43 votes

Daily Tildes discussion - approaches to self-promotion

This is a topic that's been brought up a little here and there, but not something we've gone into very formally yet. Specifically, this was prompted by this post today. Not to pick on @nkv too much, but it makes a good example of a user that (so far, at least) has very little activity outside of posting about their own project/business.

For my personal opinion, when I was a moderator on reddit, the guideline that I would generally use to explain to people that were overly self-promoting was along the lines of: "It's fine to be a redditor with a website, but not a website with a reddit account." When I started working at reddit later, this was included in the "Guidelines for self-promotion on reddit" wiki page (though some Confucius guy stole my credit).

Reddit doesn't follow those guidelines any more, but I've always thought it was a reasonable way to explain the distinction. Members of the community occasionally posting about their own projects is good (and something we should want to encourage), but we don't want people outside the community coming and trying to just use established communities as a source of traffic.

What are your thoughts about self-promotion in general? How should we try to determine if someone's activity on the site goes too far into self-promotion territory? If we find people that are over that line, how should it be dealt with?

56 comments

  1. what
    (edited )
    Link
    As long as they're a frequent user of the site that actively contributes to discussions, I’m fine with (very) occasional self-promotion, especially if it’s about free/open-source software &...

    As long as they're a frequent user of the site that actively contributes to discussions, I’m fine with (very) occasional self-promotion, especially if it’s about free/open-source software & services that could benefit the community.

    My main issue with @nkv’s use is that, from looking at their activity history, it seems like the only thing they’ve done outside of promoting their VPN is making 1 comment.

    I don’t think it needs to be super strict right now, but some guidelines on frequency, ratio, and type of allowed self-promotion could be important in the future.

    34 votes
  2. [17]
    Catt
    Link
    I am personally not a fan of self promotion and don't want to see advertising in any form here. However I believe there is a difference in discussing products or services you love, including your...

    I am personally not a fan of self promotion and don't want to see advertising in any form here. However I believe there is a difference in discussing products or services you love, including your own. Users are allow to benefit from Tildes like they would in any community, and I'm guessing the line will have to be determined by the community (much like our definition of quality posts).

    If we find a post we believe is posted only for promotion, we should comment as such and perhaps message @Deimos to remove.

    19 votes
    1. [16]
      eyybby
      Link Parent
      Semi hijacking your comment. I see Deimos being summoned quite regularly for things I think the community should be dealing with. It's unscalable and unnecessary I think. I suppose this will be...

      Semi hijacking your comment. I see Deimos being summoned quite regularly for things I think the community should be dealing with. It's unscalable and unnecessary I think. I suppose this will be solved by moderators/reputation but just something I've noticed.

      15 votes
      1. [7]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        Oh, it's absolutely unscalable. So far things have been good though, and almost no moderation has been needed at all. I'll probably start adding in some moderation-like abilities before too much...

        Oh, it's absolutely unscalable. So far things have been good though, and almost no moderation has been needed at all. I'll probably start adding in some moderation-like abilities before too much longer, and the general plan for the long term is here, if you haven't seen it yet: https://docs.tildes.net/mechanics-future

        15 votes
        1. [2]
          Account
          Link Parent
          What's a good way to show ourselves to the community and admins that we're responsible enough to qualify/apply to be moderators(if you have that in mind)?

          What's a good way to show ourselves to the community and admins that we're responsible enough to qualify/apply to be moderators(if you have that in mind)?

          11 votes
          1. super_james
            Link Parent
            Just going off the proposed technology the answer is to upvote good content & post good content. Where 'good' is whatever the moderators want.

            Just going off the proposed technology the answer is to upvote good content & post good content.

            Where 'good' is whatever the moderators want.

            4 votes
        2. [4]
          Neverland
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          A bit off topic, but I just re-read the future mechanics doc and I had a thought... maybe have term limits on users with more power? This would help address your concern: For example, maybe a user...

          A bit off topic, but I just re-read the future mechanics doc and I had a thought... maybe have term limits on users with more power? This would help address your concern:

          To be clear, I recognize that this is a dangerous type of system to implement, with the distinct risk of creating "power users" that have far too much influence.

          For example, maybe a user could only be a mod for 3 months of the year, then would not have mod powers for 9 months. This might help avoid divisions between mods and normal users, and keep the power from going to people’s heads.

