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Knitting and politics

March 12, 2009

A would-be PhD student emailed me recently. He was interested in how the internet can connect people with politics. “Did you know,” he wrote, “more people visit knitting websites than politics websites!”.

This was clearly appalling. Silly knitting fans, he seemed to imply, wasting their time on that nonsense when they could be reading about politics!

His remark didn’t really work on me, though, since my wife recently joined an *amazing* social network site called Ravelry, for people who knit and crochet. (Knitting is cool nowadays, as you surely know).

You can read about it in this Wikipedia article, and it looks like this:


As well as being able to make friends, join groups, etc, as on all social network sites, you have Projects you are working on, an inventory of materials in Stash, a Notebook, and several other features.

I was really impressed by this lovely site. Rather than saying ‘Why can’t the world stop knitting and pay attention to politics?’, then, I would suggest that a better question is: ‘Why can’t politics be more like knitting?’

Or more specifically, why can’t politics sites be more like this knitting site. A political Ravelry? I think it could work. People could post their interests, but more importantly, could have everyday Projects they are working on, which might be anything from formal protests, to promoting wind turbines, to planting some daffodils in their street. They’d be able to post pictures of the results (as Ravelry users do), and be inspired to innovate and collaborate.

It’s a thought, anyway. There’s no point condemning the knitters — we should try to learn from the online communities that actually work and get people engaged!

121 Comments leave one →
  1. Lucy Johnson permalink
    March 12, 2009 10:43 pm

    That certainly is an interesting thought as I am just about to launch myself into my dissertation on the self same…

  2. March 13, 2009 9:47 am

    David, this is very good thinking.

    We can learn from sites that work well like this, but also I think knitting, and lots of other interests and enthusiasms, while often trivialised, are very important too.

    Lots of councils try *hard* to engage people in politics… but I also think they have some responsibility to help citizens become more social, more connected…. help people nurture social capital and friendship.

    Planting daffs should be just as important to councils as voting or dealing with complaints.

    Perhaps is could be called Social Politics?

  3. March 13, 2009 10:29 am

    I wonder if young people do not go into political sites because the content is somewhat intimidating and seems far away from our everyday life. I came across this site for the 2008 U.S presidential campaign. I thought it was really well done.

    You vote and state your opinion on certain issues and then it tells you which politicians share similar views to you. Also, each candidate has a page where you can watch videos of them speaking on whatever issue you pick from the list! …wonder if there is a British equivalent?

  4. March 13, 2009 7:07 pm

    I’m no expert but I’m told ‘stitch and bitch’ is something of a phenomenon (

    ‘Why can’t politics sites be more like knitting’ is a question I want answered too! I was part of a couple of workshops today on the recent ‘digital britain’ report, and one of the primary complaints was there was all this emphasis on ‘content’ whereas the evidence seems to suggest that all people are generally trying to find online are other likeminded people. They might congregate around some content – like knitting patterns possibly – but really it’s all about the chat. Politics I fear, like most things, has become too obscure for people to engage.

    Check out as an alternative – perhaps your wife can set up a knitting fringe group.

    Just thinking aloud….

    PS. Was he accepted to do a PhD by the way, and is he likely to be reading this blog?

  5. Anastasia permalink
    March 13, 2009 8:28 pm

    You can also check – it is the networking platform of the European Social Forum. So far it has worked well mainly for the people who organize the ESF, even though any registered user can launch their own project (provided that it agrees with the Charter of Principles of the World Social Forum). You have your own profile, you can upload photos, blog, have a project email list and a wiki.

  6. March 14, 2009 11:23 am

    The point for me is more about the fact that the internet can facilitate communities of like-minded people regardless of geographical and other such boundaries. Whether it be a knitting community or a politcal one, to me this can only be a positive thing.

    I would however really like to see a ‘political Ravelry.’ Being a 19 year old UK student, I am one of the people the government is really trying to engage with but doesn’t really know how, I think this would be a great way.

  7. julia defferary permalink
    March 14, 2009 12:10 pm

    Hi – I’m answering this because I’m trying to work out this twitter thing and got your link on facebook. Knitting, sewing, daffodils… all hugely political.

    I think the political ravelry is what a lot of burnt out political activists are doing. I think it’s a good idea. I think its a good idea, because formalised politics are full of such neurotic people who are so clearly working towards their own agendas. I teach… I hope that might achieve something.I’m not sure it does anymore, since FE has become hijacked to such a degree by the government. I’ve lost all faith in big politics, although it does things. It does things but the change is all recuperated.

    Knitting and planting things is important because it reminds us that it is only when we do something material that we see an outcome. The pleasure of making something for the sake of it even feels subversive in this climate.

  8. corinna permalink
    March 14, 2009 12:41 pm

    well that’s just a fabulous idea and one that would be far more engaging and accessible than a load of words is. How often do we burn out eyes out reading long long posts about something or other really important? And action has a very different activism stimulus than words. Small actions lead to bigger etc.

    It may be too obvious to mention but the uptake of knitting in recent years has, in some examples, brought politics and knitting overtly together in that there are feminist knitting bees and discussions, debates and no doubt countless dissertations and theses about craft, community, creativity and empowerment…

  9. March 14, 2009 2:57 pm

    Knitting web groups often are quite political as well. Knitting for disaster victims, helping to create protest or public art, etc.

    Knitters are able to do other things as well as knitting – so talking about politics, the environment, (in my case listening to the Today prog or Question Tine).

    Knitting websites and Stitch and Bitch groups are inclusive – about helping and sharing – something the has been lost from some political “groups”. May be we need “Stitch and change the world” groups.

  10. March 14, 2009 10:06 pm

    Speaking as a knitter in my very warm recently knitted Icelandic, I’m more of a silent knitter myself – not big on the sharing of knitting tips – I tend to sound off more about politics. I’m not absolutely sure which is more useful.

  11. March 16, 2009 4:28 pm

    Firstly, for whatever odd reason, it’s always been knitters who have led the way in terms of the use of new media by (a) women and (b) people talking about something other than computers or sex. Listservs, blogs, podcasting, and now the social-networking wonder that is ravelry. I was interviewed by Wired about this recently – I’m not sure what else the journalist came up with, I think she was aiming for spring/summer.

    I would like to nod at the previous comments on the number of political knitting groups – from awareness or fund-raising via knitting communities (e.g. iknit a river petition for wateraid) to people using knitting as a means to draw attention to handicraft movements and/ or work that goes into the objects we wear.

    That said, one of the things a lot of people noticed with the advent of ravelry was that not all knitters share the same politics, and there were the odd drama between the liberal feminist greenie academic end of the community and christian military wives. As the corpus of online knitters increased, knit blogs had developed into their own small communities (almost genres) but ravelry seemed to bring the community together again, and we all re-noticed our differences. I imagine the sense of difference would be a lot more dominant in a political ravelry.

    My personal view on ravelry is that it works so well not only because knitters are a huge, generous, community-based and obsessive market, but also because it is so well tailored to the specifics of knitting. So, a political ravelry wouldn’t work – the point is to invent something for the specific context. We should also remember than the identity of a knitter is very different from someone with an interest in politics, and though I think ravelry can help foster a love of knitting, it won’t inspire it.

    I think one of the reasons why knitting takes to social networking is because the craft is about sharing pattens – it is, at its heart, reproductive. People knit to make ‘one-off’s but they do usually do so from patterns (or at least forumlas) and more often than not, with mass-produced yarns. I use ravelry to see how others have interpreted/ customised patterns, but the central object of a singular reproducable patten is still there – and I don’t think it is as easy to say the same about politics.

  12. Lucy Johnson permalink
    March 16, 2009 8:11 pm

    My gut instinct is that politics COULD be more like knitting. I mean why not? Loads of really interesting stuff about gender, class, identity here. I think a knitter might well have an interest in politics, or a politician an interest in knitting. I mean does politics have to be this masculine authoritative hectoring kind of thing we see on the TV? Or could it be reinvented as a softer more intertwined kind of thing….I am fed up of this silly combative politics we have have. I know it has served us up to a point, but it is limited in so many ways.

