#RavelryAccessibility
March 21, 2021 11:04 AM   Subscribe

A recent Twitter campaign is trying to draw attention to numerous accessibility issues on Ravelry, the largest social network for knitters and fiber artists in the world. CW: potential headaches.

Threads such as this one, and another have documented the issues in depth. The response from Ravelry has been documented as well, and seems to reflect rather badly on them. To top it off, the "Classic mode," is going to disappear soon, leaving many users behind in the process.
posted by Alensin (118 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm not a knitter or otherwise a Ravelry user, but as a web accessibility person seeing this kind of callus attitude disgusts me. The issues are fairly straight-forward to resolve, and yet the site would rather turn away parts of the user base than take steps to do so. It's particularly frustrating that people have offered to consult on this issue for free and been turned down or ignored.
posted by Alensin at 11:14 AM on March 21 [8 favorites]


Are there any screenshots around this of the old and new design? Ravelry just shows a splash page to people who aren't logged in, and I don't feel like going through the rigamarole of making an account to satisfy my curiosity of "what have they done to make a site that literally causes pain".
posted by egypturnash at 11:15 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


For how much conversation there was about issues, it was surprisingly hard to find screenshots of the redesign. I don’t use the website or app so I don’t know if these screenshots are current but I founded it linked on a Reddit thread about this matter.
posted by GammaGoblin at 11:23 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


I don’t know if these screenshots are current

They look like they are current. (I have a rarely used ravelry account, and just logged in to check.)
posted by scorbet at 11:26 AM on March 21


On the chance that perhaps Ravelry's community is more unique than its platform, I went looking to see if anyone is duplicating some/all of the site. Instead I found this post breaking down a lot of options for folks who would like to consider other, more accessible, venues. I'd rather see Ravelry accept that their new cyan-laced brand identity is poisoning the golden geese, but duly noted for those who wish to give up and try elsewhere.
posted by Callisto Prime at 11:42 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


I think it's so weird that Ravelry has been so great about other things, but this is the hill they want to die on?
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:45 AM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Also, Ravelry's blog post "The Story of the New Look" details how the colors ended up being chosen (emphasis mine):
The colors had to all work with the cinnamon logo color, they had to work with each other, they had to meet color contrast ratio guidelines for web usability, they had to work in both a web interface and on physical items like merch, we didn't want the colors to feel too gendered one way or the other, we didn't want the colors to follow current web trends in color schemes, we still wanted the two main colors to be a shade of pink and a shade of green, and we wanted them to feel bright and friendly and warm. I probably spent 4-6 weeks trying out hundreds and hundreds of color combinations, mocking up site pages and merch, sharing them with the rest of the team, tweaking a hue one point on the color gamut, checking contrast, sharing again, starting over.
posted by Callisto Prime at 11:53 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the Reddit thread link. It gives me a much better picture than I was getting from the Twitter threads of the overall history.
I wonder if the commenter who mentioned scrolling behavior isn’t on to something.
posted by meinvt at 11:56 AM on March 21


As someone who occasionally puts a web page together (though not professionally at the moment) I'm curious if there's any info about which specific aspects of the design are at fault. I believe the people who say it's causing them pain, but nothing in that screenshot album especially pings my inaccessibility radar. Accessibility documentation for web color design mostly focuses on having sufficiently high contrast to be readable for people with impaired vision and different forms of colorblindness, but if this Ravelry design is causing migraines there must be more websites with the same problem.
posted by skymt at 12:00 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


I would guess that it's the unnecessary hideous bold dark outlines around every interface element?
posted by oulipian at 12:02 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


For sure, the outlines stand out as maybe the most distinctive thing in the design. (And not distinctive in a good way.) So I guess it could be more a matter of high-contrast visual noise rather than the color scheme itself?
posted by skymt at 12:06 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Migrainer here: it’s the cyan on white that’s causing me the immediate problem. There are other elements that may also be contributing, but if I cover the cyan elements with my hand, my it immediately reduces that sense of “a migraine is imminent.” I would be interested to learn more about why this is happening.
posted by Silvery Fish at 12:10 PM on March 21 [24 favorites]


Ooof. I am a longterm user of Ravelry with chronic vertigo that is triggered by many websites (although not by the new Ravelry site, for whatever reason), and I have complicated feelings about this. And I'm a little loathe to articulate some of those feelings, because I feel weirdly protective of the Ravelry crew. So I'll just say that they're a tiny, tiny operation (two owners, who are a married couple with two little kids, and three employees), and I think they're having an even harder year than the rest of us are. I think their not responding may just be that they're totally overwhelmed, in the way that all of us are totally overwhelmed but with some extra overwhelm coming from things like the fact that one of their three longtime employees died of cancer at the age of 37 last month. And I think they may not feel comfortable saying "look, we get it, but we don't have the mental bandwidth to fix this right now", because they spent 2019 pissing off the rightwing hate mob, and they don't want to say anything that would get the attention of or validate the prejudices of the people whom they pissed off in 2019.

But I would really, really like it if this kind of web accessibility issue got more publicity, because it comes up for me a lot, and I have had zero luck getting any website to fix it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:12 PM on March 21 [33 favorites]


. I think their not responding may just be that they're totally overwhelmed

I’m not sure what type of specific feedback they are getting. Acknowledging that their users have been heard would be a good first step. Taking the website to a greyscale might be a nice interim step while they get the issue unraveled.
posted by Silvery Fish at 12:20 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I would guess that it's the unnecessary hideous bold dark outlines around every interface element?


I double-checked again, and it looks like they have toned down those outlines, at least in the forums so that they look closer to the original look. The shadow boxes around the cyan buttons are still there.

There's also a second mode available with more of a beige background, as can be seen here. Some of the cyan seems a bit muted too.
posted by scorbet at 12:23 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


They also have a reduce-motion setting and a freeze animated gifs setting, which is better than 90% of the websites that I use. My online life could be vastly improved if every website would just allow you to do those two things.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:30 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


The new design is shit, and definitely could be contributing to eyestrain, judging by the screenshots above. There's way too much contrast on irrelevant elements like borders and outlines, and not enough white space to let content breathe. Any saturated colours are a bad choice for readability, and saturated cyan is just slightly less shitty than the shittiest UI colour in the world, saturated magenta.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:58 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


I feel like the crew at Ravelry hedged at first, a chunk of the community really started screaming, and they've been trying to play catch-up since. Now they have to literally please everybody, and we all know how that works. I have no doubt some people have been experiencing real ill effects since the redesign, but some people truly "have reactions" to MSG in a way that is not necessarily chemically causal. Psychosomatic symptoms are still symptoms, and in a close social network like Ravelry, at least some of this is probably crowd psychology.

A lot of the redesign was updated branding, but some of it was to increase accessibilty, which is an extra shame that it seems to have backfired. I will support the Ravelry crew to the end, even when they make mistakes. They stood up against Trumpist hate and have been clearly supportive of progressive causes and discussions within fiber arts. Cassidy transitioned without a lot of fanfare, but I'm sure they got conservative blowback from that too.

Ravelry has been a huge boon to the fiber community, a place to gather, and a place to find (and sell) patterns. It has completely transformed a craft and its industry, almost always for the better. They seem to be trying to find solutions to this, but I'm afraid they'll never be able to do enough for some people.
posted by rikschell at 1:33 PM on March 21 [25 favorites]


I used to be a Ravelry diehard and if you’d told me a year ago that the admin team would not only behave this appallingly, but so blithely throw a decade of community goodwill down the toilet, I’m not sure I’d have believed you. I had some public and private exchanges with Cassidy during the conversations about making the site safer and more welcoming to BIPOC — one of the eventual results of which was the Trump ban — and was impressed then with the way she did the emotional work and pushed past her own defensiveness to listen to what we needed. It’s hard to believe the same person I spoke to has been so callous towards the members of the disabled community who’ve been physically harmed by nuRav. This kind of shit is why I feel like I need to brace myself for backstabbing all the time, even (especially!) from allies who seem to be doing good work.

There’s a difference between not responding vs. making character attacks and banning discussion, and if it’s been a hard year for the Rav team, it’s also been a hard year for the disabled small business owners who’ve lost most of their income because they can’t use the most popular pattern sales site any more, even to change their profile to tell their customers where else to find them. And for the users who got cut off from their online community in the middle of a pandemic. And for the people who’ve been repeatedly accused of lying by the admins for talking about how the site has affected their health.
posted by bettafish at 1:37 PM on March 21 [13 favorites]


The thing about WCAG contrast ratios is confusing to me; the requirement there is that text have a minimum contrast ratio against the background. Decorative elements are specifically excluded; there's no reason they have to have those super contrasty borders.
posted by Aleyn at 1:47 PM on March 21


When people say they are losing their livelihood because they can't stand to use the site any more, why isn't anyone telling them how to use greasemonkey/stylish/browser extensions to fix it for themselves?
posted by bashing rocks together at 1:48 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


If someone came into my store and accused me of giving them a migraine because of the fluorescent lighting I would say I'm sorry that happened. But if they demanded I switch the lighting so they could shop there and said I was trying to exclude disabled people I would be upset and sad, but I couldn't really afford to retrofit everything just for them. It's strange that it's just this one website causing people problems and no particular aspect can be nailed down as the cause. It sucks if Cassidy got defensive and lashed out, but I'd be lying if I said I'd never done something similar. There's a whole world of white-background websites out there. I think it's understandable to be confused about why this is happening and to say (to a certain extent), I wish I could help you but I don't know how to fix what you say is broken in a way that will definitely work for everyone.
posted by rikschell at 2:08 PM on March 21 [28 favorites]


The problem I have with this story is that people have reached out and provided accessibility feedback from before the site redesign went live. This should not have been a huge surprise. Moreover, people have offered suggestions and advice for how to solve the issue four months, and yet nothing has apparently beethis should not have been a huge surprise. Moreover, people have offered suggestions and advice for how to solve the issue for months, and yet nothing has apparently been done.

I can appreciate the desire to defend people with whom you have a strong connection, but the lack of care on display here continues to befuddle me.
posted by Alensin at 2:14 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Pretty disappointed in the responses to this situation in this thread.

Why is it that when someone with a disability mentions a shortcoming with a piece of web design, or hell, anything for that matter, there are people in left-leaning circles that feel the need to rules-lawyer the situation to find some plausible means of denying culpability for the perpetrator of the problem?

We wouldn’t do something like this for other minorities. It’s kind of shameful, to be honest.

Denying the lived experiences of other people in order to justify bone-headed, ableist shit is not cool.

I see this all the time, and as a disabled person, it makes me loathe to pipe up about matters that impact me, because someone is going to come along and minimize my experience, or focus on some immaterial piece of minutia, or what have you instead of focusing on the very real impact inaccessible design has on people.

I’ll be real, I was going to roll my eyes when I looked into this, because it’s hard to imagine a website causing migraines in its userbase to me. But seeing this kind of response just makes me want to get loud about it. Once I took the time to hear about the eloquently described experiences that people were having, I took a minute and realized that maybe my eye-rolling was unwarranted.

And to the matter of the small team/family business nature of the ownership? Bully to that. Anyone using that excuse for a right wing business would be immediately laughed out of the conversation as a capitalist/corporate bootlicker straight off.

The least they could have done is respect the experiences of their userbase. The hate mob is a real thing, and sometimes I think it’s unwarranted, but they earned this shit. No sympathies here.

The left, by and large, does have a tremendous, gaping hole where its inclusiveness of people with disabilities should be. I’m glad this is gaining traction, though I’m disappointed in the very narrow subset of people this effects, because that will cause people to, as they often do in situations like this one, arrogantly fob it off as not important enough.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 2:20 PM on March 21 [26 favorites]


My understanding is that accessibility means allowing your site to be used by as many people as possible. I see some complaints about the site being less friendly to screen readers after the redesign. That is very frustrating, thoughtless, and should not happen. I see a lot of complaints about visual elements that can typically be changed in the users browser, like the drop shadows and the white background. If those elements can be changed with common browser extensions, then I don't think it's an accessibility issue.

Personally I have minor visual impairment so dark text on a white background like they have on ravelry is the best for me. The drop shadow makes it easier to locate & process the side bars. Sites that don't have high contrast text are less readable for me. It is nice when sites offer different themes like Metafilter does but I can use browser extensions when sites don't offer different themes.