          I realize that you might need to grow the user base a bit for that to work, but maybe term limits could be phased in over time.

          Edit: also, with term limits you would be much less likely to be get burned out on being a mod. I’ve never mod’ed but I assume burn out is a real thing.

          7 votes
          1. [2]
            rabidfurby
            Link Parent
            I think this is a great idea. Reddit's moderation model is "the longest-tenured moderator of a subreddit is the king" and there's little recourse (beyond forking off a new subreddit) if they turn...

            I think this is a great idea. Reddit's moderation model is "the longest-tenured moderator of a subreddit is the king" and there's little recourse (beyond forking off a new subreddit) if they turn out to be a bad moderator.

            I think lifetime tenure in general breaks down over time (as we're seeing with the current Supreme Court fight in the US). Keep new ideas and perspectives cycling through - moderation should be closer to jury duty than to a Supreme Court appointment.

            12 votes
            1. frickindeal
              Link Parent
              It's kind of unique on reddit in that a bunch of the huge subs were created in the first few days after subs became a thing, so that those subs are controlled by people who just happened to jump...

              It's kind of unique on reddit in that a bunch of the huge subs were created in the first few days after subs became a thing, so that those subs are controlled by people who just happened to jump on that opportunity, and not necessarily anyone vetted for leadership ability, or even contribution to that subject. And certain people control multiple huge subs, again without any sort of vetting. I don't think that should be allowed to occur here.

              9 votes
          2. demifiend
            Link Parent
            There's precedent of sorts for this on Slashdot. They give "moderator points" to random users in good standing, and these points expire in a day. You can use your five points to promote good posts...

            A bit off topic, but I just re-read the future mechanics doc and I had a thought... maybe have term limits on users with more power?

            There's precedent of sorts for this on Slashdot. They give "moderator points" to random users in good standing, and these points expire in a day. You can use your five points to promote good posts or bury crappy posts, and you aren't allowed to post in a thread where you've used one or more of your mod points.

            5 votes
      2. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Currently, Deimos is the only person who can perform moderator actions such as explaining the official rules of Tildes or removing posts. How is "the community" supposed to deal with spam (if that...

        Currently, Deimos is the only person who can perform moderator actions such as explaining the official rules of Tildes or removing posts. How is "the community" supposed to deal with spam (if that were to happen here) without Deimos' participation? All we can do is flood the spammer's posts with comments saying "Go away. We don't want your spam here." But that won't actually achieve anything if the spammer doesn't want to stop. The spammer could rightly point out that:

        • There are no rules against spam here.

        • Even if there were such rules, none of us are official representatives of Tildes with any authority to dictate those rules.

        • None of us can stop them anyway.

        It's all Deimos.

        6 votes
      3. [7]
        dredmorbius
        Link Parent
        The lack of even a flagging mechanism bothers me. Messaging Deimos is the only option.

        The lack of even a flagging mechanism bothers me. Messaging Deimos is the only option.

        4 votes
        1. [6]
          Cirrus
          Link Parent
          You used to be able to flag comments as 'troll', 'flame', 'off topic', 'joke', and 'noise'. But then they got disabled as people were using them as a disagree button (noise was abused the most).

          You used to be able to flag comments as 'troll', 'flame', 'off topic', 'joke', and 'noise'. But then they got disabled as people were using them as a disagree button (noise was abused the most).

          9 votes
          1. dredmorbius
            Link Parent
            Other options I'd like are "hide post" and "hide user". Either could be temp. But the noise level's creeping up.

            Other options I'd like are "hide post" and "hide user". Either could be temp. But the noise level's creeping up.

            6 votes
          2. [4]
            Crespyl
            Link Parent
            Was it actually "people" abusing them or a single individual (and the first/only banned user)?

            Was it actually "people" abusing them or a single individual (and the first/only banned user)?

            3 votes
            1. [3]
              Cirrus
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              There were three banned users, and the first was banned partly for abusing tags (see apoctr's comment below). In general, there started to be a trend of misusing tags during an argument, so Deimos...

              There were three banned users, and the first was banned partly for abusing tags (see apoctr's comment below). In general, there started to be a trend of misusing tags during an argument, so Deimos decided to disable tags until he has time to refine the mechanics.