  13. March 17, 2009 1:11 pm

    Ravelry is *such* a great name for a website.

    Nomenclature appreciation aside, for me it’s about love. People love knitting. People don’t love politics. Actually some people do and I’d prefer it if they didn’t all come round for lunch at mine every Sunday.

    Part of me is glad that governmental incursions into the social web have been relatively clumsy to date – because there will come a point where the popular literacy of this stuff will grow and the need for innovation will be so great that new forms of civil practice are an inevitability. Thankfully that point is next Tuesday just after Neighbours.

    I’d be wary of calling it government however since the problem we’re in now is that a top-down post-Athenian representative democratic model is being asked to engage with the realm of highly empowered individuals – these are different paradigms. So it’s going to be a mess but it’ll be a glorious mess and out of that will be forged a new language where participation will be such an integral part of life that it will be a new human right. Digitally enabled of course.

    For some good chat on this I’d recommend checking out the Us Now archives, especially the pieces with Ed Milliband and George Osborne near the bottom:

  14. March 17, 2009 4:32 pm

    Ravelry is a great resource for knitters, crocheters, and spinners alike, Casey,is a coding genius and made a wonderful resource, however, it is not all rainbows and unicorns within the walls of Ravelry.
    They instilled groups for those with like minds and few rules to regulate the types of groups. Therein lies the problem. Political groups of all types formed and thus the trolling began.
    One group I was in became the center of such trolling that remarks made by nongroup members were deleted arbitrarily. Just to try to protect the members. It was summarily shut down around a month or so ago due to the fact it was “too much trouble” for the owners to handle all the complaints etc stemming from trolls not being able to harass members of this groups. It getting so bad some members were followed to any group they were in and harassed or worse, followed offsite to their blogs.
    In fact there are groups solely for the purpose of “rubbernecking” thread, projects and any types of drama.
    So, the group was shut down and it’s members, trying to keep a low profile and lick their wounds, formed an off-site forum. All was fine other than the remaining drama on Ravelry, which was sometimes discussed on this other off-site forum, with occasional links to offending posts on Ravelry to which some members would go (and still being members of Ravelry would read).
    Last weekend, almost all the members of the offsite group were banned, most (myself included) not even knowing they were banned as we just got 403 forbidden messages and not the suspended notice on the page others got.
    We still have not been told why. However those still in Ravelry have told us they posted that we were trying to coordinate a denial of service attack on Ravelry so we have been “suspended” we’ve all been in contact with their legal dept but have not had any resolution (most no answer to inquiries even).
    The ban trapped some people who were not even involved in the outside group and are just as clueless as to what is going on. Some business people, who have items for sale on Ravelry, paid advertisements etc were also banned.
    We have been dragged through the mud on Ravelry and off being automatically, charged, tried, and convicted without our knowledge.
    Anyway, my point is (outside the obvious of do not miss knitting with politics please), is when creating social media remember the social aspect and human nature, plan for trouble and know how you are going to handle it before it happens. I am sure Casey would have handled things MUCH better had he 1. Made stricter rules for said site (although I know they were trying to be all free spirit and all). and 2. Had a plan of action on how to handle trouble such as was had with politics being involved in the groups.

  15. Lucy Johnson permalink
    March 17, 2009 4:53 pm

    The above is a real problem. I was on the advisory board of ‘Madforarts’ a website for those who have suffered mental distress and who have a love of the arts, funded by Culture Online, and was called in by the moderator of the site (a woman who then worked at the charity ‘Mental Health Media’ to personally placate some one who had been involved in, I believe it is called, ‘flaming’. A plan of action and a strategy is definitely needed to cope with this sort of thing! I had to be extremely diplomatic!

  16. Lucy Johnson permalink
    March 17, 2009 4:55 pm

    I like ‘stitch and change the world’. I was once invited to ‘sticth and bitch’. Never went….

  17. March 19, 2009 4:42 pm

    Good Lord will this debacle show up *everywhere* on the internet now? There are two sides to every story. The people who were banned were banned because they voilated the TOS. They are the first group of people to be banned from the site.

    It has been a shock to all sides that such action had to take place. I’m sad that those involved couldn’t stick to the TOS and not get banned. Unfortunately they were affecting large sections of the site with vitriolic hatred for the site, it’s owners and anyone who did not agree with them, and now wonder why they got banned?

    Now they are trashing the site everywhere and anywhere that the word Ravelry is mentioned on the Internet.

    The community works very well as a whole, please do not take the words of disgruntled bitter ex users as being the whole story.

  18. March 19, 2009 4:53 pm

    Also to add – Ravelry has a unique way with advertisers. Advertising is paid in arrers. So there you go – no one lost out financially for advertising by being banned. Any advertisers who were banned have been told they will not be charged for the advertising to date since the last billing. So they actually ended up with a good chunk of a month in free advertising to their direct demographic.

  19. March 24, 2009 4:38 pm

    This was the first time other than on my own blog, that I told this story. The only reason why I did was to point out the flaw in how things were handled as it was relevant to this article. I happen to subscribe to this blog as it pertains to my business. I was not seeking out Ravelry links as you seem to think I did.
    I am not disgruntled nor bitter with Ravelry, I think it is still a great resource site for those who care to use it.

    And for the record, I was invited back after they checked their logs and found I was innocent of causing any trouble anywhere on Ravlery.

    My point in my original post still stands. When starting any type of social media outlet, plan on trouble and how you will handle it before it happens.

    thank you

  20. Diana permalink
    August 12, 2009 2:21 pm

    Ravelry discussions are not just about knitting. There are dozens of politically focused discussions on ravelry. It teems with political discussion night and day. And I don’t mean discussions revolving around the politics of crafting (though that happens). I mean political discussion period. Most of these go on without the ridiculous drama described above.

  21. August 12, 2009 3:43 pm

    Some folks just can’t… ever… let… it … go.

    Ravelry is an amazing site and genius in design. A “political” ravelry would be a good idea as long as you had separation of baseline thought. In America, things tend to be very polarized (especially the far-right groups with the “my way or the highway” mindset they seem to hold) and having both major parties participating in such a thing would lead to disaster.

  22. August 12, 2009 3:43 pm

    Oh, and Kari? You told the same story on MY blog MONTHS ago. The comment is still there.

  23. honeybee33 permalink
    August 12, 2009 7:20 pm

    A political version of Ravelry would be awesome! Forget the naysayers above (alice, a lot of knitters are nonsocial, and a lot of politics is highly social!), the idea would totally work – but I don’t think it will never happen.

    Ravelry is unique in that it is completely and totally user-generated content. That’s part of what makes it so successful (and so rambunctious!). But it’s also part of what makes it so hard to replicate in other arenas. Political organizations and media outlets are used to generating and controlling content – they wouldn’t know what to do with user-generated, socially driven material.

    The closest replicant of this model is the Obama (now, White House) websites that allow users to input and RSVP to issue-oriented local meet-ups, volunteer opportunities, etc. But aside from this restricted use, there is no room for more flexible (and therefore more personally satisfying) user-generated content.

    ~ hb33 ~

  24. Marge permalink
    August 12, 2009 7:40 pm

    Being a long time member of Ravelry, imagine my horror when I read a post by the owner the other day that stated, “Assholes unite! It’s fun being a dick!” My 10-year old granddaughter was sitting with me as we browsed the site. It was always my understanding that Ravelry was a “kid safe” site. Obviously, it is not and the owner needs to warn parents and grandparents about his juvenile outbursts.

