So far this board has not had a very big problem with people posting commercialized messages. However, as we become more popular, I see the growing need for a policy on url dropping.
I've thought about this issue a great deal both from a user standpoint and from an admin standpoint.
Knowing where to draw the line is very difficult. Where should we draw the line?
On one hand if we allow the open posting of url's in messages, I think we all can imagine the board would become a message spammers paradise. The quality of messages would deteriorate very rapidly to the point you wouldn't want to visit. Afterall, we are all promotion people and are quite good at dropping urls.
On the other, there are times when referencing a url is right on track with the topic at hand.
Lastly, there is the liability and association factor involved. It is users who are placing content on the system. Having to check every url to see that it doesn't lead to an adult or unethical page would be difficult. Nothing is to say the poster might not change the url at a later date.
Looking at other forum systems, I can see some that are far too restrictive, while others are too permissive. Ones that are too restrictive lose many good posters, and ones that are too open end up trashed out with promotional posts.
What happens when open posting of urls is allowed, is that users start to leave posts just to drop urls. Hey, we are promotion people and some of us are experts at the art of url dropping (yes, this includes me).
While formulating a policy on this, I would appreciate user feedback. Remember the comments of United States president Harry S. Truman, ...decisions are made by those who show up.
Let's kick this one off.
Posting urls should be limited to support the questioner. A url is only allowed if it DOES NOT point to your own service or DOES NOT point to a commercial service where someone may benefit by the user visiting and buying something from the site or poster, or anyone associated with the poster in any way.
Not sure if I've got this staight, but I take from your position on URL dropping that you mean either our own URL's, or those visitors that drop blatant or out of context URL's.
If on the other hand, like in the text editor discussion, the URL's are relevant and make the discussion more useful and informative AND they are not your own URL then that is ok?
It is really a fine line, there are many "tag teams" out there that promote each other's URL's so as not to promote their own, which just frustrates all the users that are playing nice.
IMO a combination of sound judgement by the moderators and a clearly stated public policy is the key, whether that turns out to be "no url's" whatsoever policy, or ok only if not your own product or service.
excuse us folks, Brett said "Take it outside."
>(from the moderators forum) Certainly, moderators should know better than to post blatant adverts for their services.
Well, (he says, as he slips on his Devil's Advocate hat) I'm not even so sure about that. I'm John Q. User, I come to this forum seeking advice on cloaking, I know you guys have the short list. What's wrong with a 'who-does-what' roster of links?
Here's a (dumb/short-sighted?) off-the-cuff idea. What if we allowed regular users to maintain a single post in a similar public thread --an online quickie resume' of sorts? And everyone was asked to simply point to that thread for blatant commercials, and told -up front- that commercial posts would be repointed to this forum without any sort of notice or edit marker.
I DO think that anyone that posts a commercial/advertising link should be required to maintain a good user profile in the forum. Url, email a minimum.
Anyone who posts is able to advertise themselves in their user profile. They put their own email, url, interests and occupation. If an extra field was added eg 'specialises in' they would have no need to blatantly advertise in a posting, they could just add 'I specialise in this subject...' if they want.
Yes, in other forums, I have seen an increased use of "the url is in my profile" message. An added text block might be a solution. But to reduce the urge to drop an url, I think the moderators should still simply repoint urls to the profile. Knowing that someone will come along and repoint would take away a lot of the impetus.
It would also help build/reinforce a strong profile system, which a good forum should have.
it seems I have more questions than answers
What about info-mercials? Pages maintained by consultants on their own sites that answer questions directly. Take a look at the Sales Tax [webmasterworld.com] thread. What if the link out went to an ecommerce web designer's own page on sales tax issues?
WAIT WAIT WAIT....I thought you could post urls..? I mean, how else did Brett show us the neato tool at University of Toronto? Wasn't that a url post?
Am I just....completely insane? (Don't answer that..)
I thought this forum had some sort of ranking system...for example, I am a "Junior Member"... which I assume means 'peon'. So, since you already have a "ranking" thing in place, just let the 'non peon' rankings list their urls. I guess that would be Preferred members and Admins.
If another member wants to see someone else's url, they can request it be sent to the email address listed in their profile. That person would have to put an email address in their profile..at least until they received the url.
Peon and Proud! :>
>which I assume means 'peon'
no, those darn rankings are usually built into bb software ..I think it should just show number of posts. I suppose they are to provide some sort of guage as to our knowledge quotient, but that's not exactly right either (look at my 'count' --grossly over inflated by hot air posts). In fact there are some pros in here with very low scores, so please don't put too much emphasis on the number.
well - I was wondering how long it would take before this became an issue. I completely agree that it is a very fine line. I like the idea of a forum cat for pure adverts but it would spill over pretty quick with guys saying stuff like 'check out my advert thread in blah forum'.
It might have to be taken on a case by case approach by the mods of each cat. This would also mean that there needs to be a bunch more mods or else Brett will be so busy moderating he won't get anything else done.
What do you think about links to "tutorials" on a pro's site?
My .02 is that we should link them.
The tutorial idea is pretty good but once again how restrictive does it have to be? I could put up a crappy tutorial just so that I could post links to my site. Granted crappy tutorial wouldn't translate to new business but you never know.
I would suggest making the tutorial section of the site a seperate entity that doesn't actually link back into the site but only has contact info.
There is also the possibility that we are blowing the situation up bigger than it has to be. Blantant adverts are easy to spot and generally forum regulars will report them to mods pretty quick for deletion.
"no, those darn rankings are usually built into bb software ...(look at my 'count' --grossly over inflated by hot air posts). In fact there are some pros in here with very low scores, so please don't put too much emphasis on the number."
Pro or not, you have been here a while. My point was someone like you having been on this forum a long time, would "know the rules" of this BB. You are probably not going to post some blatent spammy url. A newbie, on the other hand, not knowing any better, might just do that.
Since the ranking system is already there, and since there is the concern of spam, allowing more previlages based on seniority might be something easy to implement.
Yes? Errr not? Or would that make it more of a pain..?
>There is also the possibility that we are blowing the situation up bigger than it has to be
I agree about the blatant adverts being overblown, but I think that this thread really got its start with what to do with pro's tutorials (because alot of pros are gathering here --for whatever the reason). Not being an SEO pro myself, I like having links out to tutorials if they directly answer the topic. Personally, I think we'll get the best updates in this manner. Many are tired of writing about some items that crop up over and over again, yet would willingly drop in an url to a page maintained on such-and-such subject.
> someone like you having been on this forum a long time, would "know the rules" of this BB. You are probably not going to post some blatent spammy url
A very good point. Actually, a low post count is built into my own spam meter.
rc - I get ya now. I like that idea. Lord knows I hate typing the same answer over and over again (mostly at that other forum - not so much here;))
I would be willing to host a tutorial site and publish up all the tutorials. I would make it searchable etc and create categories to match the different forums. This might be a good way to do it as it would be more of a neutral site - we could all just say 'pop over to blah blah and check it out'. I would only ask that you let me put up some banners to help cover cost.
Thank you all for answering this request for comments. I am taking all this to heart when writting some simple board guidlines (aka: rules).
I would like to see the URL's and webpages of these
very knowledgeable users. Just as I learn a lot from
all the webpages that are trying to sell me something,
I can also learn a lot from looking at the URL's of
people here, even if they are promoting themselves.
I'm intelligent enough to decide for myself if I want
what they are selling. Censorship limits my ability to
learn what I need to know--let them post URL's!