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My social media streams blew up Sunday with news of the new Ravelry policy change. If you haven’t heard about it, the full text is available on Ravelry here, and I’ve copied it below. I tried to write a long blog post on this, but after 1200 words I ran out of emotional steam. So here is the short version:
I firmly believe that every human being has the right to feel safe and respected. I agree 100% with Ravelry’s statement that “we cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy”. There has been an undeniable uptick in hate crimes and anti-Semitism in the United States over the past several years. It is scary. I have always loved that Ravelry said “first and foremost, be excellent to each other” in their forum guidelines. That is a rule to live by.
I believe Trump is racist. I believe it is possible for a person to support some Trump administration policies without being racist or supporting white supremacism. The new policy is well intentioned, but poorly framed and worded. While I do not believe it was the intent or desire of Ravelry to make politically conservative members feel unwanted, that is essentially what it accomplished.
I am in great emotional pain at the hate and rage I see being expressed on social media on both sides of this debate. People are pushing themselves further into echo chambers. It is becoming more and more of “us” versus “them”. Throughout my years in yarn, I have watched crochet and knitting bring diverse groups together. This is supposed to be the power of the non-political, hobby arena. It provides us exposure to those not like ourselves. It allows us all to learn and grow as people and human beings. Yes, you have to draw lines. We cannot allow hate speech. We must oppose white supremacist groups. I’m just not sure the new Ravelry policy is the best way of doing that.
New Policy: Do Not Post In Support of Trump or his Administration
Sunday, June 23rd 2019
We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry.
This includes support in the form of forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles, and all other content. Note that your project data will never be deleted. We will never delete your Ravelry project data for any reason and if a project needs to be removed from the site, we will make sure that you have access to your data. If you are permanently banned from Ravelry, you will still be able to access any patterns that you purchased. Also, we will make sure that you receive a copy of your data.
We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.
- You can still participate if you do in fact support the administration, you just can’t talk about it here.
- We are not endorsing the Democrats nor banning Republicans.
- We are definitely not banning conservative politics. Hate groups and intolerance are different from other types of political positions.
- We are not banning people for past support.
- Do not try to weaponize this policy by entrapping people who do support the Trump administration into voicing their support.
- Similarly, antagonizing conservative members for their unstated positions is not acceptable.
You can help by flagging any of the following items if they constitute support for Trump or his administration:
- Projects: Unacceptable projects will be provided to the member or made invisible to others.
- Patterns: Unacceptable patterns will be returned to drafts.
- Forum posts: right now, only posts written after Sunday, June 23rd at 8 AM Eastern
- Profiles: Please do not flag profiles yet if the only banned content is an avatar or avatars. There is not yet a flagging system for those.
Much of this policy was first written by a roleplaying game site, not unlike Ravelry but for RPGs, named RPG.net. We thank them for their thoughtful work. For citations/references, see this post on RPG.net: https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/new-ban-do-not-po…
- Sunday, June 23rd @ 8:00 AM Eastern: First version
- Sunday, June 23rd @ 8:12 AM Eastern: Clarify that if you are permanently banned from Ravelry you will receive a copy of your data including any purchased patterns.
Well said. Thank you for your honesty. When I went to the Ravelry website today I was shocked and offended by their policy. What appalled me was how “non-inclusive” this policy is ( contrary to their statements to the contrary). I have been a member for at least 12 years-probably since their inception. In all those years I have never seen any “hate” speech or white supremacist forums. This is a website dedicated to crochet-it’s not a partisan political commentary. I would never post anything political about any policy or racist comment on the Ravelry website. I am a conservative. Mr Trump is the President of the United States and whether you like him, hate him, agree or disagree with his policies he is the elected political leader of the U.S. Now that Ravelry has censored free speech I no longer feel welcome on Ravelry. I believe that “hate” speech, bullying and other types of disruptive behavior on-line should be swiftly dealt with individually by the administrators but to ban anything dealing with the Trump administration in my opinion is a step too far. I deleted my account today.
Thank you. I completely agree and have been trying to find peace with Ravelry’s actions.
As citizens, we all have a responsibility to live up to our country’s collective values — and to meet these times with courage and integrity. I believe that the owners of Ravelry have responded honestly, in a way that coincides with their values (most of which I’m completely down with); I just wonder if they completely thought through the ramifications of their statement.