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Thread: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

  1. #1
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    Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello All,

    Over the past few weeks, I have had several people talk to me in private about concerns with the CS sponsorship policy. Whilst Im always happy to hear from CS members, I dont think that being covert with your opinions is productive.

    If you have concerns, they are best directed to Andy or one of the mods by PM, rather than discussed privately. I can assure you that Andy and the mods are all very nice and trustworthy; Im sure that they will give your opinions fair consideration in the "mods only" area of the site and Im sure that any mod receiving your comments would be happy to remove your name from your comments when posting it to that area, if thats what you desire. If you want things to change, dont talk to me about it - talk to Andy and the mods! They all put in a lot of work and deserve our respect and candour.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    The one thing that seems odd to me, is that some sponsors are also mods. Thats just a potentially massive point of contention right there. :-/

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    A conflict of interest maybe?

    Good point recurve, but I am sure that being a Mod you would have CS as number 1 interest.

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    I agree Luca!

    If you have concerns, they are best directed to Andy
    email: andy@coff(you can guess the rest)

    Easy!


    PS: please dont send me PMs

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Theres only a conflict of interest if you cannot change hats. Theres only one person in this situation, and I seriously doubt a conflict of interest exists.

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1191464766/0#4 date=1191469627
    Theres only a conflict of interest if you cannot change hats. Theres only one person in this situation, and I seriously doubt a conflict of interest exists.
    But like many situations, it may just be easier to avoid it entirely! :-/

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by recurve boy link=1191464766/0#5 date=1191469867
    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1191464766/0#4 date=1191469627
    Theres only a conflict of interest if you cannot change hats. *Theres only one person in this situation, and I seriously doubt a conflict of interest exists.
    But like many situations, it may just be easier to avoid it entirely! *:-/

    As far as I can see, the entire mod team except Javaphile must therefore have a conflict of interest...

    - I sell machinery and provide training- as do many other sponsors
    - Andy sells green beans and roasts and retails brown coffee- as do many other sponsors
    - Scoots is a barista. We have a few of them here- many of whom are employed by sponsors

    I feel, its not so much what we do, more identifying which hat to have on when youre responding....When mods see a post which may be questionable, we communicate about it and decide as a group and I reckon that more often than not, the team does a pretty good job... Often we need to moderate when those who post forget that the forum has a posting policy and a sales policy.

    As Luca has already mentioned, the best way of making your thoughts known if you have issues is to take things up with a mod, or Andy as appropriate...If it was a CG issue, Id do exactly the same with Luca ;)

    2mcm

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    I see your point.

    However, take Andy for example. Should he be allowed mod status because he is essentially a site sponsor as well?

    Site sponsors are free to advertise on this forum because they have paid for that right.

    Ive noticed that there is a lot of flexing of the rules regarding non-sponsor posts recently. Sure, plugs for great cafes are always the exception, but when it comes to hardware, it is wrong to undermine suppliers, especially when they have the explicit right to not have outside advertisements (keep your ads private if in doubt or dont post them at all). It may be just more cases associated with more overall users, but it is a worrying trend.


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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    All,

    Ive said it before- but looks like its time again ::) ::) ::)

    Ill bet most of the complaints are re "censorship" by mods - especially re other (non sponsor) providers of goods and services - and this is perceived as bias.

    Well of course the mods are biased - and so they should be.

    It costs Andy heaps to provide this service which we all benefit from. He could pay it out of his own pocket (and he aint that stupid ;)) or sell the right to advertise to "site sponsors".... these people have the exclusive right to promote their goods and services here...... and are the only ones that do..... and the only ones the membership should promote (on this site). If you have a problem with a site sponsor (which I would think would be very unusual)- take it up with that sponsor. If you dont get satisfaction - take it up with Andy - but dont flame the sponsor here.

    There are rules which you agree to when you join as to what you can and cant do - and these rules are enforced by the mods in a very fair and even handed way...... and so they must - or the sponsors wont waste their money if they cant get the benefit they deserve.

    So if you dont like the rules....

    1. dont join
    2. set up your own site and post whatever you like
    3. be prepared to pay Andy a hefty sum each year for your "membership" of this site - and then you will be free to post whatever you like.

    However if you like the site being free and you find it useful (and if you dont what are you doing here?) then play by the rules - they arent that hard..... and everyone gets a "fair go".....

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1191464766/0#7 date=1191471121
    However, take Andy for example. Should he be allowed mod status because he is essentially a site sponsor as well?
    But whois says that it is his website. So, he gets to do whatever he wants! ;D

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    2MCM, it is only a conflict of interest if you make it one...

