QueerJoe

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Ravelry Response

Perhaps this post will be a lightning rod for people to express anger. I understand that. But I am a fan of the web site and the recent Ravelry response to users.

Ravelry Response Letter from Jess

Another Ravelry Response

This one came as an e-mail from a friend of mine to Ravelry:

John e-mail to Ravelry 08-01-20

Just to give blog readers a sense about how I feel, I was very glad to have been cc’ed on John’s e-mail to Cassidy and Jessica.

Summary of My Thoughts on The Ravelry Response

  1. I find Ravelry to be an incredibly useful tool. Where else could I find a comprehensive database of patterns, yarns and forums that also allow me to track and document my projects and library of knitting books and magazines? For free.
  2. Their stand against supporting Trump was brave and just. I can’t imagine what I would have done if they were Trump supporters and had decided to exclude any anti-Trump stuff on their site. This would have been devastating to have to lose this valuable tool.
  3. I found the recent changes to their web site irrelevant. There was only one change I didn’t like. It was the new icon to access Forums. I didn’t find it intuitive. But once I learned where it was, it was a VERY minor inconvenience to adapt.
  4. I think there are four types of people who are haters of the new site:
    1. The people who had some other grudge about Ravelry and used their critiques of the change as a club to beat Ravelry over the head. Their response was completely oversized for the change and encouraged others to be crazed by it.
    2. People who support Hair Füror and jumped on the bandwagon of haters. They also worked to enflame the others with extreme rhetoric.
    3. Those who really hate any change and took the changes as an opportunity to join in the chorus of naysayers.
    4. People who are physically affected by the change (migraines, seizures, etc.) and are bereft at losing such a valuable tool.

My Suggestions

For the first three categories, I say fuck off. Go build your own fucking Ravelry if you hate the current one so much.

For the 4th category, I would suggest a less extreme response to the changes than I’ve been seeing. Accusing them of being ableist and hating on those with painful conditions doesn’t help you get your valuable tool back.  Keep working with them in a civil way and hopefully, you’ll get a Ravelry that you can use. Focus on getting what you want. Not alienating the only folks that can help you get it.

A Warning

Flame throwers in e-mails and comments won’t be treated very kindly. If you have an issue with what I wrote today, you’re welcome to comment with a dissenting point of view. You are even allowed to express anger and frustration. But if I feel that you’re trying to stoke hatred and division, you’ll be banned from public comments.

Current Knitting

I am very glad to have finished a VERY long shawl. AND published a pattern for it!

Little Hearts Wrap 08-02-20 03

Depending on how I lay it out, the Little Hearts Wrap turned out to be about 84″ long and about 14″ wide.  It’s very loose and drapey and clings in a very comforting way. I LOVE this garment.

I have published the pattern on Ravelry (if you’re still a member), and for the first 24 hours, you can get it free with the coupon code FreeHearts at check out.  It would be greatly appreciated if you would Favorite and/or Queue this design.

Also on the Current Knitting front. I have decided to stop working on the circular Interlocking Crochet Scarf project. Making it as an infinity scarf just isn’t worth the effort. So I will frog it.

But I did start two new projects (although  you’ll only get to see progress photos of one of them).

Charlie Bear 08-03-20 01

Can you guess what this is?  Eventually, it will be a stuffed bear. I’m using the pattern Bear (Knit a Teddy) by Sarah Gasson. So far, I’m liking it very much.

38 comments on “Ravelry Response

  1. Your pattern is lovely, I purchased it rather than getting it free, your time and energy to publish it deserves credit and payment.
    Thank you.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts around Ravely and the changes. I find people have problems with things changing and now days very very short fuses….I for one am grateful for the amazing amount of work that Cassidy and Jessica have done to create this wonderful tool for us AT NO CHARGE!

    Folks, if you don’t like it, find something else or create your own.

    Joe your scarf is lovely and I am looking forward to seeing the Teddy Bear!

  3. I am lucky not to have encountered visual or other physical symptoms with the new Ravelry and am very thankful to have such a wonderful resource. As you said, it is easy enough to adapt to a minor inconvenience or two. Those who have suffered have an easy choice to revert to the old Ravelry until ways are found to address their issues. They can still use and enjoy Ravelry.

