Friday, June 20, 2008

Again, I'm Surrounded By Kindergarteners

I majored in Theater in College, but I really enjoyed my philosophy classes. Aside from the sleep lost to fearing the void and years of logically driven existential angst, I learned not only how to spot a weak argument, but also how to win that argument with relative ease. Why do I bring this up? Well, the most recent school yard fight at etsy of course. Granted this one was mild compared to others I've witnessed, but it still managed to catch my attention and make me shake my head in shame.

One seller thought, "Hey I've got too many supplies, perhaps I should use these before I go out and buy more." Then I imagine they thought, "I can't be the only one with this affliction, I should ask people to join me in a temporary pact so we can support each other in our decision." Sounds like a valid idea to me. Save a little money on supplies you really don't need right now and challenge yourself to create things out of stuff you already have sitting around. Then ask people to join you to create a sort of support group. Who could have a problem with that?

Another person sees this pact posted in the forums and thinks, "That is so not cool, now everyone is going to listen to her and stop buying supplies and my business will be hurt." Then they proceed to not only express their opinions, but bash the seller for a perceived evil intent. Some go so far as to compare this to calling for everyone to stop buying jewelry on etsy and they call it the 'same thing'. The opinion, while no less valid than the first persons idea, is built on a knee jerk emotional response not logic and the comparison is an irrational slippery slope argument.

Let's break down why the second person should calm down a bit. The argument makes assumptions not based in fact, first that "everyone" listens to the seller and does what she proposes. There are I believe a million accounts on etsy and I can say beyond any doubt that a great many of them have never visited the forum and of those that have only a small percentage of them listen to anyone in the forums aside from their small circle of friends. Next, that everyone who reads the proposal will participate. Come on, even though I haven't done the proper legwork to prove it I'm sure the amount of people who follow through on pacts is far from one hundred percent. Lastly, the argument assumes that this is what will hurt business. I think I've already established that there are probably very few people participating in the pact, it was never intended as a permanent ban and even though every single artisan needs supplies, they don't all buy those supplies on etsy anyway. I know I don't buy a lot of supplies there. Not a lot of thread options around.

The comparison that was suggested is the funniest of all to me. Anytime someone makes a leap like that all I hear is a whining voice yelling, "Yeah, Well, how would you like it if...". It's a juvenile response fueled by anger. While the feelings behind the outburst are valid, it really is best to take a deep breath and think before responding. Relax, this is not the end of the world. In the end you will just look foolish if you let your emotions do the typing for you.


Unknown said...

Amen, sister! Some people need to be reminded, this is business. It's not personal.

Tasha Early said...

ACK! I agree with you wholeheartedly. Chillout, people!

Ivy & Mae said...

relax--breath--walk away...all wise advice when in the forums in general!

(I could sometimes use that advice too!)

Anonymous said...

I actually thought about posting on the forums because I just bought more supplies than I've been able to for a year, and some of the money I spent was with Etsy suppliers. I'll finally have the supplies I need to get some things done, now that I've (hopefully exited) a super-lean 3 year dry spell of no fun.

I have no problem with people cutting back on supply spending. I see their little support group as something like gamblers anonymous. buying supplies is addictive. I've been toting a huge bead collection around for over 20 years, as well as stamping supplies I haven't used in 10 years, stationary I made over 20 years ago, 2 huge boxes of fabric I started collecting in the 80s... on and on and on.

thing is, when you make stuff you'll eventually need to buy supplies again and I bet the people whining about their how much it hurts their business will now be the last people to get that group's money.

Jrahn said...

Gees, I guess artists like Andy Goldsworthy are the head of an evil empire since they work solely with organic materials found within nature which never have to be purchased. I am gonna start selling chipped rocks and see what happens.