Forum Guidelines and Categorization Gray Area


Continuing the discussion from Cross Reference Organizer:

When I first saw the above reference post, I had the urge to move it to the “Commercial and Collaborative Work” Category. (In case someone else does exactly that - or something similar - before you read this: @Yorg originally put it in “Extensions”.) My urge came from the realization that the OP is essentially offering a benefit (5 free licenses) as a recruiting tool for Beta Testers of a product he intends to commercialize. Essentially, it’s an offer for a commercial transaction that happens to center around an extension.

But – it does have a new extension at it’s core! So I hesitated. And realized that it’s a grey area in the Forum Guidelines. What’s the boundary between promoting (and getting feedback on) a new extension? Had the OP not offered the free licences, I’d be far less inclined to move it.

Interested in the thoughts of others on this …

Should moderators decide what category a topic/query belongs to?

It doesn’t need moving, he has already asked about promoting his new plugin and been told by staff to do so and post it as a new thread in Extensions.



I was aware of that thread - in fact, I participated in it! And he didn’t give any hint that he’d be offering a benefit (free licenses) in return for the service of beta testing. That’s the part that bugs me. Not enough to come out and simply state I think it’s a violation of guidelines, but enough to start this thread expressing my doubts and inviting input.

Free licenses as a promotional ploy? I’m OK with that. Free trial? That too. It’s the exchange of services that I find problematic.


It already is a commercial plugin.
He is promoting his plugin as the thread title said.
As a benefit to the first five people to try it out and give him some constructive feedback he will give them a license. This is a simple encouragement to get a few people to try it, I would have when I read it this morning but I have been on my phone all day so unable to take advantage of his generous offer.

Where is the problem?


He’s offering a commercial transaction:

User to try the extension, then PM him with feedback.
In return for this specific action, he’s offering non-cash payment for services rendered - i.e. a free license.


We have agreed to disagree.


Yes, at the most basic, the thread is about his extension, and not a SketchUp issue, so belongs in the Extensions category. Sometimes, this kind of post might be in the Developers category, if the poster only wished to solicit testing by other devs.

In your title you used the term “Gray Area”. Sometimes that is just what it is. A few moments ago, I was about to move a post, and decided not to, as I couldn’t absolutely agree with myself that moving the post would benefit finding it easier later. (Which is mainly the reason for separating posts into categories.)


I offered the free licences not because I need beta testers. It is a finished plugin - I just thought it would be generous to the folks here for the token of a return comment.
I don’t mind what you folks decide about categorisation -that’s up to you, but ‘Commercial and Collaborative’ sounds to me to be about people getting together to do actual work on some project.

And if it is moved, will people see the new extension?


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