If Ravelry blocks those elements from being changed in the browser then that is an accessibility issue. It would be nice if they offered a lower contrast theme for users who suffer from migraines. I don't know how much work that is.
posted by muddgirl at 2:36 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


I will say in the context of a properly created style sheet made by any "professional" front-end designer, having a nearly infinite variety of purely colour-differentiated styles is only 0.5% more trouble than having just one.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:38 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


This is all kind of sad to me. I sometimes really feel like a conservative when it comes to this kind of dynamic in particular, because I tend to feel like people are really very attuned to some nebulous concept of virtue that seems tailor-made to be able to judge others severely. I would say this is a Conflict is not Abuse-type situation if I was even clear on what the conflict truly was about, because at this point it seems like amorphous and ever-changing drama. I say this as a disabled knitter who also experiences migraines (with aura) ‘episodically’. Which brings me to say: the one twitter thread has someone mentioning having to take aspirin after using the new website design. I’m sorry, but... aspirin? It seems like people should probably know what a migraine is before they bring out the big blame and shame guns, but again, maybe I’m being hyper reactionary or something...
posted by baptismal at 2:42 PM on March 21 [23 favorites]


I can't tell if that is what people think is causing migraines though. Maybe there is some other element I am missing that can't be changed in browser. Typically when I see people complain about websites causing migraines, it is due to strobing, flashing, or other active elements. I don't see any of that on Ravelry.
posted by muddgirl at 2:46 PM on March 21


Yeah, same. I’m still not really sure.
posted by baptismal at 2:50 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


@ baptismal

It’s all about where you want to draw your line. left-wing outrage has been permitted to blossom in other communities and has been given the benefit of the doubt because of what is largely considered to be the sanctity of those communities and their right to autonomy and doubly their right to be taken seriously. I’m not going to make any kind of statement as to the validity of that pointed outrage, because that’s beside the point. What does matter is that the outrage is validated by a community of internet activists thus lending credence to that community. There are a number of cases where, broadly speaking, the discourse hits rock bottom real fast, but the end goal is a sense of moral superiority for the defenders, and recognition of the sufferers as human beings who, by dint of their suffering are worthy of defense. This is kind of immutable fact at this point.

Disabled people are, by and large, afforded none of this, regardless of whether the defense has merit or not.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 2:53 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


No one can point to any cause. No one can point to any other website that causes the same problems. When the only solution is "we must go back to the way things were before" I think people have a right to be skeptical. I don't doubt that this is causing some people real pain, and that really sucks. But posing this as good guys vs bad guys is not helpful to anybody. Is this more like fibromyalgia or more like Morgellons Disease? Either way, people are hurting and it's not their fault. But it's not necessarily Ravelry's fault either, and there's not necessarily anything they can do about it but take the beating.
posted by rikschell at 3:01 PM on March 21 [19 favorites]


To continue rikschell’s analogy, if the lighting in my store made it impossible for someone to shop there, I might or might not be able to afford to fix the root issue, but I would try and work with the customer to find some kind of solution (I can think of several which I won’t mention, since they’re not relevant to the thought exercise). If that still didn’t work and they posted a review complaining about their bad experience, I might try and calmly explain my side of the story, but I wouldn’t delete their review, publicly or privately accuse them of lying, or send them harassing messages and then hide behind vague intimations of mental health issues when someone else called me on it.

Of course the fundamental flaw in this analogy is that it assumes a priori that the problem is undefinable and unfixable, something we have no evidence for in reality because the behavior of the Ravelry team shows that they really don’t care beyond doing the bare minimum to convince unaffected people that they give a shit. (Which, as this thread amply demonstrates, doesn’t need to be very much at all.) Not only could a lot of this have been averted with better accessibility testing beforehand and a slower beta rollout, but they’ve been offered a lot of pro bono help, as others have stated. Given how much of their success is based on a userbase invested in their idea of “community and inclusivity,” I also find it hard to believe they couldn’t have mounted a successful crowdfunding campaign to hire an expert if money is that tight.

It sucks if Cassidy got defensive and lashed out, but I'd be lying if I said I'd never done something similar.

I’m assuming you’re not aware of the extent of Cassidy’s behavior, unless you’re saying you’ve used your personal social media account to harass users of your website to the point where your business partner had to make a public (half-assed) apology and remove you from a customer-facing position of the business you founded.

Also, why is Cassidy getting all your empathy and benefit of the doubt while you’re framing the affected disabled users as people who don’t understand their own health conditions and are being hostile and unfair blaming someone who has no power to help them?
posted by bettafish at 3:09 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]


baptismal, it’s not just having to take aspirin — people are having seizures or extended weeks-long migraines.
posted by bettafish at 3:10 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I think it's so weird that Ravelry has been so great about other things, but this is the hill they want to die on?

Precisely this. Although I guess I shouldn't be super surprised when ableism shows up in leftist spaces, but still! There will be some mourning on my part for this. I don't use Ravelry's social aspects, but I'm really sorry to see users responded to so meanly. It's not fair and it's not right, and I'm sorry it happened with a site that we all value so much.

(And just to beat the store analogy to death: well, yeah. But if I could open six different stores in six different locations that offered exactly the same goods, service and prices, and different customers could feel comfortable at different locations (which they can all access from the exact same magical portal), all for a relatively light developer cost...I would totally do that? I mean, they already have two different color schemes! Just offer one without any cyan for the moment!)
posted by kalimac at 3:13 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Coming at this from a practical point of view, here are things they could do right now to restore some measure of justice to the situation.
  1. Immediately stop the planned obsolescence of classic view until some more permanent solution is reached. Reddit, of all sites, seems to have two different views, with quite different accessibility profiles. It's possible they're going to kill off the old one tomorrow, but I haven't heard news to that effect.
  2. Take some of the free help that has been offered, listen to people with accessibility expertise.
  3. Apologize sincerely for the stifling of discussion and commit to stop that practice henceforth.
These are just a few things that they could do right now to improve the situation. They aren't rocket science. Nobody is asking them to move heaven and earth, just to show a little more empathy and kindness towards a particular community.
posted by Alensin at 3:30 PM on March 21 [16 favorites]


Is this the extent of Cassidy's harassment? (From the fourth link in the OP)

* One of the founders posted a short-lived tweet from her personal account, accusing a user, who had reported the results of a survey (about the effect of the rebrand on designer sales), of "spreading straight up lies about Ravelry non-stop since we updated the design".

* On July 29, multiple reports started coming in, with screenshots, that Ravelry was sending out form letters to people who had emailed them with concerns about the accessibility problems, signed as being from Cassidy...


Sorry if I am missing anything, twitter is basically impossible for me to use. But from the extensive write up linked, "harassment" is apparently one ill-considered tweet and email replies to people who contacted Ravelry. But let me know if I'm missing something.

Also I should note that when the redesign was unveiled a year ago, Ravelry DID make changes based on user feedback. So the characterization that they have been sitting around with cotton balls in their ears is not true. I don't have screenshots of the original redesign and according to twitter even posting screenshots will cause migraines/seizures so I better not.
posted by muddgirl at 3:32 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]




I'm on Ravelry multiple times/day. I'm fortunate that I haven't been adversely affected physically by the changes. I do think some of them are ugly and unfortunate, but some of the worst (big drop shadows, looking at YOU) have been toned down. I'm actually kind of used to it now. Then the other day the forum reply box was yellowish (instead of white). GRRRRR. Again, not physically bothered, but OMG WHY. Luckily that seems to have lasted only a day or so.

But like others upthread have said, I've been really disappointed at the response from TPTB on the site. I don't know what's going on there, but it can't be good. They also had one employee pass away recently. Some folks on site are already wondering out loud if there's a back-up plan for somewhere we can go if Rav folds. :(

I have learned A LOT on Ravelry, and not just about knitting, crochet, and spinning. I've been on the site actively for almost 14 years (I was the 2012th person to sign up). I have learned about tolerance, neurodiversity, inclusion, internet memes, and even Portuguese knitting.

I love Rav, and would hate to see it go away. But I'm worried, and I'm heartbroken for the people who have been unable to use the site as they did.
posted by Archer25 at 3:36 PM on March 21 [11 favorites]


Some folks on site are already wondering out loud if there's a back-up plan for somewhere we can go if Rav folds. :(

The VC-money-driven startup that would replace it would be exquisitely attuned to accessibility issues, I'm sure.

I find these kinds of situation frustrating because I believe that (a) the people with complaints are entitled to raise them and especially deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of how else the company responds and (b) sometimes, people suffering from systemic issues focus their ire on the target they feel they can reach, which tends to mean that the powerful can misbehave with impunity and smaller, independent, often generally more welcoming and inclusive entities get hammered for all the sins of the industry. It's a punishing dynamic for all involved.
posted by praemunire at 5:33 PM on March 21 [34 favorites]


For reference, here's comparisons of Classic Ravelry, new Ravelry in the Merino theme, and new Ravelry in the alternate Herdwick theme.

Old Ravelry homepage
New Ravelry homepage in Merino theme
New Ravelry homepage in Herdwick theme

Old Ravelry pattern search
New Ravelry pattern search in Merino theme
New Ravelry pattern search in Herdwick theme

I haven't been involved with Ravelry much since the design change (for unrelated life reasons), and half of the Twitter threads in that post are deleted, so I'm not really sure what my opinion on this is. I do want to know what the actual design problem people have is that's not fixed by the Herdwick theme (which is probably the best a website has ever been on my eyes without being full on dark mode). I'm not sure what Ravelry is supposed to do without that information. The solution is absolutely not to roll back entirely. It sucks and is awful that some people are having these issues with new Ravelry, but old Ravelry was inaccessible to a much larger group of people. I routinely got headaches from old Ravelry. New Ravelry is also the ONLY site I know that lets me increase the text size without having to zoom in on the whole page, which makes it much, much more accessible than old Ravelry. The reports I've seen elsewhere indicate that this was an improvement for a lot of people. That doesn't invalidate the people who are having problems with it, but the solution isn't rolling back the site.

This seems like a situation of clashing accessibility needs, which sucks. It sounds like Ravelry isn't handling it perfectly, but it's really hard to say with all the deleted tweets, and no links to actual forum threads rather than cropped messages. But I also didn't read the whole thing because that person's blog was hard to read for extended periods! (Why is your text so small and escapes my PC settings to enlarge text??) So I don't have a conclusive opinion on this, but there's my thoughts.
posted by brook horse at 5:39 PM on March 21 [18 favorites]


I routinely get migraine-onset symptoms from certain sites. But that Herdwick theme is mild.
posted by ryanrs at 6:36 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I've had a headache for 27 years, and post-menopause have developed associated light sensitivity and migraine-like aura—recently I spent almost two weeks living in a dark room with just enough light to see by because it was so intense. I popped into the site, saw the new design, and thought, "Huh, that doesn't seem so bad." And then I remembered that I almost always set my monitor on "Night Shift," which reduces overall brightness, turns white into a kind of beige, and reduces contrast. I turned off Night Shift, and could barely look at the site—it felt like my eyes were being assaulted by it. I turned Night Shift back on, but now I'm having visual disturbances and a little bit of aura-like effects. So consider me a data point.

I haven't read all the comments here yet, though I have read the linked twitter threads, etc. I'm not sure why Ravelry's website would be uniquely awful—though the person upthread who said, "it's the cyan on white" may be onto something—but it also seems like there should be a relatively easy fix, since websites with a white background are a dime a dozen these days, and most of them do not have this kind of strong effect.

I'm used to people not believing in my triggers. My early attempts to talk to communities I am part of about scents, chemicals, and perfumes were very discouraging, but now it's common for hospitals, doctors offices, meeting spaces, and conferences to put some effort into encouraging attenders not to wear fragrance or use strongly-scented products. It's made a noticeable difference in my life! So hopefully this kind of accessibility need with gain traction as well.
posted by Orlop at 6:56 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


I agree with posters above that the Hardwick theme feels very mellow and relaxing to me.