  25. August 12, 2009 7:52 pm

    Well, as you can read from the comments above, politics tends to be volatile. Knitting, on the other hand, is just the opposite.
    Ravelry has brought people together from all over the world to share their passion for fiber and fiber pursuits. What tends to tear them apart on the same site are disagreements about: politics, religion, art, social traditions, just about anything that causes people to disagree about their social beliefs. (Believe me, I’ve read the forum posts.)
    We are humans after all and we don’t take kindly to change or challenges to what we believe.
    A political Ravelry would never “work” in the sense that it would not bring people closer together. Ravelry works because we set aside our beliefs for an innocuous passion that doesn’t hurt (perceived or otherwise) anyone. I can admire and compliment someone’s lace socks even if she is a right wing religious fanatic. And she/he can admire my cabled sweater without debating the merits of the Dutch health care system.

  26. Lena permalink
    August 12, 2009 8:30 pm

    Personally Marge, I’d never open a thread with the title that the one you quoted had with my grandchild near me. The title of said thread made it abundantly clear that some stirring up was about to happen. And that was 100% the intent of the thread writer. Why on earth did you need to read beyond the infantile first post?

    I’m not a bit surprised nor disappointed that the owner finally lost his cool with the childish antics of certain people who are no longer members (and for good reason). He has put up with a tremendous amount of abuse, troublemaking, and aggressive attacks from some folks who -as was mentioned above – just.can’ And by the way, he’s put up with all this while keeping the site FREE…. so he’s taking abuse and getting naught in return for his efforts.

  27. Janet Benner permalink
    August 12, 2009 8:50 pm

    I am not on Facebook or Twitter, but I am a rabid Ravelry user. There are groups and communities about politics, parenting all kinds of topics. That site was wild around election time. Lots of interesting political discussions. I am currently following a very active thread about Obama’s healthcare proposal. So, even though it is based on knitting, there is a great cross section of reality represented here.

  28. Nan permalink
    August 12, 2009 8:51 pm

    The hostile comment from the developer of the site was in response to a borderline threatening forum post made by a (sockpuppeted) member of the banned group against his wife. He has been exceedingly calm with these people in the past, to the point of allowing a thread to continue to exist until the closure of the group that was solely intended to insult and verbally abuse him and his wife on their own site. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect an angry response when a line has been crossed.

    I also happen to agree with Lena that a responsible parent or grandparent would not have read further than the juvenile first post, given that it was blatantly inappropriate for children.

  29. Judi permalink
    August 12, 2009 9:57 pm

    You might also want to check out the political groups/forums on Ravelry – if you thought it was all knitting all the time, you will be surprised. Also pretty much does in the idea that knitters are little old ladies with nothing much in their heads.

  30. Dua permalink
    August 12, 2009 11:44 pm

    As you’re obviously on Raverly you know that the title of the thread is “Even the Banned Were There” and it was posted in the Sock Summit 2009 group. Not “abundantly clear that some stirring up was about to happen.” “Hilda” made only this one post.

    “Photo of frecklegirl by one of the Banned as she passes by where several of the Banned were standing. Yes that is a banned member whose face has been masked to protect the identity of the banned in these uncertain times.”
    “The banned walked among you and nothing happened.”

    One of the OWNERS OF THE SITE posted that filth — “Assholes unite! It’s fun being a dick!”

    [The rest of this post is NOT directed expressly to Lena . . .]

    And that’s tame compared to some of the other posts and forums on Raverly. There is a group called Crotchatars for folks that have close-up photos of barely clothed crotches as their avatars; there is a forum for pasties and photos of knitted pasties on the knitters posted to the forum; there are links on Raverly to image hosting sites belonging to members with full frontal male and female nudity and rarely a warning of what you’ll see when you click such a link and there is also the occasional lewd and/or obscene photo in a forum post (nude female breasts and other suggestive photos–on a site that is supposedly family friendly); there is a forum called Lazy, Stupid and Godless and rare is the thread title or post that does not contain some version of the F word and the C word is not unheard of on that forum (or others) either. There is a group called Rubberneckers which mock, deride and ridicule other forums on Raverly, posts in other forums on Raverly and other Raverly members although that is “technically” against the rules. Members are encouraged to “be excellent to each other”. There are avatars that are deeply offensive to Christians and Conservatives but these avatars are allowed to remain- and a few would even be rated XXX. When complaints were lodged about these avatars, the owners of the site made a way for these to be hidden by the offended individual . . . most of the time. However, until an individual elects to “hide” an offensive avatar, it is available for anyone to see on that computer.

    If you are a Conservative or a Christian and join such forums or make your views know via your profile or a forum post be prepared to be viciously harassed, savagely attacked, ridiculed, mocked, cursed and cussed and be unable to defend yourself. If you defend yourself You are the one causing trouble, not the person or persons who attacked you. And instead of just the odd one or two, whole groups of folks come to join in the attack or egg on the attackers. They were alerted to the attack by posts on the Rubberneckers forum and via private messages. These attacks and attackers are rarely reprimanded by the owners of the site or told in any way to tone it down or stop. In fact, if the moderators of the forum under attack strike back in any way against the attackers by deleting the posts, posting a defense, or putting the attacker(s) in time out which has only recently become available, THEY are the ones reprimanded, told to stop and threatened with banning.

    Raverly is NOT a family friendly, Christian friendly or Conservative friendly website. Enter at your own risk.

  31. Dua permalink
    August 12, 2009 11:48 pm

    And Nan, how was the post “… a borderline threatening forum post … against his wife” threatening? Some of the Banned were there. It was NOT a Raverly members ONLY event. You didn’t even have to be a knitter to attend Sock Summit 2009.

  32. Marge permalink
    August 12, 2009 11:58 pm

    Lena, for your information that was NOT the title of the thread. You may think that you know it all but you don’t. I did a screen capture of the offensive remark so I happen to know what I’m talking about and you don’t. Mind your own business.

  33. KimChee permalink
    August 13, 2009 12:08 am

    Lena said:

    “And by the way, he’s put up with all this while keeping the site FREE…. so he’s taking abuse and getting naught in return for his efforts.”

    Shall we discuss the organized fundraising drives by the enraptured liberals and the LSG groups? The countless tens of thousands of dollars that are sent their way every time mention is made that they might be in need? (And they spend it on carbon credits! And other frivolous things.)

    These two young people have gotten bloody rich off of the backs of the fans on their “free” site. They don’t need to charge a dime!

    Oh, and free is not free for everyone. Advertisers pay, right?

  34. Heather permalink
    August 13, 2009 12:13 am

    Yes, but the Ravelry meetup wasn’t at the Sock Summit. It was held elsewhere, which means that a group of Bunkerites who supposedly hate Ravelry and all it’s filthy smutty liberal ways went out of their way to go there for the sole purpose of…what, exactly? To snap a picture of Casey’s wife, then create a sock puppet account to post the picture on Ravelry and show the world that they were *that close* to them?

    That doesn’t strike anyone as creepy?

    I have gone over it again and again trying to understand WHY someone would do that, and the only reasons I could come up with all made me want to take a shower afterwards. Yuck.

    PS I call fibs on the 10 yr old reading the screen over granny’s shoulder up there. Please. Even if it were true, the offending statement wasn’t said on the “Big Six” where language is kept G or at least PG, it was said in a group, where the group’s moderators set the rules about what sort of language is allowed.

  35. Dua permalink
    August 13, 2009 12:38 am


    Hilda never said it was at the Rav meet-up. I don’t know where the photo was taken.

    The point was that the Banned never were and aren’t the problem. The way things are dealt with on Raverly is the problem.

    Would you expect to see a post like Casey made in a forum called Sock Summit 2009? And for the owner of a site that touts itself to be family-friendly to make such a reply to a post that was not inflammatory but informative. And no one else used such language. As usual, most of the posters over-reacted, taking their lead from Casey.

  36. Nels permalink
    August 13, 2009 12:47 am

    Ravelry was never represented or marketed as a “Christian-friendly”, “Conservative-Friendly”, or “Family-Friendly” website. Ravelry is a website for knitters. Younger knitters. Older knitters. Male and female knitters alike. Liberal and Conservative to boot. There are still plenty of Conservative groups on Ravelry. They are still in existence , I’d imagine, because they choose to coexist next to those that do not necessarily share their beliefs to a “T.” Apparently, they play by the rules. And if certain individuals would like to claim they were playing by the rules, too, all I can say is these other groups still in existence obviously did it better.

