I was very disappointed in the Ravelry community yesterday. I started a thread in which I shared a suggestion, but others interpreted it as a "demand" rather than a "suggestion" and well...the thread just got pretty ugly from there on. As soon as I realized how my original post was interpreted I apologized and also edited that same post by adding an apology to it. However, this didn't do much because the attitude of the thread didn't change at all. A moderator even made an announcement for everyone to "stop bickering" which pretty much everyone ignored. I could see very early in the thread that the harsh comments that I was receiving were only going to get worse, so I sent a message to six moderators telling them that I was beginning to feel harassed and asking them to close the thread. I also flagged a few of the most offensive replies that were directed at me. None of the moderators responded to me at all. The flagged posts were never dealt with. About 6 hours after the initial moderator announcement, when the thread had grown to 130 comments and the argument had gotten much worse, a moderator finally locked the thread.
I'm disappointed in the Ravelry community because it seems like the amount of rude and uncalled for comments made in the forums is getting higher and higher each day, and that one must be afraid to share their personal opinion without getting attacked by dozens of people at once. I'm also disappointed in the moderators for not dealing with the situation promptly and habitually allowing bullying to occur in the main boards.
So here's my point:
I think that those of us that participate in online message boards--whether it be on Ravelry, Etsy, Craftster, wherever--need to remember that even though all we see is a computer screen, we're talking to real people that have real feelings, and that having good manners online is just as important as having good manners towards the people we speak with face to face.
So even if you have the chance to say the funniest, snarkiest, most sarcastic comment to gain sweet revenge against someone that has said something that you don't agree with, or even worse, someone who has challenged a statement of yours, the best thing to do is bite your tongue and turn the other cheek. ;)