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Aramis
-7th February 2007, 22:48
OK, this is probably going to stir up a hornet's nest, but I think it's valid. First I would like to make perfectly clear that I have nothing against LP or anyone involved with them - I've used their kit since I started fencing and am perfectly happy. I'm also nothing to do with any of their competitors.

Reading through the thread about cesh's new kit supply, I was struck that the moderation was somewhat impartial in favour of LP. This was perfectly understandable given who the moderator was. As this forum is used really to talk about matters not just relating to LP but also about GB fencing in general, can we really have unbiased discussions on all aspects (particularly kit) if the forum is hosted by LP? This is particularly relevant now that BF is plugging the forum (as those observant ones amongst you will have noticed in the BF Comms Review).

hokers
-7th February 2007, 23:05
It's not been much of a problem until now, but unless BF is prepared to take ownership of this site and give all manufacturers an equal footing, it is only fair to some extent that the site doesn't become an advertising tool for LP's competitors. So as they pay for the site, it's fair enough that they can promote their own stuff on here, and other manufacturers can't advertise themselves.

That said, I don't see why people who are not associated with an equipment manufacturer shouldn't be allowed to discuss the various merits of equipment, sale prices, websites etc of any manufacturer.

The thing that winds me up is when companies start sniping at each other, it just sounds childish. If your business model can't stand up for itself without taking shots at anyone who competes with you then you've got bigger things to worry about than taking those shots in the first place. Correct anything that's misinformation about your own products but leave it at that, please.

Baldric
-7th February 2007, 23:20
I honestly don't see a problem.

There have been dozens of threads over the last few years about "which kit is best" that have drawn hundreds of responses, some in favour of LP, but many recommending other suppliers. Until now, none have been moderated.

The moderation of this forum is incredibly light-handed by general standards - I can't remember a case when a mod acted without the utmost provocation, and even then it generally draws a light rebuke. (Apart from blatant spam or abuse).

OK - the thread about Chris's new presentation of an existing line of A/U kit had a single posting pulled. This is small beer, and Chris is big and ugly enough to continue to express his viewpoint, which he is doing admirably. I have to say that I have him ahead on points at present. :whistle: The last exchange was definitely "Attack, parried, riposte is touche" in his favour. In this instance Barry's remise was out of time.

It's to Leon Paul's credit that they continue to allow the forum to be used to promote a competitors kit (something the forum rules prohibit IIRC). I am sure that Barry is a sufficiently experienced businessman to realise that a bit of competition is healthy in any commercial arena. I am equally sure that he, Chris, Graham, Alec and all the other equipment suppliers realise that their wider interest is served by getting more people involved in the sport, and thus enlarging the cake from which they all hope to take their slices.

However, noting Bydande's post from that thread, I would encourage equipment suppliers and their agents to identify themselves in their sigs, so that newer members can interpret their posts about kit in the knowledge that they have an axe to grind.

Other than that, I am very grateful that LP sponsor a forum where I seem to spend so much of my life. :whistle: If BF finally picks up on the fact that this seems to be where much of the fencing community choose to exchange ideas, then well done BF. About 3 years too late, but well done nonetheless.

Chill out

Baldric

ChubbyHubby
-7th February 2007, 23:28
OK, this is probably going to stir up a hornet's nest, but I think it's valid. First I would like to make perfectly clear that I have nothing against LP or anyone involved with them - I've used their kit since I started fencing and am perfectly happy. I'm also nothing to do with any of their competitors.

Reading through the thread about cesh's new kit supply, I was struck that the moderation was somewhat impartial in favour of LP. This was perfectly understandable given who the moderator was. As this forum is used really to talk about matters not just relating to LP but also about GB fencing in general, can we really have unbiased discussions on all aspects (particularly kit) if the forum is hosted by LP? This is particularly relevant now that BF is plugging the forum (as those observant ones amongst you will have noticed in the BF Comms Review).
This site is owned by LP, rather than a BF site sponsored by LP. IMHO they are entitled to use it however they wish. BF have no authority in how the forum is run.

Some in BF would rather it be more moderated and less anonymous, and now too chicken to post themselves, while others like Keith has embraced it(ok, not embraced as such but he does use it and long may he continue to!), as a means to communicate with BF members.

So in some ways this forum in some way is more "free" than it might be otherwise.

Gav
-7th February 2007, 23:30
OK, this is probably going to stir up a hornet's nest, but I think it's valid. First I would like to make perfectly clear that I have nothing against LP or anyone involved with them - I've used their kit since I started fencing and am perfectly happy. I'm also nothing to do with any of their competitors.

