Why Dreamwidth

Saturday, April 17th, 2010 04:43 pm
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
[personal profile] jenett
This post is brought to you by two things: a lack of current transparency on LiveJournal's part, and the upcoming anniversary of Dreamwidth entering open beta. Both seem to be a good reason to do another round up of why I am increasingly moving my time and attention to Dreamwidth. (I'm continuing to read LJ, and people on there, and as long as a number of people are still there, I expect that to continue. But it's no longer the first thing I load in the morning either, and for almost all the time since mid-2001, it has been for me.)

LJ's lack of transparency
You may remember a while back when people pointed out that LJ had installed code that rewrote affiliate links in posts - without any note in a News post or anything else that might easily be noticed. They've done it again, though this time it only affects links that don't have an affiliate code attached. (Apparently: I'm relying on other people's code knowledge here.)

Either way, tacky to do it without announcement, at the very least, and one more nail in the coffin of stupid things LJ has done in the last year, never mind before that. I like [personal profile] redbird's take on this one very much, which includes info on how to disable it.

Below the cut: Why Dreamwidth + some answers to a couple of common questions I'm seeing (like "Why invite codes?" and the ever popular "But isn't it all fandom all the time?")

Before I get there, though: I treat my fondness for Dreamwidth about the same way I treat my fondness for my religion. I have strong reasons for having made my own personal choices, but I recognise that they're not everyone's. And that's just fine. I do not dislike people who've chosen to stay on LiveJournal, any more than I'd automatically like someone just because they happened to be on Dreamwidth.

That said - there's a reason I picked the religious comparison. I've seen some misconceptions and misunderstandings about Dreamwidth floating around, and that does bug me, just the same way that religious misconceptions bug me. Whatever your decision about where to put your time, paid account money, and focus is up to you - but I hope that when you pass on information about other options, if you choose to, that you'll do your best to make sure it's accurate, or give sources so people can see for themselves.

I've answered a couple of things I've seen around recently below, but Dreamwidth also has an excellent FAQ section. The guide to Dreamwidth for LiveJournal users might be particularly handy.

And finally on this issue: I am increasingly unhappy with LiveJournal's choices on both pragmatic and philosophical grounds. (And I can go into that at length at some point, but this is not that post). That doesn't mean I think badly of people who choose to stay there for whatever reason: I've heard a number of really good ones. (And even if I didn't consider them really good, I'm not the person who gets to decide where you post your stuff.)

You get to do your stuff where you want. Chances are good that if I've been reading you so far, I'll be considering doing so in future, wherever you are, as long as I can do it without crossing my own commitments and values. (It's a lot more likely that I'll pull my own direct content from LJ and/or move all commenting to Dreamwidth than it is that I'd stop reading at LJ, in other words: and I'm not quite ready for either of those steps.)

If you'd like to link others to this post for some reason, it's public on the Dreamwidth side, but locked on the LiveJournal side. Click the comment link at the very bottom to see the DW address.

Why Dreamwidth:

- A clear, thoughtful, and detailed diversity statement. And when people have called them on a missing piece, or something that could be misinterpreted, they've made changes.

- The attention to accessibility. These days, I am also deeply grateful for a general community ethos that not everyone has the same capabilities or energy to do things on a given day, because that's where a lot of my life is getting lived right now.

- You may also know that Dreamwidth came under attack from a vigilante 'Net group for hosting legal content, forcing them to switch payment processors twice, and code a new payment system to make the third processor work out right. You can read the start of that here with further notes here and a post about the second round attack over here.

(I add: Dreamwidth *is* committed to handling illegal content appropriately and within relevant law: but being pressured by randoms into taking it down isn't the way to go about that. Going - as I understand this vigilante group did - to various people's professors, employers, and others not involved with Dreamwidth was especially nasty.)

- During the time that they didn't have an online payment processor, they gladly extended the paid time of people who couldn't (for whatever reason) get a check or money order or other mailed payment out without question.

- See those linked posts two points up? The last one is one of the regular weekly news posts that provide clear and thoughtful (and fun!) information about what's happened at Dreamwidth that week. While the definition of 'weekly' does sometimes stretch to 10 days or so, I really adore that there's a weekly post rather than a "Let's dump a whole bunch of info on you at once when something major happens" And I especially like that they've got personality behind them: Mark's posts are different than Denise's, and that's nifty.