  37. colleen permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:22 am

    Wait, wait, WAITAMINUTE. This guy’s response to harrassing-stalking-trolling-assholes was to… call a spade a spade? GOOD.

    You whiny babies should grow up already.

  38. Terry permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:29 am

    It would appear from the comments that knitting doesn’t conquer the great politial divide afterall. LOL. Of course there are trolls with bad manners who refuse to let opposing views exist in all of the internet sites I’ve been involved in, knitting and otherwise. Interaction on political issues has to first and foremost take place with respect. Most sites, and I would add Ravelry especially, seem ill-equipped to deal with the disruptive and innappropriate actions of members within their own community. As evidenced by the young site owner’s own statement above, maturity is definitely lacking in Ravelry leadership.

    My advice is to stay out of the forums and stick to the pattern resources. And while the site is open to children as young as 12 or 13, I suggest you take a good look around before allowing your own teens access. Enjoy with caution in other words.

  39. Dua permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:32 am


    I stand corrected on the family-friendly part. Thank you. It is true Rav does not advertise that it is “Christian-friendly” or “Conservative-Friendly”. However, through personal experience, I and many others have discovered that Rav is neither Christian nor Conservative friendly.

    Quite often Christians and Conservatives cannot post in their own forums without someone (usually not a memeber of the group) not only telling them they are wrong (with no supporting evidence) but telling them in an emphatically, disrespectful way. Many of the Conservative groups state right up front that they are not a debate group; that the group is for those who are in agreement want to discuss the issues they agree on.

    For example, the Conservatives don’t go into the Knitters for Obama forum and post incendiary anti-Obama statements but some of the KfO group, the WingNut group and the Obama-Rama group, to name a few, regularly post disparaging, derogatory, rude, and threatening remarks on the Conservative forums. If those posters would stay out of the groups they violently disagree with including not clicking any of the buttons, 90% of Raverly’s problems would disappear. There are forums on Rav, such as the Big Issues Debate, Politimix and the Solutions groups that encourage debate on a wide variety of subjects. The only problem with those groups is that if you hold a minority opinion you will be harassed, ridiculed, mocked and attacked by some of the more vocal members who have never learned how to debate intelligently.

  40. Dorothy permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:33 am

    I happen to have been at the Sock Summit last weekend … and I saw the owner’s wife there. From my years visiting Oregon I’ve become pretty familiar with some of the places to see and do. The picture in question was not taken at the Ravelry meet-up, which was held at a facility in Washington Park (near the Oregon Zoo). That picture obviously had to have been taken at the Sock Summit, which I was under the impression was open to the pubic. Even the average Josephine Knitter (and crocheter, I might add) could go to their marketplace for the cost of $2 and the filling out of a ticket.

    I saw the thread and didn’t see any veiled threats to anyone. How juvenile to have imagined a threat in a thread that simply told me that someone who was Banned was in attendance and that they are normal, everyday people.

    People need to stop looking for conspiracies and paranoid threats under every rock. Things were so much simpler back in my day.

  41. Marge permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:49 am

    Heather, you sound like one of the groupies that follows the owner around like a lost dog. According to you, one shouldn’t read a topic about the Sock Summit unless you’re one of the groupies. Well, for your information I’ll read any topic in any forum that I please and there’s nothing that you can do about it. However, my granddaughter is no longer allowed anywhere near that site unless she’s being supervised. I have to assume now that the owner is capable of immature and offensive remarks at any given time. Maybe he does that to make the groupies giggle or maybe he just needs to grow up.

  42. Knitting1 permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:53 am

    As a rabid Ravelry user, and a member a group of Christian Knitters on said site, I can say with no reservation that I have NEVER felt unwelcome on Ravelry. Yes there are the Rubberneckers and the LSG groups, but you DON’T have to go to their groups and look at the content if it offends you. That is the one thing I don’t understand about the people who complain that Ravelry isn’t family friendly, you don’t have to see any “Adult” content if you don’t want to. The way I see it, you know which groups have adult content, because they post it on their intro page, just avoid these groups. Find your niche in Ravelry, join groups your interested in, and have fun. After all, Ravelry has room for everyone!

  43. Ginger permalink
    August 13, 2009 2:25 am

    I have seen things on Ravelry that shocked me more than just a little. I also remember when the Great Banning took place. Although I was not a member of the group I did some investigation on my own by going back and reading through some of their threads and I was amazed at how much they were tormented by the opposition. I also found it amazing that Jess and Casey did nothing to prevent this obnoxious behavior. I can only conclude from their lack of action that they in some way condoned this bad behavior and as a result encouraged it.

    Although I am a liberal member of the Democrat party I do not mix politics with my knitting but can see where some people would. However, the behavior that I witnessed by members of my own party and in some cases members of the groups I belong to was quite frankly very disturbing.

    I just wish there was some way to dispel the false rumors that those who were banned were somehow responsible for the banning. From my perspective the ones who should have been banned were those who were being the most obnoxious so to speak. They posted as guests in the conservative groups but they did not act accordingly. Not that any of this will change what is, I wanted to at least contribute in some way to setting the record straight.

  44. Dua permalink
    August 13, 2009 2:34 am


    I agree staying out of the obvious forums like the RR & LSG is a good idea. But if you’re cruising around and innocently click on something; or someone with an offensive avatar, like the one with the hot dog sticking up from the hot dog bun, or or a crotch-shot avatar or even naked boobs posts on the big 6, currently there is no way around that. There are also some patterns offensive to some (anatomically correct knitted dolls and other body parts) with no warning in the name what it is and a tag that includes it in a pattern search for knitted dolls.

    “Find your niche in Ravelry, join groups your interested in, and have fun. After all, Ravelry has room for everyone!”

    Peek into some of the Conservative forums and see how welcome they are made to feel. There was a 13 year old girl who started a forum not long before the mass banning in mid March, I don’t remember what exactly it was, but it was teen-Christian orientated. It took the RR trolls less than 2 days to take it over and defiled it. The trolls were made aware that the forum admin and mod was a 13-year old girl but it didn’t matter to them. She finally posted that she wanted to leave Rav because of what happened and asked that Casey delete the group because of what it had become.

    I’ve even seen some of the RR trolls and others post in teen (and younger) groups, among others to stir up drama even though it was expressly forbidden. Believe me, none of these folks who were trolled were ever aware there WAS a group like LSG & RR before they disrupted their group. Supposedly it’s “better” now with the new RR rules.

  45. registered Independent permalink
    August 13, 2009 2:58 am

    “Although I am a liberal member of the Democrat party”

    No Democrat would call it “the Democrat party” — you are revealing yourself! Go, on, “Democratic” — can’t quite manage to get it out, can you?

    If you really do look in the archives of the Bunker posts, you’ll see what sort of vile stuff is there.

  46. August 13, 2009 3:08 am

    Psst—-The RR’s reach isn’t just limited to on-Ravelry b!@#$ing, moaning and whining.

  47. Dua permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:11 am


    Yeah, I know. ;~} Misery loves company–the more misery the more they like it.

  48. Lola Lovey permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:20 am

    Hey bitches, you are officially being RUBBERNECKED as the stupid idiots you are!

  49. August 13, 2009 3:24 am

    Oh Lola—

    My lovely, I was *trying* to be subtle. And you just went and broke all of these lovely glass swans with your brashness…However shall they get replaced?

  50. Lola Lovey permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:30 am


    Bunker “babes” and the like, do not get subtle. You must be capable of abstract thought to get it.

  51. Ginger permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:49 am

    @ registered Independent: I stand corrected, that’s what I get for trying to post, cook dinner, and nurse my baby all at the same time. However, none the less I am a member of the Democratic Party and from the tone of your post I can only surmise that you are one of the frequent guests in the conservative groups and more or less prove my point. For the record, the most vile stuff I found happened to be in the Wingnut Group, just sayin.

