As I filled the gas tank of my minivan this evening, I found myself reading the warning sign posted on the side of the pump:
–No smoking (that one’s so obvious it terrifies me that people have to be warned about it)
–Turn off engine (almost as bad as the first)
–Turn off cell phone (sigh…)
As anyone who watches Mythbusters knows, that last has been thoroughly busted by Jamie “Quack, damn you!” Hyneman and Adam “Am I missing an eyebrow?” Savage. They tried their darndest to set off an explosion with gasoline fumes and cellphone–and these guys love explosions, so I assure you they were trying pretty darned hard–and failed. Then they tried again in another show when fans pointed out increasingly implausible ways that it might happen. Still no big boom for Jamie. The myth that cell phones cause gas station explosions was well and truly busted.
(In case you’re wondering, the real culprit in most explosions is static electricity. That, more than the possibility of a gas tank overflow, is the biggest reason you shouldn’t get back into your car while the tank is filling up.)
And yet, the myth persists, to the point where gas stations still have signs warning you not to use your cell phone–or even more drastically, to turn it off altogether.
So it would probably be futile to ask Adam and Jamie to bust the myth of the “snobbish” and “exclusive” Ravelry, because even when they succeed, there will still be people who insist on believing without a shred of evidence to back them up.
I’ve seen this in action on a knitting forum I belong to. The post started innocently enough, with someone asking if other “Ravelers” found themselves spending time there instead of on the current forum. There was some constructive back-and-forth on the topic to start, with people discussing the different ways they used the two sites, but there were also a few people who felt excluded by Ravelry because you had to be invited to join.
Other members pointed out the strenuous 3 step process to getting invited:
1. Go to Ravelry.
2. Click on “Add your name to the list” on the right side of the page.
That’s seriously all it takes, and step #3 is the hardest (at least it was for this gal). There’s generally between 5000 and 7000 people on the waiting list at any one time, so it’ll probably take better than a week for your invite to show.
But you will get invited.
For some reason, people see the part about the invitation and don’t bother to read any further. They assume that Ravelry is some sort of snobbish, elitist, closed club. Others haven’t even gotten that far; they just heard that opinion from someone else and accepted it without question…which is their loss, but I hate to think people are missing out on such a great resource because of ignorance.
What really gets me, though, is that when people who hold this opinion have the facts laid out in front of them regarding the invitation to Ravelry, they persist in holding on to the myth–vehemently and viciously, in some instances. They insist, with an emphasis approaching hysteria, that Ravelry is screening people out. Seriously? How? All you submit is your email address. Not your name. Not your address. Not your gender or race or age. They don’t even ask for a knitting sample to weed out the pretenders (thank goodness, or I’d still be waiting in vain for my invite). Are there really people who think that there’s someone at the other end of the computer going, “Ok…ok…ok…nope, don’t like that email address…ok…”?
Apparently there are.
So this post isn’t for those people–it’s for the people who heard that Ravelry was to be avoided because of its unwelcoming nature, but who have an open enough mind to find out for themselves. I present to you exhibit A: I am a member of Ravelry, and if you think you need to be a good knitter to join, I invite you to peruse this post. Ravelry knows about it; I’ve posted the same pics and sad story there.
(Edit: I found the following in the Ravelry FAQ. Please take it to heart if you’re a fellow blogger talking about Ravelry: