Friday, July 6, 2012

A Quick Note

I hate to be in a position to have to do this. There was some drama at in which I was part of. I have chosen to leave JL because of it. Because so many of this blog's readers also follow JL, I thought a quick note of what happened is in order. I do this firstly, to stop any rumors. People are naturally curious and will want to know what happened. Better to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. (Did I just call myself a horse??)

Back in March, I wrote a review of a tutorial that was fair, accurate and honest, especially given that "said teacher" had only just learned how to use a torch and that the tute included using a torch. I won't waste space here on the review, but you can download the rich text file of it here. It is the full and complete review. Said teacher didn't like the review and made snarky, nasty comments in response to it. I complained about her nasty comments and soon after the tutorial with the reviews was taken down. There was another review posted, which was also accurate and which "said teacher" also made hateful comments to. At any rate- the reviews, comments to the reviews and the tutorial were taken down by admin.

"Said teacher" recently asked for feedback concerning her tutorials. The post lingered awhile with not many takers, so I added my 2 cents: 

Beth, [I meant Cindy] I know your heart is in the right place and you are trying to be helpful. But....

I have never given Linda any stars, except for a paid tutorial that I got from her. I also gave that one an honest review. But, she complained and made personal attacks because of it, as a result, the review was taken down by admin. She and others could have and should have learned from that review, which I ended up wasting my time writing. I won't do that again.

Perhaps she earned the [low] stars. As a matter of fact, if she is asking for help now, maybe she knows that she earned them. Instead of asking for help now, use the help already available. (As JKay already said more eloquently.)"

That was the extent of what I wrote. Then admin chimes in with:

"Dear Members,

Our policy is that if you having nothing nice or constructive to say, then say nothing.
This thread is now closed since it seems to have become volatile.

If any Teacher requests help, then we appreciate the help of those who wish to do so. To those who do not wish to post help, please refrain from posting pointless criticism.

Reviews are only removed when they seem deliberately attacking the teacher, without offering constructive advice. We welcome all reviews which contain LOGICAL, RATIONAL critique, helping the teacher to become better.

Thanks again to all who have posted constructive reviews, they are very appreciated!

Sincerely, Admin"

If one reads the whole thread, which "said teacher" has since renamed and admin has closed, one gets the very distinct impression that admin is saying that my review was removed because it was deemed to be deliberately attacking the teacher, etc, etc. You know what- go read my review. Judge for yourself. It was a more fair review than it should have been or could have been. I was being overtly generous. "Said teacher" has a well earned reputation and it has not a damned thing to do with me.

I have few things in life. One of them is my personal integrity. It has been violated. After the thread was closed, I didn't even have a chance to defend myself. So, I chose to leave.

Eni and I have exchanged pleasant emails. This can easily be considered a misunderstanding. Maybe, it is. But the sad truth of the matter is that "said teacher" has been allowed to stir the pot and cause hate and discontent for too long. I don't want to be part of a group where a very vocal, ever present bullying, conniving, [insert any number of adjectives that my prudence disallows] person whips out the pity card at any given moment and complains ad nauseum about persecution at the expense of personal growth or integrity. Suffice to say- If "said teacher" put as much effort into learning and honing her skills as she does playing the victim and being defensive then maybe JL would be a better place. As it is, I'm over the preferential treatment of rabble rousers for the sake of a buck when it destroys a community.  And that, folks, is my last word and opinion.

Thank you for the many emails of support and positive comments in the forum- I truly appreciate it.

Next blog-- back to normal with lots of pictures and rocks and fun stuff.


  1. "LOGICAL, RATIONAL" is exactly what is lacking on that website, starting at the very top of it.
    No even basic forum moderation where it is needed, and a hysterical childish behavior where it's least desired (read: sensitive, hot topics), plus absolutely no skills to manage discussions. I don't think I've ever seen a more chaotic and hysterical online community, with so many underwater currents, favoritism, and general drama, including bullying, muting, etc. What I noticed while trying to be part of it - people are either afraid to speak on JL, or just don't bother anymore. I'm with the latter - just stopped wasting my time and nerve cells trying to change the unchangeable. And that is the site's management in denial.

    So, Tela, I'm not surprised to see you close that door. I'm surprised that it took you so friggin' long!

    P.S. what I write here, I did write on JL forums too, repeatedly, and some people reading this may remember my genuine frustration with the site and the way it's run. Sad to see that nothing has changed since I stopped going there.

