Saturday, January 22, 2011

Etsy’s Forums - The Great Migration

Since Etsy Admin started tinkering with the Forum Topics section by sequestering CPSIA into their antiquated and problem-laden “team” format, Rob White dropped another Friday-afternoon bombshell with the done-deal Announcement that lists the next wave of Forum-to-team "migrations".

The main sticking points with many sellers are showing up several Forum posts, and many are asking about Etsy’s real intentions with these dramatic changes — are they dealing with a “size problem” or a “monitoring the forums problem” or just making the Forum Topics more exclusive by moving them behind their team format which requires not only membership, but more work for sellers who join them?!

In addition, many sellers are asking, is this “team format” actually more exclusive than inclusive?

And who exactly made the decision to change the Forums? Sellers? Good question!

RW: ...Community fragmentation was my sticking point as we talked this out internally; I knew it bothered you, and it bothered me too. There had to be some other way, some better way to keep and augment what we have now. As Etsy continues to grow, however, the community is outgrowing this monolithic group of topics. Just as it is our job to be your advocates and represent your views, it is also our job to work out what can best support the Etsy community as it sprawls into hundreds and thousands of different interests and reasons to gather. What we have announced was the ultimate result of these deliberations...

In addition to Etsy’s irritating claim that it “advocates and represents your views” what about the consequences of these changes?

If Etsy is morphing into a FB-clonelike social shopping site where one assumes that people openly socialize, communicate and shop, what’s the deal with isolating and sequestering Forum Topics behind membership-required team formats?

Or is it just another manifestation of Etsy’s own history of imposing exclusivity on everything it does? From exclusive repeats of favorite sellers and favorite products on the front page and in all Etsy promos, is changing the Forums to teams just another way of excluding more sellers who don't fit the Etsy-defined clique based on the predictable confines of “Etsy faves”?

With increasing frequency, Etsy keeps imposing unannounced changes to format, site design, internal search tools, and even their own humungous TOU's to fit a short and long term mission that has changed so drastically most sellers don't know what Etsy is anymore. One can only imagine what shoppers think!

Has Etsy's own infatuation with itself finally obscured and obliterated the real and continuing needs of the actual source of their huge profits (sellers who list and sell)? We all know the history of that question......sellers are the LAST ONES TO KNOW!

As usual, it's the weekend and Etsy Admins could take days and weeks to catch up to the comments being made by sellers today (if they ever read them) about changes to the Forums that they did not ask for, did not expect, and do not agree with---for many good and legitimate reasons.

It's another test for Etsy --- will they change their plan based on seller outcry or will they revert to their longstanding habit of ignoring the very people who make them so much money?

51 Comments:

foxaz said...

Most great migrations have come about because of climate change. Do you think that's the case here?

Wooly Bumblebee said...

It pathetic! The complete lack of consideration for any of Etsy's sellers is nothing new tho. Sadly, they don't care and will just do what they damned well please without caring if it affects any one else. Etsy is such a dictatorship now. I for one would never support such a place that does not give a damn about anyone selling or buying there. Their only care is money, and their own selfish agendas. It used to be such a great place where people felt supported as independent artisans. Now, it's just another corporate money hungry machine that has become sterile and soulless.

SusanA said...

I guess once it changes I won't be able to take a peak at their forums anymore.

This way they won't have to worry about forums getting on google and non sellers seeing the forums.

I'd love to ssee who gets to decide who is allowed on the team to post.

Free speech, snort.

Adrienne said...

I think the dismantling of the forums is the result of too many protests that brought a lot of negative publicity. The coral protest, the muting protests, the insulting card protest... all too much for Etsy's bottom line.

Etsy provided a community space and it's their option to do as they please. I've lurked the forums but never participated, mostly because it can become such a hostile environment or the conversations get so far away from the subject. Reading page after page of "pass the brownies" gets old, fast.

I think in some ways the actions of a minority ruined it for the majority. With the speed the coral threads were closed, that should have been an idicator to stop making new threads and take the matter up by convoing administration. Instead, new threads were opened, further pissing off the powers-that-be.

Etsy doesn't want its cool, hipster, handmade image tarnished by a few disgruntled sellers. While I agree with the sellers on most of the issues they protested, they went to extremes and Etsy responded by going to extremes with the announcement of the dismantling the forums. History has proven that Etsy is reactionary and likes to send the forum bad girls (and boys) off to the corner to sit.

That said, I only hope Etsy doesn't intend to dismantle the concept of handmade. I see an Ebay in the horizon and with the outspoken sellers moved off site- they can do so with much less controversy.

damage control said...

