denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_news2010-06-23 12:45 pm

Weekly Update: 23 June

Hello, Dreamwidth! This week, in the continuing saga of My Cat Does Wacky Things, I wish to inform you that he is standing next to me and lecturing me at the top of his little kitty lungs for having abandoned him for the weekend. (This is less charming in the middle of the night, really.)

Congratulations this week go to [personal profile] chemicallace, one of our support team leaders, who got married this past weekend! (This and my absence from the apartment are unconnected.) She's on her honeymoon in the Maldives right now. I am deeply jealous.

And now, on with the update, in which I once again prove that Wednesday is the new Monday.

1. Development

This week's code tour is courtesy of [personal profile] azurelunatic. Our Clean Up The Little Stuff hackathon is going full steam ahead -- we've resolved 124 bugs so far this month, including one that was in the single digits. (It always makes me grin when we do that.)

Welcome this week goes to [personal profile] maiden and [personal profile] sinaienantia contributing images, and [personal profile] catness for a first patch. (New contributor! Woo!)

2. Why We Are Awesome

For those of you who are looking for arguments to convince your friends why life over here is shiny, [personal profile] angelikitten has a poll on why Dreamwidth is awesome. (My favorite answer: "Because my daughter made it." Hi, Mom.)

I mention this not just to toot our own horns (or to embarrass [personal profile] angelikitten), but because lately I've been trying to work on sketching out some of our on-site marketing material (which is a fancy, businessy way of saying "the things that make people want to create an account once they check out the site"). So, this week's "question I ask all of you so that my inbox falls over with comment replies" is, what would you say to a new user are the reasons to use Dreamwidth instead of (or in addition to) another blogging/journaling platform? Looking for your top five persuasive reasons in comments.

3. Styles

It's been a while since we've mentioned this, so: [site community profile] dreamscapes needs you! This is the comm where people post layouts that they're offering up as potential site-selectable styles. You don't need to be a S2 wizard or a CSS guru to help out, either: there are plenty of layouts that just need testing in as many browsers, resolutions, and text sizes as possible. Check out the needs testing tag. Meanwhile, for those who are S2 gurus, the unclaimed tag are the ones that need to be turned into committable patches.

And, if you're looking to get into style creation, but have been daunted at the complexity, the styles documentation project, led by [personal profile] foxfirefey, has been rolling merrily along. Check out the docs as they grow, and contribute if you're inspired. (Even -- especially -- if your contribution is to explain the bits that confuse you.)

4. Writer's Block

This week's "question that crosses my mind while I'm doing something else entirely" poll in [site community profile] dw_biz is about Writer's Block, the homepage question-of-the-day module on LiveJournal. We inherited the code that runs it from LJ, but never set it up or started using it over here, so I thought I'd see if people were interested in the feature or if we should yank it out in the name of code cleanup. Right now, opinions are strongly in favor of "yank it out", so if you think your DW experience is horribly lacking because we don't do it, head on over and make your argument before the next time I start itching to take a machete to the code. (It's surprisingly soothing to rip out unwanted code!)

5. Maintenance

Last week, we had brief downtime due to the physical failure of the network card on the server hosting our master database. [staff profile] mark wins Sysadmin of the Year award for pulling over and fixing the problem from the side of the road. (I knew him buying the MiFi was a good plan.)

When the former master database came up again, after our hosting provider replaced the network card, there was a brief problem where our image uploads (and only the image uploads) had a 50/50 chance of being directed to the wrong database. This means that approximately 40 users who uploaded userpics during the time in question have lost those userpics. (Again, the only thing affected were userpics: not comments, entries, or private messages. Everything that was text-based was fine.) The window of time in question was the night of June 17, from approximately 0200 EDT (0600 GMT) to 1100 EDT (1500 GMT).

We're really sorry about the problem (and we've fixed it so that it can't happen again in a similar situation). If you're one of the affected users, please reupload the userpics or reimport your entries/icons from the service you imported from. We're trying to get a list of affected users to contact y'all, too, just for your information, but it'll be quicker if you check yourselves!


