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Why I Quit Ravelry

Here’s the statement I found on the main page of Ravlery’s website on Sunday, June 23, 2019:

“New policy, effective immediately

We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry. We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is unambiguously support for white supremacy. For more details, read this document: https://ravelry.com/content/no-trump

Yup.  Any support for the sitting president now makes you a white supremacist on the big R.

I’m not an eloquent or an outspoken person and I kept my opinions to myself after the “reckoning with racism” that happened on Instagram over the winter.  The folks who started and continued this “conversation” had good intentions.  Just about everyone agrees that racism is a horrible thing.  We all want everyone in our community to feel welcome and included.  However, the ends do not always justify the means.  We learned as children that two wrongs do not make a right.  The bullying, threats and harassment were shocking.  Behind the scenes, many business owners were scared for their livelihoods.  They submitted and made statements even though they disagreed with what was happening on Instagram.  To be clear, they totally agreed that racism is bad.  They disagreed with the tactics used but were afraid to say so.  The only prominent person that I saw speak up was Tusken Knits and she paid dearly for it.  I encourage everyone to find her blog and read it.  And when disabled Kate Davies wasn’t militant enough in her statement, a write in campaign began to have her removed from the Edinburg Yarn Festival.

Fast forward to today.  The dust had finally settled in the knitting world and people were hopeful that their community was healing.  For most of us, it’s an escape.  It’s a place to go where other people share the same excitement over a beautiful yarn or an inventive sweater pattern.  And we missed it.  When the Ravelry statement hit, it felt like a big kick in the teeth.

I don’t think you need to be a Trump supporter or a conservative to be concerned about labeling or silencing a huge part of our community.  Free speech is a fundamental part of our country and absolutely critical in a free and vibrant society.  We can all easily think of modern day examples of what a society becomes when voices are silenced.

Yes.  Ravelry is a privately owned company that is within its rights to censor speech on its platform.  But keep in mind that they are a monopoly.  And when you are a monopoly you have power.  And I do believe they have social responsibility to use that power wisely.

But another problem I have with the Ravelry statement is the implication that anyone who has a positive thing to say about the POTUS is supporting white supremacy.  There’s a leap in logic there that I cannot understand.  It’s inherently unfair and untrue.  And it has restarted the bullying, harassment and threats at least in the Instagram world.  Business after business is caving and publicly standing by Ravlery.

It’s hard to believe that these intelligent, creative, and generally caring people truly are aware of the message they are sending out to their customers.  Do they not understand they are effectively labeling half their customers as white supremacists?  Do they not understand that they are supporting online harassment and bullying of others who do not share a political ideology?  Can they not see that the way to change a person’s heart is not through shame and silence?  It truly leaves me confused and speechless.  I do not understand the support of Ravelry.  Are they not aware that all authoritarian and fascist regimes begin with the silencing of dissenting voices?  I thought we all knew where this road leads.

I’ve been a part of this community for many years and it’s has brought me great friends and joy.  My heart is so saddened by what has happened.  Below I’ve linked to a video of my prior Rhinebeck experience.  You can go to time stamp 9:12 to watch the podcaster meetup.  It was all hugs and friendship.  This is the community I miss and I’m afraid it’s gone.

If I need to say it, I’ll say it.  I do NOT support exclusion of ANY kind for anyone for ANY reason.  I have a gay daughter and I’m so very grateful for all the strides that have been made in our world to make it a safe place for her.  But I also want it to be a safe place for those who have a different political view than I may hold.

On Wednesday, I closed my Ravelry account.  It’s a small thing to them but it meant a whole lot to me.  I’ve lost a community and years of data and access to an incredible library.  But I had to act with integrity and with what is right.  And sometimes when you feel like you do not have a voice, your feet and your purchasing power become your voice. 

Thanks for listening.  For those who are hurting, you are not alone. Much love. ❤

Andi

26 thoughts on “Why I Quit Ravelry”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your heart Andi. I don’t know if I ever told you this but your podcast and blog were the first that opened my eyes to the amazing knitting/fiber community out there. Your generous spirit and talent made me want more out of this hobby that I had just dabbled in for years.
    I too am saddened by the events of late but have been reminded through all this that my life is not lived on or controlled by the internet. I still have the hobby I enjoy and have a group of people that I’ve met through this time that I’m honored to call friends.
    Looking forward to staying connected for years to come.
    Take care my friend,
    Grace

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Grace. You were one of my first knitting friends that I made. It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve been back to my blog where my online knitting journey started.

