Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday? Yep.

First, for the actual knitting.

I still have just two things on the needles at the moment. Ye Olde Postwar Mittens

Sorry the color balance is so bad. Must remember to take indoor photos in the basement, not the kitchen.

These got major time during the Super Bowl. I knit four full repeats and only had to "tink" the half-round I knit during the last minute of the game. I would have stopped knitting at that point entirely, but I was afraid I’d throw up if I didn’t have something to do to take my brain off of the game a tiny little bit.

And then, there are socks.

Cloning Anemone Rib, Sept. 2008 RSC

I took one look at this pattern the day it came in the mail and thought “Gee, that looks just like an Upstream (New Pathways) sock.

So I’m plugging the stitch pattern into a New Pathways Upstream sock instead of knitting top-down like the pattern instructs. So far, so good, although I most certainly understand why a lot of people punted on this pattern. Every fourth row, you’re doing a 2-stitch cable and it takes

[Prepare to shift gears …]

In other news, lately I’ve been noticing this train wreck or that burning building on the internets. A conservative political group was shut down on Ravelry today, and ooh boy, are those group members filled with hate!

Prior to the election, I took a foray into the conservative camp’s primary watering hole. I was in search of intelligent well-thought-out reasons why the Republican ticket was the way to go. Instead, I found a bunch of people that when presented with a post written by a non-group member, would scurry over to the newbie’s profile, dissect the implications of their group memberships and name-call based upon those group memberships.

In their “say good-bye” thread that popped up after Ravelry gave them notice that they’d be shut down, they flat-out said that if you belonged to pinko liberal socalist communist groups (like the group for The Daily Show) you weren’t welcome and would be deleted/degraded appropriately.

In just a few minutes of perusing the now-locked threads, I came up with these references that were quite normal from what I saw on this group:

“the Porkulus bill”
“the Nazi’s on the drive-by media”
“How about the Nazi newspapers?”
“Why is this any different from Hitler’s plan to create the perfect Aryan race?”
“the Ølibiots”
“Obozo’s destruction of America over the next 1439 days”
“Welcome to the new USSA”

It took me about five minutes to compile that list. The last five are off of the word cloud of recent tags. Tags. As in “subject lines” for threads. There was also an accusation about the Ravelry powers-that-be drinking cyanide kool-aid. Nice.

What was happening in this group that forced Ravelry to “run out of last straws” and pull the plug? Casey (who was called some truly horrifying names in the last few hours of this group) has refused to give specifics, but cited repeated attempts to work with unwilling-to-help moderators. I’d have to guess that the (condoned, if not encouraged) name-calling is a good indication of the problem. Full disclosure: I mod one group on Ravelry. A very quiet group for the LYS where I work. I am quite certain I have no idea what the mods of a “real” group deal with. But the name-calling turned me off of this group on more than one occasion when I ventured in to try to get a sense of a perspective opposing my own on an issue.

Group members insist this is censorship. That they were singled out because the Ravelry brain-trust is a bunch of liberal extremists and their left-wing agenda did not allow for the conservative viewpoint to be represented. That the existence of the “Lazy Stupid and Godless” group meant that its members its name quite seriously. And so on.

I’m continually amazed at how much hate there is in this country. When did that happen? Why? Why can’t people take a deep breath and try to educate themselves about why other people believe something different than they do? I was raised to believe that the United States is the greatest country in the world. In this country, we have unprecedented personal freedoms and our government treats us in a “You’re grown-ups. Sink or swim!” manner.

When I think of our form of government, I am frequently reminded of a brilliant Aaron Sorkin line from The American President.

“America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free"” (thank-you,!)

Just over eight years ago, I watched the guy I voted for win the popular vote and lose the seat in the funny-shaped office because of hanging chads or whatever else was going on down in Florida. I took a deep breath, reminded myself that this is a governmental system that has survived for over 200 years and got over it.

Why do the people on this former group insist that they’re being persecuted? I don’t know. I just hope that our current POTUS can do enough good that these close-minded people* can admit/realize that he’s not actually Satan.

*Let me be very clear: I do not believe that all political conservatives – or all members of the former Ravelry group in question -- are close-minded. That’s simply an observation of a lot of folks I’ve been reading lately who are so convinced that the Apocalypse is here that they can’t take a deep breath and look for a way to solve the current very serious problems. The former group name-changed to “The Bunker” after the election. Probably because they are going into the upcoming three-years-and-11-months with a “bunker” mentality.

I’ll put away my soapbox now, and here’s hoping this is the last time I feel the need to post anything remotely connected to politics.