  4. I do understand where you are coming from but in the first few days after the change there was a lot of bad behavior on the part of the people who were supporting the Rav staff. I do not have huge problems with the new site but I got headaches and sore eyes when I spent even a few hours on the site – I don’t know if it was the contrast or the refresh rate or what – I don’t have problems with computers/screens – I spend all my day on them for work. Something about the new setup has hurt people and the attitude that I saw was “shut up, it can’t possibly be the design”. I am glad for Jessie’s new letter which seems to be reaching out to those with problems. There probably is a disconnect between the paid staff and the mod supporters that allowed the issue to get out of hand.

    1. Thanks Beth. It’s nice to hear from someone about what they went through. I truly believe that if the forum threads, comments and social media hadn’t been stoked with inflammatory comments from people trying to make it worse, this all would have been worked out without animosity.

      I have badly mishandled issues on-line in the past. But once someone reasonably points out where I’m wrong, I change. People that attack typically just make me dig in my heels. I could well imagine you would have made a perfect advisory team for Ravelry. Thanks for your sane response that helps me see someone else’s perspective.

  5. 100% agree!!!!!
    I purchased your pattern fabulous pattern. My biggest challenge these days will be attacking my considerable stash for the perfect yarn. I remember you from your Tomato Factory days. Believe it or not I still have stash from TF. I‘ll always miss them and you!❤️🧶

  6. Thank you for your thoughtful support of Ravelry. I pretty much agree with all you have said. I also agree with Elaine that those who have a physical problem have an option. I have seen some folks on Ravelry who are claiming that the old Rav has changes that also cause them physical harm. Apparently this is not possible as nothing has changed, and the staff has offered actual proof that nothing has changed. I am very sorry to say this whole exchange has made me wonder about the accuracy of many of those who claim physical harm. I hope Jessica’s post will cause the whole controversy to die down. Lots of hateful things have been said, no doubt on both sides although I am mostly aware of those nastygrams sent to the Ravelry staff. Truly this pandemic has brought out the very worst in so many people (encouraged by those who should be leading us but instead are stirring shit). I hope it doesn’t go on much longer! Thanks for being a voice of calm and rationality, Joe.

  7. Ravelry has enhanced my knitting life immeasurably, and I have found criticism of the new interface — and of Cassidy and Jessica — disproportionate and, in some cases, inexplicable. I’m keenly aware of how I would feel if suddenly unable to use Ravelry. However I’ve also learned from long experience that no matter how much I’ve sometimes felt justified in launching attacks while trying to get customer satisfaction and however cathartic they may have been I’ve rarely if ever been successful.

    1. Disproportionate! That is the EXACT word I was searching for…thank you. And I don’t blame the people who had strong reactions…this social media swarm mentality of attacking a person or group en masse can very quickly get out of control. Especially with people prodding them with sharp sticks.

  8. Bravo Joe. Thank you for your well thought out and expressed review of the current Ravelry brouhaha, and your spot-on suggestions to deal with the various angles on the subject. I look forward to your thoughts as much as your creative endeavors. Keep on keeping on my virtual friend. I’m looking forward to the day when I meet up with you in person, maybe at the NJ sheep and wool festival or at an event where you’re a vendor. 💟☮️ and 🧶 on

  9. Thanks Joe for posting John and your notes and responses.
    Hair Fürer? What is that?…. Ah!
    You scarf is beautiful! The bear in progress is great. What a wonderful project!
    Thanks for your Zooms. Wish they weren’t so problematic for me. If you don’t see me from time to time, that is why. Nothing personal.
    Best wishes!

  10. I came across this blog somehow…. I really think I found it on
    Google. Love how you handle everyone, and all the requests, complaints and whatnot!!! I love your blog and even though I wont be on it daily…I will def check it out when ready for new/different patterns and/or projects. I’m currently working on making hats/scarves for the homeless and needy school children. I can do this because I had a very generous yarn donation, am retired and do this in my free time. Love you!!!

