Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Get OFF My Internets!!


I had to think for awhile before writing this post. After all, the world has enough negativity, doesn't it?

But, actually, there's negativity and there's constructive criticism, not to mention looking out for the consumer.

Have you heard of GOMI?

GOMI is an acronym for "Get Off My Internets". It's a forum that was created some time ago and was brought to my attention by two different bloggers many months ago. At first I looked at it rarely but it has become an almost daily ritual to check it out.

GOMI is a site that critiques bloggers. They critique all sorts of bloggers, like lifestyle bloggers, food bloggers, wedding bloggers, mommy/daddy bloggers and, of course, crafting bloggers.

Now, it might seem mean to go after bloggers. I mean, putting yourself out there on a blog can be very hard. Generally, the more compelling a blog, the more vulnerable the blogger has made herself. (Not always, but often.)

Except GOMI (at least on the crafting forum, I don't read the other forums), tends to go after blogs where the blogger is trying to monetize their blog. They specifically go after folks who sell products (be it books or patterns) that are not really ready for prime time. Particularly when said products are being hyped (loved without criticism) on blog tours, for example.

As a result, many of the blogs they snark about are not blogs that I follow, but it's still interesting.

Have I been called out on GOMI?

Why, yes I have!

When the Vogue thread was created (quite some time ago), the poster who originated the thread claimed that I had hated on Vogue, then they flew me out to Puyallup and, as a result, I'd sold out. Other posters defended me, saying that, no, I never actually hated on Vogue, but was giving them constructive criticism. Somewhere around page 11 of the thread, the original poster said she re-read my posts and she agreed. I was happy to see her redaction because, while I love Vogue and would be devastated to see them shut their doors (shudder), they have never so much as given me a free pattern. And they shouldn't, as they need the sales. In fact, if they tried to at this point, it would be weird.

Am I kinder to Vogue now? I'm not sure. Maybe. Not consciously, at any rate, though the fact that I met many of them in person and liked them has to factor in somewhere. It was a savvy move on their part to reach out to folks who were criticizing their products (not just me, by the way).

My other mention on GOMI was from a poster who said that I seemed nice (thank you!) but that I had "damned saggy boobs."

Cartoon from here.
(In fact, googling "old lady cartoon" is very enlightening.)

Ummm. OK.

Now, this might seem like a personal attack and, it sort of borders on that, but GOMI, as a rule, doesn't personally attack a blogger about weight, body issues, race, gender, orientation, and so on. (I'm not saying that it never happens, but it's not what they are about.) So I sat on this comment for awhile. I looked at some of my posted photos. I really don't think that, in general, my boobs are saggy, but I'm not saying that it was a totally invalid comment.

If you don't have a large bust, maybe you don't know how heavy those "lady boulders" can be. (I've always wondered, are fake boobs equally heavy?) Even when I move the slider all the way down on my bra strap in the morning, by evening, it's moved all the way up. And putting on a bra where the slider is all the way down is not comfortable, let me tell you. There is some happy medium.

So, I did a little adjustment to my bra straps that I will share with others who might have this problem. I adjusted the straps where I like and sewed through them.

Problem solved, and hopefully no more:

Cartoon from here

Though I make no promises. :)

Constructive criticism is a good thing and far too rarely solicited, or welcomed, these days. If I were trying to make a business out of my hobby, I would listen to it, and evaluate whether it was fair, whether I could do something different. Try to isolate the truth from the hurt feelings that the feedback created.

For example, as a technical writer, I sometimes get feedback that the docs aren't clear. Perhaps someone claims that we didn't warn them about X or tell them about Y. Sometimes, the feedback is wrong. I did warn them about X and told them about Y. But that's not good enough. If the docs aren't clear, and people are missing important information, then they need to be reworked so that people won't be tripped up. Even if the feedback was technically incorrect.

I think that GOMI is providing a useful service for the consumer.

