Thursday, June 28, 2007

Facts......opinion......and sadness below........

For the past 24 hours, I have mulled over exactly what I was going to post about an issue that has arisen with a friend and designer. Not if I was going to post about it, but what I was going to post about it. You see, this is my blog, I choose what I post and when, regardless of whether it may or may not be popular.

For the duration of my involvement in the digiscrapping community, I have seen and heard quite a bit. Have experienced quite a bit of controversy personally. So it is not uncommon to hear when another designer has been "dissed" for clearly personally prejudicial reasons.

My friend Paula is a member of a particular Yahoo group whose owner has chosen to label Paula's creations as "low quality".

For reasons that are not pertinent in this venue nor germaine to this discussion/post, Paula creates graphics (tags, email headers, web graphics and e-kits and elements) in smaller sizes than what is the "standard" in the digiscrapping community: 12x12. All of Paula's creations are created at 300dpi or greater, regardless of the physical dimensions of the finished product.

My own personal experiences with Paula's graphics, as well as several other designers in the field, reflect that when resized to 12x12 at 300dpi, Paula's designs are fully usable in print. In other words, they print well at the "standard" for the digiscrapping world. It does not require a brain surgeon or a missile scientist to figure out how to resize graphics for print.

Other web graphic designers, some of whom also design kits for digiscrapping, create their designs at 300dpi and convert them to 72dpi for the web. Paula is not the first to do so, nor will she be the last.

If you were creating for display on the web, which requires all graphics to be at 72dpi for optimum display, why would you begin your creation at 72dpi, knowing it will never look good on the screen? Wouldn't you begin your creation at a higher dpi to get the crispest, clearest design?

Paula's designs were labelled as "low quality" by this group owner, who also has a tutorial site and a blog, without her bothering to join Paula's group/blog in order to download (free) one of her designs to check the "quality" of the designs. The group owner admitted this in email to her group.

Paula, while having not been banned by the group owner, cannot make any posts to the group as she requested an apology from the owner. The owner, well within her right to do so, chose to moderate all future posts from Paula and not issue an apology, instead choosing to further espouse her beliefs that anything made by Paula is of "low quality". The owner also insists that her group is for digiscrappers who print their work.

Several other group members contacted Paula, both on and offlist advising her to leave the group, stop making drama, and basically that she should "create in acceptable digiscrapping standards or stop creating altogether" and "xxx does not owe you an apology".

Here is the description from the home page of that particular group:

"Welcome to the digital scrapbooking world where we love to inspire and motivate each other to create digital scrapbook pages on the computer, give support and help, along with constructive comments. We enjoy seeing before and after photos. We have games and challenges sponsored by designers. We try to share tips and techniques to inspire you. There is no stupid question, so do not hesitate to ask if you are having trouble. Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Paint Shop Pro are the most common programs used."

Does anything in that description state that the group is for those who actually print their work? Nothing in that description states what acceptable "standards" are, nor does anything state this is a group for digital scrappers only and excludes web graphic designers.

Paula's original posting about e-kits and elements no longer exists - she chose to delete and post a new notice yesterday, in response to the statements made about her work. Having been a member of Paula's group for the past 3+ years, I know what her original posting contained and here is the current post in its entirety:

"eKits and the elements shared with you are not intended for the purpose of printing and assembling a hands-on scrapbook or any other item that is not digital. If your interest is to use eKits for eMail design, blog or website design, or even digital scrapbooking, then eKits and coordinating elements will work just fine for you. However, if you still wish to print any of the images on this site, you will find most of them are at 300dpi resolution and can be sized up to a 12 x 12 image, which is suitable for printing."

The only thing different between the original post and this new one is Paula spells out in more words the same message she did initially: these kits are not intended for printing. There was nothing wrong with her initial post and its a shame that Paula felt the need to further explain what was already discernable by anyone who read her blog.

I believe Paula's reason for the revision has to do with further posts to the group by the owner concerning what Paula chooses to do or not do. On her blog (Paula's). With her designs (Paula's). Since when does Paula need the approval of this group owner to post or not post or design?

