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.

From:LiveJournal Support
Sent:Wed 3/28/2007 9:55 PM
Re:(72) anorexicqueen QC

Dear Erika,

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 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

8 comments to Interesting…

  • It speaks well for LiveJournal to vehemently defend free expression,and for them to send you a response to your message –so many online companies respond by autobot.

  • Erika

    Agreed. My experience with LJ users led me to expect a response more along the lines of “lol ur a stupid!!!”

  • Sara

    The tips-n-tricks the users seem to share is the scary part. “Here’s how I outwit my mom!”[shudder]

    (When I have some time,I look forward to reading your religion discussion in detail. The past two weeks have been Utterly Crazy for me. In advance:thank you for posting an enjoyable,provoking,forthright discussion. you rock!)

  • Anorexia Nervosa victims often have a fear or aversion to food,and will only eat minimal amounts. This may be a general disdain for food,or a fear that eating it will cause her to become too fat.

  • Meg McG

    Interesting that LJ has such strong feelings about freedom of expression but pulled pictures of woman breastfeeding.
    A double standard if I do say so.

  • Wow. Just… I’m still trying to process all of this. ….wow.

  • Several years ago,Special K posted charts on their cereal boxes with weights and “how healthy”you were at those weights.

    They neglected to take into account that too thin is bad……….. A 6′woman was,according to the box,as healthy at 95 as she was at 175……
    (I don’t remember exact numbers,but that was the idea.)

    I wrote to Kellogg’s and to the outfit who made the charts.

    I got a “whatever”sort of response from Kellogg,but the outfit who made the chart (can’t remember who it was) was totally chagrinned and told me they would change it immediately.

    Not that that had any effect on all those boxes already printed. Sigh.

    Write on,sister. I figure we have to at least raise our voices………Or we are part of the problem………..

  • From my husband,the psychiatric nurse who specializes in adolescents:Anorexia is mainly a power issue. The teenaged girl feels powerless,often as a result of one or more domineering parent(s) in her life. The only thing she feels she really has any power over is her own body,so anorexia/bulemia is/are the result. “You want me to xxxxx? And I can’t say no? Well,control this,bitch!”

    The scary thing is that anorexia is the deadliest of all mental disorders. A person suffering from an eating disorder is far more likely to die from its effects (cardiac arrhythia,mostly) than a depressed person is to suicide.