  11. I disagree completely. First of all, I am lucky that I am still physically able to use Ravelry. However, the whole thing was completely mishandled by Ravelry. First they made something that doesn’t work for people. People have been hurt physically by their site. That is not ok. The “go back to classic” also doesn’t work. There is a way (I am told, I’m not in the web design industry) that they can revert to the old site – the actual one – while they continue to tweak the new one. They chose not to do this. From my view, they did nothing to even address the problems. They, instead, doubled down, and responded with no empathy at all. In fact, some of the things they responded with were hurtful. I don’t fault them for making the mistake. I fault them for their response. They still have the bad site up causing problems. Also, the post Jess wrote is only available on the bad site. It also isn’t the best apology. Check #RavelryAccessibility on twitter. There are lots of well-written opinions there. They know how to respond well, they did a good job around the Trump problem. This whole thing is the actual definition of abalism.

    1. I’m so very sorry the new changes caused issues for you. I am confident that was not the intent. As someone who has spent far too much time developing software and ‘apps,” I can honestly tell you no one ever sets out to intentionally exclude anyone. Discussions around accessibility, inclusion, readability and the ADA are common. Generally the meeting dissolves into a bit of a debate where each party advocates for it’s audience. A major update like this is like giving birth—months and months of development before it’s ready. The hours and hours Cassidy spent cannot be measured. The community criticized and rejected her work. At points in my career, I would have reacted as she did. Give them some time and you’ll have a ravelry you love to use.

    2. I don’t want to argue with you, but a point if fact: Jess’s letter is available on the Classic site. It’s on the front page, and you can read it by clicking on the red yarn ball, which will show you the front page of Ravelry. The old site is easily available to anyone who needs it.

  12. Sadly the trend nowadays is to be outraged over everything( things like BLM and people’s civil liberties are different, they must be stood up for) I’m a fan of Ravelry, but as a migraine sufferer had problems with the new website. I filled in their questionnaire aimed at resolving its issues as it seemed more useful than hurling abuse!

    Sarah.

  13. I have issues with the “Be nicer” part.

    People were 6 weeks ago, very very nice. Even those who had severe medical reactions (seizures that have caused people to have driving licences revoked) were generally being pretty good sports about it; asking Rav to revert. And crickets; nothing. I understand – kind of – the response about how NuRav helps certain people, but I think I’d prioritise not having my site potentially kill people; which can be a side affect of a seizure.

    Drawing parallels do you think people should have been “nicer” when fighting for gay rights?

    There’s been interesting talk on twitter about how in craft circles it can feel like business owners are your friends; and how that relationship can be damaging in both directions. I’ve been with Rav for nearly 13 years; through a giant amount of the growth from when you had to request access. I’ve cheered Jess and Cassidy’s successes, been fascinated by how the website works and mourned community members losses. It’s been home and a connection to the knitting community I no longer have in person. I can see why people are swinging between being upset and angry.

    1. Thanks for that perspective on why people got less nice as there was no response.

      I think that it was a bit more than just that. Someone else mentioned that the stresses of COVID may have played a role in what I see as a disproportional response. I also think muck-rakers who had no issues with the site helped stoke the intensity of the argument.

      And comparing this to me fighting for my rights is an argument I can’t see at all.

      It sounds like you’re trying diminish the fight for equal rights all humans should have (such as not being fired, or jailed or the ability to get married), to fighting for gaining healthy access to a knitting site. Seems to define disproportional in my mind.

    2. I’m sorry. I thought you just equated the struggle for gay rights with access to a free knitting support site? A grown person would never make that equivalency to a person who’s blog was called “Queer Joe”. So I’m going to assume that was a mistake and look forward to it being addressed.

  14. Thank you for this post. I’ve been kind of freaked out by the response to the change and am appreciative of you taking time to examine the situation. At first, I was ‘old ravelry all the way’ but once I gave the new look a try I got used to it very quickly.

  15. As always, your reaction is well thought out and wise, delivered in your kind tone. As I read it, My knitter’s heart flipped over at #3 but then I got to #4 and if flipped again—you nailed my feelings, when I didn’t have the words.

    One thought on Jessica’s response for those who object—she’s caught between someone she values tremendously and a community she loves. It you are objection, it’s is a brilliant mindful response. By curtailing Cassidy’s exposure to ‘us,’, she protects her and her valuable work regardless of applied labels like ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Her response halts further hurt on both sides.