Bennalaya said...

My understanding is that the moderators of that group refused to cooperate with Casey and Jess (and in some instances basically told them they could cram the rules up their collective ass) as well as moderators of other political groups. The fact that other conservative groups on Ravelry are leery about them descending upon their groups now that they lost their "Bunker" speaks volumes. Mods of successful and mature conservative groups have told them, "your sour grapes, rule violations and juvenile name-calling will not be tolerated here. You will not get *our* group shut down." Love it.

You only saw the commie statements. You totally missed all the lovely racist overtones. Bitching about MLK's birthday being a holiday, anti-Black History Month posts, a member calling Michelle Obama's mother's scarf "a noose", a member making fun of black people by posting in Ebonics, etc. You may also have missed one member calling another group of Ravelers "the biggest bunch of foul-mouthed skanks she's ever encountered in her life."

I hope they continue to crash and burn. The way their bitterness has trickled over onto the Big 6 and no one is taking the bait further proves they brought their demise upon themselves. Maybe it wasn't the "evil libtards" after all.

Of course, they're staying classy by flagging posts in all the groups they find unappealing such as Obama groups. Gratuitously spite reporting every post that has the word "damn" in it, etc. Yep, keep up the great work.

Lisa said...

Fantastic blog post (and comment by Bennalaya)! I couldn't agree more. I am disgusted by how all of the former Bunker members have slammed Ravelry for taking down their little hate-filled group. If they don't like it, they should gladly leave and form their own splinter website where they can all share the same mentality and hatred. Lot's of us will happily hold the door for them on their way out.

Anonymous said...

I read through all the same threads on Ravelry and did not find any of what you are referring to here.

Could you provide documentation as to exact communications with Casey and Jess to back up your statements? For example, could you post the screenshot or e-mail where the moderators told Casey to "cram the rules up their collective asses?"

In the name of fairness to all concerned I think it would be appropriate to back up any claims with proof. Or else you will not be taken seriously and or no better than the girls on The Bunker.

DPUTiger said...

Anonymous: Sorry. I don't respond to anyone who doesn't have the conviction to put their name and/or contact information behind their statements. Stand behind your opinion with your name/contact info or go away.

Hope said...

Well, I'm not anonymous, and you have my name and contact information.

Will care to back up your claims now?

DPUTiger said...

Hope: I appreciate your name, but you have your blogger profile blocked and the comment comes through with a no-reply email address.

I never said I communicated with The Powers That Be at Ravelry, I was simply commenting on a situation that unfolded in public (and bled over onto the Big 6 boards). It is my GUESS that the encouraged/condoned name-calling in The Bunker and by Bunker members was a symptom of the problem. It was certainly something that distressed me.

If you have specific questions or problems with what I have written and provide me with a way to contact you, I would be willing to engage in a dialogue on the topic.

May said...

Freedom of choice unfortunately does allow for hate to continue breeding as well. Throughout history, they've manifested in different forms. It always seems as if they have a banner with the message of "I'm right and the rest of you not with me deserve to die."

DPUTiger said...

And that, May, is part of what makes me sad about this whole situation. I guess I give people more credit than that. I believe that everyone can and should be capable of having respect for the opinions of others, even when they don't agree. When people refuse to acknowledge that the opposition may have a valid reason for their beliefs, that makes me sad.

Jessica said...

Some people just can't see beyond their own noses. And they can't engage in meaningful dialog when they can't be rational, support their arguments with facts and/or are even able to see why the other side might think the way they do. Unfortunately, there's a lot of that not, just in America, but all over the world.

floribunda said...

Wonderful post. I'm a very casual user of Ravelry so I wasn't aware of any of this stuff going on, but I'm certainly aware of the hate elsewhere! It's just shocking how full of hate some people are, and how they can't tolerate not having their (narrow little) way all the time. Suck it up, people! We lived with W for 8 long years!

Nice socks, by the way...

Jenn said...

Wow, I completely missed all of that going down. I did see that Casey twittered that they had to shut a group down because they ran out of last straws.

Jane Doe said...

As a mod of the group that you are slamming, I am glad to see that you removed the "cram the rules up their collective asses?" remark. Since you can't prove that it was said, then one has to wonder how much truth is in the rest of your blog.

DPUTiger said...

Jane Doe: I have not edited one piece of punctuation from the original post, nor will I. Please don't confuse my original blog post with information presented by those who have commented.

And please notice that I haven't deleted any of the comments either. Even from those who don't have enough courage in their convictions to back up their opinions with a name and/or contact information.

mehitabel said...

