Friday, June 22, 2012

Fanning the Olympic Flame

Everyone on Ravelry (and probably everyone on the internet by now) is aware that this happened

The US Olympic Committee doesn't want Ravelry to use the name "Ravelympics" for the organised knit-a-long to be held during the Olympics, where people challenge themselves to start a project during the opening ceremony and finish it during the closing ceremony.

Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of opinions about this, the USOC, the wording of their letter and the subsequent apology by the USOC over the wording of their letter. I've watched the whole thing at an amused distance as it spread across Ravelry, Twitter, Facebook, and then on to a number of different blogs and news sites.

I felt that rather than leap in and throw my opinion down in the heat of the moment with everyone else's, I was going to sit back and think about things first. There are a lot of things going on here, and lots of different issues to consider. Now I've thought about it, I'm going to lay it all out for anyone who cares.

Firstly, I've never really seen the point of the Ravelympics. I'm not a sports fan, and I've never seen the point of using a sporting event to motivate me to knit something (I feel pretty much the same way about the Tour-de-Fleece and spinning). If you want to challenge yourself to knit something difficult in two weeks, go for it. Why is it necessary to tie it in with something like the Olympics? But, a lot of people really love it and get a lot of out of it. Whatever floats your boat. Having fun is never a bad thing.

As for the USOC, the main intent of their letter appears to be protecting their trademark. This is a financial issue for them, and a pretty serious one. If you go to their website, you can read their financial reports . In their financial reports is the functions and goals of the organisation:

"the USOC is responsible for the training, entering and funding of U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, while serving as a steward of the Olympic Movement throughout the country.

In addition to its international Games responsibilities and its work to advance the Olympic Movement, the USOC aids America’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes through their National Governing Bodies, providing financial support and jointly working to develop customized, creative and impactful athlete-support and coaching-education programs.

The USOC also supports U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes on and off the field of play through programming such as direct athlete funding, health insurance, tuition grants, media and marketing opportunities, career services and performance-based monetary rewards. In addition, the Olympic Training Center facilities provide athletes with performance services, including sports medicine; strength and conditioning; psychology, physiology and nutrition assistance; and performance technology."

Nobody should be surprised that all of these activities cost money. Where does that money come from? According to their financial report for 2010 (the most recent published) -

The "USOC marks rights income" and the "Licensing royalty income" is the money they earn from company's sponsorship, allowing them to use the Olympic name and logo on their products, and selling Olympic-related merchandise. As you can see, it forms a reasonable portion of their overall revenue, and this is where Ravelry has attracted the attention of the USOC lawyers. USOC is enforcing their trademark rights, and they're doing so because they need those rights to earn money. Money that is then used for their programs. I have no problem with them doing this.

I think it's also worth pointing out that there's no revenue received from government grants, and their revenue from contributions (ie donations) are much lower than the combined revenue from broadcast rights, USOC marks rights and licensing royalty. Anyone complaining about the over-commercialization of the Olympic Games might want to think about that for a few minutes.

Let's switch to the letter itself, which is what has caused most of the outrage in the knitting community. It has some choice words in it, that made me roll my eyes and shout REALLY?? Especially this charming bit:

"We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work."

Ouch. The idea that anyone's efforts are denigrated because I knit seems ridiculous. Knitters are watching Olympic athletes striving to win gold, and they're inspired to push themselves in knitting. How is that denigrating? The USOC didn't do themselves any favors here.

The inevitable outcry led to an apology that had a line in it that made things worse:

"To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games."

First they insult knitters, then they want to accept our handknits? Yeah, right. (Although, I think this statement was a hamfisted attempt at showing they appreciated knitterly support).

Finally, I want to talk about something that makes me really sad and uncomfortable. How some people have reacted to all of this. The thread where Casey shared the USOC letter spiralled out of control pretty quickly. There was the standard wailing and gnashing of teeth, and exclamations of how insulted everyone felt. It got pretty hysterical, and gave me a few LOLs. But then people started forming what was little more than an angry mob waving pitchforks. That mob spread their vitriol via phone calls, email, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc etc.  

Stay classy, knitters. That's where you lost me. It's really not that hard to take the high road, is it?

There's this attitude I've seen again and again on Ravelry. Any time a knitter feels they've been insulted, or their knitting has been insulted, they go a bit batshit. Someone says knitting is for grannys, says it's not just for grannys anymore, asks for something handknit, doesn't fawn over a handknit gift enough, points out you can buy socks at Walmart, thinks wool is itchy, thinks handknits are ugly, doesn't think you should knit in class/church/a theater, or just plain doesn't think knitting is All That, and knitters start waving their pointy sticks around.

Knitting is just a hobby. It's a hobby I enjoy, but I don't expect everyone else on the planet to like it as much as I do. If we flip our shit everytime someone says anything slightly negative about knitting, we'll never have time for anything else. If knitters want to promote knitting in a positive way, screeching at everyone about it isn't the way to do it. You don't look like you're defending your noble craft from the big, bad, bullies. You just look unhinged. I figure if anyone doesn't like knitting, it's their loss not mine.

PS Extra-special douche-bag points to the good old Bunkerettes, who crawled out of whatever hole they were hiding in to bitch about the 3-year-old drama no one else cares about anymore on the Hot Air article comments. It's good to know Ravelry is still living rent-free in your brains, ladies.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

We need to talk about Edeyn

So, there's this person on Ravelry called Edeyn. She posts a lot of "poor me, I'm so hard done by, I have so many troubles" type posts. They always seem to attract some sympathy, but also a small number of disagrees, and I was never too sure why.

Until a few days ago, when a little incident happened in a thread. It seemed to go unnoticed for a while, and then everything happened so quickly it was hard to keep up. It started in this thread 

Unfortunately, a lot of it has been deleted now, so I've had to reconstruct a lot of it with a little help from my friends and their screenshots.