So, if I earned money off my blog, I would listen to the criticisms on GOMI and look for nuggets of truth, to see where I could do better.

If you decide to participate in, or read, GOMI let me provide some useful acronyms (and one definition) for you:

GOMI
Get Off My Internets. Used to acknowledge the blogs they dislike and generally don't read. (Though clearly they are reading them some of the time!)
Hate reads
Blogs they still read, generally in order to criticize. Some of them seem to have a blog roll dedicated to the blogs they dislike, in order to isolate them from the blog roll filled with their favorite blogs. Pretty clever, but more work than I would bother with.
WK
White Knight. A poster might "WK" (defend) a blogger.
SBC
Sewing Blog Community
SOMI
Stay On My Internets. Used to acknowledge the blogs they like. I've found some nice blogs this way.

Also, GOMI has done something unusual: They have, collectively, started their own blog! At first, I thought it was a joke, but it's not. Check out Sew Sorry Sew Fat and see their rules for blogging. In fact, yesterday they posted tongue-in-check advice on how to write a GOMI-worthy sewing blog.

By the way, I do not have a login on GOMI, so I have never commented there. I've been tempted to weigh in a few times, but I am just a spectator.

66 comments:

  1. Well, yeah... my blog was once criticized on that site as "navel gazing", so I wrote a post entitled "Navel Gazing", and happily gazed. Strange that the site exists, because they don't pick awful things to criticize. Remember "Regretsy"? Now, that site was hilarious! Make it really funny, and I'd read just for entertainment.

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    1. Yes, I do remember Regretsy! and it was funny! Remember, not all feedback is valid. :)

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  2. I recently discovered this site, too, when I was doing a blog search related to my own blog. The perspective is so different than the "Sewing Blogosphere Community" (as they say) that it left me feeling intrigued yet conflicted. I have to admit that it did make me think twice before writing about things in a certain way, and I think that's a good thing! It is certainly possible that our whole positive, supportive community may actually be stifling dissenting opinions. On the other hand, the one person who wrote about me had clearly not read my whole post and was very quick to jump to conclusions - as you say, not all feedback is helpful! And that is especially true for the "saggy boobs" comment. To that I offer this, which I found this morning: http://www.boredpanda.com/powerful-illustrations-showing-women-how-to-fight-against-society-prejudices/

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    1. I haven't read the snark about your blog, Meg, but I agree, there needs to be balance between insanely loving everything and insanely hating everything. I saw that post on Facebook several days ago, but thanks for sharing it. I agree that there are far too many personal attacks on women, be it about they look, or how they dress, or how they parent.

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  3. What a mature and balanced post! Seriously. I also read GOMI and I find there's some truth to most they say. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of their criticism. But, you handled it extremely well without crying foul. Hats off to you.

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    1. Thanks, Cidell! I try, but I think I walked around for several days muttering "saggy boobs?!" :) That stung far more than the thing about Vogue.

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  4. Hi Shams,
    First off, thank you for speaking up for those of us who are uber-busty. I'm already indebted to you for explaining how to alter our patterns.
    Second, I have read GOMI a few times and while I don't belong to the site, I like what it does. To me a serious flaw of many, many sewing/quilting/crafting blogs (not yours) is what reads like knee-jerk praise of fellow bloggers' latest books, patterns, fabrics, etc. while radio silence is maintained on anything resembling criticism. No one benefits from running a mutual admiration society in blogland -- if no one points out what needs to be improved, many people think no improvement is needed.
    Thank you so much for all that you do. And by the way, I loved every stage of your Vogue experience. Well done.




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    1. Thank YOU, Elizabeth! I am touched to think I helped out with bust fitting. I agree about GOMI - they serve a purpose. I'd rather stay out of their radar, but I appreciate what they are trying to do.