              In case you are curious, the first user got banned for insults in a politics thread, the second user got banned for being a homophobe in a lgbtq thread, the third person got banned for trolling behavior.

              8 votes
              1. [2]
                apoctr
                Link Parent
                Part of the reason the first user was banned was because they went through (IIRC) @Mumberthrax's post history and tagged everything as noise and/or troll. Wasn't the outright reason for the...

                Part of the reason the first user was banned was because they went through (IIRC) @Mumberthrax's post history and tagged everything as noise and/or troll. Wasn't the outright reason for the removal of the tag system AFAIK, however it was a strong contributing factor to the user's banning.

                9 votes
                1. Cirrus
                  Link Parent
                  Yes, sorry, I'll edit my comment to reflect that.

                  Yes, sorry, I'll edit my comment to reflect that.

                  3 votes
  3. [6]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    I'm kind of 50/50 on this topic. If a Tildes user were to make a video game, I would absolutely want them to make a post letting us know that, "hey, my game released today, it's genre y with a...

    I'm kind of 50/50 on this topic. If a Tildes user were to make a video game, I would absolutely want them to make a post letting us know that, "hey, my game released today, it's genre y with a little bit of x and you might like it for reason z."

    But I would be less interested in seeing self-promotion from users who come to the site purely to promote their product or brand.

    I feel like this is another can of worms as far as what's acceptable and what isn't. Certain product promotions we probably don't want to see at all on Tildes, like antivirus software, but VPNs serve a good purpose and are an important tool for user privacy, if the people behind the VPN can be trusted, which is why I'm 50/50.

    If we're going to allow self promotion, it should probably only be allowed by accounts of a certain age with a certain level of activity or comments, not people who want to advertise on Tildes, and then we just rely on a report function to stomp put the violators.

    Also, do the rules of self-promotion change if the thing being promoted is open source free software versus a proprietary paid service?

    19 votes
    1. [5]
      MotherIrony
      Link Parent
      I think this is an important question. If a fundamental tenet of this community is to be a place of discussion and free of advertisements, does this not already lean towards something which is...

      I think this is an important question. If a fundamental tenet of this community is to be a place of discussion and free of advertisements, does this not already lean towards something which is inherently at odds with the wider world and its dominance by capitalist practices? I mean, it is really easy for me and you and everyone else to find out all sorts of information about any product I might potentially want to purchase elsewhere, self-promotion in a place like this to me is unnecessary.

      Perhaps a good option would be to have a group which is dedicated to people requesting advice regarding such things, like "what VPN should I get that is trustworthy?" - then people could show up and self-promote. That being said, even if the group existed, unsolicited self-promotion is not something I personally would be interested in, but having the option to unsubscribe would remedy that problem.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        I think the idea of filtering posts or comments based on tagging works great here. Self-promoting content that is acceptable, will need to be tagged as self-promotion unless it's a genuine answer...

        I think the idea of filtering posts or comments based on tagging works great here.

        Self-promoting content that is acceptable, will need to be tagged as self-promotion unless it's a genuine answer to a question about, let's say, alternative VPN software. Then, when a moderator or the OP of the content tags their comment/post as self-promotion, then users who are filtering that tag will not see that content, or it could automatically be placed at the bottom of a post or comment chain.

        So if someone asks for an alternative to Private Internet Access, that would be a good moment for @nvk to comment about his VPN and not require a "self-promotion" tag because it's relevant, but if it was unsolicited or it was its own post, then a "self-promotion" tag would be necessary so that it can be filtered out by users who choose to hide content with that tag.

        8 votes
        1. [3]
          frickindeal
          Link Parent
          This seems like a nice solution, although you'd still have the user responsible for self-tagging their posts, which is difficult to police, unless it's reported to Deimos (unsustainable with...

          This seems like a nice solution, although you'd still have the user responsible for self-tagging their posts, which is difficult to police, unless it's reported to Deimos (unsustainable with growth) or there are mods. Otherwise, I like that idea.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            There will be moderators here in the future. It's part of the plan.

            unless it's reported to Deimos (unsustainable with growth) or there are mods.

            There will be moderators here in the future. It's part of the plan.

            2 votes
            1. frickindeal
              Link Parent
              I had just read about that in a comment not long after I posted. Thanks for the link.

              I had just read about that in a comment not long after I posted. Thanks for the link.