By segregating the forum sections into private team locations they are removing them from search engine crawling. Search engines don't crawl website areas that are hidden behind private-member-access-only code.

This change will give Etsy full control over their PR for the IPO, without those pesky reality-bites from the forum that show off all the member dissatisfaction and community unrest.

They want to shut the forum down. Since it would be too harsh on the PR to just close it, they'll just hide and fragment it until it dies.

headdesk21 said...

A few quick thoughts and then I'll come back tomorrow:

1. Stella is amending the TOU right now, because we all know her experience as a potter makes her perfect for that. Within a few months I bet the resellers, they'll call them small factories (I mean businesses) will be legit on etsy.

With the fourms gone, no one will complain.

2. The forum admin will probably do CS, maybe up the Hudson with the rest of the CS department.

3. Rob Kalin is a CEO, who sat up most of the night and added to his favorites: knives, sheep, ducks and hatchets instead of talking to the community he said he wanted communication with. Forget it. That was so last year.

Mildred Happenstance said...

They have serious ulterior motives and greater plans. Number one, they want to kill the forums because sellers being in open communication causes problems for them. Number two, they want to be like Facebook.

This has that arrogant red haired shit's dreamy eyed bullshit all over it. They're not going to change their minds... once that little prick gets an idea he won't let it go.

eclipse said...

Adrienne said...

I think the dismantling of the forums is the result of too many protests that brought a lot of negative publicity. The coral protest, the muting protests, the insulting card protest..
-----------------------
They had this planned long before any of those things happened. Rokali mentioned this a year ago (January 2010) in an interview, and he even discussed the idea for it as early as late 2007. It's just taken this long to actually make it happen.

Anonymous said...

I was pissed about the change, and their complete lack of consideration for the needs and opinions of sellers. I've joined the new off-etsy forum, and feel like I have the freedom to speak my mind there without the threat of getting my hand slapped by admin.

This incident, the last in a long string of offenses, makes me think that handmade sellers need to band together and form a UNION! Collective bargaining power - It's the only way I can see that we can re-balance the scales of power, which are grossly disproportionate.

The Funny One said...

Even the oldest Forum posts that pointed out minor flaws in Etsy's haphardardly contructed facade are just as relevant today, only Etsy's raking in a hell of a lot more moola using the same old scams.

Most interesting is how many sellers say they can't figure out Etsy's motives or their direction...yet continue to pay fees to a company that clearly dislikes and disrespects them.

After 7 years, Admins still speak down to sellers, and still write 5th grade-level ditties that reek of arrogance and bad attitude. (And then get out of joint when people react to their badly worded, total-BS posts...(hmmm, getting just the reaction they want!)

Sellers can't understand Etsy because Etsy couldn't care less about what they put in print (anytime they want without supervision or editing). They have no interest in communicating clearly with sellers because they have no interest in sellers.

Whatever communities exist on Etsy are because sellers created them --- Etsy is just hell bent on destroying them by making them into everything they are not.

Just like they did handmade.

for the hell of it said...

@ Adrienne, another approach COULD HAVE BEEN, ... to actually address and correct the problems. ETSY created the non stop drama by continually sticking to a "SLOP" work ethic.

Also by blowing off and ignoring questions, they generated the continual emotional drama by creating confusion, fear, and in quite a few cases, the sellers feeling and KNOWING that Esty had no real understanding of what true respect should be all about. The onus is on them.

Bottom line, the new "Teams" formatting of the forum, creates even more potential exit ramps out of shops, along with creating the potential for a given shop keeper to be viewed in a potentially controversial light by having all their 'team based' conversations being shown on their profile page.

They have shown no understanding or comprehension or acknowledgement, that there might be people who just DO NOT DO TEAMS.

They are supposedly a venue of independant business people. I feel that they have overstepped their authority by trying to force me onto a team, which for startes, I would need to ask to join prior. I pay to use the site. I DO NOT do "ask permission", in order to ask a question, so from my end, this maneuver just made the customer service department's staff job get harder. I DO do followups with them as it is until I get some semblance of a real answer.

IF they feel that this is a good move, :) I'm fine with it, ... Let's Dance.

Anonymous said...