  52. Dua permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:55 am

    **waves** to the RR’s

    And notice how it didn’t get crass until they showed up.

  53. Tracy permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:42 am

    So, anything you don’t like is offensive but no one is allowed to be offended by you? I’m a conservative. I’m welcome on Ravelry. Then again, I’ve never stirred up the kind of trouble the Bunker did. As a conservative, I’m embarrassed by your antics and whining so longer after the fact.

    Grow up and get over yourselves.

  54. registered Independent permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:47 am

    Nope, I would neither dare nor bother to post anything political on Ravelry. It’s a knitting site. But reading the Bunker — while it lasted — did educate me, and scared the crap out of me for the future of the GOP. Ripon Society, where have you gone?

  55. Lola Lovey permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:57 am


    The Rubberneckers bring the fun! We are like the cool kids who spike the punch and laugh at all of the dumbasses who didn’t know it!

    The Bunker Bimboes definitely drank too much of the punch!


  56. August 13, 2009 6:51 am

    All I can say is that I’m glad that Ravelry doesn’t require every group and post to be child-safe. It would be a very dull world if everything anyone ever wrote, said and did had to be safe for kindergarten consumption. And, you know, I didn’t realize that the free-speech part of the US Constitution reads “unless if offends Christians or conservatives, and then you can’t say it.”

    People on the right say things that offend me all the time (heck, people on the left say things that offend me all the time, as well…I’m a member of that rapidly-vanishing species, the moderate), but I don’t go around whining about it and demanding that everything everyone says (or posts on a forum) be non-offensive to me. That’s because I believe in the principle of free speech and the right of everyone, even those I disagree with, to say their piece.

    I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a group or thread on Ravelry that isn’t child friendly which doesn’t warn that it isn’t and suggest that those who might be offended go somewhere else to spend time.

  57. crassmaster permalink
    August 13, 2009 7:04 am

    I just have one question for Marge– was your granddaughter also next to you when you directly reproduced the oh-so-offensive content that Casey posted? Next time you bring out language like that, you should warn the whole internet so no convenient grandkid wanders by to see it!
    Honestly, I can never remember having browsed the internet with my grandparents for any reason, or even my parents.

    Glad to see the Eternal Flamewar of The Banhammer is alive and well over here too. I’m having a lot of dissonance trying to figure out the path between people who generally argue along the lines of “no special treatment” are all angry that they got banned from a private website for serious TOS violations. When you are on a site that is not legislated by the government that grants you free speech, you do not have free speech. You should be in guest-in-someone’s-house mode.

    I am personally grateful for Ravelry. I’ve learned a lot, made new real-life friends (which is handy for seriously shy persons!), and found some lovely patterns. Like the condom I’m just about to crochet.

  58. monkeybean permalink
    August 13, 2009 8:07 am

    As a relative lurker to Ravelry, I’m finding this to be somewhat hysterical myself. Do you really get so up in arms by knitting content that you’ve seen on the net, that you must insist that it be banned, it’s knit goods, or people modeling knit goods. I mean, sure, there’s close ups of crotches, which you can see anytime you accidentally turn on the train wreck that is TMZ. Casey came up with a good compromise, find a way for those who are offended by ravatars to turn off seeing them. Find a way for people offended by adult content, to not have to read anything on the radar that those groups post. What that means though, is that if you’re still offended, you’re actively -looking- to get offended. You’re searching out the adult groups, just to be disgusted by them, so that you can stand on your moral high ground, and tell the rest of us, that our behavior is persecuting you. You’re so concerned with the speck in our eyes, that you don’t notice the plank in your own.

    I somehow managed to miss the great banning, probably because I was working hard to finish up my MDiv. I am however, not surprised by it in the least. The TOS is clear, and frequently, I saw posts in that group that violated the TOS to the extreme. I own my issues though, and I absolutely went their forum looking to get offended, however, I managed to keep my mouth shut, and my fingers away from my keyboard while I read some of the most vile hatred I have ever seen.

    As for Ravelry not being Conservative safe, why should it be? Do we live in a Conservative safe world? Are there not images worse than the knit content that you could see on the site surrounding us every single day. I know that the viewpoint that most who are offended would take, that those images should be banned from public view in general, and well, I simply disagree, but that’s beside the point. The point is, that Ravelry was created for knitters, for crocheters who come from every walk of life, if the conservatives were to succeed in having a great deal of the content of the site banned, it wouldn’t be the tremendous outpouring of self expression that it is today. Yes, people have posted anatomically correct dolls to their finished items page, but, rather than being offended by that, why not take a moment to realize, the incredible talent that went into that piece of work? I personally am somewhat in awe of the ability to make something like that, even if it isn’t my choice to do so, just as I am in awe of the ability of so many of those around me to create some of the most breathtakingly beautiful fiber items I have ever seen.

    As for being Christian friendly, well…I’m a Christian, I’m a minister, and other than a few incidents of people being wary of me at first, I’ve never ever felt unwelcome on the site. Then again, I don’t wear my religion on my sleeve, or use it as an instrument to judge the lives and morality of other people.

    That’s all, sorry for the teal dear.

    Monkeybean (The one who puts lie to the G in LSG)

  59. ann permalink
    August 13, 2009 9:40 am

    wait, so anatomically correct is a bad thing? i’m going to sue every single school i ever studied in. they all taught me biology. the nerve!

  60. Another Bunker Babe permalink
    August 13, 2009 9:47 am

    I’m a former member of the Bunker who is still on Ravelry. There are a number of us still there. Why? Because we didn’t participate in bullying Ravelry after the election was over. I’m a Conservative Christian who didn’t act like a vindictive member of the losing team’s pep squad. Sure, liberals came in and trolled, and trolled viciously. But be honest, conservatives trolled the liberal groups and said things that were just as horrible.

    Dua, as far as the group started by the 13-year old girl, you’re misstating the whole thing entirely. It had nothing to do with Christian teens, but rather was a group formed for the purpose of complaining about the disagree button. The poor kid was being manipulated by a smart person who gave herself out to be a Christian Conservative, and while this person and her cronies egged the girl on, liberals and people with no stated political alignment encouraged the girl to talk to her parents about how she was using Ravelry.

  61. A BID Girl permalink
    August 13, 2009 11:59 am

    Another Bunker Babe:

    You know what the big difference was between what the Bunker did and the liberal groups did?

    The Bunker’s moderators consistently deleted ALL posts which disagreed with, questioned, or otherwise was not totally affirming whatever the group leaders or members believed. I can understand deleting trollish posts, but even extremely polite requests for clarification or explanation were deleted nearly instantly (I know, because it happened to me). Nevertheless, the Bunker leaders and many members continued to complain about how their freedom of speech was being infringed upon, and how they were outraged at how terribly they were treated. Oh, the irony.

    On the other hand, in BID, and many Ravelry liberal groups, conservatives can come in and disagree with liberals freely, and discuss and argue about political things all they want without fear of being deleted just for disagreeing.

    I have seen a number of conservatives attempt to participate in BID but run away pretty quickly, not because they’ve been abused, but because people ask them to do things like provide sources for factual claims, answers to direct questions, and reasoned explanations for why they hold the positions they do. Maybe actually having to support their argument with anything more substantial than sarcastic vitriol or Hannity soundbites is “abuse” to them, I don’t know.

    The difference in mindset is stark.

  62. Terri permalink
    August 13, 2009 12:15 pm

    This has officially turned into the bathtub scene in Fatal Attraction. Dan.

  63. SaneKnitter permalink
    August 13, 2009 12:35 pm

    To David Gauntlett

    I feel I should apologise for my fellow Ravellers and knitters for the ridiculous comments that have appeared against your excellent and thought-provoking blog post since it was referenced on the site. I think we knitters are being given a bad name! Although perhaps it goes to show how we aren’t all meek grannies as the stereotype suggests.

