Saturday, September 6, 2008

Etsy closing down discussions on the Ideas Forum

In the past, one of the ways the community has achieved change at Etsy was by continually posting important requests in the Ideas section of the Etsy Forums. The prices of sold items used to be visible after the sale. Concerted protest on the part of Etsians got this changed. And for months and months there was a forum protest over the fact that the currency used on the site (US dollars) wasn't stated clearly anywhere near our prices, a huge problem for an international site. That protest finally got the mingy result Etsy currently uses: a teeny little USD graphic under the item price on an item's page. But at least something was done.

There's a change afoot, though. Etsy Admin have been closing down more and more discussions lately in Ideas, claiming that this is just a way of keeping Ideas clear for New Ideas. Apparently they hear us, and have noted down everything we've asked for over the past three years so we can just stop asking, thank you very much, and simply wait patiently for changes to be made. Or not. Since they won't actually communicate any list of what they're working on. They did this to the Stats threads recently.

Here's another case in point. There are many Etsy artists who don't have a category for their work. Among their number are a sizable group looking for a category for Art Dolls and Miniatures that is not under Toys. For two and a half years they have been asking (very politely) for a top level category for this popular and specialized art. Etsians may have noticed some of these artists with "DAM" across their avatars. This is their low-key way of keeping the issue in the community's view.

(To give you a sense of the support that this request has, a member started a petition on June 24, 2008 which now has 704 signatures.)

On June 21, 2008, frustrated by Etsy's statement that DAM wouldn't be getting a top level category Etsy miniaturist mikrow started a thread in Ideas asking for a sub category under Everything Else and/or Art.

On September 3, at 2:51 pm, asiancrafts posted a thread in Ideas asking for a Polymer Bead subcategory under beads. At 8:07 pm, Hey Michelle posted "Great suggestion, I just added it under Supplies > bead. Thanks!" It took just over five hours from suggestion to implementation of this particular subcategory.

dangerousmezzo posted a link to this Polymer Clay thread in mikrow's thread, telling the DAMned that Hey Michelle had just added a sub-category for Polymer Beads and suggesting that HeyMichelle might be able to add a subcategory for DAM, too.

Less than half an hour later, HeyMichelle closed mikrow's thread. Here's her closing post:

Hi there you guys,

I am very sorry to close this thread, as it has useful info (such as the subcategory breakdown, which I've saved). However, I am going to have to since I feel that it's counter-productive.

As I've said before, it's our intention to create a top-level category for these items. This is what we are working on. It seems that the "forum march" is just getting the doll/miniature artists upset, and people are continually posting off-topic about this in other threads. I understand the frustration, but it would be unfortunate if we all have to be miserable until a category is made.

Also, I have said that it is quite a simple process to create *subcategories*, and we do this all the time. In fact, we've made several subcategories for dolls & miniatures in various top-level categories.

So, I am going to have to ask that you all just trust me that we're working on it, and that we've heard all of your ideas and suggestions. Also, I ask that we not continue to discuss this in the Ideas section of the forums, as the idea has been heard and is being worked on. Also, I ask that people not post about this off-topic in other threads (not pointing out anyone in particular, I've seen it a-plenty though!)

I'm very sorry if this is coming across as harsh- definitely not my intention! I am mainly hoping that everyone can just relax and enjoy themselves until the glorious day which will hopefully be coming soon. Please feel free to convo me if you disagree, or if you have any questions about this.

Your friend,
Michelle

I have it on good authority from some of the DAMned that they haven't had those subcategories created for DAM. They're not sure what the hell HeyMichelle is talking about, actually. They've waited and waited and been very patient and relatively quiet and they've just been ignored.

This is one of the parts of Michelle's post that I find most headdesking and condescending:

As I've said before, it's our intention to create a top-level category for these items. This is what we are working on. It seems that the "forum march" is just getting the doll/miniature artists upset, and people are continually posting off-topic about this in other threads. I understand the frustration, but it would be unfortunate if we all have to be miserable until a category is made.


This is the kind of thing a kindergarten teacher might say to her class. "You all seem to be getting awfully worked up about this, so I'm going to put you in the corner on your mat until you calm down. We can't have you getting all upset, now, can we?"

So telling people to shut the hell up is going to make them less miserable? It's the discussion of an important issue that makes people miserable? If you stop talking about a problem it will make you feel better? It might make Etsy Admin feel better if Etsians just shut the hell up, of course.