Etsy is like the classic dysfunctional family. They have to maintain secrecy and punish those who question things or speak up. They make changes only to maintain "control" of the system, not because they have any usefulness. They are in denial - if you don't talk about it, it ceases to be a problem.
This change to forums only benefits Etsy. Without the forums, I would have never met other sellers, learned things about techniques, selling, had an occasional chuckle etc. I am not a joiner in the classic sense, and I think many other people aren't either. I will not join the teams to post in forums and I won't be going to Etsy very much.
Buyers and sellers built Etsy. Perhaps its time for us to build Artfire (where they don't pull this crap).

WindysDesigns said...

I warned you. I've mentioned this several times here and I found a copy of the email I sent Etsy Bitch on 4/7/10 with a copy of the email I was sent from R,White when I asked the 3rd and last time to have my forum privileges reinstated.

I urged someone to start asking questions, but was ignored. No one was the least bit concerned then, but look at you all now.

Maybe questioning it back then might not have changed anything, but at least you would have had an opportunity to give input prior to implementation. Now, you are only able to complain about what has already been done.

Don't expect them to retract any of this, it's been in the planning stages for too long, and is a major part of their ultimate plans. You lose twice. ONce because you didn't take the opportunity when you were first warned about it, and now because you think any of this will change anything.

I'm sure EB will not want to publish my post, and if that is the case, then I will find another platform to let people know they were warned and ignored the warning.

Kitty Kat said...

This is a classic case of divide and conquer.The forums will be a lot quieter now. I think Etsy is tired of the forums. I hardly ever visit: it's just the same old crap regurgitated over and over. Etsy is a shell of it's former self and I KNEW Rob K. would run it into the ground when he came back. The only thing I can think of is that Rob or his cronies want to make Etsy into Facebook with shopping with a dash of Ebay. All with shareholders, of course.

bummer said...

I agree with Adrienne, and whether the disgruntlement is justified or not, it's sucking up too much time and money for them to keep them open for a lot of people who won't do business there anymore.

curious said...

"I've joined the new off-etsy forum", where are these forums? I'd be interested in checking in there from time to time to see how things are going.

eclipse said...

Windy, what is all this "I told you so" stuff? Rob told everyone so in his interview last year (in January 2010, not March) and people *did* question it then. Etsy never answered. You know how they are, masters of obfuscation. You are acting like you could have saved everything if ONLY everyone had listened to you, but it was already being discussed and questioned before your 'dire warning'.

SusanA said...

@WindyDesigns

I'm not sure what post you are referring to but to tell the truth, you were muted but allowed to keep selling. You even got responses to your emails.
My shop was deactivated suddenly. After 2 emails I started getting notices, this is not an email we recognize, please convo.
I finally got a new account, convo'd several admin with one response saying well you "were" in violation(i had a link) even though you have fixed it month ago. You could start a new store. A week later, they closed that new account too.

The Funny One said...

I disagree that the change is a workload problem; restrictive team forums may actually require more intense scrutiny, but perhaps with less urgency than the public pages.

The real danger is that E runs as a closed clique that will be replicated by teams as they reinforce E's obvious exclusivity. It's also a complete contradiction to the move to a "social" site because "membership" and most seller interactions will be limited (finally and completely) to only those sellers that E prefers to promote.

E will use the teams to enforce and impose more restrictions on sellers and product types. (Watch the # teams dwindle to only those that mimic E's faves list.)

What E will realize when the migration is complete is:
(1) they will lose the ability to spend 20 minutes reviewing the Forum topics for the "mood" of its paying sellers
(2) more sellers will depart at a more rapid rate because E has erected too many barriers for entry and participation
(3) fewer sellers will set up shop or list because the barriers will outweigh any benefits.

The end result will be fewer listings and a decline in E's huge listings profits.

Since we can only guess at their motivations, who the hell wants to do all the extra work to be accepted to this exclusive club & clubettes? pay all the monthy fees? and still be barred from inclusion in E's tiny circle of favorite sellers? What's the point?

Anonymous said...

And right on the heels of their 'caring' announcement - ARTFIRE stomps on Etsy in the AuctionBytes Seller Choice Ratings!!!
DiscordThreads

so long etsy said...

I rarely ever post in the forums. My only concern about the loss of the forums is the loss of the flow of information. Etsy may make some announcements of changes but they rarely give you the full scoop in the announcement. Its something that is dragged out over several days by sellers asking questions in the forums. They don't email all sellers and as such I fear upcoming changes that will be made and no one will know about because everyone is so fractured.

This is not the way to run a business and so makes it much easier to move on.

As far as teams, did that, don't want to do again. They wanted dues, had 'open seasons' to take applications, product requirements(store needed to be mostly the teams medium of choice), required monthly post quotas, free product for giveaways, etc, etc.