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  5. I have also been a spectator on GOMI and sometimes they really hit the nail on the head, especially with the fangirl not criticizing issue. Thanks for bringing attention to it. I think the looks based attacks are completely uncalled for and not helpful at all. But otherwise I think they are bringing something to the sewing community. I just looked at their blog, its pretty funny.

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    1. Thanks, Rainpatter! Their blog *is* pretty funny!

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  6. Just a note to say that I admire your work, both sewing execution and writing. The boob thing is more about them than you. Kudos for turning it into a constructive lesson on bra straps.

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    1. Thanks, Monica! I'm still waiting for an anti-gravity bra...

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  7. I occasionally lurk (never post, don't have a login) at GOMI and saw the "saggy boob" comment and was like, "Whaaaaa?" Honestly, as a fellow uber-busty sewist, it pissed me off that someone directed that barb at you. On one hand, that forum has a lot of well-warranted criticism and venting directed at certain blogs and pattern designers, but some of the comments, especially those directed at hobbyist/personal project-style bloggers, are just mean-spirited. FWIW, I had a blog post called out as "navel gazing", but that didn't bother me given that it was, indeed, an introspective post. That's not everyone's cup of tea, and I have no problem with someone not liking that type of content.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! I like your very centered attitude. :)

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  8. Well, I have to thank you. I was having a slow day, so went to the site (that I'd never heard of) to see what you were talking about. I don't read many blogs, where do people find the time?, but I have noticed some that many people seem to enjoy, often quote, and when I look them up I am aghast at the authoritative tone taken by those who are publishing instructions (and often attempting to profit from them) when they are barely able to pull the accomplishment off themselves. I went to GOMI and became totally immersed in the Stupidity in Sewing, AKA Wild Ass Guess Goose-Chases. Seems I'm not alone in my thinking of some of the "popular" instructional blogs out there! Makes me feel like I am not the only cynic in the world. So, although I realize that was not your intention, thank you. :)

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    1. LOL! If I send new readers to GOMI, I am ok with that! It can be addictive.

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  9. Good for you to write, and publish, this post. I have visited GOMI twice out of curiosity. The back channel aspect is annoying to me. There are bloggers who post on GOMI using a different identity.

    Thanks for the info about bra straps-the person who posted the comment was clearly still in HS mode.

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    1. Yeah, I can understand why they feel the need for anonymity. Some bloggers, and their fans, can be pretty crazy. It is best to be more open about such things, but it can be pretty difficult at times.

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  10. Well, you learn something new everyday! Never heard of GOMI. RE boobs - well even us with smaller assets notice that they are more south than they used to be…sigh. It will happen to them too! And yes it is uncomfortable to adjust the bra to move them more north than they want to be.

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    1. Yes, Vicki! They can only go so far north before it starts to feel like breathing is difficult. :)

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  11. I shelved a long post I wrote reviewing a couple of recently released books because of all the damned blog tours. It made me feel slightly nauseous to read all the gushing reviews that were full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. So I was happy to see GOMI call those out. The saggy boobs remark - ouch!

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  12. I am a GOMI spectator as well, and am actually rather happy to see their new blog. I find the fangirling gets too much for me, and am glad that not everyone is fangirling. I don't like personal attacks on people, but at the same time much of what is said in the GOMI sewing forums (I don't read the other ones) is rather refreshing. I'll be stalking the "indie for less" posts on the GOMI blog!
    And as for the saggy boobs comment? Not nice - and beautiful response to post an educational segment on your blog!

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    1. I like their blog! I added it to my blog roll on the right side of my blog.

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  13. Well this was informative! Thanks for kindly sharing constructive criticism. Their sewing blog is funny and I think their pattern comparisons are VERY interesting! Bones! Why does no one look at the bones of a pattern?

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    1. Yes! Like me, you probably look at the line drawings more than the pics!

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  14. I can't tell you how many hours I spent binge reading GOMI/Crafts in the last few weeks!! I'm probably going to register because there's one review site that is strangely missing from the snark and I feel the need to begin a thread ... hahahaha!

