December 5th, 2003


Thus endeth the free stuff... for now.

So, the Great Invite Code Giveaway closes its doors. 159 codes were given out in a little over 12 hours, which isn't bad really.

For those still seeking invite codes, please try one of the LiveJournal invite code communities, such as ljcodebank or invitecodes. It might be easier to get a code for a little while, as I hear they used my codes to clear out their backlog of requests. Don't bother emailing me, however. I gave already.

That being said, I'm thinking about organizing a *HUGE* invite code giveaway on January 1st if LiveJournal doesn't fulfill the policy (as stated at the beginning of this year) of making the removal of invite codes their first priority.

There have been too many different excuses made regarding the matter and it's time to get rid of a policy that -- quite arguably -- hurts the site.

When invite codes were first implemented on September 2nd, 2001, the founder of LiveJournal indicated that they would probably be in place for only a few weeks or months. He later said in May of 2002 that they would be removed after screened comments went live -- which has already happened -- and in January of this year, one of this year's goals for LiveJournal was to "refine rate-limiting and abuse/moderation tools (to) finally do away with the invitation code system." These tools have been refined and implemented... yet once again, after over 27 months, invite codes still exist. That's more than a few weeks or months.

It's worth pointing out that avva, one of LiveJournal's leading developers, has worked extensively on improving LiveJournal's code, in part because of this promise. He clearly expressed at the time just how exclusionary such a policy can be. It's the same reason why people were able to read firsthand accounts from Iraqi civilians on Blogger, but not on LiveJournal. It's also why LiveJournal, which once had nearly twice as many users as Blogger, now has half as many.

Incidentally, Blogger has not only coped with its growth, but now boasts of uptime and reliability that is clearly superior to that of LiveJournal. They've even been able to give free users features that only paid users had previously. Clearly, growth doesn't necessarily have to be a cause for fear or an impediment to better, more professional performance.

The truth of the matter is that there will always be an excuse for LiveJournal not to live up to their promises if the users don't call them on it. For LiveJournal, getting rid of invite codes is like getting rid of training wheels or throwing away a set of crutches; you can never guarantee a completely painless transition, but that doesn't mean that it's not the right thing to do.

It is for this reason that I call upon LiveJournal to *set a date* in the near future for the removal of invite codes, as promised, thereby giving them a fixed period of time to complete any remaining changes necessary for this task. No more promises contingent upon some perfect, idealized future that never arrives, but *set a date, in the near future, set in stone*.

If you feel similarly and would be willing to contribute invite codes for a widescale code giveaway beginning on January 1st as a means of opposing the indefinite continuation of invite codes, please let me know with a comment. I will contact you if such an action appears to be necessary, although it is my hope that LiveJournal will proactively change this policy. Together, I feel certain that we can bring a speedy resolution to this issue and help LJ commit to a firm date for the removal of all invite codes.