Growing Pains At the Polymer Clay Tutor Community… A Good Thing

Polymer Clay Community Corner “We feel like
family… it is a good
thing we are growing so
big to have to deal with this
type of issue.” ~Catalina

When communities grow, problems are bound to surface. Currently, there is an issue here at this polymer clay community blog, that needs to be addressed. A fair number of members are feeling that too much of the commenting activity is straying too far away from what the main focus is supposed to be… polymer clay, beads, jewelry and creative stuff.

Today I’d like to discuss the concerns and proposed solutions that were recently presented in another comment thread. Here is
the link to where you can read all of the original postings…
Argggggggggggggggh. So many threads inside one thread

And here is the Cole’s Notes version of the comments, summarized in chronological order…

Judy-M: Moral support type comments are making it harder to find the clay bits and tips.

Jocelyn-C: Loves the randomness of the threads. Each blog post is like unwrapping a Christmas gift. Maybe use color coded text to identify non-clay topics.

Carolyn-F: Personal ongoing comments could be done more via email. Not every comment requires a response.

Carolyn-K: Would like to see blog contents stick to polymer clay topics.

Cindy-R: Off topic conversations are the norm in web site communities. Sometimes you have to just let the “river” run where it wants to go. The most important thing is to insist on helpful, caring and supportive comments… no sniping. Having a real forum setting does help with topic management.

Jeanne-C: Starting to feel like it takes too long to read through everything to find the clay-related information. Maybe having personal comments posted on another blog would be good.

Elizabeth-K: Appreciates hearing about everyone’s life experiences, but does find that it starting to take ages to read through everything.

Elizabeth-S: It’s important to look at this issue from all perspectives… one of which is a new visitor to this site who is only looking for answers to their polymer clay questions. Many of these clayers are probably experiencing frustration because of all the non-pc related, personal information they end up having to sift through.

Carolyn-F: Perhaps the “Open Mic” Friday posts could be the designated area for “socializing and commiserating.”

Tanya-L: Better use of the “reply” function could make it easier for everyone to decide which posts they want to spend time reading, vs not. Whatever happens, definitely don’t eliminate the personal conversations. The kindness, helpfulness and caring shown for each other and the humor is an important part of this site.

Jeanne-C: Since many of the personal comments are requesting and offering prayers for health related issues, the blog has become much less cheerful to read over the last few months. Would like to see thing get back to upbeat pc issues.

Catalina: It is a good thing we are growing so big to have to deal with this type of issue :) It’s like a close family that feels comfortable enough to speak freely with each other. The downside to moving personal conversations elsewhere is that everyone is already really busy. Adding another site to follow may not work so well.

DJ: Worried that if things get too tightly reigned in or changed, that the special feeling of connection which is so strong at this site, could be lost.

Sue-F: On-topic comments are getting totally swamped by the volume of off-topic comments. It could be causing newcomers to feel reluctant about “breaking in” to discussions, because they don’t feel part of the “in” crowd / clique.

Carolyn-F: Solving this problem may just come down to self regulation. “We need to watch ourselves and monitor what we write.”

Silverleaf & Judy-M: Setting up a separate Facebook group or forum for off-topic, personal commenting may be the way to go. However it would require dedicated and active moderators / admins.

Phaedrakat: Unfortunately, you sometimes have to have thick skin to keep from feeling embarrassed or getting hurt.

Linda-K: Really dislikes the idea of setting up a completely new venue for personal chatting… especially if it is Facebook where you have to muddle through a whole bunch of nonsense comments from by people you’ve never even heard of. That doesn’t solve anything.

Silverleaf: The unbalanced nature of the comments recently, is no ones fault, and certainly does not require apologies from anyone. If anything it emphasizes how supportive everyone is. It’s easy for stuff like this to snowball, so it’s good to be having this discussion now.

Judy-M: In addition to the suggestion from Tany-L about using the “reply” feature, I like the idea of adding a short HEADING to our comments that are OFF-TOPIC or NOT CLAY.

So Where is All this Leading?

From experience, I know all too well how much work and dedication is required to set up another site / discussion group / forum. And although there was some support for the idea of having all personal chat happening somewhere else, I didn’t sense a huge wave of excitement, or showing of commitment, to go that route.

It was a comment from Carolyn-F that came closest to what I was thinking would be a good solution. She suggested that the “Open Mic” Friday posts could become the designated area for “socializing and commiserating.”

Now although I like the idea of dedicating a specific place at the blog for “off-topic” commenting, Friday is not the best choice. That is when the weekly newsletter goes out, and therefore, when the blog gets a big spike in visitors traffic, many of whom are newcomers.

My suggestion is to go with Community Corner Thursdays. This would allow the river to continue to run right here at the blog… in a more controlled environment. By the way, thanks Cindy-R for the wonderful river metaphor. I love it!

Obviously, some “self regulation” would be required so that all the personal commenting activity ends up where it is supposed to go, but I don’t see that as a huge challenge to overcome.

What do you guys think?

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Tanya L, 05 August, 2010

    Wow. I’m torn here. I don’t wan’t to lose our joking around, or the warmth and caring, which really doesn’t have to take a lot of time or space. And we all need laughter. To have to have saved the whole dialogue about Elizabeth’s torch til Thursday? It never would have happened. We’ll lose spontaneity which is so key to making this not only the best place to learn about polymer clay, but also the best play to be to learn about polymer clay. I still say, and again, I’m only here for about a month and half, the caring comments are what made me want to be a part of this community. You guys had something I wanted to be part of. Now that we know how many others actually have Facebook accounts I think we all know we have other options for certain personal conversations that we’d really rather not put out there for all the world to see anyway, and I’d be willing to bet that alone will cut down on a bunch of it. So maybe Community Corner Thursday for big issues you want to share with everyone but OFF TOPIC for for little things (as long as it’s not abused).

  2. Tanya L, 05 August, 2010

    Got a question, though.. What if something big happens in someone’s life and they need people to pray for them right away? I know some don’t believe in prayer or want to hear or read about it, and I understand their point of view. I personally have experienced a few miracles, so I know what prayer can do and I know the importance of knowing others are praying for you. If someone has a heart attack on Saturday that can’t wait til Thursday. So while we’re still discussing everying… :)

  3. cara l, 05 August, 2010

    I am glad this has come up. I have followed this site for a long time now and have seen the change. The comments used to be requests for information or tutorials re PC and I feel it has changed focus. The only reason i continue to subscribe is because the quality of the tutorials are so good- but I usually skip all the other stuff and i feel uncomfortable with the christian sentiment often expressed here. Sorry if I have hurt anyone’s feelings but that is how I feel.

  4. Sue F, 05 August, 2010

    @Tanya L: You could put it in the previous Thursday’s Community Corner post, couldn’t you? The fact that there’s new activity there would be clear from it appearing in the Recent Comments column.

    @cara l: My thoughts are similar. I continue to subscribe because enough of the tutorials are of interest — with the occasional totally brilliant piece! — but from my perspective use of the blog itself has gone way downhill. In my usual blunt way: polymer clay community = good, gossipy/”family” environment = bad. I do look at Cindy’s posts most days and skim the comments that have been made on them at that point, but there is little discussion that I feel is worth participating in any more. (And I too am not fond of all the overt religious sentiment… it’s worse than politics! ;D)

  5. Carlee N, 05 August, 2010

    @cara l:
    I completely agree. I too have not spent as much time on the blog because I feel like the time spent wading through the extra comments has not been worth the few tips and PC discussions I find. I like the idea of an off-topic heading, but it still leaves you to scroll past all of those in an active thread to find some info on PC.

  6. Susan B, 05 August, 2010

    @Cindy: Will you still be doing a regular daily post on Thursdays if it becomes a “Community Corner”? Checking your post has become part of my daily ritual and I would hate to lose the Thursday one!