    Your idea of a political Ravelry-style website is an interesting one. I think that could certainly work for activism projects. I think the debate forum aspect could work for those of us in the UK who (I believe) are in the main less… how can I put this… involved? rabid? than the behaviour of some Ravelry posters over the US election has led me to conclude might be the norm in America. Besides, our major parties are ideologically not that far apart these days – excluding the likes of the BNP of course – and religion rarely comes into it.

    On the other hand, politics is by its nature divisive, whereas knitting is (theoretically) not. I can imagine a site founded by and used by people of the same political persuasion to be rather easier to moderate, and without issues of those on one side going to comment negatively on the projects of those on the other side. So perhaps we need each party to have its own Ravelry?


    To my fellow Ravellers

    It is very simple. Ravelry is a private site and the founders can do as they please because it belongs to them. If you don’t like it, nobody is forcing you to use it. How about you go and code your own?

    Either way, badmouthing it across the internet is ungrateful (especially in respect of a free resource), ill-mannered (far more so than any language you may object to) and embarrassing to all of us who enjoy fibre crafts. You have succeeded in showing up our entire community on this blog. Congratulations, you must be so pleased.

  64. Susan Knight permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:38 pm

    wow, I keep looking for the agree/disagree/love tabs.

  65. Brit permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:57 pm

    Dear Dua and all your little chums

    Is there any particular reason why you wish to reinforce the impression that you are all deranged? Why on earth would you start a barney on a blog in the U.K.?

    Don’t you realise that we all think you are completely out of control anyway?

    Nothing any of you have posted here indicates that any of you are balanced, intelligent human beings. You just look stupider with every word you type and frankly I’m amazed that is possible.

  66. Pam permalink
    August 13, 2009 2:12 pm

    Hey Bunker Babies- GROW UP. It is the internet you no-life having, fake Christian losers. You got banned. GET OVER IT. I have never seen such pathetic bullshit in my life. Do you do anything else? Do you have jobs? Why don’t you get off the computer and go hang out with those precious childrenz that the HOTDOG avatar scarred for life?

    Stop tattling like whiny little children on every Ravelry article you google. You’re adults, try acting like it for a change.

    As for knitting being like politics?

    -Whining conservatives whining about their freedumbz and the childrunz? Check.
    -Endless bickering over shit that was over a long time ago? Check.
    -Smear campaigns? Check.
    -Harassment/Stalking at events? Check.
    -People thinking they’re above the law/rules? Check.

    Sounds like politics to me.

  67. Another Bunker Babe permalink
    August 13, 2009 2:23 pm

    A BID Girl-I agree with you completely. I’m conservative and a Christian, but I certainly didn’t have blinders on about how things worked in the Bunker. It was definitely shoot first and ask questions later.

  68. Sara permalink
    August 13, 2009 2:28 pm

    Ravelry is an adult website primarily. Any children should be getting permission from their parents before signing up AND it is the parent’s responsibility to monitor what their children are doing. But somehow I doubt any child is going to be scarred for life by seeing the words dick and asshole 😛 Oh noooes think of the childrenzzzz

    I think it was horribly creepy for these banned members to make efforts of getting a photo with one of the site owners and posting it and basically saying we walk among you. It smacks of obsessiveness. Not to mention they have a website dedicated to selling t-shirts about how they were censored on Ravelry. Ravelry is a private site, you don’t have free speech rights, free speech only pertains to the government anyway, get over it. So I think Casey was perfectly justified in being a touch creeped out and angry.

    As for a political ravelry, I think you’d definitely have to make sure that the different sides could have their own forums and would only come together for discussion in prescribed areas that would have to be heavily moderated to prevent the claws from coming out. I personally was taken aback by the viciousness on both sides of the political spectrum. I am not used to such craziness where I come from. Conservatives trolled liberal forums, liberals trolled conservative forums. It was really a mess. I found the conservative forums most shocking however, not because I simply disagreed with them but because of racist and inflammatory language, even though they didn’t swear. So yes, the bunker got shut down, which I’m sure was due to many justified complaints, but there are still at least 3 other conservative groups on Ravelry and many religious groups. I wouldn’t be surprised if Casey and Jess got a lot of hate mail from bunker members, as it seems to be a standard reaction from the extreme right when people don’t agree with them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the extreme left did the same thing honestly.

    In my opinion the extremes from both left and right need to tone the eff down, you’re scary the bejeebers out of moderate people, and you really ruin the possibility of any great discussions between opposing view points

    And creepy stalker types? Ken is not amused

  69. August 13, 2009 2:41 pm

    I cant believe people are still complaining about the Bunker….and that they chose to do it here. :S

    There are plenty of political forums out there. To make a Raverly type forum, you could include lists of politicians from all over the world, their affiliations, etc. You could choose politicians and put them in your favorites list. There could be a section for scandals as well as one for current issues. You could check and see who your “friends” are favoriting, read their profiles and see which way they lean on issues. And a weekly update feed for each country so everyone can keep track of what their politicians have been up to.

    However, unless you can find a completely unbiased set of moderators, you risk creating WWIII online. I’ll stick to Ravelry….much safer.

  70. Lucy Johnson permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:17 pm

    Amazing ranting. Is this the blogosphere at its best/worst? I don’t know, but what I do know is how shocked I was to find my inbox over flowing with comments concerning such a seemingly innocuous subject. Little did I know. I’m on holiday at the moment and reading Obama’s Audacity of Hope-here’s hoping for all the angry posters that they can sort out their differences and maybe start a slightly more constructive dialogue? Yours, a concerned non American citizen!

  71. Judi permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:20 pm

    The really interesting thing about Ravelry, amd more to the point of the original post, is that there are several hundred thousand members who do not know about all this turmoil and don’t care. They use the site as intended to network on a variety of fiber interests. They let the crazies poke each other all they want – it isn’t relevant to the fiber.

  72. August 13, 2009 3:26 pm


    Yes. Anatomically correct is a bad thing, because good girls and boys don’t have those parts. Underneath their clothes, they look like Barbie (TM) and Ken (TM) dolls. They also reproduce through various methods of asexual reproduction. It must not be any fun being good, is it?

  73. Lucy Johnson permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:27 pm

    I am sure that is true Judi. I think they should all calm down a bit-may be do some knitting-it’s very therapeutic you know!

  74. Dua permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:29 pm

    “Dua, as far as the group started by the 13-year old girl, you’re misstating the whole thing entirely. It had nothing to do with Christian teens, but rather was a group formed for the purpose of complaining about the disagree button.”

    Thanks, Another Bunker Babe. I knew she’d started a group but could not remember what it was. I was however, correct about the group’s demise.

  75. The skeleton in the closet permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:36 pm

    I would like to see the comments get off of the masturbatory, oh-so-afflicted “Christian” (not the kind of Christian I am) “Conservative” ( also not the kind of conservative I am) complaints about one isolated incident on the internet. As a conservative Christian MEMBER OF LSG GROUP on Ravelry, I have really had to choose my battles. And in many other groups, including some supposedly with “Christian” morals.

    Luckily, my politics work for ME. I don’t worry about what others say, and I don’t feel the need to go out and make a lynch mob against those who are different. I also accept being called on my bullshit when I do get carried away, which some people cannot do.

    My religion also is my own business, and while I occasionally correct a misinterpretation or a stereotype, my faith is strong enough that the God-bashers do not rock my stone.

    Maybe the bunker babes need to shore up their personal faith in their faith and politics, so it won’t be so easily shattered by one conflict.

    And as for the people who seem to think that Ravelry is a kid safe site that you should browse with your grandkid on your lap, your complaints are ridiculous. If the kid is old enough to read, and is in school, the kid hears that stuff all day long.
    Not saying it is right, but c’mon…. if you don’t have a strategy for when the kid hears or reads a bad word, then you are not prepared for any part of life and you need to step away from the internet altogether.

