We have been asked by more than few readers who are newer to Etsy to explain the "Etsy 5". We asked Eclipse, one of the 5 (and an editor for UEN) to write it up for us since UEN has covered it in the past. (All love to the UEN, we did not want to step on their toes, or get the story wrong. Enjoy:
I was asked by the Bitches to give a summary of the Etsy 5 case because lots of newbies were asking about it. I decided to do so, but not because I want to stir the whole pot up again. As far as I am personally concerned, my case is closed, Etsy corrected their mistake (80% anyway) and it's in the past. I don't particpate in the "remember when etsy did _____ last year" bitching because there's plenty of current important issues to bitch about, and that's more productive. So I'm not trying to get attention or to whip up anger against Etsy about the past. I've moved on and I hope others can too.
I only agreed to give the summary because there is so much incorrect information floating around, so much speculation and craziness, it's become like the game of telephone where each time it's passed on, the story gets embellished or twisted to enhance various agendas. So I just wanted to let people read the cases from the firsthand sources of the Etsy 5 themselves. I won't speak for anyone else but all 5 of us did speak last September, shortly after the mutings happened.
The short version:
On September 13, 2007, 5 Etsy members were permanently forum muted. (they could still buy, sell, use convos and chat, just not post in the forums or change their avatars) Because the muting was permanent this was often referred to as "banning", but is not to be confused with "brickwalling" which deletes your entire account.
On May 12, 2008, 4 of those users were unmuted. Etsy no longer mutes people "permanently". Now when people are forum muted for longer periods it is called "indefinitely" rather than "permanently".
The long version (really, really long):
This article at UEN covers the whole case. There are over 1000 comments and it's almost impossible to read the whole thing, but if you wish to read the statements by the 5 muted people, here are the numbers of their posts.
comment #30 (page 3) This post contains the email that Etsy sent one of the muted. The other 4 did not post their emails, but all of the emails were identical and sent within seconds of eachother. This is why we became known as the Etsy 5.
comment #51 (page 6)
comment #156 (page 16)
comment #174 (page 18)
comment #404 (page 41)
comment #1133 (page 114)
1. The posts at UEN should be taken in context of the time they were made. At that time, Etsy had not given any of the muted people the reason for our muting. When you're not told why, you start to speculate why. Much of the comments by the Etsy 5 and by other users contains speculation as to the reasons. At that time, a few Etsy admins were the only ones who knew the real reason(s), and they were not communicating with us. All of the speculation in the comments turned out to be incorrect, even my own speculation. I did the best I could with the information I had at the time, trying to make some kind of sense out of things. All the facts I gave in the comments are true, but most turned out to be unrelated to my muting. So this isn't really a retraction, I'm just saying I guessed wrong, as did everyone else. It took many months to find out the real reason, it turned out to be a mistake, and Etsy corrected it as best they could by unmuting us. Unfortunately I can't go into any more detail about that. The 4 of us and Etsy are the only ones who know the details of the unmuting and anything you read by anyone else is pure speculation.
2. Regarding the coverage of the issue at UEN, I will disclose that 3 of the 5 muted were editors of UEN at the time they were muted. Two of us (including me) are still editors. Our comments in the comments section are speaking as ourselves, not as editors. (that's why it's in the comments, not in the top level articles) Occasionally in the comments we did have to "put on our editor hat" to direct the discussion back on topic or to moderate abusive comments, but the rest of the comments are just speaking for ourselves, not speaking for UEN.
UEN did not cover the case because 3 of the muted were editors, we covered the case because these were the first "permanent" mutings that anyone had heard of, so it signalled a dramatic policy change for Etsy. In the same way, UEN covered the first forum muting we knew about (ebbandflo), because it was a significant change. We do not routinely cover mutings or other private disciplinary issues between Etsy and users, unless there is some policy change or procedural error.
We thank Eclipse for writing this up for us. We know it's a difficult subject especially when one was involved in it.
READ BEFORE YOU COMMENT: Every time this is brought up the cupcake trolls come out of the woodwork claiming the 5 were somehow at fault and all that shit. The 5 were exonerated, the fault was Etsy's, and that is why Etsy finally copped and removed their restrictions. Any comments to the contrary will be deleted. We will not be as gracious as the UEN about the ranting comments. Park your troll ass in someone else's board.