Way to go!! I love your post and I commend you for standing by your convictions. I wasn't able to go over to the Bunker very often (and how apt that name was!) because it made my blood boil. Other groups have had problems and their moderators have worked with the Powers That Be to resolve them. These hate-filled so-called moderators just stirred the pot even more.
I'm going to show Casey, Jess, and Mary-Heather as much love as I can, and I'm also going to donate to the funds.
By the way, I have two grandsons who are very much the same racial mix as President Obama. We are thrilled and delighted to claim him as our POTUS!

Melissa said...

I, too, have watched the behavior of members in the group with absolute revulsion. I'm thrilled that the group is gone, and it has nothing to do with politics. I'm in neither party - theirs or their so-hated enemies, the "libturds." It reminded me of people who've gone "nose-deaf," they spent so much time in there that they couldn't smell the BS. I'm sure there are perfectly wonderful people in the group, but by participating in some of the crap that went on there... I can't tell anymore.

When you see the mods in a group piling on to a mess that should be, oh, moderated, anything resembling respect goes straight out the window.

And, please, for God's sake, people, "freedom of speach" and "censorship" are NOT applicable here.

This might interest some folks:
screenshot of noose comment (identifying characteristics were redacted, I'm guessing to protect the guilty).

Bennalaya said...

I have seventeen screen shots saved to my computer that show racist comments, threats of shooting people (seriously, some jokes aren't funny), and just general asshattery. You Bunker mods are certainly welcome to continue lying all over the internet that "you never knew you were a problem". MizDi acknowledged it in a post just last week that Casey was putting the heat on the mods.

So, yeah, from what I've heard the mods were not willing to play nice. I didn't say I had documentation that you said, specifically, "cram the rules up your ass". Obviously Casey would not divulge what sort of private discussions took place between the Bunker mods and TPTB, and it's none of my business.

I'm just not buying that the mods did everything in their power to foster a positive environment in that group. It was a hotbed of negativity and mean-spiritedness.

KnittingReader said...

Excellent post! I really appreciate your insightful commentary. I was thrilled to see TPTB shut the group down because their hatred upset me so much.

Their behavior after being shut down demonstrates that TPTB acted correctly.

Mart said...

Beautiful knitting and thank you for posting this! While I feel sorry for the knitters who had their "safe haven" shut down, I was really happy it was. Any safe haven that endangers others with the type of racism, homophobia, able-ism, and intolerance exhibited in the Bunker is only only safe for a select few. Allowing that kind of viewpoint to fester, seemingly unchecked, just created animosity on Ravelry. I hope the Bunker members can find other places on Ravelry where they can share and learn along with the rest of us. Maybe if they actually spent some time in groups like LSG, rather than just spreading unsubstantiated rumors, they would see what a loving place it really is.

iKniter said...

Well said! And the recent archived post in the Big 6, combined with the trollish behavior on the comments page to that recent article about Ravlery, show how bitter and nasty they were.

Oh, and please do keep flagging, it's giving you all loads of credibility. ;)

Bennalaya said...

I forgot to add, this blog entry is purely brilliant. While Bunkerites are locking their comments and deleting anything that isn't a "three cheers for calling Casey a nazi!" comment, you have not only exposed the Bunker for the ugliness that it is, but also allowed all to comment.

You're very brave and I appreciate that.

Melissa said...

Bennalaya: Where's the love(1) button on Blogger comments?

ZantiMissKnit said...

Thank you for an excellent post. It's been a rough couple of days, and I'm sure TPTB at Ravelry would love to put it behind them.

I've just been lurking on the threads, horrified by what I was witnessing.

Mart said...

DPUTiger, I just wanted to add for some of your readers that this is not my name on Ravelry and to please leave the people who call themselves 'Mart' there alone. kthaxbai.

Zelda said...

The only thing I would like to ask you is if you have ever read any of the liberal groups on Rav, such as Obama-rama or the Wingnuts group. If you have not, please do so, and then come back and tell your readers about them. Check some of the archived threads. There you will find suggestions on how to cause physical harm to Sarah Palin, George Bush, and other Republican. Thank you.

Terri D. said...

Thank you for speaking up and out.

Katt13 said...

Thank you for this post; I've found that group's attitude to be very distressing. I'm sorry such action had to be taken against them, but on the other hand, I'm relieved.

One of the people I love most in the world usually votes very differently than I do; sometimes we discuss, and sometimes, we just agree that we aren't going to see eye to eye on some things. Sometimes, we agree completely. It's how life goes.

I wasn't baffled by this group, because I do know people who are that afraid of anything that's not exactly like them, but I was saddened.