              1 vote
  4. [4]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I saw that post, and I was going to send you a message about it this morning, but I saw that @meghan beat me to it. I'm 100% against this sort of behaviour. This person has done nothing on Tildes...

    Specifically, this was prompted by this post today.

    I saw that post, and I was going to send you a message about it this morning, but I saw that @meghan beat me to it.

    I'm 100% against this sort of behaviour. This person has done nothing on Tildes apart from promote their own project. That's not acceptable to me.

    You'll also be aware of Reddit's former guideline (before they turned pro-spam) that only 10% of a person's activity should be related to self-promotion. That was good in that it was a concrete quantifiable measure of whether someone was spamming, which reduced the possibility for subjectivity and rules-lawyering. Even if we don't adopt the 10% figure itself, we should definitely adopt the principle that someone's self-promotional activities should be a small minority of their total activity here.

    There should also be some barrier to entry for this activity. On Reddit, you can create an account and immediately start spamming with it. Sure, lots of subreddits have AutoMod conditions to try to deal with this, but there's no site-wide rule or process that stops it. In line with the philosophy that someone should be a participant on Tildes first and a self-promoter second, it might be useful to have some rules that prohibit self-promotional activity from new accounts. Brand-new accounts which are 1 day old and have 0 reputation should be treated more harshly than older accounts if they start spamming. Although this might encourage account-farming behaviour, like happens on Reddit, where people build up accounts and grow their karma so they can then sell them to spammers. Maybe we shouldn't do that. Maybe all accounts should get treated harshly if they break the rules against excessive self-promotion.

    Self-promotion should be strongly discouraged here. It should be very limited. And breaching this rule should be treated harshly.

    12 votes
    1. [2]
      Eylrid
      Link Parent
      Reputation falling off over time will help. Someone can't just buy a high rep account and keep the high rep forever, like they can with reddit karma.

      Although this might encourage account-farming behaviour, like happens on Reddit, where people build up accounts and grow their karma so they can then sell them to spammers.

      Reputation falling off over time will help. Someone can't just buy a high rep account and keep the high rep forever, like they can with reddit karma.

      10 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Ah. I forgot about reputation decay. Good point. Thanks for reminding me of that. In that case, we should absolutely impose some sort of barrier or rule restricting young accounts from any form of...

        Ah. I forgot about reputation decay. Good point. Thanks for reminding me of that.

        In that case, we should absolutely impose some sort of barrier or rule restricting young accounts from any form of self-promotion. Only older accounts with some reputation can start promoting their own site/product/service/project/whatever (as long as it's a small minority of their activity here).

        EDIT: delay => decay

        3 votes
    2. amoeba
      Link Parent
      Your comment mirrors my feelings on the matter closely. While self-promotional activity may occasionally contribute to discussion, it seems to veer into spamming far too often. I would support...

      Your comment mirrors my feelings on the matter closely. While self-promotional activity may occasionally contribute to discussion, it seems to veer into spamming far too often. I would support rules discouraging self-promotional activity with very limited exceptions.

      3 votes
  5. euphoria066
    Link
    For my facebook feed, my rule is that if 50% of your content or more is business related in any way, then you are a business, not a person, and I delete you. (I'm looking at you, Beachbody...

    For my facebook feed, my rule is that if 50% of your content or more is business related in any way, then you are a business, not a person, and I delete you. (I'm looking at you, Beachbody coaches!)

    I think it's okay to promote yourself to an extent, and mention a service you can provide if it's relevant, but if you're starting discussions just to promote your business, or derailing discussions to try to segue into your pitch, then you're crossing over some lines.

    11 votes
  6. [3]
    Account
    Link
    Self promotion is fine if it is relevant to the conversation in mind. For example, if there is a thread discussing VPNs and an unrelated user asks for recommendations, I think it would be the...

    Self promotion is fine if it is relevant to the conversation in mind. For example, if there is a thread discussing VPNs and an unrelated user asks for recommendations, I think it would be the perfect opportunity for @nkv to slide in with his product. Otherwise, it's just businesses attempting to profit from a small community.

    When the website grows, and as our community does as well, I see fit that businesses can create their own groups where users looking for their specific product can discuss it.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      frickindeal
      Link Parent
      My only argument would be in regards to something like imgur: it was created by a reddit user and developed with feedback from reddit users, and became the default place to upload images for...

