5/20/2013

New Rules! Censorship = Fear

I wasn't collecting dolls back when people were afraid to write the words Barbie and/or Mattel. Apparently Mattel was going around suing people for using these words. Collectors started using asterisks in place of letters, eg. M*ttel and B*rbie. I don't know if that kept them safe. I can certainly understand a company's desire to protect their brand name and to make sure it was not used to market products that were not really theirs.

I have also heard of threads being deleted on the BC.Com boards for various reasons. One must pay to belong to the Barbie Collectors Club and therefore must abide by the rules of the board. Actually you have to abide by the rules of any board whether it's free or not.  It's like visiting some one's house. If they don't want you to smoke or whatever, you can't. That makes perfect sense.




But taking it even further, Integrity Toys and the owners of the W Club are so fearful of the general public that their latest directive prohibits even talking about what happens on the board. I may even get another apocalyptic letter about revealing this new rule to the public. They are claiming that talking about what happens on the W Board on blogs, other boards and in pod casts invades the privacy and denies the privilege of the members. They want to create a safe atmosphere for members to post whatever they wish and not be worried that their responses will be used somewhere else.


It would be really interesting to find a safe board of any kind where there were no arguments, no attacks, no sideways remarks, no dismissive statements. It doesn't exist. Doll collectors are very passionate - at least the vocal ones are. Apparently, the overlords at the W Club want only the cheerleaders to voice opinions. No wonder it's the same people who post all the time. Out of the possibly 1000 members (many with multiple memberships), barely 50 people ever post. A very small percentage post all the time.  In addition people have been viciously attacked off the board by one member in particular. It's not safe and it never was.

Anyone who actually believes that something they post on a board is private, is in dreamland. 


Kindly remember to sign your name if you post a comment.

43 comments:

  1. Bravo! I totally agree.

    Way back when I was still a member (in the days of the Gene branch) I once received a personal email from one of the Moderators saying that there had been complaints regarding my posts. Now bear in mind my posts were similar to your own reviews here. I would wait to formulate my own opinion about the latest release, usually while the cheerleaders were all saying how great it was and how much they LOVED it. Then I would post my objective opinion, stated as Just My Opinion, and give reasons as to what I liked or didn't like. I never attacked anyone for their opinion yet regularly received angry responses of the "Why are you here" or "Why do you hate Gene" variety. So when contacted by the moderator I pointed this out, mentioned freedom of speech as a value constitutionally given and never heard from them again.

    Colin

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    1. All I can say is UGH.

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    2. OMG the same happened to me too. Doll collecting, just like anything in this manner, is a matter of personal taste and you cannot argue with people about their taste. You can argue facts that are irrespective of taste, but you cannot argue artistic or visual preferences. There are members there that literally bully you when you post anything critical of a doll they like. Some are over and some just leave some passive aggressive thing. So anyway i too got an email from a mod. I explained what was going on - who said what and when - and also asked them to point out to me exactly what was so offensive about a post. I never heard back...

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  2. A lot of people have been chased from that forum by pretentious morons! Anyone with a real opinion is shot down as bringing negativity to the forum. If you call them out on it, they gang up on you. It's the clique mentality. That forum is not a fun place to be, so I avoid it like the plague. Censorship is alive and well and living on the W Club forum. They are no different than the cheerleader BC forums. It really cracks me up when they use IT instead of Integrity LOL just like I used to roll my eyes at saying M*ttel or B*rbie. I'm a paying customer and I have a right to voice my REAL opinions about what I'm getting for my money. At least you're not afraid to call a spade a spade, Terri. Keep it up!!

    Wench
    xoxo

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Wenchie. It's not always easy but someone has to do it.

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    2. well its the same thing with the mommy dearest thing. The W club took down the entire thread where people were voicing their dislike of the doll and sporadically mods selectively removed comments they personally don't like. And then that whole "no sense of humor thing" - A very specific member or two (one male, one female) have dismissed the criticism and concerns of people regarding the doll as a general lack of sense of humor.

      So if you can't find humor in someone almost strangling their kid and banging their head against the wall and beating them with a hanger or any kind of other abuse actually, including rape, then you are a humorless slacker who cannot enjoy life. This is how members who have voiced criticism of the doll have been dismissed and bullied out of conversations. In fact this is how members who don't agree with the samw 2 or 3 people are treated in general, not just with respect ot this.

