Thursday, August 19, 2010

What is your opinion worth?

Lately there have been several folders on the sewing sites touting the empirical knowledge of one or more persons. And there have been folders where people's opinions have been belittled because the original writer doesn't agree with the subsequent posters. Every time I finish reading one of these discussions (I'm learning not to participate because you can get your head handed back to you for having an opinion!) I think all the most vocal poster wants is "to be right" and to be patted on the back for it!

No matter that these are sewing boards and most of what people write IS their opinion based upon their experiences…those opinions are criticized, denigrated and generally kicked to the curb because someone else IS RIGHT! As long as the opinion is expressed respectfully, why is it necessary to batter the writer?

If we take away the ability of people to express themselves what are we left with? I hate the “opinions” expressed on quite a few of the articles on Yahoo about President Obama…but I would fight to the death so that the writers could continue to express them…even though they rile my blood...because one of our freedoms here in the United States is freedom of speech.  But you wouldn’t know that on some of the internet sewing sites!

So why is it necessary to club to death anyone who disagrees with someone else on a sewing site? Why is it necessary to pound them into the ground with “your” facts? Why is someone’s opinion so devalued? Why can’t we just agree to disagree?

Now I know I’m gonna piss some people off with this post. But I don’t care...my blog, my say!  I’m tired of people manhandling others. I’m tired of civility being a thing of the past. I’m tired of people who are always right and know better than others! And I’m tired of people feeling smug and superior because of a few half million words written on a subject. Seriously, it is just clothes. It is just fashion – it ain’t world peace!

But when you make a person feel small because of their experience…when you feel the need to “educate” everyone because you know best…and when you blatantly call another person stupid but use big words to do it…I’m done. I don’t care if you have researched the subject to the nth degree…or if you understand economics…or even if you know a better way to perform the task, a little respect for your fellow human being is not too much to ask, is it?

So talk amongst yourselves. I’m sure that you will have a lot to say...or maybe not! All I ask is that no profanity is used and that we are civil…because I value your opinion with or without the supporting statistics to back it up!










p.s  btw…I damn well know the earth isn’t flat but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have an opinion about it!



68 comments:

  1. She just hates you because your fat

    TassieP

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  2. respect. it's so simple, really.

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  3. @TassieP - ROTFLOL! Seriously that is just too funny!

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  4. A little more "live and let live", perhaps? :)

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  5. I must miss all the fun. I haven't seen any of these arguments on the blog.

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  6. Thank you Carolyn.

    You ask why? Well my opinion is that it gives some of these half million word writers subject matter for their next half million words on their commercial blogs. ;-)

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  7. I'm not sure what triggered this post, Carolyn, but I do know that one person on the sewing forum I read has annoyed me greatly with her "I know better than you" attitude about everything from government to sewing techniques. So yes, I would like a little more civility and kindness, too. Good post.
    Linda

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  8. Is this happening on blogs or sewing forums? I read a lot of blogs but almost no sewing forums. I haven't seen much rudeness on blogs. I am wondering if this is all going on in sewing forums. It's hard to imagine people getting so worked up about sewing technique, but easy to imagine it about politics!

    I try to stick to sewing strictly on my blog, because I every time I veer off, I look back on what I wrote and feel like a twit!

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  9. Clearly I have had my head stuck in the sand. Now I am curious to know what you are talking about.

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  10. Where are these sewing forums? I'm not interested in the fight, I wan't to participate in the actual sewing related discussions.

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  11. I am not sure which forums you are talking about, but I have experienced something similar in other forums - words can really hurt and I don't understand the meanness of it all...

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  12. I've learned in my life some people just really get off on being mean spirited. It's in their nature. If they see a way to put a person down they will do it. It's very sad.

    I totally agree on your points though. A little civility goes a long way.

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  13. Funny, I went to bed last night thinking about this very subject. I don't believe I read the same thread as you but, but, on another thread, someone asked for opinions about fashion. Then someone stepped in and scolded everyone for giving their opinions. Okay, so when someone asks for your opinion how are you supposed to know that what you are really expected to do is validate *their* opinion? When I ask for opinions, I really want to hear 'em, darnit! If you don't want an opinion, don't ask.

    And, to answer your question, my opinion is worth exactly $.02.

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  15. Beautifully expressed. While I don't know in particular what you are referring to, I agree wholeheartedly. I just hate it though when the critics are anonymous posters with no intent of leaving a name or place behind. I also feel, for my blog, it is mine and I can say what I want. If it is not politically correct enough for you, don't read it. And if you do choose to read it, please respect what I have to say and my literary license.

    I recently went through something similar "behind the scenes" with some interesting emails and chose to leave it there and just move on.