    1. Laura, I totally remember when you were at JL. I could feel your frustration all the way across "the pond"!! I'm glad that I got to know you, though- outside the arena of aggravation. :) Thank you for adding your 2 cents. :)

  2. I'm sorry to see you go from JL and that "said teacher" is still there. I read your review when you originally posted it and thought - finally someone is giving a truthful review! Everyone pussyfoots around the issues and no one has the guts to give an honest constructive review. "Said teacher" has been throwing one tutorial after another up on JL regardless of quality for far too long.

    I'll follow your blog and watch for your posts on FB so I can stay in touch.
    Vanilla Bead/Mary

    1. Hi Mary! So good to see you here and read your comment. :) Yeah, silly me, I thought I was doing a good thing by being honest with my review. Who would have thought that this is where it would lead to? Life is funny. But, today is a new day and I have lots of rocks calling my name. :)

  3. After reading your review, I want to hire you as my official proof reader! That kind of honest and detailed feedback is something any tutorial writer should value... and should seek out. It's the kind of feedback any decent editor would give.

    I'm not a member of Jewelry Lessons, so all this was going on completely under my radar. I'm sorry you had to go through the aggravation, though, and it sounds like you're making the right decision in leaving that community.


    1. Thank you so much, Sarah!!! You can't imagine what that means to me. Here you are a disinterested party, so to speak, and you can see that it wasn't a hateful review. It took a long time to write that thing, too. I tried really hard to be honest. I could have been hateful, Lord knows, but that wasn't what I was after.

      Yes, I feel pretty good about my decision. I feel like I just marked something off one of your lists :)

  4. Tela, I'm sorry to see you go as I always look for you there. I'm always lurking in the background trying to absorb different techniques. JL is losing an extremely talented artist. I have noticed, and it seems in the past six months or so, that it has changed. The talent just isn't there as much and the quality is waning.

    I will miss you there but certainly do understand your decision. I know I can find you here!

    1. Hi Kate :) It's nice of you to add your support. Of course, I will miss everyone there, but I'll still see so many people around the web in other places and here on my blog. I see a lot of people on Etsy, too, including you. :)

  5. My thumbs up to you, Tela, I don't see anything wrong in your review, it was precise and constructive and the "said" teacher should have taken the chance and worked on her tutorial(s) instead of throwing a tantrum. The chance is lost, jl admin definitely reacted in a wrong manner and they have to pay with some consequences, I am sure. There is another crack now in the sinking jl-ship and I am sure you'll not be the only one who will leave and so be a lost jl-customer.

    Best wishes to you and please stay creative, we, your fans, will stay tuned.

    Ursula (Klunkermonster)

    1. Ursula, I almost missed your comment! Sorry about that.

      Thank you for summing things up so well. I did what I could to be honest with my review. Oh well. But, yes, the important issue, to me, is how the situation was handled versus how it could have been handled. I doubt my leaving will amount to much in the larger scheme of things, but it was important to me to make my stand.

      I'm onto new adventures and a whole new level of lapidary to explore so you can count on me staying creative-- and YOU do the same :)

  6. Hi, Tela--I'm a long-time lurker at JL and followed you here because I love your stuff *and* you're a good, clear, engaging writer (so keep blogging, please!). I stay away from the forum and go mostly to look at the jewelry; some of it is jaw-dropping, transcending the term (the Alien, anyone), and the variety of styles and materials is always fun to check out.

    That said, even with just watching what's posted in the gallery and as tutorials it's possible to get a good sense of the personalities of some of the members, and I see no reason to doubt my decision to keep my distance. I certainly have no desire to sign up for the premium content.

    1. Hi and welcome- I'm very happy you commented. Thank you so much for the support and the fact that you broke your silence to do it- really means a lot. Thank you, too, for commenting on my blog. :) I went to yours and I swear to you, I had a tear reading about your kitty. It reminded me of mine, it was like 2 years ago now that she left and it still hurts sometimes. You have my belated condolences.

    2. Sorry to see that you're leaving but we know where to find you. I'm sure that you'll be right here posting your awesome work and telling it straight. : )

      Shar and Jonesey

    3. Shar and Jonesey, thank you for commenting :)You can bet I'll be right here sharing my ups and downs, and I'm glad you're here to follow along. :)

  7. Tela, I am late chiming in with this, but want you to know that it is "their" loss that you left JL, but I am so thankful you will still have this blog. This is a better site anyway, so there!