Hey Michelle graciously allowed the DAM Street Team thread to remain open, posting this there:

Hey there you guys...feel free to keep discussing this in these threads. As we had discussed earlier, we want to reserve the Ideas section for new ideas, and since we are very aware of this idea, we feel it's best to not have it in the Ideas section.

As many of you know as well, we are working on forming a category for these items, which will hopefully be soon. There is much more involved, though, in forming a top-level category than in subcategories- there's never been a new top-level since I've been at Etsy (almost two years now since I've joined!).

I'm hoping that everyone can not post off-topic in threads that are about other sub-categories.

Are we ok here? I think you all are amazing, and you've done an amazing amount of work putting together your category proposal. I'm hoping this process can be as smooth as possible...


Right, HeyMichelle. Only NEW ideas can go in the Ideas section of the Forums. Too bad we don't have a list of the ones that have already been suggested, so we know which ones not to ask for again. But, hey, we know communication is hard. And you're all hard at work on that top-level category for DAM and on giving us stats. Keep saluting (is that a mute salute we see there?) and smiling and calling yourself our friend and we may believe you.

APPENDIX

MAY 22, 2008
Collectibles category: going live on Thursday, May 29

MAY 28, 2008
Uh, no it isn't

JUNE 20, 2008
My frustration with the lack of an Art Doll Category

JULY 7, 2008
DAM we will take a sub category under Art please

JULY 26, 2008
Doll and Miniatures Team (this is the one that Admin has left open)

SEPTEMBER 3, 2008
Dolls and Miniatures Team -- Meet the DAMs (the most current DAM Team thread)

24 Comments:

impetuous said...

Etsy, if you are creating a new site and don't plan on taking care of requests, because you are working all of these ideas into the new site, JUST FUCKING SAY SO!

The Funny One said...

Thanks EB for a comprehensive review of what's wrong with the Ideas section of the forums, since the information seems to go in only one direction....the round file.

Except for those few ideas that are cherry-picked as being acceptable by the particular Admin who happens to be reading a particular thread at a particular time. And likes the idea.

The fact that petitions, and re-posting of the same thread soon after it is closed shows that sellers are so utterly frustrated, that they are willing to bear the wrath of Etsy by doing lots of naughty, rule-breaking things, like publicly naming resellers. It's a trend Etsy, get used to it.

Even if I am reminded of Wonder Woman every time another apology is posted as the lock locks down.

pony-lo said...

i run the risk of sounding a little behind the times here, but surely it cant be such a difficult task, considering the category itself is so popular, to just give them what they want,

god, it isnt like theyre asking for anything totally wild and out there and impossible...like stats or something.

phew!

GOLDEN UNICORN MINIATURES said...

Thank you EB!!

We DAMs are a determined group of artists and evidently our threads and posts are an embarrassing eye-sore to Admin.

We DAMs proudly admit that we hold the honor of having the longest running continuous thread in Ideas with the most posts ever to-date before Admin moved it to be buried in the Teams section. 512 pages long; 5,111 posts!

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5681675

How many times did Admin post in there? Twice - once at the beginning abd then to tell us the thread was being moved. Twice.

life-during-wartime said...

Selective thread closing, Etsy's usual M.O.

Why oh why not close that super annoying, nearly content-free, spam thread about 'embracing vintage'? Or at least move it to Promotions or Etc? Yeah yeah I know you girlz luv yr vintage and hug it morning and nite...am so sorry you happened to Etsy...here's a 20+ yr old cupcake to make you feel included. (Maybe I should break down and post my comment in that thread to get it closed?)

Dolls and Miniatures do need category attention. Polymer clay beads need to be represented as well. This is great handmade stuff, these shops need to be visible to potential customers. And most of the valuable discussions start in Ideas. Way to go, Etsy admin, put your virtual fingers in your ears and say 'lalalalala'. Idiots!

Aja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DAM cranky said...

Thank you so much for your comprehensive and succinct overview of the plight of the DAMs.

We're DAMn frustrated with the toddlers that make up Etsy Admin. One would think a new category is rocket science or something. And that creating it would interfere with their afternoon nap- and/or snacktime.

anon phuji said...

As the trader goes, there goes
HeyMichelle.

What a load of bullshit.

Old Ideas No More! New Ideas Only!!
How will you know the difference?When they tell you to shut up of course!!

It's all etsy Newspeak and etsy Oldspeak!

Orwell would be proud, or pissing nervously in his boots...

Hey Michelle, get out while you can still have a pearl of truth in you.
Seriously.
That, or get an evil eye bedspread, you're gonna need it.

etsy = best joke ever said...