That's it for us for another week! As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check the Twitter status page; if you've got an idea to make the site better, you can make a suggestion.

See you next week for our next update!
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)

[personal profile] icarus 2010-06-23 05:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Ditch the writers' block. It always sets my teeth on edge.

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jae: (dreamwidthgecko)

[personal profile] jae 2010-06-23 05:47 pm (UTC)(link)
The best reason to use dreamwidth over livejournal or other livejournal-based platforms is the division of 'friends' into subscribing and access. The rest is great too, but it all pales in comparison to that.

ironed_orchid: watercolour and pen style sketch of a brown tabby cat curl up with her head looking up at the viewer and her front paw stretched out on the left (Default)

[personal profile] ironed_orchid 2010-06-23 10:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Yep, and the best thing over other blogging platforms is the ability to easily subcribe/grant access to other users.

I mean, the ability to subscribe to however many hundreds of people and then filter a post so that only 12 people can read, that's just brilliant. (Which is sort of to say that one of the best things about lj was the privacy settings, and on dreamwidth they are even better).

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skadenfryd: (honig fur dein herz)

[personal profile] skadenfryd 2010-06-23 05:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Maldivian here :)

excuse the outburst

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[personal profile] buttercream 2010-06-23 05:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Other Maldivian has nothing useful to contribute, but is very pleased by the mention of her country : D
chemicallace: My personal avatar, a lady with a flask. (Default)

[personal profile] chemicallace 2010-06-23 08:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Yay! It is a lovely country so far.

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greenwitch: Mona Lisa (ST mona lisa)

[personal profile] greenwitch 2010-06-23 05:58 pm (UTC)(link)
*is totally impatient for the ability to save WIP/draft posts*

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[personal profile] hebinekohime 2010-06-23 06:04 pm (UTC)(link)
One of the nice things about Dreamwidth is the relative absence of gimmicks. Writer's Block is far too gimmicky.

[personal profile] anselajonlafic 2010-06-23 06:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Writer's Block is annoying. Over on LJ it's always far too America-centric and the questions sometimes don't make sense outside of that culture. Plus the misogyny, heteronormativity and stereotyping it displays puts my back up.
cleverthylacine: a cute little thylacine (Default)

[personal profile] cleverthylacine 2010-06-23 08:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Also, the fact that at least once a month, the question is directly related to some controversy that is raging through fandom and clearly written by someone who thinks they're enabling a conversation that is already happening and that they know nothing about and that more clueless people do not need to join.
arlie: (Default)

[personal profile] arlie 2010-06-23 06:17 pm (UTC)(link)
I enjoy writer's block a lot; it's one of the (few) things I still do on LiveJournal. One suggestion if you keep it - make it a little more obvious that "replies" appear in both your own journal and a monster of a public post; the first time I replied to one, I thought it was just a post in a friend's journal, with the strange name perhaps because it was a meme.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Free)

[personal profile] matgb 2010-06-23 06:23 pm (UTC)(link)
(Even -- especially -- if your contribution is to explain the bits that confuse you.)

Hey, I resemble that remark.

Although I suspect it's now getting to the stage where I'll not be much use at that side, I'm explaining things to others now, that's never good.

what would you say to a new user are the reasons to use Dreamwidth instead of (or in addition to) another blogging/journaling platform?

1) Friendly development team that try to fix problems quickly, explain what's going on, and thank you when you point out something you don't like or isn't working properly. No site is perfect, but feedback and fixes are good.

2) Flexibility--if you just want to pick a layout and add some text, it's easy and straightforward, but if you want to expand and build your own layout from scratch, there're a team of people that'll help you because they enjoy it, and there're very few limits to what you can achieve.

