Advertising On SL / Discussion

Sub-page of AdvertisingOnSL

moved from MetaDiscussion; this discussion was fired off by a series of advertisements by Chuck Robbins for the books by Slate and Shell, a company he co-founded

30 January 2003

Charles Matthews I don't like frankly commercial advertising here, nor unsigned 'book reviews' which are effectively that.

Confused: Don't fear, Wiki is here - to save the day again and preserve the world as we know it.

It's one of the strengths of the wiki concept, that Wiki vandals, commercial advertising and other data corruptions are deal with quite nicely and fairly. Yours and Hu's comments on the AnIntroductionOfKoreanBadook-page put the original comments into a more even light.

Charles Matthews It's not quite that simple, but this is the place to discuss it, rather than all over the site. It's fine with me to have pages for the major go publishers - we are in their debt. It is fine with me to have stated there that they sell online. I'm not really happy that my book is there on the Slate and Shell list, since they distribute it (for which I'm grateful) but don't publish it. What would we do if an Amazon employee added links all over the book pages? Well, that's the wrong question. What would I do? And so on. As an author of books I want books to sell, but as an author for SL (which is also a good thing, I believe) I see some of the posts that have appeared under Chuck Robbins' name as defacing the site. I believe AnIntroductionOfKoreanBadook is probably intended to reach out to ethnic Koreans such as Korean-Americans; and I'm sorry to have posted negative comments on it. But in the face of someone cutting-and-pasting sales material onto SL what does one do?

Hu: I agree with Charles. Sensei's Library exists as a service to its readers, not a free service to companies. I think the comments on AnIntroductionOfKoreanBadook are appropriate when Carlton, an important reviewer, reaches a dissenting view from the previously unattributed advertising.

I have placed attributions as "-- Chuck Robbins of Slate and Shell" for the pasted sales material on some of the pertinent book pages so that it clear that there is conflict of interest, working from oldest posted up, but I am running out of energy this night. I have also been editing out the duplicate (and sometimes triplicate) repetition of the title in the body, replication being a commercial technique to raise a page's ranking in search engines.

Charles Anyone could be using Chuck's name, of course. Let's be careful not to escalate the situation.

AvatarDJFlux: Well, it seems all postings come from the same IP address...

Dieter: Right after the first postings, these reactions came off on his Homepage:

''Dieter: Dear Chuck, it may be appropriate to keep your edits to the books, published by your company, informative and leave appreciative comments to less biased readers. With all my respect. Please delete my comment after reading.
Hu: We hope that Sensei's Library can be a service to its readers, and not primarily a service to companies, even as we wish you well.
Andrew Walkingshaw: Agreed; replicating advertising blurb for books, no matter how excellent they are, is somewhat disingenuous when one has a commercial interest in it (although I understand that there is not much money in Go publishing). Furthermore, the correct URL for David Carlton's reviews (which I note in one case you edited out) is [ext] the previous address will shortly stop working.''

Charles Matthews Perhaps a constructive step would be to create an OnlineBookPurchaseLinks page. I note that the link collection page is headed 'Go resources on the net'. Separation between that link collection, the book review links (Carlton, Jasiek and so on), and commercial links, would be a useful way to go, in my view.

unkx80: Oh my... Chuck Robbins has began another round of massive updating of his advertisements...

Bill: Aside from an initial distaste (and annoyance at wading through all that stuff on Recent Changes), I did not think much about it, but I now think that the problem is more serious. Do we want SL to be a repository for the catalogs of all go books published in Western languages? If not, should any publisher put up their catalog here?
I think that it is appropriate for people to put up pages about their favorite books, and classics deserve a place, but let publishers link to their catalogs, not paste them here.

Charles I don't think what is posted here should replicate anything already up elsewhere on the Web, for one thing. I don't think unsigned contributions have to be treated with so much respect. As Confused said, in effect, we don't have to man the barricades. Suppose we start assuming good faith and take it from there.

Dieter: Since Chuck seems to ignore the massive objections against his efforts here, I suggest we replace the advertisements with pointers to the very same ads on his own site. I've done so for AnIntroductionOfKoreanBadook.

Charles Yes, on the indirection principle of doing things, it is better to link than paste.

