Cloth Diaper Group Etiquette

I never thought that it would be necessary to write a blanket post on cloth diaper group etiquette.  After all, I’m certainly not a “Miss Manners” type and can throw down a little too easily.  Plus I’m forever saying that every cloth diaper group has their own culture with things to remember.  Dropping an eff-bomb, for example, may be considered appropriate on the Asylum, but it’s a great way to get a thread deleted (or possibly a membership revoked) from the Flash Mob.

Over the weekend, though, I’ve been noticing that there are some cloth diaper group rules of etiquette that should be universal.  I thought that it would be considered common sense, but I’m frequently told that common sense is not so common anymore.  So with that in mind…Cloth Diaper Group Etiquette - Cloth Diaper Addicts

Respect the Cloth Diaper Group Rules

It’s a no-brainer.  If you’re in a cloth diaper group sponsored by a store (like the Kelly’s Closet Cloth Diaper Support Group), then don’t pass out links to their competitors.  When they set up a cloth diaper group to help you, don’t insult them by taking away their business.  While a Facebook group is absolutely free to set up, the time spent moderating it and maintaining it is not.  Most of us who work for or operate a page or group for a company are doing so as part of our employment.  We’re out to help you by sharing our expertise.  Help out the company by not sending their buyers to other stores.

Likewise, if you’re in a group owned by a cloth diaper manufacturer (like Peace, Love, AppleCheeks), remember where you are.  Slamming the company, recommending other products, or giving advice that will void the warranty on one’s diapers isn’t helpful at all.  It can be hurtful, particularly if someone listened to you about an RLR and bleach soak and then found their diapers shredded.  Not only are they now dealing with diapers that are not useable, now they have no product warranty to help them.  Just don’t.  Part of the benefits of getting new cloth instead of buying used diapers are the warranty protection that comes with it.

And, of course, if you’re in a group run by cloth diaper bloggers, then it’s probably not a good idea to share links to a group that dismisses bloggers as irrelevant or irreputable.  Really.  I feel comfortable speaking for all of us that it’s not cool when our hard work is dismissed as nothing.

Use Your Manners

It happens.  We’re opinionated.  Some of us are hormonal with pregnancy rage or that third Clomid cycle is making us insane.  It’s really, really easy to just let your fingers fly when you’re ticked off.  After all, it’s not like you’re actually looking at the person or hearing their words.  It’s easy to condense them down to “electrons on a screen.”  That makes it a lot easier for people to forget about filtering themselves and they’d say things that they may not say in private.  (For what it’s worth, I’m much less filtered in real life than I am on the internet.  I have a back button on my keyboard.  Sadly, I do not have one for the things that come out of my mouth.)

That being said, there’s a lot that can get lost in a conversation in a Facebook group.  If we were sitting down and actually having tea or whatever, we would have the benefit of non-verbal communication to help.  We’d be able to hear each other speak.  We’d see smiles, winks, and hand gestures.  There would be clear, visual indications of demeanor.  That’s missing when it’s strictly text.  So if you think that someone is being a jerk, or rude, or condescending, or whatever else… maybe ask first.

Likewise, if you find yourself getting so upset in a cloth diaper group on Facebook that you feel the need to call someone a name, then maybe it’s time to walk away from your keyboard for a bit.  Close the laptop.  Put down your cell phone or tablet.  Whatever.  Just wait until you’ve cooled off.  That’s the benefit of having a conversation online: it’ll still be there when you get back.

But if you’re so upset that you start throwing out name-calling, then you’ve already lost.  Even if you delete it (or an admin deletes it for you), it’s still been put out there.  It will still be remembered and is still more than likely in a screen shot for someone else.  More often than not, though, calling someone a name says more about you than it does about them.

Don’t Recommend Other Cloth Diaper Groups

I really, really hate it when someone says “I’m starting solids soon.  Should I get a sprayer?” and the response is “You should join Our Fluffy Farts Don’t Stink!  They’ve got the best advice ever!”