      Otherwise, it's just businesses attempting to profit from a small community.

      My only argument would be in regards to something like imgur: it was created by a reddit user and developed with feedback from reddit users, and became the default place to upload images for linking on reddit, where nothing great was available prior (photobucket was a scourge back in the day). Allowing absolutely no self-promotion, or only "in context," would have prevented any kind of promotional announcements there, and probably wouldn't have allowed its massive growth (although now it's a behemoth, and native uploads are more common on reddit now).

      I think it should be allowed, but only by established users with a certain account age, and probably tagged as self-promotion as @hungariantoast posted above.

      5 votes
      1. Account
        Link Parent
        Yes you are correct. Now that I am reviewing my comment I can see the flaw in my statement. @Deimos had mentioned giving users a "trust" score/rating, and maybe he could implement that in a way to...

        Yes you are correct. Now that I am reviewing my comment I can see the flaw in my statement. @Deimos had mentioned giving users a "trust" score/rating, and maybe he could implement that in a way to benefit self-promoters and hopefully, ourselves.

        3 votes
  7. [4]
    flaque
    Link
    I have no problem with self promotion at all to be honest. Voting and commenting is the true equalizer when it comes to self-promotion. If people don't like it, they won't upvote it. If they do,...

    I have no problem with self promotion at all to be honest. Voting and commenting is the true equalizer when it comes to self-promotion. If people don't like it, they won't upvote it. If they do, then maybe someone's thing is interesting and we should look at it. One of the best things about the internet is that we can talk directly to the people who made stuff.

    Similarly, self-promotion has definitely not hurt Hackernews, who does it all the time with "Show-HN" posts. Tildes itself was literally a spawn of self promotion.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      This is a great point, and Show-HN is one of my favorite things about Hacker News Also a great point.

      Similarly, self-promotion has definitely not hurt Hackernews, who does it all the time with "Show-HN" posts.

      This is a great point, and Show-HN is one of my favorite things about Hacker News

      Tildes itself was literally a spawn of self promotion.

      Also a great point.

      5 votes
      1. bee
        Link Parent
        I think an important difference here would be that tildes is a non-profit.

        I think an important difference here would be that tildes is a non-profit.

        2 votes
    2. dredmorbius
      Link Parent
      Show HN is a small fraction of site content. The bad stuff tends to get modded down fast.

      Show HN is a small fraction of site content. The bad stuff tends to get modded down fast.

      2 votes
  8. lmn
    Link
    In my view self promotion should be fine but what should be objectionable is spam. If you have a blog and write an article on some topic once a week and submit it to an appropriate place once a...

    In my view self promotion should be fine but what should be objectionable is spam.

    If you have a blog and write an article on some topic once a week and submit it to an appropriate place once a week, I don't see why there should be a problem with that. Just like desirable content you are submitting something that can be judged by the audience.

    Where I think this becomes a problem is if you're submitting stuff too frequently, submitting the same article, or submitting to inappropriate places. I think it's also a problem if you're submitting a lot of click bait that turns out to be garbage.

    My point is, spam is bad whether or not you are the creator of the content you are spamming. Conversely, good content submitted appropriately is good regardless of whether the submitter is the creator of the content or not.

    8 votes
  9. [3]
    PsychoPitcher
    Link
    I think it would be impossible to completly ban it because then it would limit conversation a lot for example if I say in a comment I like McDonald's new burger that technically could be seen as...

    I think it would be impossible to completly ban it because then it would limit conversation a lot for example if I say in a comment I like McDonald's new burger that technically could be seen as advertising.

    I think the line for me is having it come up naturally meaning no posts about your website but you can comment about it. For example a post talking about bike routes and you post your bike route website, that's fine. However you can't just post your bike route website.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      pun-master-general
      Link Parent
      The issue at hand here is self-promotion, so it isn't really applicable to people talking about corporate products like McDonalds (assuming nobody here is secretly Ray Kroc, back from the dead)....

      if I say in a comment I like McDonald's new burger that technically could be seen as advertising.

      The issue at hand here is self-promotion, so it isn't really applicable to people talking about corporate products like McDonalds (assuming nobody here is secretly Ray Kroc, back from the dead).

      The issue is that self-promotion is often actually good content, and it can be a bit tough to determine what constitutes self promotion vs. good content that happens to be about something the poster owns.