My experience with teams is that they are very closed off and not worth the time.

Adrienne said...

I understand that there was talk of dismantling the forums over a year ago. There wasn't a lot of protesting about it back then.

I think the plan went full speed ahead because Etsy got blistered in a short period of time with some major controvery.

The Funny One said it best. "Most interesting is how many sellers say they can't figure out Etsy's motives or their direction...yet continue to pay fees to a company that clearly dislikes and disrespects them."

Etsy has always been unresponsive, vague in their terms of use and direction. They make it pretty clear that they don't want others to tell them how to run their business.

Etsy probably wants to sanitize their site to make it more attractive to investors. I think it's an instance where a few have ruined it for everyone. No company wants its dirty laundry aired in public.

Etsy will do as Etsy pleases, no matter what anyone else trys to tell them. It's their business and they can run it in the ground if they so please.

Melissa said...

I don't really see how the forums could take a lot of time and money to run. Etsy brings in millions a year, and how much do you think they pay the moderators? 100k total for all of them?

They pretty much want to shut everyone up. No doubt they have some big changes planned this year (Raising fees? Selling out? Selling US out in some way?) and they don't want to deal with it. When everyone is in these little teams they can just ignore them.

Pretty fucked up that you won't be able to really discuss Etsy with everyone and the admins. They really, really don't give a fuck about their customers. What truly wretched people they are. Every last one of them... it's really shocking how every Etsy employee is a total tool/toolette to start with or quickly becomes one.

I love that auctionbytes survey that showed Etsy to be rather horrible in every category. It's so true, but unfortunately they're still the best for our types of products. For now. Can't wait for them to die.

WindysDesigns said...

Anonymous eclipse said...

Windy, what is all this "I told you so" stuff? Rob told everyone so in his interview last year (in January 2010, not March) and people *did* question it then. Etsy never answered. You know how they are, masters of obfuscation. You are acting like you could have saved everything if ONLY everyone had listened to you, but it was already being discussed and questioned before your 'dire warning'.
_____________________________

I am well aware of when Rokali made his post in January. As I recall the most fuss was not any impending changes to the forum format, but that the muted would be allowed to post again. As I recall, people were upset that certain others might be allowed to harass and disrupt like they did before. If I'm incorrect and there were posts concerning the format changes, I'm sure you'll link me up.

I also never said that doing so would have changed the outcome, merely that maybe you would have been less 'blind sided' when it happened.

My letter to EB in April was not the first I had mentioned this change, I had posted in several discussion here 'warning' about the forum changes well prior.

April was the point that I felt people were getting sidetracked with other things and I sent EB a copy of my email from RW concerning these changes and that they were more imminent than might be thought and that maybe the subject should be revisited before it was a done deal.

I have no doubt that Etsy would have sidestepped and obfuscated the subject, just like they do anything else, I just believe that if they had been pressed like they are with every other issue it would have been a lot more clear that the changes coming were probably more than anyone expected. And, that it wouldn't have been such a surprise.

It certainly is a worthy topic of discussion now, isn't it?

WindysDesigns said...

SusanA said...

@WindyDesigns

I'm not sure what post you are referring to but to tell the truth, you were muted but allowed to keep selling. You even got responses to your emails.
My shop was deactivated suddenly. After 2 emails I started getting notices, this is not an email we recognize, please convo.
I finally got a new account, convo'd several admin with one response saying well you "were" in violation(i had a link) even though you have fixed it month ago. You could start a new store. A week later, they closed that new account too.
______________________________

Sorry Susan, I'm not sure what you're asking for.

Yes, I got to keep my shop, probably because I owed them money. Back when I was muted, they weren't closing shops along with it like they are doing now. The infamous Etsy 5 were also muted for heinous crimes, but their shops were not closed either. They were reinstated months later, but as I recall none of their shops were affected. As a matter of fact, I can't think of anyone who was muted at that time that also had their shops closed. Many of them closed them on their own.

I'm not sure what all this has to do with the changes in the forums, I have not been unmuted yet, and doubt that will happen until the migration is complete, because they have no way of preventing me from posting in the general forums. NOt that I care to, I've actually stopped reading them in the last few months, I only joined one group/team because I was invited and a lot of my old friends are there and it would be nice to talk to them again. I would have never sought out a team or group just to post about things on ETsy, because I no longer have any interest or investment in them.

WindysDesigns said...

Qhile I am certain that there is more than one motivation behind the forum changes, I can see some logic behind some of the conclusions made.

