Saturday, January 16, 2010

Everybody's talking. . .

First off, this lovely image came from this great website, Old People Talking about the Internet.
Second off, I read an online article about the Etsy forums this morning, not a very complimentary article. I would provide the link, but the author gets paid according to how many times the article gets clicked, so I'm not going to do that.
In the article, the writer talkes about the negativity in both the Etsy and Artfire forums, and how these negative posts are driving away buyers. Now, there are some things you should know:
1. I spend some time in the Forums. I have gone there with questions, and had them immediately answered by wonderful people who have been dealing with Etsy a lot longer than I have. I've goofed off, been extraordinarily silly, seriously connected with others, and met some incredibly lovely people on the forums. That community is part of what I love about Etsy.
2. I can't speak for Artfire, because I've never even been to Artfire's site.
3. People do occasionally act unprofessionally on the forums. They talk about other sellers, say bad things about buyers, criticize etsy relentlessly, and so on.
4. What is in the forums is visible to the outside world through Google search. It's also visible to etsy buyers who wander through the forums.
5. I have gotten sales from hanging out in the forums. I don't do the promotions section, because I didn't find it effective. However, I've talked with people in a thread who then bought from me. I used it more for socialization and education. I interact with other buyers, and I learn stuff.
6. Allegedly, the person who wrote the internet article has been in etsy's forums, digging up dirt, and getting people riled up. At the close of the article, she suggests that sellers leave etsy and go to other markets to buy and sell. The writer may have ulterior motives for her essay.
I guess what it all comes down to is this: Etsy is your business office. Maybe it's more like your retail store, where buyers can see and hear you. However you choose to behave there, remember that it's visible to everyone. Yes, I act like a goofball there sometimes, but that's because I am a goofball, and I don't mind my buyers seeing that side of me.
I am not a negative person or a mean person. That may sound silly, but negativity and meanness sometimes comes out so quickly in the forums. Just because I'm fairly invisible, behind this screen and keyboard, doesn't give me a license to run amok with evil, or to be a snarkwit, or to get out all of my frustrations on strangers because I can.
Fighting with people in the forums is akin to fighting with ghosts.
It's just as easy to be kind as it is to be cruel.
The way you act in the forums represents you, your shop, your art and actually etsy as a whole.
That concludes my preaching post for 2010.


  1. Here, here! Some people act ridiculous in the forums! But I think overall they're good. It is best to be professional in there though . . .

  2. Well done MAB. I couldn't agree with you more and, might I add, that I find it ironic that the article in question was pretty darn negative so what's that say for the author? That's right negativity breeds negativity. You get out what you put in.

  3. I'm terrified to go into the forums cause all I ever hear are the negative things. This post has convinced me to give them a try.

  4. Awesome posting :)

    I have been stunned by some of the things I have read in the forums, my policy, go to a forum where people are nice and supportive, leave the cat fights well alone! Etsy, on the whole, is full of good people trying to sell their crafts and support like minded people.

    I really like most of the people I have bumped into in the forums and you are one of my favourites :)

    Have a great weekend, regards, T.

  5. I personally have never seen much negativity in the Etsy forums. I don't spend oodles of time there, but when I have visited and have posted, everyone I have come across has been friendly and helpful. I wish I had more time to chat and visit and get to know my fellow Etsians there, actually.

    Then again, I am so accustomed to horrendous negativity that abounds on the EBAY forums that the Etsy forums seem like they are just all sunshine, rainbows and happiness! eBay's forums are full of the most miserable people on earth. After being a regular participant for about 5 years, I recently left those forums for good and have no plans of ever returning. It is a quagmire of negativity and I just don't need that.

  6. I have seen some terrible things said in the forums that aren't just debating or snarkiness. It's just plain bullying. Imagine walking into a store and hearing the proprietor saying some of the things you hear on the forums. I'd run out!

    I found the article you were talking about, and it looks like she did say that there were helpful posts there and that hard working Etsy sellers deserve a fair shake.

    Also, at the end she didn't say to leave Etsy, I think she just said to try something else out if you were sick of the drama. Why not suggest other stores? There's nothing wrong with shopping around.

    I guess you can look at it from both sides, but I don't see why it's as though the article were stating anything far from the truth. It's an ugly truth, but it's there. Sometimes it has to be said out in the open and people just don't want to hear it.

  7. Thanks for the summary of the article. I'm one who doesn't want to click on things like that and encourage an author to continue.
    I do see negavitity in the Etsy forums, but try to just avoid it. There is much to be learned there and I've made purchases from shops I noticed in the forums.
    I think it is a part of business - most industries have an ugly underbelly! Hopefully customers will realize this and do business with the folks putting their postive foot forward.

  8. I agree that sometimes people go terribly bad in the forums, for no particular reasons. Also, it's good to know that there are other places to sell your stuff.
    I went into the Bugs section one day to report a bug, and immediately had someone tell me that it was not a bug, I just don't know what I'm doing. That didn't make me very happy. But that's a rarity. I've gone there many times and had my questions answered and my concerns addressed. And I've found a lot of good info that has helped me improve my shop.
    I'm very pro-etsy, and I think it offers a lot of potential and support for sellers, and an almost endless choice of amazing stuff for buyers. Maybe that's why I took a bit of offense to the article.
    I can't agree with the way the author of the article apparently came into the forums several times to bait sellers.
    Her side is just one opinion, and so is mine.
    I also wonder if some people don't know that their comments in the forums do show up on a google search.
    I love to mix with the fun people in the forums, and I think I'll continue to stay out of the major disputes. Unless I mark them with "zamboni" for later reading!