Cyber-bullying on Ravelry

Monday, June 16th, 2008
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TrollOver the past few months, this blog has become more and more popular. New people are always showing up, and I love that because it means more and more people to talk to and befriend. However, it’s not just new friends showing up but also new trolls. The frequency of personal attacks in my comments section and via email has increased exponentially over the past year, and yesterday my blog camel’s back was broken in this post, which was a quick but unintentionally offensive follow-up to this one. The post stepped on some feet, but instead of an “ouch” it got a three-page blitzkrieg on a web forum in response.

There is an interesting social phenomena that emerges every once in a while on the Internet. It’s best described by that wonderful phrase, herd or mob behaviour, and it involves antagonizing people with greater and greater vigour, buoyed by the notion that one is not the only one doing it, so it must be fine. The anonymity of the Internet makes it even easier to take pot shots at someone because you don’t have to worry about a reprimand. I don’t mean simply whether or not you use your real name; cyber-bullying is on the rise among high school bullies, who use the Internet as a way to mediate the things they say to people they know, with full disclosure as to who is doing the bullying. It’s easier to type mean things than to say them to someone, because they aren’t being verbalized and they aren’t face-to-face.

Take, for example, a group of people who all frequent the same web forum.* Because they share roughly the same set of opinions, they can feel secure in attacking a site they don’t like because everyone else is saying the same thing. While it may seem to each person as if their individual comments are relatively benign, they fail to realize that if 30 people all take part in this antagonism, it can be very frustrating and somewhat distressing for the victim to bear these comments. Think about it like a giant game of keep-away: if one person does it, they’re a jerk. If 30 people do it, they’re also jerks, but they underestimate their jerkiness because they’re just going with the flow. Additionally, the person in the middle whose toy is being tossed around will feel a greater amount of frustration with each additional place they have to run in order to get their toy back. In the end a large group of people end up victimizing a single person or site, perhaps without realizing the weight of these comments in summation. Many a blog has been rampaged by wandering forum trolls, and yesterday, that blog happened to be mine.**

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Welcome Whippers!

Monday, June 2nd, 2008
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I got a spike today, thanks to Whip-up linking to me about this Robot Softie. Hello, new folks! The tutorial is here. I’m also going to take the time here to link shamelessly to my contest!

DeStash is closing!

Thursday, June 14th, 2007
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I’m so upset. I’ve been lurking on the DeStash blog since I found out about it and I’ve even bought something through it. A gaping void has been torn in the knlogosphere!

I believe this will cause a power vacuum, and I see a piece of specific software taking its place that forces stronger posting standards and perhaps PayPal support. Maybe Ravelry can fill the gap?

Side note on Ravelry in which I eat my hat: Looks like hype is actually making Ravelry popular, which I had not expected. I thought that duplication would be a problem for blog owners and that people would get tired of the system after a while (I’ve seen it in the knitblog community before), but I was wrong. A few well-placed raves have gotten the knit community buzzing. I really like their needle-tracker, although it could be a bit faster. Remember Ravelry: ease of use first, extra functions second. Three whole clicks! And waiting between! Do I really need to comment on my needles?

A special note to my readerz

Thursday, May 17th, 2007
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Poodle SheepA friend of mine convinced me to try Google Ads again; I had them before in the hopes to make back some of my hosting fees, but not very much came in. I figure if it makes me $2 a month, that’s still fine, then I only have to pay $8 in hosting fees. Ads are only shown to folks who haven’t commented on my site before. Basically, transitional people will see the ads, but my regular readers—or at least those who have commented—won’t. If you’re a lurker and you don’t want to see the ads, leave a comment and say hi!

For those who made it all this way, here’s a treat for you: news that Japanese rich folks (and a famous actress) accidentally bought sheep that were cleverly disguised as poodles. Hilarious!

I’m in knit.1!

