Saturday, March 14, 2009

Things you should know... and a few things I want to tell you...

I was so excited a couple years ago when I got my Ravelry invite. We had to wait weeks back then to get in, but once you were in it was like a knitter's heaven with access to patterns, yarns, finished items, and new friends to meet.

Thinking back, I guess my first clue should've been the personal profile page. It had all the typical questions: birthdate, years knitting, kids, pets, favorite curse word. Wait... that's not so typical. I blinked and left it blank... but in hindsight, it set a tone for the direction the site was heading. (Now, to be honest, that's not to say that I don't have a favorite curse word... I just try not to use it.)

Then came the day a few weeks later when my friend and I got our new t-shirts with the Rav motto, "Where my stitches at?" printed across the front. Fortunately, my friend's husband caught the derogatory play on words before we wore them anywhere and we were able to re-sell them immediately since everyone was dying to have them. But it occurs to me now that many women our age don't realize where that phrase comes from or how crude it is. (eta: for those who have asked, replace the "st" in stitches with "b"... nice, huh?)

Over time, I started noticing increasingly indecent avatars and it got to the point I couldn't go on the site with my boys sitting near me (you know... cracks and such). Then I started noticing groups that, based on language alone should be at the very least R-rated... and all this on a fiber site that was open to users as young as 12. All of this was became increasingly concerning so I began to avoid most of the groups and use it for the knitting resources.

Jumping ahead, last August or so, I joined a group for McCain supporters and subsequently became a moderator of the group. I'm not going to go into any details except to say that a lot of people did not like us being there and eventually managed to cause enough grief that, last month, Casey (the site owner) shut down our group (the first and only group to ever be shut down on Ravelry) and announced that he had to do so because we, the moderators, were doing a poor job. This was a lie, but I'll refer you to my friend EllieJane, who founded our group, if you want to hear our side of the story.

Needless to say we were hurt and angry, and I ended up leaving Ravelry (which you should know is almost impossible to do... and if you do get Casey to remove your account, all of your projects, stash, patterns, and posts still remain... fortunately I removed mine in advance).

The good news is that we were very blessed to have a member who was able to set up a private board off-site for us sometime ago so we could stick together as friends. However, this morning Ravelry decided to suspend the accounts of all members of our private board, (yes... the off-site board as he felt even it's existence caused him trouble) as well as any friends or family members on Ravelry who we might have shared a computer with at some point. There are more I'm sure based on the people who were former members of our group who have contacted me today to see if I knew what was going on. So I'm talking about 100 to possibly 400 people in all.

I never intended on saying anything about this until today. But now, beyond my reputation, Ravelry has now hurt, angered and embarrassed a very large group of people who I consider my friends. So I share this for all of them.

PS... The highlight of my day was stopping by a popular LYS in Burbank only to overhear two women complaining about the vulgarity and poor behavior allowed on Ravelry. I didn't say anything, but I did linger a few moments longer to soak up the complaints like music to my ears.


ETA: If you're on Ravelry, you should also know that there is a group of about 2000+ that exists solely for the purpose of seeking out drama, tension, disputes, or other things they find amusing among the Ravelry forums so they can link to the "amusing" thread and make fun of people behind their back. Since, according to my blogstats, they are linking to my blog through their own off-site board, I thought I should mention them too. Casey and Jess are well aware of their existence yet do not consider their behavior to be a problem at all. Just saying.

23 comments:

Jenny in Texas said...

thanks for sharing!

ps you'll never guess what my word verification is--i spend too much time with kids that i find this funny.

Mylene said...

Well said Tammy! I clicked your love and hug buttons :o)

Charity said...

I am embarrassed to admit it, but I didn't get the connotation of that shirt, and I've had one for a while (and worn it several times, yikes).

This is sad to hear, Tammy, I'm sorry it's happened to you and the members of your board.

Becky said...

Like you, I was so excited to get my Rav invite some 18 months ago. But the more involved I became, the more something felt wrong about it. That Favorite Curse Word thing was my first clue as well. The open forums was nothing more than an invitation for trouble. And trouble it has caused. It seems the entire site has devolved into nothing more than a mean girls bashing party. Then just a few days ago, I found a Ravatar of scantily clad male genitalia. Yet, it is apparently acceptable on such a site as that. If I were an advertiser, I'd be very leery of associating myself with a place where obscenity, nudity, and venom are accepted and even encouraged.

kamax60 said...

Great post Tammy! Thanks for speaking out.

Kandy

Mamma said...

