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Where are we? In High School?

January 19, 2008

I never realized that my posts about Stitch and Bitch and Needle Exchange of the Knitting Kind would draw comments that actually supported my initial perception of knitting cliques. I had hoped to be proven wrong. Many of my readers commented that my experience was not the norm. I’ve belonged to some sewing forums and I’ve observed flaming between members or ganging up on one member, yet I’ve never been the recipient of it – until today.

Before I tell you this story, I’d like to state my philosophy around commenting on blogs. I do not moderate my comments. I welcome differing opinions and points of view. I am not always right, and I’m open to learning new things. However, when the commenter turns to disparaging remarks or berating of me or my loyal readers, I will not tolerate that. The whole idea of a blog, in my opinion, is to solicit conversations and differing points of view. That’s what makes life colorful and interesting, and that is what helps us all grow as people. However, when the discussion turns mean or bitchy or downright rude and only serves to make the commenter feel better while trying to take someone else down a peg, then that’s not okay by me.

Today I received a comment by a woman who clearly didn’t like what I said about a local yarn shop near me and my experience with exchanging needles. Not only did she have a differing opinion, but she made an insinuation about my grandson that he was the reason the store owner was cold towards me. And she made a very rude remark toward one of my faithful readers. At first I responded to her comment, thanking her for the differing opinion, but then warned her that if her disparaging and rude comments continued, I would just delete her comments. I would not tolerate it.

A short while later, she commented on the first post I had (“Stitch and Bitch”) about the same yarn store, This time she was just plain rude. I didn’t bother commenting, but just deleted both comments, and mine included.

Later, I received a more polite comment from another reader, explaining her point of view about exchanging needles. I’ve left that comment as it exhibits a different point of view, and some very good points (which I’ll address later) about just why yarn stores do not exchange needles.

However, what really appalled me was what I found when I did a bit of research. See, WordPress lets  you see who your readers are, and combined with SiteMeter, I can find out exactly where they are coming from. If you, Internet, think your comments are anonymous, think again. With very little effort, I found that my blog posts and the person’s comments were  the subject of conversation on Ravelry.com, a site I had joined and blogged about also, with positive opinions. Since not everyone has access to Ravelry – yet – here’s the conversation for your reading pleasure – or displeasure. I’m posting it here so you can interpret this for yourself.

kiko: This so-and-so’s blog post really pissed me off and it felt so good to comment to her.
eta: The blogger blocked my comment already. Sorry you can’t read it, but her post is funny anyway.

skeincocaine: I couldn’t see where you commented on that blog post…you really let her have it, eh?

jingerly: Wow. That sucks. The only time we’d ever let anyone return needles for that reason would be up to the next day and that’s it. Two weeks is plenty of time to finish something and give the needles back. I love that her blog post even mentions that the packaging is just a ziplock bag, which is precisely the reason why most stores won’t take things back. I hope that you do comment because maybe she just doesn’t see things from both sides…

kiko: I had already left my comment, and yes skeincocaine I really let her have it. She read it and she blocked it. I made my point and that made my day!

jingerly: Hurrah!

skeincocaine: Good for you…I would have loved to have read what you commented to her…but I can only imagine! Hee.
 

It’s crap like this that gives women a bad name. It makes me embarassed for my gender. I know not all women are like this – more often than not, we can rise above stuff like this and walk away. But when grown women decide to act like stupid little high school girls in a clique, well… I’ve given these silly girls more air time than they deserve.

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16 Comments
  1. shellssells permalink
    January 19, 2008 6:24 pm

    How very unfortunate. I really was keeping my rose colored glasses when it came to ravelry. I see this type of thing with the Sims2 boards I frequent but thought I had found a place where these things were not at all prevalent. I am sorry to hear that is not the case!

  2. shellssells permalink
    January 19, 2008 6:28 pm

    OK, I came back to say that what people forget, when perusing blogs, is that they are coming to your house. Your own little corner of the internet.

    I wouldn’t dream of going in someones home and disparaging them regardless of my differing of opinion. Why is it so hard to understand that blogs should be treated the same way?

  3. January 19, 2008 8:48 pm

    I’m not really surprised to hear about the snottiness you’ve run into with knitting circles. I’ve been knitting since I was about five or six, and I’ve seen all kinds of yarn shops and knitting groups. Some were warm and wonderful, and others were nasty and judgemental. Some shops will size you up when you come in the door and then not bother with you if you didn’t meet some secret standard they have.