- Back to the diversity thing: I, personally, deeply enjoy supporting a project that is actively committed to supporting new developers of code, and that is 75% female - a massive rarity in the open source world.

- A wide variety of ways to support the site. A recent post by [personal profile] azurelunatic talks about the specifics in an open source environment but there's a lot that applies to people who might not really consider themselves 'contributors' either.

- Besides those, I have a premium paid account, mostly because I want to support the site, but I deeply adore the ability to search my own journal (with 1500 odd entries, many of them locked to some degree, it's much easier to do links to past ones, this way), and I'm using the site-wide public post search more and more. But there's also the regular paid accounts, which give you access to lots of fun things at smaller costs. (I've used the site search tool about 5 times to write this post.)

- Paid accounts are meant, basically, to support the costs of computationally expensive actions in the database, plus generally support the site. If you don't need those options, that's fine - you can get an account via an invite code (more on that in a moment), or a one month paid account.

- There are a lot of little code things I love, and some major ones. I am *deeply* looking forward to the forthcoming changes to posting, which will include the ability to save drafts, publish them on a given date, publish the same thing every [whatever] days, or many other options. I've found myself using the navigation bar hugely often.

Since the addition of [personal profile] fu to the paid rolls, they expect development on larger projects to continue moving forward more quickly than it has recently. (Also, as you might guess by some of the above points, they recently had to turn a lot of attention to resolving the payment service issues as a priority.)

- I'm really exciting about the changes to payment process with the Dreamwidth points system. It's fully explained in this FAQ, but one of the bits that will be coming soon is the ability to give people points they can use in whatever way they want. (someone writes an amazingly cool post? You can transfer points to them: they can then use it to buy their own account, or use it to give to someone else.) I like that a lot.

You might also find this post from [staff profile] denise helpful: http://dw-biz.dreamwidth.org/4003.html describes the launch of the new points model, with some case examples.

- And on an entirely personal level: I've known [staff profile] denise since she first became the LiveJournal Abuse Team manager back in 2003, and I've considered her a dear friend ever since, and look forward to seeing her again in person sometime in the nearer future. I know [staff profile] mark less well, but I know how well he and Denise complement each other's talents. And I am *delighted* to be supporting people I know, who are passionate about and skilled at what they do, make something resembling a living off of this. (Both of them couldn't be doing this, as they say, without the support and income and other things of their partner or spouse - but they're moving in that direction.)

- They have pretty transparent financial planning: they were quite clear about business model ideas even before the site was open for closed beta, but they continue to be transparent about the issues and needs to this day. A recent good example is a recent post from the [site community profile] dw_biz community about restocking their year of expenses chest (much depleted by the multiple payment option switches and some related costs.)

Common questions and concerns

Why invite codes?
Simply: to manage site growth. This FAQ post talks more at length, but basically, invite codes (while they can seem over-limiting) really do a lot to help make sure there's no name-space squatting, and that certain kinds of spam and trolling are a whole lot less common.

I have invite codes, if you're curious, but [site community profile] dw_codesharing does too.

Isn't it all fandom-centric?
Nope. Really nope. There're certainly a number of fandom-focused communities and journals. But there are lots of others, too. I've had no difficulty finding interesting people to talk to about a wide range of many things over here. (And some kinds of conversation are notably easier to find over on Dreamwidth, in fact, for me.)

A quick browse through [personal profile] liv's recent non-fandom friending meme might give you some idea of the scope - and for anyone looking to make a few connections, a good place to start, since all those people would be open to further new folks finding them. (That includes me.)

Do I have to have the navigation bar? Or the red header bar?
Nope. You can turn the navigation bar off or (for many styles) change the color settings. (though you might want to give it a try. I despise it on LJ, but the DW one actually does things I want it to tell me, and I use it regularly.) http://www.dreamwidth.org/support/faqbrowse?faqid=135 will tell you more.

As far as the red header on site pages, you can change that too. I've actually grown to like it (and as we all know, I am the least 'fond of red' person out there, probably. http://www.dreamwidth.org/support/faqbrowse?faqid=97 will tell you more, but there's a purple one, a pale green/beigy one, and a Lynx-friendly (image light) one, plus a white-on-black options down the side one. They plan more, too, as people develop them.