  16. Hi, I ran across your blog and I wanted to say I completely agree that the response to Ravelry was harsh. I also believe they did a terrible job reacting and responding. (How’s that for wishy-washy LOL)

    First off, I’m going to subscribe to this blog. Second, my biggest issue with this whole thing is that it was just dropped out of the blue. Literally, you refreshed the screen and boom! New Ravelry. Then the whiz bang Lookit! We overhauled the site! Whee!

    Tone deaf does not begin to describe this! This, in the midst of changes in our society that are unfathomable. Sickness, job strife, locked up at home, families at risk, home schooling. Then this. How were they so far out of touch?

    Also, and I hope this doesn’t seem gossipy, the Rav team has had a great deal of upheaval in the last year, which could have been blinding them to how the community is doing. The political decision last year generated a heavy response and media attention. Cassidy. Jess and their kids went through a gigantic change, personally. Then they hired a web designer to make the site changes work, and Cassidy must have been all tied up working with her, getting her up to speed etc.

    Add it all up, and the launch was in my view the poorest showing I’ve seen. Even Jess’s comment that she wasn’t aware of some of the reactions from Cassidy seemed weird.

    All that said, I still love the site, the people and the unique value they have given us. That’s GIVEN. They have enriched my life. So when I see them attacked, rather than calmly criticized, it’s very hard to take and I am with you: go build your own Ravelry. Knock yourself out. Thanks for the opportunity to comment!

    Warm regards, Lori

  17. I am so grateful that there is a source of knowledge, exchange and friendship as Ravelry. It literally changed my knitting life from “just knitting something” to knitting traditional techniques and styles, learning from other cultures, supporting other users and enjoying the wonderful craft.

    I found the change of design somehow unprofessional, as in professional software work you announce changes like this in advance and tell about the changes in advance, offering means to communicate on errors or problems

    This was missed. But this is “forgivable” (is this a correct word) as the people of Ravelry are openhearted, giving people and we owe them our gratitude and patience as well. Their first reactions were “harsh” as the critique was so “harsh” but this is nothing compared with the value the site gives us.

    And, as we see now, they listen and do their best. Let’s continue to go with Ravelry and enjoy + promote the worldwide knitting community!

    I am with your arguments by all means.

    Connie

  18. Hi Joe. Thanks for your thoughtful rumination. I too am able to use Ravelry, with the old look, just fine. I think another source of the knee-jerk reaction to the pain, literal and emotional, was the change during what for many is a difficult financial time to the website on which their businesses are built. Designers and yarnies depend on Rav and its community to sell their products. It’s a kind of social contract – and a side use that maybe wasn’t intended but has nonetheless continued and grown to an industry that permeates the knit/crochet/yarn world and is a side hustle for many. Interruptions to the flow are threatening.

  19. I think part of the problem was that the people who had problems with the new site didn’t feel taken seriously. The response from both Ravelry and Ravelry members who liked the new site was basically, “stop whining, you’ll get used to it if you give it a chance, you just don’t like change,” and the really problematic “you’re exaggerating your problems.” Many of the comments here have echoed these thoughts. If Ravelry had responded more quickly with “We hear you–here’s the option for classic back until we can figure out what’s going on,” much of this could have been avoided. Even Facebook allowed for users to revert back to the classic look when they changed the website recently and Ravelry is a way better entity than Facebook. It simply did not feel like they cared very much.
    I don’t know why Ravelry is a migraine trigger for me. When I look at the new site the letters blur together and it looks like the words are split in half diagonally and then one half is slid slightly on the diagonal so the letters don’t line up. The changes they have make have helped a little but I still can’t use it for very long. The option for classic is great for me but they’ve made it clear it’s not a long term solution.

  20. I thought your response was pretty tame actually, given your background as an IT professional. What do these people do when their bank changes their logo? When the store runs out of their cookies? How in heaven’s name can a knitting web physically harm anyone? If you’re this frail you need to be in a hospitalized setting.

    The website is FREE! If you don’t like it go elsewhere!! What really gets me is the apology. For what? All it does is encourage these bubble wrapped fools. There are life and death tragedies happening all around us.

    I like your bear by the way. The face is perfect. I think I need to make some dolls. I need a break from the masks.

    Be well and ridiculously happy.

