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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now, this is my way of thinking...we all know who is in the business and who isn't...so if someone wants to get ticked for what I am about to say go for it. However, IMNSHO, if someone asks where to buy rock, or a tank or whatever, the vendor does NOT need to put "YGPM" or I will send you a PM...or whatever, just do it. IMO, by putting YGPM, you want others to know you are selling whatever they are looking for. We all know who owns stores and what they can or cannot get. Just send them a PM discreetly and don't make a big deal of it.

I am sure this won't be popular, but it has always bugged me. Flame me all you want, but that is how I feel and I won't change.
 

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I'm not sure if I agree w/ your logic about this but I do agree that a PM sent descreetly w/ out posting a msg stateing so is a much better way to do this.

But we would need to enforce this policy as it comes up w/ the different commercial members.
 

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Message received - and honestly I was uneasy about posting the acknowledgement. No flames here - I totally understand your concern, and want to keep the peace (honest! :D ) -- HOWEVER is there a fair way to let somebody (and others who might want the answer to the same question) that it has been seen? For what it's worth, I have 2 private messages sent in response back to those who have sent me a PM about whatever, that haven't been picked up yet, and one is over a month old. People are more likely to check their thread than their PM box. If somebody else wants the answer to the same question, they can PM too.

As you know I've been just as fussy about commercial posts as anybody - so I can definitely understand your POV, and don't necessarily disagree with it, and am glad it's being discussed. I really feel that I must point out that if another member had posted "Jenn sells it for $7.99 per pound", that would have been fair game. I'm not about to employ the same tactics that "others" have used, by encouraging people to put in shameless plugs. That's not fair either, and it's not my style. However since I'm already working with one hand tied behind my back, I already have a lot less lattitude than any hobbyist, is there some way that a public acknowledgement can be made without tying the other hand behind my back? All this will apply to any commercial member who posts too, of course. I'm already nervous when somebody posts something nice about my place, because of past history with other such postings about other stores, especially if the poster is a relative newcomer. We all know what I'm talking about, but if we become so "politically correct" that people can't say something nice, or helpful... well....

If anybody can suggest a way that a post can be acknowledged, to the satisfaction and discretion of the BOD, I'll be happy to comply. To simply leave a post unanswered by anybody puts a mixed message forward, and one other thing - leaving it unanswered leaves the door open to somebody actually posting, "Jenn sells it for $7.99/lb..." (that makes it even more commercial, then doesn't it?? *g* ) at least the YGPM closes the discussion - right?

Or are we being just a bit too sensitive? After all, I didn't come out and say I sell the stuff, or how much I have on hand, or how much it costs..... Really, I do think there is a difference between letting somebody know where it's for sale, and actively soliciting customers by posting prices, etc. - if it was that specific, we wouldn't be allowed to reference our businesses in our sig lines. That's "passive" advertising. It might be a fine line at times, and we might not always agree where that line is. As I said, I do share some of your concerns, and was somewhat uncomfortable. I'd like to hear others' thoughts too. Since I'm on one far side of the fence, it's not always easy to be objective.

I'm going to see if I can find the TRT user agreement to see what the specifics are on commercial postings, to see if a clearer line can be drawn -- for my own benefit too.

Jenn
 

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From the user agreement:

If you are a business, please make note that commercial advertising posts are not allowed. We do encourage business owners to share their knowledge of the hobby in the forums and do allow you to place your business name and link in your signature. If you have any questions about our commercial posting policy, please e-mail [email protected]
This is pretty vague - and IMO a simple response like "YGPM" or "you have email" is a pretty far reach to peg as "commercial".

Perhaps we should ask Brooke her opinion? I'll absolutely comply with her wishes, and I believe she will have the objectivity that perhaps others and I lack.

Jenn
 

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If you own a business related to this hobby you shouldn't be posting anything about your business in the message field. We do allow a link to your business in your signature. We don't even allow paying sponsors to post commercial messages. If someone else wants to post a message saying you have a certain item at a certain price then that's perfectly within the guidelines. The only exception would be in an instance such as the recent "Buyer beware" thread. I would allow a business to post their side of the story when someone else may have posted something negatively. That thread was being watched closely and would not have been allowed to get out of hand. If people aren't picking up their PM's then try e-mailing them.

We encourage members to share information about products/prices that may be helpful to other members. If we allowed commercial posts from vendors then that's a majority of what you would see. We strive to provide an honest unbiased forum for our members.
 

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Alright, but taking that statement literally, how does "YGPM" mean anything business related? You assume that I PM'd the poster to let him know that I sell Marshall - because you know I sell Marshall. If you didn't know, or if I don't sell it, I might have emailed him to tell him where he could get it. You are assuming to know the contents of the PM. You can't start regulating private messages. It states nothing about product availability or pricing. It is not a solicitation on the board. I believe that the intent of the clause about commercial postings was to avoid situations where business people came on the board for the sole purpose of advertising. If I or any other business person cannot express an opinion about a product or an animal, there is no point in posting at all because anything could be placed into that definition of "commercial". Do you really want to be that nit-picky?