3) Interoperability. Reading stuff written by friends on other sites or on DW is easy and straightforward (assume off site reader works and is easy), and if your friends are elsewhere you can crosspost to their preferred platform relatively easily (assuming crossposter will eventually work with other APIs like wordpress)

4) Privacy. You can choose who gets to read each individual post, right down to the individual, you can close down your journal to just close friends (who can log in with an account from many different sites), or broadcast to the entire world, the choice is up to you, on a post-by-post basis.

5) Liberation. As long as what you want to publish is legal, you're free to do so, and you won't be judged for it, nor will the cite allow you to be censored because some moral crusader objects. If it's legal, it's fine, and the definition of legality comes from a jurisdiction that takes Freedom of Speech seriously (I don't know what Maryland domestic politics are like, but the 1st amendment is still a global benchmark). Whatever you want to talk about, you'll likely find someone interested, and while some will dislike what you say, they'll absolutely support your right to say it. Or draw it. Or picture it.

There y'go.

I've deliberately avoided anything specific, I'm not into fandom generally (unless you count UK politics), but the last point should make it clear it's fandom friendly without mentioning it. I've also talked in general terms aimed at someone not coming from LJ or similar; that's where the growth has to come from now, assuming you want growth.
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)

[personal profile] sophie 2010-06-23 09:34 pm (UTC)(link)
(I don't know what Maryland domestic politics are like, but the 1st amendment is still a global benchmark)

The First Amendment isn't global, it's a US thing. (It amends the US Constitution.)

There are countries out there that don't even subscribe to the same ideas - China, for example.

[edit: I'm sorry, that was derailing. I understand that it isn't important to your point!]
Edited 2010-06-23 21:36 (UTC)

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raine: (Default)

Reasons to choose DW

[personal profile] raine 2010-06-23 06:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Reasons to choose DW over any other platform:
- Privacy controls, including the ability to be relatively anonymous (no forced commenting with a name.)
- Longer post lengths
- If you want to stop tracking a thread, you can. (Facebook, for example, assumes you will always want to keep track of a conversation you made one comment to.)
- You choose the level of involvement with any given post. Don't want to click on a hidden part of a post? It won't automatically display. Want to preview it to see what's there? You don't have to open a new tab!
- Owned and run by people who give a damn about what happens to the platform.
stealth_noodle: Max, Sam, a gun, and a popsicle. (Default)

[personal profile] stealth_noodle 2010-06-23 06:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Access/subscription split of friends is one of the biggies, I think. Cut tag expansion is really neat, too, as is being able to preview with spellcheck without getting a faceful of raw HTML.

I think my favorite aspect of Dreamwidth, though, is that how user-centered new features are (and I am so excited about the upcoming changes to the update page). When new things roll out, they're things that I've seen discussed in update posts with user feedback taken into account. This level of "Yes, we're really listening" hasn't been my experience on other journaling sites.
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)

[personal profile] sophie 2010-06-23 10:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Unrelated, but I love that Max icon :D

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sunt: JW Waterhouse study of Lady Clare (waterhouse)

[personal profile] sunt 2010-06-23 06:43 pm (UTC)(link)
what would you say to a new user are the reasons to use Dreamwidth instead of (or in addition to) another blogging/journaling platform?

~it's intuitive.
~it works.
~the people are interested and helpful, and let you know what's happening.
~it WORKS!!

glymr: (Default)

[personal profile] glymr 2010-06-23 06:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I vote for ditching the Writer's Block code. I dislike "one-size fits all" things like that...not everyone is on DW to write, or write about those types of things. If you do keep it, at least make it "opt-in" - things like that should always, *always* be "opt-in".

There are tons of great communities designed to supply excellent prompts to those looking to get their creative juices flowing, and anyone can join them. For example, this post lists a bunch.
florahart: (totally not an ad)

[personal profile] florahart 2010-06-23 06:46 pm (UTC)(link)
1. The diversity statement, which I am aware there have been a few people that had issues with, but is just so much better of a starting point than basically any other diversity statement that wasn't for an organization whose actual driving force is diversity advocacy.

