Strikethrough '07 hits Firefox news. And Digg. And Boing Boing. And CNET. (An interesting point on that last one: "For its part, LiveJournal's abuse staff has defended pulling the plug on the communities by saying: 'Material which can be interpreted as expressing interest in, soliciting or encouraging illegal activity places LiveJournal at considerable legal risk.' That led one user, femmequixotic, to reply: 'I list "gay marriage" among my interests--that is illegal in my state. With this wording my journal could be deleted, without warning, for the fact that I support equal rights of marriage for all.' "
Did Livejournal have a choice, given possible legal ramifications? On the other hand, why are they speaking to major media outlets before they're explaining their actions to their own customers? And did LJ ignore complaints about an actual pedophile/incest community and a convicted pedophile because advertisers were not, at the time, threatened?
"So we pay their bills but aren't good enough to sit at their table?"
Instigator "Warriors for Innocence"--or rather, the woman running the blog--supports the "Redneck Mafia," neo-Confederates, and dominionist militia groups? (Yes, I had to look up "dominionism" myself. It seems to be the basic idea that "society [should be] self-consciously defined as exclusively Christian." You can imagine how they feel about GLBT issues.)
Warren Ellis weighs in. "All that said: if you listed 'rape' as an interest on your LiveJournal user profile, you must have known that someday someone was coming to see you about that." (ETA: Ellis decides to pull blog content from LJ.)
Here's the thing about that, and the reason this whole thing isn't so easy: No, a lot of people aren't going to sympathize with fanfic writers posting stories about (fictional) incest or whatever who got booted. I would be inclined to warn them to take the content down before I suspended anyone entirely, but as people are (somewhat derisively) pointing out, if you're breaking the terms of service, you are not necessarily guaranteed or owed a warning. And no, Livejournal is not required to "protect the First Amendment"; it is a private company, not a government institution.
But here's the important thing: what about rape and incest survivors who listed that as one of their "interests" so that other survivors could find them? Here we're talking about "interests" in the sense of "key words designating things I write about frequently"? And I do know for a fact that at least one such survivor was, in fact, suspended. And then there's the issue that people writing about rape, incest or child abuse, even fictionally, might be writing about it in a thoughtful, non-promoting way. Example: A Spanish-language community devoted to discussing--wait for it--Lolita was suspended as well. So do we then go through and boot only the writers of incest/rape/abuse fiction, fan or otherwise, that isn't good? I mean, Lolita is literature; it can stay, right? So who decides whether it's good or not?
I can understand targeting the LJ equivalent of NAMBLA, a journal or community that advocates (at best) inappropriate relationships or (at worst) criminal behavior in real life. But as for fiction, I personally feel that if controversial fictional material is posted under a friends-lock in a community that's invitation-only--that is, protected from the eyes of minors--it ought to stand, however. A lot of people will write things that disgust you, and a lot of people won't even write those things well, but I defy you to find a single thing on the internet that does not offend someone. I mean, if you don't believe me, go to baaaaabyanimals and look for any of the entries with babies in addition to fluffy kittens and watch people bitch about having their day ruined by human spawn. Maybe this is just a writer's perspective, but I feel like the issue is putting up barriers between minors and legal, controversial material, not removing the material entirely. And communities that did put up those barriers are still being punished.
Anyway. If you're going to complain about the situation, I suggest you play up the literary/Lolita angle and the survivor angle. The last thing fandom and fanfiction need right now is the spotlight of the mainstream media.
Weirdly related: Fun With Pedophiles: NBC Willing To Do Pretty Much Whatever It Takes To Catch A Predator. I cannot deny that it really is "voyeuristic humilitainment," and that the methods they've been using may be sketchy, and that it really is wrong to torment suspects with rubber chickens (no, seriously, click the link), but I reckon that the time that a guy walked in and said, "I brought some vodka," and Chris Hansen strolled out and said, "Did you bring enough for me?" was one of the most awesome things I have seen on television ever. But then: To Catch a Predator's partner, Perverted Justice, interested in going after LJ?