    A lot of comments will be made by members which will be taken the wrong way by Sponsors & Mods. In "open discussions" take the points raised as views and opinions rather than criticism. Try and find the positive in a post as I am sure that the majority of people posting here wont be meaning to bring a negative view on things.

    People can make this as easy or as complicated as they want. As long as guidlines and policies are constantly reviewed and agreed upon then it should be smooth sailing.

    From a commercial aspect, sponsors of the site that sell hardware should have a sponsors section where they are free to advertise their business as long as it is in keeping with the CS guidlines & policies that have been drawn up for site sponsors. However promoting business and products in other areas should be limited. This will be very hard to police but common sense should prevail. This will be a grey area as undoubtedly sponsors will be asked for their opinions on machines, techniques, blah blah blah.

    I agree with nunu in that no members should be saying that "you can purchase a ........... from ....... down the road for $........... whom is not a site sponsor, when a sponsor supplies the same product. That is advertising for a company that is not a site sponsor and goes against the nature of this community. That is simply undermining the work and commitment of the site sponsors.

    JavaB, all of your points raised are valid and constructive but maybe it is more than just censorship issues? If members do have any other issues then why not voice them so that the Mods and sponsors know about them. If I was a sponsor, I would like to know that the people I was sponsoring are happy within the community.


    I hope that this isnt just used as a bitching post and that the people involved here actually read the comments and be constructive with them.

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Christretto

    I think part of the problem might arise from some people honestly believing that a "whatever brand" machine is better value for money than one the site sponsors sell. Now that may be a very valid point of view....

    But ponder a while on a site like Microsoft.com and their discussion fora.... also paid for my Microsoft.....

    If a poster to that site asked a question about graphics packages (high end at that).... and a knowledgeable person posted..... "Microsoft dont have such packages.... in fact no-one does for the IBM platform...... go buy an Apple computer and install XYZ....."

    How long do you think the post would last on the Microsoft site......

    Or posting "Dont buy BigPond internet services - they are poor value for money compared to...... " on the BigPond discussion group wouldnt last too long either......

    Yes, IMHO both of the above are true.... and I would happily provide those answers..... but not on the sites mentioned. Why? Because I dont want my posting "censored"? - Nope, because common sense tells me that it is not an appropriate fora for those points of view.

    And similarly with Coffee related topics..... members must have some sensitivity to the fact this is not an open forum - it is a sponsored forum.... and there are some things which it is not appropriate to post - even if they are 110% correct.... because it would be insulting (by damaging the reputation or potential sales etc) to those who provide the site for our use and exchange of information.

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    So correct me if I am wrong, can we not mention Sunbeam, Cimbali, Synesso etc... as better machines or better value as the sponsors do not offer them?

    Look I respect the people who make this forum go around and that includes the members and I am not in any means trying to justify any points from any person. I am sure that everyone has an opinion on something and it is usual that human beings will discuss their opinions.

    Imagine if nobody discussed their opinions with anybody....

    This site would not exist.

    I personally do not have an issue with the policies on not making mention to other machines or equipment or undermining a sponsor etc as to date I have not had one of my posts censored or altered and I dont plan to any time soon...

    I am here for the knowledge base and discussions offered by many people that are a lot more experienced than myself.

    It was obvious that this thread was started due to a number of snobs voicing their concerns to a senior CS member and he did the right thing in stating that they should take it up with the relative person. Better out in the open than hiding it and letting it bottle up hey?


  14. #14
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Christretto link=1191464766/0#12 date=1191476794
    So correct me if I am wrong, can we not mention Sunbeam, Cimbali, Synesso etc... as better machines or better value as the sponsors do not offer them?
    Nope, theres absolutely no restriction that will ever be applied to discussions of comparison of one piece of hardware to another.... It would be impossible. How can one persons concept of "Value", in whatever sense or context, be imposed on another? As things currently stand and apart from matters of general etiquette and good taste, the only consideration we take into account, is that of the commercial reality of keeping this great little community "on the air".

    This requires money and the model chosen is that of site sponsorship. By necessity, this requires a level of commercial protection for the sponsors who keep CoffeeSnobs alive and well. I dont think that is unreasonable and if members "put the shoe on the other foot", Im sure they wouldnt like something to which they contribute considerable time and money, being "white-anted" away by others using careless, free promotion methods. Its a fact of life, you get nothing for nothing and its only fair that site sponsors get something in return for their efforts and hard-earned money.

