Saturday, January 8, 2011

In Defense of the Insensitive

This is going to be something a little bit out of the ordinary for me. Today, I am actually going to write a honest to goodness blog post. Why? Because I feel it needs to be said. I have to say it, and if you do or don't agree with me... well, that doesnt really matter to me. I write today to defend sellers. Sellers who don't break the rules. Sellers who not everyone gets or likes. Sellers who get on people's nerves or set off their offensive tastes. Sellers who get harassed, called out and belittled by people who dont like their art or what they have to say.

Recently there has been a HUGE stink over on etsy. If you havent been in the forums (or even if you have) you may have missed it. There is a seller (among many) who sells some 'greeting' cards. I use the word 'greeting' like that because to many, what their cards say is insensitive, offensive and disgusting. So much so that a person who found them so morally reprehensible that they first started spamming the forums using sock puppets. That got annoying super quick, believe me. After a few weeks of getting no where with their socks, the blogs supporting a complete boycott of etsy (and all of the hundreds of thousands of sellers from all around the world) because of the products this one person is selling. Next, it showed up on CNN, with all the accompanying outrage and bashing of the first amendment (seriously).

Two things: All of this outrage has not changed a thing. This shop isnt breaking any etsy rules... but they are getting a SHIT TON of free publicity. You should see the number of views and sales! I wish I could get on CNN! I cant imagine the amount of crap the seller must be getting in their convo box though. I hope they are a strong enough person to stand behind their shop. Second, the forums have become a constant battle ground as etsy admins closing call out threads. They must be tired as hell with all the extra work and not able to focus on developing things that actually matter to the site.

Do I find all the cards in that shop funny? Nope, but I did chuckle at a few. Did I find a few offensive, you bet I did! Am I planning on showcasing them (I asked them weeks ago... but I probably wont get to them for a while given the queue of people in front of  them), hell ya! I cant imagine how many shops I have featured that some people, or even a majority of people, would find in bad taste and offensive. None of these sellers have done anything wrong.

What can you do if you find yourself faced with a shop you find morally defunct (in your opinion)? DONT FUCKING BUY FROM THEM.  It seems pretty simple. Dont go on the forums, set up sock puppets and whine about it. If they are following etsy's TOS, they deserve an equal chance to sell their items like everyone else. Not everyone has the same level of 'okay-ness' with everything. Yes, I made that up, but I hope you get what I am getting at. I cant STAND vomit. Really, I cant... but I featured a seller who creates paintings of people vomiting a while back. Why? Because I will not dictate my sensibilities to everyone else. Sometime I just get tired of people popping into the forums and clutching their pearls over a pair of assless undies, penis cozy or offensive card. If they are following the rules, they belong here. Click past and find something you actually DO like.

I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.

Now that we have that settled, why cant CNN take up the issue of resellers or mistagging on etsy? That might actually get something done about the problem...


****UPDATE***
This is from lisajune (admin)
lisajune says:
I believe our position on this is worth reiterating:

The lens of our policies determine the content we remove from the site. We have millions of members whose opinions don't necessarily reflect that of myself or Etsy as a company. In no way does Etsy support the mockery of AIDS, Rape, Breast Cancer or DS.

We appreciate that this topic weighs on the minds of our members. The themes of this shop could be considered controversial, and I can see how they touch very personally.

However, this is a decision that ultimately is made based on our policies. Prohibited items include:

* Alcohol
* Tobacco
* Drugs, drug-like substances, drug paraphernalia
* Live animals, illegal animal products
* Pornography
* Firearms and/or weapons
* Recalled items
* Real estate
* Motor vehicles (automobiles, motorcycles, boats, etc.)
* Items that promote or glorify hatred, racial, religious intolerance
* Items that instruct others to engage in illegal activity
http://www.etsy.com/policy/dosdonts#selling


Etsy hosts a diverse global community with a very broad range of sensibilities. You may find some things to be offensive, harmful -- and this is also noted in our Terms of Use.

This is a situation that begs us all to exercise understanding. If you do not appreciate the sensibilities expressed in an item the site, we would not ask you to support or promote it; but as items comply with our Terms of Use, they can exist on the site at the discretion of the person who is selling them.

*** Thank you lisajune for standing up for your TOS as they stand and not punishing a seller that has done nothing wrong (in the eyes of the TOS).***