Tuesday, December 8, 2015

controversy and censorship

PatternReview has closed down the 3rd topic in a row which had politics as a theme.  In each of these threads, a few members jumped into the conversation and used inflammatory language, ridiculed the President, made blanket statements about Muslims...in general, acted like trolls.  I watched, read, kept my typing fingers still and waited for others to respond.  One of the threads was my own (the Politics and Religion thread), and I was more active there.  

It pisses me off completely to see a thread closed because people cannot disagree in a civil manner.  I can see the steps of this unfold like clockwork: controversial topic raised--> measured response-->others chime in--> someone posts a highly accusatory and mean spirited rant-->another reacts with equal emotional vigor but opposite beliefs-->then the conversation disintegrates into an argument about feelings and who is being mean.  And then...someone flounces offstage with the exclamation "This is the last you will see of me."  

To which most of us think "Don't let the door hit you on the way out".  

Good Lord, can we act any more like high school girls?  


and now there is a new rule at PR: no topics in Misc about politics, religion or legislation which will engender strong opinions and hurt feelings.   

I will maintain my PR membership because, well, it's the place I go to for a sewing fix.  It's familiar, easy, all my patterns are there, & my reviews.  It's really a great spot to get info on patterns.   I LIKE PR.  I guess my readers here are going to get a little politics now and then. 

So, what is your reaction to this?  Do you think sewing sites should avoid controversy?  


38 comments:

  1. no_skin_in_the_gameDecember 8, 2015 at 6:11 PM

    Aren't there lots of other places you can go do discuss politics online?

    That being said, if you decide to read/comment on a political thread, I think it's disingenuous to act suprised that not everyone shares the same views. The phrase 'don't feed the trolls' comes to mind...

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    1. It is not the difference of opinion that upset people so much as the venom in the trolls. I do agree with the quote you included! :-)

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  2. I think this is par for the course for PR. It's why I no longer read the boards there...way to many arguments, no civility and no respect for differing opinions. If I wanted to argue politics I would do that at a family dinner - oh no wait we all get along then! *LOL*

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    1. It's good to eat with like-minded people.

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    2. Some people know how to agree to disagree, some don't. Some people know how to do this innately. Others learn it in college. Some hate it for whatever reason. Call me silly, but I'd feel weird talking politics with someone who wasn't right in front of me, live and in person. You can pretty much see an overly intense personality or a crazy one if the person is in front of you, but you might not see it in time when all that's there are disembodied words strung across the screen. I guess that's why I avoid participating in online discussions like that.

      No disrespect to anyone, but don't want to get all hot and bothered over the words of someone who's probably crazy anyway. LOL!

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    3. We have this thing called a safe word - when the conversation is getting too heated someone can yell the safe word and we all have to change course. Maybe they need a safe word at PR!

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  3. I am 100% certain this apparently-uncontrollable spewing
    of venom by a very few PR members is caused by *fear* - which is, quite likely, engendered by their ignorance of the wider world around them. It must be an unhappy and stressful way to live.

    I am robust and cynical, but not everyone is. I will not tell my sewing friends who share my faith to join PR for tips and advice. I recommend Stitchers Guild. It amazes me that both Ravelry and GOMI are frequently condemned on PR for 'bad language', 'meanness' and worse. Odd that neither of them contain the level of racial and religious insult and venom which is spattered all over PR.

    I am a PR member who lists little but reads a lot.




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    1. Thanks for your comment Anonymous. PR also contains a lot of open minded and warm members :-)

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    2. Oh, indeed it is - which is why I specified "a very few PR members". I agree with other commented here that banning the worst of those very few from posting would be far better than banning subjects or deleting a conversation.
      I have, especially recently, often wished to jump in on certain threads when discussion is veering towards a certain subject, but am wary of doing so because I can imagine the sort of response there would be from certain - very few, to be sure! - US based members, and what has once been read cannot be unread, however much one might wish to.

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  4. I think that any site that has a "community" of followers and a misc. area where people chat regularly is going to have subjects come up from time to time that are controversial. Obviously, politics and religion are two topics that can get folks at odds in a hurry, but I remember being quite new to Pattern Review and landing on a thread one day where posters were all at each other's throats about breast feeding! LOL.

    Personally, I'd rather see individual posters who are grossly offensive banned than a topic.

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  5. I enjoy two facebook sewing groups because there is no commenting about pricing, very little drama and those that create drama are quickly deleted from the group. What has resulted is a very responsive, encouraging, sewing group who feel free to share their tips/tricks and actively mentor newer sewists.
    I don't want drama in those groups and I would be the first to delete it from my online life.
    However, I do enjoy talking in person with those who can agree to disagree when both parties have different views. I work in a retail environment and I prefer to see the body language before I commit my time. If, in person, all you do is make inflammatory remarks with troll spew, then I cut it off and move on to the next task.
    I don't read PR because of a couple of threads that put me off. "All you have to do is be polite" is something I stand by.

