Written by PussDaddy. The original post, (+44 pages of comments!), can be found here.
I see this question all the time, and if it is not written in those exact words, then I see it alluded to in many other ways.
I see people blaming mistagging, the search engine, whether or not they can get a treasury, or make the front page, pricing, vintage and supplies, the buyer to seller ratio, whether or not Etsy advertises, the way method of payment is laid out, and on and on and on.
I see people fretting over whether or not someone has copied them, used a rice krispie box to make a purse, whose stuff is really art and whose isn't, are they breaking copyright laws, how that persons' items are tagged, whether or not it even belongs here, is this persons' items hand sewn or machine sewn, do they sell for a hobby or to make a living, do they have help and if so is it ok, what country are they from, why is the other persons items priced so low or high, why does the other person even sell that kind of stuff and who would want it and who is buying it, why doesn't admin reprimand, castigate, or even cast out these law breakers or change the rules to fit their theory of how things should be done?
We have people convo'ing each other or other people telling them their item is mistagged, not allowed, not handmade, doesn't belong here, is distasteful, doesn't belong on Etsy, and they are going to flag them and run them out of town.
I see newbies come in here to ask for help, or ask why THEIR stuff isn't selling, and its' a whole new story then. They are rudely told "your post is in the wrong place, move it!" or "stop whining!" , and that whining thing strikes me as being hilarious, by the way, in retrospect as I see the same people doing it in here day after day, if not about one thing then another. Heck, even this post I made could be considered a whine.
Then I go to the time machine2, and I pick out a random item to buy, and that person will have 85, 139, 357, 575, or even over a 1000 feedback and I say to myself "wow, people DO sell here. And I look at their username and I see that I have never seen or heard of this person before, never seen them in the forum, and when I do mention it to them, some of them don't even know there IS a forum. They spend most of their time dedicating it to making stuff, listing it, taking care of their customers, and minding their own shop and their own business. They have plenty of sales and a following.
From this I can only conclude that the forum can make or break sales. Whether by causing you not have enough time to do anything but complain, point fingers and mind other peoples' business for them which causes you to neglect your own shop because you are so wrapped up in tagging and flagging and minding other peoples' business that you neglect your own and there is no time for anything else, the in-fighting that results because of all this, or maybe even the fact that someone just doesn't like you or anything that you have to say.
So that is why I do not sell yet, but still contribute to the forum. You learn a lot in here, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I feel I have learned quite a lot in here-not everything there is to know, mind you, but still quite a bit.
I feel I have picked up many pointers along the way about what to do and not what to do. I have learned how my time and effort may well better be spent, where to direct my time, energy and effort, and how and where I choose to do it may be to my benefit. What to worry about and what not to waste time and effort on. And how the forum can make and break you in general, because just as how people don't always like what I have to say or contribute, the sword slices both ways and I do not think people are really aware of that.
In the long run, I am pretty convinced it would be to my benefit to use another email address and make another username, and sell under that name, and keep this username for talking in the forum. I am still on the fence on that aspect. Start from scratch, if you will, just list my stuff, go about my business, and handle things as they come up one thing at a time.
I know this is longwinded, and I do apologize. I also know I am a pain in the butt in here a lot. But I just wanted to say my time here is not wasted, even though I am just a "buyer" and lots of people don't even think I have the right to chime in on many topics.
You do learn a lot in here, by reading, and also trying to contribute. I am however, going to try to cut down on my time in the forum and direct my attention elsewhere to things that will be more to my benefit, and I am sure that will make many very happy. I just wanted to throw out some food for though. Thanks, and have a nice day.