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FORUM MEETING: The "no-sell" zone


David Bryce

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Okay...

 

The issue of using this forum to sell gear has been brought up recently in PMs to me based upon my deletion of a thread last night. One of the people who posts here and is also an MI manufacturer feels that he should be able to initiate threads talking about special buys and/or to be able to pitch his products to the forum members. He feels that this provides a service to the community, and that the community would want this sort of information posted here. As a forum member, he has bubbled enthusiastically about other people's products, and doesn't see why he can't do the same about his own products. He contends that it's just as reasonable for a manufacturer to start such a thread about his own product as it is for an end user who may be interested in purchasing that same product to do so.

 

Right now it is forum policy that no one can use this board for purposes of sales or marketing without the permission of the forum members. That includes MI manufacturers, store sales guys, and individuals looking to sell gear. This policy was established years ago based on polling forum members as to what they would prefer. When we did that originally, pretty much everyone who responded voted to keep the board "sales free", which it has been since then (the most notable exception being the "Garage Sale" thread created specifically for end-users selling used gear, also established by member vote).

 

Since then, we've had very few issues. There have been one or two incidents, but by and large everyone has been very cooperative on this point.

 

As many of you know, I work for two different MI companies. I have tried to hold myself to this rule as well, and have prided myself in never starting any solicitous threads about either of my companies. However, it has been suggested to me that my post in which I informed members of this forum that I had started a thread in another forum (with that moderator's permission) about the ADAM naming contest was, in fact, solicitous of me. I disagree with that assessment, but if it can be perceived that this behavior was in violation of the "no-sell" rule, then I apologize.

 

Anyway, as always, I have tried to do what people want me to do. If those of you who post here want manufacturers to be able to initiate threads talking about special buys, new products, etc., then that will be the way it goes. If not, then that will be the way it stays.

 

Discuss...

 

dB

 

Additional note: I decided not to name the manufacturer in question because I feel that it is not my place to do so. If that person wishes to identify himself and make his case to the forum members, I welcome his input and request that he correct me if he feels I have incorrectly represented his position.

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Hmmm...that's a tough one. There are certain things that I think are useful knowledge to pass on (e.g., group buys for products pertinent to keyboardists, special offers for forum members, etc.). However, it's a bit of slippery slope, isn't it? I think we'd all prefer to avoid being deluged by "For Sale" threads, or threads that are really just spam advertisements.

 

I'll defer to members who have been here longer than I (which is most of you), but I would vote that threads that offer some discount (via group buy or forum membership discount) are certainly fine, but other threads that are nothing but "hey, we've just released product X, come check it out" should still be banned. Generally, if it's worth the attention, one of the regulars here will post about the product announcement anyway.

 

Like I said, though, I'll go along with the consensus on this one, as I can easily see benefits to an outright ban, if that's what people would prefer.

 

Cheers,

Mark

"I don't know anything about music. In my line, you don't have to."

-Elvis Presley (1935-1977)

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I prefer the "Garage Sale" approach that is focused to one single thread for regular users. Open it up and next thing you know there will be a dozen posts marketing this or that. One of the things I like about this forum is the lack of overt selling.

 

If some MI reps want to announce a special deal, have them do it in the Garage Sale thread. If it is that great, people will post replies to it and people may take notice of the thread getting bumped to the top of the list.

 

I also think it is ok for members to recommend a certain supplier upon request. This usually occurs within the context of an on-topic posting. I have had very good dealing with a number of "mom and pop" type places and have publicly recommended them here. I am in no way affiliated with these shops and I think that is what differentiates a referral from a salesman spamming the boards with "Hey, check this out!"

 

Regards,

Eric

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Originally posted by Red Winger:

However, it's a bit of slippery slope, isn't it?

Especially for me, because it puts me in the position of having to make the call as to what gets deleted and what doesn't, and I just friggin' hate having to be the bad guy/police. :(

 

Originally posted by eric:

If some MI reps want to announce a special deal, have them do it in the Garage Sale thread.

What about an "Industry News" thread with a sticky like the others at the top of the forum? :idea:

 

dB

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

If those of you who post here want manufacturers to be able to initiate threads talking about special buys, new products, etc., then that will be the way it goes. If not, then that will be the way it stays.

