I've never made a secret of my admiration for Ravelry—four million knitters, crocheters, weavers, and dyers, all in the same place sharing camaraderie and patterns, yada yada yada. How lovely.
But like anything internet-related, Ravelry brings out the snark in some of us. It's impossible to gather four million people into one place and expect everybody to play nice. Not gonna happen and I never presumed it would. I have seven sisters. I know what mob mentality can do.
There's a troubling aspect to Ravelry, though, that makes me wonder. It's the need to let all four million members know, in no uncertain terms, just how much you hate a designer's project. These people need to go right to the source and leave a comment—in some cases specifically addressed to the designer himself/herself—stating how much they hate the design. Sometime they'll leave a detailed account of exactly what they hate about the design and how the designer could "improve" it. Other times it's simply a "gawd this is hideous" kind of response.
Seriously. Who died and made you Tim Gunn?
Opinions are like anuses. Everybody has one. I've seen some designs that set off my gag reflex but I never felt the need to tell the designer. I simply clicked to another page. No super hero effort was involved; I just moved on. As a designer, I can appreciate the fact that not everyone will like everything I put out there. That's cool. I get it. My feelings won't be hurt by a "I appreciate the effort but this isn't for me" kind of comment. It's the mean-spirited stuff I take exception to.
Don't like a design? Fine. That doesn't obligate you to publicly offer up snarky, negative thoughts about it. This helps no one and makes you look like you've watched Mean Girls one too many times. You might feel all smug and happy, now you've made the world a better place for having led the offending designer to the Promise Land of good taste and stuff you would actually knit or crochet. But all you've actually done is hurt some feeling and provoked the ire of people who really like the design and whose taste you've now de facto insulted. You also might have scared the crap out of a budding designer who is now thinking twice about publishing their designs.
So here's my advice. The next time you feel the need to vomit in the comment section of a designer's pattern, try this instead: Just. Shut. Up. Trust me, it's not that hard. Text or PM your knitting bestie and get all "OMG, did you see that hideous shawl that XYZ just put on Ravelry?" Trash the design in private if you really, really have to, then pick up your knitting or crochet and create something positive. The sun will rise tomorrow and you'll come across designs that are more to your taste and will make you gush all happy and ecstatic. And at the same time, somebody is going to hit their Disagree button on your comment. To quote Earth, Wind and Fire: that's the way of the world. I just think the world can be a little bit nicer, that's all. Feel free to disagree.
Thanks for a thoughtful post. People seem to be more and more proud of being evil and cruel. Look at the case of Scarf With Flames vs. Dreambird on Rav. Here's a situation where the designer of Dreambird accusued the designer of Scarf With Flames (wrongly!) of stealing her design. She stirred up her followers to attack tne new designer, which they did en masse. Then, when public opinion turned, she simply deleted most of her attacks, rather than offering apologies. Meanwhile the new designer hasn't been active on Rav since Jan. I wonder if the lynch mob is proud of its accomplishment?ReplyDelete
Here's the pattern page:
Check out the comments and the Forum "Dreambird versus Scarf with flames"
OMG. I would never start a gang fight against someone, even if they did steal my design. That is just stupid and childish. No, I missed this one on Ravelry and I'm glad I did. Gonna try and resist even looking at it. Ugh! But I probably will take a peek. Just hope I can keep my 2₵ to myself.Delete
I know exactly what you're getting at. I will be the first to admit that there are some things that just don't tickle my fancy but I would never dream of going to a designer and telling them, "hey, your crap sucks bozons." That's just rude. Now, if it's a pattern that I have that is a hot mess and needs some editing or just has something that looks like a mistake, I will suggest that to a designer. What they do with it is their thing but at least I feel that I've done my due diligence to fix something that doesn't make sense.ReplyDelete
Pointing out a mistake in a pattern is helpful to everyone. Being a jackass is not. You put your finger squarely on the difference. Thanks!Delete
yes! Be kind! So glad you are writing again too! :)ReplyDelete
Christina, you are the best person I know when it comes to kindness!Delete
A-frickin'-men honey! totally agree. while there are several designs i find kinda, well, not so good, i now try my best to just put myself in the mindset of, hey, it's not for ME. you know? we talked about this. there ARE some people who gush over certain designers' every item--regardless of look, etc. that's fine. but it totally goes overboard when these other people (bitchy, insecure people?!) find it their just cause to tell the designer what they SHOULD have done, or what they deem appropriate or stylish.ReplyDelete
oops. forgot to add: it's why i'm rarely on Ravelry any more, except for pattern searching...ReplyDelete
Great post. I would venture that a lot of designs are not posted by large commercial ventures. I think its easy to forget their is actually a human behind each design.ReplyDelete
A kind word goes a whole lot further.