This is beyond ridiculous. How can he defend banning people from ravelry based on off-ravelry on-line behavior. Must we all bow to the Obamessiah before we can browse their pattern library? You have conducted yourself with grace and dignity throught this entire affair. Casey could learn a few lessons from you.

Shawna said...

we'll be better off with out it...right?;o)

marit said...

Thanks for sharing! I've never quite figured out Ravelry, and haven't used it much-and never been into any of the groups! I think I'll leave it like that!

Diane / "Didi" said...

I have to say ... I think we're better off and well rid of the drama. I'm not going back!

Becca said...

IMHO, I found Ravelry headed toward the cesspool with the beginning of the Rubberneckers group (the one you mention that makes fun of others). That really opened the floodgates of anything goes on the forums and it's been a mess since then.

This latest banning has gone beyond stupid. What appalls me is the blind worship that the members pay to Casey, Jess, & MH. They have no idea what the real facts are of the situation, but there is thread after thread of "Oh poor Casey! Why doesn't everyone just obey and be nice and be thankful for Ravelry?" I would like to post, "Hey, what if Casey is even partially at fault?", but I'm sure you know the storm that would ensue.

km said...

Wow! Not sure what to think or even say. Wonder what will happen to me because I have John McCain as a friend. ;0) There has to be a better way...

Chrisknits said...

Well said.

Yarnhog said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your negative experience. I've occasionally read something on Ravelry I thought was a little rude, but nothing like what you're describing. I only belong to a few groups, and there hasn't been much in the way of drama. It's really sad that something that such potential to draw people together ended up, in your case, at least, driving them apart.

Tammy said...

I just want to say thank you to everyone for your kind notes. This wasn't really a post I wanted to make, but sometimes you just gotta speak up.

5elementknitr said...

I'm glad you DID speak up, Tammy!

I use Rav as an infinite resource for patterns and what to do with my stash. The only forums I've been really involved in are the Swap forums I've joined.

I've seen some risque avatars and lots of really cool ones, too. I've peeked in on the Rubberneckers but decided I had enough drama in my own life without adding the drama of others. (It reinforces the theory that I have that if you get more then three women together in the same place more then two times, there's gonna be drama. sigh.)

I know they posted rather strict guidlelines for "proper" (meaning "be nice to each other") behavior in the forums but I also see that it's not all that strictly enforced. But with over 200K memebers, I can see where it would be difficult to do so. That's the job of the moderators. I'm sure you were doing your best as moderators and I don't know why they would delete your group. It sucks that they singled out your group!

I kept thinking they allowed these things to go on in the interest of "free speech" or something to that effect. It saddens me to see that free speech isn't being applied to everyone and for them to suspend activity of Ravelers for something off-site seems, somehow, bordering on criminal. That may seem a bit extreme and I know it's their site and they have the right to run it however they please but it seems wrong.

Hopefully, as they grow as a website and as a company they can also grow as people and include everyone on equal terms.

Chin up!

Sinny said...

Hi Tammy, you probably don't remember me, but we spoke once in PMs during the election about a discussion in BID. I just wanted to let you know that the increase in traffic isn't coming from RR, because it's not linked from there. I personally googled 'ravelry banned' to see what was going on, and came to you through some other blogs about the subject. I'm sure lots of people are using google, because the announcement was so vague.

Tammy said...

Hi Sinny - Thanks, but unfortunately the Rubberneckers have an off-site board that does have a link. It's no bother really, I'll just keep getting more knitting done.

Donna Boucher said...

Being persecuted means you are doing something right.


"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name."
—1 Peter 4:12-14, 16

Just the same....I know it is not fun to be 'in the fire'. May you feel His peace.

Love
Donna

Angelika said...

I'm glad to see you and some others of my friends removed. But I'm glad you still have your blog. I'll follow your spin cicle this way. It's more fun anyway and I still get to see your great knitting.

Laura said...

Wow! I am sorry you had to go through all that, but glad to know about it. I have a Ravelry account, but forgot my password and haven't been on there in probably six months or more. Guess I haven't missed anything lovely or pure!

I don't think I'll be trying to find that password, either.

Angelika said...

Sorry about that typo there. I meant of course that I'm SAD, not glad (fat fingers!). I'm glad you know me that well.

kellywithoutanet said...

I've tried to stay away from the entire situation on Ravelry, but I have been thinking of you and missing you around Ravelry, Tammy. Good luck with everything.

The Unkind Mind said...

the rubberneckers are not a problem.