 

Discuss...

 

dB

Not easy answer. On one hand, I hate when aggressive salesmen yell at me to buy their stuff. On the other hand, I love when someone with good ideas, maybe running a small music-related business, shows me something new and clever. Especially when they don't have the budget to advertise on big music magazines. For example, the guy who builds Macbeth synths posts on the HC keyboard forum, asking for advices from the members and making himself available for info about product release dates, etc.. I like that. Another example: the guy who makes FM sounds for the Kurzweil posts at Sonik (and here too...), with details and updates about his products.

 

BUT - Both these guys also contribute actively to the forums, giving their opinion on a variety of subjects. So their occasional spamming for their own products is much better tolerated, I think, by their respective forumites.

 

Maybe an "Industry News" thread will work - but if people starts asking for info on specific products, it could became chaotic. What about a mandatory beginning for thread titles, like: "Industry News: New SWX-1111 Ear Torturator released!" A bit like people starts OT threads with "OT:"

This should also be a nice way to keep out complete strangers, and to force them to familiarize a bit with the forum rules before spamming. Also, it would allows us to avoid those threads if not interested.

 

What you think?

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Originally posted by marino:

On one hand, I hate when aggressive salesmen yell at me to buy their stuff. On the other hand, I love when someone with good ideas, maybe running a small music-related business, shows me something new and clever. Especially when they don't have the budget to advertise on big music magazines. For example, the guy who builds Macbeth synths posts on the HC keyboard forum, asking for advices from the members and making himself available for info about product release dates, etc.. I like that. Another example: the guy who makes FM sounds for the Kurzweil posts at Sonik (and here too...), with details and updates about his products.

 

BUT - Both these guys also contribute actively to the forums, giving their opinion on a variety of subjects. So their occasional spamming for their own products is much better tolerated, I think, by their respective forumites.

The person in question does participate in the forum.

 

Also, believe me, I see his point of view. I'd love to be able to talk about ADAM stuff or DSI stuff here. My problem is that the one who has to make the call on what's too far or what's spam is me, and I'm concerned that I'll feel like a hypocrite if I'm able to post about stuff I represent and be in the position where I have to make the call as to who can and who can't.

 

Okay, so maybe we allow established forum members to put up these sort of posts, just not newbies...well, when do they stop being newbies exactly? My call again, right? See what I mean? :eek::(

 

dB

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Dave, I think you're doing a great job moderating. There's no urgency in modifying forum policy. Why not let this thread run for awhile and see if we can come to a clear consensus for guidelines so that you don't have to be the bad guy?

 

My initial reaction is that we certainly don't want to clutter up the bandwidth and change the forum dynamic with spam but that a single "Group Buy" sticky thread and a single "Industry News" sticky thread might be okay.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

My Blue Someday appears on Apple Music | Spotify | YouTube | Amazon

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I think that once you open the door to "for sale" posts that are not between individuals (which is why you already have the "Garage Sale" sticky on that topic), it's a hard door to close.

 

And once you allow it, it sets a precedence that could leave you open to being accused of bias.

 

I represent five manufacturers, two distributors, two rep firms and a big-ass retailer. Unless there's a product that really, really important for folks to know about, I purposefully avoid talking about any of them here. My experience on KC is not one intended on making money for myself or anyone else.

 

I think it's best if you stay with your zero-tolerance rule for bringing up sales-based threads from anyone other than individuals selling their personal gear.

 

Just my opinion... YMMV.

 

- Jeff

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

Okay, so maybe we allow established forum members to put up these sort of posts, just not newbies...well, when do they stop being newbies exactly? My call again, right? See what I mean? :eek::(

 

dB

Hey - I *did* make a constructive proposal! :D

 

See my post... :)

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Personally I like the idea of an "Industry Buzz" or offerings thread, stickied at the top. I come here to get an insight on what's going on with development, and having a thread I can go to for deals as well would sure be convenient.
This keyboard solo has obviously been tampered with!
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dave, you certainly don't want to get into the position of having to 'make the call' on a case by case basis.

i don't have any solutions, and am still too new here to put them out if i did, but i think whatever policy you decide to implement, it will have to be 'across the board', and equally applicable to all comers.

as suggested, maybe some kind of 'sticky' could be used.

the only negative result of this might be that some posts have to be moved.

a sticky situation, indeed.