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  15. Oh, great! Now I have one more time-sucking blog I like to read, thanks to you pointing out GOMI...
    Classy response you gave to the troll who commented on your looks.

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  16. Ah, thanks for this post. I am a member of gomi and read as well as comment on some of the posts. It is true that sometimes things can get mean but majority of the members are not. Some of what gets said is quite hilarious and the emoticons are the best. I read it daily on my commute to and from work and I am always chuckling at some of the things said. We will all get saggy boobs eventually so good on you for addressing that comment with maturity. I must remember to read this post again when my girls start feeling the pull of gravity.

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  17. Wow. I think I've just lost a few hours of my life to that site, only to shake my head and snap out of it. Clearly there is some constructive criticism going on, but there is also a lot of inappropriate opinions and comments. I think overall though it's a good forum for discussion... but it still does show the nastier side of humanity. Just looking at four different threads, each had a comment on the size/shape/position/apparent 'sagginess' of women-who-blog-about-sewing's breasts. To return serve with an appropriately generalised opinion - Americans seem awfully obsessed with boobs. Like one comments who considered a blogger's breasts to be 'saggy' when they were in my opinion - in a perfectly normal position. Maybe I'm biased because I particularly like that blogger. It's like comparing the European preference for soft cup bras, which support the breast in it's natural shape and form, to the American preference for push up, moulded bras that would have your boobs right up under your chin and pointing to the clouds (ok, I'm maybe exaggerating there a little...). I guess what I'm trying to say is there is a little too much focus on how blogger's body shapes fit into a very narrow view of what people should look like. As long as the wearer is comfortable and the garment fits without obvious fitting issues, I don't see the issue. Bra's are an area where everyone has such a different range of opinions! Like Dibs' says - we'll all have saggy boobs one day ;)

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  18. The blog is too hilarious. It took away a migraine I have had for the past few days. Laughter is the best medicine?

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  19. When I first became aware of GOMI, I was intrigued because there were some really interesting things being said, and nothing overtly cruel. I actually agreed with quite a few of the comments and was surprised to see the dark side of the sewing blog community, which was nothing like my personal experience (both online and in person).

    When I checked in a few weeks later, I was distressed to find that the tone had changed (in my opinion, at least) and become more mean-spirited. I stopped reading for a while because I did not want to read cruel comments – snarkiness is certainly welcome, but attacking the way someone’s body looks is a little too much for me. It’s hard enough putting pictures of yourself out there, only to find someone laughing over how fat, thin, saggy, pasty, or unattractive they think you are.

    But if, on the other hand, you have sewing and/or fitting comments, I want to read them all!

    About a month ago I started catching up on some of the postings and the harsh tone seems to have dissipated. There are certainly some interesting conversations and valid points being made which means I will probably keep checking back in to keep up with the gossip and discover more blogs, but I am more wary about clicking through . . . never exactly sure what I will find.

    But as you said, if you are a “professional” making money with your craft, you open yourself up to more serious criticism. I think that just goes with the territory, and the comments/critiques need to be digested and if there are things that can/should be improved, well then, hopefully that constructive criticism was helpful for both the professional and their clients.

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  20. Wow! Thanks for the link, I didn't realize such a space even existed. It was an interesting read, but I don't think I am invested *enough* in sewing blogs to put time into regular read throughs. I think I sew from a different context than most people in the forums as well. I don't live in the States, so often Big 4 patterns are MORE expensive for me than indie pdfs, and I pretty much use sewing blogs for inspiration and updates on new patterns, so many of the criticisms aren't relevant to me. It doesn't really bother me when sewing blogs try and sell things, or monetize their blogs, as I sometimes appreciate the heads up on products I might find interesting- I almost never buy them, and if it's something I'm really not interested in (like a sewing machine), I just don't click the link to the post. I think my philosophy on content that I feel doesn't apply to me (like a lot of blog hops), is to just not read the post, I just skim past it on my bloglovin' feed, and that works for me.

