gingerbred (gingerbred) wrote,

How to Sync Your LiveJournal to DW...

... if you've never done it before. (At a later date, I'll get around to the what happens if you've done it in the past and crossposted to create the entries. Trial and error ftw.) Or let's call this the 'maybe it's time to make a backup of your LJ account' post...

So there's some weirdness afoot between LJ and Dreamwidth (there's an update on that from DW in the previous post; they seem to think it will take a while), so I've taken a look around at some options. Crossposting presently doesn't seem to be a possibility, and madeleone and toblass made the very excellent suggestion to sync our LJ journals from DW, which is technically still feasible at present. I hadn't done that before (hell, some evil squatter snaffled the 'gingerbred' nick *side eye*, so I hadn't even bothered with mirroring my own journal), so I had to figure it out first and thought that process might interest some of you. (Let us not reinvent the wheel... (Says the woman who didn't read the instructions first, because why? Right?) and embark on this voyage of discovery together... 😉)


I know this is long, but you really only need to do a handful of things to make it work (it's six steps), and I've included my annotated instructions from Dreamwidth, and a review below that of what you can expect to happen. It isn't complicated, so take a deep breath and give it a look.

1) To begin with, you need a Dreamwidth account. If you haven't got one, it's the work of moments, so go do that. I'll wait.

*hold music*

If you're anything like me, 'How to's written ages ago (2011?) don't inspire confidence, so here's a real person with no LJ or DW agenda telling you she tried this last night and it worked a treat. Can't promise I'll update this post, but at the least it's more recent than what was presently posted on the topic over on DW.

So this is what Dreamwidth has to say about importing your journal. The red things are my additions.

If you're coming from LiveJournal to Dreamwidth: Importing
2) First, log into your spiffy new Dreamwidth account or the following link won't work properly. 3) To import your journal from LiveJournal, go to the Import Journal page. You can also reach the Importer from the "Organize" menu on any of the site-schemed pages, where it can be found under "Import Content". (This means you'll need to click on the 'Dreamwidth' icon found pretty much anywhere except in your journal. (Don't get me started.), or if you're in your journal, just click 'Profile' (which naturally has a completely different layout (dying here)), then -> 'Organize' -> 'Import Content' and it will get you to the same page. Or, y'know, use the link. smh) 4) To import your content from your LiveJournal, you'll need to enter the sitename (LiveJournal) and your username and password for your LiveJournal account and then push the "continue" button to begin.

Right, here's a picture instead.


Don't panic. The colours and arrangement of some of the menu items might be different from yours depending on which of the site schemes you've selected. I used Celerity, because the font is slightly larger. (Why on earth it wouldn't be on the others shall remain a mystery for the ages. People have complained about that for, what, a decade?)

Where did I change that, you ask? ('Profile' ->) 'Organize' -> 'Manage Account' -> 'Display' scroll down until you reach 'Site Skin' and, like I said, I went with 'Celerity', but knock yourselves out. The default is 'Tropospherical Red', which is clearly evil (at least on my tablet), and looks like this instead. (Don't freak out.)


You've got two options to import from, if you're reading this here, let's just say you're importing from LiveJournal. 😉 Put the check mark there.

5) On the next page, you'll have the option of which elements of your journal to import, choosing from:

Profile Data
Journal Entries
Journal Comments
Custom Groups (ie Friends and Custom Security Groups)


Select which of these you want to import and then push the "continue" button. The next page will summarize the choices you've made so you can review them. If you import icons, and you have more icons on your LiveJournal than you have available slots on your Dreamwidth Journal, it's possible only your default icon will automatically import. 6) When you're satisfied with your selections, you can start the import by pushing the "Start Import" button.

Chances are you'll want to go nuts and have checked them all. Go for it. If you haven't used the DW journal before, you shouldn't have issues with too many icons, say, unless you're going from a professional to a regular account. I haven't done that, so I can't help you there.

