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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been dealing with this issue quietly on a case by case basis as I didn't want to disrupt the atmosphere here with another something negative, but the "case by case" is happening more and more and I feel it necessary to make a "Official Statement"


Officially............

TFL as a privately owned forum is no longer associated with Smith Enterprise, Inc (herein SEI) in any way, after receipt of a PM as a result of our implementation of the "Commercial Row" forum. (For more information on our policy please visit the sticky in Commercial Row.)
On three November, TFL implemented a policy of charging business-like sellers a yearly fee for the use of what is essentially a "storefront" on the forum. This policy was applied equally to all sellers who met this business profile.

In a PM from SEI's official spokesman, SEI stated that they were pulling funding from TFL as a result of a TFL member (Cepilot) being charged the Commercial Row fee. For the record, this member works for SEI and was selling parts he obtained from SEI.

With this action, SEI has forfeited all advertising and rights on the Forum. General discussion concerning SEI's products may continue to be posted, however, updates, recommendations or any type of free advertising of their products posted by members will no longer be allowed and will be deleted.

Hawk said:
OK here;s the deal.....

After almost continual discussion with the ethics committee on this subject most of today, we have come to a general concensus that the policy in this particular case will be:

1- No links to SEI's website will be allowed for any reason.
2- No pics or hot linking of any pic that is from SEI's site.
3- No quoting of any text from SEIs site.
4- No contact info for SEI


Other than those listed above, business is as usual.

It's a shame that this has to be the way it is, but SEI made the decision to pull their funding knowing full well what they were forfeiting.

Respectfully, Hawk
 

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Can we recommend SEI products via PM or will those be censored also? My concern is SEI makes specific products that nobody else does so not being able to recommend said products will really be a difficult thing. Also, does this mean we can't recommend Sage, Troy, Vltor, TangoDown, JAE and other products since they aren't contributing sponsors as well?

Not trying to start an argument, just want to know where the line is drawn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can we recommend SEI products via PM or will those be censored also? My concern is SEI makes specific products that nobody else does so not being able to recommend said products will really be a difficult thing. Also, does this mean we can't recommend Sage, Troy, Vltor, TangoDown, JAE and other products since they aren't contributing sponsors as well?

Not trying to start an argument, just want to know where the line is drawn.
This is actually the first time we have had the need to do this, so I will answer your questions as asked.

First, what you do via PM is your own business. We do not monitor the PM system contrary to what some people claim. Many have actually sent us links to their PM thinking that we can read them from those links, only to be told that we would want their password or at least change their password temorarily, with their permission, to read the PM exchange they were referring to. So the answer is a big YES it is fine to recommend them via PM.

Besides.....I wouldn't even begin to know how to censor someone's PMs.

As far as any other manufacturers, by all means continue to make recommendations as in the past.

The difference between making a recomendation and general discussion would be as exampled below:

(Gen Dis) I have a SEI bolt stop on my rifle and like it a lot or it does the trick.

(Rec) You should get a SEI bolt stop as I have one on my rifle and like it a lot.

In other words we are talking about "blatant" recommendations, updates or anything that could be easily considered 2nd party advertising. Also, No links or pics from their site.

This was not a easy decision to make, however, as most that know me already know, I don't take a likening to rudeness or nastiness or throwing the money issue in my face.

I was basically given a ultimatum if I wanted their money and I turned it down. Yes it takes money to keep this thing going, but I will not sacrifice fairness in order to get it.

I will also say this.... It was not the first time that the sonsor money was thrown into the issue over something that was being discussed concerning the way this forum is run. I won't play the money = favoritism game.


On another note.... we have had sponsors either reduce their sponsorship or back out siting financial reasons and we haven't done anything like this with them. We understand hard times....believe me. But again, I will not choose favoritism for money ever.
 

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Hawk-

You do a thankless job. For that, I GREATLY thank you for doing it.

I was a member of another (private) knife forum for several years, and it had to close up shop for worse reasons than this. It bummed everyone out, but it was for the best. This place has been a very welcome home for me.

Thank you again for keeping this a clean, fair and well organized place for people to share our experiences and everything about our favorite hobby, the M14/M1As and the like.
 

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Can we have more details on what Cepilot was doing? I don't see why he would be considered a commercial seller just because he worked/works for SEI. If he was selling on his own and not under the SEI business name, that is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cepilot, rather than contacting me directly complained to SEI and after a meeting the PM was sent. I called to inquire as to what was up and you know the end result.

Cepilot did welding for SEI and was paid in parts. He in turn would sell those parts here on a regular continuing basis. In other words he fit the established profile of a commercial seller, so was asked to pay the fee or give up his selling privileges here.

