Eh? WTF?

Saturday, May 8th, 2010 01:58 am
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
[personal profile] charmian
http://news.livejournal.com/125326.html?thread=83019150#t83019150

It's not clear exactly what happened here, but why would a staffer choose to make a random comment on an entry using their staff account? How did they even find their journal? As far as I can tell what happened is that the staff person does admit to leaving a comment on an entry which was in 'bad taste' and then deleting it, but then it's unclear whether the entry was locked (as the person alleges) or not (as the staff member alleges).

More disturbing are the allegations made by this person, although they admit to 'trolling' in the past, so they might not be a reliable source. However... do volunteers really have the ability to see locked posts? Or is it only closed support requests?

Date: 2010-05-08 12:23 pm (UTC)
torachan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] torachan
I remember the locked-journal-reading thing was a concern on JF as well. I can't remember the exact details of what happened, though. (Though obviously Robin and Zorro as the owners of JF are in a different position than just staff members on LJ.)

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Date: 2010-05-08 12:45 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: Hinky: adj: pure evil fuckery afoot. Syn.: suspicious (hinky)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
I am thoroughly baffled by why this person appears to have ever thought closing a support request would make it go byebye.

Closed support requests in a public support category are still public. The same people who can see an open support request can still see it when closed.

They are de-indexed, though.


I do not know enough about the rest to usefully comment.

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Date: 2010-05-08 09:07 pm (UTC)
trixieleitz: sepia-toned drawing of a woman in Jazz Age costume, relaxing with a glass of wine. Text: Trixie (Default)
From: [personal profile] trixieleitz
I wonder how many of that individual's own support requests needed to be answered in private categories.

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Date: 2010-05-10 09:27 am (UTC)
pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
From: [personal profile] pne
Perhaps it depends on the meaning of "closed"; it has a technical meaning to support volunteers, but I wonder whether for them, it means "support request in a non-public category".

Date: 2010-05-08 12:45 pm (UTC)
phoenix: ink-and-watercolour drawing -- girl looking calmly over her shoulder (Default)
From: [personal profile] phoenix
I don't know about whatever's going on with D Newhall, though the idea that a staffer would abuse privs to comment on someone's locked entry is... wildly farfetched. It *is* possible for some staff members to view locked entries, but the use of the priv is heavily restricted and always logged. I'm 99% sure volunteers don't have access to it. (And abuse_lj_abuse was primarily current and former /trolls/ and others with a bone to pick with Abuse, not former volunteers.)

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Date: 2010-05-08 02:35 pm (UTC)
zvi: self-portrait: short, fat, black dyke in bunny slippers (Default)
From: [personal profile] zvi
AFAIK, the LJ Abuse team were, for the most part, not employees or contract workers of LJ, but volunteers specifically for the Abuse team (which was distinct from people volunteering for general support or documentation matters.) There was a multi-month training process and elevated levels of privileges/trust. I suspect, but do not know, there were non-disclosure agreements involved.

Date: 2010-05-08 08:14 pm (UTC)
trixieleitz: sepia-toned drawing of a woman in Jazz Age costume, relaxing with a glass of wine. Text: Trixie (Default)
From: [personal profile] trixieleitz
I believe that they do now need to sign NDAs, but I don't know if that was always the case. Seems very likely, though.

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Date: 2010-05-08 03:33 pm (UTC)
janinedog: (Default)
From: [personal profile] janinedog
As of a year and a half ago or so (I can't speak for any policies that might have changed since I left), volunteers absolutely did not have the ability to read locked posts. Not even all staff members did. Only those who actually needed that ability for their work got it, and as someone said above, it's logged, so it's quite easy to see if it actually happened or not (by other staff members). Believe me, reading locked entries was definitely taken seriously by staff, and only done if absolutely needed.

And I used to be a member of and read in abuse_lj_abuse, and as someone else said above, it was for complaints people made about the Abuse team. Very rarely were posts there actually useful; it was usually for people to give stories about how a decision made by Abuse was dumb or wrong. By the end, posts came in very rarely, and when they did everyone would comment about how dumb the OP was. :P

No idea what's happening with [livejournal.com profile] dnewhall, so can't speak to that. However, I highly doubt locked posts were looked at for the purpose of making an inappropriate comment--if nothing else, I doubt any staff member would be that dumb.

Date: 2010-05-08 04:37 pm (UTC)
foxfirefey: A picture of GIR. (gir)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
I don't know this or that about the culture of privs in LJ or whatnot, but I do remember the time of this and this that ended in [livejournal.com profile] dwell making abject apologies--which, considering it was only a few people were really screaming much about it, instead of a full out riot, was probably a sincere one instead of something done out of appeasement, although one never knows.

