The Snow In The Summer or So-So

Sat 03 Jun 2006

Tit or No Tit - we're back!

Tit or No Tit really has been the perfect stick with which to beat Six Apart. It's a test of the company's priorities - to advertisers, to the users, to high ideas like "freedom of speech" and "community". It's been a test of whether the company believes in its rhetoric about "helping people everywhere communicate using the Web", or whether it is part of the legal creep from a minority sect based somewhere near Texas. And it's been a test of what The Register is doing this week.

Autumnhawk posts a response from 6A support that resolves the last question.

LiveJournal's stance on this issue is consistent with that of society within the United States.

Leave aside the accuracy of the statement for now. No, I'm going to leave that as the elephant in the room. Ask yourself if you wish to be judged by the standards of a foreign society. A society that cannot follow its own rules. A society that is being held hostage by an unelected cabal with even less mandate to govern than Bunsen T Honeydew. A society that is, by any definition, a failure. And Bob Worcester deserves an apology.

It's all about the culture

But I digress. This argument is not about the presence or absence of certain physical features. It is about the values that Six Apart wishes to promote. According to Six Apart, a naked breast is always sexual. Where did this unusual superstition arise? With the Puritans, a group of people who found their bodies a source of great embarrassment. Is it any coincidence that this foreign country was founded by that extreme religious group, has gone through spasms of extreme Puritanism every few decades since, and is going through just such a spasm right now?

The point above, explained in a more succinct way.

So, we can conclude that Six Apart is directly promoting the interests of the religious nutcases. What about the other point, where the company's priorities lie? A heavily-commented post at Nielsen Hayden says without even any evident legal need to do so, they’ve chosen to harrass users who were doing nothing objectionable, and to retroactively change their terms of service in order to justify that harrassment. Clearly, users are low down the pile. Clearly, any sense of community, any commitment to letting people communicate, is low down the pile.

What's left? Oh, selling the eyeballs of 13-year-old kiddies to advertisers. For which they feel the need to comply with whichever asinine pressure group was last involved. That's the bottom line here, making it easier to sell eyeballs. Your eyeballs. My eyeballs.

The scarcely-literate Langsite wonders if anyone really will pack up sticks and leave Livejournal. Allow a brief moment for this writer to jump up and down like an over-excited eight-year-old and shout "Me, sir, me!" Six Apart will not get one penny from me while it continues to deny its obligations under the Livejournal Social Contract. Nor shall I act in any way that suggests it would be advantageous to pay money to those liars and cheats.

So, what's the right-thinking person to do?

I very much doubt that Six Apart will respond to community pressure, because the company ranks its income stream higher. What will concentrate minds wonderfully is if its income stream dries up. Paid users might consider letting their paid status lapse. Those users showing adverts (ultimately, the people who are the source of the problem) will wish to consider reverting to normal accounts. Those users whose accounts are terminated over this matter may well be in a position to win a credit card chargeback, as this places the onus on Six Apart to prove their case, not the user to prove theirs.

But there are other avenues. The problem here is the commercials. Six Apart includes a mechanism to complain about adverts. This can be used to object to anything that one finds even slightly offensive. And one might write to the advertisers directly, saying that one was considering purchasing their product, or engaging their service, but after seeing their commercial, that's simply not going to happen.

It would, I suppose, also be possible to engage another of Six Apart's revenue sources, the venture capitalists. August Cap also claims to have funded such names as Technorati and Topica. Neoteny seems to have run down its operations in recent years, but pumped some dough into Six Apart just a few months ago. The way forward could be to encourage August Cap to recall its stake in Six Apart, by whatever means necessary.

Slow strangulation will, I think, be just as effective as a knife to the ribs.

And don't forget...

The almost inevitable photo op nurse-in at Six Apart's wild west headquarters. That's at 548 Fourth-street, St Francisville, 94107. Assemble at midday local time on Monday 5 June. More details from lindsayhoppe ~~at~~ breastfeedingisnormal ~~point~~ org

posted 03 Jun 2006, 10.43 +0100

Six Apart Is Useless

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