2. The extent to which user input is solicited, including implementation of suggestions, discussion of suggestions, and explicit direction, both in (at least) Denise's own journal and in official communications places, to where information is being sought.

3. Little magical things like the cut tag expander.

4. The general clear intent to promote interoperability wherever it doesn't interfere with higher-priority usability. This includes the crossposting tool.

5. No advertising, OMG. Both because the advertising is a pain in my ass because of annoying things like the expectation flash content won't cause my decrepit home computer to have a small panic attack, and because of the implicit underlying belief that my content isn't something to be sold for someone else's profit.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)

[personal profile] askygoneonfire 2010-06-25 09:56 pm (UTC)(link)
I also love and adore the diversity statement, in the end it was the deciding factor for me to move over for.
theshadowpanther: (Default)

[personal profile] theshadowpanther 2010-06-23 06:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Please yank the Writer's Block code. As far as I'm concerned, that thing over on LJ is nothing but a desperate ploy to get people blogging. Certainly worked only twice or thrice with me. So you have my nay vote lol.
finch: (Default)

[personal profile] finch 2010-06-23 07:05 pm (UTC)(link)
I like DW because it's the small, liberal college town of social networking. I may not be good friends with everyone, but I see lots of people here and there. There's plenty of intelligent discussion when you want it, and fun fannishness when you don't.

So... Dreamwidth: Like Swarthmore, only cheaper!
lanterne_rouee: lighthouse (lighthouse)

[personal profile] lanterne_rouee 2010-06-23 09:32 pm (UTC)(link)
I love this answer!

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arethinn: glowing green spiral (Default)

[personal profile] arethinn 2010-06-23 07:07 pm (UTC)(link)
what would you say to a new user are the reasons to use Dreamwidth instead of (or in addition to) another blogging/journaling platform? Looking for your top five persuasive reasons in comments.

I can only talk about why to use it instead of LJ/IJ and not in comparison to Wordpress, Blogger, etc. (In the case of Blogger, given my minimal experience, I'd say "way more featureful", but that'd be true of LJ as well.)

1. Division between Access and Subscribe. You can follow someone without having to reciprocally give them access to your own locked posts if you don't want to (nor having to fudge around it with fiters).

2. Ability to import content from other journaling services.

3. Ethical integrity - most recent example being how you stopped dealing with several payment processors because of the content restrictions they wanted, rather than bowing to them.

4. Lack of ads. I am one of those horrible people who uses an adblocker so o noes I am depriving sites of revenue, but it has a lot to do with how bothersome the ads are. On a site I do want to support, I can put up with reasonable size static banners, especially if they're from Project Wonderful (whose business model I like). But a couple months ago for some reason I was using LJ while logged out on a computer not mine with no adblocking, and great googly moogly, was it a pain in the rear. I can only suppose that their logic is something like "We'll annoy people into paying for the service!"

5. If I want to harass [staff profile] mark about something I can just turn up at that LARP downtown and get all up in his face


5. Even though there are still oddities lurkng about and things not fully developed, the overall feel of the service is that it's fresh and clean of the accumulated cruft and dusty corners that something like LJ has.
arethinn: glowing green spiral (Default)

[personal profile] arethinn 2010-06-23 08:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh jeez, how could I forget, the awesome crossposter that takes care of editing and deleting your crossposts for you! Put that in as #5.
fierceturtle: (Default)

[personal profile] fierceturtle 2010-06-23 07:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Reasons to use Dreamwidth:

1. No advertising! I don't mind ads that much on a free site, seems fair to me, but when those ads take up so much bandwidth that they slow down or crash what I am trying to look at, very bad.

2. Run by people I don't mind giving my money to. Which means I get cool paid features! (most of which I don't use, but its nice to know they are there)

3. Be part of something cool. Instead of just being a consumer of yet another media, here you can watch while something grows, see how it evolves, and if you are so inclined, get involved in making it what you want it to be.