First of all, it’s not answering the question.  The question was a specific issue, not “what cloth diaper group should I join?”

Second of all, if you truly have the answer and another group helped you, that’s fabulous!  But information should not be treated like a Holy Grail to be locked away until someone undergoes the mysterious transformation of joining your preferred cloth diaper group.  It’s an answer to a question, not initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries.  Share the knowledge.  If the group is so amazing, it will grow on its own without spamming it across other cloth diaper groups.

Not to mention, it’s fairly insulting to the other group members and the group owners to do so because you are telling them that they are somehow insufficient.  If they cannot answer questions or make a decent product, why are you there in the first place?  Are you there to recruit?

In Short…

Don’t be a jerk.  Remember that it’s someone else’s space.  It could be someone’s business or warranty that you are impacting.  Either way, it’s not yours.  Remember that while participation is valued and encouraged, acting in ways to help build that community (instead of destroy it) is far more appreciated.

Are there any cloth diaper group rules of etiquette that I’ve missed?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. You DID forget 1. If the rules of a particular group are ones you don’t necessarily agree with, you need to move on & not reply with “Well I’d like to answer you but you can’t say those things here, please come to Fluffy Farts for more info”, drives me NUTS! Most groups have those rules for a reason.

    • +1. Absolutely! If you can’t play by the rules, then take your toys and go home. No need to flounce, stop your feet, or throw a tantrum. I’ve always joked that groups are essentially “benevolent dictatorships.” There are rules, the masses do not make them, but they exist for the good of the group. And, of course, if those rules are not to your liking, there’s no shame in voting with your feet and leaving.

    • Why do you care so much about what OTHER people do with THEIR diapers? How about you follow kindergarten lessons and mind yourself, not others. It’s pretty pathetic that you took the time to blog bash a group that HELPS People. Yikes.

      • Since you felt the need to personally attack me in my own blog, this will be the only comment that you are allowed to make. Next comment will result in your IP address being banned because, no. This is my blog. Get your own platform to attack me instead of abusing mine. IHateSuzi.com is available.

        That being said… Why do YOU care so much about what other people do with their diapers? Perhaps you should take your own advice. I find it indicative of your own lack of personal awareness and ability for independent thought that you are unable to see that your own words apply to you.

  2. Brittany Malone says:

    *claps* hallelujah

  3. HAHAHA, GREAT advice with an excellent sense of humor (plus, your imagine group name keeps making me giggle. Bonus points for that!) 😉
    Carolyn recently posted…Alva Newborn Pocket Diaper ReviewMy Profile

  4. I have left groups when I don’t agree with the rules. Easy peasy!
    Heather Johnson recently posted…bumGenius Freetime and Elemental All-in-One Cloth Diaper Comparison ReviewMy Profile

  5. Fluff love & CD science is an amazing group with awesome admins. It’s kind of funny to see you call us Flufg farts though haha

  6. I know exactly what group you’re referencing when you mention RLR step and bleach soak. They are an amazing group. If people walk away from those instructions with messed up diapers, it’s because somewhere along the line they did not follow the directions properly. I’ve seen it many times. They post how angry they are, their diapers are ruined. When we go through, step by step, we always find that THEY messed something up.
    So as you say, don’t slam a group. Especially when you don’t have the full story.

    • I slam behavior based on what I see. And, yes, that’s seeing what goes on in a group. However, the etiquette has nothing to do with what you do in your own group. It’s the behavior in OTHER groups. Did you actually read the post? No, really. Did you read it? Or are you going on what other people have told you?

  7. A group with swearing and disrespectful behavior makes me say, “See ya.”
    Nissa recently posted…#DIY Basement Clothes LineMy Profile

  8. If people are constantly sending others to Fluffy Farts and that group has surpassed your membership in three months then maybe your group IS insufficient. Just a thought.

    • I don’t have a group of that nature. But how ’bout just answering the question instead of sending someone to a group? Is that hard to understand?