As I have watched and been unable to participate in the forums over the last 4 years, I have observed that people tend to post in groups. And there are 'circles' of sellers who tend to gravitate together under certain topics.

I know when I was on the forums, there was a 'group' I was a part of, we'd generally show up in threads together. I can actually see the logic in giving these units their own 'place'. If they did it in addition to keeping the same topics in the general forums, it's unlikely that these groups would really utilize them, so I guess the thought is to remove that option so they have to use side groups.

A lot of personal conversations take place in the Etsy forums, giving people who just want to chat or vent or gather support could do that just as easily in their own area and leave topics like 'help' or 'bugs' free of distraction or derailment and actually be more useful in the long run.

I also believe that because of the growth of the site, some kind of expansion was necessary, and I also think that since they had to work with the forum setup they already have, it's not really optimal for smaller, individualized groups that don't have a common meeting ground.

I also agree with whomever said that Etsy will probably favor a certain group of teams who will be the 'go to' sellers for input or features or whatever. The voices of the majority of these groups will never be heard.

Though I don't agree with they way they did it, and never liked the forum setup from the start, I don't think they had much choice because I do believe expansion was necessary, but the setup they have is just to restrictive to do it any other way.

GrantLake said...

Team postings are monitored closely. I know of at least one team that was recently shut down due to calling out in one of its threads that wasn't deleted immediately by the team captain.

Big Brother is still watching, even in the teams.

eclipse said...

"I think the plan went full speed ahead because Etsy got blistered in a short period of time with some major controvery."
------------------
Rokali had this plan in 2007. They are finally doing it in 2011. If that is "full speed ahead", then I'm a frosted cupcake. With sprinkles!

eclipse said...

The infamous Etsy 5 were also muted for heinous crimes, but their shops were not closed either
------------------
Bogus. We were muted for a bogus misunderstanding, not "heinous crimes". That is why we were reinstated. The only heinous crime was the fact that it took 8 months to get a fair appeal.

thedarkside said...

Grantlake has it right. Etsycorp is now the puppet master and it's even more watch what you say and do.

Concerning those that used to chat together in the forums, this is all true, but the forums were neutral ground. I've seen some wonderful sellers who I used to call friends become power mad since the teams have come into such prominence. Completely stinks. The forums were just fine when admin actually listened and moderated in a polite, respectfully and totally within the rules not just flying by the seat of their pants.

Anonymous said...

eclipse said...
Rokali had this plan in 2007. They are finally doing it in 2011. If that is "full speed ahead", then I'm a frosted cupcake. With sprinkles!
-----------------------------------

I think it was going to be a slow weaning process and not an out -of- the- blue multiple wipe out. I would assume this is what others thought too given the reaction.

I joined Etsy in its infancy and as a buyer I have over 1,000 positive feedback. I have no neutrals or negs. I never owned a shop, never cared to. I am not artsy or crafty. I read the forums from time to time. A lurker who has never posted.

I check the forums before I buy. Yeah, I am one of those dasterly buyers with a DNBF list. I work hard for my money and I'm not going to risk it with someone who could be a potentially difficult seller.

I still think Etsy just doesn't want its dirty laundry aired for all potential investors to see. They can conceal all of the disgruntled members via teams and not have to deal with the headaches anymore. It's sort of a mass muting.

I pop in and read the forums sporadically. My life is busy and I don't always have a lot of down time, like I do this week because I'm sick. But I have gone almost a year without reading them to return to find the same sellers with the same complaints.

People were so optomistic when Rob K. returned as CEO. It's just the same circus, different clowns.

Melissa said...

" The forums were just fine when admin actually listened and moderated in a polite, respectfully and totally within the rules not just flying by the seat of their pants."

Wait, when was that? You must be talking about some other time. I've been around since Nov. 2006 and it has always been a immature, petty dictatorship in there where they treat us like elementary school kids. They've never listened, either.

MyBack said...

ASSHOLES plain and simple. They don't want to deal with seller qustions, so just dump the forum. The ultimate in arrogance: the questions won't go away, so dump the forums.

As far as I am personally concerned, they can take their community and stick it.

WindysDesigns said...

eclipse said...

The infamous Etsy 5 were also muted for heinous crimes, but their shops were not closed either
------------------
Bogus. We were muted for a bogus misunderstanding, not "heinous crimes". That is why we were reinstated. The only heinous crime was the fact that it took 8 months to get a fair appeal.
_________________________________

Lighten up EEKlips, it was a joke. The point being that even though you were muted for 8 months, your shops were still open.