4. Less down time, and quicker service. Here I don't have to think about if I am willing to wait for something to load before I click on it. Even the longest, and most image heavy posts open quickly, and with few problems. And if your connection is slower, there are those handy expanding cuts to help you find what you want, without waiting for what you don't.

5. Team that actually wants to help you. I am mostly clueless around here. I don't know how to make DW do half the things I want it to do, and I know it can do things I haven't even thought of wanting yet. But I have every confidence that the minute I have the time to sit down and ASK the questions, I will have people not only able to explain it in very small words, but who really want to help. This makes it a place somewhat rare on the internet for those of us not at all comfortable with the tech.
ninetydegrees: Drawing: a girl's face, with a yellow and green stripe over one eye (dreamer)

[personal profile] ninetydegrees 2010-06-23 07:33 pm (UTC)(link)
I second everything you've said. Thanks for putting it so clearly.

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nanbungaku: (Default)

[personal profile] nanbungaku 2010-06-23 07:20 pm (UTC)(link)
I got my DW account last month, more or less.
I can't tell much about this website, but there are a few things I can say:

1) people care. Like seriously. Admn try to fix problems and such as fast as possible and are always open to suggestions.

2) you can choose what people can see/read in ur journal (I know you can do it in other websites, like LJ, but here you can decide post by post)

3) the cut tag expander (I ABSOFUCKINLUTELY LOVE IT!!!)

4) I like the fact that it's not that easy to get an account here: in LJ sometimes people are banned from communities for being shameless trolls and immediately open up a new account and start spamming again. Because it might takes some time to get a new account here, I think people think twice before "getting into a bi*** fight"

Idk about other things because I haven't been here for so long.
But I think other users stated enough reasons to choose DW.

Oh about writers' block.
No. I mean: no. It's a pain in LJ, half of the questions make no sense at all, the other half are stupid and ridiculous and, as someone else already stated, are mostly American-based
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)

[personal profile] sophie 2010-06-23 09:41 pm (UTC)(link)
you can choose what people can see/read in ur journal (I know you can do it in other websites, like LJ, but here you can decide post by post)

You can do it post by post on LJ, too! I'm assuming you're talking about access groups here and the 'Custom' security level. LJ has it too, but they're called 'friends groups' over there.

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outlier_lynn: (Default)

Why DW is awesome

[personal profile] outlier_lynn 2010-06-23 07:30 pm (UTC)(link)
I'll give you my reasons for dropping LJ in favor of DW. I feel strongly enough about my decision that I've lost touch with several friends who do not want to switch.

1. DW defends freedom of expression. Any expression that does not violate the law (which gets tricky on the internet). From what I've seen and heard, DW doesn't play it safe on that issue. Way to go. This is my NUMBER 1 reason.

2. DW has no intention of selling out. I mean this two ways: Not letting potentially difficult problems cause a slip in the mission; and, not selling out the DW users. LJ was sold several times and game changed with each sale. It became all about the money. I don't mind paying for what I get, but I do mind paying the same money for ever crappier service. DW seems to be intent on creating the best user experience with the least user irritation.

3. Although it was very confusing (and still is), I like the way DW handles who is and is not reading and commenting on my posts. Not everyone is a "friend" and it always annoyed me that LJ chose that language.
dreamwriteremmy: Alexis Bledel, a brunette smiling sitting on a bench (Default)

[personal profile] dreamwriteremmy 2010-06-23 08:08 pm (UTC)(link)
well, my argument is slightly out of date but this is the paragraph I used to get one person to Dreamwidth [at least for his fic]:

Dreamwidth has the best community and the best management, but also the smallest community and paid management team. They're still working out the kinks on payment systems and everything as they're new, but I love them anyway. They are also forking the system into a much better and more standardized coding system.