  9. Safety trumps etiquette. And there are quite a few baby butts in need of saving.

    • Oh, that’s so sweet. <3 Really, it's cute that you think that there is only One True Way. There are multiple methods.

      But who died and made YOU the "savior of diapers?" Really, are you reading what you're spewing? Is there not a reason that you can't just answer a question directly instead of suggesting that they join your cult group? If your knowledge is TRULY superior, then people will go without the campaigning and the begging.

      • Oh Great, now this group wants to believe they are “Lords of the Diapers”, warning signs everywhere.

        Now where have we seen this before……………anyone?

  10. But what of a group that will approve me to join, encourage me to buy diapers from the sponsored store, but will not allow me to post a question without approval? Does that encourage communication and foster a trusting environment where someone can ask a candid question and get feedback from the entire group? I am sure the mods are very knowledgeable individuals but maybe a new mama just needs a little hand holding and understanding from someone who has been there. It seems to me that information sharing and feedback are elements to a good group. Ignoring and shaming are not good for a group, nor is it a good way to promote sales at the sponsored store. I challenge you to put this posting through, I do doubt that you will, but, just putting it out there

    • Why wouldn’t I? And what group do you need approval to post? Surely you aren’t speaking of the Cloth Diaper Support Group. That group does not require approval for posts.

      You don’t have to “challenge me” to put replies through. The only reason for moderation in the first place is for spammers. More to the point, what is WRONG with you? Are you suffering from issues with reading comprehension? (No, I’m not being sarcastic. I’m seriously wondering if there is something wrong.) Another great option is listed, too: if you have problems with the way a group is run, then you vote with your feet. (Or, you know, leave.)

    • It is far easier to block spam before it happens than it is to go through a group and clean it up. It’s annoying to be moderated, I get that, but you have to see it from an admin POV as well. The more members there are in a group the more spammers there are and it does get out of hand.
      Regan recently posted…Make Arrowhead Water a Part of Your Hiking Survival KitMy Profile

  11. The moderation is a safety feature, nothing more.

  12. ” More often than not, though, calling someone a name says more about you than it does about them. ” Your words, not mine. And, why answer the pointed questions with a dull answer……oh, voting with my feet….

    • I didn’t call you anything, though. I simply asked you a question. (Which, of course, you didn’t answer.) Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. 🙂

      But if you have problems and need help with that, I’d be more than happy to help you out by blocking your IP. You see, it’s my sandbox and I make the rules. (You know, sort of like group owners do on Facebook.) That means that I can bounce whomever I see fit. You know, just like group owners can. That’s my right because I own the domain and I pay the hosting. Neat how ownership works (whether it’s a group or a website) isn’t it?

  13. Brittany Malone says:

    There isn’t any reference to Fluff Love other than in the comments when it was brought up LOL. So, how does one know they are being talked about unless it fits them exactly?

    All I can think of right now is that quote from Hamlet,

    “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”

    For those that do not speak Shakespeare (and I understand it’s all pretty different) this is a figure of speech used to indicate that ones overly frequent attempts to try to convince others of “something” has now made them look defensive and dishonest.

    Either accept that the shoe fits and wear it or wake up and stop trying to pretend to be something you aren’t.

    Other ways to notice when someone is grasping for straws and trying to keep their footing in an argument is when they start to get nitpicky with someone’s writing. Because I mean “whoa” not everyone understands sarcasm or word play I guess?

  14. Why would you spend your time in a group that is insufficient? That’s just idiocy at its finest.

  15. When party A does not even allow party b the opportunity to prove themselves IN THEIR OWN DOMICILE, um that’s just rude. It speaks VOLUMES.

