An open letter to Ravelry

Dear Ravelry folks,
I’m writing with a deep sense of sadness and dismay. I’m one of the people who was adversely affected by the rollout of the new Ravelry: I developed nausea and a headache within the first 15 minutes that I spent on the new site.

I don’t have a history of any visual or neurological disabilities or migraines, so I had a hard time accepting that what was happening to me was real. I tried again the next day, with similar effects. Since then, I’ve been sensitive to screen time, unable to watch video or to scroll on a website without feeling queasy or getting a headache. I assume that this is a long-lasting or recurring migraine, based on my partner’s description of her own migraines. (Ironically, she can use new Ravelry without problem, despite her migraine history.)

It’s been 13 days now. Will you stop and imagine that for a minute? A few days of trying to use your new site, dutifully reporting bugs and providing feedback and then, in the face of continued nausea and headaches, realising that I have no choice except to avoid screens as much as possible and hope that I’ll begin to feel better. As you can imagine, that’s pretty life-changing; it’s made it difficult for me to do my day job (now entirely remote, given the pandemic) and disrupted my daily routines and sense of connection with people beyond my own four walls.

Still, I was confident that I’d feel better with time, that you’d address the problem, and that I would be able to return to Ravelry.

Your most recent front-page post really knocked me for a loop, though. Instead of reassuring me that you’ll find the problem and fix it, I’m hearing “we think most people are fine with new Rav.” I’m hearing “our tools say it’s fine, so that’s what we choose to listen to.” I’m hearing “your experience doesn’t matter to us.”

I’m hearing “you don’t matter.”

It’s surprising how hard it is to write that about Ravelry.

You’ve built a community that has been my online home. I’ve logged in almost every single morning for years. I’ve stretched myself as a knitter. I’ve felt a sense of connection with people around the globe and have met some incredible friends. It’s no exaggeration to say that Ravelry has changed my life: through connections I made online, I learned how to dye yarn, got a job with a yarn dyer, and eventually started my own yarn dyeing business part time. I met my love, the woman who will become my wife. We openly celebrated our queer love in a visible way, and were met with joy and celebration from our fellow Ravellers.

The changes in Ravelry can’t destroy what I’ve already gained. My yarn business will thrive through my existing customers and word of mouth, my partner can moderate my Ravelry group, and most importantly, my love is still here at my side.

But, oh, my heart aches. It aches for the community, the conversations, the new patterns and knitterly tips and support and sense of connection. It hurts to feel excluded, to have my experience discounted, to be facing a future where I can’t use Ravelry and where I might have difficulty doing anything online. That sounds melodramatic, even to me, but in light of your failure to act, it’s also sounding increasingly likely.

Ravelry was unique, a place that felt personal and quirky and welcoming.

It isn’t any more. I mourn that loss.

Marit

Marit Munson, gobsmacked yarn