Things have changed dramatically since that time, now people are muted and shops shut down for farting sideways.

And the conspiracy theorist in me says they are doing the shop closures to prevent all of those that have been muted to regain the ability to post again, even in groups. Obviously some are not welcome at all.

WindysDesigns said...

I agree with whomever said "I think it was going to be a slow weaning process and not an out -of- the- blue multiple wipe out."

I also don't believe at that time Rokali had any clear idea of how any of this was going to turn out or that what they've just rolled out is what was initially visualized.

At the time it was first mentioned, I know I thought of Flickr and how you could form your own groups and chat that way. I don't think I ever thought that type of setup would be possible on Etsy, and even if they did manage to make that format work, I thought it would be in addition to and not in place of the current forums. Meaning, I thought it would be an option, not the only choice.

It wasn't until this last year that I began sensing the warning bells that we might be in for more than we bargained for. When Rokali brought it up again in January with the addition of unmuting the mutees, and then the email I got from RW, I felt like we were going to be blind sided by whatever it was they had planned. But I had no power to raise the issue in the forums, so I tried to do it through EB. I did try to continue emailing RW to learn more, but after refusing my request, everything else went unanswered.

I'm also kind of torn in what I believe the true reason behind it is, or whether this is another half assed rollout or a brilliantly executed and well planned move.

This is patterned so much after Flickr and Facebook, it can't be a mistake. People tend to hang in groups or 'friends', and have their own communities within a larger community. There is usually more commonality amongst the smaller groups than a single larger group where the commonality is very general.

These smaller groups of 'friends' can set up their community with the same topics of discussion, help, business, techniques and materials, show off creations, get advice on their shops, have a place to let their hair down, and they are able to do it in a safer environment because like people tend to gather together.

There isn't really a need to belong to several groups unless you want to, you can have everything in one group. Other groups could specialize in one topic, kind of like farmville, or other groups or games you can belong to. but you still have your core/home group.

As far as following the social networking theme, this seems to be right on track. Unfortunately, it isn't what a lot of us signed up for, we feel that selling is our primary purpose and socializing is a side benefit.

I think Etsy does see the benefits of the social aspect that forums bring, after all, they could have just eliminated them altogether. But socializing is a necessary part of the picture, we want and need a connection to others to some degree. But I think Etsy's emphasis on it has overshadowed the selling aspect.

We hate changes to things we think work just fine for us, but I think once people get used to it, they'll find they like it more than they thought they would.

eclipse said...

Melissa is right, there has NEVER been any golden age when admins listened to users and treated them like intelligent adults. It actually used to be worse when RD was there, and remember Danielle's brief stint as forums commandant? Yikes.

I was not optimistic when Rokali came back. The only people who were, were the ones who had never lived under his first regime.

sark said...

I have taken sabbaticals from the forums... because I'm just that kind of person.

I don't mean this offensively to anyone on etsy who knows who I am and thus I probably consider you a friend (whether or not you would reciprocate)... but I signed up for an account on etsy to sell shit — my shit. I buy my supplies, I make my products, I own all the machinery involved, I package the orders, I drop the packages off at the post office. I could belong to every team on earth, but at the end of the day it's about selling shit.

Plus, I have a life, a job, other commitments. I'd be doing what I do whether etsy was here on not. Shit, I do it on artfire, and I have to admit, that other than asking a run-of-the-mill procedural question on what is the way that such-and-such a thing is done here - I rarely, if ever, visit the artfire forums.

Now, if etsy hadn't acted in the way they traditionally act: like a bunch of idiot-fuck unprofessional fucktards, then here's how it could have gone down:

"Hey there! Etsy is going through some changes. We're growing as a company and as a site, and we're growing in a myriad of directions. As part of the social interaction of the site, there are some things about "public spaces" that are going to change. One of the public areas of the site we're altering is the Etsy forums. Don't despair, we're not going to completely dismantle them and shuck them in a cardboard box and forget about them in the broom closet next to the faux mop bucket. No, no! We just want to make them more efficient in a way that is conducive to the needs of the community. Some sections of the forums are going to "migrate" to "team" pages, while others will remain untouched.

"Site Help, Bugs, and Ideas will remain. Obviously, these are areas of public interest that should be open to all the members of the etsy community as these forum sections are for the discussion of very general and yet wide-ranging issues.

"However, we feel that other areas are best suited and best served by our 'team' format. We have given this careful consideration..."