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  21. I'd never heard of GOMI before your post. It sounded awful, until I read that they were criticizing people for (overly) commercializing the internet.

    That boob cartoon is really insensitive. I'm appalled by ageist and lookist comments on the internets. There is so much sexism on the internets that it's hard to ignore. Today, I was in a training class and the female students had to explain to the (all male) trainers that we were not comfortable using our real names on github and stackexchange.

    I'm starting a new Technology Tuesday series to highlight that older women were present at the dawn of computing and the internet. In fact, I work in the building that administered the first non-university or government internet accounts in the world.

    We hold group meeting across the hall from the room that housed the first non-defense supercomputer. You can see it here:
    http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2014/10/technology-tuesday.html

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  22. Thanks for telling me about this site. I went to take a look and soon left with a bad taste in my mouth. I don't live in dreamland, but I prefer to stay away from negativity. I appreciate constructive criticism, but sites like GOMI give me cause for hesitation in putting myself "out there" in my blog. The comments they made about you are very mean-spirited and I just don't see the value in that. So thanks for alerting me to this site that I will stay away from!

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  23. I do like the pattern comparisons on their blog, and I get the objections about excessive chumminess among bloggers, but I have a problem with all the negativity on GOMI. Just wow. "Her poses are so stupid"? "Her shoes are awful"? "Hate reading"? If you don't like a blog, don't read it. All the concern about poor pattern drafting and that sort of thing just seems like an excuse to be nasty and pit women against each other.

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  24. Hi Shams. I visited the site and read some threads. I think things you and everybody say here are very thoughtful and quite similar to what I'm currently thinking about the topic. I hope this community over the internet by those who love hobby sewing goes more active with constructive criticisms in the way many of us wish too. That being said, this topic reminds me something similar that had happened (has been happening) to my native surroundings. We used to have many "small-ish and non-advertising" sewing bloggers who would write lots of small honest musings on sewing projects and patterns on their blogs, but most of them are gone now.

    At the time, as they were getting to know each other through each others' blogs, they were making something like a community. And consequently in a sense, some of bloggers became easy targets by others who don't like to see the certain group of people merrily share/agree/talk over internet. We had GOMI-like site and those were there. (I think we still have but I don't visit, because I hate the site after all years.) The site was used as a platform for attacking particular blogs.

    I think it is not a difficult job if you want to do same thing at GOMI. Some accounts harassed and attacked particular bloggers using the GOMI-like site and tried to get them off not only their but the entire internet, by writing multiple personal attacks repeatedly to make silent spectators think most people hate targeted people/blog/behavior at very high level. This was silly and I know we all knew it was childish. But if once it happens in front of you, ordinary people would start to hesitate writing posts thinking what if themselves are hated like hell, even though they have many creative things to tell about their sewing.

    Sadly many blogs by "ordinary" hobby sewists are gone now around me. I think it was partly because we had that silly situation at the certain time. Of course everybody has somebody who s/he cannot like. But I hope that GOMI forum stays the side of constructive criticisms by mature participants. Otherwise there will be only commercialized sewing blogs that can appreciate a hatred as an attention. And most of blogs with real people behind may be scared and stop writing. I know I am naive, but I am sad if I will see only professional blogs but no amateur ones. I love to read and can relate to the latter ones.
    I'm sorry I couldn't make my writing simpler.

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  25. May I just say you are awesome! You took a comment that was way out of line and you would have been justified to call them out on it....and instead you handled it with such grace. You are my hero.

    I like GOMI. I think they serve a need in the community. They can ease up on the negativity but a lot of the bloggers can ease up on the sunshine and rainbow posts about how awesome every pattern/product/book is. C'mon the Big4 and the big box stores never get that soft-hand treatment (I always thought the Big4 was better because of it .) So to me, GOMI serves to balance the scales.