  7. fran, 05 August, 2010

    As a fairly new polymer clay user – I delayed getting Cindy’s videos because so many of the comments here didn’t have much to do with polymer clay. After spending more time reading thru the blogs – I found lots of tips that I found helpful and it made me decide to become a member. I’d prefer this be more about the clay and not as much about personal things. I’d rather not spend my time reading thru so much of that and spend more time working with the clay. I love the videos and the ideas that you all pass along. Hope a solution will be arrived at that will be of benefit to all.

  8. sarahwww, 05 August, 2010

    At best you will get folks to be courteous enough to add an “Off Topic” type of warning in their post title. An extra forum, or other designated area simply creates more work and probably will not accomplish what you are after. It is, as you say, a good problem to have…folks are comfortable to have a sense of community spring up. It is annoying to wade through extra stuff when you are after specific info, but that is what happens on the ‘net. You already do this to some extent, but more pointed “questions” at the end of a post might help direct the comments–at least on the tutorial type posts. Love all your work and hate that you are feeling overwhelmed by this issue.

  9. Phaedrakat, 05 August, 2010

    I’m torn. I, too, (like Susan B.) would hate to lose another article/post just so there’s a place to chat. Why can’t we just watch what we say? Put the “OFF-TOPIC” notification on comments that aren’t clay related, or that are personal or of a religious nature. And cut down on them, at the same time. Most of the members that chat regularly now have Facebook accounts, so just send out a mass email message if you have something come up & you want prayer. Or you can put it on your FB wall, then just leave a short announcement here—”OFF-TOPIC: Please check out my FB wall, I have a situation…” or something like that. (Sorry, haven’t been to bed yet, so I’m loopy… Oh, check out my Facebook to see why, LOL)

    Although I am a Christian, I have to admit that we do talk a lot more about prayer now than we did back when I first became a member. It’s a wonderful thing, except for the people who have different beliefs. If the comments here were geared more towards the Muslim faith, Voodoo, or even Catholicism, I would feel a bit strange and very left out, since these are not my religion. I hate that we have to make a change, but I can see that we can’t ignore the members who want (or do not want) to hear certain things.

    I am willing to do whatever the community decides, but I would prefer it if we didn’t change things too much. I agree that putting too much of a constraint on things will chase away spontainaity (sp, sorry–tired) as well as those people who come here FOR the caring nature of the community. There was talk about scaring away potential members because they didn’t like what they read. A valid point, but I’ll bet that on the flip-side, there were people who STAYED or JOINED because they liked the caring group of people here!

    I, too, am sorry Cindy, that you are having to deal with this issue. I am going to follow the comments here, and hope that we can figure out a way to make people “comfortable” without creating extra work for you. Good luck, dear community!

  10. Phaedrakat, 05 August, 2010

    In my first paragraph above, I didn’t mean we have to cut out our comments completely. I’m talking about the big discussions. If we leave an OFF-TOPIC comment, and people want to discuss it further, then take it to Facebook, or maybe have a Thursday corner only twice a month or something like that that we can take our discussion to. We don’t need one every week, IMHO (if we go that route.)

    OFF-TOPIC: I’m really going to bed now. ‘Night…

  11. Jocelyn, 05 August, 2010

    Personally, I would hate to see another day taken away from polymer clay….

    Think the topics raised are worthy, but, capable of self regulation. Now that folks understand the importance of sticking mostly to clay, for the business reasons, I’ve seen a change already.

    Folks are courteously using Off Topic prefencing, keeping discussions shorter and to the point, and focusing more on making and selling clay.

    The community here is unique, filled with wonderful caring supportive folks. As someone said, “let the river run…..”

    I’d table the topic for a month or two, then see if folks feel the same way. If they do, then self regulation won’t work, and Cindy and Doug may have to plan further changes. Have a feeling it will work out without intervention.

    Forums are a lot of work. They need to be moderated 24-7 and I’m not sure it’s the best way to go, business cost wise. The spontaneity of this place is it’s gift.

    This place is loaded to the hilt with information about clay. Folks need to get used to using that excellent search facility to find what they need. And of course, thanks to Kat, who takes the time to thoroughly research questions and get folks needed answers.

  12. Ken H, 05 August, 2010

    Could a new “heading” for lack of a better term be created at the top of the “home” page to the site for the community corner and have the notice of a new posting show up on the right in the comments section instead if taking another day away from the blogging schedule, and it really wouldn’t need that much monitoring except to remove comments say after six months (ex. Jan to June ’10 would have been removed in July) I too like the caring nature of the community, and feel it would diminish the site a bit to remove that completely. Conversely though with the FB site, there is a live chat function (Carolyn and I have used this several times), you would just need to check in to see if anyone is on, while it is only one on one, it could get prayer requests and other information out quickly, and I’m certain if enough people wrote to FB, they might consider making a “chat room” function where multiple “Friends” could chat. Just my $.02, hope it adds to the conversation.

  13. Ken H, 05 August, 2010

    I meant the “Recent Comments column on the right”

  14. Elizabeth S., 05 August, 2010

    Well, aren’t we just the cutest looking family!

    That being said-it concerns me that already two members have described their waning interest in the blog. I think that needs to be considered as very important information. My hunch is that they will not be the only ones to voice this sentiment as the day goes on. I’m further concerned that in spite of the amazing tuts, Cindy and Doug could begin to lose subscribers as more and more tire of the fact that that the blog has moved too far away from its intended purpose.

    I wholeheartedly believe that the blog should NOT be a forum for putting forth one’s religious or political views. We are a diverse family and each member deserves respect and freedom from influence by those with differing beliefs. I don’t think this perspective prevents the offering of prayer for those in need if one wishes to do so but in my opinion, it needs to be done briefly and in a religiously neutral manner. I know that there are those who will disagree. I respect their points of view as well.

    Finally, although I was on the fence about this issue, I’ve jumped off and now feel strongly that the blog needs to return more to its intended purpose. I went back to read much older postings–way way back before all this started. I found humor, spontaneity, caring, helpfulness-all those things everyone feels is important to continue. The difference is that most of it revolved around pc. I am opposed to a day dedicated to commiserating about non pc topics. I just don’t think that’s necessary if we all agree that first and foremost we come to learn. I feel that if we respect this idea everything else will come back into balance. Just my opinion.

  15. Edie, 05 August, 2010

    Just the clay and things actually related to clay (wirework, tools, etc) please.


  16. MalindaJ, 20 August, 2010

    @Edie: I agree! It is very difficult to find what I’m looking for in regards to PC. If I want or need spiritual support I use one of my Yahoo groups. If I want to discuss recipes, I go to a food forum, etc. ; )

  17. pollyanna, 05 August, 2010

    Oh gosh….. I think we should try the self regulation for a couple of weeks and see if the family can behave on it’s own. I also like the ‘ off topic’ idea. That way people can scan past that and others can take note.

  18. Jeanne C., 05 August, 2010

    This issue has so many pros and cons, but I still say we need to bring the blog back to its original intent and that’s to be a polymer clay blog where information is shared regarding clay issues. I’ve been with Cindy’s blog for 18 months but for the last 6 months I’ve lost interest because as the weeks went on I saw more health issue being discuused and less clay related issues being spoken about.

    I know many of you feel the same way by reading today’s blog and the last thread. Let me express why I feel this way. First I do care about everyone and am sensitive to your personal concerns. I like the rest of you have medical problems I deal with every day, and I like many of you are in great pain 24/7. I have found support through my husband, family, friends and our community. When I discovered polymer clay I found it a distraction for me and during that time I find it brings pleasure to my day, so when I found Cindy’s blog with all the information on claying, the upbeat and silly comments I thought WOW I can start my day with and “upbeat” note and not dwell with my everyday dilemma. Now I feel when I log onto the blog I found myself feeling bad about everyone, so what’s the point of going here everyday.