Reading through the thread about cesh's new kit supply, I was struck that the moderation was somewhat impartial in favour of LP. This was perfectly understandable given who the moderator was. As this forum is used really to talk about matters not just relating to LP but also about GB fencing in general, can we really have unbiased discussions on all aspects (particularly kit) if the forum is hosted by LP? This is particularly relevant now that BF is plugging the forum (as those observant ones amongst you will have noticed in the BF Comms Review).

How can you be impartial and in favour?

That peeve aside - what would you expect?

I have my doubts that the the forum mention in the comms review could be construed as a "plug"...


That said, I don't see why people who are not associated with an equipment manufacturer shouldn't be allowed to discuss the various merits of equipment, sale prices, websites etc of any manufacturer.

I agree. As far as I am concerned no one has a problem with people discussing the merit of the various suppliers. Certainly it's been a regular topic on here. Not only that but I think the Pauls like the idea of discussion to my mind it makes perfect sense to have somewhere close at hand where you can see what people think of your stuff and how it compares with others. The only problem arises when someone chooses to promote a rival brand - and steps over the line in some fashion. So long as the forum is funded by LP I can't see why anyone would be surprised.


However, noting Bydande's post from that thread, I would encourage equipment suppliers and their agents to identify themselves in their sigs, so that newer members can interpret their posts about kit in the knowledge that they have an axe to grind

I agree. Makes sense as well. I think, in the Fencing village, that it looks bad if you are disciovered saying something that could be [mis?]interpreted as dishonest. Reputation counts and if your reputation is bad then you are going to struggle.

I believe it's in the regs somewhere (may be wrong - it's been ages since I tried to read them).

TLove
-8th February 2007, 00:53
I didn't see the forum post that was moderated, but presumably the chap was advertising his kit - which contravenes forum rules, and therefore attracts moderators :)

The question is - do posts regarding LP kit get moderated in the same way?

Frankly, I don't remember any real LP kit advertising (apart from in jest once), just discussions about kit where LP was being discussed (for good or bad).

Maybe if you can find some unmoderated posts that involve LP plugging their own kit or somesuch, then there'd be an argument. But I don't think there are any.

Although... Aussiefencer's signature ;)

Foilling Around
-8th February 2007, 06:49
The only real push thread is the one about what needs improving on LP kit.

I agree with Baldric about the sniping bit. Barry occasionally throws out a thinly disguised thread grtting at someone else. Often when they have had problems (eg boxes and new timings) to highlight their problems.

To be honest I just laugh. But then I know the fencing world and Barry quite well.

I think this has occasionally done LP a disservice, but overall I agree that for a site paid for and run by one equipment company they are very relaxed about having positive things said about other company's kit.

Of course it advertises LP kit (there is a big fat hyperlink at the top of the page!!). It is however relatively subtle.

Possibly the moderators and members who are employed by LP should have this explicit in their details. An then Bydande's suggestion of making it explicit who you represent makes sense.

wingnutLP
-8th February 2007, 07:40
The moderation on this board is EXTREMELY light handed.

IIRC I have edited no more than 4 posts for advertising since the forum started about 3 years ago.

The only posts that are edited are ones that contain blatent adverts and are usually caused by startup companies who have no other easy way of spreading the word.

The Forum is a useful resource for fencers in the UK and beond but it is not a tool for making our competitors lives easy. People will soon hear of Allstars UK's new budget range of clothing and masks sold via the BB name through means other than the forum.

Many forums that are run or sponsored by companies don't allow any discussion of competitors or any bad mouthing of them, their service or their products eg:

"No promotion of OcUK's competitors We, Overclockers UK (OcUK) are happy to provide the resources of these forums to responsible individuals without charge. They cost a substantial amount of money to maintain and use considerable amounts of bandwith which is paid for exclusively by us. As you know OcUK are in the computer hardware business and therefore the promotion of OcUK's competitors is forbidden. Examples of promotion are :-
Posting links to competitors websites
Posting links to reviews that promote competitors
Quoting the names or contact details of competitors
Offering to provide the names or contact details of competitors
Hinting about product availability at competitors and their pricing
Using the forums to notify a member of intent or actual supply of names or contact details of competitors
Listing competitors names, URL's or e-mail addresses in signatures
Listing competitors names, URL's or e-mail addresses in profile
Posting links to or the mentioning of auction sites
Disguising attempts to do any of the aboveDo not disrespect the forums owner Posts openly criticising the policies or posts made by the owner (Spie) in a rude or disrespectful way, or demonstrating a lack of respect for him are not permitted. He pays the bills and charges you nothing - remember that.

