How Not to run a social networking site »

This was written on September 12, 2008, in response to policies at Commijournal.com. The site has since shut down.

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When Livejournal's Strikethrough and Boldthrough '07 happened, a large number of users left and sought to make Greatestjournal their new home. Greatestjournal was completely incapable of supporting the huge wave of users, and began dying its slow death towards the end of 2007. Bloggers and RPers alike scattered to the winds.

Some went [back] to Livejournal, and took a beating where it came to amount of icons allotted an unpaid user, and had to worry about censorship. Some went to Insanejournal, where the influx of new journals staggered the site and left the owner struggling to buy new servers, fix bugs, and try his hardest to keep the site afloat. It's still running, unlike Greatestjournal, though it has a huge number of unfixed bugs, like comment rot [vanishing comments!!] and disappearing icons. Some went to Scribbld*, where the Early Adopters were the only ones getting a large number of icons, and people complained of a juvenile site owner. that site continues as well. Some held out and waited for the promise of Inksome, where the site admins and volunteers struggle to find financial balance and security to keep the site running. Inksome still has its own bugs to fix, but also has a dedicated admin and support team, who don't want the site to fail. A few staggered to Journalfen*, where fandom-friendly types are just as welcomed as on Inksome.

And some made the grave mistake of moving to Commiejournal. The owner of Commiejournal, Nebris has long since been accused of being strange, psychotic, crazy, and not someone you'd trust with personal information. Like a blogging site. However, Commie journal plugged along for almost a year.

Until today. Today, CJ users attempted to log in and found a note stating the following: NOTICE (9/12/2008) CommieJournal is down for 24 hours to give all users the opportunity to read an important announcement. Since some folks don't wish to be on the CJ Mailstring, this is the only way we can get your attention. Please proceed to http://www.commiejournal.net to read the announcement. Thank you.

Upon going to the link suggested, users were then horrified to see this notice, screencapped here [opens in a new window/tab]. The link at the very bottom going to a contact email that is surely being swarmed by irate users.

While we all understand a site like this cannot be run without some monetary support, be it paid or permanent accounts, donations, or as on IJ and LJ, ads, this is unbelievable. One user commented in a post discussing this absurdity that if Nebris did not want people mooching off the site with free accounts, he could have taken away the option to HAVE free accounts. LJ's done it. All accounts on that server are either paid for or plastered in ads now, so everyone's bringing in some kind of revenue whether they like it or not. Nebris could have followed a similar tactic, if he really wanted to keep his site afloat. At the VERY least, he could have given users warning, let them save and transfer information before deleting and purge thousands of free accounts simply because they were never paid for.

The hiatus Nebris mentioned is set to start October 1st. This site redirect is only supposed to be up for a day, so all users can see it. However, there is no mention of the days between September 13th and October 1st. Will users be allowed to save information and move to another server? Or has Nebris already begin the deleting and purging process? Have they already lost all their personal information, a year of entries, games, character development, interactions and plots?

Yes it states in the Terms of Service of everyone one of these clone blogging sites that the owners have the right to delete accounts as they see fit, but whoever thought that clause would refer to a mass purging of active journals with no warning, simply because the site owner was tired of people using the offered free service? A move like this was entirely uncalled for, and if I had a CJ account, paid, permanent or free, you would bet your sweet rear end, I'd be deleting it. True there'd be no way of getting my money back, but I'd refuse to still have a journal on a site that clearly doesn't care one whit about the people who were there using it.

A lesson to those running blogging/social networking sites: this is the perfect way to insure no one will ever return to your site, whether you come off 'hiatus' or not. For those of you out there: Kit @ Inksome, Squeaky @ Insanejournal, and hell in comparison, even the LJ team*, thank you for not sinking to a level so juvenile it makes one stunned that the site ever ran at all.

They later changed their announcement to this [new window/tab]. This is a far better attitude to take, and one that should have been presented from the start. I am led to believe that this was written by the other site owner, not Nebris, as the tone is completely different, and far less abrasive. Perhaps users can be persuaded to remain loyal to CJ, to support it, but I personally would not unless the site owner who goes by Nebris is no longer running the site.

*I do not have an account at Scribbld and thus know very little of how it is run. I have a nearly unused account at Journalfen, and still know little of it owners and policies. I have mirror account on Livejournal and Inksome, and an advertising account on Insanejournal, where I watch Squeaky's announcement and talk to other users. Anything said in this essay regarding Scribbld and Journalfen is unsubstantiated heresay, and thus will not be expanded upon. I do not own a CommieJournal account, although I did investigate the site when I first planned to make my move from Greatestjournal.