Why I “Left” Ravelry

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Guest post by my bride:

Short answer: Ravelry left me.

Slightly longer answer: Last week, Ravelry announced a new official policy banning all content in support of the current U.S. President (Donald Trump) and his administration, on the grounds that support for Trump = support for white supremacy. The Ravelry admins stated that this policy had been adapted from one used by a video game forum.

This policy apparently is being enforced, according to numerous comments responding to YouTube videos posted by knitters & crocheters announcing their withdrawal from Ravelry. Some individuals reported being suspended from Ravelry for 30 days as a result of fairly mild forum comments calling for moderation and even-handedness in honoring all sides in political issues, since President Trump was included as an example of a subject of political speech which should be tolerated. Another comment cited an entire Ravelry group of “Conservative Knitters” (not necessarily pro-Trump, but conservative in general) being “disappeared” from Ravelry, with all of that group’s forums and forum threads being removed.

The premise being cited as the rationale for excluding pro-Trump content on Ravelry is, of course, a gross mischaracterization and overgeneralization of Trump supporters. What seems especially unfair is the heavy-handed one-sidedness of the ban, as no other political speech or content is similarly censored on Ravelry. Anti-Trump content is still quite welcome, one example being a knitting pattern for an “F— Trump” hat (with the F-word spelled out in full as part of the colorwork to be done in the pattern).

One YouTuber announcing her withdrawal from Ravelry cited a non-political reason. She is a knitting pattern designer, and is very concerned that Ravelry is doing nothing to crack down on pattern piracy (the unethical collecting of what are supposed to be paid patterns in various Yahoo groups and then posting those patterns as free patterns on Ravelry). She feels (and I agree) that it would be a much wiser use of Ravelry’s resources to crack down on pattern piracy than to enact a policy banning content supportive of a politician the Ravelry admins do not like.

As for myself, I am far less political than Don is. I generally follow Don’s lead when it comes to politics, but I can usually get along with people with whom I disagree politically if we stick to subjects we share an interest in. As long as we can keep a discussion all about the yarn, I have been able to co-exist congenially both online and in-person with fellow crafters who I’d never see sitting in the next pew at church or waiting in line to fill out a Republican ballot on primary election days. I also have loved being able to create project pages for each crochet item I complete, and maintain a collection of all the crochet patterns I have found on Ravelry that I have either used or would like to use. And being able to look up information on yarns I’ve never heard of before has been most helpful, too.

However, although I have been able to deal with Ravelry adding an alternative-sexual-preference “rainbow pride” flag to their logo, and last year’s plethora of “pussy hat” project pages, from all the folks upset at Trump’s alleged skirt-chasing before he became President — “dealing with” generally meaning “skipping past quickly to get to what I really wanted to look at on Ravelry today” – I profoundly disagree with Ravelry’s singling out supporters of the Trump administration for banning.

Ideally, I would prefer to keep Ravelry totally apolitical, with all political discussion banned. Alternatively, I would be OK with political discussion being allowed, but moderated, with the goal being to “be excellent to each other.”

How much will I be giving up by deleting my Ravelry account, however? Ravelry has stated that people who are banned for supporting Trump will still have access to their data (which sounds like I should be able to download and save any paid patterns I’ve bought and any project pages I’ve created). I will be losing access to free patterns via Ravelry; however, in most cases that just means that I’ll have to do a little online sleuthing to find those patterns directly on a yarn company’s or crochet blogger’s website. (Plus, I have tons of crochet pattern books in the house, most of which I haven’t really used beyond browsing them yet.) I will miss yakking on the Ravelry forums; however, I hadn’t been doing nearly as much of that lately anyway, as I had stopped participating in yarn swaps about 1 ½ years ago (no room to store more yarn or time to make handmade gifts for swap partners). I have joined a few yarn & crochet-related Facebook groups, and follow several crochet and yarn-themed YouTube channels, so I still get some social interaction that way. And if I really want fancy yarn (although I don’t use it that often), I can support a yarn-themed Kickstarter project (like the one for yak, camel and cashmere yarn from Mongolia I’m currently backing).

So . . . so long, Ravelry! It’s been good to know you, and if in the future you either walk back that ban on support of the Trump administration or just eliminate all politics from Ravelry, I might come back, but for now, I just don’t feel welcome with you any more.

(Update: If any readers are Ravelry users who would also like to delete their accounts, here are instructions on how to do so.  You’ll want to scroll down to paragraph 5, “Editing and Deleting Your Account Information”)

Update:

  1.  Apparently, although being banned is not supposed to delete one’s data on Ravelry, deleting one’s account does; there is a warning message to that effect when one goes through the delete process.
  2.   Some alternative groups for Ravelry refugees would include Knitting Paradise, AllFreeCrochet.com, AllFreeKnitting.com, and a newly-created group, ourunraveled.com, which I have just joined.