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Mal,

    Tag team time again ;D ;D

    I personally think it depends on how the machines are discussed....

    1. Discussing technicalities of machines is fine
    2. Comparing machines (both sponsor stocked and others) is fine

    But saying -

    1. Buy an "xyz" (sponsor stocked or otherwise) from a non site sponsor isnt
    2. Buy "pqr" (a non sponsor stocked machine) as its much better that "xyz" is close to white anting sponsors....
    3. And posting details of non site sponsors for any machine is a definite no-no!!!

    Its really just a mater of common sense.


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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    When is JavaB going to become a Mod... youre most certainly waving that flag... :-)

    Not a dig at ya mate.. more a vote for you to be one ;-)

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    mmm, censorship ...

    "We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still." ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." ~Voltaire

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Opinions are never "stifled" around here, so long as its not in the form of someone trying to force ones opinion down the throat of others or deriding that of others. When comment takes on the cloak of personal attack, flaming or any of the other many forms of very negative and non-contributory posts into a thread, then that will never be tolerated.

    Overall, I think we operate on a very liberal and flexible basis to ensure that all members are encouraged to put their "point of view", in what ever form this may take with the exceptions noted above. I dont believe that any of this is breaking new ground, it is based around common sense, decency and respect for fellow members. Not very hard really :-?,

    Mal.

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1191464766/15#17 date=1191481391
    Opinions are never "stifled" around here, so long as its not in the form of someone trying to force ones opinion down the throat of others or deriding that of others. When comment takes on the cloak of personal attack, flaming or any of the other many forms of very negative and non-contributory posts into a thread, then that will never be tolerated.
    I agree categorically with you Mal - personal derision & attack is entirely unwarranted in any public arena, & does nothing to explore & advance the nuances of any debate.

    I posted those quotes as a reminder that some opinions may seem & come across as detestable, maybe because of an unfortunate tone/language used to express the opinion, but to disregard that persons opinion on that basis alone fails to recognise that it may contain threads of truth, or meritable points worthy of nutting out further.

    I totally respect the breadth & depth of knowledge out there in CSers, & also respect the right to engage in lively, but yes civil debate.

    Cheers,
    GOD gettin all philosophical ;) (aka Tony)

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by recurve boy link=1191464766/0#9 date=1191472705
    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1191464766/0#7 date=1191471121
    However, take Andy for example. Should he be allowed mod status because he is essentially a site sponsor as well? *
    But who is says that it is his website. So, he gets to do whatever he wants! *;D
    For those who have missed something, you might notice that Andy is on the Admin (think of it as Grand Poobah status...or, moderator of the mods) team...because it IS his website....so I reckon he should be allowed to do pretty much as he likes!

    The rest of us are lucky to be allowed to play here and a few simple rules shouldnt be too onerous :-? ;)

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    I wonder how long the name Grand Poobah will stick for Andy :D

  22. #22
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by GrindOnDemand link=1191464766/15#16 date=1191480198
    mmm, censorship ...

    "We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still." ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." ~Voltaire
    So its Ok to yell FIRE in the middle of a dark theater? Freedom of speech has its limits, in any society.

    Opinions have never been censored here unless they are presented as a personal attack on someone.

    Commercial postings are subject to censorship, and it is censorship that you have explicitly agreed too by becoming a member. The reasoning for this censorship has been nicely explained in the preceding posts.


    On the subject of 2MCM being a Mod and also a Sponsor early on in the history of the Mod team having a sponsor as a Mod was discussed and it was determined that with the right person it would be a good thing. Having a sponsor as a Mod would bring a sponsors perspective into our discussions and policy decisions. Given that this site relies on the sponsors for continued operation knowing their concerns and opinions is a vital matter. Having a sponsor on the mod team would nicely balance it out. The only potential downside would be if the sponsor used their status as a Mod to the detriment of the site or to advantage over other sponsors.

    I have seen no such problems with 2MCM. If someone believes they have then that needs to be communicated to the Mods/Andy so it can be addressed. Similarly if anyone has any other issues with the site they also need to be communicated to the Mods/Andy. Its hard to fix a problem if you dont know it exists. :)



    Java "We all have many hats" phile

  23. #23
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    You just have to know that I cant resist throwing in my two cents worth on a discussion like this, and will do so from a personal perpspective.

    Ive been reactive and even upset with some past censorship decisions when i first joined the site. This came about primarily through a lack of understanding (and partly due to my hot latin blood ;) ).

