Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Etsy 5

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)

Two disclaimers:
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.


mememe said...

I've actually wondered about this, and have heard a lot of speculation and really, really off statements regarding it. I don't know how much your statements will settle things, or how much you will face for bringing it up again, but reading through this has at least settled some of the rumors that I've heard.

Ben Can Dance Creations said...

For those that may not know, I was one of the 'Etsy 5'. I still don't know the full reason for my banning, only that a 'mistake' was made when it happened. Beyond that, as Eclipse pointed out, none of us can go into current details about any communication with Etsy over our bannings.

I will say that my blog (of a completely satirical nature) was speculated to be at fault at the time and I was admittedly turned in by some to Etsy (for the blog). I continued it for quite a while but it has since been deleted due to a lot of comments by different people.

The biggest thing that 'hurts', if you will, is to see comments just recently from some members of the Etsy forum who claim things were better off when we weren't there and that we have brought new drama back with us. That just makes my jaw drop open in amazement! Have you seen some of the pot-stirrers that continually post in the forums (yet we bring drama?)?!

Anyhow, I'm ready to move on and let the past be the past and am glad to be back in the forums. It is hard though, after something like this, because every post you make you wonder if that will be the 'magic straw' that gets you kicked off again. Others people can have healthy debates with no fear, for us (me, anyway) it's like walking on eggshells constantly.

Peldyn said...

I agree ben, I was floored when I saw that comment! I see no more or less drama with the "Etsy 5" there or not. You all were banned due to a colossal screw up, but people and companies make mistakes and I am glad that the mistake has been rectified. I am now waiting for the last member to be reinstated. It will be soon I hope! *fingers crossed*

Ben Can Dance Creations said...

I can guess who YOU are 'youcan'tbeserious'. If you don't have an intelligent thought to articulate, why bother coming here?

S2 said...

I wonder if the Etsy bitches or others that post here will become the new Etsy 5 at some point...

I notice the "Etsy Angels" blog has gone bye bye.

It's a little disheartening to know Etsy has been so screwed up for so long but I'm glad the 5 were eventually reinstated!

TheSneakyOne said...

Dear youcantbeserious,

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.

Can you read it now?

Ben Can Dance Creations said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheSneakyOne said...

Ben, I did. Cranky said any comments to the contrary of what eclipse reported would be deleted. I did just that.

Ben Can Dance Creations said...

Got it. I removed my comment directed at them. (and thanks!)

TheSneakyOne said...

Knock it off. (Not you Ben)

Ben Can Dance Creations said...

Sigggghhhhh.... this is going to be a full-time job for you guys to moderate these comments. I know of a few whack-jobs that will stop at nothing until they've had their say.

Can I send y'all some coffee and doughnuts? :)

huh? said...

Why did you post about this if no one is allowed to ask questions or talk about what happened unless it's to praise the 'etsy five'?

mememe said...

Oh, and by the way? Since rereading this post, I'm thinking about selling Cupcake Trolls on etsy. They'll be adorable, full of rainbows, and doomed to die under the weight of their own tripe.
Do you think I could still be an anonymous lurker and slip that one under the radar?

Sgt Bunny said...

I've been in some healthy debates, but there's a few people who consistently step over the line lately and why they seem to get away with it while BCD and verybigjen get the ban baffles me.

No rhyme or reason.

TheSneakyOne said...

Dear huh,

We posted this as a historical reference to what actually happened, since we had some newbies ask.

Unless you were a part of the 5, or Etsy Admin (and identify yourself as such), you will not be able to bash the 5 here. Both have been sworn to silence about the details, so anything else is speculation.

If you're going to be negative, mean, trollish or just plain a douchebag about it, do not post.

huh? said...


Ben Can Dance Creations said...

Huh, nobody said you had to praise us. It's perfectly fine to hate one or all of us (and maybe the feeling is mutual toward you).

But instead of hashing it out here, since we all went through that on UEN already and have moved beyond it, why don't you write the object of your scorn a convo?

huh? said...

Asking what the point of this post was =/= scorn. Just curiosity. I'm sure you're aware, too, that sending a 'scornful' convo would land a person in hot water. Sending abusive convos is never a good idea.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peldyn said...