  16. Agreed! Unmoderated groups fill up with spam so quickly! I am cool with moderation to keep out the spammers.
    Heather Johnson recently posted…F Is for Flamingo Handprint CraftMy Profile

  17. Nowhere in her post does she specifically mention a “Fluff Love” group. All I see is a made-up name of a fictitious example group.
    Heather Johnson recently posted…F Is for Flamingo Handprint CraftMy Profile

  18. Also, I think that her point is that people who speak of “my way or no way” are the problem. I would never use bleach on my diapers. I hardly ever use bleach in general. If you asked me, I would never recommend bleach. However, I also say, “To each their own.” “My way or no way” people lack this “to each their own” thinking, which is a little scary and rather unnerving.
    Heather Johnson recently posted…F Is for Flamingo Handprint CraftMy Profile

  19. Nice way of saying that their mothers are idiots. Way to go. Pat yourself on the back.

  20. Who wants to copy and paste all the information that you can find in that group? It’s a much better resource than a quickie response to a single fb comment. It’s pretty involved.

    • But that’s the thing, though: there’s no need to copy/paste all of the info in a single group for one question… particularly when the question asked has nothing to do with information. If you notice the example used in the post above, it was “Should I get a diaper sprayer?” How does that necessitate the copying of all of a group’s files? Really, if that’s the case, then I would suggest that reading comprehension may be an issue.

      That being said, if one is unable to answer a simple question in her own words, then perhaps that would suggest a lack of understanding of the “resources” offered in the first place.

  21. I heart you, Suzi. You never fail to make a completely valid point while giving a smackdown at the same time. You crack me up.
    Regan recently posted…Make Arrowhead Water a Part of Your Hiking Survival KitMy Profile

  22. Also, the world is not black and white. Most questions related to cloth diapers have more than one possible answer. For example, what detergent should I use on my cloth? The answer depends on a variety of factors such as water type, sensitivities, etc. I personally use Rockin’ Green and OxiClean with incredible success. I also know people who use Tide as well as various other detergents. Guess what? Each works for different people in different situations.

    The key to successful cloth diapering is not copying and pasting from some sort of “fluffy bible.” Instead, the key is to figure out what works for you, your baby, and your diapers. One size fits all does not work in most things in life and definitely does not work with cloth diapers.
    Heather Johnson recently posted…Preschool Homeschool Curriculum: Color Green Lesson PlanMy Profile

  23. Yeah your admins have great advice but it stops there. I have seen them go t to other small groups giving theSSAME advice and only say come to our group. And then harass that groups admins when they are asked to stop. WTF that is insanely childish behavior and THAT is why someone wrote a blog about them.

  24. Why do etiquette and safety have to be mutually exclusive?
    Heather Johnson recently posted…Antibiotics Prescribed Twice as Often as Needed, Says StudyMy Profile

  25. I am not sure… While I definitely agree with respecting the rules and minding your manners, I am less sure about the not recommending other groups thing. Certainly sometimes it can be completely inappropriate (as you pointed out), and it always is less helpful than just giving an answer directly. But to look at another consideration: Is it wrong to include links to a webpage in your answer, when that webpage gives more detailed information on the topic at hand? That webpage could be a valuable resource. Similarly, another FB group that is directed specifically at the topic at hand may be a useful resource.
    On the other hand, I do see your point how it is rude to send people away from the original group. Just considering.

    • It depends. There are times that it significantly easier for me to just copy/paste a link to my blog on some topics, as I’ve already written about them here. But if the group rules do not allow for linking to sites not owned by that company, then no.

      There’s also a fine line between mentioning a group (which would be perfectly appropriate if I’d asked where I could find a BST for, say, Petunia Picklebotton bags) and spamming it.

  26. I will admit that you made me go back through and review the rules of the groups I do belong to. I only noticed one group having the rule to not promote other CD groups, and not link to other websites. In the absence of that being clearly stated in the rules, however, it seems to become quite a grey area. I suspect everyone has different criteria for what they consider a “spam” post. Some will consider mentioning another group as a resource to be helpful.
    I will admit, I found the post mentioning a certain CD group (that may or may not have inspired this blog post) to be a helpful resource… at least, until I figured out the “our way is the only way” mindset of that group. And the mysterious lack of scientific citations for a LOT of their wisdom. When I saw the admins being viewed as the keepers of sacred knowledge, I voted with my feet (or “leave group” button, as it were…) If your group’s goal is truly to share information, then the group members should be able to learn it and answer questions just as well as admins.