There are a lot of things I can do to ameliorate my own symptoms. If I come into your store and the fluorescent lights are affecting me badly, I can get some relief from wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim. And I don't mind doing that. If I talked to someone about the lighting in their store, it would not be likely to be a demand that they replace the lighting right now, but it might plant a seed so that at the inevitable point in the future when new lighting needs to be installed, people are thinking about how to make it easier on people.

Or maybe, like the way theaters have "sensory showings" where the volume is down and there are other accommodations I don't know details of, and showings where some movement and noise is explicitly OK so that families with members who can't sit quietly can attend, a store might have, oh, call it "Migraine-free Monday!" when the light in the store will be dimmer and provided by floor lamps rather than fluorescents.
posted by Orlop at 7:07 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


A quick reminder that in my previous two comments I am only speaking about my own experience. I don't have migraines, I have something that used to be called Chronic Daily Headache but has been renamed something like New Daily Persistent Headache, because it is a headache that starts one day and then just...doesn't...stop. Usually it's mild to moderate—this is why I've taught English, raised four children, and traveled extensively within the continental US despite experiencing headache all the time. Menopause can change headache, and it significantly worsened mine. The light sensitivity is relatively new.

My point is that I don't want anyone to say, Wow, Orlop is like the Olympic Gold Medalist of having a headache, and she thinks the Hardwick theme is just fine! Nobody should use my experience of my disability to deny the experience of someone with a similar or different disability. Just a friendly reminder.
posted by Orlop at 7:12 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


When people say they are losing their livelihood because they can't stand to use the site any more, why isn't anyone telling them how to use greasemonkey/stylish/browser extensions to fix it for themselves?

Speaking as a knitter and Ravelry dabbler (who has no issues with the site) - I think the reason why can be summed up by the thought that flashed through my mind when I saw your question: "What the hey is greasemonkey?"

I mean, I know what it is in the sense that it is a thingamawhatsit that would let me customize web sites I look at somehow or filter things or whatever. But...that doesn't necessarily mean that someone telling me to "just use greasemonkey to fix it" would be any kind of help. (Would I have to install it like an app? Buy a second piece of software? Code anything? How does it work? Is it something I have to turn on and off every time and if I forget does it break anything?) It also doesn't necessarily mean that the people behind Ravelry would know how to use greasemonkey either.

So maybe the reason no one is telling people how to use browser extensions to fix this is because a) such browser extensions don't exist, b) the people using Ravelry aren't part of the Venn overlap that would be able to develop them, or c) the people using Ravelry aren't part of the Venn overlap that would know how to use them in the first place.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:42 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Gah, hit "post" too soon -

You DO make a good point that someone coming up with a browser extension to fix this would probably satisfy all parties. But...someone is going to have to take the reins TO do that, I suspect. This probably isn't something that the average Ravelry user is going to be able to DIY on their own. There are a good number of computer-savvy Ravelry users, but the average Ravelry user is probably a lady who wants to show off the things she's been knitting for her grandkids, and she's not gonna know how to design a Greasemonkey script, I'd wager.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Yeah. I'm guilty of this too, I assume that people are as skilled at using computers as I am. This is problematic because as a totally blind person I'm self-taught, and my knowledge is idiosyncratic.

The advantage of accessibility work is that users don't have to know as much about the guts of the machine, or the web site, or whatever. The ideal of accessibility is that the experience should work for as many people as possible, and obviously cause no harm.

From a statistical point of view I wonder how many people this issue impacts. I have yet to try the site myself, but suspect I'd find the mentioned screen reader issues annoying. Yes, I can work around them, but it's a hassle reasonable designers and developers can avoid in the year 2021 with a little care.

I literally work in the accessibility space, and an issue like this is the kind of thing that would get top priority in triage because it blocks certain users from being able to use the site. I just find the desire to gaslight hard to stomach because it suggests that the experience of on-going pain is not worthy of, at least, compassion and understanding. DOn't silence voices trying to tell you that something is wrong, especially when they are growing in volume.
posted by Alensin at 8:03 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


They also have a reduce-motion setting and a freeze animated gifs setting, which is better than 90% of the websites that I use. My online life could be vastly improved if every website would just allow you to do those two things.

Kind of a derail but if anyone else is bothered by animated gifs: on Firefox I use an add-on called SuperStop that lets me stop all gifs when I hit Esc, or any other shortcut I define. (This functionality used to be baked into Firefox, but they removed it for some frustrating reason. I assume there's either a similar extension or built-in capability in Chrome.)
posted by trig at 8:38 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


To the actual point of the thread: it hits home reading about this here. It's so important to communicate well with your users, and that also means listening well and making sure users feel heard and cared about. And it's so easy to squander even significant reserves of goodwill when you start failing to do that.
posted by trig at 8:43 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


This thread from a designer who’s had ongoing health and income issues because of the redesign touches on the “but why can’t they just use scripts/change screen brightness/etc?” questions.
posted by bettafish at 10:39 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


I imagine that a physical test for the cyan problem would be to paint a shed in some sort of fluorescent cyan that reflects 80% of the sunlight that hits it (to match the perceptual luminosity of bright cyan vs. bright white), and then hold up an opaque, shaded piece of paper in front of the shed and the sun, and try to read what's printed on it. This setup would give me a headache even without the cyan shed, so I'm not sure whether it would be worse with cyan or not.

It wouldn't surprise me if the problem truly is unique to cyan and not other colors, though. It's a color of light source that isn't common outside of RGB displays. Maybe bright cyan surrounded by bright white is being interpreted by the brain as the same signal sent by retina cells that have been exposed to the sun for too long, and so all of these reactions of pain are because we're unintentionally triggering the brain's self-defense systems against staring at the sun.
posted by Callisto Prime at 11:54 PM on March 21


The thread from the person with the $800 migraine-resistant glasses that filter out all blue light (and who still gets migraines from the site) seems to disprove that it's something as simple as cyan-on-white. (And when I go to Ravelry, the color y'all seem to be talking about, DAF7F3, is not something I think anyone would describe as "fluorescent cyan"; I'd call it a light aqua). As a web designer if someone comes to you and says "even my professional-grade equipment combined with extensions, css skins, monitor mods, and everything I've tried (and I've tried everything) won't keep your site from giving me headaches" how are you supposed to fix that?

I'm not saying everything Jessica and Cassidy have done has been optimal or blameless (calling them TPTB is dehumanizing). But they've been through smear campaigns trying to take them down before and there have been weirder Putin-based psyops than this. We're at the point where each side distrusts the other and both sides seem to be taking liberties with the facts to make the other side look worse.

And yes, I'd be more likely to spend a couple hundred dollars for a bunch of lamps and bulbs to do a Migraine-free Monday (which could take months to pay for itself) if I were approached with understanding rather than attacked as "trying to take my store away from me" or something. The margins on running a yarn-based business are not high, let me tell you. Nobody's getting rich doing this (except Stephen West). The reason Ravelry has such a small staff is not because they're socking away the huge sums they're making and refuse to hire more help. And we've seen on this very site how the lines between "proprietary" and "community" can keep people from accepting volunteer advice and assistance.

So, yes, I have compassion for Jessica and Cassidy, even if that makes me a monster in your eyes. I have compassion for the people who are exeriencing suffering trying to use the site, too. I don't disbelieve that they are having symptoms. I hope they can find a way to use the great tools available on the site. But I think it's wrong to say "Ravelry isn't trying to fix this" or that "this would be so easy to fix if they would just listen to what we're saying."
posted by rikschell at 5:57 AM on March 22 [21 favorites]


After all this, it's still not entirely clear to me what the problem is. Like, obviously a website should not cause migraines, I think we can take this as a given, but I don't know how you're supposed to fix a problem when you don't even know what the problem is. Giving people an option to go back to the old design means you have to support the old design, and the whole point of the new design is to not have to support the old design.
posted by Merus at 6:50 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]



After all this, it's still not entirely clear to me what the problem is. Like, obviously a website should not cause migraines, I think we can take this as a given, but I don't know how you're supposed to fix a problem when you don't even know what the problem is.


I spent 30 seconds tops reading TFA and learned that the problem is that the new color scheme is so bright that it is causing problems for people prone to migraines.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:13 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


I think part of the confusion is that people (e.g. here) are saying that things like light-filtering glasses and reducing monitor brightness aren't actually helping. So it seems more complicated than just brightness.
posted by trig at 7:37 AM on March 22 [10 favorites]


Giving people an option to go back to the old design means you have to support the old design, and the whole point of the new design is to not have to support the old design.

Serious question (I'm not a website designer or programmer) - would maintaining two color schemes for what is otherwise the same design add much actual overhead? (Like blue modern vs. professional white modern on metafilter)
posted by trig at 7:42 AM on March 22


The site already supports two color schemes (one of which can by no standards be called blindingly bright compared to something like Twitter), which has been insufficient to satisfy people.
posted by rikschell at 8:18 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


>>After all this, it's still not entirely clear to me what the problem is. Like, obviously a website should not cause migraines, I think we can take this as a given, but I don't know how you're supposed to fix a problem when you don't even know what the problem is.

>I spent 30 seconds tops reading TFA and learned that the problem is that the new color scheme is so bright that it is causing problems for people prone to migraines.

It has to be more complicated than that. Otherwise the $800 blue laser blocking glasses, or simple css changes, turning down the brightness on your monitor, or the various Night Modes in browsers and OS's would fix it. I have spent more than 30 seconds, and do not yet understand what's going on. It's also likely that one particular fix for a problem for one person causes a problem for another. For example, some folks have reported the deeper drop shadows as more accessible for them, some as less.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 8:22 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


The thread from the person with the $800 migraine-resistant glasses that filter out all blue light (and who still gets migraines from the site) seems to disprove that it's something as simple as cyan-on-white. (And when I go to Ravelry, the color y'all seem to be talking about, DAF7F3, is not something I think anyone would describe as "fluorescent cyan"; I'd call it a light aqua).

I, on the other hand, got really excited reading this thread even though I'm not a Ravelry user because I knew what colour people were talking about and it's been giving me mild nausea, headaches, and in conjunction with other triggers, the occasional full-blown migraine for years, especially in exactly this case - a small amount of it in something like those page number buttons in the search results (which, if I'm interpreting the screenshots right -- thank you for posting them! -- are on the search results in both the schemes, although they don't have the drop shadows in the second.)

I have filtering glasses (not blue light, although that too) because I get light-triggered migraines and my screen is set up in a way that works for me, and the cyan is still visible. Blocking blue light doesn't prevent me from seeing cyan, by the way, although it may help it not make me throw up for all I know. N=1.

I can also think of a lot of things that might be going on here besides just the cyan. I am slow on the uptake about migraine triggers in part because my migraines tend to start with a brain fog/lack of ability to process words, but as an example, I used to get migraines triggered by lights on subway cars to the degree that I knew which stop to get off at to throw up each day before continuing on my way home. Even after I finally connected the dots and got the right eye/face protection, I kept throwing up a few times a month, probably because the stress of that pattern was itself now a trigger -- and if I were logging into a website losing my livelihood, that would qualify.

But...I kind of wish you hadn't been so quick to be dismissive about it. Migraine triggers are weird, and easily dismissed, so it's understandable, but that's one reason the discussion goes sideways so fast.

As for this situation I admit my sympathies also lie with the Ravelry team because I can see where in a poorly resourced, small-team redesign, you can get to a point where you are exhausted from decision fatigue and feedback, especially if you aren't approaching it with a solid UX/UI design background (I didn't catch all the ins and outs there, but it sounds like a small shop approach.) And I agree if people can't 'fix' the problem with their current tools it feels very hopeless.

However...the old site didn't cause these issues, so it was possible. Ideally I think they would commit to continuing to explore it, and if some of the impacted people are willing, they could do a bit of qualitative research - ask them which sites work for them, etc. - and then develop a very muted version or just update the classic version a bit. But who knows.

I mostly just wanted to say yes, that colour is weird.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:42 AM on March 22 [12 favorites]


Given some of the reports about how different solutions aren't working, this really seems like a case where at least part of this, for at least some people, is probably about the inflamed feelings on both sides. (For example, I'm not saying everyone should use, or know how to use, CSS, but I don't understand how the reports of people having actually tried stuff like Greasemonkey with no result could be other than hyperbolic -- if a tool that lets you change every aspect of how the site looks doesn't solve the problem for some user, then the problem for that specific user really has to be something other than how the site looks.)