Speaking of closing down forums... the EB forum isn't accepting new members? Wahhhhhhh!

Simone said...

So Etsy built a website that they can't add new top level categories to without it being a major task? My brain is boggling over that - and yet I'm not surprised at the same time.

Andy Mathis said...

Aja- I wondered if you got muted for the other day. I realize rules are rules, but that's sort of sad you got muted for calling out a reseller.
Since you wouldn't have called anyone out in the first place if Etsy were doing their job.

What was RobWhite and Mary doing?They were both in the forums that day, weren't they?


I have always thought of Michelle as someone with integrity, so I'm a little surprised about the "shut up, I'm closing the thread, and don't ask again" statement.

As far as the miniature artists go, you have to speak with your pocketbook. Quit waiting. Be proactive.

Have a category on ebay? List them there. Have a category on Dawanda? List them there. New niche sites like handmade fuzion? List them there. Start your own store on ecrater and tell other miniature artists to do the same.

Miniature buyers will find them. Ecrater items are fed into google.

Etsy could have added subcategories a long time ago. But until the search function is corrected, a category and subcategory isn't going to help you so much. Because of the bleed over.

I think this is part of the reason for the "we are working on it, blah, blah, blah" speech.
It isn't that they are ignoring you, they just don't know how to fix the problem.

Now, finally you have tech people on board that can clean up the mess behind the scenes. Maybe now you'll get a proper category. And the search function will get overhauled so buyers and shop that category.

mememe said...

Duh! Guys, quit complaining. It's been explained to you that this has been on the "back burner", (to borrow a phrase), for a while. Think of it as chili that takes eras to fully cook. Yes, it takes a while, but if you're really (really, really, really... really) patient, it should be a awesomely good category in the end because it took them years to craft it. They'll have the font on the drop down menu extra special or something.
Oh, and Michelle's just the bearer of the latest bad news. I'm sure they drew straws to see who would shut down the thread. Winner gets to let the DAMs have it.
Let's think of it this way: If you had just gotten pregnant when the category was first suggested, you'd have a toddler now who is well into solid foods, stringing together words, and running amok. Compared to creating life, a top level category is hard work. We have to at least wait until that toddler is going into kindergarten to consider making a category anything other than a hypothetical maybe.
And the other thing is we're not allowed to complain right now. Didn't you hear? Apparently, the hiring of a new programmer pressed the reset button on all previous complaints. So yes, this languished for a quarter of a decade already, but that was under a different programmer --totally doesn't count! We need to give the new programming team at least another 3 years before we're allowed to complain. Otherwise (to borrow another phrase) "the energy they spend whining about it could power north dakota".
And yes, a top level category can overlap with a subcategory. Go to their categories page and check out "accessories", "clothing", "knitting", "children", and "glass" to name a few.

Etsy-your place for everything handmade, provided it fits into a certain mold because we already decided the breadth and depth of what defines handmade and it's too much work to change it. Have you tried putting pendants on prefabricated chains, or selling cafepress tshirts? That works for a lot of people, and we have the categories for that! Until then, post your stuff where it's inappropriate at best and a liability to everyone at worst, and shut up about it.

I'm not even that passionate about this, but the dismissive treatment I've seen has my blood boooooooooiling.

lone haranger said...

You guys think its going to get better now that Maria has chased out all three founders? If so, can I have a toke on that pipe?

kibbles said...

Many of us have lost what little respect we had left for admin with this latest blunder. Michelle must have something lacking in her life to be so mean spirited towards a group of artists that could bring Etsy a LOT of income.

How many of us are on eBay making 10 times the selling price as here? The demand for art dolls and miniatures is there.

Any peon can do a sold search on eBay and check the prices. Hasn't Etsy ever thought of that? Oh wait.....never mind....I think I just answered the question above.

Etsy should come into the new millenium. They *do* know it's here...right?

The Righteous One said...

etsy=bestjokeever, the close off to new regs is temporary, we had a flood of applicants and we go through each one manually to ensure it is not etsy admin or trolls.

We want to ensure the safety and security of our commenters who carry over to the forums and sometimes shut off applications to accomodate this.

If you send us an email we can probably tell you our next estimated or planned opening for registrations.

Eveline said...

Every time I log onto Etsy, they have another fuck up, either in the forums, in that lovely blog they've got, the front page or somewhere else.

Yesterday there was a mass outcry in the forums about shops selling plasma tv's, Macs and counterfeit bags.