In all honesty, this was between Cepilot and me and had no business getting interfered with by SEI.
 

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In other words we are talking about "blatant" recommendations, updates or anything that could be easily considered 2nd party advertising. Also, No links or pics from their site.
Let's say someone hears something about a new M14 'widget' from SEI that will be available soon, how can anyone discuss SEI's new 'widget' on this forum?
 

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We have had our differences Hawk and I see your predicament but why are the forum members being told how they can discuss SEI products? I'm not arguing anything here I'm just confused as to how the forum members got put in to this fight, as you said it is between you and SEI. From my perspective you ban both SEI and Cepilot, end of story and we all go on as usual.

I should have added, did SEI make some kind of remark about your forum not being allowed to make remarks about their products?
 

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Wow, big can 'o worms

I agree and stipulate to the facts as you put them.

1. You decided to open a "Commercial" forum to separate the casual member sellers from the regulars, and probably to make a few bucks to cover the server.

2. You believed that cepilot (disclosure, I've bought several parts from him) met that definition and asked him to pay.

3. He took issue and brought SEI in. The exchange wasn't pleasant and SEI chose to withdraw financial support.

4. You quite rightly don't want to get into a situation where money equals favoritism.

Up until this point I think you've been reasonable and looking out for the best interests of the board and its members. But I must admit that the next step...prohibiting 2nd hand "advertising", makes me uncomfortable. I understand the reasoning behind it, but are you prohibiting the 2nd hand advertisement of other commercial vendors who aren't financially supporting the site and perhaps don't advertise on the commercial row? It just strikes me as pretty unenforceable, a big giant time suck for you and the admins, as well as a rather slippery slope to be getting onto.

I mean I don't know who all sponsors the site, you're pretty low key about it, but let's get a hypothetical going to see why I'm troubled. Assume that ct_lynch, inc. makes an aluminum modular stock/chassis system for the M1a and has never sponsored the site, and isn't a member on commercial row. They're just a company keeping their head down and focused on making a good stock. It's a high quality stock that fills a specific niche and some people really like it because it is the coolest thing in the m1a world since sliced white bread. Now, as I read this, members can recommend the ct_lynch inc stock. People can link to the ct_lynch inc website. You don't REQUIRE companies to sponsor or give money to get 2nd hand advertising.

The only difference that I can see between SEI and ct_lynch, inc. in this hypothetical is that SEI was once a sponsor, got their panties in a bunch, said some things that were best not said, and walked away. What SEI did was foolish, short sighted and reflects badly on them, but you really can't treat one company differently in the forums from others just because they pissed you off. Actually, to be honest, you can. It's your forum. It is the sweat of your brow and the fruit of your passion for the M1a and you can treat anyone however you so choose. But that doesn't mean that you should.

I hope this is received in the manner in which it was given, as part of a constructive dialog. Enthusiast forums by their nature suffer from the constant pull of entropy, and keeping them from descending into anarchy is a full time job. Keep up the great work and have a great holiday.

Cameron
 

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We have had our differences Hawk and I see your predicament but why are the forum members being told how they can discuss SEI products? I'm not arguing anything here I'm just confused as to how the forum members got put in to this fight, as you said it is between you and SEI. From my perspective you ban both SEI and Cepilot, end of story and we all go on as usual.

I should have added, did SEI make some kind of remark about your forum not being allowed to make remarks about their products?
I agree, seems strange to me. For instance, Gus has an excellent thread on his "Walter Mitty" rifle in which he recommends the use of the SEI muzzle brake. Will this thread now be deleted because it recommends an SEI product?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Let's say someone hears something about a new M14 'widget' from SEI that will be available soon, how can anyone discuss SEI's new 'widget' on this forum?
The Policy on banned members states that they may NOT benefit in any way from this forum. So in a nutshell the announcing of a new product would benefit them so would not be allowed.

We have had our differences Hawk and I see your predicament but why are the forum members being told how they can discuss SEI products? I'm not arguing anything here I'm just confused as to how the forum members got put in to this fight, as you said it is between you and SEI. From my perspective you ban both SEI and Cepilot, end of story and we all go on as usual.

I should have added, did SEI make some kind of remark about your forum not being allowed to make remarks about their products?
See above answer.....

No they did not make any remarks about us not discussing their products, although they have stated that anything negative about them should be deleted as it's all lies. I am not saying that their products or rifles can't be discussed, just not promoted as they are banned from here.