Bill: Thank you, Dieter. :-)) Well done!

dnerra: Agreeing with everything that has been said, I want to go a little further. We've all become used to annoying advertisements, and certainly want to keep SL free from it. But Chuck Robbins (assuming it _was_ him) did not even respect the lowest level of etiquette, which says that advertisements have to marked as such. I would go as far as suggesting to delete this stuff.

(Out of place comment moved to chronological order) Chuck Robbins: Andrew I have corrected all of the David Carlton links. Thanks for pointing out the correct link for David's reviews. Charles I have removed Teach yourself Go from our list. I did not intend to offend. We happen to think it is a great book.

Bill: I see that the assault continues. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for go publishers in English, including Slate and Shell. But Chuck is changing my mind. If his behavior is indicative of how they treat their authors, I would not want to publish anything with them.
I see that, while I was writing this, Chuck posted here, indicating some responsiveness. Chuck, do you understand how people might feel that what you have done is an assault?

Arno: I guess what bothers me most is the liberal use of keywords. We have a book keyword, don't we? About having a page for each book: I don't really think this is a problem. Sure it cloggs RecentChanges for some time. On the other hand, once the 30-40 pages are there that's that. We still have over 5000 pages not directly related to SlateAndShell. As long as links to those pages don't appear all over the place it is ok. And as long as other peoples reviews (postive or negative) remain there. Currently I take comfort in strength of numbers (like Confused above). But before we all get tired Morten and I might just put that ace (currently up our sleeve) on the table.

Hu: Hmmm. A non-response response from Mr. Robbins, failing to address the central issue, though his most recent actions seem to indicate an implicit acquiescence. By contrast, may I compliment the SL deshis on their respectful but fiercely loyal handling of the whole event.

I feel that it would be great if Sensei's Library had a note about every book about Go printed in the last x (50?) years, and some earlier, regardless of the language, but especially if in English. This is in tune with my (and others) vision of SL as both a reference and a tutorial. It may not be very deep in all areas, partly due to the tree structure or DAG nature of Go move sequences, but "books" is one area it can go deep. Comprehensive and useful information about books on SL can only help the game of Go as a whole, and so much the better if it benefits Go book publishers equally and unobtrusively.

The slippery slope of disguised advertising leads to a race to the bottom of rampant overwhelming commercialism. Pointers to commercial blurbs are preferrable to regurgitated advertising and more so to un-attributed regurgitated advertising.

Book notes on SL could have thumbnail summaries, publishing histories and unadorned pointers to possibly multiple current sources. Additionally, they could beneficially include several reviews to give distinct perspectives, "signed", in the semi- or non- anonymous way of SL, possibly on separate discussion pages as length or controversy increases. I would even be comfortable with brief partisan reviews from the publishers or distributors, so long as they are brief and that the self-interest is clearly identified by non-anonymous attribution. All of this can augment without duplicating the wonderful Dave Carlton bibliographic site, [ext] which seems to currently redirect to [ext]

31 January 2003

Charles Matthews I have removed the plugs for Master Go on the Common mistakes in fuseki, Joseki choice and Whither joseki pages.

Arno: I have talked with Chuck and invited him to join the discussion here about what "rules" SL should have for commercial posts. From my point of view: description of books are ok - after all SL will contain every scrap of information about Go Really Soon Now (TM). If they come from the publisher (or another party having financial interest in the book) then the statement should be marked as such. Like every page on this wiki, others are free to change/commnt as they see fit (keeping basic etiquette in mind). Keywords and such should be limited to "books" or "equipment" and some such. Personally, I don't want to see e.g. a Life&Death keyword on a page about a life&death book. Same goes for links. I.e. dropping links to those ads throughout the wiki, however related that may be is not ok. I suggest everyone should cool down a bit and think about if and how we deal with such pages.

Chuck Robbins Are the following changes ok?

Confused: I might only a casual user of the library, but for all it's worth: I like the way those pages are now. All relevant information presented in a fair manner. It would be nice, if there was as much information on other books too.

13 November 2003

SnotNose: Any fix is likely to be more work than the periodic discussions and re-edits. However, this problem has been solved in physical (as opposed to internet) events that mix technical and promotional content. Academic conferences have an "Exhibitors Hall" where promotors display their products. If one doesn't want to see that stuff, one doesn't go into the Exhibitors Hall. The technical talks do not contain any advertising.