 

i'm not affiliated with any manufacturers, but if i see something intersting, i'll link to it and like others to do the same.

 

i like it when a manufacturer's rep has the good common sense to express the abilities of their products as a contribution to a discussion - i'm thinking of mike martin here.

but even here, if there is excess negativity towards a competitor's product (which i have never seen from mike), it would turn me off to the whole thing.

 

i've never seen it happen, but i could sort of see a forum turning into a cat fight over different product's merits.

 

i think there are many forums devoted to 'gear junkies' that welcome any posts pertaining to new products, but i don't think that's what the main focus of this forum is.

 

BTW: what is the main focus of this forum? :confused::D:wave:

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fwiw, my vote goes for not changing anything. Your doing a great job as it is. And this is one 'safe haven' where i'm sure i won't be bombarded with manufacturer BS. That's one of the best things about this forum - you get to talk to people, users from the trenches. That's quite different from reading some hyped spec sheet or news announcement. Of course, i salute all MI reps that come forward to clarify a potential problem or support issue about their product, when those are subject matter in a thread. Thats a nice way to get quick and detailed answers about more 'in-depth' issues. The only proper way to build buyers confidence in the company product/people behind it etc.

 

As for special thread about 'What's New' reserved for MI; dunno, it seems there's more than enough sites that deal with this sort of thing already; HC Main Page, Sonic State to name a few.

 

my $0.02

http://www.babic.com - music for film/theatre, audio-post
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Originally posted by mildbill:

BTW: what is the main focus of this forum? :confused::D:wave:

From the forum's description on the main page :

 

Synths, pianos, software, analog, digital, modeling, virtual instruments...this is the place on the web for discussions, debates, opinions and assistance...plus the occasional sports thread.
dB
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Originally posted by Sir Basil:

Personally I like the idea of an "Industry Buzz" or offerings thread, stickied at the top. I come here to get an insight on what's going on with development, and having a thread I can go to for deals as well would sure be convenient.

I'm for keeping with the status quo - the less selling the better. But, I guess I could live with an "Industry Buzz" sticky thread.

 

On a related note, I don't know whether it's my inherently suspicious and cynical nature, but I'm getting the impression there's some covert selling going on by salespeople masquerading as regular forumites. But, I don't know if I'm right, and I also don't know what to do about it, other than keep my b.s. radar on. I wonder if I'm alone on this one.

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ooh..great topic.

 

Dave, I guess I am basically ok with the way it is now or I wouldn't be here.

 

Saying that, I think the idea of a manufacturer or rep posting could be a great idea. The good ones could add a lot to these discussions. If the bad ones get too stupid it will almost "self-police"...i.e it will hurt their company...or the rest of the forum members will "nuke" them.

 

Ok, I am brainstorming here...maybe if a certain number of regular posters yell "foul" the offendor's post gets deleted or they get banned or whatever.. (something like 5-10 people who have a minimum of 1000 posts can cause a thread or poster to "go away").

 

Or maybe there is someway you can "earn" enough credibility to be able to post. Honestly, I think if it really has potential "value" for many members then posts should be allowed..whether it is from David Bryce, Jeff, even me, etc.. Many of you have a lot to offer..It is a shame that we can't get all of your experience.

 

I also think there is a huge difference between posting something for sale with an aggressive sales technique versus quality educating/announcing/informing with valuable info. I think good "educational" posts by anyone should be allowed.

 

I don't think dealers (not even Sweetwater) or individuals should be able to post stuff for sale. There are too many other great places to do it.

 

My thoughts... for whatever they are worth.

 

Chuck Surack

Sweetwater Sound

 

NOTE: Full disclosure ahead:

I always post in my real name and with the Sweetwater name so nobody thinks I am trying to be sneaky or underhanded. I am not trying to generate sales, just trying be honest and upfront.

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Originally posted by Floyd Tatum:

On a related note, I don't know whether it's my inherently suspicious and cynical nature, but I'm getting the impression there's some covert selling going on by salespeople masquerading as regular forumites. But, I don't know if I'm right, and I also don't know what to do about it, other than keep my b.s. radar on. I wonder if I'm alone on this one.