Rebecca said...

What a great post. It's been so frustrating for me to see the "us versus them" mentality that is prevalent in so many political or heated discussions today. The few times I could stand to read the Bunker, that type of thinking was prevalent, and it seemed quickly to turn into not just an "us versus them" mentality but veered into a hatred of opposing viewpoints. People of all political persuasions do this, but to have an entire group that just feeds off of each other and immediately assumes that everything is an attack creates a feeling of negativity that echoed throughout many of the other groups.

Jamie Fritz said...

Another Pittsburgher here, hello neighbor and thank you for a wonderful post. It makes me sad to see the awesomeness that is Ravelry besmirched by such ugliness. Hopefully reason will prevail and we can all go on with our lives. I wish the same for those disillusioned by what happened and hope they can find healing and light in their hearts.

bratling said...

Just leaving a Love(1) <3

sophanne said...

Love (1) here too. I didn't read the group- I've stayed away from most of them. I read a facebook post from one of the mods who was very angry at the closing of the group. The extreme nature of those words were enough for me to be glad that it was shut down. Whether the "other side" is as guilty or not is irrelevant. Less electronic hate = less electronic hate. The Rav gang isn't in the business of fostering hate. I'm glad you wrote this post.

SJ said...

Boy, am I ever glad it was a crazy day at work and I couldn't log on to Ravelry. What a to-do I missed!

Rositta said...

Wow, that's all I can say. I thought Ravelry was for knitters not political junkies. ALL political groups should be shut down including Obama-rama and Wingnuts. A knitting and crochet community is NOT the place for this type of discourse. There are other environments on the internet to cater groups of all political stripe...ciao:)

LondonWriting said...

Just wanted to show you some love for a fabulous blog post.

The Bunker was a cesspool on Ravelry. The pro-Obama, anti-Palin sites nowhere near approached its level of xenophobia, racism, bigotry and just plain ignorance. It is true that conservative knitters may have felt a bit dogpiled on those - or even the main six - boards, but that's more due to their blind refusal to cite sources, acknowledge proven facts, or observe historical data than due to their beliefs. They demanded the right to censor others, but when they were asked to censor themselves they whined and cried about how unfairly they are treated.

I observed on more than occasion how nasty they were to other Ravelers. Again, when this was pointed out to them, they whined and bitched about the "unfairness."

They do have a persecution complex, which is the only reason why I regret Casey took this action; it only adds more fuel to their self-aggrandizing "I'm such a victim" posture.

Political discourse is fine; it's what makes for an informed citzenry and a better country. But the Bunker wasn't political discourse. It was set up solely to mock, not only elected officials, but other Ravelers. Just look at the posts on this blog demanding that other groups be shut down, too. What they fail to realize is that the other groups play by the Community Guidelines, and actively moderate themselves.

Lissa said...

I never agreed with the group. Every time I peeked in there, I was hit with a wall of relentless negativity.

That is a sad way to live. So much energy expended on negativity and insular petty commentary could be used towards bettering the lives of the less fortunate

I am sorry their home group was taken from them, I imagine it must hurt like hell. I am also sorry because instead of their negativity being condensed in one avoidable area, they've now been forced to spread it around and infect other groups.

Though I find it sadly amusing that even the other conservative groups are leery of having them. If people who are supposed to be your peers shun you, shouldn't that tell you something important about your behavior?

Faeya said...

As a proud LSG member as well as a member of Knitters for Obama, I am still trying to figure out when and where these groups descended into hatefulness without it being quickly and painfully squashed by our lovely mods. I've seen and heard smackdowns in LSG because one of our members said something rash in the big 6 just because we didn't want it to reflect on us!

If your big complaint with our groups is the cussing in LSG, then don't read it. If you're afraid that your kids might see something you disagree with, then don't let them online without monitoring them.

But, I've never understood why the party that supposedly stands for smaller government and individual rights has such a vocal contingent that wants to make sure that I don't have those rights and wants their small government to step in to take them from me.

Anonymous said...

I flagged 2 posts in The Bunker on October 24. They both stated that Obama probably had his grandmother offed to get 'sympathy' votes.(recall that she died the week before the election). I can ignore the childish name-calling that went on there. But, this kind of hateful stuff was going over the line. When the moderator finally responded to me, her response was basically "let it blow over". OK. Whatever. I 'spose that might be the kind of cooperation that Casey was dealing with.

Anonymous said...

Following up to my Anonymous post about flagging abusive posts in the Bunker. I am MidniteSky on Ravelry.