      Your words mean a lot. You are so right about life and the internet! Thanks so much for your compassion and friendship! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. They do not in fact have the right to censor speech. They are not a publisher. CNN is, MSNBC is, New York Times is. THEY have the editorial right – and responsibility – to curate the content on their sites, because that is their stated purpose for existing.

    Ravelry is not a publisher. Their platform is solely used for content creators to upload patterns and as a sales platform akin to Mastercard. They are hiding behind FCC article 206 which shields them from liability as a platform for content creators, yet acting like they are a publisher AKA NYT. They cannot have it both ways and I promise you that very soon they will be sorry they did this, because their immunity will be stripped, because they are blatantly violating article 206. Many of these sites are then going to get sued out of existence. And I will laugh and laugh. And donate money to every single GoFundMe for lawsuits.

    Since when did crafting become the exclusive right of leftists?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also you shouldn’t have deleted your account. That only gives them what they want. An echo chamber. I won’t. They’ll have to take the action to delete me. And then I win.

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      1. Actually it’s not. That’s where you’re wrong. On your blog you can censor. On a platform, unless it violates federal law, you cannot. You should really look into this more. I’ve been following a couple of lawsuits against Twitter for well over a year now. And Project Veritas has been doing some stellar undercover work recently as well. The reckoning is coming.

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    2. Thanks so much for the info. I am not at all familiar with the laws surrounding this type of censorship but I will be watching to see how it all plays out. (And I’ll definitely dig into all the links and key words left in this thread.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I find this decision very disappointing, Andi. It doesn’t make sense to me that your reasoning behind this choice is to stand up to bullying. That is also Ravelry’s intention. It seems like you should sympathize with their desire not to host the hatred that they were seeing from Trump supporters, if your concern truly is online bullying. To me there is no logical leap from supporting Trump to supporting white supremacy. I know that no one likes to be called out for such a thing, but you can’t endorse a white supremacist in the highest office in the land without endorsing and very literally empowering white supremacy. If that idea makes people uncomfortable or upset, that’s fine. It should. Racism does not become a respectable political opinion simply because the ruling party practices and espouses it. I suggest that anyone who feels oppressed because they can’t post their support for Trump on a knitting forum whose primary services they are still allowed to use, take a second to think about the children living in cages on the border and ask themselves if they are the ones being bullied and oppressed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree completely. The trolling that is taking place on Ravelry and elsewhere by Trump supporters is awful snd I stopped using the forums. Same reason I don’t use Twitter any longer. Ravelry is taking a positive stance. Your decision is yours and yet I won’t be leaving Ravelry because I agree that their site should not be a place for hatred and bullying.

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  4. I’m slowly adding my data to a excel spreadsheet. When I’m done I’ll be gone as well. I agree! The knitting community that helped me through the worst days of my grief is gone. Everyone is either being attacked or making strong opinionated statements. I believe in equal human rights but I refuse to jump on a bandwagon just because everyone else is. I treat everyone I come across with kindness and dignity and I feel no need to broadcast it to the world. Actions speak louder than words. As far as Instagram goes. I’ve made my profile private and cleaned house. I’m thinking of removing everyone that I don’t know in real life. I’m so tried of drama. I miss my happy place.