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  26. Great post - I've never heard of GOMI. The site is interesting reading, but quite vitriolic. I started reading the Tilly thread - and although I agree with some of the comments about the simplicity of her designs - if it means that it brings lots of new people into the sewing arena, that is a HUGE plus. With so many fabric shops closing down, retailers need to know that there IS a market for fabric - and not just quilting. It reminds me of watching some of the reality shows on TV - I love watching 'Face Off' because all the contestants are so kind and supportive of each other. But on the flip side - I am addicted to Ink Master and back stabbing and bitchiness!!!! Sigh!

    I also wanted to make a quick comment about bras - hope you don't mind :) I recently took a bra making class in Hamilton, ON., (Bra Makers Supply) and one of the things we were taught was that the bra band and underwires hold the girls in place, and the straps are for holding the cup fabric up - not for holding the girls up. I found that when I wore a properly fitting bra, my bust point was 1 1/2" higher! Wooot!! So, if you ever get the chance to make your own - I would highly recommend it!!

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  27. I haven't looked at the site yet, but I will do (and read the rest of the comments) - I wanted to put my comment in first, which it that it is never acceptable to criticise/comment on a person's face or body. No exceptions! No-one has the perfect face or body IRL especially since views on this are so subjective. I am an approaching middle age mum of 3 with a naturally large chest. Of course gravity has done it's thing. So what! I 've lived a life and for all I care they can dangle round my waist! If I lived in a different society I would be getting increasing respect now rather than being expected to keep up some mythical youth worshipping image. My advice is be who you are and don't change anything!!

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  28. I don't like the sound of GOMI but I do get annoyed at how uncritical sewing bloggers are. 55 comments for a t-shirt, 35 for a dress with crooked hem - as long as the person is the picture is attractive (no saggy boobs!) the raves roll in.

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  29. Shams I went to GOMI once. Not been back. I'd rather just tell the truth in an honest and measured way on my own blog thanks..and read other blogs that have substance and intelligence over "Oh Look I look fabulous in anything..here's my fluffy dog/cat/whatever ..aren't I wonderful yay!" sites

    BTW commenting on someone's boobs is Just Not On. How immature.

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  30. Great post! I have created an ID and have been posting on GOMI. It's pretty fun to post somewhere where I can say, "Her work sucks!" without being attacked for all kinds of irrelevant things.

    I originally found it when I was looking at my blog stats, and there were lots of hits from GOMI. I went over there, and everyone was saying really nice things about my work. Never one to resist flattery, I looked around. I was originally put off by some of the posters, but I came around and decided to stay.

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  31. Well...in my humble opinion, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar :) A moto that I try to live by.

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  32. I don't follow gomi as most of the commentary pertains to blogs I don't read. Some people find gomi entertaining. I'd rather read a book or watch a movie.

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  33. I stumbled across GOMI once and hit a couple of cruel-tone threads and never went back.
    There is a place for more humor in blogs as well as way more constructive criticism.
    I may re-visit to see if I can find better threads.
    The problem of self-important bloggers who are monetizing their blogs in a abrasive way is solved by taking them off the blog roll.
    Same with the "we all agree" commentors.
    I miss The Selfish Seamstress.
    She excelled in being snarky in a good way.

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  34. Wow. I just visited the GOMI site and got sucked down the rabbit hole. I figured the world of internet snark would eventually reach the sewing blog community. GOMI is not a site I will be taking part in. I think the justification of 'constructive criticism' is really just an excuse for cutting each other down. I read very few helpful criticisms. Most things I read were personal attacks, like complaining about how someone's smile was annoying (and not a 'commercial' blog, by the way). I hope people who post over there will reconsider because that kind of ugliness is a reflection of character. I agree that constructive criticism is a good thing, but that site is not about being constructive. That left a really bad taste in my mouth. Life is too short for that kind of crap.