Firstly, this happened:

To get the relevant back story, you'll need to click on this link  and read through a couple of links. You'll get the idea pretty quickly. Basically, Edeyn posed as a transkid called "Raychel Roo" and then faked her own horrible murder, to the great distress of the trans community. I'm not a part of this community, but the feeling I get from reading through some of the stuff is that she upset a lot of people with her antics. She eventually owned up, and blamed her actions on having multiple personality disorder.

Now she's on Ravelry, still seeking sympathy and attention, and really pissing off the people who know her backstory. Which lead to the above calling out.

This is where the fun REALLY began. Edeyn called in a friend/sockpuppet/third personality to defend her. A "MsDB", who created a profile hours after Edeyn was called out and headed straight for Wingnut Watch.

Here she is:

Apparently "MsDB" was so keen to defend Edeyn, she sent the Wingnut Watch mod shown above a barrage of messages containing her phone number, facebook page, links to her blog etc all to "prove" that she's a real person, demanding that said mod call her, and still defending Edeyn.  At this point the mod wussed out and deleted the lot (won't somebody think of the rubbernecking potential?)

For anyone who's interested, I was provided the following links:

MsDB's Facebook page

Her blog

Enjoy as you see fit.

So what should the people of Ravelry do about a person who has serious problems, and will unleash the crazy whenever anyone who calls her out? She obviously needs help, but no one on Ravelry can (or should) be the ones to provide that to her. She clearly revels in getting attention and causing dramas, and is happy to do or say anything to ramp it up.

I say, don't give her what she wants. She wants attention? Don't give it to her. She wants drama? Deny her the fun. Ravelry has the tools to put her on ignore. If we starve of her of what she wants, maybe she'll go away.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The neverending quest for drama

I spent a bit of time recently looking at the stats for my blog. If you have Google Analytics set up, you can learn a surprising amount of information about your readers: what city they're in, what browser/OS/portable device they use, what ISP they use, what page they followed a link on to get here, and what search term they used to find your blog.

My readers seem to be mostly people on the hunt for dramas.

By far the most common search term that finds my blog is Lime and Violet. There are heaps of other variations on the same theme scattered all through the other 753 search terms that have been used. People REALLY want to know what happened to them. If you want to get a lot of attention on the internet, throw a massive hissy fit and then flounce off never to be seen again. The only way they could have got themselves more attention would have been by faking their own deaths.

The next most common search term that finds my blog is the Yarn Harlot, and her stalker. The Yarn Harlot explains herself exactly what happened there on her blog, but I guess people still can't resist find the stalker for themselves (it's not hard. I did it myself in seven seconds, and I'm not internet supersleuth).

One thing that did make me a little sad is that I discovered a couple of search terms along the lines of "What happened to the Yarn Harlot's family" or "Yarn Harlot's bad year". I know she mentioned having a rough time family-wise recently, but I didn't realise people were trying to dig up what happened. If she had wanted us to know what happened, she would have shared it. It's one thing to search for people showing their asses on the internet, but it's a whole other thing to pry into someone's personal life.

Those are the two biggest knitting-community wide dramas not including any yarn dyer who faked her death. I never bothered writing about Mystical Creations Yarn or MommaMonkey, so I don't know if people are still hunting for them. I guess I will soon ;)

The other search terms are mostly Ravelry-related dramas.  "Ravelry Rubberneckers", "Ravelry Bunker", "Ravelry Banned" are all common terms. There also seem to be a few people trying to figure out if you can tell who's clicking the disagree button (here's a hint: you can't). I guess we all have an impulse to take Ravelry-related dramas off Ravelry to vent. Sometimes it's just easier to say what you want somewhere else, isn't it?

My favorite search terms are the really odd ones:

I have NO IDEA what this means! I hope whoever you are, you found what you were looking for. 

These two really made me LOL: 

I think I might change my online name to this: 

Finally, I know you're all waiting for me to write about this, so here it is. About a week ago this happened  (inmyhands has edited her OP - it used to be a link to my blog). I realised I'd been "outed" when there was a sudden spike in visitors, and I gained about 10 new followers on Twitter.  She claimed that she was tracking people who followed the link, but I'm not sure how she could do that, apart from noticing who started following me on Twitter. I'm guessing she realised she was just giving me free advertising, which is why she took the link down.

A week later, the tiny amount of dust that was kicked up was settled and all I can say is "meh". The worst I endured was having a few people sit in their safe little echo chamber and essentially call me a doodyhead. I have not received any complaints, negative emails or requests to remove my blog from either TPTB at Ravelry or Blogger.  If the Freedom Fighters of America Group on Ravelry is any indication of the intelligence of the Republican Party, they are well and truly fucked.

Monday, April 2, 2012

This is an official PSA

For anyone who hasn't figured it out yet, this blog is not hosted on Ravelry. That is the entire fucking point of its existence.

What does that mean? That it's not subject to the terms of use of Ravelry. They're very good terms of use, and when I'm on Ravelry, I comply with them.

Writing my opinion on the internet is not a crime. We all love free speech, don't we?

Because this blog post isn't very long, I'll post a picture that sums up how I feel.

I'll write better blog posts in the future. Promise.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A thing I learned from lurking on crazy groups...

They think shooting people (and fat shaming) is funny:

They also think shooting politicians is a perfectly reasonable reaction to not agreeing with their policies:

And.... they like to defend war criminals:

Original links if you want to see for yourself (unless they finally wake up to themselves and delete them)

Shooting fat people for fun

Thinly veiled threats are a valid form of political commentary

The Lord's Resistance Army and American conservatives are totally BFFs

And they wonder why their little debate group went down in flames after about 5 minutes!