    I am sooo loving your new, self-shaped cabs. For a newbie, these cabs are turning out to be so professional-looking and just marvelous to see how you get these from their raw forms.

    You keep on keepin' on and I will continue to enjoy your adventures vicariously.

    1. Hi Susan, Thank you for your great comment and feedback about my cabs. If trying hard is any indication of success then I should be on my way. :) It's quite addictive to see a rock go from raw to jewelry. I'll keep posting as long as people are interested. :)

  8. Miss Tela, this was simply a travesty, and I am sure it is no skin off your nose. There are a few of us who have offered this kind of complete review to many people. None were personal attacks that I've seen or written myself.

    Personally, I generally offer these reviews in private, now. It doesn't pay to do any review that isn't a glowing recommendation in public there, as some people will term *anything* that is even a minor objection as 'abusive' or 'mean-spirited.' I've received really nasty mail on and offsite for public reviews I've written. Honestly, I don't care what some people think about 'cowardice' when it comes to the rating system on JL - currently, it is the ONLY way to communicate the presence of a seriously flawed tutorial without taking serious heat. And besides, what part of 'Could be better' (one star definition) wouldn't cause you to look over your tutorial and compare it to others? It isn't like the definition of one star is "this sucks eggs."
    I didn't see where you told anybody that they sucked eggs............even if they deserved it.....(rolls eyes and whistles.....)

    Anywho, I am sooooo looking forward to what you do with the lapidary work! Your composition sense with cabs you buy is phenomenal, if you make your own....O-M-G!!!! And that doesn't suck eggs, either!!!!

  9. Thanks Perri, I'm glad my rock sense doesn't suck eggs! LOL!!! What could be worse?

    I tell ya- I have been consumed with my new love, Gene, the mean cabbing machine.

    I agree with your synopsis of the situation- However, not everyone accepts PMs and said teacher rarely does, so how is anyone supposed to offer anything in private? Also, I had given this person private, honest, well meaning, kind advice in the past without so much as a reply. Oh well, I'm over it.

  10. Tela, so sorry to hear all this. I've never really gotten involved with JL as several artists whose integrity i respect have "struggled" there. But it's a darn shame that what is intended to be constructive criticism is so misinterpreted. Getting a good review may get you a warm fuzzy, but an honest one will help you grow. I would LOVE to have your kind of honest feedback!

    1. Hi Eva and happy anniversary - just read your blog, which I always do.

      Thank you for the support. :)

  11. Tela - you know my thoughts on this as I was the "other reviewer" of [said teachers] tutorial - and I am more upset that this kind of behavior is forcing a talent such as yours and others prior to *jump ship* and bail...and yet the *cause* of the chaos is still allowed to remain.

    Plus - being *muted* and then seeing outright attacks without being able to defend ones self is something I get extremely *irked* at...but still the *cause* remains... *sigh*

    I don't need to hope...I know you will still produce the wonderful pieces you do - and if you are *cabbing* your own pieces now - WOW!!!..they are gorgeous!..and I am sure you will be in a much happier place without seeing [said teacher] being a total PITA on a nearly daily basis. :)

    1. Hi Suzi, I didn't want to mention you by name, to respect your privacy, but, yeah, you totally know the score. You were silenced, as well.

      Now, that I am cutting rocks, I really feel like I am in my own zone. It's been pure nirvana for me and I won't let anything bring me down. :)

  12. Hi Tela,
    I was out of town and missed the thread. Unfortunately it seems that it was business as usual and we both know that this behavior has happened many to many times and that goes for "said teacher" and the powers that be. (sarcastic tone) It makes you wonder what don't we know???? Loosing you was a big loss and if this keeps up, and it seems like it will, more will follow.
    The deal is Tela we are surely going to miss you an exceptionally talented artist with quality tutorials and designs and an intelligent voice of reason. But the most important thing is that you are in a good place and cutting cabs too wow. You have always had the most beautiful cabs on your pIeces and now you will be cutting your own. I wish you the best Tela and I know you will do well and spend your time were it really counts on you and your art.

  13. Hi Pat, so good to hear from you. I respect you more than you know and this was music to my ears. :)

    You know, I honestly feel bad for Eni and her crew. I hope she finds a way to deal more effectively with these kinds of people and situations. In the meantime, I'm gonna keep doing what I do and that is to explore my skills to their fullest.

    Take care, Pat and don't be a stranger. :)


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