 

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41 Comments

  1. My wife personally knows 2 more that have left Ravelry also, not only for its ban on Trump support but for turning a bunch benign knitters into another imaginary, oh so important, self-righteous, social warriors group wielding the almighty knitting needle to change the world!

    This is how intellectual incest works. Stick with people that all think the same and repeat all the same narrative and don’t listen or discuss ideas with people who hold different views. After a while, human reasoning becomes non-existent, opinion becomes fact and truth becomes what ever they want.

  2. I realize that as a “guy” I don’t “get” lots of things, especially on a “craft” site. But EXACTLY what is the proof that President Trump is a white supremacist. Yes, he is quite obviously caucasian, but then…
    Chapter & verse would be nice. Several examples, please.

  3. I immediately deleted my Ravelry account the first day that travesty link appeared on Drudge. A statement on their website indicated that they had no interest in why I was deleting it so I did not have the satisfaction of telling them that I would pray for their poor souls.

  4. I am in the process of leaving Ravelry too, I have 237 projects up there. My plan so far is to continue taking screenshots of both my project page and each individual detail page for each item. I am going to keep a knitting log now in a notebook with each project, and maybe print a picture for each. It sure helps when you try to knit the item again, to be able to look back at what you have used for needles and yarn etc. For those of us with ADD it’s a great way to make sure you finish one thing before you start another. I’m finding this rather freeing actually. I also have a large three ring binder for patterns that I have purchased or printed.

  5. Apparently, although being banned is not supposed to delete one’s data on Ravelry, deleting one’s account does; there is a warning message to that effect when one goes through the delete process.

    That sound legally actionable…

  6. I deleted my ravelry account the first day.
    I suggest to them that they adopt a new slogan:
    Knitters Against Free Speech. Or Crocheters or Fiber Artists– whatever–Against Free Speech.
    Thanks for the info on the other sites. I’ll check’em out.

  7. Crochetville.com is another group to consider joining. Dont let the name fool you, we have knitters as well! Come on over and be welcomed.
    Political discussions are not allowed other than “hey, its election day get to the polls and support your candidate whomever it is!”

  8. It looks like I must have signed up with Crochetville.com some time ago, but have been inactive so long I’ve forgotten my password. Checking it out again!

  9. I deleted my ravelry account, which I’d had for over years, as soon as I read the article. Thank you for posting alternatives

  10. As it looks more and more like a Trump win in 2020, with a large percentage of the black vote, they’ll be more of this. Screaming and wailing..
    Exorcisms are like that.

  11. I left Ravelry the day they posted the ban. I extracted my data and deleted my account immediately. I was a R member since 2007, so needless to say, I had a ton of content saved there. It’s a real shame they let their vitriol cause such a division.
    There’s a Walk away from Ravelry FB page, with nearly 1,400 members so far, and three! new forum sites in the works right now.
    ourunraveled.com
    openravel.com
    fiberocity.com

  12. I’ve been a member of Ravelry since 2008. I’ve been downloading, deleting, and copying everything I’ve accumulated there, including over 450 knitting projects. Thank heavens I’ve been keeping knitting journals since before this site even existed. Got along without ya before I met ya. Gonna get along without ya now. My exit date is set for July 4th. Independence Day!!!

  13. It is so disheartening they they decided to refer to roughly 1/2 of their members as white supremacists. I designed patterns that supported out president, the country and God. All have been removed and I was also removed from tbe platform before this policy went into effect. They believe that people can’t live without them. I believe this will be a larger blow than they anticipated.

  14. You may not be interested in the gleichschaltung, but the gleichschaltung is interested in you. The Democratic Party seems to have turned into a collecting pool of this nation’s damaged individuals. And there’s a critical mass for their inventory. The restauranter (prompted by her staff) in Lexington, Va. who insisted that a party of about eight leave the establishment because Sarah Huckabee Sanders was with them is still in business and the proprietor was given space in the WaPoo to defend this sort of petty harassment. Meanwhile, the lawyer left continues to harass small tradesmen who don’t take commissions to make cakes for drama queens. They are proceeding under the assumption that no one’s going to make them suffer for politicizing every human interaction, because, to date, no one has.

  15. It is disingenuous, to put it most politely, and down right offensive, to put it more directly, for the poster to refer to Don “Trump’s alleged skirt-chasing” problem. No. That’s trying to minimize and make “cute” the fact that he’s an admitted, recorded, and further accused aggressive sexual predator. He’s bragged about his sexual aggressive acts, several time and recently said that he wouldn’t have raped a woman not because rape is wrong, but because she wasn’t good looking enough for his appetite. Twenty-two public accusers and counting, plus an affair with a porn star while his latest wife was nursing their infant son.