    I just think that Cindy and Doug have worked so hard and have given us a wonderful opportunity to belong to one of the best clay blogs in the world, and feel we are doing them a disservice by taking away from the blog with our non clay concerns. I feel a lost opportunity if we need to dedicate a day for personal issues when all of this can be done on personal time via your email, face book, or any other form of communication outside the blog. I love the birthday wishes, the funny “torch” story because they were all “upbeat.”

    Hopefully you can see where I’m coming from and why this blog played a big part on how I started my day. I still find family and personal friends are the best place to seek support, and would prefer this blog to go back to just being fun and clay filled. :)

  19. Anna Sabina, 05 August, 2010

    I want to thank Cindy and group members for having the courage to bring up this topic. I have been coming to this blog for about 2 years, maybe longer. Everyday I eagerly check the blog the first thing before going to my “Job that pays the bills” and then check again at the end of the day. Lately I have been less excited and checking the blog. I have stopped checking the Box requesting notification of follow up comments. I am overwhelmed by the number of posts due to the reasons already stated. I come to this site for information, enthusiasm and insights about Polymer Clay.
    Like many of us I have very little time to dedicate to PC due to full time job and many outside responsibilities. This is a premier site for Polymer Clay and I feel that needs to remain the focus. I come here to find the MEAT of creating with Polymer Clay.

    I recently unsubscribed to another very talented PC instructors Yahoo Group because of a loss of focus. I vote a “No” on the Thursdays Community Corner because I do not to lose a day of great PC information. I would also vote a “No” to Off Topic heading because it is will be confusing to new people coming to the site and we need to find a better way to address these needs. I think we can find a better way for Clayers to support each other. I am willing to start a blog specifically for Clayers needing Off Topic support and for Off topic information.

    Clay On.
    Anna Des Moines, Iowa

  20. Ken H, 05 August, 2010

    I have been trying to find a way to word this without coming off to harsh, which is not my intent, but the only way I can find to say it is to say it, while many of you have the support structures around you to go to friends, family etc. have any of you given the thought that some may not have the support options you do? While I agree things have “drifted” a bit, it’s a little bit cold to suggest using support structures that may be nonexistant for some. Some folks may not have the “Ear to chew” or “the shoulder to cry on”. Whats best for Cindy’s business… yes business… is what should be done, but think about other people before saying it’s Bothersome or taking too much time to read through the postings. Someone here MAY someday be alone and NEED the kind of support that’s given here so freely.

  21. Melinda Herron, 05 August, 2010

    I feel guilty about saying this…. but my interest too has been waning. I love the blog, I love the joking and colorful chat about polymer clay but I do get somewhat annoyed at the personal chat…. There is something missing to the blog right now. I used to come here first thing in the morning but sometimes I don’t even make it here for a couple days…. and by the time I do get here the topic is already off from what it was even if I get here when I wake up…. so I have stopped commenting for the most part, skimming through the comments. I do care if someone is having surgery or their husband is very ill…. but sometimes all that gets in the way and I feel that if I can’t keep up with who is who and what illness they have I am not a proper part of the group. I would rather know you by your work and not your cat’s hernia surgery! Like Ken does a lot of faux jade. Silverleaf does lot of pendants with bling! I wish I could rattle off each persons PC strengths and talents!

  22. DJ, 05 August, 2010

    Phaedrakat, Jocelyn and Elizabeth S. pretty much said what I’m feeling. Although I might be ok with things – I’m concerned about newcomers (and regulars) who have voiced their concerns or feel excluded.
    I like the idea of more focused clay type posts; not omitting personal or fun stuff – just limit the content, length and label Off Topic if required; redirecting toward facebook if more length is needed. And always for all of us to be respectful, which surprisingly for the size of the blog – happens more often than not.

  23. Koolbraider, 05 August, 2010

    Does anyone remember the old “Bead & Button” jewelry forum? It was a dynamic and enjoyable experience for practically anything concerning jewelry, from techniques to inspiration due to life stories. And then, one day, they had the bright idea to create a “new” forum. While the old forum had been split between the three magazines, BeadStyle, Bead & Button, and Art Jewelry, the new forum designers created an environment geared to the most serious jewelry mag, Art Jewelry. There, you found the serious business issues facing “real” artists (under “Business and Marketing”). It also became obvious that the new forum was driven by marketing. So lots of us left and joined the “Cagey Crafters” forum which is now the Starvingjewelryartists site (Cindy is a member there, me too).

    The result of the “new” forum? If there are four members logged in at one time it’s a rare day; mostly, only one member bothers to log in. I recognize only a handful of the older members. Yes, SJA folks still log into the new B&B but the fun simply isn’t there anymore.

    The moral of my rather long winded story? People want to share their stories. Yes, we get way off topic at times, and I also agree that there should be some guidelines. Personally I couldn’t care less if someone declares themselves to be Druids and and asks me to hug trees on a regular basis. I’m open minded enough to just pass over that and move on (crazies are everywhere; look at me!). But I think this site would lose some of its flavor if no one is allowed to talk.

    I know very little about website design so I can’t imagine what effort it would take to create a little corner where we could drop in and talk. I have to agree with Ken: some of us are isolated either geographically or personally, and this is the one place we can connect with other clayers. I have no one here to lean on, and I mean that literally, so the support of members here brightens up my day.

    So, is it possible to give us some spot where we can share? You don’t have to go there and sift through all the posts if you don’t want to or don’t have the time. Or dedicate a day? I wonder if giving us a special day might lighten Cindy’s job? Since Saturdays and Sundays are no longer used as new topics, we have time to work and live and talk on Monday. Teaser Tuesdays. Discuss the teaser on Wednesdays. Get ready on Thursdays for…Friday!!! And discuss the video on Friday like we do already. And keep Friday’s discussion on topic. Period. Okay, getting down from my soapbox now. (And if anyone’s interested, I find Facebook frustrating mostly because it’s so slow, but it’s the one established central meeting area.)

  24. Koolbraider, 05 August, 2010

    (I’m burning here because my post disappeared because I hit the wrong button so I’ll try to write what I can remember.)

    Does anyone here remember the old Bead & Button forum? It was a dynamic and fun place to visit. But the owners of the three magazines (Bead Style, Bead & Button, and Art ewelry) decided to create a new look. The result was a dead zone: the forum was obviously advertising driven. Only Art Magazine had a really serious “Business and Marketing” thread. And some features became magazine subscriber available only. Members left in droves and went to “Cagey Crafters” which gradually became StarvingJewelryArtists (Cindy’s a member; me too). Rarely are four members logged in at once.

    I agree with Ken: lots of us are either geographically or socially isolated. I happen to be the latter. I truly enjoy the stories and support from other members. People can declare themselves Druids and tell me to hug trees daily. I’m open minded enough to pass that by. Okay, maybe a bit too way open minded, but that’s a different story.

    The moral of my long winded reply: stopping members from sharing their experiences would destroy the “flavor” of this site. Cindy doesn’t formally post on Saturdays and Sundays (but she does anyway!). Why can’t we discuss what we lived through on the weekends on Monday. Tuesday is “teaser” day. Wednesdays and Thursdays are spent discussing the teasers and looking forward to Fridays. And there’s lots of room to discuss clay things then; let folks skip those days if needed (if someone is worried about “losing Monday” to personal stuff, they are way too addicted to their laptops). Friday is video day and discussing it. And we already have areas on the home page to figure out where to post. Personally I don’t like Facebook; it’s way too slow and I don’t have the time to filter through all the #### people post (folks here complain about wading through personal stuff? Try reading through all those silly posts), but it is an area to post photos. Okay, down off my soapbox now.

