It’s been an interesting few days in the online crafting world, but I think what happened this morning takes the cake. Allow me to walk you through recent developments.
After my first post on the subject of Ravelry’s new policy got disappeared (I subsequently found it locked, hidden and archived), I wrote another one:
I have so many questions. I put some of them in a post, and it got hidden and archived. I got blocked from the Big 6. I’ve now been unblocked, but the post is still hidden. I still don’t know what part of the community guidelines it’s supposed to have broken – I asked, but no one’s answered.
Now I have even more questions, after seeing a post which was, unlike mine, approved by a moderator and posted to a locked thread on one of the Big 6. It contains a sentence beginning “I dislike Christians (actually all 3 of the Abrahamic Triad of Terror)”.
So, clearly, it’s ok to proclaim on Ravelry your dislike of people based solely on their religious affiliation. Would it still have been approved if the poster had been more explicit and said “I dislike Jews, I dislike Muslims”? (Note: the way the original post is phrased says it isn’t about disliking belief systems – I dislike Christianity – it’s about disliking the people who adhere to them – I dislike Christians.)
If it’s ok to air your dislike of certain religious groups, how about political groups? Ethnic groups? Nationalities? Sexualities? If “I dislike Christians” is ok, how about “I dislike Greens” or “I dislike Gypsies” or “I dislike Mexicans” or “I dislike gays”? We all know it’s ok to hate on T____ here on Ravelry, and apparently open dislike of Muslims, Christians and Jews is fine, but where is the line drawn? Who’s in and who’s out?
I’ve loved Ravelry for years. I don’t have much involvement with social media, but I’ve heartily recommended Ravelry to friends and family (at least two of whom have joined up, based at least in part on my recommendation). But now, as a member of an openly disliked group, and as someone whose words have been erased from the communal area, I don’t feel welcome on Ravelry any more.
I posted that yesterday morning, my time. It was disappeared into the archive in a matter of minutes, and locked. On the plus side, it wasn’t hidden, meaning people can still see what I said if they go looking in the archive. And I didn’t get blocked! I even got a reply from a moderator saying that “for the time being” any post discussing the new policy would be locked and archived. Strangely, this doesn’t seem to include anything in support of the new policy, only discussion and dissent.
The reply also said that If a post is not hidden, it does not mean it was “approved” by the moderators, only that it may never have been brought to our attention. So the “I dislike Christians” post may not have been approved by a moderator at all. On the other hand, it’s been over 24 hours since I drew it to that moderator’s attention, at least – and it’s still there.
Once I’d finally found the archives (go to “For the Love of Ravelry” board, scroll down topic list, click on small-print link bottom right) I was staggered by the number of threads that had been sequestered in there, most of which had had their contents hidden.
Side note: the moderators are definitely dealing with some unpleasant stuff, e.g. the horrible person who started a thread titled “kill yourselves”. I don’t care what that person believes or who they voted for; they’re still horrible. On the other hand, a majority of the threads seemed to be people who were confused or upset or, like me, just asking questions. Didn’t matter. Same treatment.
What really staggered me, however, was the reply which some of the posts got from moderators (replies are not hidden unless they support the original poster). The reply said, and I quote, “Discussion of this policy is not allowed on the main boards.” But worse was to come.
I hadn’t seen any mention of this on the main boards themselves, so I thought I would bring this rule to the awareness of those who, like myself, hadn’t previously come across it and had transgressed it in all ignorance.
So I put up this:
Discussion of the recent policy is not allowed on the main boards.
Source – an archived thread. I have not seen this mentioned outside the archives, so not all users may be aware of this new rule, and may thus unwittingly break it – and then be surprised when their post “disappears”.
This post was archived, locked and hidden in three minutes, and I’m banned from the main forums till early next week.
Yes, it has come to this: Ravelry is enforcing a rule on its members that you are not allowed to tell them exists. The community space is being edited to produce the impression that pretty much everyone is ecstatic about this new policy, and everything’s carrying on, business as usual. Despite what some people claim, it’s not just hate speech that’s being quashed, it’s any dissent whatsoever.
And frankly, I’ve had it. If I wanted to live in constant uncertainty about whether I might be breaking a rule I don’t know about, I’d play Mao. Or, you know, get into an abusive relationship. Ravelry’s been great, but it’s not worth that.
So I’m looking around at alternatives (maybe OpenRavel?). Ideally, there’d be a decentralized platform for people to move to – no one authority who has the right to say “my house, my rules” and silence anyone who disagrees. But it seems we’re not there yet.
ETA 4/7/19: Yesterday, Ravelry openly announced that discussion of the new policy is not permitted on the main forums, as political discussion is not permitted on the main forums and “any discussion of this policy will likely become political”. The positive reaction posts are still up, however, as is the anti-Jew/Muslim/Christian post.