    At one point, I even went into self exile. Despite me being a right pain in the ..." quite often, the very first people to contact me ask me to reconsider, and extend a sincere welcome when I came back were Andy, Chris, and the other mods/sponsors.

    I think Ive come to learn that this site is dedicated to coffee, and is tolerant of many different perpsectives. We are provided with a platform via PMs to promote or chat about things that dont conform to site policy. When I visit someone in their home, I respect their house rules. There arent many rules here, so I think its easy to comply and Im always made to feel welcome by everyone. I have made friends with people and broadened my outlook.

    Id also like to point out an example of Andys tolerance and committment to CS members. In effect, he has turned a blind eye to the Nuova Point thread I created, and did so forearmed with information I had provided. In other words, I ran it by him first. He allowed it and asked for nothing in return, and I know he is also generous in many other ways that are not mentioned in any of the threads you will find on the site.

    From my perspective, the site would soone become chaotic without the few policies we are asked to observe. So with that in mind, thankyou from me to Andy, Mal, Chris, Scoota and Javaphile (yes, I know there are others who arent as active). You guys do a fantastic job!
    [smiley=tekst-toppie.gif]

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Hi all,

    I think that this thread has kind of headed off in a different direction from what I intended ...

    Of course we all love coffeesnobs; otherwise we wouldnt be posting here to start off with! There are any number of members who have cancelled their membership or gone silent after that one post so that they could send a PM to buy something cheap on the buy/sell forum.

    Discussing what policy ought to be here is all well and good, but it has two important drawbacks: (a) the (well deserved) plethora of posts saying what a great job Andy and the mods do will discourage people from posting the very things that they feel compelled to keep private and (b) the forum is public, so shy people will be even less inclined to post here.

    The purpose of my post was to channel the effort that people were wasting in talking to me or to each other about their concerns with CS into something that generates useful feedback that the mods can then use to work out what their policy ought to be. I fear that this thread will head down the direction of being a clash of different viewpoints, rather than a starting point for discussion amongst the moderators.

    And it shouldnt need mentioning, but I think that we can trust the mods! I mean, Chris has just created a new username for Talk Coffee so that he can designate which hat he is wearing, like Java and I do with our jobs. Like I said, you talk; they listen!

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Well put Luca. You are right in what you say and even with Chris starting the new username goes to show that the crew are being proactive & PRODUCTIVE.

    I think that a lot of people take for granted what is being given to them here. Even with the clash in viewpoints, I am sure the admin team will be able to see through it all and I guess we shall trust them to have the best outcome.

    If nothing else, at least people were reminded of site policies etc.

  26. #26
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Ive refrained so far from commenting but have definitely been reading.

    Thanks guys for your kind words of our time and effort in assisting Andy in keeping CS moving along.

    Personally, I really do feel like I am a happy employee of CS and hope to continue to be so for many years yet! As long as Andy is happy with his employees work of course! ;)

    I totally agree with what you are trying to do here, Luca, in getting people to address their concerns directly towards the Admin team. Let me just assist with emphasising that point...

    I feel that Andy is a very approachable person. No one here should ever feel that he will not respond to any comments forwarded to him on any topic. If you seriously have a concern you must let Andy know. Ultimately, he needs to know so that he can respond as he wants to.

    Having said that, be also aware that Andy does have a full time job along with all of Coffeesnobs committments! And because of that, he has granted several of us with similar responsibility to assist him in the running of this place. I think that we are all approachable in that regard. We all can reply in a considerate and concerned way. We do not just make decisions by ourselves here, as we consider ourselves to be part of a Great Team!

    Please, if you have any concerns, dont just bitch about them to others. That is negative and destructive. Rather be proactive and constructive and approach those who can do something about your concerns. We will take them seriously and give those concerns the consideration they deserve.

    Kind regards
    Scoota

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    We have over 3000 members now so I would doubt that any group of that number would agree on everything even with their overwhelming passion being a little bean.

    Luca, I am glad you raised the issue, BUT, at some point if those people who are having a whinge to you have issues then they have 3 options: raise them here with the forum you have given them, say or do nothing which would be unfortunate, or vote with their feet (or mouse) and go elsewhere.

    From my perspective this is a sponsored site, it has rules, if I dont like them I will go somewhere else or combine this site with others.

    I dont agree it is about censorship, I dont think this is political, democratic, sexist or racist. It is I am sure a particular demographic, capitalist, oligarchical and I am fine with that, in fact if it wasnt for the latter points it probably wouldnt exist for my benefit.