  25. Tanya L, 05 August, 2010

    Since everyone’s being open and honest here, and after what Ken said, let me say something I never would have otherwise. I have very little support with my health issues. From my husband, kids, community. This is the first time in years I felt like someone understood. And if anyone really read what was said, I think for the most part those who have major health issues really weren’t wallowing in their cups. They state the facts “I’m hurting again”, or “this is how I’m”. But they know they had friends who cared about them here and just hearing that, just hearing “I’m thinking about you!” can make all the difference. And they probably have some of the best senses of humor around. They have to for self preservation – it’s either laugh or cry, so ya laugh! Now all that being said I’d rather come here to learn AND have fun, but if telling someone that I know what they’re dealing with is gonna help in any way, I’m all for it. And now that I know most of us have Facebook, that’s where I’ll suggest we head.

  26. carolyn, 05 August, 2010

    Wow! Personally I want to thank all of you who have expressed your heartfelt thoughts today! This has been well worth the time it has taken on my little USB connection. Though I am a Christian and may well be one who opened this site up for religious comments, I think it has gone too far. OK, we know a lot of us have fibromyalgia, arthritis, back problems, osteoporosis, etc. let’s get off that topic, too. We need to control ourselves. It is not necessary for any one of us to comment on every comment. If we have valuable input, great, then comment, but wading through all the individual replies that don’t add to the subject, well, I’d rather not see them. I too am losing my enthusiasm for this blog because it seems to be taken over by comments without meat … or to use the river: they are just the sludge or seaweed that get in the way of the real flow.

    These comments today have made me change my mind about a special day for ‘community comments’. I’m not sure it is necessary, and we don’t want to lose clay content for this. If we cut back on our froo-froo comments and stick closer to on-topic questions and answers, the potential problems will be solved. I say potential because I believe Cindy saw this direction before we realized it, and set about to find solutions. This is her site, after all, and it says a lot about Cindy’s own character that she allows us the freedom to comment, and encourages us to suggest or provide answers when we can.

    We don’t want to become too formal and thereby too dry. To lose our humor would be a great loss indeed. I have little to laugh about, but when some of these thread throw in some great pc humor, I am thrilled and have even been known to laugh out loud … something I seldom do. Elizabeth S. don’t hide your talent for getting these started!

    I would like to encourage everyone on this blog to contribute answers to questions that are raised about PC. If just one or two do all the answering, it tends to stifle the rest of us. There are some great suggestions being lost because the penultimate answer supposedly has already been given. Now, Cindy, we all do recognize you as our authority. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be here. But you are the only one who should be considered the final word.

    Another thing that we all have to be more conscientious about: post our comments or questions on the appropriate blog page. If we research the right page we might just find our answers before asking the questions. We need to take full advantage of the search feature at the top left of all blog pages. This will help to keep us on topic for a specific blog and might eliminate the need for using ‘off-topic’ headings.

    If we feel the need to write ‘off-topic’ maybe we should re-think writing it at all. If it is a natural flow (like a river) then it wouldn’t need that special heading … even if it is humor, or some special pain (like getting your finger squished in your pasta machine), or letting us all know that you won’t be commenting on the blog because (fill in the blank).

    Cindy, maybe when there is a serious situation, you could even help with some of the problems by jumping in with a comment like: Susie, you will be in our thoughts and prayers. (Would this much of a comment send an atheist running in the other direction?) Though I believe very strongly in the power of prayer, it isn’t necessary for all of us ‘prayers’ to chime in. And responses to this situation should remain on the blog page where it started. If we can’t find that blog page, use the search! I think keeping comments where they belong will go a long way toward preventing newbies from being driven away by our ‘family/community’ comments and yet would be able to see that we are a loving, caring group of men and women who have hearts of clay!

  27. Lupe Meter, 05 August, 2010

    Glad that we have a huge family and are able to speak our minds. Just for the record, I am a Christian but, I do believe there is a time and a place in asking for prayer and also to speak on other topics other than polymer clay. This is after all a PC community. I have met many, many nice people here and I would be happy to pray for anyone but this is not the place even though we are a family…we are a working family…working in the creative sense. We are here to learn and share tips and topics on polymer clay. We just need to make friends with everyone on FB or via emails that are in this community and continue to build on those friendships away from the forum…this way we would not be taking anything away from the community but reaching a higher level of community and we would still be contributing. I am sure that I am not the only one that visits blogs and other websites, but it makes it a whole lot easier if you’re not bogged down on huge list of comments and replies. Plus, if one hits the notify me of followup comments via e-mail…that can take up a lot of space on the computer or blackberry. I have stopped doing that just because it was getting to be too much. Don’t get me wrong, I love the comments and each one is important here but we do need to get back to the basics. My intent is not to hurt anyone’s feelings but to give imput on how to move forward. Cindy and Doug have done their best in keeping up with all the work here on this website…the least we can do, is keep their workload down. It is nice that Cindy would offer a day for a community corner but that takes away a day of learning something new. I do believe we can still continue to grow as a community while keeping comments and replies specifically on polymer clay. Well, now I can be quiet. Folks, this is just my take on everything and I happen to like this community ALOT!

  28. Laurel, 05 August, 2010

    Well, I will probably be unpopular for this vote but I don’t think any of the personal stuff is necessary here. I am on other blogs and sites where this doesn’t surface hardly at all and when it does, we address it via personal email. You usually get to be friends with some of the people on these which is wonderful, but you can address personal stuff with another avenue. Not another blog spot but just talk like you would to a friend, telephone them or email them.
    But yes, be supportive on here for projects and exploration and creativity in polymer clay. In my opinion, this is just not the venue to be airing any of your personal trials. We all have them, we could bring up things we are dealing with personally but I go to my friends for support on that. What I want here is support and ideas to overcome my polymer clay trials. :)

  29. Carrie W., 05 August, 2010

    I agree with the majority. I check the blog every morning, but never read all the comments. There are just too many of them and such a small percentage is PC related. I love how close everyone is here, but it IS a clay site. The religious stuff doesn’t bother me but when I come here for help I don’t want to have to sift through tons and tons of personal conversation to find what I need.

  30. Catalina, 05 August, 2010

    Here’s a thought. Why not have a link under everyone’s name, that would be connected to their email address, FB page, blog, etc., so, when commenting on a particular comment and you want to address that person with a comment Off-Topic you could click the “link” so the comment is shown only to that person? Originally, I thought the, REPLY link on the right, was to reply TO THAT PERSON only. So, you could respond to Ken’s comment by clicking “his email, FB” link under his name and send a personal message only for him. You could still post a PC comment under his comment for everyone else to see but the “personal” comment would be private. I think this might be worth a try, although, I think it leaves a lot of people “out of the loop”.

    One other thing that could be done would be to limit the number of characters you could post per comment. Making limits will keep people to the point. But, are we an “information only” community or a community of information, suggestions, support, and friendship?

  31. Jeanne C., 05 August, 2010

    Cindy I want to thank you for letting us voice our opinion today.

    I would just like to say one final thing and that is, why did we all decide to research a clay blog? I would think the answer would be to share our success and our failures with our fellow clayers. To find tips, learn about new product and find out from others where the best place to find and buy clay items, and to interact with people who share our interest in claying.

    I feel like we’re putting Cindy and Doug between a rock and a hard spot! Not wanting to hurt anyones feelings because that’s the way they are. We are the one’s that created the problem. I’m sure they didn’t intend the blog to get so out of focus. So come on everyone let’s help them out by sticking to polymer clay related subjects! I would be very dissappointed to have to give up a Thursday to dedicate it to non clay conversations.

  32. Phaedrakat, 05 August, 2010

    I agree, Jeanne, that we can clean up this problem ourselves. I think everyone here has received the message—loud and clear—that their “personal trials” are no longer welcome reading material. The majority here have said it, but can we please quit saying to “take it to our friends, family, or other support system?” It should be pretty obvious that a lot of us do not have such a thing—it’s why we ended up sharing our troubles in the first place. We found people here who seemed to care, who also share our love for polymer clay. It appeared to be a “one-stop shop!”