    But, it’s just “skirt-chasing”, right! And, it’s just alleged, even if he’s the one making the allegations at times. Sounds harmless, enough, doesn’t it? Shame on you for trying that, regardless of any of your other ideas about what Ravelry is, means, should be, etc. On the other hand, I should have seen that something like that was coming from a woman who posts beneath her husband’s name (and, permission, really) and allows him to refer to her as “my bride”. Note: this misogynistic stuff is an example of why the other membership that is dwindling is that of the Catholic Church, and not just in the USA.

  16. And a happy Fourth of July to you, too! Accusations do not equal proof, and neither do they equal a criminal conviction. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a legal principle which applies to all Americans, not just ones we like or agree with. Similar accusations have been made against Democrat presidents in the past (Clinton immediately springs to mind), and I certainly don’t recall there being such widespread vitriol directed against him by the same people who loathe President Trump nowadays.
    As to me contributing a guest post on my husband’s blog, I don’t have a blog of my own, and Don freely admits that I’m far more familiar with Ravelry than he is, so when Ravelry’s ban on support of President Trump and the Trump administration became public news, he requested that I contribute a guest post with my commentary on the subject.
    Those who think the Church is misogynistic aren’t up on their Church history. Popular veneration of the Virgin Mary as the mother of Jesus was a major influence on the code of chivalry in the Middle Ages. Religious orders for women have given Catholic women an alternative to marriage through the centuries which their Protestant sisters have lacked, and a fulfilling way of using one’s talents for scholarship, the arts, nursing or education. And the Church’s respect for all human life and the dignity of every human being has long given an example of a better way than non-Christian cultures’ tossing unwanted children in the nearest river on on the nearest hilltop to be devoured by beasts, or leaving tribal elders too weak or sickly for the next migration abandoned in the old camp to starve.
    Since you obviously don’t agree at all with the original post, you’ll probably be much happier chatting with like-minded individuals on a different blog. Or if you enjoy knitting or crocheting, feel free to join Ravelry yourself! If and when they’re ready to keep discussions all about the yarn again, I’ll probably rejoin Ravelry at that point — and be happily apolitical there.

  17. Twenty-two public accusers and counting, plus an affair with a porn star while his latest wife was nursing their infant son.

    A four digit population of women made phone calls to the FBI claiming to have been molested by Brett Kavanaugh. There’s a reason people are skeptical of these pile-ons, particularly during election campaigns. The most recent accuser hardly bothers to conceal her nucking-futz qualities.

    On the other hand, I should have seen that something like that was coming from a woman who posts beneath her husband’s name (and, permission, really) and allows him to refer to her as “my bride”. Note: this misogynistic stuff

    It’s a pity no one ever refers to you with a term of endearment, nor that your disinclined to extend ordinary courtesies to others. Your life sucks. Random strangers are not at fault. Deal, woman.

  18. and recently said that he wouldn’t have raped a woman not because rape is wrong, but because she wasn’t good looking enough for his appetite

    Chica, if someone is accusing you of rape, they already demonstrated that they’re not going to accept “no, because that would be wrong” as an answer.

    The response to an obvious and openly offensive lie is an obvious and open offense.

    I know that recognition pisses off a lot of the folks who’ve gotten ahead by making obvious and nasty accusations with the assumption that folks are going to struggle to treat them as worthy of serious consideration, but there you are.

  19. On the other hand, I should have seen that something like that was coming from a woman who posts beneath her husband’s name (and, permission, really) and allows him to refer to her as “my bride”.

    Le gasp!

    A lady, married to a gentleman, uses his log-in, makes it clear to others that it is she, not him, and allows him to accurately describe her!

    TO THE FAINTING COUCH!

  20. Vicky…you don’t like what she said? Don’t read it. You disagree? You have the right to ignore this blog and behave as if it doesn’t exist. Oh yes, you have the right to express your opinion but I have the right to disagree with it whether you like it or not, now put your pussy hat on, grab some crayons and playdoe, crawl to a corner and curl up in a fetal position and suck your thumb. Feel empowered yet? Oh….while I’m at it…what Trump is accused of….Clinton did it and Hillary defended him as she trashed the women.

  21. Thank you to the writer of this article for a level headed approach to this issue. I too found the hat that you mentioned and was saddened to see that the Ravelry administrative team seemed to be interested in blocking one type of hate while allowing other forms of hate.

  22. I cannot agree more. If a website, like Ravelry, that is supposed to be a public platform, is discriminating and causing division among fiber artists based on their political beliefs or choices then they are NOT being inclusive at all. I had my ravelry account since 2008 and I just proudly closed it. I didn’t actively start using until the past 3-4 years and if I was able to do fine without it before then I can do fine without it now. It was convenient, but not indispensable. I did not close it in support of Trump or his administration, but in support of the real American values such as our First Amendment right.