    I can tell you that the yarn suppliers often mirror this. I looked into starting a yarn store on Cape Cod, and the rep from Brown Sheep was so rude and condescending it was shocking. By the time she got done chewing me up and spitting me out, I wanted to cry. On the other hand, the rep from Lion Brand Yarn, which is considered a cheap “craft yarn,” was a sweet and wonderful old man who couldn’t have been more helpful. In the end I didn’t open a shop, and it was in part because of the croniness that I could see goes on. In my opinion the Brown Sheep rep should have been nice to me because I was a potential client, but she was too busy making me feel bad because I wanted to offer yarns in a variety of price ranges, not just the super expensive brands. But nooo, they don’t want their yarn in the same store as the “craft yarns” and if you’re even thinking of it, they let you know how tacky they think that is.

    So yeah, I can believe this nastiness you’ve been going through and I’m sorry you’ve got bitch bites to prove it. Ignore it and remember what our mothers used to say: They’re just jealous!

    P.S. – If you leave Ravelry let me know because I’m leaving with you! I’m a follower, if you recall, and you’re the reason I joined in the first place. Besides, if there’s something nasty going on, I’m sure they don’t want to view my Stella sweaters anyway.

  4. Bev permalink
    January 19, 2008 8:58 pm

    skeincocaine? Is that really her username? If so, that is hardly cute, only horrendous.

    I’m sorry you were attacked….over knitting needles! Good grief.

  5. January 19, 2008 9:16 pm

    I followed that Ravelry link here and read your original post, the well-reasoned and insightful comment by Elabeth and this post.

    Two things. First, I work in a lys and our policy is to accept needle exchanges only within 24 hours for the reasons Elabeth enumerated. We also take back certain brands if they are damaged, as they have a lifetime guarantee and the rep will replace any damaged needles we save for her. Your experience would have been well within our return policy and sheesh, anyone can make a mistake, can’t she?

    Second, I’ve found Ravelry to be more like Rabelry in general. Most forums are fine, but there are trolls in every group, and they do truly ruin it for everyone. That thread in our lys group has gone far afield and is mighty snotty, I think. Toning it down would go a long way toward engendering a little love and acceptance between lys owners/workers and our customers. I think that sometimes customers expect us to move mountains, but I also think that we lys workers can be really pretentious and off-putting give half a chance.

    That said, our lys took it on the chin for weeks from a disgruntled customer posting pretty anonymously on Rabelry and it really made us feel pretty bad. We did however re examine our customer service and tried all the harder just to prove her wrong.

    Thanks for letting me hijack your comments…

  6. January 19, 2008 9:57 pm

    First, I’ll respond to Ann: Thank you so much for your comments and I appreciate the thoughtfulness of them. I do recognize that LYS are in a business to make a profit and I do understand their rules. It wasn’t so much that they had the policy of not exchanging needles, it was that particular woman’s tone and her comment “It’s printed on the receipt.” Like who reads their receipts? However, I have some ideas about the whole needle exchange thing that I’ll post separately because perhaps somone might find the idea helpful.

    I fully respect people having differing opinions, but I think ShellSells nailed it. A person’s blog is their corner of the world. Their home. A place where they share their thoughts, opinions, hopes and whatnot. And they welcome visitors just like friends. But for a visitor to come in and be rude and disrespectful, and then to secretly gloat about it, is just wrong.

    I don’t want to really belabor these girls and their behavior, I just wanted to point it out. And honestly, I was pissed. I’m not now, and I have no intention of quitting Ravelry. I believe these girls are the minority – they usually are. And I’m sure I’ll probably land in that LYS again as they are certainly convenient, if nothing else.

    Wendy: If you click on CamillaKnits on my sidebar, she opened a yarn and fabric store somewhere in the US. In one of her posts she relayed a similar experience as you did, except with needles. The place that sold great needles wouldn’t sell to her because she intended to sell them at a lower cost (cutting into her profits) than the supplier recommended.

    Bev: That name says a lot, doesn’t it?

  7. January 20, 2008 1:53 am

    How sad women have to act like this. I’ve seen this time and time again in certain circles on the internet (sewing included).

    It happens when women have very low self-esteem…thinking by ripping another women apart it makes them superior, then gang mentality kicks in (from other women with similar low self-esteem).

    What people don’t realize is anyone can google their name, user id or whatnot. I know I wouldn’t want a potential employer (not that I’m looking for a job) to see this kind of stuff.