I guess if one wanted to be literal about it, if somebody asks what salt mix they should use, if I answered with "I like Kent salt" that could be construed as commercial since I use and SELL the product.... ditto with any other product, and people are always asking for feedback on this or that. As sellers of the products, retailers offer a valuable resource to the hobbyists on the board, by being able to offer their experience. But if every comment could be considered commercial, that stifles us all.

Asking another poster to post a picture of one's own (modified) product could also be construed as "commercial" too.... that definitely falls into the category of "If you own a business related to this hobby you shouldn't be posting anything about your business in the message field. " (ask them to email you a pic and take the discussion private...) I personally don't have a problem with it, and I was under the impression that the club forum had a bit more latitude than the general forum, but if you're going to be that picky, then the rule has to be applied across the board, not selectively. But to be fair, if you're going to slap my hand for a "YGPM" then you really need to not ask for pictures of your skimmers. If you can live with a PM note, I have no problem at all with posting pictures of MRC skimmers. Fair is fair.

I would still like Brooke's input into this - after all, she's the board owner, and I think we can all agree that she would be unbiased. I have already stated that I would abide by her ruling on this, without question.

I thought we were done with the petty stuff, and were moving forward with positive things for the club. We had a good and productive meeting on Tuesday, both the regular meeting and the informal discussion with those of us who stuck around afterward. Please, let's quit with the personality conflicts and start focussing our energies on good things for the club.

Jenn
 

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JennM said:
I believe that the intent of the clause about commercial postings was to avoid situations where business people came on the board for the sole purpose of advertising.
Yep. That's the way I see it too.

If I or any other business person cannot express an opinion about a product or an animal, there is no point in posting at all because anything could be placed into that definition of "commercial". Do you really want to be that nit-picky?
Not at all. We welcome your experience and expertise on the subject. I wouldn't call that a commercial post.

I would still like Brooke's input into this - after all, she's the board owner, and I think we can all agree that she would be unbiased. I have already stated that I would abide by her ruling on this, without question.
I'll post a link to this thread in the admin forum for others to comment on. This isn't the first time this subject has been discussed so all of the admins are familiar with the rules.
 

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Thanks :) That is fair and just.

Jenn
 

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I think you guys covered it pretty well. The main goal was not to be bombarded with advertising posts. We'd also like to support businesses that support us by helping to answer threads...thus we allow a link in the sig.

I think a discreet PM or e-mail might be the way to go if you see the opportunity to offer someone your products. We did have an issue come up a few months back when people were receiving unsolicited e-mails from a TRT member running a business and there were complaints.

I certainly don't think a post with "PM sent" is commercial, but perhaps a more discreet approach is the way to go.

HTH-...sorry the policy is vague, but some things we have to tweak as they come up. Running a board is an always evolving process. ;)

Brooke
 

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appropriate posting

This was the response from Brooke when we had a situation with the Fish Garden and Southdown sand. You might notice that after the incident, the Fish Garden dissappeared from involvement in our on-line discussions:

Back when I asked of our club policy, I also asked Brooke of TRT. Keep in mind I had confused the definitions of sponsor and commercial members.

"I wanted to find out how a paid commercial member of our club could inform the club that they had in stock the item someone else was looking for." William Fisher

There is a really fine line here. I personally do not have a problem
with a store mentioning that they have an item in stock if asked. What we discourage is a business posting something like, "i just got a big stock of sps in!!!" etc. Let me check with the other admins and see what they think about this. I know this was a big issue over at RC and would like to clarify policy now so everyone is on the same page.

I'm so glad ARC moved to TRT. I hope that you all continue to feel
welcome and comfortable here!!

Thanks-
Brooke

I think from her answer
1: That in fact the post from The Fish Garden was appropriate. No price, or sales pitch involved.
2: The dividing line on approved on-line protocol may not be written as clearly as needed.

I was blindsided in Newnan since no one posted this problem and its resolution in the BOD forum. Although the feelings of the officers are now known, as policy, it should be written a little more clearly in the materials handed to sponsors.

