We, users have the means we need to control abuse on self promotion by the means of flagging. We can openly discuss these issues and why the flagging happened and if that leads to a bad user relationship we thank the help of a moderator to help us settle our discussions.
The current duscussion was a fine example and in this case a lot of interested parties have clearly stated they will review how they self promote.
So this is a successful example and in this case (has in most cases) forbidding and censoring will only create a lack of freedom and information that might be valuable.
Promoting a plugin by stating it is one of the answers available to a question is valid and doesn’t push people into buying it. People are free to buy it or not. If in doing so interested parties abuse on the promotion then a flag and eventual moderation will be needed but most of the cases users solve it on their own.
Forbidding or censoring prevents some abuses but also altogether removes the potential for useful information sharing and problem solving.
I’d love you to reconsider as we have a lot to loose and almost nothing to gain over the self regulation that was in place already.
It is regrettable @JQL that you disagree with the decision I posted as SketchUp Moderator, however, your position is in the minority based on the comments received in a number of PMs on this issue. I clearly laid out the basis for this resolution and I thought it equally clear that each qualifying instance will be reviewed (closely) and may be subject to censure. This does not mean that each and every posting that fits into the category of solicitation for the sake of profit will be automatically deleted, but it does mean that if by posting such material, and if it is considered inappropriate by the standard outlined previously, such posts risk being eliminated by SketchUp Moderator or other admin folks. The goal here is to minimize or stringently curtail solicitations within the Forum responses.
If you think it’s worth taking a shot, then by all means go for it…but on the other hand you run the very real risk of censorship. I encourage developers to confine themselves to normally anticipated parameters of meaningfully informing sans pressurized sales pitch.
Perhaps an entirely new category solely devoted to showcasing innovative or improved extensions should be established where such items may be discussed and/or advertised without sanction. This would allow users to either solicit sales or seek information regarding $ or free plugins as they see fit and for those who prefer to avoid solicitations of any kind to eschew such a category if implemented.All are welcome to indicate whether or not this would be seen as a desirable compromise by a simple Yes or No.
EDIT: This reply would have been registered under the persona of the SU Moderator, but tonight the browser used to house that account was not operational, so I elected to reveal to those who didn’t already know that the moderator and I are in fact one and the same.
You can’t judge what the majority wants that way. People that are unhappy will say so. Those that are pleased will usually stay quiet. I don’t know how many PMs you’ve gotten but I’m sure there are way more people that haven’t written than there are that have written.
It is also worth mentioning that several people posting in this thread are not extension developers. Users wants to know what solutions there are to their problems, and while a free solution is of course preferred to a payed one I don’t think the community would benefit from censoring payed ones.
There already is the Extensions category just for that! That is were we tell about new extensions, and also a very good place for users to ask questions related to those extensions. However, if someone asks for a solution to a problem, and another SketchUp user has made an extension top solve that very issue, I think it makes perfect sense to publish it as a reply to the question. As stated earlier, no one is forced to buy the plugin.
Which is why the unofficial poll has been included. It is hoped that any interested participants will register their choice to help inform any possible decision by the SU Team relative to this matter.
The expressed intent here was to only censure posts seen to be repetitive or considered overtly solicitous. The issue would not have been broached but for the complaints against such posts.
The existence of the Extensions category is understood. The response suggests a new category (or subcategory) devoted only to the promotion of plugins (and discussions) related to the sale or advertising thereof, presupposing the expected effect of directing interested parties to the commercial products while facilitating avoidance by anyone who may be so inclined. As it currently exists, users are as likely to encounter unwanted solicitations in the Extensions category as well as in others. The suggestion as a reasonable compromise purports to set up a single repository for all developer related solicitations.
*My Chrome browser returned to service a short while ago, thankfully.)
Interesting. I looked around an although this sounds nice,
these words are not officially written any place that I could find.
If you’re going to promote it as such, please make it official. The About page simply says …
A place to share SketchUp experiences, ask questions and fix problems.
… and the Guidelines are even more vague (having their roots in generic Discourse text) …
– a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation. These are not hard and fast rules, merely aids to the human judgment of our community.
Where was the public poll that determined this conclusion ?
I did not see it, and I’d certainly have voted on the side of allowing internal links to extension threads in the appropriate extension category.
