Do you agree with the level of advertising we allow on this forum?

  • muench
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Do you agree with the level of advertising we allow on this forum?

We have a rule about what "type" of advertising we allow on this forum, and I would like to draw your attention to this rule and see what you think about it? It is rule number 10 here: forum.susana.org/forum/rules

It is worded as follows:

Short version: "Do not post content that is plain commercial advertising. Feel free to share information about products and services related to sanitation as long as it is part of a productive dialogue."

More detailed version:

We do not allow plain commercial advertising. On the other hand, we do encourage private sector participation and therefore are open to posts by people working for companies selling sanitation related products and services. A technically sound introduction of sanitation-related products and services is in principle allowed in this category . For example: A user who provides helpful advice and interesting information to other forum members on composting toilets, is allowed to explain their own company’s composting toilet products and to engage with other users on discussions thereof. In other words: SuSanA members can share information about products and services related to sanitation on the SuSanA Forum, as long as it is part of a productive dialogue with other SuSanA members.


How do you feel about this? Do you agree or do you object? Are there any examples in recent months or years where you felt a forum post was too much commercial advertising and should have been deleted? Or would you like to see more advertisement posts from private companies (since they can also be informative)?

Regards,
Elisabeth

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum
(Funded via GIZ short term consultancy contract)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
Sanitation Wikipedia project leader: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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  • neilpw
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Re: Reply: Do you agree with the level of advertising we allow on this forum?

Dear Elisabeth,

Thank you for this question. I have not noticed any blatant advertising on SuSanA, so my answer to the question is Yes.

I would like to share how we approach this issue on HIFA - Healthcare Information For All www.hifa.org

In our guidance we include 'commercial messages, promoting goods or services for profit' as examples of messages not to post.

The moderators then take each incoming post on a case by case basis, asking themselves "What would HIFA members think of this? Would they find this message to be useful? Would they see it as blatantly commercial?"

Often, if a message is relevant and useful but is written in a commercial way, we ask the author to revise the message so that it is even more relevant/useful and written in a non-commercial way. For example, we might suggest to the author (especially if this is their first post) that they start by introducing him/her self and their professional interests, and then mention the product or service in a non-commercial and transparent way (perhaps also saying something about why and how the product was developed).

All in all, the underlying aim is to try to ensure maximum value for the reader in every message that is approved on the forum.

Finally,I would like to say kudos Elisabeth for asking the membership questions like this. We should probably do this more on HIFA and it is good to learn from your example.

Best wishes,
Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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  • bowenarrow
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Re: Reply: Do you agree with the level of advertising we allow on this forum?

Advertising can be very subtle with the message being cleverly disguised, and advantage of the ambiguity of language being taken.
I have no difficulty with a poster unassociated with a product using a brand name, but the opposite is the fact if the poster has some kind of relationship with the brand either as an employee, agent or even the owner.
Moderation is the key, with some forum sites offering members a button to use if they feel the post is inappropriate for any number of reasons including advertising. Tripadvisor being one.
Cheers Ross
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  • muench
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Re: Reply: Do you agree with the level of advertising we allow on this forum?

Hi Ross,

We already have such a button in place. It is below the post towards the right and is called "Report this" with a little black flag next to it (visible only when you are logged in).

I disagree with your statement that the owner of a technology should not be allowed to talk about their product. Let's look at some past examples. Do you think there is anything wrong with some of the forum posts in this category which we have called "Introductions, persons or companies offering their services or products"?:
forum.susana.org/90-persons-or-companies...ts-and-introductions

Or how about this thread "Bio Toilet Ireland - Technology from Japan for a self-processing bio toilet that includes fermentation tanks":
forum.susana.org/241-composting-toilets-...s-fermentation-tanks

The thread starts with "My name is Barry Clarke I am a director of a new start up company in Ireland Dryloos ltd. I have attached a brief description of our sanitation system and a few photos. I would like to reach out to others in Ireland and Europe that are also promoting Ecological Sanitation." and has had several replies. I think it's fine like that.

All the posts that are currently visible on the forum have been checked by me (as moderator) and have been deemed as not violating our forum rules. But with this discussion I'd like to gather various viewpoints so feel free to explain why you are against any form of advertising (or maybe just against the "hidden" advertising?).

Here are my main two reasons why I think that "useful productive advertising" should be allowed on this forum:

1 - We might learn about a new product or process that is good & useful. For example, if I hadn't been sent an advertising e-mail by THINX via another friend I never would have found out about that period-proof underwear which I am finding a useful product (same with menstrual cups). As the product gets discussed on the forum we might learn more about positive features and application options.

2 - If there are issues with the new product, we might learn, through the discussion that follows the initial advertising post, about flaws and drawbacks of a new product. If other people ask the supplier questions and the supplier is not answering in a satisfactory manner then we can all draw our own conclusions!

Here is another example of something that you might call advertising by the owner/developer which I would call interesting information:
Supertowel: a substitute for soap and running water for handwashing
forum.susana.org/23-hygiene-and-hand-was...ater-for-handwashing

Here is a point that we probably agree with: I think it's useful if someone who makes a post and mentions a particular product also mentions if they have a commercial interest in selling the product (but most of the cases I think people do that already, or had explained their relationship in a previous forum post).

I am curious to learn more about what you and others think about this issue of advertising in the various facets here on the forum.

Regards,
Elisabeth

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum
(Funded via GIZ short term consultancy contract)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
Sanitation Wikipedia project leader: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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  • HarryTams
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Re: Do you agree with the level of advertising we allow on this forum?

Yes. It may also be useful to have a bit more information on products that have new ideas and/or technological advances.
It is good to know what is available, and where it can be acquired.
Harry
Tasmania
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