As I understand it:
If a hobbyist says something about where to buy a product this IS allowed. Members can talk about what products stores have. What is not allowed is LFS owners/workers advertising their goods or livestock in a post. LFS owners are welcome to post and encouraged to do so because they are full of knowledge about the hobby. If you suspect a business owner is referring people to their store while pretending to be a regular hobbyist, please let TheReefTank know through e-mail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
JennM said:
Alright, but taking that statement literally, how does "YGPM" mean anything business related? You assume that I PM'd the poster to let him know that I sell Marshall - because you know I sell Marshall. If you didn't know, or if I don't sell it, I might have emailed him to tell him where he could get it. You are assuming to know the contents of the PM. You can't start regulating private messages.
You are right, we are assuming it is business related otherwise it would seem silly to ask about a pesonal matter in PM and tell them they have a PM...if you know someone well enough, most likely the choice of communication is a personal email. No one said PM's would be regulated...it is the intention of the "YGPM" that I am quesitoning. In my view it is a "flag" not only telling the poster you have a product, but a flag to all prospective customers.

JennM said:
It states nothing about product availability or pricing. It is not a solicitation on the board. I believe that the intent of the clause about commercial postings was to avoid situations where business people came on the board for the sole purpose of advertising. If I or any other business person cannot express an opinion about a product or an animal, there is no point in posting at all because anything could be placed into that definition of "commercial". Do you really want to be that nit-picky? I guess if one wanted to be literal about it, if somebody asks what salt mix they should use, if I answered with "I like Kent salt" that could be construed as commercial since I use and SELL the product.... ditto with any other product, and people are always asking for feedback on this or that. As sellers of the products, retailers offer a valuable resource to the hobbyists on the board, by being able to offer their experience. But if every comment could be considered commercial, that stifles us all.
I think this was better covered above ...we want a person in the business to help as much as possible, but to give unbiased help, not tainted with ...I sell product A and not B, so I will recommend product A.

JennM said:
Asking another poster to post a picture of one's own (modified) product could also be construed as "commercial" too.... that definitely falls into the category of "If you own a business related to this hobby you shouldn't be posting anything about your business in the message field. " (ask them to email you a pic and take the discussion private...) I personally don't have a problem with it, and I was under the impression that the club forum had a bit more latitude than the general forum, but if you're going to be that picky, then the rule has to be applied across the board, not selectively. But to be fair, if you're going to slap my hand for a "YGPM" then you really need to not ask for pictures of your skimmers. If you can live with a PM note, I have no problem at all with posting pictures of MRC skimmers. Fair is fair.
The only difference here is that this is already a customer that has already bought and paid for a product. This is more customer service asking what he has done than anything. I am not trying to sell him anything. The product he mentions, I do not sell in its current form. That would mean if a customer asks a question in any forum that asks for help on one of my products, I can't answer. That is not my interpretation of a commercial post. That is customer service at its finest. Of course you showing a picture in the same thread of a skimmer you sell, could be considered commercial also.

JennM said:
I thought we were done with the petty stuff, and were moving forward with positive things for the club. We had a good and productive meeting on Tuesday, both the regular meeting and the informal discussion with those of us who stuck around afterward. Please, let's quit with the personality conflicts and start focussing our energies on good things for the club.

Jenn
I don't think this is petty at all...and if anyone does then I am sorry. Jenn this isn't me against you.....this is me as a moderator of this forum and the club President talking..not the owner of MRC. It is NOT personal...everything I post that could be construed negative to you is not personal....It seems like everytime something comes up...it ends up being me against you....and I would hope that isn't the case with you, since I know it isn't with me.
 

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No, I'm not taking it personally at all. I'm simply looking at it as one business posting and another business posting, and where the lines of commercialism should be drawn. IMO it's a constructive discussion, do you not agree?

I'm not going to get in a peeing contest. I didn't say I sold that skimmer, I didn't even name the brand of skimmer, but I thought the picture depicted what the poster might be trying to explain. If it's not, I stand corrected. Please don't read more into that than exists.

Maybe the poster has bought your stuff already but the casual reader of the thread might not have, and you're "flagging" potential buyers too by asking for pictures and conducting your customer service business in that post. I'm just calling it as I see it too - but I did not lodge a complaint, nor do I have one to make. I really don't have a problem with it, but since you have opted to take me to task, over "YGPM", I just wanted to point out the double standard. You can catch more flies with honey.... and I feel like a scolded school-girl ;)

As I stated before, I really do not have a problem with it, nor do I have a problem with your comments above, as I walked on eggshells to reiterate. I'm working hard not to come across as argumentative, hostile or what was the other word.... irritating... *g* (my special gift!) I am simply suggesting that we relax a bit, and use a bit of common sense. Can we please just lighten up a bit, and get back to the business of FUN in the reef club? I feel like all of this is becoming too much work.

Jenn
 

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Wow, I don't know how I missed this thread.

My two bits for the record: a YGPM post is acceptable. If the recipient of the PM doens't have email notices turned on, it's easy not to notice that you have a PM at all. As I see it, there's quite a difference between the world knowing that so-and-so has responded to a thread and reading that they've got the product being discussed for the LOW, LOW PRICE OF *JUST* $69.95 - TODAY ONLY!! ;)
 
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