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    1. Yes, exactly. Everybody agrees there's a need for constructive criticism, but GOMI isn't that. Thanks for this--you said it much better than I did.

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  35. OK- quick and dirty. They are ASSHOLES. You my dear Shams are a generous, thoughtful, smart and kind Saint. I'm going to my Rabbi to nominate you. Hubby was outraged by all this.

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  36. aww, I just wrote a great comment and lost it! Darn! I was just saying that I don't think I would have been interested in GOMI back when I was blogging because I didn't have time to keep up with my favorite blogs, much less all the discussion forums out there. But it only takes one person with inadequate sense of boundaries to mess up the fun of blogging. It was not fun to deal with on my real job. Anyway, I am not as offended by it as I might have been in the past. When I got an unexpected opportunity through my sewing blog, a couple years ago, all kinds of "nice" people gossiped viciously about me and I learned from that. Even "nice" people can be mean spirited. It's just human nature and worth forgiving. Maybe being "nice" all the time is too hard!!! ha ha. Great post!!

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  37. Brava, Shams! This is a fantastic post, and I have to say that I'm not sure I would have addressed it with the comical maturity that you did. I agree, looks should be off limits to criticism. What is this, 7th grade?! I didn't know that place existed, but I should t be surprised, because it is human nature, after all, and the anonymity of the internet opens the door for that behavior, unfortunately. Although I do have to agree with the dislike for the mutual admiration society that exists among the independent pattern makers. I would like to see some real constructive criticism like the Big 4 get. I don't buy the indies because I don't believe most of the "reviews" that I read on blog tours, etc.

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  38. I took a peek at GOMI awhile back and backed away from the abyss. I spend enough time in obsessive online forums about comix and movies, I don't need another one.

    Sure, there are plenty of weasels and jerks, and I've had my days of being both. I do get annoyed by the happy face pile-ons, but ya know....

    I had to make myself a set of rules about blog/comment limits. I don't crank on other folks' comments pages. I don't comment unless I have something useful/new to say. I take that damnable high road whenever possible. I go to Pattern Review for the dirt on patterns. My blog is not a diary.

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  39. By the way, "gomi" is Japanese for "garbage."

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  40. Body, gender, ethnicity, etc. should never be snarked, IMO, with one big exception: those who insist on designing and sewing darts that end past the highpoint of their nipples. Can't stand that!!!!! doesn't matter if their boobs sag or not. Those darts just don't belong there.

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  41. For some reason, I wasn't able to open the page to the GOMI site but that's OK. I don't need to spend precious time reading a site where people's physical characteristics are made fun of - very mean spirited. You handled their unconstructive criticism graciously. Kudos to you!

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  42. Hi Shams
    I hadn't heard of the site before you mentioned it, and when I looked, I found some comments very funny, some I agreed with and some that seemed pointlessly mean.
    I don't see what is to be gained from commenting on bloggers' face or figure. And, for the record. I love looking at your blog - your clothes, and odd bag/hat are quirky, interesting, original, creative and flattering..... and "artish". I know that is not a word but your projects are very different to those where choice of fabric is the only variable.
    I am not sure where commenters think that large breasts should sit - perhaps somewhere like the hilarious Lekula diagram you posted some time ago??

    From Anne in Melbourne
    My comment keeps disappearing so I retype and hope that it does not appear 3 times

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  43. Based on some of the comments made here, some folks may find this recent episode on the Diane Rehm radio show of interest as it explores online harassment of women. GOMI is not mentioned specifically. One of the guests was harassed after posting a story on a website. Her story is cautionary tale on the potential hazards of posting about yourself online.

    http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014-10-22/women-and-online-harassment

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  45. ugh, i spent a couple of weeks off and on on that site a while back, i order to make sure i wasn't judging too harshly or missing out on the 'great information' and 'constructive criticism' the members kept talking about. I agree wtih Shair, liza jane, SJ Kurtz, and others - but most especially Yoshimi.

