LJ purges incest, slash fic under pressure from self-appointed "warriors"

BoingBoing reader Madeline says,

A group called "Warriors for Innocence" has approached Six Apart, the company that owns LiveJournal (arguably the most popular fandom blog service online) demanding that certain journals be purged. These journals contain, among other things, fanfiction containing slash and incest. According to WFI, the goal is to purge LJ of all references to child molestation, incest, child pornography, and pedophilia. In short, the targets are ostensibly "real-life" predators. But out of the purges that have taken place, flesh-and-blood predators rank low on the list. Mostly, fandom and fanfiction communities have been the victims.

There are many troubling things about this story -- not least of which is the fact that child rapists get together online and swap stories -- but one of the things that bothers me most is the fact that anyone who has been a victim of incest, child rape, paedophilia, or other similar abuse might find his or her journal deleted. If, for example, one has listed "incest" in the interests column alongside "activism," the journal might still be purged. And if one dares to actually have a community online for survivors of incest, it might suffer a similar fate.

Link to to a list of deleted journals and communities, as well as a minor history of the event and links to other, more in-depth posts. Other relevant links include: rumours of the purge, and this conversation between WFI and an LJ user whose community was deleted; this post is possibly the best.

The "Warriors for Innocence" website is located at http://www.warriorsforinnocence.org/search/label/LiveJournal. WARNING: some BB readers report that the site is spyware-laden, and some claim to have been infected by visiting.

The "Warriors" maintain they're only going after sites that promote real-world acts of sexual violence against children, not "Lolita sites" or "survivor sites." They say they're only asking LJ to enforce its current terms of service with users who are abusing the system, and committing criminal acts.

Warren Ellis has a related post here, and he says:

Personally? I have an eleven year old daughter. I’m with Warriors For Innocence on this.

Update: More from Warren:

For what it’s worth: Warriors For Innocence come off a little weird, to say the least. Mind you, so does Andrew Vachss. But LiveJournal’s response bears more study. Their sloppy, blanket response indicates that they simply don’t have a process in place to differentiate between nonce-news and people writing about furry widdle brother and sister unicorns who love each other very much.

The outcome, therefore, has been pure comedy, with comments that read very much like “I love spending all day reading about forced underage incestuous sex with squirrel fisting on top, but of course I’m not interested in that in real life – that’d make me a pervert!”

LiveJournal is part of Six Apart, which has in times past proved itself to be, shall we say, socially backwards. They’re not good at dealing with people. The questions of importance are less about the somewhat gung-ho and poorly informed Warriors For Innocence, and more about the panicked spasm LiveJournal had, that appears to have had very little thought put into it.

Update 2: Warren Ellis has decided to stop updating his LiveJournal content until "LiveJournal/Six Apart work out how to tell the difference between fantasy fiction communities/support groups/fashion discussion communities/survivor histories and actual criminal use and traffic." Link. To all the idiots flaming him for "backtracking" or "eating crow" -- I don't think that's what happened here at all. Grow up, this is what people do on blogs. They post what they observe, as they observe it, and detail their understanding as it evolves.


Reader comment:
sea0tter12 says,

Here's a news article describing the LJ strikethru, complete with quotes from LJ officials.