Of course, wondering what's at the journals of genitalia names hurr hurr hurrrr (which is, I imagine, how he ended up there, though there are other possibilities, like seeing her make a comment somewhere) and seeing (even a public) post there and making a comment with your staff account (let alone an "inapproriate" one) is miles more tone deaf than what happened before (which is very understandable in the context of OMG FREE USERS NEVER WANT LJ TO MAKE MONEY TO PAY ME SALARY FOR MY STRESSFUL JOB ALL THEY DO IS BITCH), and since that's what he's admitted to doing that's certainly a baseline for judging what happened.

Commenting on a non-public post is miles beyond that in stupidity--like, possible firing offense stupidity. But I'm not sure if [livejournal.com profile] dwnewhall'd need privs like volunteers or non-ops staff to view or comment on a non-public post, as evidence (based on the way the account creation date was years and years before LJ's beginnings for his test account [livejournal.com profile] davidnewhall which I actually observed myself, so I know happened) suggests that he has direct access to the database.
Edited Date: 2010-05-08 04:47 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-05-08 07:57 pm (UTC)
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
From: [personal profile] sophie
You know... I was about to respond to this post saying that I believed what [livejournal.com profile] dnewhall said because staff don't lie about things like that. If he said that it was a public entry, either it was or he made an honest mistake.

Then I saw the comments you linked to, where he not only says things really not befitting of an LJ staff member, but lies in the sense of saying "hey, look, I have a free account if you hadn't noticed"... even though it was a *test* account, and of course, being staff his normal one is a permanent account.

Even then, I would have believe it was someone trying to troll as David and not David himself, if [livejournal.com profile] dwell hadn't confirmed it.

...I miss the days when LJ staff were honest. :(
Edited Date: 2010-05-08 07:59 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2010-05-08 08:27 pm (UTC)
trixieleitz: sepia-toned drawing of a woman in Jazz Age costume, relaxing with a glass of wine. Text: Trixie (Default)
From: [personal profile] trixieleitz
Yes, I remember seeing the creation date on that account, and so did several other people at the time. I don't think anyone capped it before it was changed, though.

Making such remarks under an account with your own name shows a huge lapse in judgement, in my opinion, and was part of the reason I originally thought it was someone else trying to discredit him. Except for the creation date thing. And then the real story came out :/

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Date: 2010-05-09 06:11 am (UTC)
sub_divided: cos it gets me through, hope you never stop (Default)
From: [personal profile] sub_divided
If [personal profile] vulva is a troll - I'm not saying she is one, but IF she is one - then her friends are likely also trolls, so what they say is suspect.

All three journals are locked, but they do have a community whose #2 rule (after "there's no such thing as posting too much") is "we're in it for the lolz," which is classic troll.

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Date: 2010-05-09 07:55 am (UTC)
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
From: [personal profile] yvi
So, apparently, [livejournal.com profile] vulva received an answer to her Abuse request. I find that answer interesting because among other things there seems to have been a "this was witnessed by other staff members who saw the comment before it was deleted". And that after [livejournal.com profile] dnewhall claimed "It took me about two minutes to realize the comment was in bad taste and I deleted it". This could of course add up if someone saw that in the 2 minutes it was supposedly up and told him "what the fuck is wrong with you???", but it does look kinda fishy. "we have witnesses! of course we do!"

Date: 2010-05-11 05:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] vulva
Hi there, I was just linked to this entry by someone in the original post.


Here is exactly what happened:

The post that he commented on was not only flocked, but viewable to only a specific group of my friends. I'm not new to Livejournal, nor am I completely moronic. I have had problems in the past with people reading my entries, so everything is sealed tight. My "Friends Only" post with banner is screened, and only LJ members can comment.

Earlier that week, I went to my Livejournal to link something to someone on the University computers, and was logged out of LJ: the only entry that was visible was the entry with a friends only banner.

Fast forward a week, and I received a comment notification on my blackberry from "dnewhall". The comment itself was beyond creepy.

The comment:

"hi. *eyes open wide*
I'm watching."


Now, it would be one thing if this was in a friending post. But it wasn't.

It was a picture of myself and a friend where our cleavage was on display. Not tasteless, but you know, private.
I'm already very careful about pictures on the internet, hence the post only being shown to specific friends on my flist. Secondly, the post did have some text of a personal nature which I would not, under any circumstance, made available to all of my flist, much less PUBLIC.

So I got home, edited the post so that it was no longer public. But the comment was gone, and all I had was the email notification.

So yeah, I never post pictures of myself in my LJ, all of a sudden I get a comment on a flocked entry that has a picture and it's miraculously public?