Opinion and Sadness:
Unfortunately, I am hurt on Paula's behalf. I am hurt on behalf of anyone who has been unjustly "dissed" because the initator of that treatement chooses to turn a deaf ear and blind eye to what he or she believes is untrue. It is like a horse and water: you can lead him to the water, but you cannot force him to drink it.

- The group owner in question should publicly apologize to Paula, by publicly I mean via her group, as she "dissed" her publicly. Slander, and libel are serious offences and should one choose to do so, all it requires is proof of the offence and any prosecutor will be happy to proceed to trial. Just because this is a web group one should not assume that slander and libel cannot be proven or prosecuted, should one choose to take that route.

Definition of Slander:

1. saying of something false and damaging: the act or offense of saying something false or malicious that damages somebody's reputation
2. false and damaging statement: a false and malicious statement that damages somebody's reputation

Definition of Libel

1. defamation: a false and malicious published statement that damages somebody's reputation. Libel can include pictures and any other representations that have public or permanent form.
2. attacking of somebody's reputation: the making of false and damaging statements about somebody
3. written statement: the plaintiff's written statement in a case under admiralty law or in an ecclesiastical court

*These definitions were obtained from Encarta Online*

Oh and by the way........proof of both slander and libel do exist in this case. :)

- The group owner should change her homepage message to reflect what she states in email are the groups purposes, aka "designs for printable purposes". Clearly, this is not stated on the group's homepage.

- The group owner should realize that Paula is not the only web graphics designer in her group........several have contacted Paula offlist about this whole debacle. Wouldn't it be interesting if there was a mass exodus of her group if all of the web graphics designers, as well as other members who may have been offended at this publicly prejudicial debacle suddenly left?

Yup, these are my opinions and I know they will not change the course of events. And yes, opinions are like assholes - everyone has them.

Unfortunately, there are some in this industry who take pleasure in hurting others. I have been personally affected by it and have seen quite a few others affected by it as well. Its really a shame that these hurtful people will never get a clue that what they do comes back to them, regardless of your religious spiritual beliefs or non-beliefs as the case may be. It has been historically and scientifically that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

So when I started this post, I thought about what exactly I was going to say, as I need to express my feelings on this matter. I could name the group owner and the group; I could name her blog and tutorial site. but what would that bring back to me? I don't need her bad karma, I do fine all by myself minding my own business. But, by stating the facts, by expressing my opinion and by making the readers of my blog cognizant that such people do exist out there, I feel that I have done a good job of educating you all to the crap that does indeed exist and happen to designers every day. Oh and by the way, it happens to everyday scrappers all the time too, unfortunately. Not to mention in everday lives of everyday people online and off, from every walk of life.

Isn't that sad?

Paula is a strong woman who will not let the opinion and narrow-mindedness of anyone break her creativity or force her to stop altogether. Yes, she was hurt by this - but wouldn't we all be? Fortunately, I know that Paula will continue doing what she does best: creating graphics for anyone who wants them to collect and use in any way they desire.

Paula's site is posted on the right side of my blog, under A.U.S.R, should you choose to take a look at her designs.

If you have made it this far in my post, thank you for reading. Leave a comment if you wish, but know that I am not one who will ever stop dreaming of a world where everyone is treated the right way. Nor am I one to bite my tongue about any issue. Have a great day and treat people the way you want to be treated!



Anonymous June 29, 2007  

You have stated things so eloquently, and no doubt there are many others who have felt the bite of poison from the mouths of those who don't think before they speak.

Melissa June 29, 2007  

I don't think I could have said it any better. I know Paula and have seen her work. I actually own a few pieces and I don't think her work is low quality at all! For anyone to say that her work doesn't meet digi-scrapping standards is out of their minds. Not everyone in the world uses scraps for printing and everything doesn't have to be made to fit a 12x12in layout. I, myself have my own group and I, too do not create for those dimensions. My creations are made basically for taggers so is that to say my work is of poor quality also .. I think not since I have over 3,000 members. I must be doing something right. Anyways, thanks for blogging on this and I agree with everything you have written ;)

janetb4oz June 29, 2007  

Hi Kim,
I'm not a scrapbook person but know a few who are - and this is not an isolated case where people are denigrated by the ignorant.

Recently I was in a tutorial testing group where the group owner (and writer of the tutorials) made certain accusations against another tutorial writer regarding a recently released tutorial. The other tutorial writer had released their tutorial in 2002 - not 2007 as the new one was - when this was pointed out and the suggestion made that an apology was in line - the tutorial testing group was shut - full stop - no thanks everyone or anything else.

This is the second time that this has happened in the past six months, why can't people just apologise if they've erred, congratulate those who have done well and just GET ON WITH LIFE.

I am also a member of Paula's group and I find her stuff to be great - some isn't my style but an awful lot is.

Hugs and hang in there.
JanetB Creations

Anonymous June 29, 2007  

i agree with what was said.. dont give up just ignore those out there.. -hugs tight-

c-me June 29, 2007  

I'm a member from Paula's group and I know her for many years as a very talented and creative person.
If the owner from that group said that her work is low quality, than I can say, with out knowing her work or group, that she can close her group. I have no daubt that Paula is the best in the group and that there is a lot of jealousy !!
Kudo's for Kim for writing her thoughts;-) and big hugs for Paula,
you don't need a group girl, you're doing more than fine all by yourself !!

Rona July 02, 2007  

Very well said, Kim!

Tori July 08, 2007  

I recently found Paula's website, and as a web & graphic designer myself, I can honestly say that her work is beautiful! As someone else mentioned, not all digi-scrappers even WANT to print ... they like digi-scrapping for the fact that it eliminates all those papers! :)

I think it is great that you stood up for your friend this way, and I wish you both all the best ... now and in the future.

cinmcw July 08, 2007  

I agree, it is very sad, and more commonplace each and every day that passes, to see mean-spirited people so eager to hurt others.

The one consolation, however, is knowing these kind of people are quite miserable to start off they must hurt others in order to make themselves feel better.

I don't know Paula (at least, I don't think LOL!) but I do feel bad for's always the good ones...those meanies always target those they believe they can "get away with" hurting.

Her loss (the owner's), is what I say! :)

Anonymous July 19, 2007  

Hi - I am a Digital Scrapper. I DO create my designs and LO's at 300 dpi. Even though I do not print too many of my LO's I still create at this size in case I decide to do so- otherwise my LO's will look lousy. I do this also for making Video DVD's of my work...

That being said - web graphics will not work for regular scrapping - also most Digital Scrapbook Designers state that their designs are not to be used in emails, etc. (because they are usually shared).... Web Graphics for Digital Scrapbooking seems to be a "new" form....

Digital Scrapbooking started to replace the cost, mess, etc of paper scrapping. But most designers intent have been to create items that people could even print and cut-out and use with their paper scrapping. SO the quality (size) is a very important issue.

Now not saying Paula's designs are of low-quality - just a lower size that cannot be used in "traditional" digital scrapping.... I am sorry that she and others have been hurt by this. But out group is designed for "traditional digital scrappers". We do require designs that are shared to be at least 200 dpi - preferably 300 dpi. Some of this is because we are also training other to be able to print their LO's in the best quality they can.... The idea is for our LO's to look just as good as paper ones....

I hope this helps to show the other side of this issue. I think it is great for those who do web designers.... I have even taken a few of my Digital Scrapbook designs (printable) and adjusted them for my own website....

Cher August 29, 2007  

I love Pauls - and try to comment on her blog as much as I can - and leave her loys if love - what a shame - well - much worse than that - she is awesome in my book - as are you for writing this!!!
Cher aka cherfree aka Leslie G's Udder Mudder

Cher August 29, 2007  

I should just delete my prioe comment - Paula - not Pauls
lots not loys
Leslie Hasenkamp not Leslie H!!!

Wish they had keyboard is "off" one key - a sony - can't wait til have money to replace - sorry!