  28. #28
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcS link=1191464766/15#15 date=1191479279
    When is JavaB going to become a Mod... youre most certainly waving that flag... *:-)

    Not a dig at ya mate.. more a vote for you to be one *;-)

    Sheeze... dont even go there Marc, JavaB is a sponsor!
    ;D

    [hr]


    Everyone...

    I would prefer to get specific concerns emailed to me but if you feel the need to do this in public (exhibitionists?) then please feel free to keep venting, brainstorming and voicing your opinions in this thread and Ill offer-up some ideas when the dust settles.


  29. #29
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Hypothetically, methinks that if a sponsor, who also happens to be a moderator, chooses to close a thread of discussion down on their own accord (because they have that pre-given power) with no discussion as to why? Then, well, folks, thats essentially censorship!

    Further debate is quashed at the whim of 1 person choosing to end it, because they feel its not kosher to continue.

    Javaphile, yes mate we do have many hats, but can a sponsor wear a moderators hat simultaneously, & be seen as impartial when circumventing a discussion?

    Flip side is, must be bloody hard for a sponsor to post an opinion on an issue without being perceived as having a hidden agenda!

    Speaking of hats, mine off in respect to Andy for allowing freedom of opinion such as mine to enter the foray - my long-lived passion in debate is being rapidly matched with a passion for exploring roasting SOs & comparing profiles, very thankfully for the existence of this forum & passionate members sharing their knowledge & journies!

  30. #30
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    I go to work and come back to all this? Im usually a killer of threads, but it seems Im losing my touch.



  31. #31
    Senior Member GregJW's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    If I could add my 2 cents worth as a green bean.
    I must admit that, in reading through the numerous topics, etc on this great site since my recent awakening, I have occasionally wondered whether some of the advice / comments have been totally impartial or possibly driven by commercial interests.
    Now dont get me wrong, I accept that the good people involved in this site put in a lot of work because they are passionate about coffee. And I accept the commercial realities of requiring sponsorship income to keep this site going. But my naturally skeptical brain (a result of my day job) subconsciously has me looking for any possible angles.
    When you get a forum which mixes genuine, impartial advice with commercial interests, there is a risk that the lines between the two may get blurred. An ultimate example of this risk was the "Cash for Comments" affair involving two prominent radio announcers and the blurring of lines between genuine commentary and the promotion of sponsors products. The result has been the requirement to make this line more transparent and have upfront disclosure of commercial interests.
    What would be the opinion of other CSers to the suggestion that a similar type of transparency be applied to this forum, requiring moderators and sponsors to have their commercial interests (ie their businesses) on their CS profiles.
    Whilst Im sure none would provide advice falsely and purely for profit, but at least this way Coffee Snobs could not be accused of not being transparent and would be above reproach in this regard.
    In relation to mere CS members, the requirement would be difficult (read impossible) to enforce, but is this the responsibility of CS management?
    Anyway, love the site. Hope you dont think Im being too forward as a newbie. Just my 2 cents.

    Greg.

  32. #32
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Given that we are well and truely off topic now, Ill suggest to the mod team that this be renamed. How about something like: Lets put the boots in *:-? ::)

    With my mod representative hat on can I repeat that decisions to close, delete or modify are never made on a whim unless there is a blatant breach of site policy. CS moderators always have and continue to work as a team. Amazing as it might seem, stuff goes on behind the scenes...

    Dont be so naiive guys and perhaps if you do have questions, how about raising them personally rather than in a backhanded manner?

    Were not that scary! ;)

  33. #33
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions


    I admin another forum.
    Its to do with an online game I partly own.

    Occasionally I have to put on my admin hat and at other times my owner hat.
    Generally though most of my posts are personal.

    When I need to post with an admin or owner hat I clearly say so.

    I know it can be difficult on rare occasions to decide which hat youre going to wear but it doesnt happen too often.
    Remember, mods and admins are human.

    I think the mods here do an excellent job.
    It appears to be balanced and well organised.

    Ive been here a while now and made a post or two but vaguely remember finding my way through the etiquette maze early on with the occasional intervention of the powers that be.

    Maybe my behind the scenes experience gives me some insight other newbies dont have and that insight understands the hard work Andy and the mods put in to running this forum so smoothly.

    So thanks from me too.

    And dont worry, if I have a gripe Ill let you know. ;)

  34. #34
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by GrindOnDemand link=1191464766/15#28 date=1191501836
    Hypothetically, methinks that if a sponsor, who also happens to be a moderator, chooses to close a thread of discussion down on their own accord (because they have that pre-given power) with no discussion as to why? Then, well, folks, thats essentially censorship!
    Hypothetically you are correct but....