But re-putting things into current I guess my "I love dreamwidth for" summary is:

best community and management:
I'll say the diversity statement is evidence in itself. And community is honestly what you guys all emphasize in whatever you do. And this makes it so much easier to see the number of accounts we have as more of a small-community knit, even though it really isn't quite that small anymore. Also, Everyone can laugh at a joke! See IRC Quote Database
Management, Support, and Development love double- and triple- checking that we like what's going on, and if we don't, they all check to see if we have ideas of how it can be made more to our needs. And if there's something that we want, they'll listen and often implement it, though some things don't always get done upfront, and they let us know what those items are and whether we should expect implementation in the foreseeable future or not. Management tells us when there's a problem, when it might be fixed and how, and they give us status updates of where the issue stands in a very timely manner.

forking the system into a better & more standardized system:
The usability professional in me loves you guys for this! (Accessibility, mostly understandable code, following standardized practices inline with our community ethics, and of course, community input.)

hopefully i made sense, I'm running on about 4 hours sleep and I just got out of class.
tree: text: dreamwidth, in blue on a blue and green background ([else] dreamwidth sheep)

unhelpful comment is unhelpful

[personal profile] tree 2010-06-23 08:14 pm (UTC)(link)
...because the only reason i can think to join dreamwidth is that IT'S AWESOME. "join dreamwidth because IT IS AWESOME!" as a marketing strategy is not so effective. it's kind of the online equivalent of all those food businesses with "quality" in their names. like, "pete's quality meats". i mean, no one ever really admits to being "pete's kinda mediocre meats".

"dreamwidth: we are not pete's kinda mediocre meats".
catness: (keep_flying)

[personal profile] catness 2010-06-23 08:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! :D And that's one of the reasons why DW is better - it's not just a service, it's a community, and every user can join and help to improve it :)
bee: (Emoti: LeFou I'm afraid I've been thinki)

[personal profile] bee 2010-06-23 08:29 pm (UTC)(link)
2. DW is amazing and better primarily because of the two-fold privacy system and DW's mission statement/diversity statement; but other really neato-keen features include the vice-versa cross-posting, tag merging/mass tag editing, and complete non-invasive feeling. There aren't any stupid virtual gift things, or promo journals, or stupid stuff like that. It's first and foremost a site for social blogging/writing, and that is great. There's a really communal feeling about it, and one feels like the mods/admins will listen if one has something to say. I also absolutely love the fact that everyone is invited and encouraged to help each other and that there is not only a call for people to make styles, but also resources to help those who want to but don't know how.

4. Please do not do Writer's Block. It's annoying and usually the questions are stupid and remind one more of a myspace chain-meme than actual writing prompts. That said, I wouldn't mind it too much so long as there weren't graphics/videos with the questions. Basically as long as it wasn't an invasive feature (like it is on LJ), and I could easily ignore it should I want to.

As a little note, I was talking someone around to using DW and she mentioned wanting the ability to see recent comments from the post-sign-in Welcome page (I don't know what to call that page. The home page? But the one that shows up after you sign in). I wonder if the code for DW is such that one could move around the modules of one's home page? I don't know what that entails but I thought I would mention it.
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)

[personal profile] sophie 2010-06-23 09:52 pm (UTC)(link)
There aren't any stupid virtual gift things...

I'm not sure exactly what context you mean this in, so just in case you mean it in the sense of "virtual gifts are stupid however they're implemented" - don't forget that DW *is* working on its own implementation. (Section 4 of and section 2 of talk more about it.)

Of course, it'll be different from LJ's system anyway, so it may well not trigger the things you dislike about LJ's vgifts. But in case you missed it, I thought I'd point it out.

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[personal profile] bee - 2010-06-23 21:59 (UTC) - Expand

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[personal profile] bee - 2010-06-23 22:06 (UTC) - Expand

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[personal profile] bee - 2010-06-23 22:18 (UTC) - Expand

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[personal profile] sophie - 2010-06-23 22:10 (UTC) - Expand

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[personal profile] bee - 2010-06-23 22:12 (UTC) - Expand
angelikitten: Rhyme thinking (Thoughts - Thinking!Rhyme)

[personal profile] angelikitten 2010-06-23 08:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah, I was wondering where all those inbox notifications had suddenly come from XD

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