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  16. I hear you, as I think I know what you are talking about. That makes me cringe and I avoid those folders as much as possible.

    But, as much as I dislike these, I don't think that's disrespect ...

    I've met a number of very dedicated and successful people in my life (nerds are drawn to me :/ ) and noted that they often fail to see that THEIR values are not universal. Just because they work for them and brought them success and happiness doesn't mean that they apply to each and every human being.

    In this case, it's trying to apply values of a certain context (where there indeed are research and numbers - time, money ... - to evaluate whether something is right or not) to another context which is only remotely linked and which has completely different triggers (and different players). I'm lucky to be right in the middle of RTW regular size, and to have a job and just enough money to buy enough decent clothes to dress me day-to-day. So my only reason to sew is because it makes me happy. Then, I want to do things the way they make me happy, not the way they SHOULD be done. Because my trigger is not a number, and what brings me happiness won't probably bring happiness to my neighbour.

    Plus, analysing the deep-down psychological underlay of any topic need an intuition and sensitivity that not everyone has. You have numbers, and numbers, and numbers ... and then you have the tiny human psyche. It's always there, somewhere, you just have to dig deep enough.

    As a conclusion, I would say that your behaviour is the right one : take the technical knowledge you need, and let other topics fly away.

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  17. oh my goodness....I know exactly what you mean! I have just about quit participating on some forums because people are such...I can't even describe it! I have even had people come after me in private emails when I refused to engage them on the discussion boards! I think that people hide behind the relative anonymity (I say relative, because we don't know our online acquaintances "in real life," even though we may be familiar with their online persona) of the internet, and this relative anonymity sometimes encourages behavior that would never be acceptable in a face-to-face conversation.

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  18. I have not seen it so much in blogs, but I hate reading comments to news stories because of the very things you comment on in your post. I agree whole heartedly with you, that we need to treat each other with respect and agree to disagree.

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  19. Well said. I've been away from reading sewing forums and blogs due to the life situation at the moment, so I'm not aware of the specifics that made you write this post. But I agree - It's just sewing.

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  20. Amen. To each his own or as my father always said different strokes for different folks.

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  21. I feel sad that there is a need to write this post. To me, it's sadder that some people don't open themselves to possible learning opportunities. You said it all very well. I appreciate your opinion and hope some people take heed. There are so many talented people who share their skills, knowledge, and opinions. I hope that they are not discouraged by a few thoughtless people. What is my opinion worth? Well, that varies according to the reader or listener.

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  22. Honestly, one my favorite things about sewing is that there are millions of ways to achieve the same results! In a lot of projects there is not "right" way to do it...just YOUR way....

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  23. I have no idea what you're referring to specifically but I definitely agree with your point. Also with the comment about not knowing people IRL. It totally amazes me what some people will type. Thanks for writing this post.

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  24. ♫.We are beautiful in every single way
    Yes words can't bring us down, oh , no
    So don't you bring me down today
    ♫♫
    Just heard that song on my way to work .....

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  25. Great post. This is the reason I don`t read or participate in forums.
    I have no idea what exact situation you are referring to, but the gossip in me wants to read all messages on PR to see if I can find it. No, I am not going to waste my time, but damn, I am curious.

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  26. Carolyn, I don't know what precipated this post but I agree with the contents as well as the responses of the other posters here. Whatever happened to civility? OK let me get off my soap box. Have a fantastic weekend!

    BTW - I wish you were coming to the meet up next weekend. I was hoping to meet you. Maybe one day in the week!

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  27. My opinion is always worth the price charged *GRIN*

    Well said, Carolyn. I rarely participate in discussions in certain folders because of the downright hautiness of some posters. I read the responses and just shake my head and close the folder. I always hope to learn something from other people. If you do things differently from me and we both achieve results that please us, then we are BOTH right. I feel no need to "put you in your place" just because we disagree. The arrogance of some people is just amazing. But, it's really easy to say things behind the veil of a computer screen.

    So how 'bout them fall fashion magazines?!!!!!!

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  28. I love reading your blog and watching the dresses develop. I totally agree with you. I can hardly stand to read any of the news sites anymore because the commentary that follows is always so snarky.

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  29. Nicely said. I've seen some of this off and on over the years and its one reason I don't engage much on the forums. I would love to be more of an active participant in the virtual sewing world but I know how people can be and I'm still learning. I'll just write my $.02 on my blog. BTW love your blog

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  30. Sigh. Another brouhaha I've missed because I rarely go to sewing boards any more, just 'cause they seem to attract some really unpleasant, silly, uncalled for, highly irritating, childish, and quite possibly intentional insanity. I have no idea why! But RL (real life) gives me way more unpleasantness than I can handle so I sew in isolation and am preferring the company of polite and decent people more every day!