But where's the conversation?
I admit, this is the one thing I currently consider a sorta-weakness of Dreamwidth: many of the communities are not very active. The thing is, this is the easiest one for individual users interested in fixing to fix. (I also remember back to the relatively early days of LJ, and know perfectly well it can take a year or three to really build up a gestalt around community topics.

As part of the Three Weeks For Dreamwidth anniversary fest, I'm committing to starting (and nurturing) conversations in a specific Pagan focused community ([community profile] the_thinking_pagan, but also to encourage conversations elsewhere (by commenting, posting, etc.)

That said, the individual *journal* posting is quite strong among the people who are using Dreamwidth actively (rather than as a passive archive in case LJ goes completely off course). And cross-posting to LiveJournal truly is trivial once you do a small bit of set-up, so that can easily help too.

Why is this still open beta?
This'd be the one post I'm having trouble finding: essentially, I believe the argument is that there are a couple more major code pieces they'd really like to see in place before they consider open beta closed. The site itself is reliable, stable, and works the way it's intended - the additional code is things like cleaning up a few more pieces of things Dreamwidth is not going to use, plus some new features. (I want to say the new posting options, including drafts and automated posts are part of this, but like I said, I am not currently finding this post.)

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, April 17th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
And I try and keep the stuff in [site community profile] dw_codesharing cleaned up so it's easy to find entries with working codes and easy for people who are giving codes to people to find the people asking for codes.

http://wiki.dwscoalition.org/notes/Dreamwidth.org:_Launch_timeline has commentary on launch. More details are in the Bugzilla Blocking Launch search; the idea is that all of the bugs listed with that tag should be resolved by the time of launch; resolution isn't to be artificially delayed for launch, but launch isn't to happen until those are taken care of.

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, April 17th, 2010 11:35 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: Computer parts made of gingerbread.  (gingerbread motherboard)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
You're welcome. I try to be helpful. :D

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, April 17th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
yvi: (Dreamwidth - Barcode)
From: [personal profile] yvi
Hey, I found this via the Latest page and I wanted to:

a) say that I love this post!

b) provide some information on the last point. There are several aspects to this (business.wise and so on), but one thing is that there are some major features (and I hope that link works even for people who don't have a Bugzilla account) planned for launch which have not yet been implemented. Among them are such things as "Allow people to establish relationships between DW users, identity users, and feeds", redesigning the "edit profile" page, implementing vgifts and renames. The list is getting smaller, though :)

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, April 17th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: Warning: participating in #dw may result in blacking out and discovering yourself as head of a project team. (department head)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
DW Bugzilla registration is totally open, so if you (or any interested party) wants to see what's in there, you can sign up.

(no subject)

Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC)
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
From: [personal profile] synecdochic
And I went through this morning and really re-evaluated which ones of those were still "critical for launch", and we are now down to three. *g*

(But there will be a dw-dev post about that soon!)

(no subject)

Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
I saw the tree shaking! (That is to say, I seem to be subscribed to some of them.) And I recognized some of them and saw the retagging. :D

(no subject)

Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 01:15 am (UTC)
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
From: [personal profile] synecdochic
Sorta; I'm on half duty (half an hour typing, half an hour off). I was doing ok, and then I wrenched my finger badly when trying to open the vanilla bottle; I accidentally bent it even though it was splinted and I swear you could hear me scream on the sixth floor. *sigh* And now it's really hurting again.

(no subject)

Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
From: [personal profile] synecdochic
Aw. <3

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, April 17th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)
nafs: red and purple-pink dragon (Default)
From: [personal profile] nafs
Great post :)

I don't have a bugzilla account and this worked for me to bring up a list of "blocking-launch" bugs - currently at 27 with 19 unassigned.

(no subject)

Date: Sunday, April 18th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
seryn: flowers (Default)
From: [personal profile] seryn
I agree with a lot of this. Thanks for writing it.

I bought a permanent account when I signed up because that suited me at the time. It was a good thing too, since I have spent this year's discretionary money elsewhere.