So if that's the case, this is really where leadership on Ravelry's part would be to apologize (even if they don't really feel they need to), express sympathy for affected users (even if they don't feel any), enable yet a third color scheme that the users most affected can design themselves, and lay this thing to rest.

I get that they might not be in the best space emotionally to do this. But I feel like that's where you take a step back and get someone you trust to help out for a bit and do for you the things you don't have the capacity to do at the moment, but that would still benefit everyone on all sides.
posted by trig at 8:43 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]


(Granted, it sounds like their condition might be beyond not being "in the best space emotionally", and I know how hard it can be to function like that. I really hope that's not the case, or that if it is, they'll be able to get or accept some help. A situation where two or three people are accountable by themselves to millions of users is really an unprecedented kind of scenario historically. It's not so strange to see people drop the ball in situations like that, frustrating as it is.)
posted by trig at 8:59 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


In retrospect - I was kinda snarky in my earlier comment, and I apologize for that.

I think that there are two different levels of "what's going on" - the level I was responding to was a much more basic broad-strokes response (something about the color choice is giving people issues, as opposed to it being a strobe effect or a font size or auto-loading gifs or anything like that), but there's also the "why is this particular thing causing issues" level of "what's going on", and I think that there is the rub.

It could be one of those situations where something is supposed to work but for reasons anyone is unable to ascertain, it just doesn't. (Like how my credit card is supposed to work with New York's transit system, but it doesn't, and no one has been able to figure out why.) It's frustrating all around - the problem isn't supposed to exist, but it does, and everyone's tried everything they did to trouble-shoot and it is still an issue and everyone is sitting here stumped.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:00 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many people had accessibility issues with the supposedly-harmless old design, but self-selected out of the userbase and aren't around to talk about it.
posted by BrashTech at 9:08 AM on March 22 [16 favorites]




apologize (even if they don't really feel they need to), express sympathy for affected users (even if they don't feel any), enable yet a third color scheme that the users most affected can design themselves, and lay this thing to rest

I think this is reasonable under normal circumstances, but when you’re the target of pro-Trump groups, no amount of apologizing and sympathy will stop the attacks. I’m not saying that this whole deal was initiated by the haters, but I would be shocked if some of the people complaining weren’t trying to weaponize the issue because of Ravelry’s previous stands. Maybe that’s conspiracy theory thinking, but with all the Russian bots and alt right strategizing around social media it would be weird if Ravelry weren’t a target. It’s easy to get sucked into fighting on the internet.
posted by rikschell at 9:48 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


The change in the redesign is so minimal and tasteful that I wonder if it's not the usual case of "someone has changed my space without asking me first" uproar. Especially if it affects folks who are familiar with the feeling of being excluded from a space.
posted by javanlight at 10:04 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


This is the second time in less than a month I've found myself saying, "wait, why is a simple, fixable UI issue causing all this drama?", but this does feel like the kind of thing the operating principles of markup are meant to prevent: HTML rendering is client-side, which should, at least in theory, give clients a lot of latitude to manage content in a way which actually works for them. Now, this is honored more in the breach these days, but even so, I share others' confusion that this isn't something easily handled with some browser tweaks. I'm not even talking about greasemonkey massaging or bespoke CSS overriding. My first thought was, "if color shades, or color contrasts, are the issue, why not provide some sort of greyscale theme?" And my next thought was, "if this is a problem which could happen almost anywhere on the web, for all sorts of people in all sorts of ways, why not a greyscaling browser extension", and then "that seems like something that would probably exist." And for Chrome at least, it does. I'm mindful that people use different browsers, different devices, and so forth to access websites, and come from different levels of technological expertise, but a quick search suggests that Firefox also has a greyscale extension, that Android can go full-device greyscale, etc., and that all this stuff doesn't require any sort of deep wizardry or hacking: browser plugins and system accessibility settings are pretty low bars, and these particular plugins seem designed for easy usability.

Of course greyscale can't solve all our problems unless it's much smarter greyscale that somehow explodes 3- colorspace into well-differentiated greys instead of stacking equal-luminescence colors together; out of curiosity I took the greyscale extension to look at some colorblindness tests. The results were dismal. A greyscale extension with some tweaks on it --- say, sliders for what coefficients to use on red/green/blue instead of using standard luminescence values could allow users to adjust for contrasts which don't show up in a normal grey. It wouldn't surprise me if some greyscale extension already extant _does_ do that, although the one I found doesn't.

Granted, it does seem Ravelry's management is making this more dramatic than they need to, by pushing back instead of working with people, and that's probably part of why this has become such a mess (which is a pity; I was an erstwhile user of Ravelry and they generally seemed like good folks). But if it truly is a problem entirely down to color choices (and it may not be, if people are continuing to have the problem after color mitigation, although then it becomes difficult to mitigate until there's a better sense of what the problem actually is), it does seem like even for afflicted users there are good workarounds that don't require Ravelry's cooperation.
posted by jackbishop at 10:18 AM on March 22


"Denying the lived experiences of other people in order to justify bone-headed, ableist shit is not cool."

This.

Not a Ravelry user, just lifetime disabled. My experience is that there is broad support for the rights of the disabled, but when changes are needed to accommodate the disabled, the standard response is to a) deny that there really is a problem, and/or b) say that the disabled person just isn't trying hard enough. People are supportive until it means changing their behaviour in any way whatsoever.

It's pathetic and dehumanizing, but absolutely typical.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:19 AM on March 22 [18 favorites]


My first thought was, "if color shades, or color contrasts, are the issue, why not provide some sort of greyscale theme?" And my next thought was, "if this is a problem which could happen almost anywhere on the web, for all sorts of people in all sorts of ways, why not a greyscaling browser extension", and then "that seems like something that would probably exist."

It looks like it renders the entire page in greyscale.

Because Ravelry is a knitting pattern website and it seems to me that probably people want to be able to navigate it and still be able to tell what colour the, you know, knitting patterns are.

Some of the arrogance on this thread is making me sad.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:25 AM on March 22 [11 favorites]


I think this is reasonable under normal circumstances, but when you’re the target of pro-Trump groups, no amount of apologizing and sympathy will stop the attacks.

Yeah, I know. But it seems like there are also people who are genuinely having trouble with the new design (even some in this thread). And those are people who are operating in good faith. So I think Ravelry basically has to decide to address itself to the users who care about it, and reflect that caring back at them. Most of the people who are caught up in this, whether in this thread or elsewhere on the internet, aren't Trumpistas. And they do deserve to be heard, and treated well. And then you'll have all the reasonable people - the vast majority, who would much prefer to feel good about this site they spend their time in than be disappointed in it - saying "well, they've apologized, they've shown a willingness to listen, and they've provided a remedy", and whatever Trumpers there are will be left beating a dead horse.

But acting insensitively or jerkishly only adds fuel to the fire, when fires are exactly what Trumpers love. And it strains your supporters' goodwill. And meanwhile people who legitimately have accessibility issues end up hurt unnecessarily.
posted by trig at 11:07 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]


This whole situation has been a real bummer for me over the last few years. I have migraines triggered by flashing. For me, it's not the color clash per se that does it.

The problem I get with Ravelry is when I'm scrolling the page. Something about the way the UI elements scroll, or don't scroll, or scroll in a weird hitching sort of way, gives me that "look away before you get a migraine" feeling.

I've never had this experience with any other site. Maybe the newer UI designs prevent this problem, but I'm not super eager to test it out and risk getting a migraine. (I have stuff to do!)
posted by ErikaB at 11:30 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]


As someone who hadn't previously heard much about the possibility for websites to cause these sorts of issues, I found this post (an update from Dreamwidth on how they were attempting to deal with a similar problem following a site update, scroll down to "visual/access issues") helpful in fleshing out what sort of factors might cause problems for users and why mitigating them can be challenging.
posted by eponym at 11:35 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]


Just to note, users are reporting issues with classic Ravelry (which can currently be enabled, but I expect runs on some different code than the "original" Ravelry did, though I've looked at old screenshots and can't identify a difference) as well. So it's definitely not the cyan (or not only the cyan), there is none of that in the classic Ravelry theme. That suggests something with page loading or scrolling, which is possibly minute enough that no one can easily point to it and say, "This is what needs to be fixed." We often don't know why our brains are triggered by certain things. Which is always a shitty place to be in, so I feel for these users, but I also see how it's not just a case of "we're telling you what to change and you're refusing."

Although one person reported even screenshots could trigger migraines--I'm curious if that only referred to new Ravelry, or if that's the case with classic Ravelry as well.
posted by brook horse at 11:58 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Having high-contrast outlines around everything on the page is just a ridiculous design decision. Look at this nonsense. There's a thin dark border under each menu, around every box in the sidebar, around each page number in the search menu, around every image on the page. Why? It's ugly and unnecessary. Even the Herdwick theme is like this. On a hi-res screen especially, high-contrast single-pixel borders are like boxcutters for your eyes.
posted by oulipian at 12:03 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


The change in the redesign is so minimal and tasteful that I wonder if it's not the usual case of "someone has changed my space without asking me first" uproar.

Brains are buggy organic hardware, so it's totally possible for something to look minimal and tasteful to one person while it causes another person's visual cortex to throw a critical error and reboot.

Photosensitive migraines and seizures are super context dependent. Not everyone has the same triggers, but even if they did, the setting and context matter. So people's experience is going to vary not just based on whether they have a condition that you don't, but exactly what color their monitor is displaying, what the refresh rate is, how much of their field of vision is exposed to the site, what the surrounding light levels are like, etc.

The problems with the site could also be related to any number of things. Aside from the aforementioned wierdness of blue light, the magenta and cyan color combo could be tapping into issues with blue and red light, which can cause seizures (the most famous incident related to a episode of Pokémon) and result in optical illusions like chromostereopsis even in people who aren't photosensitive (warning: googling immediately pulls up visual examples). I could also see the strong contrast of the drop shadows causing a flickering effect as people scroll or their eyes scan the page. And then there's the animation that was happening as people logged in, which might have served as a sort of spark that got people's brains into a weird state to begin with. My uneducated guess is that Ravelry may have inadvertently incorporated a sort of perfect storm of factors into its redesign, and that the size of its disproportionately female user base (women experience migraines at 3x the rate of men) ensured that multiple people would run into issues with the design.

Brains are wild. I've had exactly one visual migraine and I still feel like I sound insane when I talk about it. It happened when I was doing something that I have done in the exact same spot, under the exact same conditions, hundreds of times before and since. The thing I was doing? I was sitting on my couch in the evening, tilted my head up to take a sip from a mug of black tea, and my eye caught our bog-standard ceiling light. Cue 20 minutes of a bean-shaped array of concentric triangles that expanded to cover my central field of vision and scintillated with a kind of soap-bubble iridescence, all because I saw a ceiling light while I was drinking tea. What?? A neuro ophthalmologist later diagnosed me with, "Yeah, that just kind of happens sometimes." Who knew? (As it turns out, a lot of people, including several of my coworkers! Just not me.)

So I get that this all sounds counterintuitive if you aren't experiencing it yourself, but the people describing issues deserve respect and consideration, and the things they're talking about are plausible, even if they can be hard to replicate.

Oh, and bonus lesson from the Pokémon incident: it involved both full-on seizures and mass hysteria. So even if this is a matter of "someone changed my space without asking me" for some people, that doesn't mean that the site isn't causing serious issues for others.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:09 PM on March 22 [13 favorites]


The Ravelry UI redesign has been a hard topic for me to engage with, because I really feel the brunt of the ableist comments.

I would like to say, though, that yes - the design triggers a migraine for me. I'm not just grinding an axe or being persnickety and change-resistant. I can't speak for everyone, but I can assure anyone who has doubts that yes, It's A Thing.

I'm not willing to do a lot of browser hacking to "fix" the problem Ravelry caused for me with their own site, which they have been openly and loudly resistant to changing. If they're going to be like that, I guess that's their business. I'm going to shrug and stop using their site.