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    1. kathy, I would have known this was written by you even if not signed. hugs!

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  6. I had no idea... I go to PR to look at pictures of what others have sewn, to read pattern reviews,and I don't think that I've ever even realized that there was a place for discussions of this or any sort.

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    1. Irene, that is probably smart. I am going back to just looking at pictures and maybe the Beginner's Forum.

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  7. I think that because I read from PR's daily digest, these threads must already have been deleted. I agree with comments that it is the offender who should be removed, not the post. I occasionally read comments on other (non sewing) sites and am usually quickly turned off by some of the comments (everything said above and very personal often) , from just a few posters, it's true, but enough to spoil.

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  8. I think that because I read from PR's daily digest, these threads must already have been deleted. I agree with comments that it is the offender who should be removed, not the post. I occasionally read comments on other (non sewing) sites and am usually quickly turned off by some of the comments (everything said above and very personal often) , from just a few posters, it's true, but enough to spoil.

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    1. Yes, so true...there was a thread about someone's divorce with all the lurid details. Now, THAT is offensive.

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  9. gosh, I had no idea that PR had such controversial threads! Like Anne, I usually read from the daily digest. That said, flamboyant argument really offends me, and I leave the 'room' as soon as possible. With an election coming, Facebook will start to bloom with political comment - I likewise leave the room and quit following anyone or group that devolves into or indulges in disagreement or floods the feeds with political media or comment. Life is too short. That doesn't mean I don't care or don't have an opinion. I do. I just prefer to express it appropriately and where it's welcome. Honestly, I don't care if folks use PR a a forum for topics that invite controversy. I won't read it anyway. And PR doesn't belong to me.

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    1. oh God, Facebook...yes, I cannot stand the flooding of political comment. If it is a news item I appreciate it but a constant barrage of anti this and pro that...ugh.

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  10. No I don't think that these subjects should be banned from a miscellaneous board on Pattern Review. Some of the responses were certainly troll like and passive aggressive which I just detest. The name calling was incredibly immature and does nothing to add to an intelligent discussion. Someone adding links should clarify what they are linking to as a courtesy but I didn't click through to them - who wants potential malware on your computer or a biased site etc. some of the posts were such offensive overgeneralisations. It made me sad to see it closed but potentially would have caused a lot of hurt, loss of sponsors and potentially labelled as inciting hate.

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    1. yep, I agree Janine. It was a business decision, and the only one which could have resulted after a few members showed their true colors.

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  11. IMHO, either make an area where it's made clear that you will very likely need to put on your big-girl undies if you wander into those threads, or keep the forums to just sewing or textile-related subjects.

    I don't know what's been riling up some PR members for months now, but it seems lately someone could start a thread about the sun rises in the east, and those few will turn it into a fight about climate change, religion, politics, or a combination of the 3.

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    1. :-) I am partly to blame as I started the politics and religion thread. In my defense, there were small explosions throughout the site so I presented the topic as HOW to talk about controversial issues. We made it to 83 pages I believe.

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    2. was not blaming you :-)! I was simply meaning that for a few months now (longer ago than the recent controversial threads), perfectly innocent topics seem to have gone far astray from the original question or comment.

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  12. I think PR should only be for sewing related subjects. Sewing is suppose to be a fun and stress-relieving activity!

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    1. I love to sew, and it is my quiet spot in my day.

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  13. I think that the Miscellaneous tab should be open to any subject. I find that the conversations that get heated cause me a lot of stress, and for the sake of my blood pressure I tend to avoid them. It's rarely a venue where people's minds will be changed about anything, anyway. But people who enjoy that should get to discuss what they like, as long as it's civil.

    Having said that, maybe it's hard on the volunteer thread moderators to have to track such things and make decisions about when something goes over the line. I imagine that's stressful for them.

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    1. Eleanor took a lot of heat, and that contributed to everything I am sure.

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  14. I owe you a long and chatty email, don't I? They are fine. and big Nick has a large fan base at the barn.

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  15. I agree with those that think it ridiculous to ban comments that are a "discussion" and not "venomous trolling". Somewhat related to this is a discussion on LA SEWIST about modesty in fashion. ..very interesting concept, but my comments were repeatedly not allowed. They were not inflammatory, but did tinge on the connection between modesty/political views of extremist groups/oppression of women. Weird that people are so afraid of discussing something with verve and intelligence! That is a MAJOR reason I love this blog. ..that and the horse stuff !!

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    1. ahhh, I can feel the love. Thanks for that Anonymous.

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  16. This is a challenging situation, I think. It would be great if we could hear different sides of political debates without emotion, but dang, it's so hard to do that! Anyway I always enjoy your blog, and somehow I've missed the drama at PR. Whew!

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I love your comments and enjoy the conversation that results.