When I got a LJ code (and yes, I had mine long enough to need one) I only knew the one person who invited me. That relationship was very oddly based on a tangential interest, so nothing else meshed. I felt really lonely there too. It wasn't much different than real life social gatherings where you have to bring your own friends or you'll end up standing in a corner by yourself. I'm doing better at DW than I did at LJ because I am more social and more interesting now. (I'm also more annoying, but more conscious of it.) So far the non-fandom friending meme has been only sort of successful. I picked up a lot of people, but either they don't comment much or they just felt obligated to reciprocate. (It's difficult to tell the difference between someone who is busy and someone who is uninterested but trying to be tactful.) I know this because I am tactfully reciprocating for some of the ones who added me (not you, though.)

(no subject)

Date: Sunday, April 18th, 2010 01:43 am (UTC)
seryn: flowers (Default)
From: [personal profile] seryn
I like to read the things you discuss. Many of them I do not want to comment upon. I go out of my way to say something in response when I can, so you don't feel like you're talking to yourself. But sure, if you'd rather, I can stop that.

I didn't pay LJ unless I needed the features paid accounts were offered. I figure I can pay toward someone else's (or a group's) paid account optionally at some later date.

(no subject)

Date: Sunday, April 18th, 2010 05:35 am (UTC)
seryn: flowers (Default)
From: [personal profile] seryn
That's exactly it... journal posts are non-obligatory emails. People who have interest can comment and everyone can see what's going on. I'm not going to be hurt if everyone doesn't leave a comment, at least not in the same way I am about an email that seems to disappear into the ether.

Sorry for taking it wrong when you said you didn't normally comment on general things... a lot of the time that "treat others how you want to be treated" business ends up being kind of nasty because of unspoken expectations.

Sometimes I find it easier to comment on general posts just because it's harder for me to say the wrong thing. I'm usually pretty good at that.

(no subject)

Date: Sunday, April 18th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
From: [personal profile] ursamajor
I've been angsting about pulling off LJ for awhile - I've got plenty of originally-from-RL friends on LJ that even given all of the above reasons, won't see it as incentive to move to Dreamwidth (or elsewhere); they see it as not a high priority, anyway, so rather than move, they just stop doing the online journalling/community thing.

I suspect many of them are primarily doing stuff on Facebook these days, honestly, rather than a blogging or journalling site proper.

Still, it would've been nice to make it to my 10-year LJ-versary, given that that's less than two months away.

(no subject)

Date: Sunday, April 18th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC)
keshwyn: Keshwyn with the darkness swirling around her (Default)
From: [personal profile] keshwyn
I shall be trying to remember to post replies over here now. The trick, of course, is that most of my friends are still on LiveJournal. Alas.

(no subject)

Date: Friday, April 23rd, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
Me, too. (You'll notice that my most recent reply to one of your posts was on DW.)

(no subject)

Date: Sunday, April 18th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
This is a very nice way of explaining why someone would make the move. Thanks for this. I don't think I'm that elegant or eloquent in reasoning.

(no subject)

Date: Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)
lady_ganesh: A Clue card featuring Miss Scarlett. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lady_ganesh
Here from Metafandom, just to say: I have codes if anyone wants them, and they can PM me (same username) on LJ.

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, April 17th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
ext_29896: Lilacs in grandmother's vase on my piano (WTF?)
From: [identity profile] glinda-w.livejournal.com
I've still been reading from LJ, but have been posting on Dreamwidth and crossposting here at LJ. Just did the thing to get the LJ people onto the Dreamwidh feeds, and will start reading there first, do a comparison for a while to see if everything "here" also shows up "there." This latest sneaking in the redirect stuff... *grrrrrrrr*

*wanders off, mumbling incoherently*

(no subject)

Date: Sunday, April 18th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sunfell.livejournal.com
I have not liked the way LJ has been running of late. I have a DW account, and I think I'm going to switch over permanently this year.


(no subject)

Date: Sunday, April 18th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] papersky.livejournal.com
If you close comments on LJ, you will not get comments from me.

(no subject)

Date: Sunday, April 18th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aislingthebard.livejournal.com
I'm not enough of a geek to even understand your comprehensive post above...I am on LJ simply because I KNOW HOW IT WORKS. DW looks, to me, as if it has a completely different interface, and I don't know how to do the things on DW that I do know how to do on LJ. So I hope you, and lots of other cross-posting friends, won't leave LJ completely until some of the technologically challenged amongst us figure it out. I HAVE a DW account....just need to figure out what to do with it.
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