    As far Trump’s personal character or values, only God can judge someone’s heart and someone’s personal actions. As citizens of the USA we should judge his presidency and support him while in office, he is your president after all. If voted based on personal values/character/actions then no one would be fit to be a President. We vote for who can get the job done as leader of our country. Same thing everyone gets hired at most job for.

    Everyone should be and feel welcome in the knitting and fiber community as long as respect remains pivotal.
    As a side note, I suggest http://www.lovecrafts.com for both yarns and patterns. They also have the love knitting and love crochet app, not sure if both apps will be combined in the near future.

  23. fiberocity.com is also an excellent new alternative that is getting up and running fast with the use of GoFundMe contributions. It’s totally free to join, though, and feels like a fun community

  24. I agree that Ravelry made a big mistake. Can you imagine the uproar if they banned supporting Hillary? If you think there’s nothing wrong with her do some research and I don’t mean CNN (Clinton News Network) Anyways, I want nothing to do with them and like minded people. They are being rude, insulting and just plain nasty. Good riddance!

  25. I just reported the user with the f-Trump patterns. Ravelry’s Terms of Use prohibit the uploading of “vulgar” and “obscene” patterns (item 5a in Terms of Use, http: // www. ravelry.com/about/terms.

  26. I’m not even a huge Trump supporter but I deleted Ravelry as soon as I saw their announcement that day. “Craftivism”, makers, and hobbyists have coexisted peacefully for numerous decades. For the most part, we all stayed in our lanes and focused on our own fiber arts goals. Anyone who uses the “knitting has always been political” as a Ravelry defense slogan is a moron who lacks original thought. The site just wanted it’s 15 minutes of woke internet clout right at the beginning of election season. And they’re riding on the backs of people of color to get it. Any other normal forum would have dealt with individual issues of inappropriate posts instead of alienating and blanket labeling millions of fiber arts enthusiasts as white supremacists. And telling us we need to check our privilege because we dislike R’s decision. The hilarity is that I’m not even white. I’m a 1st generation immigrant woman from Mexico. I worked my butt off and paid a small fortune for my “privilege”.

    They can enjoy their sinking ship. A lot of us were longtime members and substantial financial supporters of Ravelry and it’s pattern makers. They can have fun making up that loss of followers and revenue.

  27. Well embarrassingly for me it turns out there’s a “mature” category on Ravelry, and I think those patterns are labelled as such (they each have a mature tag on them, if that’s what’s meant). So while I don’t like patterns with “f***” in them – these aren’t the only ones – apparently it’s allowed if it’s categorized properly. I edited my report message to that effect.

  28. Not sure what happened – I posted again to say that I found an Editing Style Guide which apparently says things like those hats are allowed if they’re categorized as “mature,” which I think they are – but instead of my comment appearing on screen labelled “pending moderation,” as the first one did, it disappeared. Am trying again as a tie-breaker lol. (If both of them are indeed in a moderation queue, certainly don’t post both of them!)

  29. I knew things at Ravelry we’re not good after being subjected to the glory of pussy hats, when I read about the ban, I just felt sick. It was proof positive that it is okay to call a good chunk of your members “deplorables.” I tried to enjoy that patterns but not the interaction but at some point you have to admit it’s not worth it. My son pointed out it’s a private website and they can make the rules and they were probably getting trump trolls. I couldn’t convince him that I’d never seen anything like that. I had seen people ask for moderation or at least a way to stop seeing offensive patterns heralded. So Ravelry lost me last night. I know they’d say good riddance. Another level of civility has been breeches. I hope it will be worth it.

  30. I left too. I’ve been a member since 2010. The whole pussy hat thing was about as revolting as it can get (apart from the fact that they all looked ridiculous wearing them) but banning conservatives was too much.
    Of course the real reason has nothing to do with knitting and everything to do with shutting down pro-Trump discussions on the Internet in the run up to the next election.

  31. I was a member since 2007. I downloaded all of the patterns in my library, deleted all of my projects & pictures & went through my queue to make sure I bookmarked all the links I needed & POOF, I was gone. Ridiculous move by Ravelry. PS: I hope all of the big copyright holders nail them. I wrote to them about that & got a reply about “Fair Use”. I doubt Disney, Marvel, Warner Bros, etc give rat’s patootie about their fair use BS. There’s another story for you. I hope you run with it.

  32. I left too, way too much that I don’t agree with. The hats and now the Trump ban – I just gained time back to my day for my own creativity!! I didn’t even bother downloading anything, I have enough to keep me busy!

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