    Now that the topic has been aired, I think that people will stop sharing personal info (I know I will.) Lots of us have joined Facebook, and I already see that people are reaching out and talking via messaging, chatting, etc. But even if everyone does stop talking about personal topics, this blog is still going to generate a lot of comments. There are a lot of members, and they all want to have their say. That’s a very good thing—sometimes slightly off-topic comments (e.g., a wire comment on a Gallery post,) lead to very interesting or important clay or jewelry discussions. Things that we wanted to know but forgot to ask. We do not want to tell people to cut down on their comments, as that will really ruin what we have here.

    It’s been brought up that “not every comment requires a reply.” But who is to say which ones do? If someone asks a question and no one answers them, they’d feel terrible. How would you like it if your comments were ignored because they weren’t deemed worthy of a reply? Cindy used to answer all of these questions, but it’s impossible for her to do that now. There are just too many—and that has nothing to do with the “personal comments.” It’s just that the site is really huge now! I try to help out with the questions, but even I have a hard time keeping up with them (so there’s no way Cindy could!) Some people have mentioned the good old days, or that things were different back when they first joined. That’s because the site was smaller, and Cindy answered each question. She basically moderated every thread & replied to each person, but she can’t be there like that anymore. She is Superwoman, but the blog’s too big for things to go back to the way they were. (But it’s still a fantastic place!)

    I agree that people should try to post on the correct pages, use the search box first to see if their question’s already been answered, try to help others, etc. I agree we should refrain now from adding really “personal” details (except for those “special” or “critical” circumstances.) But even with all that, there are still going to be a lot of comments and questions that need replies. There are going to be people who have trouble navigating the site, for various reasons.

    Some people have said let’s get rid of the “personal troubles,” but keep the laughter. The “funnies” require comments—the ones that clog up your email and cellphone/other devices. The kind that some people are complaining about having to wade through! (Can’t have it both ways!) I realize the huge volume of comments affects those who read the blog on their phones & other devices. But I don’t see a way to make the numbers get small enough without sacrificing the way this community interacts—and that would truly be a shame.

    Cindy has created this wonderful place where people can learn and talk freely in a fun environment. It’s generated tons of comments, which (I believe) helps her from a business perspective. IMHO, we shouldn’t be trying to reduce the number of comments just so they’re readable on a Blackberry. With devices getting smaller and easier to use, and more and more people carrying them, that topic will need to be addressed eventually. But IMHO, we should limit the discussion to comment “content,” not volume. If I’m wrong, Cindy, I apologize! Let’s fix this ourselves, and quit talking about “where we are on our roadtrip” (just kidding, Carolyn!) or other personal issues. We can find a way to build the Facebook community, or the blog Silverleaf talked about starting, or something. I’m available to those who do not have a support structure, and we can find help together somewhere else (for health & other issues, I mean.) This doesn’t have to mean the end of the friendly support. We really can do this!

    @Catalina: I don’t think that’s possible without changing, or adding to the blog interface/software (not sure of the right term!) that they use here. It was brought up before, and it was going to cost money. We might end up forcing them to raise prices!

    @Ken H: Good idea! A hyperlink that leads directly to a page for the polymer clay personals! ;D If Cindy does decide to create a page for this, having a link at the top leading to it is a great idea. It might also be possible to leave comments on that page out of the Recent Comment list. That might solve some of the issues and complaints. Thanks also for mentioning that support structures are nonexistent for some. Some comments about using them DO come off as cold, whether that’s the intention or not…

  33. Heather Graef, 06 August, 2010

    I agree with most, I think its best to try to stay relatively on-topic is the simplest answer, but without losing the humor and sense of community. There must be a way to have our cake and eat it too. Some new features on the site would be good, but the problem is the cost for programming. If it ever comes to that, here are a couple of thoughts (I’m not a programmer, so take it with a grain of salt!):

    1. The comments are often very long, so a “Read More” link at the end of say 300 words would allow readers to choose to expand the comment and read more, or move on. This might also encourage people to keep the main point at the top, and possibly even write shorter comments.

    2. Maybe offer two separate comment fields to write in… one field for “Direct Reply” and one for “PC Community” replies. The “PC Community” replies and comments could be posted to another section of the blog (with a link to go there, like “Read my PC Community Comment”). This might also help people self-monitor their own comments.

  34. Koolbraider, 05 August, 2010

    Is it Friday yet???

  35. pollyanna, 05 August, 2010

    @Koolbraider: I’m sorry but Koolbraider that was funny!!!!

  36. Tanya L, 05 August, 2010

    @Koolbraider: I LOVE IT!!! LOL!!!

  37. Phaedrakat, 05 August, 2010

    @Koolbraider: LOL, funny!

    ***I have another concern, and it’s that people will start to contact/email Cindy even more frequently, because they’re afraid to mention things here. She already has trouble keeping up with everything—if people feel like they can’t speak freely here, they’re going to go to Cindy directly and she’ll have even less time to spend on tutes and the like. I’ll bet lots of people have already emailed Cindy—about this topic alone—with their concerns, solutions, etc. etc. until her inbox is filled to overflowing. I hope everyone will just please wait it out and let’s see what happens. Let’s give it a couple weeks, or just see what Cindy posts about this. Please, let’s not make her answer a hundred extra emails with our various concerns…

    IMPORTANT: Please do not email Cindy with concerns about this. It will be worked out somehow…

  38. Ken H., 05 August, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: Well I don’t see how any of us can speak for Cindy, if she’s gotten swamped by emails on this topic from folks unwilling to jump into the fray so to speak, Cindy should be the one to ask us to stop, I know we’re all trying to look out for Cindy’s welfare, but since this is her business and her blog,I wouldn’t dare presume to speak on her behalf, and no one else should presume to speak for her either until such time as she hires one of us as her assistant.

  39. Phaedrakat, 06 August, 2010

    @Ken H.: I’m sorry I dared to speak for Cindy. That wasn’t my intention, although I DID recieve an email from her about another topic & she said she’s absolutely swamped. I thought I’d help her by passing it along. Instead I seem to have irritated you and probably others. I apologize for “presuming to speak on her behalf.”

    Re: helping—Cindy has thanked me for helping her in the past, and has continually encouraged me to keep helping. I love Cindy, her blog, and this community—so I try to do whatever I can to help. However it feels like people dislike ME, or at least my comments—so I’m not sure WHAT to do now. I’ve cut out my personal comments, so all that’s left are the comments that deal with questions, greet newcomers, and point people in the right direction when they can’t find something—the very things Cindy has told me she’s grateful for…

    I assumed (yes, I know what they say) that Cindy is hanging back, reading our comments and suggestions, and trying to figure out what to do about this horrific situation. This IS her business, & she does appear to be between a rock & a hard place. I was hoping that we could figure this out ourselves, so she wouldn’t have to make a decision that might anger people or even cost her members! But again, not my business. This is her baby, and it’s grown into a huge success and a wonderful place. But people have already begun to take their personal comments elsewhere; they’re leaving “just the clay” comments. I’m sorry for trying to “stick up” for Cindy or whatever I’m doing wrong. I will say no more on this topic—you’re right. Cindy’s in control and I’ll wait to hear her decision about all this.

  40. Jeanne C., 06 August, 2010

    @Phaedrakat:Kat, Don’t you think for one minute that people here “dislike” you, I think that is far from the truth. I’m always amazed at all the knowledge you have and appreciate your eagerness to help and direct us. I hope you haven’t taken anything said here lately personally because it’s not vented at any one person. I do want to apologize to anyone who I might have upset by any statement made it certainly was not my intent.

