I hate rules, but there are times when some sort of guideline helps.
For anyone who is not sure of my philosophy on this, please take a moment to read A guide to forum etiquette for some guidelines that are already in place.
From time to time "issues" are going to turn up. I would like to discuss them here and then weave our solutions into that gentle guide. Right now a weakness seems to exist in terms of some commercial aspects.
Today I need to raise the issue of how our commercial activities are exposed within signatures. There are a few elements to this discussion, being
Looking at other forums, from what I've seen signature rules are normally set around number of images, number of links, and rules on links of a commercial nature - normally none or one. But we're not just another forum and I'd like to see if we can agree on something less rigid.
My initial outlook is this...
The site is goaled towards business owners and managers - there is a business theme. I think it's fine to link to our business websites or gently draw attention to the nature of our business activities in our signatures. However, I don't want to reduce the forum to a bazaar. To my mind there are two indicators that would show we might be heading for trouble:
- Our signatures start looking like product lists
- An enquiry about purchasing a product leads to a flurry of "I can supply" responses as opposed to advice about factors to consider in making a purchasing decision.
I think giving advice is great - outright selling is not. If you've given sound advice we all learn something and you could well end up with a sale or more anyway. But let the reader decide if they're going to approach you with an order.
Anyway, can I hand over to the forum at this point for some input. Please give me your thoughts and suggestions.