I received this email from LiveJournal’s abuse team. I appreciate that he took the time to write it up (or that someone did,and then pasted it in as a canned response). I would feel differently about the issue if LiveJournal wasn’t the blogging platform of choice for teenage girls.
Sent:Wed 3/28/2007 9:55 PM
Re:(72) anorexicqueen QC
We understand and appreciate your concerns about such communities. Please let us state our position.
Our experience thus far has been that communities such as these,dedicated to discussing destructive behavior,actually do far more good than harm. They allow open and meaningful communication among people suffering from various eating disorders,and allow users to provide support for each other in their recovery. We realize that these disorders can be harmful to the health of those suffering from them,but we must also recognize that the activities being discussed are not illegal.
We fully recognize that anorexia is harmful and that these communities are dedicated to maintaining a lifestyle that has the potential to cause harm. Speaking strictly from a safety and protective stance,we would of course prefer it if none of our users participated in any way in potentially harmful and dangerous activities,and if those communities had no reason to exist. However,we still believe that,apart from being protected as free speech,it is the lesser harm to permit them all.
Suspending pro-anorexia communities will not make anyone suffering from the disorder become healthy again. Allowing them to exist,however,has several benefits. It reassures those who join them that they are not alone in the way they feel about their bodies. It increases the chance that the friends and loved ones of the individuals in the community will discover their disorders and assist them in seeking professional help. It makes it more likely that we will be contacted if a post by a community member is of the kind where we would contact the local authorities. It provides a supportive environment that will,hopefully,lead others on the road to recovery. Ultimately,these communities are,much like other communities within LiveJournal,protected by the ideal of freedom of expression,something we here at LiveJournal are particularly reluctant to interfere with,as long as that free speech does not violate our Terms of Service or the law.
We truly feel that offering an open forum for meaningful discussion is far more productive and helpful than shutting the communities down and attempting to silence their members.
If you feel that any entries in this community have crossed the line to the point where they are actively encouraging others to harm themselves,please let us know by opening a new request following the instructions given in http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=105. We will evaluate the links you provide,and determine if the posts do in fact cross the line of what we permit on our service. However,we will not suspend the community as a whole simply because it is devoted to talking about an eating disorder.
We understand that a great many people find such communities extremely disturbing;we frequently receive requests to shut them down. What we would recommend,with the greatest respect,is that those users simply avoid all contact with communities of this nature.
We thank you for your concern and appreciate your taking the time to write to us about this very sensitive matter.
LiveJournal Abuse Team