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.