Somebody’s watching me

LiveJournal have improved the site’s email notification stuff, so that you can register an interest in any thread or posting and get email (or just a message to your message centre) when someone posts a comment on it. You can also register an interest in a particular user’s postings, and in various other stuff. Currently this is only available to paid and permanent account holders, but I think LJ are rolling out something a bit less good to everyone else soon (looks like free users will be restricted in how many things they can subscribe to).

This system has been carefully designed to only tell you about stuff that you can see anyway. They’ve also thought about the situation where you forget to select the right option and make a public post something which you meant to be locked: the notification email doesn’t contain the text of the entry, so you’ve got some grace about locking it. The new system is a very nice feature, something that makes LJ a much more useful place to have a discussion, since you can now easily monitor interesting posts once they’ve disappeared off your friends page. I’d thought about building something like this into LJ New Comments, but now I don’t have to. So that’s good.

Despite this, there are countless whinging lamers posting to the announcement saying that this feature is going to aid internet stalking (because an internet stalker isn’t obsessive enough to keep hitting refresh on a thread, or to use a free service or browser extension which will tell you when a web page changes). People who believe in security through obscurity are silly. You always assume that the bad guys are as clever as you are (or cleverer, in the case of the complainers).

LJ are also talking about extending the notification system so that soon you’ll have the option getting notifications using LJ Talk, LiveJournal’s instant messaging service. If you didn’t know LJ had an IM service, now you do. It’ll talk to any program which uses the standard Jabber protocol. I’m using Adium, Windows users might like Gaim (both of these support other protocols like MSN Messenger and AIM, so you don’t need to keep multiple IM programs running). By default, your buddies on the chat service are your LJ friends. Say hello if you see me on there.

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