Discuss their products all you want, just don't promote them is all I am saying. Not with recommendations and not with links or photo's taken from their site. It's their intelectual property and I don't want to get one of their "Letters" because of them.

I agree and stipulate to the facts as you put them.

1. You decided to open a "Commercial" forum to separate the casual member sellers from the regulars, and probably to make a few bucks to cover the server.

2. You believed that cepilot (disclosure, I've bought several parts from him) met that definition and asked him to pay.

3. He took issue and brought SEI in. The exchange wasn't pleasant and SEI chose to withdraw financial support.

4. You quite rightly don't want to get into a situation where money equals favoritism.

Up until this point I think you've been reasonable and looking out for the best interests of the board and its members. But I must admit that the next step...prohibiting 2nd hand "advertising", makes me uncomfortable. I understand the reasoning behind it, but are you prohibiting the 2nd hand advertisement of other commercial vendors who aren't financially supporting the site and perhaps don't advertise on the commercial row? It just strikes me as pretty unenforceable, a big giant time suck for you and the admins, as well as a rather slippery slope to be getting onto.

I mean I don't know who all sponsors the site, you're pretty low key about it, but let's get a hypothetical going to see why I'm troubled. Assume that ct_lynch, inc. makes an aluminum modular stock/chassis system for the M1a and has never sponsored the site, and isn't a member on commercial row. They're just a company keeping their head down and focused on making a good stock. It's a high quality stock that fills a specific niche and some people really like it because it is the coolest thing in the m1a world since sliced white bread. Now, as I read this, members can recommend the ct_lynch inc stock. People can link to the ct_lynch inc website. You don't REQUIRE companies to sponsor or give money to get 2nd hand advertising.

The only difference that I can see between SEI and ct_lynch, inc. in this hypothetical is that SEI was once a sponsor, got their panties in a bunch, said some things that were best not said, and walked away. What SEI did was foolish, short sighted and reflects badly on them, but you really can't treat one company differently in the forums from others just because they pissed you off. Actually, to be honest, you can. It's your forum. It is the sweat of your brow and the fruit of your passion for the M1a and you can treat anyone however you so choose. But that doesn't mean that you should.

I hope this is received in the manner in which it was given, as part of a constructive dialog. Enthusiast forums by their nature suffer from the constant pull of entropy, and keeping them from descending into anarchy is a full time job. Keep up the great work and have a great holiday.

Cameron
There is a ROE concerning 2nd party advertising that should be read and understood.

As far as the enforcement goes..... several years ago we had a similar problem with a gunsmith who shall go un-named. The same policy was put into effect and there is very little mention of him here as people got used to the idea. Would it be fair to go against established policy and allow SEI what that gunsmith forfeited?

This was SEI's choice after being told what the consequences would be.

If the enforcement of this policy lets people know right up fron that I can't be bought or persuaded with money being hung over my head, then I will have succeded.

If you go to the sponsors forum, you will see a banner from each of opur sponsors. Not low key. The only thing that I have always tried to be low key about was Money in general as I don't want anyone to misconstrue the truth which is that this forum is not about the money like some other forums. Although, it has become necessary to rely on fundraising to keep going, I don't want anyone to feel that they are constantly being badgered for money.

The difference in the treatment of SEI compared to other companies who do not sponsor or contribute financially to the site is that they have not thrown their money around in attempts to force me to do what they want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Overlooked these two...sorry

I agree, seems strange to me. For instance, Gus has an excellent thread on his "Walter Mitty" rifle in which he recommends the use of the SEI muzzle brake. Will this thread now be deleted because it recommends an SEI product?
Anthing that exists currently is grandfathered in and will not b deleted.

Are there any SEI people on this forum that can read and respond to what is being said here?
No there is not unless they have managed to sneak in somehow.

Perhaps I'm a liar?
 

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Now I'm confused. Oh well. If I do anything wrong in regards to this it's not intentional, just going to have to get out of a habit.
 

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very sad, its to bad that it had to come to this but i do understand. thanks for doing all that you do to keep this sight going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I don't know why anyone would be confused as to what is being asked of them. It's a matter of established policy that no banned member will benefit in any way from their prior existance.

If a mistake is made......it will simply be deleted. No concequences unless it is determined to be on purpose.
 

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I just think this whole thing is rather silly. I understand removing someone for certain reasons, but telling contributing posters who are not causing problems and who are providing the content and draw of this forum what they can and cannot discuss seems like bad policy. It's counter to what a forum like this should be about - the advancement and greater understanding of the M14 platform.

That's all I have to say.
 

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I was just going to post some feedback on those guys, glad I caught this post. bummer.
 
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