In my last post, I mentioned coming across a rather negative online discussion of a crochet pattern. I said I had no problem with that, and I want to elaborate on why, because I think it's an important issue. And because I feel like ranting.
I've said in the past that there seems to be an attitude in the yarnosphere of "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." To a certain extent, I think that's a lovely idea. After all, what can really be gained from snarking on a brand-new crocheter's first lumpy finished object? Nothing. It just leads to hurt feelings, and I can see how in a worst-case scenario it could turn someone off the fiber arts and/or blogging. We all have made projects that didn't turn out like they were supposed to -- that's why Ravelry has UGHs! Saying someone is smelly and fat just for shits and giggles may fly on some parts of teh intarwubz -- that's the main reason I've never started an NBA blog. But it isn't acceptable in the yarnosphere, and I think that's a good thing.
However, I am extremely skeptical of people -- who often also happen to be designers -- who carry on about how fiber artists shouldn't say anything bad about anyone or anything because fiber arts are a "sisterhood." If you are going to put a pattern out there and charge people money for it, then you should know that people will discuss it, up to and including "OMG this pattern sucks I cannot believe anyone would have the gall to charge money for this." If designers cannot deal with this, then IMNSHO, designers should not charge for their patterns. Or at least should not go looking for criticism and then get bent out of shape about it (I know, easier said than done, but there's a reason they tell the American Idol contestants not to go on the message boards). As for designers who rely on the "sisterhood" claim to avoid criticism, all I want to know is, if fiber arts are such a sisterhood, then why are you trying to make a buck off your sisters?