By now, many of you have probably heard about LiveJournal's new system for labeling and flagging adult-oriented content. If you have not, the original post on lj_biz can be found here, the first follow-up here (largely to address and answer user concerns), and the most recent follow-up on lj_policy here (to further address and answer user concerns).
Given all of this, communities on LJ that allow adult content have been abuzz in trying to decide what to do with their communities. The SWG moderators have spent the last five days talking back and forth about how to handle adult content on silwritersguild in light of the new policies. First of all, I will assure you that very little will change. Adult content will still be allowed on the community. You will still be able to reach users with and without LJ accounts and with a minimum of fuss. To the greatest extent possible, you will control how to label your posts to this community.
- silwritersguild will not be declaring any level of adult content for the community as a whole. A survey of the last year of posts revealed that 16% might be considered Adult Concepts; only 5% might be considered Explicit Adult Content by even the most stringent standards. By LJ's own 50% guideline, our community is therefore considered to include "No Adult Content." Furthermore, we've always been very clear about the contents of the community and individual posts so that readers don't encounter topics that they find bothersome and to aid parents in making decisions about their children's usage of the Internet.
- Authors on silwritersguild do not need to choose a level of adult content for their posts, even if those posts do contain explicit adult content. If authors wish to do so, they may, but we are not requiring this, nor are we creating a community standard to determine what constitutes Adult Concepts or Explicit Adult Content. (Nor has LJ been particularly forthcoming in creating a standard for the site as a whole.) If you wish to label your posts as AC or EAC, use the same judgment that you would use when making this decision in your private journal.
It is important to note, also, that there is no penalty to users that do not label journal/community posts according to the level of adult content they contain. Labeling adult content remains voluntary. Even if LJ Abuse applies a label at a later date, you will not be punished or penalized for this, nor will this community, so please feel free to make a choice according to your own beliefs and judgments on the matter.
- That said, nothing has changed with regards to the ratings, warnings, and LJ-cuts that we have always required on this community. Even if you label a post as Adult Concepts or Explicit Adult Content, you must continue to provide ratings and warnings and place any lengthy or potentially offensive content behind an LJ-cut. If you need a reminder about our system, please review our community information page or contact a moderator.
- One of the shortcomings of the current system (that LJ is supposed to be addressing) is that all content in a post labeled as Adult Concepts or Explicit Adult Content goes behind an LJ-cut for logged-out users, underage users, or users who have selected to collapse adult content on their settings page. This means that any warnings you might attach to your story outside the LJ-cut, per community guidelines, will not be visible to these users.
As such, we are asking that authors who post material here that might be harmful to some users include warnings also in the title to the piece. By "harmful," we mean content that might be damaging to victims of or people personally affected by the content or themes of the story. On the SWG archive, these are the warnings that have three stars (***) in front of them: rape, torture, suicide, and incest.
Please add these warnings even if you are not labeling the post as Adult Concepts or Explicit Adult Content. Remember that other users can flag your content and LJ may choose to label certain content accordingly. (Again, there are no repercussions if/when this happens; more information about the use and abuse of this system is available in the posts I linked above.) Currently, posts made on silwritersguild reaches close to one thousand LJ users, from those who watch the community and those who watch newsgroups that mirror the community, as well as visitors. So we should expect that some content will end up flagged and changed by LJ and prepare accordingly.
Hopefully, LJ will indeed come up with a solution to this problem soon, and it will cease to be an issue. In the meantime, we appreciate everyone's cooperation with this change.
As usual, we encourage those of you who have questions or need clarification on this matter or any other to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now let's all get back to writing (and sharing) our Silmarillion stories! My best regards to all,