Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This Makes Me Want To Hide Under The Covers

  1. Finding out I didn't follow the rules, and looking stupid because of it.
  2. Finding out I didn't follow the rules, and someone's feelings were hurt.
  3. Finding out I didn't follow the rules, and being labeled "noncompliant."
  4. Finding out I didn't follow the rules, and that consequences are expensive.
  5. Finding out I didn't follow the rules, and, on further study, still not understanding the rules.
For the most part, I get along pretty well with trial-and-error learning. I stopped minding the error part so much when I realized the errors teach me more than the trials. And I'm not averse to breaking rules. I do prefer to break them intentionally, rather than because of sheer ignorance and stupidity.

But this week has been a double-whammy of "what was I thinking?"

Exhibit A --The Art Deco Challenge
Spoonflower has a weekly fabric design contest. I enjoy the challenge of working to a theme, but don't enter all that often. I've noticed, though, that fabrics entered in a contest seem more likely to show up in "Recent Trends" than companion fabrics with more views.

So I decided to test that theory in this week's contest, which called for fabrics "inspired by" the Art Deco movement. Deco really isn't my style, but I had a cool photo I took from the balcony of an Art Deco building in Minneapolis, where the shapes of uncovered banquet tables caught my eye. I transformed it into a 4-color 70's style psychedelic (a 4-color palette was the other contest parameter). I fully expect "Psychedeco" to get the fewest votes in the contest, which is packed with fabulous entries.

I wasn't surprised by the exchanges on the Spoonflower Flickr board about this contest, which mostly bemoaned the widespread lack of understanding about the differences between Deco and Art Nouveau. But when I read, "I'm not ok with entering just any design and labeling it Art Deco," I had second, third, fourth and fifth thoughts about my experiment. I usually just ignore designs that don't seem to fit with the theme. There are plenty of those. But it hadn't occurred to me that my entry "inspired by" might be seen as something else, or how offended some of those hard-working designers might be by what I saw as an experiment.

Well, I can't take it back but I can make sure it doesn't happen again. I've learned a lot from the generous people who share on the Flickr board, and have no interest in making anyone feel disrespected.

Exhibit B -- Email High Bounce Rate Suspension
Silly me. I guess I was wrong to think everyone I know should get an email from me at least every three months, even if I have nothing to announce that can't be handled on my blog, on Facebook, on Google+, on Twitter, or possibly even face to face. But here's what I learned from MailChimp:
ISPs and spam cop organizations, through their white listing programs, require systems such as ours to police bounce rates of 5% or less, complaint rates of 0.1% or less and unsubscribe rates of 1% or less per campaign sent.
I hate spam as much as the next person. Perhaps more, because our years on dial-up are still so fresh in my mind. But my "noncompliance" resulted in an account suspension. They very helpfully explained:
...you've probably got 6 months before the email address is bad, and maybe 3 months or so before their permission goes cold if the list isn't receiving regular campaigns.
So apparently it's more spammy to mail infrequently and have some bad addresses and less spammy to mail more frequently to keep a list up-to-date even if you don't have news that might actually be of interest to the recipient. Sigh.

I have 10+ years of student contact information to go through, individually I guess, in order to become compliant. And frankly, I'm not sure how to remain compliant without becoming a too-frequent visitor to your inbox. And the "email list hygiene service" they suggest has a minimum project fee of $1000. Worth every penny, I'm sure. Also more than the Blue Book value of my car.

I'll be pulling up my big girl pants this afternoon and making a decision on what to do about email announcements for things like upcoming eCourses. This is going to require chocolate, and maybe a nap.

That's a quilt my grandma made. That's a nice, soft pillowcase embroidered with a crocheted edging. Awfully inviting, isn't it?

When you want to hide under the covers, what covers do you reach for?


  1. For a second I thought you took up quilting and didnt tell me. Beautiful quilt you have to lay under.

  2. It was always kept stored "for good," never used. Mom got it when Grandma passed away. She remembers when Grandma made it during the Depression, but doesn't know how she got fabric that matched. Her other quilts were patch work, feedsack, comforters made from worn-out clothing. So this one is really special -- and comforting!


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