      For example, to go off of your bike route example, it's clearly self-promotion if I just make a post like "Hey, check out my bike route website!" But say I want to make a post in ~comp talking about a particularly interesting technical challenge I faced while making it, or my impressions of the language I wrote it in, and mention the site in the post. Is that self-promo? What if I don't mention the site in the post, but someone asks about it in the comments and I answer?

      Personally, I think it's simpler to go with the rule that self-promo is OK provided a) it's relevant, b) it's infrequent, and c) regardless of frequency, it makes up a small minority of your posts and comments on the site. Reddit's old 9:1 rule (you should have nine regular posts or comments for every one self-promotion) or Deimos' own (paraphrased) rule of thumb "You can be a Tildes user with a website, but not a website with a Tildes account" are better than just blanket allowing it in comments or not allowing it in posts, IMO.

      15 votes
      1. PsychoPitcher
        Link Parent
        I see what you mean. That makes sense

        I see what you mean. That makes sense

        1 vote
  10. Whom
    Link
    I have no problem with self-promotion if that's actually what it is. Users posting about the things they're involved in and making original posts based on that is great and imo something that many...

    I have no problem with self-promotion if that's actually what it is. Users posting about the things they're involved in and making original posts based on that is great and imo something that many places on Reddit discourage far too much, making it so you can't even post about a community or project you're involved in that would interest the sub in question. I imagine this is an issue that partially stems from overwhelmed moderators not being able to deal with making a distinction between users who post things they're involved with and accounts that exist almost solely for that purpose.

    So essentially I think that the guideline that you bring up is a better fit on ~. This is exactly the kind of thing that trusted users with minor mod powers would be able to deal with much better than the small mod teams we see on Reddit.

    6 votes
  11. clerical_terrors
    Link
    I've always liked your shorthand,but on the subs I moderated we sort of supplemented it with a hard version of the "90% rule" on the advice of resident spam-hunter /u/diggdejected, Meaning 90% of...

    I've always liked your shorthand,but on the subs I moderated we sort of supplemented it with a hard version of the "90% rule" on the advice of resident spam-hunter /u/diggdejected, Meaning 90% of a user's activity had to be something other then promoting a project or service. This was mostly in order to deal with the fact that tracking somebody's relative Reddit participation became increasingly difficult as the site grew larger, it was fairly trivial to post some nonsensical comments or a few "yes you're right" comments to technically fulfill the quota. It may seem like somewhat harsh a ruling, but it was very effective at rooting out the vast majority of spammers and marketers.

    Another issue we came across frequently, being a gaming oriented subreddit, was that people would want to link their Youtube channels/review sites quite often, had we allowed it most of our sub would probably have been nothing but links to sub-100 subscriber Youtube channels and half-forgotten Wordpress blogs. Other than banning it outright we never really found a good way to deal with it though, as leaving some up and removing others would mean designating ourselves as curators and nobody quite wanted to shoulder that responsibility.

    6 votes
  12. [3]
    mendacities
    Link
    Ban early, ban often.

    If we find people that are over that line, how should it be dealt with?

    Ban early, ban often.

    5 votes
    1. PsychoPitcher
      Link Parent
      One warning then a ban is better I think (if it's the same thing being promoted)

      One warning then a ban is better I think (if it's the same thing being promoted)

      17 votes
    2. Account
      Link Parent
      Depends on how malicious the user is with their intent on using this platform to gain money/attention from it. If they do not understand, a warning should be issued; if they do not listen, then...

      Depends on how malicious the user is with their intent on using this platform to gain money/attention from it. If they do not understand, a warning should be issued; if they do not listen, then strike them with the ban hammer. We wouldn't want to unintentionally make our community smaller because of a misunderstanding.

      16 votes
  13. dredmorbius
    Link
    The 10% rule seems to be a reasonable start. It's probably overly generous and gameable. The present instance greatly exceeds this. The practice devalues the site. Nip it in the bud, please.

    The 10% rule seems to be a reasonable start. It's probably overly generous and gameable.

    The present instance greatly exceeds this.

    The practice devalues the site. Nip it in the bud, please.

    5 votes
  14. est
    Link
    self-promotion is ok as long as the OP can stand up and be frank about the comments. Don't leave any questions, engage the community!

    self-promotion is ok as long as the OP can stand up and be frank about the comments.