And here's another picture. A 'cancel' button would have been nice, but beggars... Using the back button in your browser will get you out of there, just be aware you can't unclick the 'Start Import' thing once clicked, so be sure you want to sync, but then that's what we're here for, isn't it?


Importing your journal won't happen instantly. Your import request will be entered into a queue, and your journal will be imported when you reach the front of the queue. Depending on how many other people are importing at the same time, this can take anywhere from minutes to days. When the import is finished, we'll send a notification to your Dreamwidth Inbox.

We recognize that not everyone will be comfortable giving their password for their LiveJournal or their accounts on other sites to us. We don't store your password after your import has completed, and we won't use it for anything other than the import. However, if you aren't comfortable sharing your password, you might want to change your password on the other site before you import and then change it back after the import has finished. [Given they have my password in order to enable crossposts (when they work), I didn't sweat the last bit, but that one is entirely up to you. As best practices go, they're absolutely right about changing it.]

Right, now as to what you can expect...

It goes off and sooner or later quietly does its thing. It can take some time, don't sweat it. Like they said, they'll PM you when they're done.

I've used the following features on LJ: public entries, friends locked entries, specially defined subgroups that grant access only to a small handful (custom friends groups), pictures both public and with various degrees of privacy settings, embedded videos, pictures linked from third parties, and comments out the wazoo.

This is what the sync does with that:

Public entries went smoothly, the only things of note are pictures and embedded videos (see below) and it has no way of keeping your 'likes'.

The flocked entries remain flocked! (Wonder of wonders <- not snark) Chances are people won't be able to read them, because you haven't granted anyone access, but honestly I much prefer defining that by hand again than having something that was set to private inadvertently go public. (I'll just assume you're with me on that one.) First and foremost, what you're doing here is creating a backup. You can then define your friend groups on DW, not a lengthy process, and it's a smooth transition. (And DW actually has better options for defining access than LJ does, just saying.)

Custom friends groups posts: also retain their settings for these, so once you've defined the group on the new platform, you're good to go. It doesn't just make a flocked entry out of it. (Nice.)

Own pictures: It is *not* importing your images! They remain on LJ and are linked to in your posts. (You can check which images of yours DW has here: and your Avatars / Icons: This is a problem if you want a really robust backup, because it's not good enough to have it linking to something that could conceivably disappear at a later date. But it's a start.

Flocked pictures: Don't appear even to me in the journal import. Which makes sense, as when viewing from DW, I don't have the rights to them on the LJ server. But be aware that this will cause gaps in the content depending on how you uploaded them on LJ. Presumably if they weren't flocked, but the entries were, they'd be visible, but you shouldn't be doing that anyway. (Tsk.)

Third party pictures: seem to all be present.

Embedded Videos are an absolute no go, sadly. They don't make the jump, not even the url survives the import, you just get something like: '[Invalid lj-embed id 27]' instead of a pretty video. Meh. That's an issue inasmuch as it makes it a real PITA to go back and fix it. If you use that feature often, it'll be unpleasant, otherwise a search of your journal for 'invalid lj-embed' should give you a short list of things you'd want to go back and edit.

Comments: it logically can't keep track of the number of comments you've posted across LJ, but it does import all the comments you've received on posts of your own and the responses you made in turn. It even imports the screened comments (!), keeping them screened until you decide otherwise. (Nice touch.) I have also counted comments nested to the tenth level that were imported, not sure how deep it goes, but that was a thing I was concerned about, so cool shoes.

Tags: Still intact. (In fact, I seem to have gained one. Dunno, I got nothing.)

Memories: Somewhat logically are a no go, because they're for posts on a different site.

V-gifts: Also a no go, not illogically.

And that's about it. It was pretty painless to set up and carry out. Making it truly robust will take some time after the fact, and it's up to you if you need to go that extra step, but this is a decent and fairly easy start, so why not give it a shot?
Tags: backup, crossposting, dreamwidth, importing, lj, support, technical issues, x-post

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