    It’s a shame people representing the yarn store have bad attitudes. It hurts their business. Although I don’t plan to take up knitting anytime soon, I’d be hesitant to shop at that particular yarn store if it were local…KWIM?

    Chin up, my friend.

    P.S. – I really think it’s time you get back to sewing…LOL
    With friendship,
    Lisa

  8. January 20, 2008 7:08 am

    Man, experiences like these really leave a bad taste. I’ve been ganged up on, and I have received hate mail on my blog, so I moderate comments. I almost never decline publishing any comments that are submitted, but I won’t put hate comments there. It sounds like you have taken the high road, and good on you!

    Another Ann

  9. shellssells permalink
    January 20, 2008 7:38 am

    I finally read the thread. I found it ironic that the same people are upset about knitpicks, fearing that companies like knitpicks will take away business.

    I order from knitpicks, but I also use my local yarn shop. I love the owner, he is so nice, he has even read books to my daughter. The personal service I get there is unmatched.

    I would say that the attitude and snarkiness goes a lot further to detracting from business than companies like knitpicks do.

  10. January 20, 2008 8:25 am

    Thanks for pointing me towards Camilla Knits, it’s a very interesting blog and I like it a lot. Couldnt find the needles post, however, and I’m wondering if you might possibly remember when you read it so I can look in that vicinity? If not, it’s okay, I can keep looking. 🙂

  11. January 20, 2008 10:16 am

    Ann: I remember that well when you got ganged up on and also some people over on Pattern Review or Stitchers Guild. It’s just silly. Yes, I’ve tried to take the high road here. I hope I succeeded without being too pompous about it.

    SS: Fear makes people do dumb things, I’ve learned.

    Wendy: CamillaKnits can be funny. Her chatter style of writing is fun to read. Here’s the link to the post. It’s about Lantern Moon: http://camillaknits.blogspot.com/2007/12/price-fixing-anti-capitalism-and.html

  12. January 20, 2008 7:17 pm

    when people get snippy on these boards or blogs, it tells me that they don’t have a real life. i have way too much going on to engage in petty bickering online. i prefer to do my bickering in person. (just kidding!!!) seriously, life is short. everyone is entitled to their opinion. when a group or forum turns nasty, i drop off. i’ve got better things to do than read a bunch of nastiness.

  13. January 21, 2008 12:59 am

    Hi I totally agree with what shellsells said about your home. I

  14. January 21, 2008 1:10 am

    have no idea what happened there so shall continue on as if nothing happened!!!!! I have luckily not received any bad comments yet but I did receive a nasty email and I actually was more upset than if the person had said the things face to face. Then the other day I received one of those awful hate filled diatribes against Barack Obama and I was gobsmacked as it was from an educated friend but mostly because just reading it contaminated me. I shot off a don’t send this filth on email. It is a hard when it is your blog or on ravelry and you are expressing your opinion and people say nasty things. You would think they would never say these things in person so it is a little cowardly to say them online. One would hope children of today are being taught that it is okay to have a differing opinion, it doesn’t have to make you enemies.

  15. Laura permalink
    January 21, 2008 11:47 am

    So one knitter says it ‘made her day’ to make her point on your blog. But lets face it, it ‘made her day’ to be just plain mean. (That’s called being trashy, folks).
    Then another knitter who was not able to read the nasty comment said ‘I can only imagine.’ in reference to what knitter # 1 had said.
    Well, I guess that tells us that this is nothing new to these people. Leaving nasty posts must be a hobby or something. What kind of happy home lives do you suppose these sad women have.
    That was all so totally unnecessary, but it reminds me of grade school more so than high school, don’tcha think?

  16. January 21, 2008 12:10 pm

    Hi! I feel like I should apologize, because when taken out of the context of the ‘pet peeves’ thread on that particular Ravelry forum, I was astounded that my remarks seemed so harsh.

    It’s too often that we forget about how we’d like an area where we can rant and get things off our chests( and 9 times out of 10, it’s just because it’s the umpteenth time we’ve had to deal with something, or some other weird extenuating circumstances), but really there’s no such place on the internet for that.

    I sympathized with kiko because I knew the unpleasantness of the situation and how it feels to be stuck inside store policy. I’ve related similar situations myself, without the controversy, in the same forum.

    I’m really very sorry that I participated in something that hurt you, because I’ve never met you before. The shock of seeing my name on your website after this brought tears to my eyes. I hope that you accept my sincere apology.

    – jingerly

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