No anti-OcUK posts OcUK will never allow these forums to be used by those who would seek to tarnish our name, no matter how justified they feel their circumstances are. Posts of an offending nature slagging off OcUK, demoralising or demeaning the company name, complaints about bad service, etc. will not be tolerated."

All we ask is that people don't advertise or post direct links to our competitors. We even ask for constructive criticism on our own products!!

We don't really advertise on the board at all. Fencing.net for example inserts automated adverts every few posts!

rory
-8th February 2007, 08:34
We don't really advertise on the board at all. Fencing.net for example inserts automated adverts every few posts!

Unless you log in.
Adverts are only interspersed if you're a "guest" - logged in users don't have to put up with them.

Minor quibble ;)

cesh_fencing
-8th February 2007, 09:57
I have to say that I have no issue with Leon Paul staff spending all their time on the forum.

I have no complaints with how they have moderated my posts, however it is difficult to know where the line is to comply with the guidelines when answering either direct questions from users, especially when they come from Barry as usually they are not direct and can be interpretted/read in multiple ways.

As you will see from my early posts I rarely mention 'BladesBrand' to try to keep within rules, however the last few posts detailing the way 'Allstar/Uhlmann UK' and 'Bladesbrand' are set up have the companies names repeated lots and lots of times and are actually in reponce to Barry's post and were I needed to keep everyting crystal clear. No post initially from Barry and there would have been far less regarding BladesBrand.

Aramis
-8th February 2007, 10:06
How can you be impartial and in favour?
Well spotted Gav! It was late. Delete "impartial".

TLove
-8th February 2007, 16:05
The only real push thread is the one about what needs improving on LP kit.

Although, that thread is used to bash LP aswell as praise them

Baldric
-8th February 2007, 16:18
This site is owned by LP, rather than a BF site sponsored by LP. IMHO they are entitled to use it however they wish. BF have no authority in how the forum is run.

Some in BF would rather it be more moderated and less anonymous, and now too chicken to post themselves, while others like Keith has embraced it(ok, not embraced as such but he does use it and long may he continue to!), as a means to communicate with BF members.

So in some ways this forum in some way is more "free" than it might be otherwise.

I agree with ChubHub.

There is no such thing as an impartial moderator. Everyone comes to the forum with some investment in the sport. Therefore, everyone has an axe to grind, whether its on behalf of the NGB, a kit supplier, or any other part of the sports infrastructure.

I think its very much to the credit of the mods that they use such a light touch. I can think of one or two NGB officials who might have been inclined to black card some of my postings. :nanananan

At least with LP, we know who they are, and we know what their particular axe is.

craigles
-8th February 2007, 22:33
I'd say I agree with the general consensus here - for a forum sponsored by a major manufacturer, everything is run fairly even handedly. All LP really ask for is that you don't post links to competitors sites, and I think that's understandable - they're paying to keep the place running, after all.

It's pretty clearly stated that it IS sponsored by them (it says it on the front page, and it's at the top of the every page you see while you're in the forum), and most (possibly all?) of the LP staff on the boards do have LP in their username somewhere.

All in all, this place is a nice thing to have, and if a manufacturer is prepared to keep it here for us, then we need to abide by their rules - especially seeing they're pretty easy going rules anyway.

Nick_C
-8th February 2007, 22:45
I'm confused: What is OcUK? And who/what is Spie?

Secondly, that wingnutLP post above has cleared up one issue in my mind. I thought the moderation was imposed to reduce advertising on the forum; in fact , its intention was to remove *anti-Leon Paul* advertisements. Therefore, I assume I can post as many links to the LP site as I want, as long as I don't post any of their competitors... (something which http://fencingforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=166627&postcount=33 this post appears to refute).

Finally, why implement just *some* of the rules mentioned...? If you're going to be Draconian, why not implement all of the rules listed above?

Aramis
-9th February 2007, 00:02
I'm confused: What is OcUK? And who/what is Spie?
I think wingnut is just using that as an example of another forum run by a company where even thinking about posting a bad word about them results in drastic measures...

Baldric
-9th February 2007, 00:04
I'm confused: What is OcUK? And who/what is Spie?

Secondly, that wingnutLP post above has cleared up one issue in my mind. I thought the moderation was imposed to reduce advertising on the forum; in fact , its intention was to remove *anti-Leon Paul* advertisements. Therefore, I assume I can post as many links to the LP site as I want, as long as I don't post any of their competitors... (something which http://fencingforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=166627&postcount=33 this post appears to refute).

