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Response from Six Apart

As you are aware, on Friday we sent out a request to a member of this community asking her to remove her default user picture because it was found to be in violation of our standard restrictions for default userpics after being reported by a fellow LJ user.

Enforcing these restrictions is not a fun or enjoyable part of the LJ Abuse staff’s job, but it is important to maintain consistency throughout our service so that everyone (kids, adults, and parents) can know what to expect when they use LJ. We do our best to have as few restrictions as possible. With any restriction we attempt to make sure that we have a clear, objective test.

To use an analogy, this is like a police officer having to enforce speed limits in neighborhoods where kids play. When enforcing these policies, sometimes you end up catching someone who is in fact a very law abiding citizen, but who just happened to be driving over the speed limit.

That being said, we’d like to sincerely apologize for the following:

  • The lack of sensitivity our procedures appeared to show toward the right for women to breastfeed their children.
  • The confusion and perception that LiveJournal and/or Six Apart is against mothers who choose to breastfeed their children.
  • The impression that we simply were not willing to listen, when in fact we are.
  • The lack of clarity on the policies, which was possibly made worse when we updated our FAQ on Saturday. We updated the FAQ to clarify our policy, not to change it in response to this specific situation.

Simply stated:

  • LiveJournal is in no way against breastfeeding or breastfeeding mothers. We salute your dedication to raising happy, healthy children.
  • In the process of enforcing our policy, we are not saying in any way that userpics showing breastfeeding are wrong or inappropriate.
  • We appreciate your voices and your use of our service.

At present, we have agreed to review both our policies and our enforcement procedures to ensure that we are acting both consistently and fairly.  Along with this, we want to add appropriate detail to our online FAQ so that it accurately reflects our policy.  I look forward to involving xavi7734 in this process.

By way of background, our Abuse team revisits these policies regularly to make sure they're the right solution for our users and for the company, and we'll be looking for ways that we can better address grey areas (like userpics supporting breastfeeding). We've always believed firmly in free expression, and we think that our policy of being strict about what's allowed in default user icons but lenient about what's allowed in non-default icons is a good balance between two very different points of view. We'll be working in the upcoming weeks and months to make absolutely certain that we have the right policy and the right way to handle issues.

Finally, we very much appreciate your support of LJ and the value that your community and those like yours bring. As I have conveyed toxavi7734, it’s because of users like yourselves that LJ exists, and we want to continue to run a service that enables you to create community, connect with others, and express yourselves in a free, safe, and positive manner.

I look forward to reading your feedback to this post as a temporary member of the community. 


Father of 4 breast fed children,
Doug Bryan
VP of Business Operations, Six Apart


Jun. 1st, 2006 05:46 am (UTC)
Saudi Arabia is a country that abuses human rights. The current LJ policy is also an abuse of human rights.