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  31. I missed this one (and I'm not going to look for it), but yesterday there was a thread about style that had all the same characteristics that you describe. What is up with people? Seriously, I found out last year that life is just too short to act that way. Thank you for a great post. I was thinking about writing similar, but you put it better than I can. So I'm going to review my Burda top instead! :)

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  32. I'm with you, Carolyn! I just try to take the technical help I can glean, and move on. I've given up trying to help others (even though we *all* have a lot of experience) because someone will stomp all over. Anyway, what I can't figure out is: do these people have too much time on their hands? I barely have time to hit the blogs I enjoy, and get myself cleaned up and at work every day. I'm sure it has something to do with control issues. I run in to people in real life sewing seminars that are intolerable and intolerant. It is a rare class where there isn't at least one who knows how to do it better than the teacher, or can get something cheaper online (when we're in a nice local store with the owner right there). I just want to die, and keep my mouth shut. [I was trained well by a dysfunctional parent.] :-)

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  33. Very well said, and totally agree with you. Also not very sure about what you have read, but I certainly have seen similar comments here and there. So annoying and uncivil. So sorry that is happening.

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  34. Hallelujah! Thank you! I've noticed this is the case not just with sewing blogs, but with all blogs - people seem to think that because it's the internet, and you're not talking face to face, that it's ok to be rude or treat someone like dirt.

    And especially for more "creative" blogs (crafts or sewing) I LIKE to see different answers! I like seeing methods or advice that aren't the standard - you may learn something new and it may be better than the actual way of doing it.

    I'm just sick of the rudeness. It can make reading comments depressing.

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  35. I think I know which forum and which posts carolyn is talking about and I do agree with her. I don't mind someone expressing their personal experience, but I disagree with the absolute condemnation that seems to occur. I can accept dissention if it is expressed with civility. But since that doesn't seem to possible, I'm done reading topics not directly related to the sewing process.

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  36. I'm sorry you had a bad recent experience! Gorgeous is right, life is too short - much too short to give negative forces and negative people the power to hurt or offend us. The haters... their enmity is a reflection of what is within them, and not you or anyone else who generously offers their time/opinion/experience.

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  37. This has really hit a nerve with me because I have a loved one with asperger's syndrome. The person you're talking about is someone who gives me hope that my young nephew can lead a relatively normal life. Aspies can be stubborn, arguementative , and even infuriating, I have witnessed that in person. But they are not doing it to be hateful, cruel, or to get a "pat on the back" and everyones approval.

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  38. @greenleaf
    Unless you've had a personal conversation with me, you are only assuming that it is one person who has caused this post to be written. If that is your belief then you are wrong.

    For your information, there are three separate incidences that I've read or participated in that lead to the writing of this post. No one person or incident on a sewing site would cause me to write this. Several incidences and witnessing more than one person's feelings get trampled upon led to this post...just to make it clear!

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  40. Whadda ya mean the world isn't flat? I haven't fallen off it yet, so it must be flat!!!

    I don't participate in discussions just so I won't get pounded. I tell my kids that in my house, there are 2 opinions: Mine and the wrong one. That doesn't work outside the confines of your own home. People should grow up.

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  41. You know, Carolyn...I was reading the post below before I read yours, and sometimes the universe just speaks:

    http://www.37days.com/2010/08/how-to-have-a-dialogue.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+37days+%2837days%29

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  42. As my DH says, tell me how you REALLY feel!

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  43. Amen. Your post is 1000% on point with sewing and non sewing related articles. People really have no respect for differences of opinion.

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  44. Personally (you know, in my opinion) I don't see this as just a sewing blog issue. I see this more as a pervasive cultural trend throughout this country. I'm sure some highly educated (or at least opinionated) history-type person would tell me that these things swing about in phases, but this current "phase" of people shouting at the tops of their lungs to tell everyone else that they can only think one thought is really irritating. I mean, it's in forums, it's on the news, it's in schools, it's all over the place. I agree with you: I don't like every opinion I hear but I damned well will support people's right to say it. I wish everyone else would extend the same courtesy. You know, that pesky Constitution we have and all. Plus, just plain ol' good manners.

    (And I also have not one clue what prompted this because I stopped reading sewing blogs over two years ago for this very reason... sad, right?)


    There. You can add my two cents to Gigi's. That's a good going rate.

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  45. I have often wondered if the people who have to have their reasoning be 100% right are not really afraid that if everyone doesn’t agree with them then their reasoning has to be wrong, so they attach with all their might anyone who doesn’t see it their way.

