Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bullying - Knit Style

I was thinking about this so maybe it's time to address bullying in a different way: by a story.  You see, I'm the only one in the knitting group who has been kicked out of a Knit Along. Ok, as I say it, "I was asked to leave."  a knit-along.  Yeah. because I called out the List Mom on bullying.

I used to join Knit Alongs.  The jist of them is that the person running the knit along - the List Mom - puts out a section of a chart or directions each week and you knit that part, not knowing what you'll get for a design until the end. The knit alongs is run through a email group, which allows you to control how many people are in the group and who gets what kind of message. Each week the email goes out to gather up another clue and others chat about things and post pictures of their progress.   It's a great way to get a few thousand people to test-knit your designs.  Heck, one of my favorite shawls was made that way:

Dem Fisher Sin Fru from Monika Eckert.  Her stuff is always amazing.

But that time, I joined a knit-along by a new designer.  No, I do not remember her name, nor the design name of the shawl. After a tragic decision on another KAL (Knit along) that required me to frog 2 weeks' worth of work, I decided to sit back and not knit along until I saw the other knitters' work.

So about 3 weeks into the thing, List Mom says: Knit or get out.  

This is not a read-along but a KAL.

Ok, sure, whatever. It is, after all, HER KAL, right? Then she got snarky, and then people started falling over themselves apologizing for not knitting her thing. I remember one knitter apologizing profusely for not keeping up: Her husband had a heart attack and she was tending to his needs instead of knitting.

Which pissed me off.  How DARE this List Mom bully these people into having to explain why they did not knit? And what I found more galling, was the amount of people apologizing profusely, groveling and just cowing to this bully! It's a FUCKING KNIT-ALONG!!! Not world war!!!

After watching the list for a few weeks; all the kow-towing, all the groveling, all the ...meekness this List Mom forced these knitters into, I just had it.  Yeah, I know I should have done it privately, but sometimes I just need to get people to realize what they are doing. So I sent out a broadcasted message to List Mom over the whole list.  It simply said repeatedly, "Are you SURE you want to do this? Are you SURE you want to bully 500 potentially paying customers over a knitting pattern? Are you sure you want to market yourself as a bully?"

I was told that if I did not like it, I could leave.  I didn't.  I don't scare off that easily. In fact, I still have the complete pattern somewhere. It's a lame pattern. I could write up that thing in like...a day....charted and written. It's pedantic, geometric and low-skill.  Yes, I know I'm being uppity about it, but if you're going to bully 500 people with a pattern, at least make it a good one!

A few members of that group congratulated me on doing what they wished to do: Call the List Mom out for being a bully.  I'm glad to do it. I don't run my life on whether or not people 'like' me.  I do find other people who relish the role of bully to be intolerable, but more than that, I find those people who kow-tow to bullies, those who apologize profusely and continue to be bullied to be MORE reprehensible.  Call out the bully! Grow some stones and stand up for yourselves!!! Do not accept bullying as a way of life, even in knitting!

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