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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.