Saturday, February 17th, 2007
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Knit.1

I bought my copy yesterday and was planning to take a picture of it, but then my mom stole it this morning to show to her friends so what you see above is the little sneak peak that Shannon Okey sent me a few weeks ago. This is so neat!

Welcome, knit.1 readers! Here is the Soccer Ball pattern she’s talking about. And for the record, you don’t have to seam it all together like she says. There’s virtually no seaming at all, in fact, if you hate seaming (which I do); the ball above was constructed by picking up stitches from the sides of other hexagons and pentagons.

Comment! Talk! Converse!

Thursday, January 4th, 2007
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Whenever I have significant work to do that isn’t panic-worthy, I always end up blogging or playing around with Firefox* add-ons to avoid working take a break between work periods. Therefore, it is no surprise that I will be adding two new comment-love WordPress plugins to this site, both of which I found via John Chow.

The first, Subscribe to Comments 2.0, is a plugin I’d seen in action and wanted to use but never knew where it came from. It’s nothing huge; just a little check-box by the comment form that lets you subscribe to the given conversation by email. I’ve subscribed to email comments in this manner once or twice, so I know it works.

The second, Show Top Commentators, is a little reward for frequent commenters to my site. A list in the sidebar shows my top ten commenters as well as a link to their blog, meaning they’re rewarded with blog traffic as well as google-love. I really like this idea, because I can return the joy of getting a comment back to the commenter via the joy of getting a link. It’s implemented on my sidebar, check it out!

UPDATE, 5:48PM: Just FYI, I rewrote most of Show Top Commentators so that it would do what I wanted it to do. There were a few bugs involving the website filter and such, and I modified it to use email as a unique key instead of name.

So there’s some incentive to comment! I love getting them, and you’ll love leaving them! And that, my friends, makes a happy internet.

*Heehee! Firefox just spell-checked itself. L-O-L!

This post is delivered in APOSTROVISION!

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007
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Hiya M’dearies! Looks like the Needle Exchange’ll be movin’ in the next few days or so. No idea when; I’m still tryin’ to set up the hostin’ and whatnot. The folks I signed up with to host the .ca domain name are kinda givin’ me the ol’ run-aroun’. We’ll see what the next week’s holdin’! For now, keep yer pants on an’ our regular programmin’ will be resumin’ shortly.

Knitting Blog, Free to Good Home

Thursday, December 7th, 2006
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Moving House

The Needle Exchange is moving in the new year! I’m getting tired of the confusing blog URL, so I’ve decided to find a new domain name. The following domains are available:

Any other suggestions? Preferences? Is it more logical with or without the hyphen?

Change Your Feed Links!

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006
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I’m switching my RSS feed over to Feedburner, so if you’re a subscriber of mine you can point your RSS reader over to http://feeds.feedburner.com/NeedleExchange. Yay! Web 2.0!

Feedburner Logo

The main reason for the switch is so I can keep track of the number of people who are reading my blog. It also makes it easy to maintain compatibility between browsers, mobile phones, etc. Plus, when you navigate to my feed it looks pretty! As we all know, prettiness is the driving force of technological progress.

Knitting and Politics

Monday, September 11th, 2006
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I just came across a cool new blog with a cool recent post about crafting and politics and how, on her blog, never the twain shall meet. I try to avoid talking about politics on this blog because I think most of it has nothing to do with crafting and I don’t want to alienate all the cool folks who come by here on a regular basis. My other blog is more personal, and quite a bit more ends up there, so I don’t feel like the self-censorship is in any way suffocating.

Of course, there are some ways that politics can creep into knitting (many ways, actually), and it turns out that knitting has a vast political history. But aside from the few blog posts about gender definitions and “knitting for the troops,” there aren’t many blogs that combine knitting and politics. I’d like to see some. Not those from the US, that’s to be expected and (dare I say it) common. I’d prefer something in a foreign politick (Africa? Lebanon?), or possibly even Canadian.

Blogosphere, get to work!