I've considered that possibility, and I'm positive I've seen it on other forums.

 

FWIW, I'd rather keep things the way they are, without any extra advertising. I can research products myself, I don't need any "favors" from MI retailers. I also don't need to read announcements from a rep every time something new comes out. HC has that already, and if the general members here think something is worth mentioning, let THEM post a thread about it.

 

So, I vote against an "industry buzz" thread. It's cleaner and easier to just keep it in the garage sale thread.

 

As clusterchord stated, HC is a great place to find new announcements. This place doesn't need to be an extension of that.

 

IMHO,

Jeebs

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Originally posted by Floyd Tatum:

[i'm getting the impression there's some covert selling going on by salespeople masquerading as regular forumites

that reminds me, when I first joined the forum I was suspected/accused of being a GEM rep. So I hope you don't misread my enthusiasm. Nahh, I'm pretty much an open book. You're talking about someone else, right? ;)

 

I haven't visited other forums, so I don't know the extent to which they can degenerate. But I have to say, I have on occasion found the rules a bit stifling. Not all opinions are created equal, and I do love to hear a straight call from the person best qualified to give it.

 

At the very least, could we have an MI INTRODUCTIONS thread? Easy access to contact people, if desired.

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Originally posted by gangsu:

Not all opinions are created equal, and I do love to hear a straight call from the person best qualified to give it.

That's just the thing... an MI rep is certainly NOT the best qualified to offer an opinion of his product. Of COURSE he thinks it's fantastic, what else could you expect?

 

Answering questions about a product and offering assistance is one thing, but I don't need an MI rep telling me how great he thinks his product is, again, and again, and again.

 

This was a big issue for me back in the Keystation 88 thread, and look how that turned out (not that I'm without fault, of course).

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Originally posted by Chuck Surack:

I think the idea of a manufacturer or rep posting could be a great idea. The good ones could add a lot to these discussions. If the bad ones get too stupid it will almost "self-police"...i.e it will hurt their company...or the rest of the forum members will "nuke" them.

I agree.

 

I've always encouraged manufacturers and their reps to post here...I think it adds value to the forum. Where I make the distinction is if they themselves start a thread or make a post specifically to directly solicit sales of their products. That's where I've always tried to draw the line.

 

Ok, I am brainstorming here...maybe if a certain number of regular posters yell "foul" the offendor's post gets deleted or they get banned or whatever.. (something like 5-10 people who have a minimum of 1000 posts can cause a thread or poster to "go away").

 

Or maybe there is someway you can "earn" enough credibility to be able to post. Honestly, I think if it really has potential "value" for many members then posts should be allowed.

Is there a way we can do that without me having to make the call? ;)

 

I also think there is a huge difference between posting something for sale with an aggressive sales technique versus quality educating/announcing/informing with valuable info. I think good "educational" posts by anyone should be allowed.
I agree. The post in question was a direct solicitation for sales of that manufacturer's product. That's why I deleted it.

 

I don't think dealers (not even Sweetwater) or individuals should be able to post stuff for sale. There are too many other great places to do it.
I fully agree with that...so then, why should manufacturers be able to? Aren't both posting with vested interests? Isn't that the core issue of what we're trying to avoid?

 

dB

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Well I personally think that no one should be able to promote their own stuff to sell here, because for as for myself, i am new to keyboards etc, and then if i am asking someone for their honest opinion then I may be told something that may not be quite true just so they can make a sale.. Then who do I believe?? :freak:

James - Sydney, Australia

Equipment: Roland Fantom X8 with expansions Platinum Traxx, Supreme Dance, Orchestra, and Ultimate Keys. Behringer 2031B monitors, Apex AX48B (silver) stand

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Originally posted by jcmedo80:

if i am asking someone for their honest opinion then I may be told something that may not be quite true just so they can make a sale.. Then who do I believe?? :freak:

We don't let that happen here, James.

 

First of all, it is forum policy that any manufacturer posting about their own products identify themselves as such - I'm fairly strict about that just so there is no confusion.