Unfortunately no one can really talk about this objectively it seems. I see a lot of deleted comments here.
Whether you like them personally or not, if a mistake was made I think it was honorable for Etsy to rectify that mistake. I think that everyone who is muted or banned deserves to have their cases looked at again and to have another chance. Maybe I am naive. But I think that people can go forward and let the past be past try to let the present be what they are judged on.

KreatedbyKarina said...

I remember being around when the whole thing with the Etsy 5 unfolded in the forums and on the UEN.

Ben, I'm sorry that you had to delete your blog because of comments people had made.

Those of the Etsy 5, please know that although no one else but you know the full story, there was and is still a lot of support for you over what happened.

sugarstreetcafe said...

Well I still don't know what the hoopla was about nor do I care really. What I want to know is.

How do I join up to be Etsy member number 6? Or if it's really limited to Etsy 5, can I be an alternate?

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ShrugItOff said...

sugarstreet, why do you want to be?

Participating in the forums is completely optional. You don't have to be banned to not participate.

~B.Z. said...

huh? said...

Why did you post about this if no one is allowed to ask questions or talk about what happened unless it's to praise the 'etsy five'?

I am very glad this has been posted here. Thanks to Eclipse and the Bitches ;>)

Why am I glad ?
Because MANY people like to speculate about what happened, and I am never " allowed " to respond to those speculations, without risk of losing my privileges on Etsy again :P

If I can't tell people what happened, then why should ANYONE speculate about it in the public forums ??? I don't care if you want to say it's " Your opinion " from what you've heard or even witnessed yourself. If * I * can't talk about it and Etsy WON'T, then you shouldn't speculate about it either.

Talk about me all you want privately, but speculating negatively about me publicly is defaming my character based on hearsay.

If you want to know what happened to me, contact me through Flicker or my blog or ask me for my Email, I'd be happy to tell you what I know.

Suffice it to say, Etsy cleared me. They cleared me for multiple reasons.

1) I had never been warned EVER ( thus NEVER muted )for misbehavior in the forums, so I didn't have due process

2) Some " information " they had on me was false, thus their main reason for my banning was based on fabrication.

I'm not an Angel, but I don't go out of my way to hurt people. If I have a problem with you, I am most likely to contact you to talk it over or simply ignore you.

I am human and have gotten hot when people attack my character or my friends, but I have since realized that nothing in cyberspace is as important as my real life and those who really know and care about me.

I still hope Etsy pulls itself together and becomes the site it wants to be. I may sell again, but don't NEED to and may never have the heart to again. We shall see ....


yeah you right said...

i dont really understand or have the time to understand the whole situation but what seems inequitable is that these 5 people were knocked off the forum and meanwhile some big honking jerks just lingered and some continue to linger w/ their bull crap and it makes no sense. how do you know what will or wont get you in trouble? its totally ridiculous

The Disgruntled One said...

I appreciate eclipse writing up her account of the phenomenon known as the Etsy 5.

"I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him".

Nowhere in the initial post did I see that we were asking our readers to praise the Etsy 5. We just want people to know as much of the story as can be made public so that it isn't just an obscure in-joke or reference.

The bottom line is that four of the Etsy 5 had their forum privileges reinstated. That says all I need to know.

And the Etsians who blamed the return of four of the Five for an increase in Forum Drama had clearly not been paying attention in the intervening months!

robwhiteismybitch said...

Wow, I didn't realize that Elizabeth was still muted.

Sorry to hear that.

sugarstreetcafe said...

shrugitoff - I don't know what they did, it just sounded really cool, like superhero cool so i wanna be cool.


BoroBabe1020 said...

I can't help but wonder if the Etsy 5 (well, 4) coming back has anything to do with certain people no longer posting on the forums as rabidly as they were.

Glad you guys are back, but Ben, will you have another cool blog up? Because it was hysterical.

Peldyn said...

LOL, sugarstreetcafe, they really did nothing spectacular, well I leave that to each person to decide! But I do agree that each in their own way is cool and I am sure that you are cool in your own way!

BoroBabe1020 said...

----And the Etsians who blamed the return of four of the Five for an increase in Forum Drama ---

Woah -- I missed that forum thread. Is that thread still open?

TheSneakyOne said...

Dear ?, you will continually be deleted as long as you are trolling. This is NOT the place to try to engage in battle.

TheSneakyOne said...

knock it off.

27 said...