And so on, and so forth. It took my five fucking minutes to type that. Had the statement been remotely coherent, inclusive, and well written, then the furor and outrage probably would have been blunted.

As an artsy asshole who has held down a full time job for a corporation for more than a decade, I can tell you that etsy sucks at PR. If they didn't, then we wouldn't all be is such a tizzy over this shit.

Personally, I have a fucking life and I don't facebook or flickr or farmville or whatever else the fuck was mentioned. I signed up to sell on etsy as an individual, and as an individual I pay my credit card fees. I am me, I work alone. I'm not gung ho about the forum migration, but then, I can also see how having publicly searchable threads doesn't do some people any favors.

Of course, sadly, in the end, I expect the worst qualities of all etsy employees to be on display through out this transition.

Any thread closed with a line such as "I think this has gone on long enough" is an unprofessional display and an integrity killer. I only expect it to get dumber now that the staff acts openly hostile.

Business ethics dictates that authority figures acting on behalf of a company don't use the word "I." If only etsy knew that.

Sharon said...

Personally, I don't care who warned who, or who knew what, when, and I find it funny that someone would come here and shout "I warned you!" like she was the only one who had a clue. We've all been on this sinking ship, and we've all known that the worst was yet to come. That didn't make it any easier to communicate with Etsy about it, because they just don't give a damn.

If Etsy wants to morph into a Facebook clone, good luck to them. They can do that without me, not that they care. The worse part about all of their recent asinine changes is that the more they mess things up for their sellers, the more they mess thing up for their shoppers. It's so confusing and difficult to find what you want, and to stay in someone's shop now, that it's like running around in an endless maze.

I don't think it's a fluke that ArtFire just kicked Etsy's arse in the AuctionBytes survey. Now I hope they repeat in this survey:
http://diyfashion.about.com/library/bl-readers-choice-awards-2011.htm

I'm really over Etsy and the buffoons who run it.

TruDat said...

I may not be welcome in the forums, but the feeling is MOOTCHAL.
I see that they are already backpedalling on this issue.

I really do think that we give those Etsy employees too much credit for intelligent thought. I used to believe that they pulled this shit to slip in something worse quietly, but have come to the conclusion that they cannot possibly be capable of thinking that far ahead.

ADD / ADHD is sure what it seems like, and certainly not disparaging those who struggle with this condition. Just think that it's pretty fucking unprofessional not to get some therapy or meds for it if it affects your job to such an extent.

WindysDesigns said...

Ok, mea culpa on the 'I told you so', and my great powers of precognition. For some strange reason, I knew exactly what was going to happen beforehand, and my husband wasn't the least bit interested in it. lol.

I think most of us know that what Etsy says and what you get are usually 2 different things, but I've never guessed so accurately before. When we begged for an announcement forum and got the Storque as a result, I know it's not what anyone expected, but I doubt anyone could have seen that coming.

So, I apologize for acting like I could have saved the world if you'd only listened. If I could have said it in the forums, I would have done it there, lol. I just wanted to validate my feelings.

WindysDesigns said...

eclipse said...

Melissa is right, there has NEVER been any golden age when admins listened to users and treated them like intelligent adults. It actually used to be worse when RD was there, and remember Danielle's brief stint as forums commandant? Yikes.

I was not optimistic when Rokali came back. The only people who were, were the ones who had never lived under his first regime.
_________________________________

Absolutely agree with every word of this.

I'm still baffled by what must have gone on behind the scenes with him leaving, then Maria, then him coming back. I wonder if it was always supposed to be he'd take a year off to pursue other things and Maria was only temporary until he was ready to focus on Etsy again, or if he was forced out and Maria just didn't accomplish what they had hoped and figured Rokali might actually be the best choice to lead them into the Social Revolution.

I don't think Maria was on board with that idea. Or didn't have the passion for it to make it work.

Libby said...

The Etsy way of treating its customers has always been pretty horrible. It might have improved a tad under Maria.

I felt like throwing up when Maria was pushed out and Rokali came back. I knew things were going to go from bad to worse and my thoughts have been borne out. I know for sure that many of us felt the bottom was going to fall out of Etsy once he came back. We just didn't have any idea how bad it was going to be.

I know that "teaming" the forums makes any controversy invisible to search engines. I feel that is the primary consideration for this move. It also silences those of us who have been critical of Etsy.

I have three little words: Come to ArtFire.

