Clarifying rules for sponsors and their affiliates..
There has been a lot going on behind the scenes lately and I've had to make some tough calls. I want to post this announcement to clarify things a bit. Due to the growth of the site and the amount of sponsors we have, I need to strengthen policies that apply to the sponsors and their affiliates. I feel that having no policy in place is a recipe for disaster to say the least. The current policy is that sponsors and their affiliates are to stay out of discussion regarding other sponsors threads or other sponsors products. This for example (only an example, no one has mentioned these types of products) prevents sponsor A from posting something such as "We have a new camera bag out that is far superior to sponsor B's bags", or maybe the guy who designed the bag for sponsor A, posting claims that sponsor B and C have poorly made bags, etc. When this sort of thing is allowed, it can only end in forum wars between sponsors. Is this censorship? To some degree yes, the sponsors are being asked to stay in their respective corners. It is sad that such a policy is needed but I refuse to end up with a forum full of these types of wars. Typically sponsors avoid these types of posts, however from time to time we have some sponsors or those involved with them, banging heads until there is an all out escalation that sours the forums. If left unchecked the result would be members taking sides and those members fighting resulting in even more bad blood. When there is a war I can't even describe the amount of mediating and work that goes on behind the scenes to smooth things over between those involved and in some cases trying to avoid legal dramas. I will be contacting all sponsors to ensure everyone is up to speed on this policy. We will try to start with a clean slate and enforce this more vigorously from here on out. From this point onward if you feel that any sponsor is going after another sponsors products, feel free to report the post. If you have any questions or concerns you can PM or email me.
Last edited by Sean; 05-02-2007 at 06:54 PM. Click to view previous post history.
some good questions I have recieved:
My take is such discussion could be handled on a case by case basis. The overall intent is to avoid conflict of interest. So, if a chemical company sponsor wanted to post a review of a new camera bag from a sponsor that sells camera bags this would most likely be ok (unless there is some sort of ulterior motive behind it). If their two product bases do not intertwine I can't really see a reason to block that.
1) is the policy intended to apply to sponsors who don't in any way compete? As an example, John Doe might want to enter a discussion about camera cases for one of xxxxxxx's products, or the advantages and disadvantages of one of xxxxxxx's developers;
If they directly answered a question regarding their product it should be ok. If they wanted to go into persuading the user to try a different paper or they went into naming other developers, that would be blocked. As long as they directly answer a question about their product and keeping it that way it should be alright.
if someone posts in a thread a question about a number of products, including another sponsor's product, should the other sponsor be able to answer it? As an example, if Rob Skeoch has a thread discussing Kentmere paper, and someone asks a question about using PF130 developer with that paper, should someone associated with Photographer's Formulary be allowed to answer it?
It applies to both. Sponsors just need to use caution regarding how they participate. In most cases they have already been doing this..
is the policy to be applied only to threads that are started by sponsors in their capacity as sponsors, or is it to apply as well to threads that are started by sponsors who also participate generally on the site?