    And relating to the OP, I think that politics rears it’s head in all of our interactions. Obviously Ravelry has brought together some very strong political factions, with some very serious and painful (for ALL parties) consequences.
    Ravelry’s facebook status: “It’s complicated.”

    I think that political sites could take a clue from Ravelry and other social networking sites…get away from theoretical – relate politics to real life and people will be interested.

    And if you could get a huge internet scandal going it could do wonders for your readership stats….

  76. Tori permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:24 pm

    SaneKnitter: “politics is by its nature divisive, whereas knitting is (theoretically) not”

    Knitting not divisive?
    English v. Continental: how do you knit?
    acrylic v. natural: “Only people who are cheap knit with acrylic!” “I’m not cheap! You’re just a yarn snob!”
    animal v. vegetable fiber: “OMG think of the sheeepies!”
    And then if you broaden it to fiber arts, there are never-ending threads discussing the eebils of knitting or crochet. =)

    So perhaps at its very basics, crafting isn’t divisive. But if you gather enough strong-willed and opinionated people together, there’s going to be segmentation.

  77. SameKnit permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:37 pm

    Dua if you are offended by a hot dog in a hot dog bun you should probably not be anywhere on the internet at all. Or looking at any national monuments. Or ears of corn.

  78. SaneKnitter permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:47 pm

    Tori: Ha ha, OK, point taken. Perhaps what I should have said is that politics makes no pretence at being anything other than divisive in a multi-party system, whereas knitting has the reputation of being all friendly and cuddly until you scratch the surface!

  79. bigrederin permalink
    August 13, 2009 5:53 pm

    It’s amazing how the first people on the scene when someone mentions Rav are the disgruntled members of Group That Shall Not Be Named, whining and crying about how unfair it was that they got banned from a privately owned and operated website because they didn’t follow the clearly outlined Terms of Service.

    Oh, and LOOK! It’s an excerpt from the same-said TOS! I wonder what it says?

    Section 10 of the TOS:

    You agree that the Company may, under certain circumstances, and without prior notice, immediately terminate your account, any associated account(s), and access to any Service indefinitely or for a set period of time. A termination of an account, whether temporarily or permanent, may include limitations to accessing any Service(s), but your profile, including your posts, will not be deleted unless you instruct the Company to remove your profile. Cause for such termination shall include, but not be limited to, (a) breaches or violations of the Terms or other incorporated agreements or guidelines, (b) requests by law enforcement or other government agencies, (c) a request by you (self-initiated account deletions), (d) discontinuance or material modification to the Service (or any part thereof), (e) unexpected technical or security issues or problems, (f) extended periods of inactivity, (g) engagement by you in fraudulent or illegal activities, and/or (h) nonpayment of any fees owed by you in connection with the Services. ***Further, you agree that any termination by the Company shall be at the Company’s sole discretion and that the Company shall not be liable to you or any third party for any termination of your account, any associated Content, or access to a Service.***

    Basically, you can get your account canceled for any reason, at any time, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it, and there’s not a damn thing that they are required to do except wave at you as the door hits your ass on the way out. Now put on your big girl panties and get over it already.

    As for those whining about the “ZOMG ADULT CONTENT, IT’S SO AWFUL!!!!11!!!” – keep in mind that once again, this is a privately run website. The TOS states that they are not responsible for material posted by third-parties (ie, other people on the site). One of the many reasons I like Ravelry is that they rarely censor the material on the site – it is up to you, the user, to make the choice as to whether or not to censor yourself. Heaven forbid you have to click your mouse twice to hide an offensive Ravatar – of course, The Powers That Be should be doing this for you! It’s their job! Never mind that it would take them hours or days to monitor every single Ravatar, whereas you could solve your own problems in less time than it takes for you to pull a tissue out of a Kleenex box. It’s not that they don’t care – it’s that they don’t have the time or the inclination to hold every user’s hand as they go on the internet. Be a grownup, for God’s sake. The world doesn’t revolve around you, so why should you expect Ravelry to?

  80. Wenzer permalink
    August 13, 2009 6:51 pm

    Another Raveler here. I’ve been on Ravelry for not quite two years now. Full disclosure, I’m a member of Wingnut Watch and last fall I was also a member of KfO and Obama-rama. I recall last fall going on The Group Later Known as The Bunker and asking reasoned questions about why the group’s members supported the Republican ticket, and getting my posts unceremoniously deleted. Whereas on Wingnut Watch (then known as SPMBS) we welcomed conservatives who were willing to debate in a civilized fashion.

    Oh, and more full disclosure. I’m a member of the Liberal Christians, Liberal Christians Bible Study, and UCC groups, as well as Discussions About Religion. DAR in particular is a great group.

    I agree wholeheartedly with A BID Girl. Conservatives who try to debate on BID tend not to last long, for the reasons she states – “not because they’ve been abused, but because people ask them to do things like provide sources for factual claims, answers to direct questions, and reasoned explanations for why they hold the positions they do.”

  81. Submerge Leniency permalink
    August 13, 2009 8:05 pm

    For the uninitiated – picture the Bunker Babies as a bunch of Eddie Haskells. Very adept at spinning a sympathetic tale to people who weren’t around to witness their insane antics firsthand.

    The craziness coming out of that lot was over the top and never-ending. Let’s just say I’m still waiting for the “holocaust for white people” one of their moderators assured people an Obama administration would bring upon us!

  82. Lauren permalink
    August 13, 2009 11:19 pm

    “Quite often Christians and Conservatives cannot post in their own forums without someone (usually not a memeber (sic) of the group) not only telling them they are wrong (with no supporting evidence) but telling them in an emphatically, disrespectful way.”

    In the south, we just call that “church.”

    I don’t knit and I don’t care. STFU and take your slappyfight to a knitting blog’s comment section.

  83. NOM NOM NOM permalink
    August 13, 2009 11:25 pm

    I just popped some popcorn in BULK and prepared some wrong hotdogs. This should give me plenty of energy to keep up with these comments… NOM NOM NOM!

  84. registered Independent permalink
    August 13, 2009 11:46 pm

    Oh, and by the way, my sincere apologies, Ginger. “Democrat Party” was originally a phrase that was deliberately coined by Republican strategists to subtly imply that the Democratic Party was in fact not Democratic. If you listen to major conservative news outlets, to this day they refuse to dignify the party with its proper name. But I guess Democrats have since started to remove the power from the intended slur by using it themselves — great news.

  85. Johanna permalink
    August 14, 2009 12:05 am

    Dua –

    God FORBID something NOT be Christian-friendly. GASP. I’ve got news for you: people swear. People don’t believe in god. People enjoy having sex and abusing substances. Knitters enjoy all those things too, and I see no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to express that on a knitting/social networking site. LSG is not harming anybody. You don’t have to go there if you don’t want to. I’m a proud member of LSG, and I know there are Christian/right-wing groups that would piss me off and offend me if I were to read their threads. So I don’t go there. You’re bringing that anger on yourself by visiting groups that you know will offend you.

    As far as the crotchatars – can we please discuss the right-wing and/or Christian avatars that offend ME? Or does that not matter because I don’t believe in Jesus?

    Take a fucking chill pill.

  86. Criss permalink
    August 14, 2009 3:24 am

    Wow, these comments really illustrate one thing well: anywhere you go, especially on the internet, you will find petty people who want to ruin it for everyone. I would think that would be even more true of a political website than of a knitting one, since at least Ravelry has honest-to-God knitting groups and discussions to hold it together, while politics is pretty much all contentious argument and no comfortable chats on non-sensitive subjects. It’s true that knitting gives some relief from our species’ congenital inability to just be decent to one another, although, as we’ve seen in this thread, even knitting isn’t nearly enough.

    I will say, though, that this is pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel. Rav in general is a happy place, and the vast majority of Ravellers stick to groups they are interested in and don’t seek out ones that raise their blood pressure in unwanted ways. I just thought that should be said, amidst all this sniping. Ravelry–and Jess and Casey as individuals–deserve far better than this, and almost always get it.