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  46. Well said, and I agree, although I too often get sucked into things I should just stay away from. I don't know what forum you are referencing and I don't want to know, but I wish it wouldn't happen. I've never understood this idea that someone has to be right, and I live in a family of people who all believe they have to be right all the time. There are days when I think sticking my head in the sand is an honorable path.

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  47. Maybe I should stay away from sewing forums, but I *like* to talk about sewing. ;)

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  48. Well said !

    The one that gets me is the "I agree to disagree, BUT...." and repeating their opinion again and again. Just let it go people !

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  49. I like what Rose wrote about the situation. Long before nerds were "nerds" I was one, and had an opinion about everything! Thank God I had friends at all, but they got me to see that, while I would never want to hurt anyone's feelings ever, sometimes I did just that, because I had no tact whatsoever. With age comes wisdom, and now I keep my mouth shut as much as possible.

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  50. P.S. I tried a muslim of that Butterick dress on your suggestion, and I think I'm gonna love it! Lots of good DOES come from internet sewing friends!

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  51. I don't know that I have ever felt the need to leave a comment. I very much enjoy your sewing creativity and blog and read it weekly. I agree with you to the nth degree. It seems that some folks believe they have a "special card" and that entitles them to do, say, act, etc, any way they see fit. They you for reminding us all that civility should not be a lost art.

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  52. I don't know that I have ever felt the need to leave a comment. I very much enjoy your sewing creativity and blog and read it weekly. I agree with you to the nth degree. It seems that some folks believe they have a "special card" and that entitles them to do, say, act, etc, any way they see fit. They you for reminding us all that civility should not be a lost art.

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  53. You hit the nail on the head. I like to read opinions before I buy things - Amamzon does that with book ratings and it has saved me from some bad purchases. Why can't people just express their opinion without picking on someone else? And its not just your sewing boards!

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  54. For me, it has taken patience and practice to not become defensive when someone makes a statement I don't like yet feel strongly about. It starts with me taking a breath and not taking the bait. Anyway I know I'm doing it to myself. It has gotten much easier as I have gotten older. That said I stay away from people itching for a fight.

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  55. Great post Carolyn and I can't believe I missed it until now. You have articulated why my participation in discussion forums has dropped. I do wonder about mental health issues or whatever you call these conditions where people make it their mission to offend.

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  56. Civility is not being lost only on line; it's waning off line too. Folks who know better tend to come off as know-it-alls. In this instance, we're sewing; we're dabbling in the art of our choice. There honest is no right or wrong with sewing. There are preferred and/or tried and true methods, but without experimentation with new ways and tools, there will never be change. We're all right and yet, we're all wrong. That's the fluidity of life and sewing in particular. I love to sew. I rarely sew "by the rules." But that doesn't make it wrong :)

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  57. I've seen some of these and kept my 2 cents out too. I am appalled when people can't keep the personal out of a discussion. You've said it all. Thanks.

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  58. Thank you. I needed to hear these words today.

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  59. If anything annoys the dickens out of me, is when someone spews what they think is the only way to do something. As my mom likes to say to someone that does that... " your words are not the only one that's gospel."

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  60. A person who never made a mistake never did anything.

    A person who never gets a complaint, flame or criticism, has never expressed an opinion or taught.

    It's unfortunately the way of the world....in a society of freedom of speech, as many pearls are spoken as stones are thrown.

    For what you contribute here, there is no doubt that you do far more good than not, and after all: There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result!

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  61. After much time and tongue biting....I wonder how insecure a person must be to need to have the only opinion and always be correct?

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  62. I totally agree with you about people being more and more uncivil,this trend is not paticular to your country
    Marie-Noëlle , FRANCE

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  63. I love it!!! I have been lurking forever. This beauty made me comment out loud. So i thought why not post. You are a fabulous sewist,your work impeccable, and your style so professional and current. Great blog. I enjoy reading it almost daily.

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  64. I'm coming a little late to the discussion. There have been several discussions that I have just had to avoid like the plaque. There are some people who if they post on a topic, I don't bother with them. On the other hand, there are people who do post that I am always interested in their opinions or their projects or.....

    At work, we have what we call "fierce conversations" that do sometimes get heated but always filtered with respect for other's opinions.

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  65. Someone suggested I check this post (along with your gorgeous clothes!)... you are so right on target.
    When these posts occur I just laugh at it... I figure it comes from a sense of n'er admitted insecurity, hence the need to be right, to be looked up to. It's kind of sad really. And, uh oh, did I put foot in mouth? I have an econ background! Yikes! I apologize if so!!!
    Karen

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