    In all the time I spend browsing the threads Ive only seen a few posts "dissappear" and they have been either very blatant advertising for a non site sponsor..... or the contents would not have been considered acceptable on any public fora (abusive etc)....

    I have seen a few which were modified (removal of personal details to protect the member or removal of commercial links....)

    So the evidence of this happening is just not there. But thats not to say some people dont perceive it as being there. I also believe that the mods discuss taking any such action and agree before it is actually taken.

    Being a mod here is very time consuming, and generally only site sponsors and a few others have that time available. It is also, in general, a thankless task- but one without which the high standards which are maintained would rapidly decline.

    So does Andy pander to some peoples perception that there is censorship? IMHO there is neither actual censorship or any reason for people to perceive there is.

    Of course site sponsors will recommend their product. Why? The simple answer is "because they are selling it" - but the real answer is that they have done their homework and know what are good products - and thats what they sell and promote..... Just like the rest of us who buy an "XYZ" machine.... we will try to tell everyone it is the best..... because we bought it so it must be the best. They have the same passion for good coffee as the rest of us do.... so why cant they express it also.

    No one can be truly impartial (well maybe Choice testers)..... and we all know the value of their "advice" ::) ::)

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeman link=1191464766/15#27 date=1191500846
    Sheeze... dont even go there Marc, JavaB is a sponsor!
    Now Andy.... thats my alternate ego (PEA)..... who works for a site sponsor.... JavaB is just a member of the group.

  35. #35
    Senior Member Sketchy's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    I would suggest that people seek advise from users online then once they know what they want they could ask several site sponsers if they have the product, if none of them have it im sure they will point you towards someone who does, that they themselves know. that way you will get what you wanted and the sponsors still helped. ( which im sure they would )
    It is still better than going places like hardly normal or dave jones as they only want to make a sail. where as with a site sponser you are dealing with someone who cares about what they do and what they sell.

    Just my 4 cents worth

    LE

  36. #36
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by GrindOnDemand link=1191464766/15#28 date=1191501836
    Hypothetically, methinks that if a sponsor, who also happens to be a moderator, chooses to close a thread of discussion down on their own accord (because they have that pre-given power) with no discussion as to why? Then, well, folks, thats essentially censorship!

    Further debate is quashed at the whim of 1 person choosing to end it, because they feel its not kosher to continue.
    And how is that any different than a Mod who is not a Sponsor doing the same thing? Its only censorship when a Mod who is also a Sponsor does it? Your argument makes no sense and furthermore makes it appear that rather than trying to resolve a problem you have a personal axe to grind.

    Javaphile, yes mate we do have many hats, but can a sponsor wear a moderators hat simultaneously, & be seen as impartial when circumventing a discussion?
    If you think any of the Mods are impartial then you are mistaken. None of us are impartial. If we were impartial then we would not be capable of performing the job we were hired for. (And before you ask, no, were not paid.) By accepting the job of being a Mod any impartiality goes out the window. The job of a Mod is to enforce the rules of this site. By agreeing to enforce the rules of this site any enforcement action a Mod takes is by definition partial in favor of the site. Therefor being partial in and of itself is not a problem, and is in fact a requirement to be a Mod.

    Unless someone can point out a case (none exists that Im aware of) where a Mod who is also a Sponsor has gone outside of the rules of this site and quashed a discussion so-as to benefit their business the problem is not one of actuality but of hypotheticalness. Theoretically anything is possible. The actuality however is that this has not happened and if it did it would swiftly be dealt with by the other Mods and Andy.

    The responsibility for locking down a thread lies with all of the Mods and not just the Mod who did the actual locking. Every one of us Mods have locked down discussions that have gotten out of hand and deleted/edited posts that stepped over the line. When we do so we make a note of what was done in a thread in the Mods only area where it can be reviewed by all the Mods and if necessary debated among us until a consensus is reached at which point one of us will implement our decision. Very rarely is such a discussion needed as by the time a Mod finally has had enough and steps in its pretty clear to all of us that the action was needed.