Every weekend, Etsy dies just a little bit more. It can't be much longer until they pull the plug.

Old Hippie Bitch said...

As ridiculous as the DAM category foot-dragging as been, it's equally ridiculous that etsy creates sub-categories at the drop of a hat based on forum posts (I'm not talking about the polymer clay sub-category here).

Every category change affects every seller who lists there. Sorry to invoke ebay again, but they announce upcoming category changes well in advance, then announce again when the changes have been made. That's so sellers can adapt to them...duh!

Categories and sub-categories require a PLAN dammit! They require a logical encompassing of each type of product so shoppers can find them dammit!

Some "sub-categories" on etsy are now just random tags that aren't true sub-cateogries at all.

Just another thing that pisses me off about this nearsigted company.

sad buddyb said...

meme said:
Let's think of it this way: If you had just gotten pregnant when the category was first suggested, you'd have a toddler now who is well into solid foods, stringing together words, and running amok.
-----------------------

Actually, it's not "running amok" it's "running an Etsy shop." ;D

My guess is that Chad and his new team are discovering that the prior programming was all so very basic (actually, probably was BASIC!) and Flash driven that the system has to be completely rewritten. I don't envy them.

But that's still no excuse for not getting your communications together and putting up a good professional front for us customers.

The irony of these same kids giving out marketing advice in the Dorque is just mind-boggling.

bastet2329 said...

I have not read anyones replies but I was an Etsy member with no home since I sold dolls and there was no DAM category (user id bastet2329).

As I have said numerous times before, etsy can F%&$ off. Seriously.

Wanna know how many of my scary dolls I sold in one 24 hour period this week. 10. yes, thats right, 10. Know why I sold them. Because they are on my site and Ebay. Ebay caters to me because the see the money making potential in what I make. They know my stuff sells. They know there is a market and collectors. They know people who buy dolls usually do not just buy one doll in their life time, they COLLECT. they are serious.

So Heymichelle, Way to treat the DAM people. DAM artists are not 5 year olds, they should not be treated as such.

I am actually passing up a day at Disneyland today so I can restock my site this week with new dolls to replace the ones I sold. For the next 3-4 months I will be swamped with orders and I am so glad to know that not a dime will line Etsy's pocket since they cannot make a spot for me on their site!

MorganSilk said...

Obviously, the forum monitors have either
1. Been told by their boss to dump repetitive requests, or
2. the Powers don't like dealing with them because nobody plans on taking suggestions and are sick of hearing about it from the forum monitors.

These forum monitors appear to be the only link sellers have with anyone who makes decisions on Etsy, and putting pressure on them is our only recourse. They get annoyed, they complain to the Boss. The Boss tells them to step on it, or pays attention-- whichever they happen to feel like at the time.

The Funny One said...

morgansilk, I've thought the task of being a forum monitor lately was to waste some paid time jumping to the wrong conclusions. And writing 15 paragraph "explanations" with a lotta hey ya hey ya hey hey ya guys stuff in it to purposely confuse the issue.......further.

Or post a philososphical treatise on whether Etsy should allow political discussion in Etc. You know, like the rest of the off-topic-completely topics. Hey ya know, like discuss everything but ecommerce. Love, Your Friend. Hey!

The Disgruntled One said...

HeyMichelle has posted in a thread in Ideas apologizing for shutting down the thread mentioned in this article:

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5794627&page=12

Thank you, HeyMichelle for the apology. It doesn't clarify all of the odd things you said in the closing post, but it's much appreciated by the DAMned and their supporters. That's class.

fly.me.to.the.moon said...

It takes class to offer that kind apology in a public forum.

I find it increasingly frustrating to even visit the forums these days. I log in ... open the forums, read a few threads ... shake my head and leave.

Can someone tell me what's up with all the antlers and the RIP on kibbles avatar (not kibbles posting, others with the avatar and R.I.P.)? Did kibbles get banned?

*heavy sigh*

I don't know why I hide behind a phony name, either ... seems silly and juvenile (my own opinion of my hiding, not anyone else).

Do any of you frequent the forums anymore? I think most days I do better just to stay out.

Hope the DAM get thier promised top level category sooner than later. As a former doll artist, I feel your pain.

GOLDEN UNICORN MINIATURES said...

My earlier comment here was made several hours prior to Michelle's apology post.

Public apologies are often times difficult, and I commend Michelle for her apology. It shows she has "guts", and as two other posters said...class.

Thank you, Michelle.