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LiveJournal Block: A note to our readers in China (and beyond) - UPDATE 2

Nov 15, 2009

This archive regularly links to stories posted on LiveJournal blogs because that is how their authors prefer it, and of course, we want to keep authors happy. Sadly though, China recently blocked access to LiveJournal, rendering these (and of course many other great blogs) inaccessible to readers in China.

More update!


Gladder (see previous update below) is still great – use it if you can. But if you’re on someone else’s computer (say at work), and forgot your USB stick with Portable Firefox, have another look at our Google Translate option below.

New update!

We feel the best method to get around the Great Firewall today (February 2008) is the Firefox plugin Gladder (”Great Ladder“).
See https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2864.
More later.

Update!

Feeds (see below) are great, and we still think it’s a very effective and efficient method – we love feeds, and think think this Web 2.0 thing is the best thing to happen to the internet since, well, Web 1.0, really. However, some blog owners don’t like feeds at all, and some even seem to be afraid of them!
(A shame really, that people who have full, unrestricted access to the internet don’t use it to learn about things around them, as say – for starters – about the technology they’re using, but rather believe in hoaxes and hearsay.)

So, to get to the journals of those people, even if your government blocks access, here are some alternative methods:

Translate

Update: Unfortunately, English-to-English translations have been switched off by Google, so you can no longer display an exact copy. But if tell Google to translate from, say, Norwegian-to-English even though it was an English page to begin with, you usually get a pretty good result.

Update on Update: There’s a fabulous new button in the Google Translate bar that appears at the top of your screen! It allows you to switch between the translation and the original!

This works the same way as the little flags you see on our fiction pages. Google translates the page (it’ll also ‘translate’ from English to English – Edit: not any more, unfortunately! see above), and shows you a copy of that page – images, layout and all – on their servers, so not on the servers of the naughty page you’re not allowed to visit. Once you’ve translated a page, you can then follow links on that page, and they’ll automatically be translated too.

Example: http://www.google.com/translate?langpair=no|en&u=community.livejournal.com/faramir_fics

That URL is made up of three pieces:

  • http://www.google.com/translateThe address of Google Translate
  • ?langpair=no|enThe language pair: original language first, then the target language; here Norwegian is used as ‘original’ language and English as the target: if you ‘lie’ about the original language, Google will reproduce the English text untouched! (Or use en|zh-CN if you want to translate to Chinese.)
  • &u=community.livejournal.com/faramir_ficsrFill in the URL of the desired page after the =

Yahoo’s Babelfish translate works similarly. Visit http://babelfish.yahoo.com/ and enter the URL you want to view.

Web Proxy

There are a lot of sites that will display a site for you, for the exact purpose of circumventing a firewall. They seem to be used mostly (or they are the ones who blab about it the most…) by American school kiddies whose administrators think the school’s resources are not meant for visiting MySpace and the likes.
Since these sites are built just to get around firewalls, they are more likely to be blocked themselves, but there are lots of them, and new ones spring up all the time. And be careful when using these – they’re not exactly inconspicuous for the same reason.

Try: http://www.proxy-thru.info/, http://www.virtual-browser.com/, http://openbrowsing.com/, http://getright.net/, https://www.stupidcensorship.com/cgi-bin/nph-surf.cgi, http://hrmovie.com/, http://anonymouse.org/, http://www.proxyweb.net/, http://www.guardster.com/subscription/proxy_free.php, http://www.webwarper.net/, http://www.the-cloak.com/login.html

Or see a site like http://www.workingproxies.info/proxies.shtml for more current options.

For most of LiveJournal, as well as many other sites, the feed reading idea we came up with back in March is still valid:

If you’re in China…

…and still want to keep up with what’s going on on LJ, we’ve found that the easiest way to do so is to read their feeds using an online service such as Google Reader. This way you’re not accessing the LiveJournal pages directly, but letting another page collect and display them for you.

There are many other such free services out there (Rojo, Newsgator, Weblogs.com, Bloglines, etc, etc) but I’ll describe the process for Google Reader here, because that’s what we’ve tested and that’s what we know works in China.