If asked whether I view “pointers” toward paid solutions (assuming the post was indeed an actual solution) as invasive or objectionable, I’d have voted NO on both counts.
What exactly does “more provocative” mean and how does it violate the current guidelines ?
By what objective measure, study or analysis have such posts been proven “more provocative” ?
What if the suggested paid solution happens to be the ONLY solution currently available ?
Whose responsibility is it to provide the alternate non-paid solution ?
Does a developer need to wait until a native workflow or a free solution is first posted, before posting a mention of their paid solution ?
Will an internal forum link to the proper subcategory extension thread be “less provocative” then external links ?
Not really. Happens all the time on the web. I scroll on past them and continue reading.
Because there was no actual policy in the guidelines. It says don’t post spam, but does not define it.
So the real problem seems to be members defining spam differently.
The keyword seems to be “unwanted” or “unsolicited”.
The problem with “unwanted” is that it is subjective, and rules need to be objective or else they cannot be followed. How could a poster possibly know if some future reader will feel (subjectively) that the extension is “unwanted”.
The problem with “unsolicited” is that a developer will believe that the asking of a question that their paid extension solves, creates a solicitation unless the asker explicitly asks for native or free solutions only. (Which I seen some posters do.)
But there are many kinds of users, and some askers may subjectively not like paid solutions, others don’t care, others are professional users who do buy extensions and are happy to be pointed toward them.
Why was it fine last week for me to point someone toward someone else’s paid extension, but not for the actual author of the extension ?
Why does it seem that 3rd party websites are treated differently then links to the Trimble Extension Warehouse ? or SketchUcation PluginStore ? or Smustard ? ( This does not seem very egalitarian! )
Was this formally discussed internally and made official policy by whom ?
No disrespect meant, but your statement above reads as a unilateral decree. I never saw anything that indicated officially that you (Mr. Lee) were given forum management authority. Are you a Trimble employee now ? I thought you were a volunteer moderator, and that Mr Gates still was the management authority.
If it is to be policy. It and it’s objective particulars need to be posted in writing either to the guidelines of the forum Terms of Service. People cannot follow rules unless they are published. (This goes for both the posters and the readers who might flag otherwise allowable solutions.)
What you described above is very vague and indicates subjective judgements.
Current the Tos says only these two things re “spam” …
the Content is not spam, is not machine- or randomly-generated, and does not contain unethical or unwanted commercial content designed to drive traffic to third party sites or boost the search engine rankings of third party sites, or to further unlawful acts (such as phishing) or mislead recipients as to the source of the material (such as spoofing);
your content is not getting advertised via unwanted electronic messages such as spam links on newsgroups, email lists, blogs and web sites, and similar unsolicited promotional methods;
It likely would be a lot easier and quicker to add a special section to the forum guidelines then go through Trimble Legal to update the ToS.
I am proposing that all members need to be educated as to what should be flagged spam and not be flagged, and developers educated on proper and improper paid solution posting / linking.
Even though I voted NO above, … I wouldn’t be against re-categorizing the toplevel Extensions category as a question and discussion category, and then create two (2) subcategories explicitly for specific extension introductory / help / update notice, … etc. threads. These two sub-cats should be for use by extension companies and authors ONLY (ie, only they should create threads in this category. Any others should be moved up to the top level Extensions category.)
And of course, so those people offended by anything that costs money, can browse through only free extensions, the subcategories would be “Free Extensions” and “Paid Extensions”.
In addition, “free-minded” people can ignore (mute) the entire “Paid Extensions” subcategory.
Basically I want the freedom to decide what I want to read or not. I may flag and my flag may or not be righteous but I, as user want to control my own thought about the info thrown at me and I don’t think I need a paternalizing hand showing me the way before things happen.
However, I’d really appreciate moderators helping us distinguish between an argument and if there’s no doubt where reason is. In that case then please keep censoring and forbidding. However, when in doubt, allow things to happen, do not censor them or forbid them.
Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on this. We’ve talked it over, and we agree that there’s no need for an additional category. Generally speaking, we’re fine with folks sharing their extensions on the forum, particularly when it’s useful for a specific thread. Obviously we want to be cautious with what we allow and don’t allow in terms of “advertising,” but we don’t see a reason to ban people from doing so.