Saturday, March 14, 2009

Our side of the story...

There has been a lot of speculation, rumors, and gossip about what happened between the Ravelry PTB and the Bunker moderators that led to the Bunker group being shut down. So far, I have kept quiet waiting for the right thing to be done, but now I’m going to set the record straight and present our side of the story.

In the spring of 2008, I started a pro-McCain group on Ravelry. From my experience in other Conservative groups, I knew that I was in for a rough ride, so I implemented the Deletion policy of guests who were there to stir up trouble and argue. I made it very clear in the group rules who we were, and that posts to “educate” us were not appropriate. Casey and I had a discussion about this and he allowed me to continue the policy until the day the Bunker closed. He understood that it was much better for the members to not have troll posts sitting around – much like if someone took a crap in the middle of your living room, you wouldn’t just let it sit there and stink the whole place up – you clean it up and go on with your day. I want to make it clear that Casey was well aware of the policy and approved it.

More problems came when we changed the name to “The Bunker”. Small minds went immediately to the Hitler reference, which it wasn’t. The President of the United States has a bunker below the White House as well as bunkers being used throughout military history. If anyone has watched an episode of “24”, the Presidential bunker has been used many times in the show. It’s a command center that provides safety from outside forces – much like our group had become for Conservatives on Ravelry who were under constant attack from Obama supporters all over the rest of Ravelry. That was the meaning behind the name – nothing more. Besides, Hitler’s regime resembles Obama’s thought process, not ours – so the irony is quite humorous.

But now to the situation at hand…

The demise of the Bunker has been placed on the moderators of the group. This is not the whole story. We worked diligently behind the scenes to keep the dramas to a minimum. Casey and I did have a discussion about a month ago about having problems with one of our mods, but after a discussion, he said he would handle it instead of putting me in an uncomfortable position (which is what I had done for him when he needed something done that would have put him in a tight spot).
Casey told us more than once how nice it was to work with us, much more than other groups and how our members weren’t the kind that attacked him (until he unfairly shut down the Bunker). He has also admitted that our moderators were thrown under the bus and that our entire relationship was not dysfunctional. We were not given the same chance as other controversial groups to re-organize – just a notice that we were being shut down. Casey has told me that I should have been notified first to see if something could have been done to correct the problems he was having with some of our mods – but now it’s too late and he doesn’t know how to fix it without causing more problems.

The Bunker was a lightning rod for those who didn’t agree with our political opinions and couldn’t seem to follow the Ravelry rules to leave other groups around, so the majority of the moderators’ time was spent dealing with BS flags, PMs, posts, and very conflicting information. For instance, we were told that it was okay to say that Sarah Palin should be raped with a hockey stick, Dick Cheney should be pushed off a cliff, and other sorts of things, because that was just “venting” but a comment about Obama’s scarf was twisted around in circles to make it look like a “threat” and should be deleted. Pictures of Nazi propaganda with GOP symbols in place of swastikas was fine, as was calling GWBush a Nazi, but mention it the other way and it was “hate speech”. Calling us “Repugs” and “fundies” was fine, but “libturd” was not cool. The examples of the double standard could go on forever, but all of this led to us being very confused as exactly how to moderate within the Rav guidelines when there wasn’t a consistent standard to follow. Did we make mistakes? Absolutely – we weren’t perfect, but then there’s only one person in the history of man who can claim that title and it isn’t any of us.

I don’t know of many other mods in other groups who more than once had to sit at the computer for 30 - 45 minutes straight deleting all the posts of people who refused to follow the rules of Ravelry and insisted they had the right to post things on our board that violated the group rules. That’s the kind of crap we had to deal with and as far as some kind of “culture of hate” on our group – just look around Ravelry and I think that moniker fits a lot more with other groups than it did with ours.

All we ever wanted was to be left alone to enjoy each other’s company, but I guess the “get in their faces” order from their Dear Leader went to an unending loop in some supporter’s brains and they just couldn’t get over it.

So let's fast forward a few weeks now - It seems that Casey has decided to ban almost all the members of the off-Rav site of the Bunker because he terms them "disruptive". Yet another load of horse crap. More on that little piece of idiocy later.


Tammy said...

Thanks for starting to get the truth out there my friend... and for be strong enough to start and maintain a McCain forum on a liberal site.

EllieJane said...

Stay tuned for tomorrow - screenshots!

Chrisknits said...

Thanks for starting this. It will be linked on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Sing it EllieJane! Fabulous post - can't wait for the documentation.


Diane / "Didi" said...

I can hardly wait for the rest!

Diane / "Didi" said...

I can hardly wait for the rest!

Mead said...

Thank you, you brave woman, you.

Diane / "Didi" said...

Any chance you could post the screen shot as a bigger graphic, so it's easier to read?

EllieJane said...

Sure, I'll redo it tomorrow.

Looks like the crazies have found my blog - too bad they can't do a damn thing about it.

AllyKatt said...

so sad that the anon posts don't show up without approval, isn't it? it must hurt them immensely to be silenced on a site they don't control...

K said...

I have and am doing all I can to help my 'bunker sisters' while I'm still a member of Ravelry. I'm so sorry this happened, and this is just living proof that the fairness doctorine is alive and well...can I say that here? Of course I can because the code monkey can't kick me out of here.

Ruthanne (in Seattle) said...

interesting reading more of the story EllieJane. Thank you - I cam here from Tammy's blog. The whole thing bothers me deeply. . . that there is only one way to be or do that is "right" is sickening. We are a country of people with various ways of looking at things. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

I applaud you for going public with this story. It needs to be told, and hopefully finds its way to some major Conservative media. Hiding off Ravelry, like a hunted animal, empowers those on Ravelry who have the ear of Management.

This is a bigger issue than just a scrap on Ravelry. It is reflective of the Left, on a national scale, trying to silence all opposition to Obama and their Socialist cause.

The Left has waged war in America against the Center and the Right. Attacking openly is now the norm, be it Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Kramer, Santelli or the Conservative members of Ravelry. You are all a target!

The choices are to be silent and get completely run over, or push back. This means doing so in an intelligent, well-thought out, united manner.

For example, everyone banned from Ravelry should each week flood one advertiser with complaints about foul language, nudity, silencing free speech, dictatorial management etc.

Make a blog button flaunting that you take pride in being banned from Ravelry. Pass it around to all your knitting and non-knitting friends. Do not hide and skulk. The Left wants to see you spinning and upset.

Keep this story on your blog sidebars. Talk about it frequently so that it comes up on Google searches. Use the word "Ravelry" often in your posts. Link to each other's Rav-bashing posts. This will move your opinions to the top of Google searches.

Anything less than this amounts to being a "battered housewife". You can engage intelligently in this battle, or you can choose to be members of the irrelevant silent majority!

Keep up the good fight. You have more support than you think.

The bright side to the story is that I found your blog and enjoyed reading it. I am envious of you knitting talent.

A fellow traveller, who must remain anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I'm following your blog, EllieJane. I was a former McCain Ravelry member who left post-election. Though I was the first to doubt theories about silencing conservatives, reading your and Tammy's blog has really been enlightening to me.

I'll continue to read, and hope to gain more of the facts of this unfortunate situation.

5elementknitr said...

Came here from Tammy's blog.

This whole thing saddens me. It seems to have been poorly handled by Rav, but as you said, humans aren't perfect.

I think Rav's main mistake was ever allowing any forum that breaks the rules of "polite conversation". You know whenever people talk about sex, religion or politics, it's going to get unpleasant.

It's good to read your side of the story. I wish I could also read Rav's side by they don't seem to be talking about it much. Any links to their side?

Makes me very sad.