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Thread: I hate rules, but...

  1. #1
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I hate rules, but...

    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
    • Messages
    • Images
    • Links

    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.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  2. #2
    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    Seeing as this is regarding me, I will hold comment until the forum has decided...

  3. #3
    Email problem stephanfx's Avatar
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    I do not really think that is pertaining specifically to you, Riaan.

    I do however think that there needs to be a decision made about what the limits should be and my suggestion is thus:
    Image : Max 120x60
    Links : Max 6
    Message : no more than 3 lines.

    This should keep the signatures to relative small size so that one does not have to scroll for an eternity to reach the last post on a page.

  4. #4
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Thanks Riaan. But you don't get off the hook that easy

    First, this thread isn't about you - although it was to some extent prompted by elements within your signature. I see you adjusted your signature voluntarily already and I truly appreciate your spirit of co-operation.

    I'm trying to get something workable not just for now, but into the future. You have some professional understanding of the impact of these links which I think is useful for all of us to find the right solution together.

    For example, I don't want to set rel=nofollow tags in signatures because it devalues the links. But I also can't have the page subject being adversely affected by the content or volume of the outgoing links. My theory is that a few high quality links is worth far more than a horde of low quality links - it's a balancing act and I'd like to find the right answers.

    The whole topic has prompted me to give some serious thought about my own signature too - there are 4 links in there at the mo

    On the technical front:
    I suspect the optimum solution for dual linking to a site from any one page is one top level link and one deep link.

    Another technical factor is the total link count per page - which should be kept under 100 where possible.

    I also have a theory or 2 about how search engines view signature links versus thread content in known forum formats - I suspect links in signatures are not quite the "threat" that many forum webmasters think.

    Finally (for now), I am working on a rather interesting tweak that will introduce a new type of link in the profile area of each member's post. Which means whatever we come up with - we need to factor in one extra special link that's still to come.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  5. #5
    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    Dave, agreed, spending major time on SEO the last 2 weeks or so has provided quite an insight into how things work....

    If I may ask something / make suggestions...

    having the [sigpic there to add picture to your signature is great, but bb code available to the extent of hyperlinking and placing alt text for the image would release one line extra...

    Also, I have javascript available that would randomly display a link, could be used for one deeplink... whereby you load up 200 deep links in the script and it only displays one...

    While typing this message, I'm doing a link analysis on this page with my message still open... Here's the verdict...

    Total: 138
    Internal: 122
    External: 16
    Followed External: 16
    Not Followed: 51
    Secure: 0

    Would love to know what your next upgrade/special link idea is...

  6. #6
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKS Computer Solutions View Post
    having the [sigpic there to add picture to your signature is great, but bb code available to the extent of hyperlinking and placing alt text for the image would release one line extra...
    Have a look here, http://www.theforumsa.co.za/forums/s...ight=signature
    [SIGPIC]Engineer Simplicity[/SIGPIC]
    Turn ideas into products | The Art of Engineering blog

  7. #7
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKS Computer Solutions View Post
    Would love to know what your next upgrade/special link idea is...
    It should be worth the wait. It's a concept Duncan and I have been working on together. Unfortunately it involves a fair amount of customising and vB are in the throws of upgrades. I need to hold on until it seems we're back to a stable version.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  8. #8
    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    It's now been 10 hours since posting the original post, and no-one that has complained has aired their views...

    Dave, you said you had multiple complaints, I don't care who complained, I just want to be part of the community and help get this next policy right... Do you want to send out PM's to everybody and ask their opinions or is this thread going to go missing in the midnight shadows?

  9. #9
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I'm comfortable allowing 24 hours for inputs and let everyone digest what's been said so far. In "setting rules" I'll be talking to concepts anyway. I'm not big on hauling out rulers and counting links.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  10. #10
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    ok,

    I have had this discussion on my forum about this issue in particular, i have told them no Pictures in any way in the signature but avatars are alowed, one doesnt want to take the attention away from the information provided, in saying that this isnt my forum, so i will make a suggestion. Make the images limited to a very specific size or just say no pictures in signatures, one can have avatars and text for (referrence of the website etc) there doesnt need to be more. My 2c
    Wellinformed.co.za - Networking Forums SA partner site. Let's support each other for a better South Africa.

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