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Forum Member Affiliate Links Policy Reconsideration?

Forum Member Affiliate Links Policy Reconsideration?

 
Old Nov 30, 13, 10:12 pm
  #1  
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Exclamation Forum Member Affiliate Links Policy Reconsideration?

I think this is the right place so I'll put it up (and I don't think this goes in EMPR either koko) but anyways...

I am fed up with referral links showing up, especially the Canadian Amex ones. I have seen WAY too many posts and threads where every single poster has an affiliate link. That's not the issue though. The issue is that they're posting solely because they want people to get their link, and they can get bonus points. The problem is that first they post because they want views and clicks on their links, which in most cases significantly decreases the content and biases the response. This becomes really obvious when the post content only references the cards they have referral links to...

I don't have any problem with affiliate links. But when they're getting shoved to the point this interferes with the content of the forum it gets quite frustrating, especially in the Aeroplan/AMEX Canada forums. Is there any way to change policy so that referral links are NOT permitted?

Or otherwise I will just put affiliate links like the rest of everyone else, LOL.
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Old Dec 1, 13, 8:54 am
  #2  
 
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SIGH. This issue has been brought up at least annually in the last 3 years:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/talkb...on-needed.html (2011)

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/talkb...res-issue.html (2012)

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/talkb...l#post20490285 (2013)

I vaguely recall a yearly "promise" of a different version of TOS in the making. As far as I can see, nothing has happened and my concerns for referral links ignored. I am so very tired of repeating myself over and over and over again. FWIW, I first voiced my concern w/r/t referral link abuses back in Feb, 2009. I don't know if referral links would be a similar long battle as to enabling wikipost on FT. After first requested in 2008, wikipost feature was finally fully implemented on FT earlier this year. At least the technical (in)competence could justify the unnecessary 5-year wait for wikipost implementation. I don't know what good excuse we can find for not executing a clearup TOS to address referral link abuses.

TBers, are you listening?
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Old Dec 1, 13, 9:44 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
SIGH. This issue has been brought up at least annually in the last 3 years:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/talkb...on-needed.html (2011)

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/talkb...res-issue.html (2012)

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/talkb...l#post20490285 (2013)

I vaguely recall a yearly "promise" of a different version of TOS in the making. As far as I can see, nothing has happened and my concerns for referral links ignored. I am so very tired of repeating myself over and over and over again. FWIW, I first voiced my concern w/r/t referral link abuses back in Feb, 2009. I don't know if referral links would be a similar long battle as to enabling wikipost on FT. After first requested in 2008, wikipost feature was finally fully implemented on FT earlier this year. At least the technical (in)competence could justify the unnecessary 5-year wait for wikipost implementation. I don't know what good excuse we can find for not executing a clearup TOS to address referral link abuses.

TBers, are you listening?
Count me in on the tired of my concerns being ignored, although I'm glad to see others are finally voicing their opinions as well. For a while, it's seemed like it was just the two of us.
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Old Dec 1, 13, 1:04 pm
  #4  
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I concur too.

Referral links, blogspam, and kudzu. Pretty much equally prolific and equally valuable.
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Old Dec 1, 13, 4:00 pm
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by yerffej201 View Post
I think this is the right place so I'll put it up (and I don't think this goes in EMPR either koko) but anyways...

I am fed up with referral links showing up, especially the Canadian Amex ones. I have seen WAY too many posts and threads where every single poster has an affiliate link. That's not the issue though. The issue is that they're posting solely because they want people to get their link, and they can get bonus points. The problem is that first they post because they want views and clicks on their links, which in most cases significantly decreases the content and biases the response. This becomes really obvious when the post content only references the cards they have referral links to...

I don't have any problem with affiliate links. But when they're getting shoved to the point this interferes with the content of the forum it gets quite frustrating, especially in the Aeroplan/AMEX Canada forums. Is there any way to change policy so that referral links are NOT permitted?

Or otherwise I will just put affiliate links like the rest of everyone else, LOL.
Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
I concur too.

Referral links, blogspam, and kudzu. Pretty much equally prolific and equally valuable.
Spot on. Glasshouse
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Old Dec 1, 13, 4:49 pm
  #6  
mia
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Use the tools we already have

Signatures are different from the content of posts because:

a) Only established members are permitted to have them.

To be eligible to display a signature with each post, you must be a member of FlyerTalk for at least 90 days and have contributed 90 posts to the community.
b) No one needs to read them. Any member can block Signatures.

Should you wish not to view signatures, you may shut them off. To do so, go to MyFlyerTalk and click on Edit Options on the left-hand side of the page. Scroll down to Thread Display Options and remove the check from the Show Signatures box.
c) If that's not enough you can block all posts from specific members.