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  3. Rules about being rude or inflammatory are important, all to often opinions become diatribe and that’s not nice. Being in the know in today’s media age is impossible. Everything is online. I’m sorry, but this isn’t wikileaks, or the CIA. We are adults who play with dolls. Lest I remind some other doll makers, Robert Tonner was just dressed as a soda jerk last weekend…I’m sorry but whatever happened to believing in the power of play. Swear Teri, you get a letter from IT, they have no idea how much you HELP their brand.

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    1. Isn't Robert a hoot? I may not like all the dolls he designs but I like him very much. He and his staff are approachable. It's a great company.

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  4. I am sorry to hear that you have had this experience. I agree with Erik's comments above. Maintaining a civil environment for forum participants is clearly a priority. This is quite a different thing from excising any comment or opinion that doesn't coincide with the site's marketing agenda.
    If anything your reviews and pictures have been a major promotion for the company.
    I've been a member of the "Club" for several years now and I have yet to see indication that it is anything more than a marketing tool.
    It builds up interest.....and provides no actual activities or services.
    Will C.

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    1. You are spot-on. It is a marketing tool. There are plenty of other discussion boards that are free to join if one wishes.

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  5. I was there when the the whole M*ttel and B*arbie Issue happened, and I was one of the members censored by the Mods at the pink Board...the worst part of the M#ttel things is that they were using member mods and those were the ones that were INSANE....and worst backed up by the company General mod...which happened to be the brother of the 2 member mods there..INSANE people INSANE
    Now re the W club I can safely say 60% of why I don't belong to that club is because I don't like the person running it...
    If Being Part of the Pink Board taught me something is that NO collector should be allowed to moderate a company owned chat or message board, because then they want to impose their likes and ways onto the other collectors and when it comes time to add other collector mods they choose those that agree with them as their buddies leaving the rest to be the "bad guys"

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    1. That must have been a really bad experience for you. I can identify. Sad.

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  6. You have been nothing if not fair on critiques, whether Mattel or Integrity. I remember the paint problem on your (former) Violet Eyes Liz, you contacted them, and they sent you a replacement. You were complimentary on their customer service.

    Now, as for Integrity, I have issues with their dolls since day one. I truly regretted they ended up getting Gene, only because of past experiences. I have only one Integrity doll , AG Androgyny, replaced with a JS body.

    Perhaps they should stand by their name "Integrity". Whether customer service, communications, or doll quality. This is just my opinion, and mine alone.

    Steven Casey, aka Steve C. on the boards

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  7. That's one reason I won't join the W Club. I also find it weird to have to pay dues to a doll club just for the "privilege" of paying money to buy an exclusive doll. I know, of course, that other companies besides IT do this, but it just adds to my feeling that they're not very friendly.

    Karen

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    1. If nothing else, the W Club is a brilliant marketing strategy. Unfortunately the moderation has been less than stellar.

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  8. I was a happy, devoted, free-spending Barbie fan up until about 1994-95. I had become increasingly uneasy, then downright appalled by Mattel's heavy-handed use of their legal department to silence any source of content except themselves.

    When our little local Barbie collector's group got a bared-teeth letter from Mattel saying we couldn't use 'Barbie ' in our club name that was the limit for me. I wrote a respectfully-worded letter voiceing my concerns. The two paragraph form letter I received in reply can be summed up in one sentence: We're the big dog here, you play our way or not at all. Guess what day my Barbie collecting ended.

    I belonged to the IT club for Gene the first year of her time there. I got a creepy Stepford Wives vibe from the official forum and dropped after a few weeks there. I always prefer we be polite te each other because it's the right thing, not the only option.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. I had heard about Mattel's not allowing people to call their groups Barbie Club. So weird.

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  9. I have never posted before but now I feel like I have to. Freedom of speech is a valued good, a treasure to be safeguarded. Ofcourse people shood remain polite and not trash one another on dollboards but...this is the DollWorld!
    Not a political arena in Whoknowswherristan were people are gagged just for having an opinion. Everybody has to be able to say what they like or don't like about a doll. So many people so many tastes.
    And as for me, Teri, your blog re-awoke the passion for dolls and I got to know more about all kinds of brands that I didn't know about. And that's a great thing,(though bad for my wallet) the companies should applaud the fact that you are bringing them (new) customers by letting them fall in love with their products through your blogs.
    So here's from Europe: Viva freedom of speech!!
    Pp

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    1. Thank you for your comments. LOL re: Whoknowswherristan.

