I've been reminded recently of an old saying that in polite company you should never discuss sex, politics or religion. The reasoning, I think, is that those subjects are so close to everyone's hearts that they will inevitably lead to disagreement.
I chose some "cheeky" buttons to illustrate my points - a small selection from portablegraffiti's 1650 available buttons. As some people have commented on the buttons, rather than my argument (which was not at all what I expected!) I've removed the pictures.
There was quite a furore recently on Etsy when "mature" (aka sexy) treasuries took over the new Treasury East for a while. Etsy decided that members should have to "opt in" to view mature treasuries, but that the default would be to filter them out.
Inevitably the discussions continue. Sellers of mature items argue, rightly, that they pay their fees and have a right to be seen. Others worry that because the Mature Treasuries were so prominent, it gave a misleading impression to buyers that Etsy is a site specifically for Mature items, which of course it isn't. Buyers wishing to purchase mature items can still find them, while people likely to be offended are protected.
Profane language is considered part of the "Mature" category. Arguments can get quite heated, especially between mothers who want to protect their children's innocence and sellers who state (accurately) that the site is for over 18s. I know there are buyers who love such items as *naughty* embroidered signs - but I doubt any of us think it would be sound marketing to be peppering our forum posts with colourful words.
Politics? Well, it was very clear during the American election that politics, while maybe not a "polite" subject for conversation, was certainly a big seller!
Sadly I didn't sell a huge number of party political meerkats during our UK election, but you'll note I listed each of the three parties. I didn't risk alienating a large section of my public by only meerkatting my own preferred candidate - neither would I expect to make many new friends on the forums by proclaiming my political views.
What about religion? Clearly there is a market for items with a religious theme, I wouldn't dispute that - indeed, my Meerkat Nativity was a best seller for me last Christmas.
Before offering it for sale I discussed the potential for offence with my Etsy team, I have no wish to offend anyone. I was happily reassured when I sold a set to an American pastor who planned to add it to the church collection!
That is not the same, in my opinion, as airing these subjects in public places such as social networks and forums.
I have been surprised recently to see online sellers proclaiming their personal religious beliefs in an online selling forum, asserting that God will make their business flourish. Just as some believers are potentially offended by items such as my Christmas Meerkats, so (I believe) are some people offended by believers who proclaim their faith.
I would very much like to hear what *you* think. I understand that faith is central to some people's lives, but if they talk about it in a venue where we're hoping to attract buyers, might some buyers be put off just as surely as if other "taboo" subjects were being aired?
What is your opinion? Are there any taboos left, or does anything go?
***EDITED***Sorry to have confused a few people - I'm not asking for opinions on the badges, I used them with permission to illustrate my points.