    Best wishes to you 🥰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so happy we connected all those years ago through our blogs, Missy! It’s been a crazy ride through the knitting internet world and now I find myself back where I started- here. I’m with you on limiting access by strangers to my online accounts. I’ve put most of my public social media on hold while I figure out if it’s worth staying. The drama is very tiresome. And I feel that is also unnecessary, although that is an unpopular opinion these days. 😛 Thanks for friending me on my personal Insta! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Good idea to clean house and make Instagram private. I am thinking along those lines too. I have unfollowed so many people already. I just can no longer deal with the hatred and politics that has nothing to do with knitting and crafting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wholeheartedly agree! Don’t get me wrong I am a big supporter of human and animal rights but I don’t want to see intolerance, hate & politics in every post. Actions speak louder than words and jumping on a band wagon to declare when you stand solves nothing!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am with you all the way. Specially on the politics. Keep those for political sites and places. I hope things calm down sometime soon, as it is a bit of a lot these days and can feel overwhelming.
        Hope you had a good weekend and happy crafting. xx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. So eloquent and thoughtful you’re musings. I was there during the first purge of Conservatives and it’s the same old song. We had a moderator whose personal information was posted and her children were threatened. They accused us of the very things they were doing. More recently I did not like the vilification of the designers and dyers with the whole “racism” thing. I had already stopped buying through Rav, I just sought out the designers on other venues. And now this? So I deleted my account and don’t regret it one bit. I knit before, during and will continue after Rav. Let the children play in their cesspool, it doesn’t bother me at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I signed up in 2011 and wasn’t even aware of the first purge until recently. My online interactions were largely through podcasts, Insta and blogs so I missed what was happening in the forums. There were some cliques and some “mean girls” in my circles but I was not prepared for what happened with the “reckoning with racism” nor the latest developments. It’s still shocking to me. But, I’m with you- life was good before Rav and it’ll be good after Rav. And who knows, this has definitely opened the door for a competitor. If I were a software developer, I’d be racing to fill the void!

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  6. I really can’t understand how Ravelry’s stance is hard to understand – if a President has links to white supremacy, it doesn’t have a place in a platform that wants to be all-inclusive. As paradoxical as excluding to include sounds, the fact is, you can’t allow hate speech to hurt people and call it a safe space for the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ community.

    Those of us who say we wish things went back to “the way they were” and “without the drama” are steeped in privilege. There are many knitters out there, on and off the internet, who are discriminated against simply because they have brown skin, or (like your daughter) love someone of the same sex. I get to turn the discomfort off because I am white, middle class, cis-gender and heterosexual. My black friends don’t get to do that, neither do my gay ones. Therefore, I need to help make their voices heard. Ravelry did that exactly, and only after Trump supporters rallied against the woman who reported a knitting pattern as racist, and got death threats in response.

    Ravelry hasn’t spoken out against conservative politics. They have simply spoken against one man in particular, who has repeatedly been linked to appalling behaviours such as claiming to grab women by their private parts, allowing children to live in cages on the border, responding to accusations of sexual harassment with “she’s not my type” (as in, she’s not tempting enough for me to rape), etc. etc. He’s also claimed there were very nice people on the side of white supremacists. Why is this being normalised? Trump is not a good man. I’m sure there are one or two qualities in the man, much like there were in historical figures like Pol Pot or Hitler – maybe they were excellent cooks, but that doesn’t excuse the racism, misogyny and destruction they caused in the world.

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts and your perspective.

      It’s not that I disagree with banning actual hate speech. But we definitely have a difference of opinion on what constitutes hate speech. Nor do I ever think that doxxing someone is okay. But let’s deal with those individuals.

      For me it really comes down to the sanctimonious censoring of others. A free society requires that people can freely debate the merits of any given proposal (or person.) There is so much lost when the free exchange of ideas is not allowed to take place- for both sides.

      I totally appreciate it’s coming from a place of love and compassion even if it is at the expense of compassion for other people (the censored.)

      Yes. There is a case to be made that Trump is a distasteful and dangerous man. But shutting down that conversation serves no one, in my opinion.

      Again, thanks for your reply. I do appreciate it! ❤

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks for replying back.

        Here’s the thing for me: hate speech doesn’t have to be present at that moment. If one feels emboldened by someone else’s stance and decides to speak out because of it, I think we can say the absentee’s presence is still felt. Trump emboldens supremacists and it has a ripple effect. Nigel Farage does the same in my country, too – we are not want for bad examples of this sort of behaviour (and they can be found on the far left, too. Again, not so much a question of sides but of extremes).

        I get where you’re coming from when you say there needs to be free debate, but not at the expense of the constantly undermined. In this particular case, the censored are for the most part white, privileged people, and the discomfort one feels over not being able to speak out certain opinions can be construed as white fragility. I didn’t even notice these things happening until BIPOC started speaking out, and then I finally got it (after a lot of discomfort, guilt, and such). I have to be willing to accept that the privileged need to think twice before speaking if it means those who haven’t had a proper voice get to feel safe to speak out from now on. Unfortunately some weren’t able to restrain themselves and it got out of hand.

        Anyway, here’s a great example of two people exchanging opinions without name calling, and without having to agree in the end. I’m taking what you’re saying into consideration, as I am sure you are my words, too. The internet should have more of this…

        Liked by 3 people

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