Luckily I haven't sold patterns through Ravelry for years, and I've mostly given up knitting for other reasons. Still stings, though.
posted by ErikaB at 12:10 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


As a visually impaired user, the high contrast borders are much better for me. On classic Ravelry the borders are thin/light enough as to be nonexistent, making it difficult to tell at what point I can click and be in the "box." It sucks that that's causing problems for other people, but it is much more accessible to me now. I feel kind of guilty about that, honestly.
posted by brook horse at 12:16 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


Don't feel guilty - at least there's an up side to it for someone!
posted by ErikaB at 12:20 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


(Speaking of abelism: sorry for using "insane." I'm still working on finding a way to better describe that feeling/concern, even though, as someone with a history of mental health issues, I get why people would like folks to stop throwing words like that around lightly.)
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:26 PM on March 22


I registered on the site just to check it out, and yeah, the screenshots don't really represent what's wrong with it. I would put it as the overabundance of micro contrast and lack of overall contrast.
Every detail is screaming at the top of the lungs, while the headlines are all the same size, so there is no discernible structure. Usually you have changes in size, contrast, color, proximity to help you 'read' the site. Trying to navigate this one is really daunting. So yeah, I can imagine how people get overwhelmed visually or get migraines.
posted by javanlight at 12:43 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


As a visually impaired user, the high contrast borders are much better for me. On classic Ravelry the borders are thin/light enough as to be nonexistent, making it difficult to tell at what point I can click and be in the "box." It sucks that that's causing problems for other people, but it is much more accessible to me now. I feel kind of guilty about that, honestly.

Clashing accessibility needs are a very real phenomenon. In an ideal world, we'd have enough buy-in on accessibility generally that we wouldn't have to worry about the concept being used in bad faith in debate.
posted by praemunire at 12:45 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


Brook horse, no need to feel guilty! It’s not that all borders are bad, just that these could be handled better (thicker borders, slightly rounded corners, backgrounds instead of borders, etc). I totally agree with javanlight about the lack of visual hierarchy and “overabundance of micro contrast.”
posted by oulipian at 12:49 PM on March 22


I learned from this that I don't have photophobia. I always thought I did, but that's because I was thinking "sensitivity to light" just meant something simple and vague and obvious like "when dealing with migraine would prefer to be in a dark quiet place the better to sleep through it." No. Clearly no. Photophobia is quite a different (horrible awful) thing.

I've been a migraneuse forty years, and even the mild and very occasional ones I get now feel significant and like they're pushing me that much closer to the grave. If I loved a website and it changed its skin just because it decided it needed cinnamon branding and the new look of that website caused me even one of the little 4-hour slogs that my migraines have become, I would be absolutely infuriated. If the site then decided to throw down and go to war to keep their pointless new cinnamon-ness intact and accused me of ludditism and feelings...? Oh man. The rage. I can't imagine.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:52 PM on March 22 [7 favorites]


The prior design of the site dates back to...2008? 2010? I think most people would agree that a decade-ish old website design probably needs a revamp.

As a migraine-haver myself (and someone who doesn't like the new design aesthetically), there's a real problem with how individual (and difficult to trace) migraine triggers are. While there are some recognized flashing-light issues that can set off bouts of epilepsy, I don't think there are a clear-cut set of official migraine triggers to avoid, and I don't see how there can be a set that includes everyone's. This makes matters really difficult. Ravelry is so hugely important to the knitting community that it should feel a greater-than-usual responsibility to be accessible (I think maybe some non-knitters here don't appreciate just how central it is, and thus why people are legitimately upset regardless of whether they're correct about the source of their issues), but realistically, for a commercial website, there will probably be some percentage of users whose needs can't be well met, if only because some of their needs will in fact conflict. If you're then not responding to complaints about this in a thoughtful way, you set the stage for user anger and disenchantment.
posted by praemunire at 1:08 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]


I had a migraine in bed this morning while going back and forth between YouTube and Metafilter on an iPad.

Which is kind of par for the course for me, and as is the case at least two thirds of the time, I don't know the proximate cause, though I'm fairly sure the ultimate cause is a brain injury I had 20 years ago, and which my neurosurgeon assured me at the time would almost certainly result in a seizure disorder. Not so far, however.

But I can feel it sort of prowling on the periphery, waiting for its hour to come round at last.

So I sympathize with the person whose seizure was triggered by Ravelry, but I feel there's a limit to the amount I can ask the world to warp itself around my uncommon problem. I can't, for example, ask the wind not to blow and make the lake glitter in my face like that, but I think its reasonable to ask the grocery store to replace the flickering tube in the produce aisle, and to require it not to use strobe lights for instore promotions (not quite a strobe, but remember Kmart Blue Light Specials?). And I think her issue is more toward the flickering tube end of the spectrum.
posted by jamjam at 1:23 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


The New Yorker just dropped a long article on politics and Ravelry. It isn't primarily about but discusses the site redesign.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:23 PM on March 22


maybe some non-knitters here don't appreciate just how central it is
That's the other thing! I've been knitting for about six months tops. I decided I should make a scarf for my darling, so my mom taught me how. I made his scarf (terrible) and then I learned to purl and made another (terrible) scarf for my friend. Now I'm making a terrible ribbed hat. After that I'll do a potato chip scarf for my other friend, which will also likely be pretty terrible. And then I'll do something else. This is because once you figure out how to knit, you, like, have to knit, even if you barely can and even if everything you make is terrible. So I really really understand the compulsion. And even when I was an adamant non-knitter, I knew how key this site is for people--this is where you go when you're looking for the new thing you're going to make. And the set that includes people compelled to knit things and people with migraine and photophobia is not small. So this is very very bad.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:24 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


Some of the arrogance on this thread is making me sad.

I don't think it's wrong to look for more general solutions than a single site redesign in this context. The all-greyscale recommendation is pretty suboptimal, but it doesn't mean browser-extension solutions should be ruled out. One of the earlier comments in the thread mentions the site looking fine until they turned off their browser extensions, which sounds like at least one success story to me. It's not hard to write a browser extension which mutes certain colors. I know (from a signal processing perspective) how to soften outlines in images, so I imagine this could be baked into a browser extension as well.

I think I'm coming to frame it as a question of wheelchairs and ramps. In the US, we have the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandates that businesses will have ramps, but people are mostly expected to bring their own wheelchairs to use them. A (working!!!) browser extension is a bit more like a wheel chair, and a site redesign is like a ramp. Perhaps an ideal solution is a well-recognized (set of) browser extension(s) that meet many accessibility needs (the wheelchair), which webdesigner can also use to make sure the site isn't broken with any particular set of accessibility changes (the ramp). Designers already use similar extensions to make sure a site is legible to people with various forms of colorblindness, for example.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:57 PM on March 22


Wow, I have been through a journey in this thread because I just read the New Yorker article and although I had a lot of sympathy for the owners at the start, now I have less.

It does sound like they really actually don't believe there are issues and see it as a callout problem. That's very different from a position of "we know it's not working for some people but we can't easily figure out why and fix it and we're so sorry about that, here are some steps we can all take next."

So I think I'm increasingly sympathetic to those complaining. Right here in the thread we have people saying it can't possibly be the cyan and people should just implement their own solution.

I don't think it's wrong to look for more general solutions than a single site redesign in this context.

In this case I guess I see it as users saying "I've tried changing my screen settings, I've tried my glasses, my wheelchair can get up almost every other ramp on the Internet but yours is uniquely bad.

And the answer is "here's how you can get grippy tires and an extra engine, and don't come when it's raining."

Which - yes, but why is that the go-to solution? I know I'm partly just having a crabby day possibly because I got into looking into the cyan thing and now I'm getting a headache, but sometimes I swear there's this constant hum here of "okay first install a flavour of Linux and then a script library and then Greasemonkey whatever and then your own email/list serv/Raspberry Pi thingy and you'll be great!" and it's like...or, a site with 9 million users could chose to install an option to tone it down a bit on the cinnamon-and-cyan, my eye has no idea what to look at first thing.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:39 PM on March 22 [15 favorites]


I'm disappointed at Ravelry's response to the feedback from users. In the past I have admired the way Ravelry has made changes to its site to make it more functional; it's perplexing and disappointing that they'd choose this as a place to dig in their heels.

I didn't like the redesigned website, mostly because I thought it looked harsh and childish; while I didn't experience physical ill effects from it, I have had migraines on and off for the last couple of decades, and I'm very sympathetic to the people who are getting sick.

Here's the thing: the only response Ravelry should have had when people told them the site was causing accessibility problems was to say, "I'm so sorry. We are glad you've let us know, and we will be working on fixing it. It might take a little while to get it right, but we take your concerns seriously and we will be trying to make it better starting now."

Instead, they responded with dismissiveness. Why?? It's so much easier to build/maintain goodwill. I just don't get it. This is a site that has been so supportive of LGBTQ rights, that took a stand and said we will not tolerate pro-Trump speech on our site because to be pro-Trump is to be anti-human rights. Where is this coming from? I know that just because people are aware of some human rights issues doesn't mean they can't be racist or ableist or sexist, but it's disappointing to see.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:12 PM on March 22 [8 favorites]


Okay, I took a break from this thread and I’m glad to see some parts are going better, but there’s one thing I can’t let pass without comment.

Two years ago I expended time and emotional energy that I, as a disabled person, did not have to spare so that I could join my one small voice with a chorus of many many other BIPOC Ravelers to carefully explain safe spaces and the tolerance/civility paradox to well-meaning white administrators who wanted to know why their forums, as they existed, were hostile spaces for people of color. And they listened to us! Which they deserve plaudits for, but it didn’t happen without a lot of work from BIPOC in the online fiber arts community both before and after the Ravelry admins started asking questions. It also wasn’t an endless free pass.

I’m struggling to articulate (despite the inevitability of being accused of being mean, overemotional, and lacking in compassion towards small business owners) how angry and disgusted I am that the work of BIPOC crafters is being used on this thread (1, 2) for a white person to make excuses for other white people. Yes, there are bad actors lurking around any internet debate. But to baselessly speculate without any kind of evidence that because Cassidy, Jess, and their team were anti-racist two years ago, the people criticizing their current shady behavior are in significant part bots, alt-righters, or their dupes is not only racist and ableist but paternalistic as fuck, among other words I could use.

Speaking of weaponizing!

I hate that I’m going to have to think about this whenever I reach out to an ally from now on. Not only, “is there likely to be a positive outcome to the effort I’m about to expend?” but “if there’s a positive outcome now, will it be used as an excuse by other so-called allies to defend them from future accountability?”

For whatever it’s worth, the people behind #RavelryAccessibility and their supporters have been consistent as far as I’ve seen in vocal support of the Trump ban and in calling out white supremacist knitters who’ve tried to sneak in and make false common cause.

In writing this comment I ended up rereading one of the public comments I made in the Ravelry inclusion discussion. I’d forgotten I brought up MetaFilter, and it makes me very sad how much more optimistic I was about both communities than I am now.
posted by bettafish at 3:18 PM on March 22 [9 favorites]


Right here in the thread we have people saying it can't possibly be the cyan and people should just implement their own solution.

What I've been trying to say is that when there are people saying that their $800 migraine-proof glasses and all the screen settings in the world don't fix it, when there are people saying that switching back to the classic-design mode doesn't fix it, when people are saying that static screenshots trigger it, what possible recourse is there? This does not seem like a problem that can be solved with a ramp of any kind at this stage, at least for some users. We don't know how many people the changes (like Herdwick) have helped. But the loudest and unhappiest people are driving the conversation, and for those people I don't see a path forward.

When cause and effect work, things can be sorted out. I know something like homeopathy works for some people, despite the fact that watering down tinctures so there are zero molecules of the active substance breaks the rules of cause and effect according to all known science. I'm glad it works for those people. Things that relieve suffering are good! But if you can't study something, or it doesn't seem to behave by established rules, or even the old design that didn't trigger migraines before does now, I just can't blame that on Jess and Cassidy. It sounds like Jess is trying to do damage control for things Cassidy said while she was managing a site redesign and going through intense personal stuff during a global pandemic.
Jessica interjected, “So the really hard thing is that migraines and seizures are caused by so many different things.” A Ravelry user who is a neurologist told her that stress is usually a key factor. “And, especially in this time of extreme uncertainty, we made some mistakes, putting out a redesign in the midst of a pandemic, when people were already on edge,” Jessica continued. “And, because people are so passionate about Ravelry, I think that intensity switched over, you know what I mean? That level of intensity of love and passion for the site, and feeling like they were a part of it, they felt betrayed. Which I totally get.”
I don't think that's dismissive, or sees it as simply a callout problem. I think it recognizes that this is not just one simple fix, that they've made mistakes that have been a contributing factor, and that everyone is understandably stressed and upset about everything right now.