Should there be members whose posts you don't care to read, you can put them on your ignore list. To do that, click on MyFlyerTalk and then on Edit Ignore List in the Settings & Options section on the left-hand side of the page. Enter the name of a FlyerTalk member in the Add a Member to Your List field. Click the Okay button, then click the Save Changes button.
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Old Dec 1, 13, 5:32 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Signatures are different from the content of posts because:

a) Only established members are permitted to have them.



b) No one needs to read them. Any member can block Signatures.



c) If that's not enough you can block all posts from specific members.
There are also rules about congas in S.P.A.M. Why should some members be permitted to have their referral links in their signatures, generating multiple referral bonuses, when there's a rule about congas in one forum?
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Old Dec 1, 13, 5:57 pm
  #8  
 
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Referral links, and only referral links...

Originally Posted by mia View Post
Signatures are different from the content of posts because:

a) Only established members are permitted to have them.

b) No one needs to read them. Any member can block Signatures.

c) If that's not enough you can block all posts from specific members.
Yes, yes, and yes on all 3 account as far as signatures go.

For all I know, SPAM Forum is where conga-able referral links are specifically and explicitly acceptable on FT. However, referral links are popping out like rabbits in both signatures and posts all over FT since 2009. It only gets worse as years go by, especially in this everyone-can-be-a-blogger era. I've lost count on how many posts with (shameless) referral links that I'd RBPed in different fora during last month. Some got deleted right away. I don't know why some stay untouched though. That only tells me even among MODs, referral links in post are not moderated consistently.

I understand commercial links are currently allowed on FT. I know for a fact that quite a number of MODs, including the Signature Committee, assigns referral links under the big umbrella of commercial links, a POV I personally think should be refined and re-defined. I am just sad our admin fails to see how referral link abuses have affected the pleasant browsing experiences of FTers in general. I thought FT is one of those sites that wanted to better themselves. I can't think of a single good reason for any website to not take proper action to fight off abuses.

FT TOS clearly states no personal attack on members and MODs reinforce that quite beautifully. If we had a clear clause on referral links in TOS, would MODs choose to reinforce this TOS differently? If members had a clear TOS w/r/t the use of referral links, folks would at least know or learn what's expected on FT, wouldn't it?

The bottom line is, in all honesty, who benefit from those self-entitled referral links? I don't see FT in that picture. Not then, not now, and not in the future.

ETA:
For those TBers or admin who choose to listen and take action on this particular matter, please refer to my posts in the referenced threads from post#2. I had made my best effort to explain my concerns at great length before and I don't want to sound like a broken record.

What does it tell you when this issue of referral link abuses are being "celebrated" like an annual ritual in TB Topics Forum since 2011?

Last edited by lin821; Dec 1, 13 at 6:19 pm Reason: ETA
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Old Dec 1, 13, 7:43 pm
  #9  
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Moderators do pretty much what the TOS / Rules and Guidelines tell us to do. As well, we have the "Moderator Guidelines and Best Practices / Good Practices", "The FlyerTalk Moderator Code of Conduct", "The FlyerTalk Moderator Mission Statement" and quite a bit more to guide us.

Members are crucial in assisting us in doing that job, as they use the "Alert a moderator to this post" function - having clear TOS enables them to help keep their / our fora functional and useful.

The TOS / Rules - Guidelines are under revision. We had hoped they would be provided to us before the recent Moderator training day in Seattle, but it was not to be and we are still awaiting them. Sometimes, it takes the proper time to bake a cake - pull it out of the oven prematurely and you likely won't be happy with the results.

What it's not about is ignoring the membership - it is about due diligence and the folks doing the job taking the time to fully consider the issues like this one, rules dealing with the large flocks of bloggers attempting to use FT to drive traffic to their blogs without contributing anything to FT, etc.

I'll "fly a kite" to the Community Director so she takes a look at this thread as she returns from the ChanuGiving - or is it ThanksNukkah? weekend . (She likely already knows members are interested in this issue.)

Note: Those who wonder "Huh? Aren't we discussing moderation here?" We are discussing moderation in a general way and not specific to any individual or individual action, not in relation to TalkBoard (separation of TalkBoard and Moderation, and in a way relevant to the topic at hand - "Forum Member Affiliate Links Policy Reconsideration?"

Last edited by JDiver; Dec 1, 13 at 8:14 pm Reason: add
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Old Dec 1, 13, 9:44 pm
  #10  
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Maybe Carol should award 20,000 miles to the people in charge of completing the revised TOS, decreasing 5,000 miles for each month completion is delayed past the end of 2013. That might provide sufficient incentive to get it done.