    Java "Wearing his hats" phile

  37. #37
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by GregJW link=1191464766/30#30 date=1191503414
    When you get a forum which mixes genuine, impartial advice with commercial interests, there is a risk that the lines between the two may get blurred. An ultimate example of this risk was the "Cash for Comments" affair involving two prominent radio announcers and the blurring of lines between genuine commentary and the promotion of sponsors products. The result has been the requirement to make this line more transparent and have upfront disclosure of commercial interests.
    What would be the opinion of other CSers to the suggestion that a similar type of transparency be applied to this forum, requiring moderators and sponsors to have their commercial interests (ie their businesses) on their CS profiles.
    Whilst Im sure none would provide advice falsely and purely for profit, but at least this way Coffee Snobs could not be accused of not being transparent and would be above reproach in this regard.
    In relation to mere CS members, the requirement would be difficult (read impossible) to enforce, but is this the responsibility of CS management?
    Anyway, love the site. Hope you dont think Im being too forward as a newbie.
    This is already the case. All site sponsors are clearly identified as such. In any post they make "Site Sponsor" appears under their nick above their avatar at the left side of the post.

    If a normal user is pushing a product or service for their own personal profit in order to make that profit they will have to direct people to that business. When that link is posted it will swiftly be removed by the Mods as it violates the sites rules (No commercial posting except by Sponsors) hence making their posting a waste of time. Such people usually quickly learn that such posts are a waste of time and take their fishing expeditions elsewhere.


    Java "Has no commercial interests" phile

  38. #38
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    I think that if people want a coffee machine that isnt sold by sponsors, its usually toward the bottom end of the market. These people may or may not get information here (all of it biased), make their decision, then go to a local chain store to shop.

    Others whose needs are different have a wonderful array of goodies to choose that are available from the sponsors right here. I dont know how many times Ive read comments from Chris, Renzo, etc. inviting people to come and try things for themselves. Im sure each have their own personal preferences too. Ultimately though, the decision and choice is ours!

    I do think this whole thread is a little bizarre. Imagine owning a shop and having everyone that comes into the store telling you how to arrange the shelves, seating, products, etc. Telling you what to buy, what to sell, how much to charge, as well as asking for advice on how to use it (think about how beanbay works). On top of that these customers also want to tell you who to employ and what their credentials should be. I dont think some of the comments made to date are far from this.

    Really....is there anyone here who objects to sponsorship policy opinions or whatever else this thread is about, who would set up a store under the conditions I mentioned?

    Oh and nunu - your comment earlier about usually having the power to shut down conversation in a thread was a cracker :)

    Ive now had more than my second crack worth, so thankyou!

  39. #39
    TC
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    I have an idea,

    How about we all revisit what this forum is about and chat about coffee? There have been more off topic posts in the last day than anything else....;) ::)

    Im gonna go crack the first batch of the Mountaintop bin 549....

    Chris

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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis link=1191464766/30#37 date=1191535399

    I do think this whole thread is a little bizarre. !
    Im with you Dennis. This whole thread is crap I bet Luca is shaking his head. Its a SPONSORED SITE its the way it is, there is a million ,well maybe not that many, threads on products the sponsors dont sell none have been closed down or railroaded. Maybe this place isnt for some people. Stick it out for a while and youll see its not that bad, and assuming people can think for themselves take advice or leave it if its not what you want to hear.

    Andrew

  41. #41
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    I think its a plot hatched by Luca just to stir the pot :P

    I think you need a bigger spoon mate :)

  42. #42
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1191464766/30#35 date=1191508918
    Quote Originally Posted by GrindOnDemand link=1191464766/15#28 date=1191501836
    Hypothetically, methinks that if a sponsor, who also happens to be a moderator, chooses to close a thread of discussion down on their own accord (because they have that pre-given power) with no discussion as to why? Then, well, folks, thats essentially censorship!

    Further debate is quashed at the whim of 1 person choosing to end it, because they feel its not kosher to continue.
    And how is that any different than a Mod who is not a Sponsor doing the same thing? Its only censorship when a Mod who is also a Sponsor does it? Your argument makes no sense and furthermore makes it appear that rather than trying to resolve a problem you have a personal axe to grind.
    This is exactly why external sponsors and mod powers dont mix well. There is more suspicion when someone who is both does it.

    Good reason to change the policy! Avoid arguments! :)

  43. #43
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    I dont understand how you could say that it is a plot hatched by Luca. Have you in fact spoken to him and asked him that for yourself? Or are you just going out on a limb and accusing Luca of bring things into disarray?

    Obviously Luca (who is a Mod on other sites and a very experienced person in this situation) has had general members voice their concerns to him. Luca has done the right thing in directing those people here so that the concerns may be voiced.

    CS is still growing day by day and when a community grows rapidly, there will be humps along the way that have to be got over.

    In my opinion I think that the Mods could get a lot out of all the things discussed here if they take it is constructive discussions.