According to the article they made $560,000 off pattern sales last year. I don't know how much their expenses are, or how much their servers cost, but those five employees are not exactly living the Jeff Bezos life. And they don't have an unlimited amount of money to throw at this problem.

I'm sorry if being able to see things from Ravelry's POV means I'm a white person making excuses for white people. I think their initial response was bad! But they seem to be trying to fix things that have gotten to an unfixable point. And I do feel like it's at the Hillary-vs-Bernie phase that wrecked our country and absolutely WAS pushed by paid trolls. People got so mad and wanted to punish Hillary and allowed Trump to win. I got caught up in it myself not understanding I was being manipulated. So maybe you're right and there are just multiple unrelated groups of people out for Jess and Cassidy's blood now. Either way I feel sorry for them, even if they brought some of it on themselves.

I've tried to make it very clear that I sympathise with anyone having problems and I believe that people are experiencing pain here. But if the things they are demanding don't seem achievable (if even rolling back to old-style Ravelry is triggering people) then we're left at an impasse.
posted by rikschell at 3:40 PM on March 22 [10 favorites]


I'm one of the people for whom the new design causes a migraine. I literally can't look at the redesign for longer than 10 seconds without experiencing pain. I'm not enraged about it (probably because I don't have a business associated with it, or a community of friends and collaborators there), but I am annoyed that Cassidy and Jessica won't entertain the idea of someone helping them establish a migraine and seizure trigger safe design. I know they're overwhelmed, but come on. Just let someone throw together a new selectable theme! It wouldn't even have to be drastic. Make the lines and shadows grey, not black. Mellow out the blues and yellows (more saturated, not less, but with more grey in the hue). For now I'll just have to avoid Ravelry since I don't have the time or the mental energy to investigate a work around.

Accessibility requires multiple solutions, since people have different needs. Extremely high contrast designs are great for some people, but terrible for others -- so it's best to offer a variety. This is one of the most high contrast designs I've seen. Black on white is one thing, but the white background + the varying shades of pale yellow, the aqua, the shadows, and the black outlines are just way too much for my eyes/brain to process. Messages you hover over are highlighted with bright yellow, which hurts and I can definitely understand how that could trigger a seizure. Hardwick is a tiny bit more comfortable, but still unusable for me.

As for the aqua -- have you ever stared at a house covered in blue or purple Christmas lights and felt pain in your eyes? This is the same kind of effect.
posted by Stoof at 4:11 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


Just let someone throw together a new selectable theme! It wouldn't even have to be drastic. Make the lines and shadows grey, not black. Mellow out the blues and yellows (more saturated, not less, but with more grey in the hue).

I think this is a good idea, and I think was the aim of the Herdwick theme but it could still use more tweaks (it does remove the drop shadows and makes the lines grey, I agree that it would be better to be more saturated but less bright colors instead of less bright and less saturated). But the people cited in the article have said they have problems with the classic Ravelry mode, so it sounds like changing the colors would not help those individuals. I really wish we could figure out what it is that causes even screenshots of classic Ravelry to trigger migraines. I think that's why people keep saying it's not as simple as it looks (although for other people who are only bothered by the high contrast, it sounds like tweaking the Herdwick theme could be a solution).
posted by brook horse at 4:46 PM on March 22


I wish I had more to add to this thread, but my experience with accessibility is screen-reader centric. I had the profoundly odd experience of doing extensive reading about a magnifier program today for work and knowing that I'd never need one, and would always find it a little alien in concept.

I wish I could facilitate some kind of discussion between the people on both sides of this issue, but I'm not a Ravelry community member and would just be seen as butting in. It breaks m heart to see places like that, and MeFi, sometimes, break down because people seem to be perpetually talking past one another, or see no alternative but to dig in to a position some one else finds distasteful. Surely we all can do better than this.
posted by Alensin at 5:02 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


To preface this, I want to say that I am not surprised by some of the responses here. I am disappointed, but not surprised. There is the same kind of subtle victim blaming, ableism, and dismissiveness we've had from the beginning.

Bottom line: They could fix this. They refuse to. If I can fix it with a damn stylesheet in Stylus, they can fix it for real.

The rest of this might not be well organized, but I'm trying to cover a lot of ground and I'm sure I left a lot out.

Regarding the New Yorker piece: Grafting the redesign to the political stuff is kind of weird, and it is terribly one-sided and minimizes the harm done by the redesign.

As someone who got help over in Ask after the last big Rav update and Firefox update because Ravelry became unusable for me, I can tell you that this is real. Some other people did have mild issues back then and I think that a few people left, but not nearly as many as the complete redesign. And it was only because of the help I got here that I had any tools for dealing with the redesign. I didn't know about Stylus was before that, and I am not tech illiterate. I didn't know how or have the vocabulary to ask a question that would get me an answer without knowledgeable human help.

It's not stress. Though dropping a completely unrecognizable site redesign with ZERO warning was incredibly stressful for the users. It's not hysterical mass response as suggested by a condesending insert your favorite mean epithet in his Psychology Today blog post. The people affected didn't communicate with each other before being affected. There was no suggestion.

Before going live they offered opt in previews of the new design to a small number of people for two weeks. According to some of the beta testers, none of the comments they made about it or concerns they brought up were addressed or responded to before it went live.

Important to note that from the beginning most people who access only on mobile rarely have the same issues as people using desktop browsers. This added to confusion about experiences early on. But not everyone has a device that can use the mobile site. The new mobile site is much better than the old one, even if it has some issues that I assume will never be fixed on Firefox mobile. Most of the people who have issues are people who use the forums, fewer people have had problems with other parts of the site. Some people can't get past the animated log in page even to stop the animation.

As you might have guessed, I am one of the people who couldn't and can't use the new site, even in the paler Herdwick style that removed the ugly and painful drop shadows. I don't get migraines, and I don't have seizures or epilepsy. All I have that might make me sensitve is mild astigmatism in both eyes and sensory processing issues that go with ADHD. Using the desktop site for more than a few minutes without modifications basically makes me seasick. Nausea and vertigo first, and if I keep going I get a bad headache.

Day one quickly made me miserable to the point of being physically ill. So much worse than the mild constant nausea and feeling of doom I had with the classic design combined with the old Ravelry color scheme. While some of the changes made since have made the redesign usable for others, they haven't worked for me. I can tell you that the problems with the redesign are not just one thing or the same for everyone but I do think that they are additive. It's not just colors or contrast. Many of the people who are injured by the redesign can't use it even with a color change, or due to underlying code changes they can't even use it with the Classic theme that's available until the 31st. It's not better in Chrome vs Firefox, though some people who can't use it on either of those can use the true old code site in Internet Explorer. But that will be gone in a few days too.

A lot of Ravelry's heavy users in the community forums, including some for whom Ravelry is their only social media, are not technical and can't just fix it at their end. They just want the site to work and be safe to use without needing more done, and it isn't an unreasonable expectation. They can't even describe the problem, but almost nobody can. Even those of us who are adept in some way and have spent months trying to get at the root of it can't quantify it, and even if we had an answer there's nobody listening.

To help you understand how difficult this task can be for someone with some knowledge and a lot of time, I only just managed to get a usable stylesheet for New Rav last week after the person who made the stylesheet that works for the people who are bothered by the colors (cyan) and some of the cutesy frills adjusted it to make the forum page text areas wider. She's my hero, because while I would love to fix this for everyone, I can only barely understand a bit of already written code and alter it by trial and error. I can't write it, and doing this isn't helping me learn. I had to leave it for several months because staring at the site to make changes was painful and I wasn't making any progress.

I had figured out that for me it was the combination of font, font characteristics like size and weight, line spacing, drop shadows, and white spaces, but I hadn't been able to pin down what all I needed to change. Which is ironic because my Classic Ravelry style alterations make the whole site white by removing all of the green. The best proposed theory for those with astigmatism is some kind of parallax effect due to the hard lines and text spacing. I have a similar but milder reaction to sites that have scrolling objects over even simple background images, like HBOMax, and sites that have scrolling and drop shadows, like Disney+. Animations and other objects that move (like autoplaying videos and chatboxes) and persist on the screen are also an issue.

A "choice" between Inter, Helvetica/Arial, and system sans serif (Segoe UI on Windows 10) is a cruel joke. None of those are comfortable for reading, and it is basically impossible to change them without a dedicated stylesheet.

Most of the people who can't use the new site at all because of seizures or migraines are leaving at the end of the month. They're terrified of even trying stylesheets. In the forum thread where we can talk about it, we can't even post altered screenshots without hiding them behind a spoilers tag. For some people screenshots trigger migraines.

I can't tell stories that aren't my own, but I've seen most of the receipts and I've been paying attention the whole time. Most of the unpleasant messages internally sent to people critical of the redesign and the handling of the initial response were deleted when the owner's account removed its access to private messages. Funny how that happens. There were also some tweets that were deleted and emails sent privately. Oh, and I don't know if it was mentioned but the one owner used the other's account to send more unpleasant messages while hers was inactivated.

People have lost weeks of their lives or days or weeks of pay because of the Day One migraines and seizures. Several people have had seizures, the total number is unknown. Many of them hadn't had one in years. At least one person has lost their driver's license, last I checked.

As I understand it, because the style carries over into emails, a few people who are either trying to pay or trying to recieve money through links in those emails haven't been able to do these transactions. Ravelry's response has been to tell them to have someone else do it, because it isn't their problem. Not everyone has someone else they can trust.

People who have bought advertising on Ravelry can't get anyone to respond to messages on any platform. Many designers are moving to other platforms to sell their patterns, they can't remove their patterns from the database though. But they can't put links to other sites where people can buy the patterns anymore. Users are deleting or abandoning their accounts, including their project pages and forum posts.

Very few messages sent through the contact form get even a form letter response, even business communications.

Almost every post about the redesign in the appropriate main subforum was archived or deleted almost immediately. Longtime community members were banned from the main forums for asking questions or politely bringing up concerns.

There are community members experienced in design UX/UI and web accessibility and other relevant specialties who offered to help. Even more offered to donate money towards hiring more help, just as they donated when the owners asked for donations to buy a server.

I admit that early on I said mean things about the redesign and the designer. I stand by what I said. She was not qualified to do this job and it looks the same as most of her other design work I found. I stand by my opinion that the complete discarding of Ravelry's distinct branding was and is a poor decision. It went from instantly recognizable to What the hell is that weird colored splotch supposed to represent? Is it reddit or one of the many other entities using a reddish spot?

Here's the big part. Without Ravelry, I wouldn't have any friends in real life. And I am not the only one. Any other website I would just leave, but the community I have there is unique to that platform and a large part of my life. So all of this happening when it did, early on in the pandemic when the world was getting smaller and more dangerous, it was an unimaginable betrayal. The only safe space we had was not just redecorated, it was ripped away and became actively malignant. The people who did this, people we trusted and supported, told us we were crazy or faking or over-reacting. They still do.

At this point, I have no sympathy or respect left for the owners. They have caused harm and continue to. They haven't been listening to their users. They have made it clear by their actions and lack of communication that they don't care about the users, and I think they only care enough about the business to make enough to support them.

And none of this touches on the years of official indifference and quiet condoning of general antagonistic behavior and targeted destructive actions taken by a volunteer with extra access that was directed at some disabled users who spent many careful hours working on tagging patterns in the database for other disabled users. But that is not my story either, and I cannot do it justice.
posted by monopas at 5:56 PM on March 22 [20 favorites]


But the people cited in the article have said they have problems with the classic Ravelry mode, so it sounds like changing the colors would not help those individuals.

The old site actually wasn't perfect, but it was better than the current iteration (for me, anyway).
posted by Stoof at 6:45 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Old Ravelry in IE and Classic theme both use Verdana as their first font choice. I noticed a difference in how it looked between Old and Classic too.