Personally, I agree that self-promoting links subtract more value than they add to FT. In theory, such links could provide value in infrequent on-topic replies. In practice, the incidence of abuse far outpaces proper use. IMHO signatures are a major portion of value-reducing activity on FT. Content which virtually never adds value should be curtailed, whether that content be motivated by profit or passion.
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Old Dec 1, 13, 10:02 pm
  #11  
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You certainly have your finger on the pulse of FlyerTalkers!

I'll bet there's not a man jack or woman jane (to coin a new phrase?) among us - other than those self-serving "members" who would disagree with what has been said here so far. That would include me, wearing a member hat...


Originally Posted by nsx View Post
Maybe Carol should award 20,000 miles to the people in charge of completing the revised TOS, decreasing 5,000 miles for each month completion is delayed past the end of 2013. That might provide sufficient incentive to get it done.

Personally, I agree that self-promoting links subtract more value than they add to FT. In theory, such links could provide value in infrequent on-topic replies. In practice, the incidence of abuse far outpaces proper use. IMHO signatures are a major portion of value-reducing activity on FT. Content which virtually never adds value should be curtailed, whether that content be motivated by profit or passion.
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Old Dec 1, 13, 11:17 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
The TOS / Rules - Guidelines are under revision.
Perhaps this is a subject for a different thread, but I'll ask the questions here.

- What group is working on the TOS changes? TB, Mods, others?
- Would the prospective TOS be shown to the membership for their input before they are enacted or voted on by TB?
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Old Dec 1, 13, 11:44 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
The TOS / Rules - Guidelines are under revision. We had hoped they would be provided to us before the recent Moderator training day in Seattle, but it was not to be and we are still awaiting them. Sometimes, it takes the proper time to bake a cake - pull it out of the oven prematurely and you likely won't be happy with the results.
(bolding mine)

YES, I hear you (not you as an individual, but "you" as the whoever are/were put in charge of the task).

I do, every time! First in April, 2012:
Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
We have a small team working on a rewrite of the FyerTalk guidelines. The signature policy is being examined for the reasons that you give. Input is welcome.
and again in March 2013:

Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
As SkiAdcock says, I was informed that the CD and some mods are 'working on' this matter.
FT already missed the window to take any preemptive measure years ago. Still counting, as of December 2013. I haven't seen anything concrete to address the referral links issues at the management level, other than case-by-case RBPs.

Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
What it's not about is ignoring the membership - it is about due diligence and the folks doing the job taking the time to fully consider the issues like this one, rules dealing with the large flocks of bloggers attempting to use FT to drive traffic to their blogs without contributing anything to FT, etc.
For me, not taking action over an extended period of time reads pretty much the same as ignoring members' concerns. It can be read in 2 ways. Either admin doesn't take it seriously, or admin can't deliver. Maybe both, I don't know. What I do know is, even without asking, plenty of input had been provided in those earlier threads.

FWIW, bloggers are not the only group that abuses referral links. Some regular members, newbies or not, do that too. The race for referral link abuses had started long before blogspam and creation of External Miles and Points Resources Forum on FT.

Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
...Sometimes, it takes the proper time to bake a cake - pull it out of the oven prematurely and you likely won't be happy with the results.
It appears to me IB has no issue with feeding FTers undercooked cakes (see the most recent example here). At least they have some perfect excuse, specifically technical incompetency and/or indifference. (I assume they didn't even consider the insightful suggestion from our beloved cordelli about getting a monkey on the tech team).

What's the holdup dealing with referral link abuses, giving it isn't an overnight wonder or "phenomenon?"

I don't recall it took this long for the new TB Guidelines to materialize back in 2008. After soliciting feedback publicly in September, a motion was passed in November for such a makeover. Even with some bumps along the way, it was accomplished under 6 months with rigor.

Please excuse my English, since things seem to take place in the dark room (or dark age? whichever is more respectful), I have to ask, is addressing referral link abuses in TOS a much heavier task than the makeover of TalkBoard Guidelines? How much more work-in-progress time do we need to spare before FTers can see some real action?

Last edited by lin821; Dec 1, 13 at 11:50 pm Reason: clarification
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Old Dec 1, 13, 11:59 pm
  #14  
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It is ironic that the OP of this thread has a blog flog in his signature.
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Old Dec 2, 13, 12:41 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
It is ironic that the OP of this thread has a blog flog in his signature.
I would say a blog link is different from affiliate links and do not significantly impede the content of the thread? (Unless now because you choose to bring it out). My whole concern was that referral links affect the content of someone's post. I doubt that the link to my blog does the same.
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