If you do what AF tells you to do you will become successful. It's up to you. There are no favorites, no blocking, no 50,000 item caps, no giving sold items higher Google rank than active items, no setting up fake sellers with our copy and pictures on dead items, no arbitrarily blocking the feed to certain shops, no snottiness from the admin. In fact Tony is always there answering questions.

I also suggest getting signed up with the UEF and subscribing to AuctionBytes.

WindysDesigns said...

Sark, I still have no clue who you are.

And I agree that it could have been handled so much differently to reduce the backlash and confusion, but then, don't we say that for everything they do?

There are times when I actually see where they're going with something, not that I agree with the direction or with the way it was introduced and rolled out, but they lack the ability to communicate effectively (when they communicate at all) and I am beyond wondering why no one on the board, or who is employed by Etsy can see this.

I'm way past thinking that they don't give a shit, but I just don't understand why they don't take steps to minimize any backlash. While they will never please everyone and there will always be complaining about what they do, they could sure minimize that first shock wave by preparing their sellers for what is coming and when and at least a broad view of the concept.

Half the problem is that they spring changes on you with no warning and no ability to make mental or physical preparations.

The other half, well, poorly constructed features rolled out before they are ready or lacking any kind of forethought.

Etsy may get it all together one day, but I'll be glancing in from time to time from the sidelines, I no longer want to be a part of that growth process.

Exit Strategist said...

sarks comment is spot-on:

"...etsy sucks at PR. If they didn't, then we wouldn't all be is such a tizzy over this shit...

Etsy has made some really lame-ass business decisions over the years, and a few of the newest ones are highly suspect.

However, they have never really done anything that high quality PR couldn't have glossed over or spun effectively.

The real problem is at Etsy's very core: remember Rokali saying that he prefers to hire on gut-instinct rather than resume skills, and saying that formal education is bogus?

The Etsy Team under his direction is intentionally comprised of people without quality business education and strategic management skills.

This works great if you're a start-up looking to capitalize on a boom with your buddies then jump on a quick exit strategy. Good on ya, mate.

It doesn't work great for the thousands of businesses who have committed to the shaky platform. Those of us who Rob will leave in his wake.

But that's how it works, innit?

Anonymous said...

Yeah! What Sark said! Exactly!

The Funny One said...

Agree with sark's edits, which we all know E doesn't have -- an editor let alone one person in charge of all their (awful) public statements.

Most irritating are the multi-mini-announcements after the main Admin post that made no sense, so they add another 10 pages of more no- sense-crappola.

Beneath all the Admin BS is the real problem for E, and it's too late to fix it (not that they'd be interested).

Who, in their right mind, TRUSTS E with anything? We have 7 years of proof that what they say is clearly not what they do.

Pity the poor Continent that gets duped into E's new "microfinancing" seminars, because ANY advice coming from a company with their record of such incredibly abysmal customer service is another E-driven disaster waiting to happen. Their arrogance knows no bounds!

Melissa said...

I shuddered when Kalin came back, too. It was sickening and amusing yet sad, to see people who joined while Maria was in charge expecting Kalin coming back was going to be a good thing.

I really think he is the main problem here. This all reflects Rob Kalin's personality. A huge problem is that all the investors seem to have been taken by his con game, too - Fred Wilson, Caterina Fake think Kalin is just a little boy wonder, while meanwhile most of his customers pray that he'll jump off a bridge.

Right on from exit strategy with the point above about how they hire people with no resume or particular skills. My analysis is that is Kalin trying to account for some rejection he's felt in college or looking for jobs.

Not only do they hire semi-qualified people, they put them in ridiculous roles.

RobWhite is a good forum moderator. But why was he in charge of communicating the changes and the reasons for them?

Etsy PR is indeed awful. Look at who is in charge of their press contacts - some 20 something that Revolving Dork hired in SF... a person whose profile picture for a long time was him with his tongue sticking out. Clearly an expert at public relations when just his profile picture made me want to punch him.

looksfornewshiny said...

Looks like that PR guy still has his tongue hanging out. Rob probably makes him keep the photos.

It's increasingly obvious that Kalin hires those with no background in the jobs they have to remain in complete control.

I envision Rob as the professor behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. I suppose Fred Wilson fancies himself the Great and Powerful OZ.

They couldn't even wait til the forums were gone until they sent Sean11 in with a new shiny opt out feature.

Lonesome Road Studio said...

*size problem*
snort

Anonymous said...

Etsy and communication should never be used in the same sentence

Etsy Spews Chunks said...

Etsy would have been a much better (professional) site if it had no forums to showcase its little toxic "community".