[new members] Vendor participation in the forums

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HB
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Postby HB » Jul 14, 2013, 2:41 pm

We greatly appreciate those vendors who share their knowledge with the site's membership. However, for someone who sells coffee or coffee-related equipment, there may be a fine line between sharing one's enthusiasm and (unintentionally) soliciting the site's visitors for business. For this reason, I have updated the Guidelines for productive online discussion to include a clarification of the site's "No commercial posts" policy:

Guidelines for productive online discussion wrote:Forum members who have a financial interest in the topic in question should exercise caution before posting. For example, if you or the company you work for sells the product/service being discussed in a thread, you are welcome to correct factual errors, but should avoid posting opinions, product/service offerings, or critiques of competitive products. The same applies when a competitor's product or service is being discussed in a thread, i.e., you should refrain from offering opinions, alternative product/service offerings, or critiques. Moderators reserve the right to edit statements or delete posts that violate this policy.

Please note that this same policy applies to sponsors with one exception: Sponsors starting a thread in the Marketplace are free to promote their product or service as they wish. That is, the Marketplace is a "commercial DMZ" forum. Please note, however, that just like the public forums, sponsors should refrain from offering opinions or critiques of competitive products.

Any questions or concerns about this policy clarification are welcome.
Dan Kehn

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Peppersass
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Postby Peppersass » Jul 15, 2013, 1:45 am

I agree that vendors should be very careful when posting, and frankly if I were a vendor I'd probably avoid that slippery slope altogether.

I think it's interesting that the guideline says, "you are welcome to correct factual errors", rather than "you are welcome to make statements of fact".

There's a great example of the latter in the current thread on HG One coated burrs and related subjects. After much speculation by forum members, the vendor chimed in with the facts on why they decided to coat their burrs. I found this factual disclosure refreshing and enlightening, but strictly speaking it wasn't a correction of factual errors. They did slip in "here's why we think this is better", but they backed up their opinion with explanations that seemed plausible from an engineering perspective.

I think the dilemma is that a post like this, which clearly educates our members can be, in itself, a really good sales pitch that doesn't sound like a sales pitch at all.

Is that why you've limited vendors to correcting factual errors, rather than allowing "statements of fact"?
Dick Green

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HB
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Postby HB » Jul 15, 2013, 7:06 am

Peppersass wrote:Is that why you've limited vendors to correcting factual errors, rather than allowing "statements of fact"?

Yes.
Dan Kehn

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jbviau
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Postby jbviau » Jul 15, 2013, 1:03 pm

I don't mind the update at all, but I'd prefer a light touch with respect to moderation on this issue. I welcome informed opinions from both HG one and OE in that thread, for example. Interacting with knowledgeable members (regardless of whether or not they're vendors, roasters, whatever) has been--and I hope will continue to be--a real pleasure on this site!
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

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another_jim
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Postby another_jim » Jul 15, 2013, 4:27 pm

This topic is the light moderating touch -- HB moderators much prefer discussions to deletions (except with spammers and crazies).

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Randy G.
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Postby Randy G. » Jul 15, 2013, 5:57 pm

another_jim wrote: HB moderators much prefer discussions to deletions (except with spammers and crazies).

Hmm.. I am not a spammer, so...... . . . .
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