The Null Device

The poor quality of LiveJournal cranks

As a social networking system, LiveJournal is rather doovy; it's got more of a point to it than Friendster and such, and goes some way towards restoring some approximation of the private register. However, as a source of psychoceramic material, it is somewhat lacking, lagging well behind systems such as USENET and the odd self-contained website.

I took a look at LJDrama, an anonymous blog collecting incidents of "drama" from LJ and similar sites. Basically, if someone blows their stack and goes off the deep end, their antics may well end up there. The thing is, most of this is teenagers with brightly-dyed hair and low self-esteem throwing hissy fits about who said what to whom and so on. The issues at hand all seem trivial and interchangeable; their exact details are seldom interesting or unique. To one brought up on a diet of kooks, crackpots and original thinkers, all this makes for rather bland fare. As far as genuine cranks go, LiveJournal has yet to produce an Archimedes Plutonium, an Alexander Abian, a Doctress Neutopia, or even a John "DrGodFuck" Grubor; the closest it gets to the lofty strata of psychoceramicity is a few kinky Furries and slash-fiction writers, and the odd joke community.

I wonder why this is so. Could it be that the social nature of LiveJournal selects against the original cranks and, instead, encourages crankdom to take annoying, lowest-common-denominator forms? Perhaps those who can be bothered setting up and maintaining a LiveJournal account are, by definition, too socially well adjusted to be truly eccentric or "out there" (and no, having lots of body piercings and being into kinky sex isn't "out there"). Perhaps true outsiderhood requires a degree of hermitlike isolation from others' opinions to truly allow one's mental reality to drift away from any sort of consensus.

There are 5 comments on "The poor quality of LiveJournal cranks":

Posted by: substitute http://substitute.livejournal.com/ Tue Jun 29 20:09:26 2004

I think you're right, that the social part of LJ tends to discourage lone gunmen. http://www.livejournal.com/users/quizatsatterak/ is an exception, I think, but I haven't found too many like him. Sometimes searching on an interested like "david icke" or "chemtrails" can be helpful, though!

Posted by: lewankc'estblanc http:// Thu Jul 1 00:41:06 2004

Oh, you're looking in the wrong place. Try http://www.journalfen.net/community/fandom_wank/ - to write them off as "a few... slash-fiction writers" is a damnation with the faintest of brushes. Yes, it's at JournalFen, but there's backstory there.

Exhibit one, the tale of Victoria Bitter: http://www.journalfen.net/community/fwgreatesthits/1169.html .

Posted by: Mikey http:// Thu Jul 1 03:54:48 2004

Oh ACB, you're just not looking hard enough. Try some of those fandom links for a start and you'll see why slash sends me into a psychotic rage.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Thu Jul 1 05:40:02 2004

I saw the Victoria Bitter case. It didn't seem to be particularly inspired; just the usual type of he-said-she-said hissy fit with some subcultural obsessiveness and sub-par social skills. You can probably find similar social drama on any night at a goth club. Except perhaps for the reincarnation-of-Frodo thing.

Granted, there was also that woman who wrote Mary Sue romances about herself and some minor Lord of the Rings character; she was a kook. However, she was atypical. Most of the stuff you see on ljdrama.org and such is nowhere near that level, and looks more like your typical argument, retold by one side with some exaggeration to make the other side look irrational.

Posted by: Reverend Xenakaboom http://tfcocs.livejournal.com Sat Aug 13 21:05:05 2005

A brush with greatness:

Doctress Neutopia and I ran in the same social circles in the mid-to-late 90's, albeit we never met in person. We know a few people in common who swear that they had met her before she went out to Arizona for the Arcosanti project.

Ah, yes, those were the good old days. But, times change. You might like to read <a href="http://www.livejournal.com/users/with_gusto">With_Gusto</a>. The author has been inactive this past year (2005), but the archive is fresher than most drivel these days.

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