    I said it before & Ill say it again, I dont believe that the people posting here in this thread want to bring negativity to the community, or sink the boot in ... If people have any real concerns I hope that they have emailed an Admin member and discussed it with them with a possible solution. All comments made here are all acceptable and valid in ways, they just have to be filtered through.

    If everybody has the attitude that they can do things better (Mods & sponsors included as well as members) then yes, problems will arise. We have to respect that the Admin team are there for a reason and have a task to carry out. Members should not be attacking them but rather just voicing concerns in a constructive manner.

    Hey guys its Friday.... Weekend is just around the corner.

  44. #44
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    All tongue in cheek...

  45. #45
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    You have lost me now. Who cares?

    Are we here about coffee or appearances?

    I have been down the never ending road of trying to satisfy everybody in a public situation, it dont work. It distracts, confuses and ultimately draws people away from their real purpose...oh, exactly what this thread is doing.

    At the end of the day it is about trust, once you hang around a place you get the feel of whether you trust people or not. If you do, you stay, if you dont, you look somewhere else.

    Im with nunu, this is a conspiracy.

  46. #46
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    ===whoops===
    Andy removed a few posts
    ============

    censorship explanation: *
    I just deleted a post by Chris (knowing he would understand) and in the time it took to refresh the screen there were 3 replies so I removed them all because they were now out of context. *

    Note to self:
    in future move the post dont delete it.

    If those who posted heated replies still want them in the thread then feel free to post em back up again.

    Sorry.

  47. #47
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions


    Imagine owning a shop and having everyone that comes into the store telling you how to arrange the shelves, seating, products, etc. Telling you what to buy, what to sell, how much to charge, as well as asking for advice on how to use it (think about how beanbay works). On top of that these customers also want to tell you who to employ and what their credentials should be.
    ...and please be open 24/7 and respond to comments in 6 milliseconds (or less) and continue to subsidise the cost of the products and freight.

    :)


    Ive noticed that there is a lot of flexing of the rules regarding non-sponsor posts recently. Sure, plugs for great cafes are always the exception, but when it comes to hardware, it is wrong to undermine suppliers, especially when they have the explicit right to not have outside advertisements (keep your ads private if in doubt or dont post them at all). It may be just more cases associated with more overall users, but it is a worrying trend.
    Sadly it is also a trend that we are struggling to restrain. A whole website full of subtle ads for product and services would be a miserable place to hangout and would eventually bury the good content that we all enjoy sharing.

    We have always encouraged discussion of your coffee and the processes or roasting and brewing. I think if members are a little more mindful of not dropping free plugs in posts then the whole issue would disappear.


    This is exactly why external sponsors and mod powers dont mix well. There is more suspicion when someone who is both does it.

    Good reason to change the policy! Avoid arguments!
    Fluffy suspicion is nowhere near enough reason to change policy!
    I don’t know of any existing actual issue and if there was we would have dealt with it in the moderators area and then actioned it on-site.

    I’ll assume that most of these posts are directed at Chris. For the record on a couple of occasions I have asked Chris to have another look at one of his posts because I thought there was a perceivable (albeit unintentional) conflict and he has remedied it instantly. Chris does a good job of “wearing two hats” and yesterday created a second user account to help members see which hat is on. 2muchcoffeeman is now a moderator and Talk_Coffee is the sponsor account.

    I trust the whole moderator group 100% and think the members should too. As a team we have many behind the scenes discussions and I strongly believe that CS is a far better place as a oligarchy* than as a dictatorship.

    *(thanks for the new word Geoff)





  48. #48
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    I thought you might take offence at "theocracy".

  49. #49
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarg link=1191464766/30#39 date=1191540905
    I bet Luca is shaking his head.
    Youre not wrong! I wanted to make the simple point that people should be raising their concerns with Andy and the mods in order to get something productive happening, rather than this whole thread degenerating.

    I have to say that Im a bit disappointed that this thread has turned into a bit of an attack on Chris. I think that I have locked down fewer than three threads in my time as a mod on CG, but if this were over there Id be hitting the lock button. Whilst I understand the point of view that there might be a conflict of interest in being both a sponsor and a moderator, its pretty telling that no-one can point to an actual instance of one. And, for the record, no one that has talked to me about CS recently mentioned Chris at all.

    It would be nice if we could respect Andys wishes:

    I would prefer to get specific concerns emailed to me

    Cheers,

    Luca

  50. #50
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Sponsorship Policy Opinions

    Ive been wanting this locked since page one. ::)

    Just goes to show just how tolerant Andy really is! :-*



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