  41. Linda K., 06 August, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: Kat, I’m sure that Ken didn’t mean his comment to sound like a reprimand toward you. He’s not the kind of person who would do that.

    You are loved here, Kat. You’re the one who’s always there when one of us needs help. Please don’t let recent events hurt your feelings. Check out your FB page for a message from me.

  42. Elizabeth S., 06 August, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: Love you, Kat!

  43. Linda K., 05 August, 2010

    Well, all of this discussion is leaving me feeling very sad. As others have said, the small talk, the banter, and the rest of the non-clay discussion is going to have to stop. Kat says, you can’t have it both ways, and she’s right. How do we draw a line in the sand that tells us what’s too personal? The only way that this can be done is to eliminate all personal comments. That’s going to sterilize this blog to the point that it will no longer be a community. That’s what makes me sad.

    In spite of the fact that I dislike Facebook in general, I’ve created a PRIVATE group on Facebook so we have a safe place for personal discussion…a place for the people here who have developed friendships, for those who don’t have a support group, for requesting prayers, and for those who’d just like to get to know each other better. We can even talk about clay!! Making it a private group eliminates all the mindless comments from friends-of-friends that drive me crazy.

    In order to join, you must be invited, so I invited all of you who are already my Facebook friends. For anyone else here who would like to be a part of this group, click on my name, which will bring you to my blog. Enter a comment with your email address asking for an invitation. Your email will NOT be posted publicly.

  44. Phaedrakat, 05 August, 2010

    @Linda K. & Brenda: Nice!

  45. Brenda, 05 August, 2010

    Wow! Ok Here is my 2 cent , I say take it to FB. They have chat which will free up a load of e-mail space. I for one cleaned out over 400 e-mails this morning. I was getting swamped.

    I would say pick a day that we all log onto FB at a certain time, one day a week. I log into FB everyday Just to see if any of my friends are on. If you join the chat you join, if you don’t, you don’t. This will free up any work that Doug will have to do on this site.

    FB, My Husband and Cindy’s site is the only adult coversations I get to have on most days because of my work.

    The move to FB has been a smooth transaction ” Thanks Cindy & Doug” And I love <3 chatting with my PC friends live. It makes me feel like they are sitting across from me.. *all done* :)

  46. JoyceM, 05 August, 2010

    It is already Friday but it has taken some time to read through all the comments. Of course I agree with some and disagree with others but I think Linda K. has said it all when she said she was sad that the blog could become sterile and no longer a community. I would add that it could be just a group of people. I loved the community sense when I joined. That was why I joined as a member. I love to know you are travelling, Carolyn and when you are active in the theatre, Ken. Lawrence you haven’t commented, I always like your comments, right to the point. However this all turns out I will remain a member because I think Cindy and Doug are the best and the great additional clay information by all those who are experienced and willing to give of their time to share is exceptional. Good luck to us all in resolving this issue. I really think we can do it. See you at Linda K.’s????

  47. Lawrence, 06 August, 2010

    @JoyceM: I am here strictly for anything PC related and am a member for Cindy’s great videos and tips. I travel sometimes and often have to pay for bandwidth by the minute at marinas and internet cafes so hate to waste time and money downloading unrelated topics, much as I may sympathize with our members’ myriad personal and health problems. I am not a christian nor am I a heathen because I practice a different religion and don’t see this forum as a place to discuss those differences.
    I do not belong to any social networking sites like facebook or twitter in spite of the pressure, mainly from family and friends. I am readily available to them by phone, e-mail and sometimes Skype as well as the good old fashioned knock on my door.

  48. JoyceM, 06 August, 2010

    @Lawrence: Thanks Lawrence for coming back at me. I agree that PC is what this blog is all about and sometimes we get carried away and need to be reeled in.

  49. Elizabeth Kerr, 06 August, 2010

    Hi all, WHEW, and more WHEW,
    I have read everything here just now from top to bottom. The thing that most comes to me from it all is that this is a very friendly community of very nice people all interested in the same thing., but with personal lives that if we didnt say something we wouldnt know anything about each other and would only be names on a page. I know how everyone was when I had my eye ops. Yes it does take so much time to read thru as I have said before, and sometimes you cant stop here to read everything, and I would like to see more poly comments or content , but no matter. Everything everyone has said is relevent and pertinent and shows we all care about being here like this. Mainly it is like this because I’m sure there are more people here than there were when I started.I am getting to be one of the “older pupils” here as I have been here with Cindy nearly 18mnths now and have seen this grow so much,
    I agree with almost most of all that has been said. We are a diverse people from all around the world, and I think it is marvellous that we have a moment to see into someone elses world, and that they can be free to put it here. Linda K has just started up the extra private again LOL because above all else I LIKE TO TALK, LOL because I like people and am always interested in them.Very social I am. I even found Lupe in the chat for a few minutes the other day, and was so happy I thought I was Xmas in doing that.
    As for a few prayers whether we are religeous or not and I am not overly, I still say a prayer for things when needed, and beleive there is someone looking after us all so we dont have to go overboard in that direction , just let those that want to be, be. WHEW, now if you are reading this you can say , that lady can sure have her say LOl.
    BTW, I am here on my own and appreciate that there is an internet that has brought the world to my door so to speak, and I am loving it in my old age. I dont need anything but my computer friends and my poly clay and all my other hobbies, plus my friends I have around me here. so be happy and keep reading . I will, even tho I have to say WHEW now and then. Bye for now
    E, XXXX
    P.S. what ever is decided I’m ok with.
    E. XXX

  50. Elizabeth Kerr, 06 August, 2010

    P.P.S Forgot to say loved the group photo, and me on first line,WOW
    great . XXX

  51. Silverleaf, 06 August, 2010

    Okay, I’m tired and there are about a million comments here already, so I’ll bulletpoint what I want to say.

    * Thanks for setting up the Facebook group Linda, it’s a great idea.
    * I understand that many people don’t have a “physical” support network and need a place to talk about their problems, illnesses, etc. But now we have the FB group and I’m sure we could have an email group or something too for the anti-FB people if necessary. And I’m happy to help – I actually used to run a self-help group for people with mental health problems so I’m pretty good at listening if nothing else!
    * We don’t need to completely cut out all the personal stuff. If it’s relevant to Cindy’s post or a funny clay/jewellery-related story or more general jewellery question then to me that’s fine. Completely off-topic? Take it somewhere else.
    * If this site ends up completely dry and devoid of humour and personality, people will leave, or not join up in the first place.
    * I don’t want to seem like a hypocrite because I’ve been very off-topic quite a lot, but I didn’t realise until recently as things have gone slightly too far. I’m not prepared to become a robot though.
    * I don’t want an “off-topic” day, especially as we only have 5 posts a week now. I’m totally happy with Cindy taking weekends off, but I don’t want to lose another day of clay info. A compromise would be to have a weekend post dedicated to the off-topic stuff – it wouldn’t require any more work on Cindy’s part than writing a few sentences.
    * We all need to help a little more doing the job that Kat’s already doing, at least until Cindy gets an assistant (assuming that they’d take that responsibility).
    * Looks like this assistant thing needs to happen ASAP, if Cindy’s getting swamped.

    I’m sure there’s more, but I’m not thinking well right now so I’ll probably add something later. My name should link to my Facebook profile if you haven’t added me already, I’m always happy to chat.

  52. Cindy Lietz, 06 August, 2010

    OK guys… much has been said on this issue and I guess it is time for me to add a few words. Unfortunately I can’t address everyone’s comments individually, so this is my 30,000 foot perspective…

    Although this is in fact my blog, I’ve always maintained that it is all of you guys who make up the community. And communities do what they are going to do. I can only offer guidance and support. But I can’t really control the final outcome.

    So from what I can tell, it has been decided that personal chat about things that are not related to polymer clay, will be taken elsewhere. That means that my “Community Corner” idea as proposed in the article (way) above, is a now essentially moot. Fair enough. I can live with that.

