, I know, but still - and not counting the Support people, just the people I know in real life), a lot of my friends went from either okay I'll get a basic account or from I won't touch LJ with a 10 foot pole to something else. Some of the latter went to, okay, I'll get an account to read friends-only entries, but I'm not going to post... well, okay, I'll post now and then. And then some of them who either just got an account to read or not to use much decided, you know, I'd like to have a few more userpics or some other paid ability. Many of them have paid accounts. Many of the ones who liked LJ enough at the start to just give it a try ended up buying perm accounts.

But it took a while for them to go, you know, I've been using this and getting enough out of it, sure, I can spend some money on it. And it took having good jobs that made $25 dollars or whatever not be a huge sum. When I was in college, $25 dollars represented being able to eat for a week, and I certainly wouldn't have spent that on a journal.

Basic users do encourage their friends to stick around by being there. Some will buy paid accounts or switch to sponsored, and others, by their mere existence, will encourage their friends to upgrade.

And then there are people like me. Because LiveJournal gave me something for nothing, I felt like giving something back. So, I volunteered for years and gave LJ an enormous amount of free work. Had LJ not had basic accounts, I find it hard to believe that I'd have considered volunteering. I had previously volunteered on IRC, because it was free. I volunteered on LJ, because it was free. LJ gets tens of thousands of dollars worth of free labor from volunteers, and I do wonder if they will be able to maintain that without having basic accounts, and for how long. Also, tens of thousands is a personal estimate I'm making erring on the low side. It's probably hundreds of thousands worth of free labor each year. The volunteers on LJ are really impressive in how much they do, at least, that was the case when I was involved. And yes, they get some benefits, but that's subtracting the cost of the small benefits they get.

Next step was the "oops, sorry you got mad" entry.

I must have missed that one. At least the "sorry" bit.

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