Stoof and anyone else who didn't know about it before, if you would like the stylesheet that goes on top of New to make it look like Classic and fixes some of the worst issues, including the font, it can be found on userstyles.org and installed with either Stylus or Stylish browser plugins. Ravelry - Return to Subtle Greens
posted by monopas at 7:11 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]


monopas, thank you. I have just installed the stylesheet and it was quick and easy (and something I would have no idea of how to find on my own).

I too have been on Ravelry since 2007, donated to the site in its early days, and have used it constantly. I've bought literally hundreds of patterns on Rav. I am not one of the people who has experienced heath problems from viewing the new site, but I find it harder to use and navigate now. I have astigmatism, and my eyes have become older. Viewing it through my multifocals is particularly annoying. The cyan (especially on big black-bordered buttons) and the harsh black lines/borders around everything are the worst. Herdwick softens it a bit but then the site looks washed out.

I personally hate the cutesiness (I described the look as 'twee' in my user survey), the colour scheme (that yellowed grey! ugh!) and the multitude of icons. Why is there a separate icon for every single thing? It makes the navigation cluttered and looks like someone has gone crazy with scrapbook stickers. But I know that a lot of the dislike is due to me being an ageing Gen-Xer with ageing eyes and chronic grumpiness.
posted by andraste at 8:05 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


I don't know, man. "And, because people are so passionate about Ravelry, I think that intensity switched over, you know what I mean?" sounds a lot like "I guess I'm sorry that people are upset" with a side of, "people are just really into us." Jessica isn't acknowledging that there could be an actual problem, but is suggesting that people are being emotional. It's a kinder, gentler version of Cassidy's blanket denial: "If there was something to fix, we would fix it."

It's absolutely true that people are experiencing an incredible amount of stress right now, and that folks are looking for whatever stability they can find. But putting this entirely on people's emotions without genuinely attempting to investigate what's going on feels pretty gaslight-y.

They could have made their lives easier from the jump just by acknowledging the possibility of a problem: "We've gotten reports of people having issues with the redesign, particularly with regard to migraines, and we would like to apologize for any difficulty that users have experienced. We are going to make a few different layouts available in the hope that helps, and here are some links to solutions that users have developed on their own. In the meantime, we will try our best to figure out what's going on and to come up with a comprehensive solution, but it might take us some time to get to the bottom of things."

To use the ramp/wheelchair metaphor, if a restaurant builds a ramp that seems standard to them but they see some wheelchair users tipping over whenever they try to use it, ideally the ramp owners would work with the wheelchair users to try to diagnose and fix the issue. Instead, in this instance, the ramp owners appear to have doubled down on saying, "I'm sorry you're upset in this trying time and that you think the ramp is tipping you over, but it's fine and we aren't changing it." Or to use a real-life example, it would have been like the MTA telling subway riders to be more careful when walking up these stairs (which I 100% stumbled on, just like everyone else!) instead of measuring the stairs and rebuilding them (which they did!).

The Ravelry team does deserve human consideration, since they, too are going through the pandemic and everything else. I hope they have the ability to take time off or detach from the site when they need it, though I suspect that the lack of redundancy means they can't often do so, which is why they're effectively tweeting through it.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:55 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


But the loudest and unhappiest people are driving the conversation, and for those people I don't see a path forward.

...

“And, especially in this time of extreme uncertainty, we made some mistakes, putting out a redesign in the midst of a pandemic, when people were already on edge,” Jessica continued. “And, because people are so passionate about Ravelry, I think that intensity switched over, you know what I mean? That level of intensity of love and passion for the site, and feeling like they were a part of it, they felt betrayed. Which I totally get.”

See, for me, this last section reads like "they're hysterical because they loved the old site," which is - not respectful. I agree and even said that stress impacts on migraines, but that is not the same as throwing the old "it's hysteria" canard at a group that is 98% women.

Anyways, what can the site owners do if they can't fix the problem with the resources they have? I was thinking back to some redesigns I was a part of where things broke for various users and I think if I were them, this is what I would do:

1. Visibly and loudly host a forum or thread of external solutions including yes the greyscale plugins and external style sheets, as a resource for the community.

2. I think they should apologize for the remarks made in the New Yorker actually, but at least post with some empathy. I probably have missed it but I haven't seen where they have acknowledged that they shut the conversation down

3. If it were me, and the back end permitted it, I would say that we would be watching the forums in post 1 for community-sourced solutions, and if a style sheet were developed that made the site useable for a larger number of people by consensus, we would look to implement that style sheet as a theme as soon as resources allowed, within 6 months.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:31 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


I'm a longtime Ravelry user - since 2009 - and use many of the groups there every day. So, I've pretty much experienced this whole mishegas in real-time.

Like a lot of others, I'm fortunate that the new scheme doesn't affect me, other than aesthetically. The NuLook is just...fugly. Sorry, but it is.
I saw better site aesthetics back in the 1990's when all we had was HTML and 256 color choice ;-P.

So, the thing that really made me want to hurl my laptop off a cliff was the reaction by TPTB to any criticism of the new look, the total SUR-PIRIIISE of the rollout, and then the hunkering down to protect the designer, and TPTB's decision to do it. Plus the ensuing gaslighting, obviously. So. Much. Gaslighting.

I first became aware of the NuRav when I logged in one morning to a site I didn't recognise. Bright, childish design, twee little icons everywhere, plus an intro page praising the new design and designer to the skies. Its only when I got to my usual groups that I understood what had just happened because Ravelry just rolled it out without telling the majority of users it was doing so.

It turns out later that they had, in fact, asked a few people to 'beta' test it (LOL) but it was sooper-secret invite to a select few only, and if you didn't say you loved it, somehow your comments weren't taken into account. No list of people was ever made public as to who were the 'beta' testers, nor was there any discussion of what they were asked to 'test', any hypotheses to try out, or what the timeline was to complete it.
As an ex-game tester, and a statistician by training - this kind of reaction just gets my hackles up. Either show your workings by producing a data set and results or just tell the truth and say 'we like it, we like the designer, the rest of you don't know what you're talking about'. That would at least have been honest.

Instead, we've been given months of runaround.
Firstly, all comments about the NuLook had to be posted to a particular group (For the Love of Ravelry, which deals with meta-issues about the site). So, unsurprisingly, hundreds of users came there to speak up and to try and understand wtf just happened.
To deafening silence.

No one from TPTB came to FtLoR with actual explanation or updates - and the Rav front page continued to be deliriously happy with the new look and how amazing the new designer was. Look! You can do this now! And that!! Amazing!!! Aren't we all so lucky for this new look and never mind that we didn't tell anyone we were going to do this and why is everyone being so mean to our new designer who tried so hard!

Eventually, whoever it was that was responsible for responding to FtLoR from the executive side ,stopped. We had a few very cheery posts at the beginning addressing none of the issues raised, but fairly soon all that was happening was that uncomplimentary posts would get deleted, and if the whole thread got too rowdy they'd just archive it - no explanation.

And this has been going on like that for months now. I only found out through an interview that Cassidy really doesn't get or like the groups, even though there's a sizable proportion of users who only come for the groups. I mean, I've bought several dozen patterns since I joined - but I'm there for the conversations first and foremost and I know I'm not the only one.

Then this puff-piece in the New Yorker. A disjointed, unedited, un proof-read piece that seems to echo what TPTB want to say and to relegate the rest of us in to cranky, innumerate old ladies who are scared of change and are deliberately giving Jess and Cassidy a hard time, just because.
I knew that this article was crap when I saw that the writer hadn't even bothered to spell Elizabeth ZimmermanN's name properly and it went downhill from there.

So, yes - the complaints are partly about accessibility. I believe people when they say the new look hurts them.

But its also about the crazy amount of avoidance, blaming, gaslighting and other methods of evading responsibility that make it so hard to take anything said by Ravelry corporate as true.
posted by speedingpullet at 12:10 PM on March 23 [10 favorites]


have you ever stared at a house covered in blue or purple Christmas lights and felt pain in your eyes?
No. Stoof, no! NO! This is totally alien to me. I have NO IDEA what this experience is like. This question right here phrased in this exact way is what should convince any remaining doubters forever and always that whatever's happening is happening. Because Stoof just assumes that we know what it is to look at blue or purple Christmas lights and experience pain in our eyes. But no! That assumed universality of pain with blue light? Not universal.

It's pretty obvious the Ravelry site owners don't get that pain, they have no idea what it even might be, and they are making zero effort to imagine because, having never felt it themselves, they can't conceive of it. Because it doesn't happen to them, they don't believe it happens to anyone. But even more clearly--clearly and obviously because Stoof assumes we've all felt it--pain upon exposure to blue light is a thing that happens to human persons in the world. Blue light hurts some people's eyes.

There's this one florist on my once-a-week drive to the farmers' market that's covered all over the front with these gorgeous beautiful weird glowing dark blue LED Christmas lights that almost vibrate, even in the daytime. I always hope it's a little bit cloudy when I drive out there because the insane intense blue really pops when it's a little dark. I like to look at it and think, "the bluuuuuuuuuue..." It's weirdly velvety. Dark and bright at the same time. Freaky and beautiful. I don't know why this florist thinks it says "flowers for sale here." To me it mostly says "I have obviously time traveled to the distant future because this is Christmas lights, now."

I'm sorry those freaky new lights hurt your eyes, Stoof. I wish that they just looked cool like they do for me. Now that I know they hurt, I promise I won't get a bunch and fling them all over my house, which was always a halfassed plan of mine that I would probably never have actualized because my executive functionality doesn't permit that kind of multi-step activity very often, especially now that I have to devote all creative energies to my terrible knitting projects.

This is like The Dress, but weaponized. Can't see it as blue? Well, then you'll just have to believe it: it's blue for some people. Change your dumb cinnamon design! It hurts!
posted by Don Pepino at 12:57 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


Welp, somebody posted the New Yorker link in Ravelry and shockingly, it's "archived" already today.

Does anyone want to give a brief skimming of what the Ravelry owners said that was offensive in that article? Honestly, I don't like the New Yorker enough to subscribe to them, especially just for one thing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:59 PM on March 23


1. Talks about the knitting community in the face of the 2016 election and the development of the Pussyhat.

2. Makes the link between the Pussyhat's success and its being posted on Ravelry to establish Ravelry's dominance in the marketplace. Discusses start of the site, how much demand there was, how it was a community from the start. "During the 2008 election, social activity on the forums intensified. Ravelry had just one full-time employee in addition to Cassidy and Jessica, and they continued to address members’ concerns individually, giving users the sense that Ravelry was a community of acquaintances, rather than a rapidly growing social-media network and commercial platform. “We were kind of innocent and naïve, thinking that people will behave well, but this is not the case, even on a Web site about yarn,” Jessica told me."

3. Examines the development of a critique of the site by right-wing conservatives which apparently popped to the top of Google and hurt the site's reputation.

4. Long examination of the link between knitting and productivity and politics from the Colonies to Covid-19 lockdown.

5. Finally the personal story of becoming a knitter. Establishes writer's exclusive access to the elusive couple behind Ravelry.

6."Although pattern sales on the site grew to more than twenty-eight million dollars last year (two per cent of which was collected by Ravelry), the founders refuse to call it an e-commerce platform, instead describing it as an online community for fibre enthusiasts. "

7. Establishes that the real threat to Ravelry is its own users.

8. The story of the banning of Trump (apparently people made Build the Wall patterns!)

9. Interview with one of the banned MAGA-ites who eventually shrugs and says "But I don’t need it. It’s O.K. You work it out.”

10. Story of the redesign. [My note about framing - this kind of frames the people critiquing the redesign as the next annoying threat to Ravlery, coming on the heels of the 'no big deal, but I got banned for being positive about Trump with my patterns' interview. ]

11. "Some longtime users reported that the site was now triggering seizures and migraines. One suggested that the redesign had induced gender dysphoria."

12. here's the first paragraphs of the owners' response, which I personally found brutal in the "we had to take them seriously" and "...it's very upsetting."

In early February, I called Cassidy to ask her about the problems, discussion of which had taken on a frenzied tone that week. “Honestly, we’ve been struggling with it, and it’s been really, really hard,” she said. “We had to take them seriously, even though the claims seemed outlandish.” Within a few days of the launch, Ravelry made it possible for users to toggle back to the old version of the Web site. But some people were still complaining. “If there was something to fix, we would fix it,” Cassidy told me. “I shouldn’t even really get into this, because it’s very upsetting.”