Read feeds in two easy steps:

  • Go to Google Reader and either sign in (if you already have an account with Google/Gmail) or sign up (only takes a minute: they don’t want to know much and what they want to know you can just make up)
  • Add subscriptions. That’s the green bit in the menu on the left. You’ll need to type / paste in the URL of the feed you want to read. Most all modern sites have feeds nowadays, and they’re normally marked with symbols like these: . You can find more information on this archive’s feeds here.
    If you enter the address of a website (or in this case, a journal), rather than a feed, Google Reader will try to auto-detect feeds attached to that address, but should that fail, LiveJournal feed URLs look like this:
    • http://username.livejournal.com/data/atom
    • http://community.livejournal.com/communityname/data/atom

(If you have a LiveJournal account, you can read your friends’ locked posts, also via feeds. To include friends-only posts, just add ?auth=digest to the end of the feed URLs as listed above. But unfortunately, Google Reader does not (yet) support this kind of authentication, but other online feed readers undoubtedly do.)

By default, LiveJournal include not just (like most feeds, including ours) a summary and a link, but the entire article. It is however possible for users to change this, and only include the title and a link instead. And in any case these feeds will only ever give you the 25 most recent entries. So it is by no means guaranteed that you’ll be able to access everything you want this way.

If you have any trouble at all (can’t get the feeds working, or the feeds don’t get you what you wanted, or whatever), please write to us at admin@faramirfiction.com or comment below. If you need help in Chinese, contact Dream.in.a.jar.

If you’re outside of China…

and an author who publishes exclusively on LJ , and you want to ensure that 1/4 of the world’s population isn’t shut out from your work, then remember to:

  • keep fic posts unlocked;
  • make sure your LJ’s feed includes the full text of your posts (= the default setting), and
  • include an email address or other non-LJ means of contact in your posts every once in a while so people who cannot get on LJ can still comment, ask for older work, etc.

If you are worried about your work spreading beyond your control, do to tick the box to minimize search inclusion and be sure to specify on which terms you share your work with the world for example by assigning a Creative Commons Licence.


7 Comment(s)

Oh dear, this helped a great deal! Yes, the Google Reader works for me very well, especially the LJs have default setting!
Thank you thank you for posting this work around, I don’t know the others, but I had been frustrated for more than a week now!
Representing the ¼ of the world’s population, I solute you and cherish the technology which brings freedom!
Hooray! Happy Feeding!

dream.in.a.jar    14 March 2007, 14:59    #

That’s great to hear, Dream!
Now let’s hope that more authors become aware of this issue and don’t block their feeds / don’t lock their posts / don’t post exclusively to LJ.

iris    26 March 2007, 11:14    #

Dear Iris
Thank you for the updates! The Google reader has been very helpful since our last try to go through the silly firewalls, and I found the Google Translate a better solution for “one stop shopping”. But most of all, the virtual proxy links are the blesses!
Also, thank you for posting the Dynamic Links with Faramir links. This archive home for the Faramir fiction is becoming more and more resourceful! Thanks a lot!
Happy Slashing!

dream.in.a.jar    16 July 2007, 14:05    #

Dream-

Great to hear your information superhighway connects to all the back alleys again! ;)
(everyone be careful with the web proxies though: the only reason anyone would visit those sites is to browse sites they’re not supposed to see; feeds and translating is far less conspicuous)

And I’m not sure the dynamic links will be a permanent feature. They’re public feeds, so everyone who’s interested can easily find those for themselves, and perhaps it’d be better that way.

iris    23 July 2007, 12:06    #

Oh, thank you for your help!

— Anastasiya    16 November 2009, 05:44    #

Let us know if any of it works – I have no way of testing it from here.

Iris    16 November 2009, 10:16    #

I am still heavily rely on the Gladder+Firefox on this side of the Great Fire Wall! But most of all, I found faramirfiction.com the most reliable sources for “one stop shopping”! yeah!

dream.in.a.jar    17 November 2009, 14:26    #

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