Just a suggestion: on another blog I follow, the moderators disemvowel trolling posts. Meaning, they allow the post to remain but remove all the vowels. This way, the post is still there for those that really, really want to read it but the impact and ability to be cached by the likes of google is stripped away.

ShrugItOff said...

I'm sure whatever the person is spouting off about is not that important for anyone to read.

They probably have a personal grudge against someone.

Ivydee said...

I was wondering about this, I was around back then but I must have somehow missed the drama. Thank you for sharing as much as you can.

Follow-up question, it seems like your "banning" was a fairly public deal (still not really sure how I missed it). Since it was admittedly a mistake made by Etsy, did they ever apologize to any of you publicly, or even personally, for that matter?

I am SO the boss of you! said...

I can guess who YOU are 'youcan'tbeserious'. If you don't have an intelligent thought to articulate, why bother coming here?

"youcan'tbeserious" is OBVIOUSLY a twat.
Or perhaps that ARE one of the daily trouble makers in the Etsy forums or Daniello in disguise.

If they don't like what is said here they should stay the hel out of here.

Tea and Sympathy said...

I am glad to get the whole story. I did not start reading the Etsy fora til October, which was before I joined. All I can say is that I am very sorry this happened to you. I got permanently sanctioned from the Ebay boards over something similar (no prior warnings and it all had to do with trying to report someone's poor behavior) and am still fighting it, so you have my full and entire sympathy.
I believe I have encountered most of you in the fora on Etsy, and even if we didn't agree on the point being discussed, you have all always been nice and respectful. It seems that the key in the Etsy 5 case all had to do with criticizing admin or reporting admin's behavior to other admin. Not fair and not cool. If admin is wrong, they should admit it. I stay pretty far away from admin, I like having my shop.

eclipse said...

First I want to say- I just wrote the quoted part. I did not write the part limiting comments or have any input into the comment deletion policy- that is the Bitches decision, it's their blog and they can make whatever rules they want. I understand why they don't want this to grow to 1000 replies and I don't blame them for that!

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion- I don't expect everyone to like me. I don't have any pathological need to be loved. But opinions and facts are not the same. Only Etsy and the 5 muted know the facts of the case. ALL ELSE is speculation and opinion. That was the only reason I agreed to post this. If someone has a real question (not a rant disguised as a question) I think they should be allowed to ask it, but there is a lot that I just cannot answer, unfortunately.
I would actually love to set the whole record straight but doing so would break my word, which is something I actually care about. It would also get me re-muted or possibly deleted, which I also care about, (but less than keeping my word.)

I am satisfied with Etsy's handling of my case, eventually. Sure I could hold grudges that it took 8 months to finally get a fair hearing, but what is the point? They can't change the past. I'm more interested in continuing to work for positive changes going forward. I haven't stopped being vocal about suggestions, criticisms, etc, and I wasn't asked to stop that or to avoid debates. (the only restrictions on my speech are the private communication between me & Etsy) I was explicitly told that respectful criticism IS allowed and would not be punished.
There are plenty of members who would like to shut up all the critics but Etsy does not agree.
I do think, though, that you have to be ultra-respectful, even when the Etsy defenders get nasty, because if you let any rudeness slip through then you give them an excuse to punish you. Please IGNORE THE TROLLS in important topics, do not engage or respond, keep focused and keep your cool.
I was also told that Etsy does not police member's activity outside of Etsy, they do read UEN or maybe even this blog but I was assured that people won't be punished for what they do outside of Etsy (anymore). This is why I use my real username when I post. (the one exception is that you can't post private emails or convos from Etsy admins anywhere on the net, that's a fast track to the brick-wall)

Peldyn said...

That is what I worry about eek, what do they consider respectful criticism? It it hard to judge what is their definition of respectful, and if you cross that line. In a way I worry about it, and then some days I just don't give a shit, guess it is how pissed off I am.

impetuous said...

I don't get it.

drunk on sake.

please don't judge me.

puts on helmet.

flips everyone the bird.

ShrugItOff said...

doesntaddup, what's the problem with this post being here?

If you don't want to read it, don't.
There are certainly lots of other posts from today alone to read. Take your pick.

gladiknow said...

Thanks for this post. I was curious. I have been on etsy for a little over a year, but stayed away from the "drama" until recently.