But, the technical talks may well reference products, books, techniques, and the like, all of which were purchased (for profit). That is natural since these products are part of the technical art. To ban discussion of them would be silly. Discussion is not advertising though.

An analagous thing on SL would be to have dedicated promotional pages (one for books, one for severs, one for equipment, one for software, etc.) which are marked as such and contain links and brief descriptions. The links go outside SL to pages that are controlled by the promotors and can say whatever they like. If one doesn't want to see this stuff, one doesn't go to these promotional pages.

All other content is treated as we treat content in general. Say what you like but know that it could get editted, particularly if it violates the spirit of the site. So, advertising outside of the promotional pages would get killed pretty quickly. But, discussion of products is not in and of itself promotion. These are the tools of our art and it is natural (and beneficial) to disucss their merits.

Again, the work of migrating material to promotional pages is likely more than it is worth. I actually think the site functions fine the way it is. I can tell advertising from technical content easily and pay no attention to the former unless I want to. Trouble will begin if we get overwhelmed by advertising. Is that likely?

AvatarDJFlux: Yes it is, IMVHO. Due to the very nature of the WWW today: a huge playground for advertising.
I am personally against promotional pages here. I know that I do not have to go and read them, but they would use space that can be destined to better endeavours (say, studying go...).
Of course we can give the news of, relate personal experience, describe, discuss, compare commercial go products (in the largest meaning), but, as it has been said many times, this doesn't mean promoting and shouldn't be written as a promotion.
And, even worse, why should SL ever offer a free space to promotion (which is another way of saying advertising)??!? Commercial enterprises pay dear money to stand in the "Exhibitor's" hall of a scientific Congress...

SnotNose: I, personally, do not care how much advertising is on SL so long as it doesn't undermine the non-promotional features of it. So, I won't argue the following point too strongly. But, having some promotional (advertising) space is (or might be) of value to some users. It is one way to hear about and learn about new (and old) things of interest to the Go community. One can ensure that it doesn't grow out of hand by setting aside some limitted space, as I described. This is a way of making a virtue out of necessity (or trying to anyway). That is, rather than constantly fight against something, let it occur in a limitted way.

A simple way to determine whether there should be (a) no advertising whatsoever, (b) dedicated advertising space, (c) advertising in the sense it is currently done now, or (d) some other option is to have a poll of current registered (by which I mean, with a homepage) users.

Lastly, all of this is likely too much bother so things will probably go on as they are now, which is fine by me. I was just offering some options for consideration by others.

Charles I'd certainly object to most of the standard types of advertising here. Such as testimonials. Who wants to read the 'I used your soap three years ago, and have used no other since' thing, posted from a transient hotmail address or similar?

Fortunately, no one needs answer a 'if you allow X, why don't you allow Y' argument. Nothing follows about Y, just because no one has yet edited X out.

And if someone puts on their home page 'Yahoo is the best go server in the universe and you're wasting your time going anywhere else', one can presume the person is sleeping with an admin.

Morten Lucky admin, say I :^) However, on the issue of advertising; past attempts to use SL for blatant plugs has met with quite strong opposition from the community. And, since they tend to outnumber the advertiser, the result has been that the advertisements have not been left untouched and I would even say that they have to a certain degree been counterproductive.
Call it laissez-faire or what you like, but in that respect the 'hands-off policy' which SL follows has worked quite well. Luckily (?), we have a large and reasonable community who act as responsible netizens/go-players.

27 May 2012

RobertJasiek: There is something very wrong with the principles of Advertising On SL: The freedom of fans to "state their opinions all they want" should not allow

  • the statement or implication of factual falsehoods,
  • comparisons hiding positive aspects of some products while presenting positive aspects of some other products.

Reason: According to the principles of Advertising On SL, the authors or publishers cannot even point out such. So products can be represented falsely on SL. Both authors and fans should be reasonable. The current principles of Advertising On SL create an unbalance where some fans can be unreasonable. When authors want to defend, they are blamed for self-advertisement while the fans are not blamed for having done something wrong including motivating self-advertisement. With the additional principles above, there would be a good balance and the chance of overall objectivity on SL would increase.

Advertising On SL / Discussion last edited by RobertJasiek on May 27, 2012 - 13:32
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