  21. Well, I guess if I received some of the comments you have I might re-think my stance. (YMMV but I find if the people agreeing with me are intolerant and can’t do a small amount of research to understand an issue from someone else’s viewpoint I’m probably on the wrong side!)

    Ravelry did harm. Yes, it is free and yes, many people have issues with change. However, when you have a monopoly on services within a community and then make a huge change so that a group of people, who are often dismissed, not included and not believed in everyday life, are unable to use that resource, and in some cases are physically harmed when they try to use it and are ignored when they speak out and in some cases verbally abused it kind of sucks to be told “well maybe if you were nicer about it.” Right. Because that works so well for minority groups everywhere.

    1. You mischaracterize what I wrote. You even attributed a quote to me that I never wrote.

      I was glad to read the comments. Even the ones that disagreed with me. None have changed my opinion. Some, like yours have only confirmed my opinions.

      You seem to be so invested in your opinion, that you would prefer to have Ravelry be villains.

      And I find it outrageous that you would equate fight for civil rights to the denial of access to a knitting web site. For instance, while members of the LGBTQ community continued to be killed, denied jobs and housing and still don’t have equality in my country, my response should be the same for a knitting web site.

      Honestly, your insistence on demonizing Ravelry and the people who “can’t do a small amount of research” makes me think you may have a different agenda by commenting here.

      1. Actually, I don’t think Ravelry is a villain. They seem to be generally nice people who don’t give a damn about the disabled. (Which is fine, nobody ever said they have to care, I just don’t think they should market themselves as inclusive in that case.)

        I’m LGBTQ myself, and whilst, in my country, we aren’t doing too badly when it comes to civil rights, I know of someone who was killed in the last couple of years so I can’t say we’re doing great either. Despite the issues I’ve had due to my sexuality, I’ve had far more due to my disability. And yes, I do think disability rights are a civil rights issue. (I don’t however think that you should have the same response for a knitting site as for other issues and I don’t think I ever implied that you should. I care and other people care because it either effects us or we feel empathy for those it effects. (You obviously don’t and that’s absolutely your prerogative.) Not as much as other issues but if we only spoke out on the issues that are life and death I guess there wouldn’t be much conversation would there?

  22. Decided after many days to comment on this issue. One point that has not been discussed and only mentioned briefly by one other person is the monopoly that Ravelry has. Not so many years ago (I guess I’m showing my age) you could buy patterns at your local yarn store or even department stores. That is no longer the case. And the magazines are getting thinner and thinner. Seems to me that that when a company destroys one venue and basically controls what knitters have access to they do bear some responsibility to keep their site comfortable and easy for all to use. I do not believe that politics has any place in the world of knitting. We should all be tolerant of each others different beliefs and lifestyles and learn to let it slide. It is after all a hobby.

    1. Personally, I don’t find this to be a valid argument. Patterns can still be purchased in yarn stores, magazine, books and web sites other than Ravelry. Yes, it is by far the most comprehensive database of patterns that I know of. But it’s not a monopoly.

      Second of all, even if they did have a valid monopoly, there is nothing that requires them to accommodate anyone on the site.

      Finally, the notion that politics doesn’t have a place is in the world of knitting is at best naive and simplistic. And at worst, it’s an entitled, exclusionary idea. Politics infiltrates every aspect of our lives, whether we want it or not. Being tolerant of each others’ different beliefs is fine, as long as others’ beliefs don’t trample on my rights. I can’t imagine you’d want anyone to tolerate white supremacy as a belief, for instance.

      1. I agree with you Joe. Is it a monopoly when it’s free? Anyone can reverse engineer their efforts and charge something for it.

        You really hit it on the head. Part of my job involves supporting and advocating for children. Some of them have disabilities, undiagnosed disabilities. We have a whole department dedicated to children with vision disabilities. Once diagnosed there are so many assistive devices available to them. As a now older knitter and spinner, I have to find work arounds for things that used to be easier. I cannot spin for hours. I frequently have to take knitting breaks. I bought CraftOptics glasses and they’ve helped so much. But these difficulties have names. The “little research” comment tells me this person is just trolling.

        I’ve been following you for years. Retirement is getting closer. I hope it is as wonderful as yours! Paz

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