    Don't leave any questions, engage the community!

    5 votes
  15. [2]
    mundane_and_naive
    Link
    While the issue at hand is self-promotion, I think focusing on that alone is missing the tree for the forest. The bigger issue here is promotion in general. Focusing on self-promotion alone is how...

    While the issue at hand is self-promotion, I think focusing on that alone is missing the tree for the forest. The bigger issue here is promotion in general. Focusing on self-promotion alone is how we get the weird situation on Reddit of people with their "my friend made this" posts, then other people start getting hung up on whether this friend really exists, which is actually irrelevant to the value judgement of the product that is being promoted. McDonald can easily hire some existing users to comment on how amazing the new McFlurry is, and these people should be as equally guilty as those promoting their own things. No metric can possibly determine if these people really think what they wrote, or just commenters for hire. How do we know if someone frequently posting links to a certain blogger because they like the contents this blogger produces, or because they are said blogger? The only thing we have to go with, and rightfully so, is the content of what the posters say and judge for ourselves whether they are genuine.

    I'd say we should allow self-promotion and give people a proper channel to do so, with the fact that they own the product or they're paid to do being stated upfront. Since the goal of this site is to foster discussion, it should be fine as long as the poster actually discusses the product. If all the poster does is to give a bunch of recommendations and then stop, the issues become ones about being low effort and/or spam and can be dealt with as such. People has always been able to find ways around this issue and this way, promoters don't have to result to shady tactics.

    5 votes
    1. super_james
      Link Parent
      I think this is likely to be more important the bigger Tildes gets. At the moment the discussion is around relatively naive self promotion. Can we also solve for sophisticated, well funded,...

      I think this is likely to be more important the bigger Tildes gets. At the moment the discussion is around relatively naive self promotion.

      Can we also solve for sophisticated, well funded, stealth promotion? Members in good standing being paid to slip in (or upvote) promotional stuff.

      I think that you're right the answer is yes but since stealth promotion will just show up as low quality content (possibly even in the comments) the solution is the already proposed weighted voting. For that to be effective though users who gain vote power may require some ongoing education in spotting viral marketing nonsense. Perhaps we should start making an educational resource for this? I'm thinking things like PG on Submarines.

      Since you're definitely going to end up with some stealth promotion I think making a specific & filterable place where people are encouraged to post products & services they think will be of interest is a good plan.

      Incidentally this all suggests that gaining the highest levels of moderation power / voting weight should be determined by successful intervention in difficult decisions. Not raw correct decision count in simple terms:

      If Alice spends 100 days quickly voting up stuff that's obviously good quality content she should have less power than Bob who only acts to moderate down Eve's budding submarine articles which later review find to be stealth promotion attempts of low quality with a suspect early voting pattern.

      4 votes
  16. nil-admirari
    Link
    I'm fairly hard core about self-promotion and marketing in general. I saw another small upstart forum get taken over by marketing and self-promotion because it designated a 'business' area....

    I'm fairly hard core about self-promotion and marketing in general. I saw another small upstart forum get taken over by marketing and self-promotion because it designated a 'business' area. Eventually it turned into a spam machine but didn't start off that way. People who are intent on gaining visibility aren't put off by low/no votes/reputation but continue as any eyes that see a topic/post is their goal.

    Another problem are those who have their own websites, blogs, and write articles for other websites and insert them into discussions. That shouldn't be tolerated at all, imo.

    I think any activity for which there is a payback be it in the form of hits, promoting a product/service, or individual recognition offsite should be highly limited including those who appear to serve as a proxy for that. The proliferation of fake 'opinion seeking' about articles, products, services, etc. is everywhere and requires exceptional clarity about what will and won't be allowed here.

    Its unfortunate, this is one of those give an inch and a mile is taken issues in my experience. While this discussion forum is small, its easy to spot and control, as it grows that will become more difficult so simple/direct rules will avoid a lot of issues that otherwise could become time consuming and annoying.

    5 votes
  17. Amarok
    Link
    After reading this thread I'm wondering if there isn't a missing aspect to this approach. We don't really have a problem with self-promotion - content is content. We have a problem with the...

    After reading this thread I'm wondering if there isn't a missing aspect to this approach.

    We don't really have a problem with self-promotion - content is content.