    For the record, I do feel that the all the talk about health care, wellness, prayer, pets, etc., was getting excessive and was actually starting to smoother the main focus on polymer clay here at the blog.

    My only concern / caution, as others have already expressed, is that we don’t let the community spirit and personality fade away. It would be very sad to see this place turn into a sterile environment of story-less, let’s-see-how-succinct-we-can-be, stale and boring comments. That would not be very fun at all.

    I’ll still be telling my stories about roaring snapdragons; nude torch sessions in the driveway; the calla lilies at my wedding, Doug’s childhood rock tumbler; eighties hairstyles; home depot adventures; Willow and Fisher; family vacations; drive in movie theaters; what’s blooming out back in the flower garden; cat eyes; and even Swimmy, the handsome Betta Fish that once swam gracefully in a glass bowl next to my computer monitor.

    I sincerely hope that I’ll be able to continue reading all of your personal stories too. If you get creative, it is actually not that difficult to come up with a polymer clay tie in to just about any life experience. Well that may be a bit of an over statement for some, unless of course you live and breath polymer clay as much as I do :-)

    My point is, I believe that the transition that is happening in the community now, is all good. And if we do it right, everyone should end up feeling happy and fulfilled. Focus on the positives. Look for the good in people. And don’t forget to laugh.

    Have a great weekend everyone! Love and hugs to all!!

  53. Silverleaf, 06 August, 2010

    @Cindy Lietz from Swimmy, the Shimmery Betta Fish: Great Cindy, I totally agree. I hope all this hasn’t been stressful/upsetting for you.

    It’s awesome that we’re managing to resolve this in a mature and sensitive way, working towards making everyone happy without demonising anyone or making stompy rules. And I like the fact that we all have an influence on what happens around here – as long as we’re all respectful and such everything will be good.

  54. Linda K., 06 August, 2010

    Cindy, I hope I didn’t overstep when I started the private FB group. For some reason, I thought that the “Community Corner” was not an option. If you would rather that we have that instead, I’d be fine with it. It would be easy to delete the FB group and divert the members back to the Community Corner.

  55. Silverleaf, 06 August, 2010

    @Linda K.: I don’t see why we couldn’t keep the FB page anyway, as a kind of sideline, if Cindy decided to go with the Community Corner idea. It has the advantage that it’s easy to share pictures like Carolyn’s already done, for example.

  56. Elizabeth S., 06 August, 2010

    I had written this earlier then decided that the topic had been covered thoroughly so I didn’t submit the comment. I changed my mind again. Without doing a lot of blah blah blah as I know I am prone to do I’d like to take you back to two of a gazillion days that I thought the blog represented much of the good stuff we are addressing.
    I give you April 12 of this year (I know, I know I should know how to stick the link in here, but I don’t). Anyway, on this day Ken had posted pictures of his faux jade pieces. He also shared his color recipes. There were over ninety comments that day almost all of which related to pc as people pressed Ken for additional info, added theirs, shared sources for products etc. In my opinion it was a perfect on-topic day as I learned more about what Cindy had taught on faux jade. As I was catching up on the later comments I suddenly came upon a brief but beautiful, tender dialogue between Ken and Elizabeth K. about a health issue she was facing. It was perfect and meaningful. It was a just a tiny moment tucked into a day filled with pc learning but yet flowed into and out of the conversation like it was meant to be there. Guess what I am trying to say is that we need to honor the fact that completely refraining from caring comments is not possible in this community. The members are not wired that way. The only problem, in my opinion is that our sense of balance and purpose has become skewed and we need to regain sight of why we are here-to learn.

    Secondly, I give you April 13, the infamous Home Depot day. I am citing this because it was in many ways the polar opposite of the day I just described with all of its hilarity and nonsense. Yet for me it was a good day for many reasons. As people (and there were so many) added their ridiculously hysterically funny components to the story it took on a life of its own and we had a chance to laugh, which, in my opinion, is as healing as anything you can offer. Were we not the community we are this probably wouldn’t have happened. We can’t give up our humor. We’re not wired that way, either. Also, isn’t it interesting that with all the craziness of that day we managed to stay on-topic (well maybe during the cow poop part of the conversation not so much) but you get my drift.

    The bottom line for me is that if we respect the notion that we are here to learn and that Cindy, and Doug are here to teach us we can have it all. It’s about regaining the balance we have lost. We can do this.

    P.S. Our great leader’s recent interesting recommendation to me regarding torching (remember that in making said recommendation she used the words nudity and driveway and husband in the same sentence) hints at the fact that she is wired just like the rest of us, wouldn’t you say?

  57. Jeanne C., 07 August, 2010

    @Elizabeth S.: I think you hit the nail on the head! We are a fun group and I love the “Home Depot” day stories, and I would miss the “fun” comments, and there is no reason not to share such comments and experiences, along with clay topics. And Ken shareing his “39” birthday (how many years in a row)LOL We all need a good laugh, laughing is healing and hope we continue with the humor. What we need is to find that perfect blend, kinda like the skinner blend a nice transition. :)

  58. Elizabeth S., 07 August, 2010

    @Jeanne C.: Talk about the PERFECT analogy, Jeanne! Beautiful comment.

  59. Silverleaf, 07 August, 2010

    @Elizabeth S.: I think you’ve managed to say pretty much exactly what I was feeling in a way that I wasn’t able to articulate, thank you. :)

  60. Elizabeth S., 07 August, 2010

    @Silverleaf: I’m so glad that you share my sentiment and that I was able to speak for both of us. Means a lot.

  61. Elizabeth Kerr, 09 August, 2010

    @Elizabeth S.:
    I say yes to all you have said. A good read, even tho it is holdong me up from getting where I meant to go. but life’s like that , so on we go.
    Dont think we will ever lose sight we are here because of Cindy and Doug, and drool every time we see a video, that rushes us into trying it all out. Which reminds me. I am off now to put my efforts into the Face Book page, which is where I was headed when stopped to read comments in here. so you see might get there after a great gollop of WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING. PC related or not.
    Thank god for many Gigibite’s Broadband. LOL Love

  62. Ken H., 06 August, 2010

    I had no intention of reprimanding anyone,I refer back to said post, it’s Cindy’s blog, It was early in the morning, and I rewrote that post several times to try to get it as generic as possible. If I’ve offended anybody I sincerely apologize.

  63. Cindy Lietz, 07 August, 2010

    @Elizabeth S. (Love You, Kat!): BIG Ditto. You do so much for everyone, Kat. Want proof? Just type “Phaedrakat Awesome” into the search box at the top of the page.

    @Linda K.: I agree with Silverleaf… about keeping your FB private group page set up as a sideline. That would be the perfect place to take “overflow” discussions that simply can’t be tied back to a polymer clay theme. For example… prayer requests; religion; politics; depression, meds; doctor referrals; how to set up a blog; what type of dogs make the best pets; etc.

    @Jeanne C.: “What we need is to find that perfect blend, kinda like the skinner blend a nice transition. :)” … see how easy it is to tie polymer clay into the conversation :-) :-)

  64. Elizabeth S., 07 August, 2010

    @Cindy Lietz from Blend and Switch Technique: OMG!! I can’t wait to get her response on this. If she ever again feels like we don’t love and appreciate her she can go to this wonderful collection for a reminder. All I can say, Cindy, is AWESOME!!!!!

  65. Cheryl Hodges, 07 August, 2010

    @ Cindy – You are awesome and so is Doug. I’m glad this is being resolved.
    I do agree with Tanya, Kat, Linda,Catalina and Ken, there are some of us who do not have support and this was a really caring community. It would be a shame to lose that so Linda’s FB group is really welcome. I came to think of this group as family.
    @ Kat – I think you’re awesome too. I know you have helped me many a time when I had a question and I really don’t think Ken meant it that way. He doesn’t seem like that.
    @ Brenda – Thanks for spending all that time with me on FB trying to help out with the blog page. I really appreciate it.
    Thank you Tanya too, for you offer to help. I’m still stuck with the problem.