Finally, why implement just *some* of the rules mentioned...? If you're going to be Draconian, why not implement all of the rules listed above?

Nick, I think you may be missing the point.

The references you question are (I believe) sample policies from other forums, intended to illustrate how they operate.

Forums without moderation quickly lapse into chaos, a bit like societies without any laws. Pretty soon idle chit chat, spamming, trolling and other rubbish take over, and genuine contributors move away. Once the drift starts, it accelerates very quickly.

I have been a member of several forums (fora?) and honestly - the moderation here is anything but draconian. Partly thats because the users are pretty well behaved and have a genuine interest in fencing. Partly its because Gav, WingnutLP and KingKenny do their jobs for the most part quietly and efficiently.

The current spat between cesh_fencing and Barry Paul is very much the exception rather than the rule, and I imagine that most members are viewing it with an amused detachment.

If you post a link like this:



Hey come and look at my new online fencing store at www.cheapfencinggear.com (http://www.cheapfencinggear.com)


then you are likely to get it pulled by the mods.

However, if someone posts a question like I did a while ago



My region is looking for a bulk purchase of breeches because of the new clothing regs - can any one help with the cheapest source?


Then the mods let the thread run free, since it was a genuine enquiry, drawing genuine answers.

I don't think you can ask for fairer than that.

Baldric

cesh_fencing
-9th February 2007, 06:22
The current spat between cesh_fencing and Barry Paul is very much the exception rather than the rule, and I imagine that most members are viewing it with an amused detachment.

I certainly would not view the discussions with Barry as a spat, I think is has been dealt with in a very relaxed manner, with the respect it requires (& it does amuse me also). Getting in a hissy-fit or overly defensive on a forum like this is conterproductive. However the extra exposure is always appreciated for a new business.

I cannot remember any postings where other suppliers have hit out or tried to discredit Leon Paul or the way they operate, obviously these may have been pulled by the moderators, but it does seem LPs competitors are fair game occassionally.

All it seems to indicate to me is that the market is become more competitive and LPs are paying, at least a little attention, to new entrants. This I think is good for fencing as a whole in the UK.

TLove
-9th February 2007, 14:16
I'm confused: What is OcUK?

Overclockers UK. PC parts etc...

Anyway, I still don't see the problem here... the moderation on the forum has always seemed pretty good to me, and someone has yet to demonstrate where a blatant advertising plug for LP kit has been posted on the forums and not been moderated.

Anyone?

Saxon
-9th February 2007, 14:44
Not really necessary, as there's a socking great link to the catalogue at the top of every page :)

Nick_C
-9th February 2007, 14:57
ok i missed the bit that said [an example] set of rules, but my point still stands. Apart from the links, there are ,and in wingnutLP's own words, "shameless plugs" regarding dvds etc. one off the top of my head from dec/Jan would be:

eg

http://fencingforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=160552&postcount=9

I'm not having a go at anyone, just pointing out that LP do, in fact, advertise on this website. I'm not commenting on whether it is right, or otherwise. But i would like clarification on whether there is a different between what LP are allowed to do here and what the 'others' are.

Twohat
-9th February 2007, 15:08
I agree with the consensus that the moderation is by-and-large even handed and not too soft or too draconian, and I see no problem with having this forum provided by LP and deemed "quasi-official" by the BFA - LP are after all the official sponsor and preferred supplier to British Fencing.

I think the forum is probably more valuable to the fencing community as it is than it would be were it controlled and moderated by British Fencing. I know that Keith Smith is always very communicative and open and honest with us on the forums, but I sometimes wonder if some of the more critical posts would be pulled if it were moderated by the BFA rather than LP? Just my two-pennorth. (needs a wooden spoon smily but I can't find one!)

TLove
-9th February 2007, 16:17
http://fencingforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=160552&postcount=9

I'm not having a go at anyone, just pointing out that LP do, in fact, advertise on this website. I'm not commenting on whether it is right, or otherwise. But i would like clarification on whether there is a different between what LP are allowed to do here and what the 'others' are.

I think that particular example was what is technically known as 'in jest' if I remember correctly.

ChubbyHubby
-9th February 2007, 17:21
I'm not having a go at anyone, just pointing out that LP do, in fact, advertise on this website. I'm not commenting on whether it is right, or otherwise. But i would like clarification on whether there is a different between what LP are allowed to do here and what the 'others' are.