 

Secondly, factual inaccuracies are too easy to catch these days, and then that person's credibility would be completely destroyed, and the manufacturer's name potentially sullied as a result. I believe that this is too great of a risk for anyone connected with a manufacturer to take.

 

dB

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I'm all for simplicity and the least amount of intervention necessary. I'd be in favor of an "Industry" sticky thread if we were smart enough not to muck it up with value judgements and off-topic sidebars. Just let the reps and store salesguys advertise, and maybe allow clarification posts. Period.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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Let's admit though that people do a lot of talk about products and deals anyway around here. Who starts the thread isn't really such an issue because we only know WHO anyone is if they choose to be upfront about it (if they have affiliations with any MI company). It's pretty easy to be anonymous on a forum as unfortunate as that is. I respect people who are upfront about their affiliations and dodge the tomoatoes and lettuce when they voice their thoughts and opinions which they are entitled to just as much as the next guy.

 

In my opinion people should say whatever it is they feel compelled to share with Keyboard magazine's on line community, even if it may be about a product or deal they have some affiliation with (be upfront about that fact though). If no one is interested then the thread fades as fast as there are other threads coming up that people are more interested to respond to. It kind of takes care of itself in that way.

 

Let's say a bunch of people even disagree with that but ONE guy says "but, I like to hear about products and deals that relate to keyboardists". Should you deprive that person of the resource they can get out of this place? Can't you just ignore a thread that doesn't interest you but may interest someone else?

 

Ideally Keyboard magazine's forum should represent what the magazine is all about and that includes the hobbyist's side, the semi pro and pro musician's side, the editor/writer's side, the retailer's side and the manufacturer's side on the general topics of "the Keyboardist's tools for making music". So, surely there is room for all of the best of those things here! I hope so.

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Hi, names Justin and I work for Lint Co. Inc®. Here at Lint Co. Inc. I manufacture THE FINEST navel / belly button lint in the world, ever. It comes straight from my own belly, and is not synthetically enhanced or modified. You won't find High Fructose Corn Syrup here folks! You may be wondering the uses of lint would be, well listen up!

 

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Folks, the possibilities are endless! I charge in 5 pound increments, $20 per 5 pounds. Order a bag or a box today!

 

Sincerely,

Justin Kohli

Lint Co. Inc.

sales@lintco-inc.com

1.900.555.LINT

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To me... this is simple.

 

If musicians can't start individual threads "selling" their music... then reps can't sell their wares either.

 

We have a thread for musicians promoting and talking about their music as a group... so a "industry" thread sounds like a fair deal for the reps. No more than the musicians....

 

I want to see more gear reps here and I want to encourage them to identify themselves!

 

How about a "Is your product any good ?" thread. :D

It'd be great to have a constructive thread to give feedback on products directly to the designers.

 

Valky

Valkyrie Sound:

http://www.vsoundinc.com

Now at TSUTAYA USA:

http://www.tsutayausa.com

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Originally posted by Squids:

Ideally Keyboard magazine's forum should represent what the magazine is all about and that includes the hobbyist's side, the semi pro and pro musician's side, the editor/writer's side, the retailer's side and the manufacturer's side on the general topics of "the Keyboardist's tools for making music". So, surely there is room for all of the best of those things here!

The problem with that logic is that Keyboard mag isn't really concerned about the content of this forum being in line with "what the magazine is all about", nor have they ever been. They seem to like it just fine the way it is. We get no direction from them at all; in fact, other than their sponsorship of this forum, they really pretty much have nothing to do with it.

 

If the nice folks at Keyboard magazine were interested in the content of this forum being in line with the direction of the magazine, I imagine they'd be the first to say so. ;)

 

dB

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Our Keyboard Corner is a rare and exceptional community of key players, subtly and ably moderated by one of the humbler giants in this field, Dave Bryce (Grin & bear it, man! :D )

Why press his buttons?

He's got enough to do without having to agonize over, and explain,

what should be obvious to any decent, considerate, thinking person.

 

Things are cool as they are .

In a world of hype and bumf, this forum is a refreshing oasis in the surrounding desert of unsolicited (unwanted and un-asked-for) "advice".

 

Reps :

 

In the words of the booking agent,

 

" Don't call us. We'll call you! " ;)

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