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    2. Is Whoknowswherristan anywhere near Jenniferanistan?

      Mary Beth

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  10. Unfortunatley a lot of these collectors seem to have the idea that to be a "true" fan means loving absolutely everything or just shutting up about anything you don't like. And really, if someone expressing a contrary opinion to your "ruins the rest of your day" (as someone said about one of my posts) maybe it's time to step back. If the people who create these things can't take ALL feedback, then maybe they should be doing something else. We don't all have the same taste. As an aside, while I was attacked on the board, I would still receive personal messages from people saying how they agreed with me and encouraging me to continue to speak up, yet they wouldn't support me openly.

    Colin

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    1. I hear you. Finally a few people are speaking up but I had the same experience as you many times.

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    2. I had that happen to me on Prego years ago. I was attacked by a gang of trolls for expressing an opinion. It was so vicious that I almost cried. I had people messaging me privately to say they were on my side, but they were too afraid to say so openly on the forum. They didn't want to get attacked, too. I left Prego and never returned. I STILL won't go back to that forum.

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    3. Very painful. I'm sorry to hear about that.

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  11. Wow! Reading these posts I am still on the fact we're adults who collect dolls. Making value judgements and inflaming on people because I like one doll and you don't is juvenile and cruel. I feel in some ways the boards almost foster that behavior. Creating doll wars. This brand is better than that brand and thus edging up the market. But really I think the value is in the variety and how collectors integrate their dolls.
    This idea however of doll manufactures imposing on people membership inclusions that include censorship does nothing to help them. Instead of giving me the member club exclusive information or a lotto chance a one doll I may not like, I'd rather something useful like a coupon on any doll, access to a vault sale, free shipping express, upgrades or accessory packs. That's worth my while, not a bitch blog and 'secret infio' that's gonna leak anyway and 'exclusive' purchase that's gonna be in eBay two days later.

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  12. My New Years resolution was to give up posting at the BC boards, because I finally saw one too many snide, sorta mealy-mouthed passive aggressive comments against collectors who actually care about doll quality. It's just not worth going to a board where people try to round-about slam you without directly just doing it, especially not over opinions on dolls.

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    1. I don't understand why some people have to control how others post.

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  13. Actually, to sum it up, I think the last letter of "Censorship" should be changed to a "t" to fully sum up my feelings about it.

    Of course, I am rather passionate about that, because my dad barely survived both Hitler AND Stalin, and the freedom of speech/press provisions of the US Constitution were like the finest of wines to him.

    One of the commenters here makes the statement that "We are adults who play with dolls" and I think that is important to remember. We enjoy our playtime, and have HOPEFULLY left the need to make nasty, derogatory comments to other folks playing with their dolls, back in kindergarten.

    If someone doesn't like the dolls I am playing with, they are MORE than welcome to buy me the appropriate dolls. Go ahead and insert a WAV file of chirping crickets here.

    Lynda-Marie AKA Miladyblue

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    1. Lynda-Marie:
      Thank you for sharing your personal experience on this topic. I hear the crickets.
      Terri

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  14. Caring about a safe atmosphere is especially rich coming from a company that just enthusiastically announced the Mommy dearest abusive commemorative doll "just in time for mother's day" no less and included the hanger Crawford used to beat the shit out of her daughter.

    And how the hell are you to know what to discuss outside the club anyway? I thought the secrecy part was limited to product announcement, not general speech. I don't even know what the email means? What exactly are they referring to anyway? What can you not discuss? Specific topics such as the Mommy Dearest one? Or mention of particular people? Once the doll goes public, anyone seeing a pic will talk about it and some discussions may mirror what happen on the W club?

    I think the fact that they act like they are hiding something makes it all much more suspicious. Transparency is key. When you issue gag orders people will think something's up.

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    1. I cannot answer any of your questions because it's all tailored to specific situations with each new rule. Apparently it is now a blanket gag order. I rarely go on any other doll boards that deal with 12" dolls so I do not know if anything is being discussed.