    We have a problem with the frequent dishonesty that is often associated with self-promotion, especially the people who aggressively spam about it, attempting to circumvent the rules and community norms for their own selfish benefit. It's scam-like behavior.

    Perhaps we can get around this problem by simply using the tags to clearly label content that is self-promotion.

    Anyone doing self-promotion without using the tags can be punished for it (basically, for lying/spamming). That's a concrete benchmark with little subjectivity - if you're going to self-promote, that's fine, but you'd better label it clearly as self-promotion or expect to suffer consequences.

    People who have a problem with the self-promo can then filter it out based on the tags. Everyone else can just treat it as regular content, but also now they know that the creator is making the post so they can ask better questions about it and give that person better feedback.

    Maybe we need to encourage honesty in promotion and see what happens.

    5 votes
  18. meghan
    Link
    my thoughts exactly

    It's fine to be a redditor with a website, but not a website with a reddit account.

    my thoughts exactly

    4 votes
  19. acr
    Link
    It's pretty much been said, but if someone with a brand new account post something promotional that should be removed. If you have someone here who is a frequent contributor to a certain group,...

    It's pretty much been said, but if someone with a brand new account post something promotional that should be removed. If you have someone here who is a frequent contributor to a certain group, and one day they go into that group and post something like hey guys I made this thing I think you'll enjoy it. That's totally acceptable.

    4 votes
  20. anti
    Link
    What you described is exactly the right approach. Content quotas seems misguided. I think the difference would be that when a user posts something here that's self-advertising, it shouldn't be...

    What you described is exactly the right approach.

    Content quotas seems misguided. I think the difference would be that when a user posts something here that's self-advertising, it shouldn't be blatant advertisement. More, "here's something cool I'm doing, want to try it?" Something that is meant to be more than free advertisement that includes engagement with the creator.

    HN has this kind of thing pretty often and I enjoy seeing what people are doing.

    How should we try to determine if someone's activity on the site goes too far into self-promotion territory?

    Should be up to you. But I think that spamming their own content with little engagement with users would be a dead giveaway.

    If we find people that are over that line, how should it be dealt with?

    A warning and then a ban?

    4 votes
  21. BuckeyeSundae
    Link
    Self-promotion is one of those things that has to be approached with the monetary incentives for the activity in mind. And it might be that the incentive to participate in one subtidle or another...

    Self-promotion is one of those things that has to be approached with the monetary incentives for the activity in mind. And it might be that the incentive to participate in one subtidle or another become great enough to introduce strange peculiarities to the type of content we're talking about. For now, I doubt this is going to be a common behavior we are going to deal with (and frankly, we might benefit more from it than the people promoting here).

    The lower the barrier to entry is, the easier it is to self-promote at levels that can be unhealthy. Communities aren't dumb. They know when content-promotion is getting kind of too much, and they tend to turn off to the sorts of behavior that more ham-handedly try to buy into the traffic the community could provide. We might not speak up and provide that feedback unless asked, but people see what's happening when it happens.

    For now I think it makes sense to have a rather lax approach to self promotion, saying effectively that if you're actively participating in the community it's fine to promote something you've done or are doing. Sharing that project you've been spending all your time lately on could be really cool for some of us. But ain't nobody who wants to interact with a bot or wall.

    Basically, I'm fine with your approach and might have been fine with it since that time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    3 votes
  22. insomnic
    Link
    I'd like to hear about interesting products or services that are new or oddly niche and sometimes the only way is by someone telling me about their new thing. So I'm okay with Bob telling me about...

    I'd like to hear about interesting products or services that are new or oddly niche and sometimes the only way is by someone telling me about their new thing. So I'm okay with Bob telling me about this new invention he came up with -- but I don't want Bob to only be telling me about that invention over and over but at the same time, just because I heard about it already doesn't mean Sally, who is new to the site, did - and by god she's enamored with Bob's invention.

    So... maybe... posts about a specific product or service get a "one time" allowance with the expectation of discussion around it (self promotion or otherwise). After that, regular references in comments are fine and let the community manage it by either civil discussion with Bob if it seems he's getting a little out of hand with pushing his product or a technological solution if that doesn't work (ban or similar). This would replicate a forced social circle (think work cube farm or office mates) and at least for now mirrors the expectation of civil discussion and grown up human interaction this site is trying to accomplish.

    2 votes