LiveJournal users dragged screaming into the 21st century

LiveJournal’s development team has unveiled Release 89, a bundle of updates that include a homepage feature for popular posts.  


Lauren Rae Orsini

Internet Culture

Published Feb 24, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 8:54 pm CDT

Users of LiveJournal make up a community that stands out for its adversity to change. So it should be no surprise that the 13-year-old social network’s latest attempt to bring progress to the group has been deemed unwelcome.

Hot on the heels of January’s poorly received Release 88, LiveJournal’s development team has unveiled Release 89. This bundle of updates adds three new features to LiveJournal.

Popular Entries is a homepage feature that updates hourly with LiveJournal’s most trafficked community posts. Each hour, users can observe which posts are rising and following in popularity. It’s no surprise that posts from Oh No They Didn’t! (ONTD), the site’s 100,000-user super-community, are dominating the list.

Dinogrrl commented that she didn’t think LiveJournal’s popular communities needed more publicity. LiveJournal already promotes and has recently upgraded several of the sites in its ONTD franchise, such as ONTD Games, Arama They Didn’t, and ONTD Political, to LJ Media sites.

“You’re already shoving communities down our throats left and right,” she wrote.

The second new feature was LiveJournal’s heavily foreshadowed deletion of inactive accounts. Few users objected to this initiative.

“I’m glad that inactive accounts are being purged,” wrote scolaro.

Instead, users saved the majority of their discontent for LiveJournal’s third new feature, a return to the classic commenting system for LiveJournal’s Minimalism blog theme.

A big part of users’ dissatisfaction with Release 88 came from the updated commenting system, which some users dismissed as “broken.” Commenters were happy to see LiveJournal roll back the system, but wished it could have been on more than just the Minimalism theme.

“Thanks for creating an option to use classic comment pages in Minimalism, but when is this option going to be available for other styles?” wrote gwinna487. “I don’t want to have to change my layout in order to use the old comment pages.”

“[A]lmost NO ONE uses Minimalism. How about giving us a decent comment style in a theme that actually gets used,” suggested rakshi.

Tom Byron, LiveJournal’s director of online marketing, told the Daily Dot that the company would be carefully reading user feedback. However, he said the company will be standing by its goal to improve the user experience for all users, even if that means bringing them into the 21st century to do so.

“We always welcome and encourage feedback and discussion surrounding releases, indeed we need to hear from everyone,” Byron said. “Our stated goal this year is to improve the LiveJournal user experience—and hopefully folks will see this with every new update.”

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*First Published: Feb 24, 2012, 4:36 pm CST