    I know a lot of people like to think they're being witty by making nasty comments, i do not see the appeal but it's common enough to see people who do. How on earth this type of activity is supposed to be 'constructive criticism' or (my personal goal) encourage more people to want to join in the sewing community is beyond me.

    My time at that site simply strengthened my resolve to be welcoming and encouraging and thoughtful to people who take time and courage to post about their own sewing online. I have learned so much and been so inspired by other sempstresses who have posted about their own work, i want to do all i can to provide a welcoming atmosphere so that we here in California don't end up in a situation like Yoshimi saw unfold.

    (second try at posting - please excuse if it's a double post)

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  46. I sort of had this feeling: You're kinda just taking a quick look around... but then you can't look away....At first you think "Oh I thought only I thought that about that blogger.." but later you think "Wow that's really nasty"
    Its really a strange combination and I suppose because those folks are not really real to us we feel we can say what we want and chalk it up to a critique. Are points valid? perhaps but at least these folks put themselves out there. I wonder how many of the posters have a blog? What did they ever risk? Other than an anonymous post. I was thinking of starting a blog just to make sewing friends. This really changed my perspective. I think I'll pass

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  47. Golly! I had no idea there were people out there with nothing better to do than run down blogs. What do they do when they are not being so negative? There seems to be a lot of anger on the GOMI site. Hey, I love your posts, admire your dedication to the immense time they take (especially tutorials), and your bravery for displaying garments and showing the highs and lows. In many ways, you have shortened the learning curve for me. BRAVO GIRL!! THANKS A MILLION!!!!!

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  48. Shams, you have sparked a great conversation here! So many good thoughts have been shared in this comment thread.

    As you say, most of us would agree that constructive criticism can be a very good and helpful thing. GOMI aside (I just see it as people blowing off steam), giving and receiving truly constructive criticism is hard! How do we do it well? You gave us a good example with regards to the bra situation, although I think you generally do an amazing job of resisting gravity.

    I would theoretically like to receive genuinely actionable and objective feedback on my blog posts, but I also realize that giving such feedback takes a lot more thought than a quick "good job!" and receiving honest feedback requires openness, maturity, flexibility and endless good humor. It's a lot harder than "everything you do is awesome" or snark.

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    1. " It's a lot harder than "everything you do is awesome" or snark." well said RD!

      Also, we're only seeing pictures on the web. The whole situation - the 3D garment, the actual requirements and priorities of the wearer - is only faintly represented.

      A lot of my sewing decisions are dictated by my severe neuropathy. It causes lots of pain and limited mobility. Now, i'm certain that many of my hand-sewn, less than perfectly finished garments would make (for example) Bunny of LaSewista! break out in a huge, all-encompassing hive. And rightly so! But - hand sewn seams are much easier on my poor bod, and i sew slowly anyways so at a certain point 'good enough is good enough' - i don't want to be running around in rags all the time.

      But i really do not want to be hammering away at my medical troubles every single time i post a new garment, pounding it into people's heads that i have this big bad problem oh woe is me, bleargh. As well, i am not going to take the type of advice that will give me 'high end RTW type garments' because i don't like the look of those type of clothes much anyways, forget the discomfort. I don't want to be in a position of asking people to go out of their way to provide advice, then repay their efforts by just shooting it all down.

      Which, Ms. Dandelion, is all just to expand on your excellent point. But two other points always come to mind during discussions about constructive criticism on the sewing blogs. First, if a blogger wants CC they can just lay out the issue which is troubling them in a blog post and ask. Secondly, it's entirely possible to do a bunch of web searches on the problem, find a likely solution or two and make up some test samples/muslins to see how they work for you.

      Anyways just my two cents. Happy Weekend and Good Sewing! steph

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  49. Hello there! I just found your blog. Interesting post, I too try really hard to hear the useful feedback in the criticism. And when I was a technical writer, yup, that was always a kicker when the user feedback didn't align with the work!

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