On the subject of expression and censorship

I recently received an email from a business owner who informed me that she would not be advertising in Crochet me because of a boycott against the magazine I've neither heard nor discovered anything else about. Her reason involved her interpretation of comments made by, or in perceived affiliation with, one or more designers who have been published in these pages about patterns that we've published.

I had a brief email exchange with the potential advertiser, and I've mildly edited one of my emails to her below, in case you're interested in my editorial stance on freedom of expression:

… Having designs or articles published on our site does not take away any designer's freedom to express their opinions in any way they choose.

Criticism is an integral factor in the creative process. I value the feedback I receive about Crochet me, and I hope the designers I work with value feedback as well. I could decide not to publish designs or articles by designers whose opinions I disagree with (or for any other reason, at that). However, I choose designs and articles based on their own merit (construction, design, colour, texture, quality of pattern writing, etc.), not based on any opinion I have formed about the personality or actions of the designer or writer.

Although I recognize that I may lose a small bit of revenue, I am content as an editor to be standing behind people's right to express themselves. Our readership is growing, and that is the gauge I use to measure the success of this publication.

I appreciate how effective a boycott can be. Before I decide to act on a boycott, however, I do a lot of research to ensure that my decision is based on fact and not on inaccurate assumptions. I will be perfectly happy to continue making little money from Crochet me and having our readership grow as rapidly as it is, in order to continue to be dedicated to publishing high-quality and innovative patterns and articles in the interest of sparking people's creativity and advancing the craft of crochet.

We're not yet making enough money to pay designers and writers and volunteer editors and other contributors. I hope that some day soon more members of the crochet industry will be eager to reach out to crocheters through our site. But what I said is true: This magazine is not hurting because of a lack of funding. The fabulous, generous, people who donate their time, creativity, sweat, and dedication to this publication are a wildly talented and diverse lot. Their choices, opinions, beliefs, and actions beyond the pages of this magazine are their business. And whether I agree with them or not, I'll defend their right to have them until I'm blue in the face.

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