    • If it were even “periodically” it wouldn’t be such a huge thing. But if every response is “You should join this group” with no attempt to helping… and it’s happening on multiple threads in multiple groups, it’s excessive.

      And, ha, it looks like you and I have the same conclusion. I’m just waiting around to be banned for my subversive commentary outside of the group. 😉 It’s more fun that way.

      • I very seriously contemplated asking for sources for many of the truths they espouse. Many things they say are true, and I could recognize those because I have seen them said in other places. But some were completely new to me. However, I decided it wasn’t worth the teeny tiny little fireworks asking would cause before an admin said, “You are questioning the sacred truth!” and zapped me. 😉

  27. Oh because maybe answering the question is against all the rules you said to follow. I see it daily. People can’t give proper advice without getting comments removed or banned for being against the rules. So sending them to a group to get the proper answer would be all you could do

  28. I don’t see you saying this to those that are coming on here completely agreeing with you.
    Clearly some of us actually came here to read your
    blog as we have taken an interest in what you post. Until recently I was subscribed to your Facebook page to keep up on your blogs. I was always interested in what you had to say. But this particular entry disappoints me.

    • It’s fine to disagree. It is not okay to personally attack me in my own forum. You see the difference, right? The point of the post was not that I can somehow care about the advice that is given in other groups. That’s neither here nor there. This post had nothing to do with who is giving the advice. It’s about manners. No more, no less.

  29. Yet when it is asked sources are provided. Explanations are given.

    • The problem is that there are other sources that have great footnotes. Did you know that one of the reasons that I was personally told that my blog is “not a worthwhile resource” is because I actually talk to manufacturers? No, seriously. That was what I was directly told when I’d asked why a link to a researched piece, complete with footnotes, citations, and a comprehensive breakdown of a product that was not a good idea to use on cloth diapers was deleted.

      In spite of the fact that it actually *supported* what they were saying. That doesn’t seem just a little messed up to you?

      Regardless, the point is not that it’s a terrible group. The point of this post is that it is a terribly rude thing to continuously recruit for another group. I hated it and jumped on people over doing so for The Cloth Diaper Compendium, too.

  30. YES YES YES. that is exactly what that group should be called!!! Subtitle: “embrace the group think or we will ban you.”

  31. I got banned from a group for expressing an opinion they disagreed with in different groups. Not even something I said in their group!!! Stifling respectful disagreement and only allowing voices that agree is not a way to educate people or produce high quality information.

    • Hm. I really, really hate that. I have do desire to be surrounded by a group of sycophants. If that’s what one is out to attain, then that’s trying to build a cult of personality rather than an educated group.

  32. Maeghyn Koehler says:

    I LOVE this post!

  33. Jennifer H. says:

    Thanks for such a calm, measured (and reasonable!) blog post. There’s so much sanctimony and hysteria in so many of the FB cloth diaper groups. I’d be tempted to leave them (if I didn’t enjoy the over-the-top drama over nothing, lol).

  34. I am new to cloth diapering, so I found this informative, and I did enjoy myself while reading. I do agree, most of this is common sense, which is sadly lacking in this day and age most of the time it seems.

  35. I never thought this type of thing would need to be addressed either. It’s cloth diapers for pity sakes! But I do admit sometimes I love reading the drama, I just stay out of it and laugh. It’s better than a soap opera. 🙂

  36. “… if you’re so upset that you start throwing out name-calling, then you’ve already lost. … More often than not, though, calling someone a name says more about you than it does about them.” Just sayin.’

  37. I hate to use bleach as well, it scares me lol! I’ve only been CDing for about a month so I haven’t come across any stink issues and i’m hoping not to have to resort to bleach if I do!

  38. Ha! I had no idea this world of crazy existed! I’ve seen it popping up on Tula FB too.

    I figure, whoever runs the space makes the rules. Don’t like them, go play somewhere else.

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