Ben Can Dance Creations said...

Nice comments BZ and Eclipse! I agree with Eclipse that it is so important to ignore certain trolls. There are a few that are purposely trying to get us banned again (and lots of other people along with us) by continually baiting and poking. They have expressed their disdain that we are back.

If you (collective "you") let them provoke you to the point of an angry response then they have won.

And there is no rhyme or reason when Etsy bans. They talk about 'warnings' but there really aren't any. Trust me....

eclipse said...

For me this is very difficult, to back down from a fight, especially when I know I could mentally shred the instigators if there were no forum rules. If you think backing down makes you look weak, no, it's the exact opposite. It's SO MUCH HARDER not to respond to bait! That takes an iron will.
But I will not be rebanned over some petty pissing contest. I won't give them that excuse.
It helps to have some support system- have a buddy that you can privately vent with, write up what you want to say to the troll and send it to your buddy instead.
Trolls want one thing- attention. It is their oxygen. The best defense is to starve them of that attention.

Simone said...

I'm glad to see this here. And I'm also glad that speculative posts or those bitter posts which are based on speculation aren't being allowed in these particular circumstances, given that the real reasons can't be given.

The five have already had many months of having their names dragged through the mud by people who really have no idea of what went on - even if they're convinced they do somehow. Even people who weren't around when it happened have had plenty of stuff to say about them! Those people have had their say in many ways and in numerous places and it's nice to see the balance redressed.

Etsy allowed this stuff to go on in the forums for a long time and personally I think it's really bad that Etsy hasn't publicly apologised for the damage it did to people's reputations.

I'm still hoping for a 100% reinstatement of the five.

eclipse said...

I am not talking about normal civilized disagreement and debate about public issues and Etsy policy. I don't walk away from those debates and there's no reason to. I am talking about off-topic, unprovoked personal attacks, totally irrelevant to the issue being discussed. I am talking about deliberate attempts (often successful) to get important serious threads locked. I am talking about people who know absolutely nothing factual about our cases being allowed to speculate and call out in the public forums, while we are not allowed to post the truth. This is what I ignore.

Ben Can Dance Creations said...

Balance, YOU don't know squat about any of our situations and if you think you do then show yourself for who you really are.

Post with your real name. I know by your style of writing exactly who you are.

eclipse said...

Of course there is more to it, there is the entire private communication between Etsy and the 5 users. But we cannot disclose or discuss that. No one else is privy to that information, so any thing else which people may think relates to our cases is speculation, not fact.
There is one indisputable fact: Etsy rescinded our mutings. That fact speaks volumes.

Ben Can Dance Creations said...

There has been nothing "Pro Etsy 5" in here other than not letting people who stand on a soapbox with their own agenda take over (uh, like on the UEN discussion). We have all acknowledged that we're sure people hate some of us and that's fine.

Etsy made a mistake, has corrected the mistake and anyone who chooses to read anything else into that, is wrong.

lunatic said...

i think that only etsy and the 5 know the "balance" of what happened in their case. so...yes, this will be one-sided, unless admin cares to chime in. for anyone *other* than the etsy 5 to speculate is really unfair, as that person DEFINITELY doesn't have relevant info

Elizabeth said...

Etsy has said that the 4 returnees may publicly say that Etsy made a mistake. Etsy admits it, and "allows" the 4 to repeat that. How much more do you need?

Ben Can Dance Creations said...

Geez, how many different names are you going to chose there? We know they're all from you.

TheSneakyOne said...

Balance, unless you are an Admin or the 5, your comments are irrelevant and will be deleted.

Ben Can Dance Creations said...

Note: My last post was not directed at Elizabeth but instead at an attention-whore's posts that have since been deleted

eclipse said...

Look, whatever anyone else thinks of me is irrelevant really. I'm not trying to win any popularity contest. Etsy unmuted me. Etsy apologized to me. I accepted. Me & Etsy are square. We "shook hands" , figuratively speaking. (by phone not in the flesh). I have no lingering beef with them over that issue from last year. We both want to move forward.

I may have other beefs over new stuff that happens, and I express that in (what I hope are) appropriate ways. If it becomes inappropriate, I am sure they will let me know!

TheSneakyOne said...

I am closing the commenting on this puppy down, since we seem to have a troll that won't let go of the bone.