  66. Cheryl Hodges, 07 August, 2010

    Sorry I got called away. @ Carolyn and Ken, Joycelyn – thanks for your help too with all my questions. There are others who’ve been helpful too, so please continue and thanks again.

    @ Linda, Brenda, Catalina and Carolyn – It was great talking on FB and getting to know all of you even better.

  67. Linda K., 07 August, 2010

    FYI, Kat is having computer problems again and can only get online for a few minutes at a time.

  68. LauraB, 07 August, 2010

    I’m glad that this came up as a topic, as there seemed to be a lot of straying going on recently. I have to admit that I pretty much stopped reading the daily items as there seemed to be so much “off topic” conversations going on and was really only tuning on Friday to see what the lesson would be. There’s a time and a place for everything and it seems like a separate place would be perfect for those that are interested in the friendship, support, etc aspect. I’ve really enjoyed learning here and would like that to be the focus, rather than having to wade through to actually find polymer clay related tips and info.

  69. Honey Sperring, 07 August, 2010

    HEY, KAT, I think your the best….Always ready to help others even when your not really up to it. Oh well I’m disgusted at the way some people act….and I’m tired and I’m going to bed. Good Night Everyone

  70. abra, 10 August, 2010

    I’ve found this blog a few weeks back. I’m not a member and although I like the idea of getting all those tutorials, the off-topic discussions below a blog post simply puts me off. There is a place for everything on the internet. A polymer clay site is not the place for prayer requests, health issues and other non pc related things. I am not religious and those faith related words and comments actually annoy me a lot. This seems to be an American thing which I’ve seen on many forums. I come to this site to find tips and information on how to get creative with polymer clay, not to waste my time reading through endless posts which don’t add any value to my day. Thank you Cindy for an otherwise great site!

  71. carolyn, 10 August, 2010

    @abra: Abra – Don’t give up on us … we are aware of the problems and you’ll see the blog being more PC oriented that it had been. And you won’t find better – or less expensive – videos any where. Cindy’s videos are Class AAA. Her husband, Doug, does the filming. They make a great team and have a way of making it seem as if I were right in the room looking over Cindy’s shoulder.

  72. Bonnie Kreger, 13 August, 2010

    I for one am overwhelmed. I quit reading and joining in on the blog here because it was taking too much time to sort through things that weren’t clay related. More than 2 short paragraphs per person is too much. I agree with everyone who said we need to get back to the Polymer Clay issues. I have some friends who were going to join till they started reading this blog and said they too were overwhelmed with the information that wasn’t clay related. Let’s shorten the blog repsonses and give ourselves more time to do clay.

  73. Cindy Lietz, 13 August, 2010

    @Bonnie Kreger: Please remember that there is absolutely no cost to be part of the community at this blog. It is actually open to anyone and everyone. What the nominal $3.32 per month covers, is for you (and your friends) to receive the full versions of the Friday video tutorials each week, plus 4 A-series color recipes.

    So really, the only thing to possibly get overwhelmed about, is not being able to do all the valuable lessons that you receive (4 per month). To date there are over 108 video tutorials available in the members library.

    Just wanted to clarify this for you Bonnie, your friends and anyone else who is following this thread.

  74. Bonnie Kreger, 13 August, 2010

    @Cindy Lietz: Cindy, I look forward to Friday’s with you and your incredible tutorials. Please don’t take what I said in a negative way, I think you know me better than that. I’m just agreeing with some of the people on this blog that it should head back to being about polymer clay. I respect everyone in this blog community and they are super talented people but I enjoyed it more when they were asking each other for help and offering help with polymer clay related issues.

    Sorry you took offense at what I said, it wasn’t meant toward you or anyone on the blog. I’ve prayed for people on this blog who were having problems too.

    Sorry if I offended anyone, I was just putting my 2 cents in.

  75. Cindy Lietz, 13 August, 2010

    @Bonnie Kreger Oh no… I was not offended. I was just clarifying a point that many get confused about regarding what the membership dues actually cover. I actually agree with you about the community here needing a course correction. And I’m actually quite pleased how things have become more focused on polymer clay again, since this topic was presented for discussion. So no worries at all, Bonnie.

  76. carolyn, 13 August, 2010

    Actually the blog is doing much better now. I see that a lot of answers are coming from different folks which I think is a good thing … makes others feel more a part of the community, doesn’t it?! It might encourage even more folks to pop in. Length of time and degree of expertise are prerequisites.

    I have been amazed too at how many folks have posted photos on Cindy’s blog and I’ve never heard of them before. This is such a good thing. Our ‘growing pains’ seem to be getting under control and allowing this blog to become even better and better. Thanks go to all of us who had gotten into too much of whatever instead of PC for pulling back and giving others the desire to come to the front. This is a wonderful community.

  77. DJ, 13 August, 2010

    @carolyn: I agree Carolyn. I think it says a lot about the strength of this community – the willingness of everyone to want to improve and move forward as quickly as possible. What a resilient bunch!
    It’s great to see new names come up too, both here on the blog and at the facebook gallery =)

  78. Peggy Barnes, 21 August, 2010

    I haven’t been visiting much lately so just reading this today and all I can say is Sorry I am definately a Guilty one. I want to apologize to Cindy and Doug. I hope you know I would never purposely cause problems or definately not customers for the two of you. I am a Christian and I offered prayer whenever I thought it was needed. I will try my best to never do it again but it is a part of me. I feel prayer should be and can be offered anywhere. I don’t want to offend anyone. I even asked Silverleaf I think it was if it was alright if I prayed for her. Yes I also have a list of illnesses and probibly never would of brought it up but surprisingly so many started talking about it so I did too. I am very blessed with a wonderful support group here at home and close around me. Again I will try my best not to talk about it again. Everyone here has valid points and we all want what is best for Cindy and Doug. They have been a life line here for the majority of us if not all of us. I call them the Dream Team because they work so well together. Last I tend to make my comments to long as evidence right before your eyes.
    Sorry I am late on this but will try my best to clean my act up from here on.

    Thanks, Peggy

  79. carolyn, 22 August, 2010

    @Peggy Barnes: Yes, many of us have had to make adjustments for the good of all. Still know that you are loved. Uuuuugs.

  80. Cindy Lietz, 22 August, 2010

    @Peggy Barnes: Sweetie there is no need to ‘clean up your act’. You are a lovely soul and are nothing but a ray of sunshine around here!

    I guess what we all need to do is to consider this blog, the United Nations of Polymer Clay. To remember that each of us come from a different background, race, religion, belief structure, etc but that we all are humans with a passion for polymer clay. We come here to share, have fun, be creative, improve our art and make friends.

    This whole thing reminds me of the communities of my children’s schools. Being in Canada, especially from where I live in Surrey, my kids go to schools where children from every race and religion attend. Because we are a country of acceptance and compassion, it is extremely important that these children of many cultures, feel comfortable, safe and excepted while growing up and learning together.

    Religion, politics, teasing, bullying, racism and other things that would cause contention are not allowed in the school environment. Caring, acceptance and understanding are values that are encouraged strongly. This allows the children to focus then, on what they are there for. To learn about becoming a better, more productive human being while maintaining their individuality and character. And though community is a very big part of why they are there at school, the focus is mainly on learning.

    We all can do that here. We can all feel free to be ourselves, while keeping in mind that others are different than us. If we put caring, understanding and our love for learning about polymer clay first… we will make this world (at least the claying world) a better place to be.

    Uuuuugggs to you Peggy. You are very much appreciated here by all of us!

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