No one from LJ gets in touch with me when I send out a long, ranting, angry email. I am unsurprised. I make a post to my journal, all of my friends see it. People urge me to make this post public so that everyone can see it and see what is going on. At this point I still want to dot all the i's. That is to say, that in my letter to LJ, I point out that I understand that things have been wonky lately, and I'm willing to give LJ the benefit of the doubt that something may have gone wrong and the server switched my settings, but that was the only thing affected. Well, that an my tag settings being wonky (but I only discovered that this week when a friend pointed it out to me, so I'm unsure how long it has been like that).

I receive a message from LJ saying "I'm looking into right away!"

No word for a near month.

I make a comment on the LJ news post and all of a sudden, oh look! I get a reply!

Here is their reply:

"Dear LiveJournal user vulva,

I am sorry for the intrusion into your personal space by one of our staff members. Our team has a strict policy against commenting in user journals, and his actions were in violation of this policy. His supervisor was notified of the situation and the appropriate internal actions have been taken.

Regarding the entry itself, at the time the comment was posted it was attached to a public entry with a "Friends Only" banner, and this was witnessed by other staff members who saw the comment before it was deleted. We have no log of this entry's settings being changed by a staff member, and since it was edited just after you filed this support request and the server only stores the time of the most recent edit, it seems there is no evidence that the entry was friends-only at the time the comment was made.

Once again, I apologize for the offense caused to you by a member of our staff, as well as for the length of time it has taken to respond to your request, as it was misfiled on our end. Our policy regarding commenting in users' journals has been made clear to the entire team, so that this sort of offense may be avoided in the future."


Here is my response to that:
""Regarding the entry itself, at the time the comment was posted it was attached to a public entry with a "Friends Only" banner"

You claim that other staff members saw this entry in question with a "Friends Only" banner. Unfortunately, this is absolutely false. You'll find a "Friends Only" banner here: http://vulva.livejournal.com/1426.html

And you'll see that it hasn't been edited in awhile, or at least, since before this incident. I never had double "Friends Only" banners. Not only that, I am wondering how or why another staff member would have seen the comment made. Is it normal for LJ staff to make inappropriate comments like that and link or show it to other staff members? The comment wasn't up for long at all, in which case I am wondering WHY my journal was being, for lack of a better term, trolled by LJ Staff members?
I understand and appreciate you finally getting back in touch with me, and I can appreciate your policy being reinforced with your staff members.

I can understand the position that you and LJ are in, especially regarding the first part of this reply to you, but I assure you that whoever is claiming to have seen a Friends Only banner is either lying, or confused. I can understand a coworker, or even a coworker defending or protecting a staff member, but I'd like to make myself absolutely clear; I feel unsafe using LJ the way that I have previously, as do many/most people that I know on LJ in regards to this situation. I can understand that certain staff members, such as yourself, need access to accounts to verify abuse claims, etc, etc, but this honestly is such a gross violation of my privacy, I can't even begin to wrap my mind around it.

I have spent far too much money, and time on Livejournal to be- I'm sorry if I'm exaggerating- a victim of a thing like this.

I don't want to cause a huge hooplah around this, and my comment made on the LJ News was mostly out of frustration because I wasn't ever contacted. (Obviously this tactic worked), but I want to know WHAT will change, HOW it's going to change, and what this means for ME.

Does this mean that Staff member 'dnewhall' will be banned or unable to access my account? Because at this point, for someone to leave a comment like that has left me feeling threatened and unsafe on a service that I PAY FOR.


I don't think I'm asking too much, but I'd really appreciate/expect some clarification on the point I have raised."


The comment was NOT up very long, true, but what? Does that mean that he made an uber creepy comment and then linked someone else on the team going "hurr durr look at my comment"? Isn't that beyond unprofessional?



Think that I'm starting drama all that you want, but I literally have nothing to gain from this. If anything it's beyond upsetting for me, because now I feel like him+other staff members are just going through my journal.

I've saved all my entries on my computer and I'm slowly removing anything personal. Because...well, really, why the fuck would I want any creeper like that reading my stuff?


If this is long and nonsensical, I apologize, I've been at work all day.

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Date: 2010-05-11 12:54 pm (UTC)
bell: rory gilmore running in the snow in a fancy dress (kutner)
From: [personal profile] bell
Whether or not the post was public, the contents of that comment was appalling.

Date: 2010-05-16 07:49 pm (UTC)
oona: (Default)
From: [personal profile] oona
Interesting entry. Yet another reason to leave LJ. I have discontinued my personal journal there also, even though I make it a general rule never to post anything I dun want the world to see because it's always a possibility on the net that they can or will.

I think the general ownership of LJ by SUP is all you need to know to make a decision to move.
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
From: [personal profile] marahmarie
Just to clear the troll issue up, trolling - for me - does not involve lying. I don't knowingly tell lies online nor do I want to. I'm not saying that to be defensive, just to try to somewhat reassure everyone who saw my comments about this on LJ. Since memory is a rather malleable thing for some of us, in and of itself, I just went through my entire message archive to find the last person in question's message on this - this was within the last year.