Again, it's LP's website, not a website sponsored by LP. Why shouldn't they be allowed to advertise on it? (even if that particular example isn't in jest)

Keith.A.Smith
-9th February 2007, 21:28
Dear All,

I am quite happy to contribute to this forum but I know many are not.
There is a view that many contributions are ill informed and to be blunt people getting moans off their chest which they might never state openly.

I do have some problems with all the anonymity but have decided that although the forum may well be totally unrepresentative it is still worth contributing when I have time.

I was concerned about negative views expressed about it by our funding bodies, who said it gives in their opinion an overwhelmingly negative view of our sport but I managed to convince them to fund us and ignore their own views of the LP forum.

I think on balance it does serve a useful purpose and I enjoy reading some of the concerns etc of varying groups of people.

Best wishes,

Keith

Aramis
-9th February 2007, 23:50
I was concerned about negative views expressed about it by our funding bodies, who said it gives in their opinion an overwhelmingly negative view of our sport but I managed to convince them to fund us and ignore their own views of the LP forum.
What caused them to come to that conclusion?

(That was a serious question - I'm curious...)

TLove
-10th February 2007, 10:45
Unfortunately, gripes, moans, ill-informed posts and a general negativity are some of the characteristics of may internet forums. Don't ask me why - there's probably some psychological/sociological reason. Personally, I don't think fencingforum is doing too badly in that respect - overall it's quite friendly and we eventually get to the right answer on most things :)

However, those who are not happy to contribute due to the above really should bite the bullet and do so. The addition of their implicitly more well-informed views to the forum would surely improve it's quality and bring it more into line with something they would like to see. Standing on the sidelines achieves nothing - if they believe they community could be improved then they should take some responsibility upon themselves and help out.

gbm
-10th February 2007, 10:53
I am quite happy to contribute to this forum but I know many are not.

I think most people here are very happy that you do contribute. Being in a relatively public position, you are putting yourself willingly in a place where people can make accusations or similar against you anonymously - and I respect you for that, and I think most of the other serious forum users do as well.
Your presence adds significant value to the forum.
(This also goes for all the FIE referees and other BF/EF/SF/NIFU officials who frequent the forum - as far as I know no WF officials do)

ChubbyHubby
-10th February 2007, 19:53
I think most people here are very happy that you do contribute. Being in a relatively public position, you are putting yourself willingly in a place where people can make accusations or similar against you anonymously - and I respect you for that, and I think most of the other serious forum users do as well.
Your presence adds significant value to the forum.
(This also goes for all the FIE referees and other BF/EF/SF/NIFU officials who frequent the forum - as far as I know no WF officials do)

I think when Keith says "..many are not" he doesn't mean fencers or forum members, but other high level people within the BFA and or UKSport etc.

wingnutLP
-12th February 2007, 07:15
ok i missed the bit that said [an example] set of rules, but my point still stands. Apart from the links, there are ,and in wingnutLP's own words, "shameless plugs" regarding dvds etc. one off the top of my head from dec/Jan would be:

eg

http://fencingforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=160552&postcount=9

I'm not having a go at anyone, just pointing out that LP do, in fact, advertise on this website. I'm not commenting on whether it is right, or otherwise. But i would like clarification on whether there is a different between what LP are allowed to do here and what the 'others' are.

We do advertise on the website, the top of evry page says "sponsored by leon paul" there is also an equipment link on the top of each page and for that matter at the bottom that takes you to the LP website rather than a list of possible places to buy your kit!

We are also allowed to post as many adverts and links as we like but we chose not to. Other than the shameless plug which was a joke I think there is almost no advertising by LP on this forum.

BUT from the rules of teh forum "Do not use these forums for any commercial purpose - no solicitation of funds, no advertising, and no solicitation for goods or services other than sponsors of the site."

We are the "sponsors of the site" and the rules that apply to others don't apply to LP, it is just that we rarely choose to excersise our right to advertise.

It is not fair to all the other vendors but life isn't and LP were clever/lucky enough to see the value of a forum in the community and spend the money to set it up before anyone else did. I genuinely don't think that we abuse our right to advertise here and as I have said before I have only moderated a tiny number of posts on this forum to remove links and advertising.

Tubby
-12th February 2007, 17:52
I was concerned about negative views expressed about it by our funding bodies, who said it gives in their opinion an overwhelmingly negative view of our sport but I managed to convince them to fund us and ignore their own views of the LP forum.
Good job on enlightening the funding bodies. I work in a customer services environment. It is received wisdom that in this society, people are more easily moved to moan than to big something up. Human nature in this culture.

Re LP sponsorship and advertising: of course; and, why not? The key word is "sponsorship". Quid pro quo.