Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Lack Of Tact

Not all knit and crochet patterns can be free!

If they were all free then designers would get other jobs because they couldn't pay their bills and then where would we all be?!

Phew. Sorry. Third post in my attempt to start blogging again and I go with a rant. But I just had to get that off my mind.

It's a debate that has been held before and will be held again and I probably won't add anything new to the conversation, but I think it's stuff that needs to be said.

I don't know if it's that our society has developed a culture of entitlement that causes people to not want to pay for thing or respect other people's efforts.

Or if the internet is to blame because people expect things on the internet to be free and they aren't.

Or if people are just spoiled brats.

But this expectation that all patterns are going to be free really gets on my nerves sometimes. And the annoyance builds up and eventually boils over.

I could bitch to Hubby about it, and he would listen, but I'm not sure how much he'd truly understand my complaint, so it's not very satisfying.

And I can't always say it to the people pissing me off for a variety of reasons.

Mainly because I'm annoyed enough to say it I won't say it politely.

That would be bad because I don't want to get into a debate with them because chances are they'll be closed minded and not willing to listen to reason (no, that isn't kind and is a sweeping generalization, but it shows you how annoyed I am that I'm being closed minded myself.).

And, of course, when you aren't polite you end up alienating people and that is contrary to all of my goals.

So I keep it bottled up and end up waking up at 3 am because it's just one more thing on my mind then I remember I have a blog, which is my personal opinion and a bully pulpit and I can declare...

Not all knit and crochet patterns can be free and you should stop expecting them to be!

Don't get me wrong.

I like free patterns as much as the next knitter and have quite a collection of them.
But I also purchase patterns. I buy books. I buy magazines. I buy individual patterns.
I appreciate the fact that someone went to the effort of figuring it out, writing it down, and making it available so I don't have to.

I have also not bought patterns.
I have not bought patterns that I know I could figure out for myself.
I have not bought patterns that I think are lovely but know I wouldn't make or wear.
But I haven't not bought a pattern because I think it should be free.

There are two type of "it should be free" people who annoy me. There might be more types of them, but here are the two I want to slap.

The ones who sniff and say "I could design that."
Well, sure, you probably could, but don't go making noise about it. You are A) not helping anyone and B) undercutting the designer.

Someone worked long and hard to design that pattern and get it to a state that another person could use to create the object and it's not polite to loudly announce that you are going to, basically, steal their idea without offering any thanks.

I mean, if you're going to do that, at least do it quietly.
We're talking intellectual property here. And I appreciate that you can't own an idea. And I appreciate that an experienced knitter or crocheter can probably look at pictures of a finished object and replicate it, I've probably done it myself, but for goodness sake don't brag about it.

I think I'm not getting to the heart of my complaint here.....Yes, you can duplicate it by looking at it, but you didn't think of it until you saw the designer's version so shouldn't you show some appreciation?

Isn't that inspiration worth something?

The ones who can't design it for themselves.
 They don't have the ambition, knowledge, or skills to design their own patterns but they want all pattern to be free.

This shows a serious lack of appreciation for the designer's time and effort.

As I mentioned, it takes a lot of time and effort to dream up a design, work it up, write it down in a way that other people can understand, get it tested, and produce and distribute the finished pattern.

And if you're talking about a garment with multiple sizes, well the time involved just escalates.

Part of this might just be ignorance (as in a lack of understanding).
Having never designed a pattern themselves they don't appreciate what goes into it.
Or they might have made up a project but never written the pattern down in a comprehensible fashion so they don't realize how hard that part can be.
It might be possible to show some of these people the light. It might be possible to say, "Hey, it takes a week of 8 hour days (i.e., a full time job) to make that pattern you don't want to buy," and they'll say, "Oh, I didn't realize! Here is my money. Thanks for creating such a lovely pattern for me to make."
Or they might be unimpressed and still expect it for free.

We're partially to blame.
Depending on what you're trying to sell, free patterns are a key component.

Designers might offer a few free patterns to introduce people to their designs.

Book publishers offer free patterns to entice people to buy the book.

Yarn manufacturers offer free patterns because their goal is to sell yarn.

I have a few free patterns of projects that seemed so simple or generic that there didn't seem a point in trying to sell them. Something so basic that I was sure other free versions already existed. But even those patterns took me a few hours to create.

But the internet, the internet is a key to this free pattern expectation.

The internet, as a free publishing platform, allows anyone, with or without design experience or expertise, to post a free pattern.

Some of these patterns will be very good. Some of them will be very bad.

You would think the bad ones would make people more willing to pay for patterns with the expectation that they went through a more rigorous editing process. (And, yes, I've seen the shouting online about errors in magazines and books, but come on, we're only human and humans make mistakes so cut people some slack.)

But, anyway, it seems to me that people are being groomed to expect free patterns at every turn and we must stop that.

There must be a way to get them to understand that some patterns are free and others you have to buy.

And to get them to appreciate that fact.

And to make them understand in a tactful way that won't piss them off.

After all, some restaurants give a free dessert on your birthday, but you don't expect it every day of the year, right?

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