Saturday, January 22, 2011

Etsy News Break: Death of the forums

Etsy is closing the doors on most of its public forums. In an action they have coyly named "Forum Migration," all public forums, except for possibly Announcements, Site Help and Bugs, will be fractured into various teams, many without open memberships, all with Team Captains and Team Leaders. At present, these team forum boards are not searchable. What this means is this:
If you are a new Etsy member, either buyer or seller, and you have a question or run into a situation that you need help with, more than likely you are not going to be able to find an answer with a simple search or by opening a new thread.
If you are a longtime Etsy member who has developed friendships, mentorships and bonds with other Etsians, it will be much more difficult to maintain that community in such a fractured structure. True, at this point, we may just be going through a messy transition period. But I sincerely believe (along with at least 95% of the Etsians who have responded to this announcement) that this will kill the community that Etsy claims to love. I have seen people help each other, professionally and personally, in the forums every single day. Sometimes, the emotional connections have brought tears to my eyes. Yes, there's a lot of crap, bickering and uselessness, but I would say that the positives far, far outweigh the negatives.
If the collective community has a problem with an Etsy action, as they legitimately have in the past, the dissent will be compartmentalized into team forum boards that may not be visible in Google searches. And if Etsy is either preparing to go public or sell outright, it's in their best interests to clean up the joint. This is one way of cleaning up.
If you are on a team, you can be removed from the team and have your posts deleted and your threads closed by a Team Captain or Leader. Also, you can be denied membership to many teams. Not to mention that it's going to be difficult to find the teams that might best address your concerns, and to keep track of all of those teams. So much easier to just scan the forum page and see the news and group concerns of the day, right?
Etsians are acting--either by forming teams or setting up alternative meeting places, like the Unofficial Etsy Forums over on proboards. I'm still investigating these different options. Right now, it seems like a terrible mess to me. Today, for the first time in a year and a half, I had time to sit down and work on my shop for a few hours, and I didn't want to. That is just sad.
Those of you who use and love Etsy, how do you feel about these changes?
Bereft and frozen in Ohio


  1. Beautifully written MAB. I'm still hoping Etsy Admin sees how massively unpopular this is and takes note of some of the very valid concerns being expressed and has a change of heart. I'm all for Teams for specialist interest groups but not to replace the 'all in one place' open forum.

  2. Truthfully, I think I'll miss the promotions forum the most. I loved hooking people up with blog features (and getting hooked up), sharing links, treasuries... it was a wonderful way to network without a lot of time and effort. I'm kinda bummed about the whole thing. While I love teams, I don't think teams are a replacement for the forums, I think they should be an addition.

  3. I used to spend a lot of time in the forums. I learned so many things - about Etsy stuff and just business in general. I also liked the promotion forum - I would post when I needed a gift idea for someone and the suggestions would pour in. A great thing for someone who doesn't like to shop. And I'm sure I would not have found this blog (and others) without the forums. I don't belong to a team. I doubt I'll join just to read the forums. Makes me sad. The forums really are the community of Etsy.

  4. I really hope that they see that the forums are the HEART of Etsy. I have made so many connections and friends. But I understand that change is a coming, I just hope for the best :)

    Thanks Laura, for keeping me informed, 'coz it is usually your blog that I learn things about what Etsy is up to.

    LOVE the Supernova Gus :)

    Have a lovely evening, T. :)