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  15. A gag order? For crying out loud. This is doll collecting not freaking wikileaks as someone mentioned above. IT needs to get over itself. Thought policing and crap like that never makes for a good business and marketing strategy.

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  16. Okaaay so the IT board is Fightclub now? Like Anon said what are they hiding? It sounds super paranoid.Like the first chapter of How to Start a Cult for Dummies.

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  17. Ah there is all sorts of fuckery going on on the W club. A person who thinks that making a doll out of an abusive character supposedly sheds light on child abuse has their offensive comments standing, but someone (you) asking her a fair question as to how light is being shed onto the issue by issuing the doll of the abuser is being censored.

    Another person had asked how a hanger and the doll personified could possibly shed light on the issue and their comment got removed too.


    The more IT tries to suppress discussions on this, the more they are giving the impression that they are hiding something. if they think Mommy Dearest is such a great doll and they are standing behind their product, they shouldnt try to quash opinions that question this doll but actually maybe try to come up with a reason why they thought it was harmless and ok to create such a doll and then maybe issue a fucking apology. Not censor comments.

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    1. I am really at a loss to understand why this person thinks my fair question should be censored. Perhaps she can't really answer the question so she attacks me?
      I saw that post and wondered about it for a long time before I asked the question. Child abuse is rampant. It is reported way too often and sadly kept secret even more often.
      Perhaps the mods think my question should be in the "off topic" section of the forum. But then so should the statement I was questioning.

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    2. The person is asking "Perhaps this doll serves a purpose in bringing child abuse to the light instead of sweeping it under the carpet."

      I cannot imagine how making a doll symbolic of abuse, neglect and brutality - could possibly shed light on the issue. They did not make a documentary. It's a doll. A statute. And they announced it as this great big deal on mothers day and praised the doll as bold and gutsy. Doesn't sound like a cautionary tale to me or someone trying to educate anyone. On the contrary, it was a celebratory gesture, insensitive and distasteful. And the mods just selectively remove posts - based on their own personal like or dislike for someone I guess. What a mess.

      I am hugely disappointed in their conduct on this and blatant censoring, gag orders and quashing of critical opinions.

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  18. Well, this has certainly become a hot topic! Of course censorship is bad, I think we can all agree on that. As for receiving negative replies from other forum members, remember that they have a right to criticize your criticism. I think the best we can do on ANY internet forum is to carefully word our posts, give only constructive criticism, and remember that when you express any opinion whatsoever, people are going to disagree with you. And sadly, some of them will not have very imaginative vocabularies. The best you can do is "Keep Calm and Carry On."

    Mary Beth Jennings

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    1. Absolutely true. Good suggestion.

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  19. As soon as I read that note from the W Club, I thought "this is a personal attack on Terri Gold". It was so blatant and shocking, and I've lost respect for the W Club and whoever runs that board. Seems like bullying to me. Whether they like your opinions or you personally, that type of behavior from a COMPANY is juvenile and pathetic. Of course, they can say the board is independently run and not part of "the company", but we know several admins work for Integrity directly, so that's b.s. I wonder how many "members" are actually just Alain in disguise trying to talk up the product in a positive way. Honestly, nothing would surprise me!

    -jay

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  20. I run a doll blog as well (I'm afraid to mention which one ...) and now I'm afraid to say anything about W Club dolls on my blog. That company has now made bloggers afraid to post about them, which means they'll be getting less free advertising from us. I blog about dolls because I enjoy it. I've never made a dime from my blog, never gotten a free doll, nothing. ... Yet I'm a great source of free advertising for them and several other doll companies. If they can't appreciate a source of free advertising, then they're pretty foolish, in my opinion. I'm sure I'll still show Integrity dolls on my blog on occasion, but I won't be posting anything about the W Club and I won't be advertising any events for them (convention, etc.). I'm afraid to say ANYTHING about them now.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your feelings about the recent events. Sad, isn't it?

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  21. Ths is Bullshit. Plain and simple. Smell, it, believe it.
    I have been bullied more than once on the W Club for simply stating my opinion. The freedom of speech does not exist there. You will be outcast into eternal dolly darkness if you state how you really feel.
    I don't know know how I how I feel about Mommie Dearest.......but I do that this kind of censorship is wrong. To the Powers that Be at Integrity Toys......try practicing your name sake. INTEGRITY. Sadly, it doesn't exist over there.

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