  87. Caribou permalink
    August 14, 2009 4:36 am

    C is for cookie!

  88. August 14, 2009 7:08 am

    The people who are upset with Ravelry seriously, seriously need to grow up and stop acting like the world is there to meet their every need.

    Personally, I think no true Christian would act out the way I have seen and regularly troll the liberal groups to call names when we do not agree with you. It seems that you cannot see the tree for the rather LARGE log in your own eyes. No one group of people should have their needs catered to over another on the Ravelry site. Sorry, but you don’t get to dictate what people say and what people think. The real world is much grittier than you know, but I believe you live in a protected bubble somewhere so that you do not have to deal with the unpleasantness in life.

    And, when anytime someone sets themselves up as “the very paragon of virtue” – I have learned the hard way to watch my back. If you want to know what Jesus would do, you had better go back and read your bible. Jesus was loving, patient, kind, and forgave a prostitute. I think that most of you follow the teachings of Paul more closely than of Jesus.

    I do not identify with any ONE religion, though I was raised in the South where church attendance was mandatory. Mostly, I think most of the behavior is hypocritical beyond words. Don’t worry so much about what others do and think and believe – take care of your own trash first.

    And, yes Casey and Company make their living from Ravelry. But, they earn every last dime and should make more than they do – it REALLY pains me to hear anyone diss their hard work – Jeeeeeessssshhhhh – whining to the extreme. If you are so, so concerned about content on Ravelry than start your own knitting site and then you will see what hard work is.

  89. Aristaia permalink
    August 14, 2009 7:42 am

    PS I’m LSG to the core.

    Find your tribe, folks. One size does not fit all.

  90. ferrygirl permalink
    August 14, 2009 6:38 pm

    Dua and others,

    One of the many things I love about Ravelry is the chance it has given me to socialize with others who also knit. Fantasticaly talented knitters that can create objects with some yarn and sticks that are jaw droppingly beautiful. My own work is basic, “rustic” at best, a reflection of the skills and knowledge that create it, but I learn new things on Rav all the time.

    Another great thing about Ravelry is that I can socialize with knitters that I have other things in common with, like: affinity for certain knitting projects, music likes, health challenges, view of world and life. The last one is really a rare find in lys knitting groups where I live. I always felt like the only off-beat, alter-knit-ive chick there. (I also usually ended up offending someone with a curse or two at dropped stitches or stitch pattern kerfluffel). Ravelry gave me my first real knitting “community.” It is awesome!

    We don’t agree with each other about everything, but we accept each other and differences are just part of the package. There are some diehard vegan and animal rights supporters who don’t really like that others eat meat. There are parents that love parenting and may not understand those of us who have chosen not to have children. We are not all friends, yet we enjoy being in the same community with each other.

    Ravelry is a reflection of our larger irl communities and society. Though we don’t all share the same view of the world we still all love the knit’n, and that brings us together. Just like we may not all share the same opinion of a polarizing community issue (take gay marriage for example), we still share our local communities with each other. In communities, we have to find some way to get along. The opportunity to “lurk” goups that irl I might not be so bold to explore has been educational. That is honestly meant, I’m not trying to be snarky. I have gotten to check out some politically far right conservative groups, Christian groups, groups for people who really do listen to country music, groups for those who enjoy S&M. There is probably even a group for those who still think the earth is flat and knit! The point is that the ability to explore those different smaller communities has given me the opportunity to learn about that thing that brings that group together. While Ravelry has given me a community of knitters that I have many things in common with, it has also helped me to understand those I feel little or nothing in common with. We are, all of us, members of this great community that is Ravelry. It’s our choice to belong, to see the smaller groups we join as bits of the larger whole. We can also choose, and it seems some have, to live with a very narrow take on the term “community.”

    Can it be the “unwelcomness” you and others feel is actually the realization that others in the community are not just like you? Is it the necessity that to be part of the community you have to, on some level, accept that they are a part of the community too?

    How would you feel if it was a picture of you posted in a threatening or demeaning manner? A picture of your loved one? Though, perhaps not intended to be threatening, can you pull yourself into someone else’s shoes just long enough to see that it felt threatening?

    That said, it never ceases to amaze me how much shock, uproar and insinuation of scandalousness can be raised solely by hand knitted pasties. (Are those considered clothed or naked breasts? ‘Cause you don’t see the nipples, but you can see flesh.)

  91. Hahaha permalink
    August 14, 2009 9:42 pm

    Poor guy writes an article and then the crows arrive to crap all over it.

    So sorry, David. KNITTING = SRS BSNS.

  92. Allison permalink
    August 16, 2009 12:16 am

    For those speaking about how Ravelry is not Christian or conservative-friendly, or about how it is not completely free of avatars with innuendo involved, I would like to point out a couple of things.

    First, as a member of LSG, the group makes abundantly clear before one can scroll down to the post titles that it is an adults-only, that there will be swearing and many references to sex, that the group contains explicit content, and so on. Unless I go directly to “discussions” as I’ve bookmarked, I have to scroll well past what counts as a full page on my browser to see the posts. It’s difficult for me to see how someone could innocently stumble onto the content there without feeling well-warned about the nature of the group. I would think that the name “Lazy, Stupid, and Godless” might be a hint that the group is not going to play by conservative Christian rules as well.

    Second, you can hide avatars. It’s actually quite easy to do so. Next to the user name under the avatar, you can click on an arrow for a pull-down menu. One of the choices there is “hide avatar” and another is “disagree avatar.” Either will hide the offensive material, and then you need never view it again.

    Personally, I would say that it’s a bad idea to let a child onto any discussion board unsupervised. Maybe I’m overly protective, I don’t know. There are a lot of people out there who pretend to be something other than they are, and there is nothing stopping someone from pretending to be a “good Christian” online when he or she is a dangerous predator.

  93. Exasperated Expat permalink
    August 16, 2009 6:04 am

    I am completely stunned and shocked. You Bunker Uglies are so delusional, you are now spreading your vile internationally.

    Do you idiots even realize what website you are on? Must you continue to demonstrate the depth of your stupidity to the extent of posting comments on a British university website?

    As if Brits need any more proof that the American “religious” neo-cons are utter wingnuts. (I put religious in quotes because you, collectively, violate every Sunday school lesson I had – you can’t turn the other cheek, you constantly throw stones even though your own glass houses are cracked and shattered, you fail to grasp the concept of doing unto others as you would have be done unto you and are SHOCKED when your own behavior is turned back on you, etc, etc, etc.)

    As an American who has lived in Britain for five years, I am deeply, deeply ashamed and embarrassed to acknowledge you as fellow countrymen. You are disgraces not only to the community of knitters, but to Christians worldwide and Americans as a whole.

    Also? Boy, did you pick the wrong website to post on. As if any of your views would be shared by the average British citizen. All your vitriol is doing is proving what complete nutters you are and just how irrational your version of reality must be.

  94. Another Bunker Babe permalink
    August 17, 2009 8:23 am

    Dua, you were wrong about the demise of the group as well. The girl asked that the group be cancelled when a number of people, including some Rubberneckers, suggested in a completely non-sarcastic, non-snarky way, that she was in way over her head.

    It’s people like you, twisting the facts, that got the Bunker closed down, and it was the high-school mentality that got people banned from Ravelry. It’s always easier to blame others than to take responsibility for the consequences of one’s own actions. It’s also contrary to the principles of conservatism not to take responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions, so I question whether the people who whined about the banning are really conservatives.

    Done here. Bye bye.

  95. Catters permalink
    August 17, 2009 9:35 pm

    I love Ravelry, warts and all but I have to ask, if there was to be a political version, can we set up a knitters group?

  96. Gilli permalink
    August 18, 2009 1:53 am

    It’s sad that such an interesting article was sidetracked by such ridiculousness. To those who have a problem with Ravelry, get over it and move on with your apparently tiny little lives.

  97. Angel permalink
    August 18, 2009 1:56 am

    Ravelry…just like this…minus the pattern browser.

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