1. Why did you decide to run for LiveJournal User-Representative?
There was a lot of hesitation involved, to be frank. I knew that the process and probably the job were going to be ugly. And I wasn't sure (I'm still not) if the user representative would actually be able to make a difference. But I'm hard-headed, articulate and linked in with a lot of the key issues the LJ community has faced and I realized that if anyone could make this position useful, it was probably going to be me.
2. In which way do you think you are qualified for the position?
I've been on LJ since nearly the beginning. I was an early adopter and currently hold that account, as well as my main, paid account, and a free account. I am also a community moderator and generally get how the site works.
I am an active member of fandom, a large constituency on LJ and one that was negatively affected during the Strikethrough and Boldout issues.
I am also a professional writer and my publisher advertises my book on the site. This may give me some credibility with the powers that be because I can also look at LJ with an outsider's business perspective.
I have an extensive background in public relations and marketing. I think we can all agree that LJ needs some serious help on the PR front, especially when it comes to balancing communications with the users and communications with the media.
I know what it's like to work for a community and also be part of that community. I've plays that role before and I think I've learned some valuable lessons from it.
I'm relentless, clear and persuasive. I'm not the sort to let issues get tabled.
3. What are your expectations for the LiveJournal User-Representative election?
Well, as we're nearing the end of the first round of voting, I've got the advantage on this question don't I?
I think it's been about as ugly as I've expected. I also wish more people would participate in the process and that everyone could manage to keep this thing in perspective.
But as to what's next? Who knows!
4. What is your current strategy?
I don't think it's strategic to share with the class in that way. Seriously though, there's been some big upheaval in the situation in the last several hours of my writing this, so I think that's something that's in flux right now too.
5. If elected, what are your hopes for the position and for the Advisory Board? What do you think being a LiveJournal User-Representative and on an Advisory Board entails?
Ideally, I'd like to serve as a translator, helping the powers that be achieve greater understanding of the LJ cultures that bring in their revenue while also trying to make sense of LJ policies and practices to the user base. Once everyone is actually speaking the same language, then we can start fixing stuff.
Additionally, I want to make it clear that I think it's not my (or whoever wins) job to be a cheerleader. I think it's a position that really requires constant skepticism, both in terms of what LJ puts on the table and what users want. Sorting out competing interests and half-formed ideas and incomplete information can be really hard.
6. When LiveJournal announced the discontinuation of Basic accounts - no new Basic account can be created - they were criticized by LiveJournal users for not consulting the current members of the Advisory Board. What do you think of this event? And did it affect how you view the Advisory Board and the LiveJournal User-Representative positions?
I think it sucked, but it also didn't surprise me. It was entirely indicative of the types of problems the users have been having with the powers that be for a while now. And of course it makes me skeptical about the position and how useful anyone who gets elected can be. But that's fine. I was already skeptical. If the best I can do is say to the users, "Look, I tried to have input on this and they wouldn't even tell me what's going on" -- that's something -- it's not what we want, but it's information. Anything I can do to aide the transparency around here, even if the news is bad, has to help.
7. What are your thoughts on privacy and security on the Internet?
If you say it online or in an email you should expect it to get forwarded somewhere you don't want. However, that doesn't justify other people's actions of that nature. Personal responsibility is key, but a lack of good judgment can never justify the unethical actions of others.
8. What are some new features you would like to see LiveJournal developing?
I'm in the fix the existing woes before building new stuff camp.
9. What are some improvements you would like to see LiveJournal have?
Better communication with the userbase. More transparency.
Increased TOS clarity. We're still not there yet. Further review (and I believe broadening) of what is permissible speech on the site.
Implementation of the ALT tag for the sake of our visually impaired users.
The ability to change privacy status on all posts with a certain tag.
Improvements in LJ Support and Abuse procedures; the volunteers are valiant, and should stop having to take so much flak for the lack of guidance coming down from the top.
Restoration of military field schools to the accredited institutions list. If LJ lets us have our imaginary schools, it should allow our users who are in the military or veterans to connect with each other in the same way that those who attended civilian institutions are able to.
10. And lastly, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I'm 35-years-old and live in NYC with my partner. I work as a writer and an actor, neither of which is as glamorous as I thought it would be when I was small. My academic background is in journalism, and I've been on the Internet since 1990. My responses to all of this are incredibly delayed as I've just gotten back from a trip to Sicily with my fencing school.
You can read rm's original platform here.
Notes: ljvotes encourages readers to comment with questions and/or endorsements for rm and for the candidate to comment with their responses in kind. However, please do not leave any disparaging remarks toward any candidates or endorsements for other candidates in the comments.