The deal was, and I'm going to paraphrase instead of "exact quote" to shield this person's identity, since half the people on LJ know him, he's a volunteer who managed to go through one person's "past support history" looking for a support request the person did not feel was answered satisfactorily. The support request itself was public but this person's "support history"? That I have no idea. It may have included closed support requests; he did not clarify that point one way or the other.

He did not mention his exact privs in looking through this person's entire support history. He did not indicate if this person's closed requests were public or non-public in their nature before he went through them.

I should have checked what he wrote me first before I commented about it on LJ; my apologies for not doing so at the time and the obvious confusion it's caused since then - not that I'm able to clear any of that up now; I'm afraid I was speculating, and that was probably not the best idea I ever had - !but, what he told me does not prove it was one way or the other (that he took liberties not allowed to him or that he didn't); I was just building off that, I'm afraid.

If my comment here restarts this discussion forgive me if I don't jump back in; I'm feeling uncomfortable, after some recent events of my own that have nothing to do with this issue or that LJ thread, commenting "uninvited", but I just wanted to explain what I know and what I don't, and how I knew it. That's about all I can offer.

*As to LJ Abuse Abuse, or Abuse LJ Abuse, I had no idea the community was gone, but it was purportedly run by an ex-Abuse volunteer, if I recall correctly - my trolling got me locking horns with him on more than one occasion - he was sort of arrogant - which was how I think I eventually came to find it out.

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Horrifying because...

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Date: 2010-05-27 01:41 am (UTC)
christina: (inspire)
From: [personal profile] christina
This was linked to me in a thread that I commented on in LJ.

I know for a fact that from mid 2003, all of 2004 and early 2005, LJ volunteers could see anything that is posted on any journal or community. I knew they could see what was in communities as early as 2002 because a man stealing my pictures was posting them from my domain to a locked community and was dumb enough to hot link them directly from my domain. I complained about the community to LJ Abuse and it was suspended within a day.

As for 'friends only' entries, I know that LJ volunteers can see them based on their FAQ where they work with parents and police to see what is in the locked journals of murder victims, run away teens, suicide notes and confessions to crimes. Yes, people are still stupid enough to post their confessions to crimes on the internet.

I had a friend on the abuse team, a volunteer, who allowed me to log into his account to see what was in the private, friends-locked entries of a woman who was spreading lies about me on LJ back in early 2005. In the past, he had allowed me to view the entries of people as far back as mid 2003.

If Dreamwidth is run by the exact same people as LJ, and they have access to the exact same version of LJ as the original site, then it's possible that they can comment on entries. Although that is stupid because it gives away one of the secrets of the admins of the site: To view IP logins, email addresses used to open accounts and what is in 'locked' entries.

I always tell people to never put things on the internet that they wouldn't want the general public to know. If it's friends-locked, consider that as just a way that it cannot be archived or cached. Nothing like that is secure, and it takes just one volunteer to spill everything they find.

Date: 2010-05-27 02:54 am (UTC)
janinedog: (Default)
From: [personal profile] janinedog
Wow, okay. I need to reply here because you've either not stated some things clearly, or you're mistaken.

Let me say first that I'm speaking from the viewpoint of someone who was a volunteer for LJ, both in public (non-Abuse-related) Support (2002-2004ish) and in Abuse (2004-2005ish). Then I was an employee from the end of 2005 through the beginning of 2009.

First of all, volunteers (non-staff members) definitely did not have the ability to view non-public entries during this time period. A select few staff members did (and still do), though, and a few of those staff members work in Support/Abuse. So that's how they'd be able to investigate requests that involve non-public content--it was handled by staff, not volunteers.

It would definitely be a huge abuse of privs if someone on the Abuse Team allowed you to use their account. That said, there's no way it'd be non-public entries that you were viewing through it, unless it was a staff member's account. And even then, you can only view non-public entries by appending a URL argument to the end of every page you visit (manually, each time you click a link), or by using the "impersonate" feature, which allows select staff members to log into the site as if they were another person. This feature requires typing in your password (again) and is logged (so is the URL argument method).

As for Dreamwidth, it's run by two former employees (and before that, volunteers) of LJ, yes. However, I suggest that you read this entry, written by one of the owners, to learn what is and is not possible, and how DW handles the issue of content privacy.

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From: [personal profile] christina - Date: 2010-05-27 10:38 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] janinedog - Date: 2010-05-27 10:52 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] christina - Date: 2010-05-27 10:40 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2010-09-16 10:19 am (UTC)
acidosaur: (Default)
From: [personal profile] acidosaur
wow. that's unbelievable. i hope something comes of this, and they rethink the way they dealt with that creep and his violation of privacy.

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