Cassidy has noticed a growing dynamic. “The knitting community has a big issue with people being very concerned that, if they don’t support a callout, they’ll be called out themselves,” she told me. “Not joining it seems scary to people.” Cassidy found herself in defensive conversation with Ravelers on the forums, by e-mail, and on other social-media platforms. Jessica, who is known on the site as Mama Rav, tends to be more accommodating, and on July 30th she wrote a post addressing users’ concerns. She apologized for the stress that the redesign had caused, and said that Cassidy would be taking a step back. “It will take a period of adjustment, but in the future Cassidy’s role will be focused on technical work,” she wrote. “She no longer has access to the customer service emails and her Ravelry mail is disabled.”

13. The section quoted above

14. The last paragraph of the article:

Cassidy returned to the conversation a bit calmer. I pointed out to the founders that most users probably weren’t even aware that this controversy was taking place. They were downloading their knitting patterns and logging their projects with the same enthusiasm they always had. I also said that I couldn’t think of a single social Web site that wasn’t experiencing some kind of turmoil magnified by the events of the past year. Cassidy laughed. “Even talking about it now, it feels silly,” she said. “This is a much bigger thing than what’s happening with us.”
posted by warriorqueen at 1:26 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Sorry, the above is the summary of the New Yorker article.
posted by warriorqueen at 1:30 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Thank you, warriorqueen! :)

Establishes that the real threat to Ravelry is its own users.

Oy.

Cassidy sounds.... um, stressed out/baffled/possibly-likely snapping at people if she's been pulled off of emails and tech stuff. Also that she just has no effing idea how to fix the thing.

I guess that's better than I was presuming was going on in this article? I was guessing it might have been meaner-sounding than it was. Thank you for the clarification!
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:52 PM on March 23


@ jenfullmoon. No one knows why the thread about the New Yorker article has already been archived, because we don't get any feedback from the moderators, just statements.
But, apparently, it was such an egregious thing that they needed to announce its archiving twice. Eyeroll.
posted by speedingpullet at 3:09 PM on March 23


Dark Reader is a pretty easy solution to this problem, assuming it's a color palette issue. It generally does a good job of leaving image content unaltered as well.
posted by ilikemefi at 3:52 PM on March 23


Ugh, one of the subtle nasty threads running through this is that the space between the Trump ban and the redesign situation is occupied by a lot of really shitty transphobic stuff directed at Cassidy by conservative blogger shitheads. My understanding is that the actual on-site community was totally supportive, which is wonderful and not a surprise to me considering Ravelry's efforts to stake out a decent and supportive space on a lot of fronts, but the shadow of Nice White Knitters and angry Trumpist fuckadoos is longer than just the initial drama of that moment a couple years ago and I suspect factors in in a complicated way to sorting through the stress and difficulty functioning with the newer redesign situation.

Which is context, not a get out of jail free thing; I'm both sympathetic to the small team dealing with a huge and hard-to-pin-down issue and frustrated by how their handling of it has played out and how it's left long-timer users feeling alienated or ignored or dismissed. I have enough goodwill toward what I know of their work and their situation to be seeing how this is a rock and a hard place for them with the redesign itself being to address long-standing usability and accessibility problems with the old design, but, yeah, it's also not something where good will makes a problem not a problem, and big public missteps like the stuff that led up to Cassidy stepping back entirely from a public-facing role are hard to fix up.

It hurts more, and resonates more, seeing stuff go badly like this on a site like Ravelry where I both understand intensely some of the familiar challenges and dynamics (and they have so many users, scale problems I never have to think about), and hold them in esteem as folks trying to actually do the hard but correct things as a small team rather than some VC gamble or corporate spinoff. I feel badly for everyone in their community who has been negatively affected by this, whether in terms of physical harm or just disenchantment with their community space. It's a lousy situation and I hope there's some good path for it improving over time.
posted by cortex at 4:23 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


No. Stoof, no! NO! This is totally alien to me.

Same! I find deep blue and violet light really compelling and mesmerizing, but don't doubt whatsoever that it can cause serious issues for other people, especially when it comes to LED string lights, which often strobe.

My understanding is that the actual on-site community was totally supportive

I think that's generally true, and this doesn't excuse anything, but if you do a Google search for the words "Cassidy" and "Ravelry," one of the front-page results is an extremely gross and transphobic blog post by a Ravelry user. I'd like to think that transphobic assholes are very much in the minority, but given the general awfulness of humanity, it's hard to imagine that Cassidy has entirely avoided harassment.

I'm both sympathetic to the small team dealing with a huge and hard-to-pin-down issue and frustrated by how their handling of it has played out

Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am that we can still select the original, dark-background Metafilter design? I hope the blue doesn't give anyone issues, though.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:23 PM on March 23


Someone else tried to start a discussion thread and look what happened here:

The Ravelry staff is gathering feedback through the “submit feedback” option in your profile drop-down, not the main boards, as that is the best way they can keep track of it. You can find this option by clicking your avatar in the upper right of the page and choosing “submit feedback.”
This post was hidden by a moderator. Reason: Breaks the Main Board specific rules

posted by jenfullmoon at 6:25 PM on March 23


No. Stoof, no! NO! This is totally alien to me. I have NO IDEA what this experience is like.

Fascinating! I really did think everyone experienced this.

I did some googling and there were two Asks in 2007 about blue Christmas lights. The answers in there are extremely interesting, especially the points about how our eyes have to work hard to focus on LED blue light. This would be why it seems hypnotic to some people and painful to others. (I think migraineurs in general are extra-sensitive to light, as well as other sensory input.)

Ravelry's new design has text on light blue, which increases the effort it takes for your eyes to focus on the words. And you can't just not look at the blue, because there's text on it! I also noticed that there are some weird very low-contrast areas (pale yellow/grey or something on white -- I don't want to go look again to check) as well as very-high contrast areas. The combo of all of that is just A Lot.
posted by Stoof at 11:26 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


the shadow of Nice White Knitters and angry Trumpist fuckadoos is longer than just the initial drama of that moment a couple years ago and I suspect factors in in a complicated way to sorting through the stress and difficulty functioning with the newer redesign situation.

I think that's understandable, but I also think that when someone is too burned out to do right by people, then they have a responsibility to either treat that burnout or, if that's not realistic within the needed timeframe, to take a step back and let other people stand in for them for a while.

Because ultimately there is a right thing to do here, which is to make sure the site is accessible and doesn't physically harm people. If that means maintaining multiple themes -- well, that's inconvenient and takes up some resources, but it's also eminently doable. The fact that some bad actors might be using this as a bandwagon to jump on doesn't mean that the right thing to do stops being the right thing to do, or that there's any less need for it.

Good will might not be enough to make a problem not a problem, but it's what lets users believe and trust that a fix is coming, believe and trust that they don't have to fight and take aggressive measures to get what they need. Leading a site like this -- and not just a site, but a community -- means fostering that good will, even when you don't feel like it or personally have the energy for it. Taking users' good will for granted, abusing it, saying "my emotional needs trump my responsibilities towards you" -- those aren't really legitimate things to do in that position.

I wonder if it's an inevitable tradeoff with a "folks"-run site versus an explicitly corporate project. Individuals are almost inevitably going to get burned out at some point, and it seems like they often feel justified in saying "well, this is my personal project, so if you don't like it that's too bad." Even if those "personal projects" are in reality huge collaborations with thousands or millions of users, whose presence and contributions have been integral to the project's existence and value. While more impersonal corporate-type sites tend to be treated as a business that needs to be maintained above all; if someone in management can't deal with that, that's too bad: that's the job, and no one is irreplaceable and no one has to stay. There's almost always a lot less back-and-forth between users and management on these sites, and less affection, and less perception of the management as being accessible and available to users. But at the same time there's often a general professionalism that shields users from being harmed by personal emotional upheavals on the management side.

I like and prefer "folks"-scale projects. But I wish people running such sites were also willing to treat their responsibility towards users as a fundamental core of the project, not as something that can be downplayed or ignored when things get hard. And I wish they would treat eventual burnout as almost inevitable, and actively plan for it: when I start burning out, how will I recognize it. What processes do I have to prevent my burnout from harming my users. Who can step in for or replace me. Where is it crucial that I delegate. What can I do to help this valuable site continue to flourish without me. Because being personally responsible towards that many users isn't easy, and I don't think it's sustainable for most people in the long run.
posted by trig at 6:06 AM on March 25 [10 favorites]


The logical conclusion of the above argument is that Amazon Patterns™ would be an improvement over Ravelry because it's indifference to users would make it more sustainable.
That might actually be true but it's not something to be celebrated.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:57 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


No, I don't think it would be an improvement, because it would have none of the good, important things that result from a socially-oriented rather than profit-driven site. Though Amazon Patterns™ may well respond better to something like users getting epileptic fits from a redesign, if only for fear of bad PR or being sued, and you'd be less likely to see AP™'s CEO sending abusive messages to random members, or retaining their position afterwards.

The thing is that the people behind a hypothetical Amazon Patterns™ are in it strictly for themselves. And with folks-run sites, there's this feeling where the users and the owners/management are on the same side, are all in it together. And I think that's the ideal, and that's the way things should be: we're all responsible towards each other, and when you create a technology, site, forum, community, business etc. you have a real responsibility regarding how it affects the people who interact with it. I want technologies, sites, and organizations that are based on social awareness and social responsibility.

But then sometimes folks who run these things get burned out or otherwise unable to deal with that responsibility, and in the end it often comes down to them saying "Look, my well-being is more important than yours", instead of "Well, my well-being isn't compatible with me running this thing in a way that's responsive to your well-being; but your well-being is equally important in a way that's non-negotiable. So I'm going to put my responsibility toward you above my personal desire to run every aspect of this thing myself."

When owners say "My well-being comes first", it's totally understandable and sympathetic, but it also says "You know that supposedly mutual relationship we had? It's fine when things are easy, but when we get down to brass tacks, I'm in this for myself." And I'm saying, you can do that, but then you've turned yourself into a small-time, less professional Amazon Patterns™. And you've hurt both the users whose problems you refuse to address, and the users who are left to participate in a site that no longer feels like it's on their side.

What I'm saying is that site/business/community owners and managers (and writing that really spells out the weirdness of the idea of owning a community) who start out with good intentions need to see their responsibility to users as non-negotiable, not an optional, fair-weather feature. And when you've got users on a significant scale, that responsibility scales in proportion.
posted by trig at 7:43 AM on March 25 [6 favorites]


I don't think any entity that can only be communicated with through class action lawsuits can really be described as a community.
I also don't think the kind of small, scrappy site that all the community sites start out as actually have the resources to set up a cascade of fall-back options well in advance of a highly unlikely success.
Everything points to Amazon Patterns ™ I'm afraid.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:31 AM on March 25


Ravelry just unveiled a new Dark Mode, which all y'all will still hate because it has outlines. Seems really sketch that they didn't just say, "hey we're working on this" when supposedly they had 16,000 people beta testing it. If we can all agree on one thing it's that this is a clusterfuck that Jess and Cassidy have not handled at all well.

Folks-sized projects can rarely build in that much responsibility because there isn't enough money. Part of what makes a space feel like a community is that not everything is being monetized all the time. Leaving that money on the table can build trust, but it can't build in resilience, because there's no money to pay for backup when burnout happens. (You can use some volunteer labor as backup, but it requires putting a lot of trust in people who aren't necessarily accountable and relinquishing control--not a character trait often found in the sort of people who personally build and/or manage big projects by themselves.)

The ideal thing is to figure out a way to reward the people who put the risk and sweat into building the project while turning ownership and stewardship to the community who has invested in it (and here I find myself talking as much about MetaFilter as Ravelry). Projects that are owned by a person will inevitably fail, as individuals inevitably fail. Projects that are owned by a community are potentially messier to run, but each member has more incentive and more influence. As long as the community can keep going, the project can keep going.

Capitalism sucks. And yet we all need to find a way to get paid. (Unless you're a sheep farmer who gets your yarn for free (N.B. you don't really get your yarn for free, shearing and skirting and cleaning and carding and spinning and plying are a lot of work.).)
posted by rikschell at 8:12 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


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