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Confirmed [Jan. 6th, 2005|07:05 am]
I have indigestion. I don't know if it's from dinner last night, or from trying to digest all this. It's the new LJ TOS, to which we will all soon be expected to agree. This was one of the things included in brad's expected announcement yesterday of the New Site Order. As usual, the Amen Chorus is singing in the comments, with but few dissents. Of course, we need not believe Brad's rosy predictions, as he is no longer our benevolent (if sometimes incomprehensible) dictator. He is now more of a Grand Vizier. Anyone familiar with The Tale of a Thousand Nights and a Night knows that Grand Viziers are seldom loved, and almost never trusted.

I suspect that it will take about a year or more for sufficient proprietary software to be added to the LJ code before it will differ enough from that of the various LJ clone sites to make any mass-migration of users to those alternatives difficult or inconvenient. That's when the real changes are apt to begin. I'll say that I hope I'm wrong, and that LJ won't be going down the road of so many other web services that have gone corporate. We should always hope for the best. After all, the LJ Social Contract is still there, though it is now called the LiveJournal.com Guiding Principles, at the behest of the corporate lawyers, as they disapproved of the use of the word "contract" in this context. (Apparently, this word now belongs solely to the legal profession. Sorry, Philosophy- you've been shat on again.) Maybe these principles will survive, and not be hollowed out, but that remains to be proven. I fear that Principal will eventually outrank Principle hereabouts.

As we don't know the terms of the deal, there is no way of telling how much power Brad, or anyone else connected with LJ, will retain in the expanded company. He claims to trust the new owners of the site not to make any substantial changes, and says that he would not have made the deal had he not done so. Fine. The question I'm asking myself is whether or not he has secured a strong enough position within Six Apart to ensure that they will not, in a year or two, sell their company, LJ included, for a big bundle of cash to, oh, say Yahoo, for example. Despite anything I may have said elsewhere, I'm pretty sure that the Trotts didn't buy LJ just for the free cookies. Cookies are tasty, but people with a taste for Venture Capital are seldom as fond of baked treats donated by admirers as they are of a Big Payday, and their pictures on the cover of Forbes. We shall see.

I hope that this is the last I'll have to say on this subject for a long time, as I find that the whole thing makes me a bit queasy. I want to get back to my usual maundering, and to quit staying up so late.

[User Picture]From: springheel_jack
2005-01-06 03:49 pm (UTC)
Brad's remark about the Contract was funny. The issue is, of course, not that the Contract is "not really in the form of a contract," but that calling it a Contract might tend to cause people to think it binding upon the new owners, which they very clearly do not want it to be. This is obviously a way to throw the Contract out the window. So now it's just a set of "values" like one of those photographic posters that has a leaping humpback whale and the word TEAMWORK. or something.
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2005-01-07 12:17 am (UTC)
That's one of the parts of his post that I'd have considered disingenuous, if I didn't think Brad too naive to have a talent for that particular vice. I think he actually believes the line he's been fed. If the Trotts (or whoever in the company is working for the interests of the VC thugs the TRotts have sold themselves to) end up doing what I expect they'll do, it's going to be a terrible revelation for Brad.
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[User Picture]From: marseille
2005-01-06 08:33 pm (UTC)
The avalanche of comments and reactions are probably why LJ was so messed-up last night. I wondered what was going on! It's not like things are perfect now, after all....
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2005-01-07 12:10 am (UTC)
I've always been willing to cut them some slack for their imperfection, because of the nature of the site, and its origin. Now that it's going to be owned by a company that's getting gobs of venture capital from Japan, I'll be more demanding.
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