Hi folks, from time to time I will post a forum policy update. I'm thrilled with how everyone has conducted themselves on the forums. We do have one poster that seems to be violating the policy on a regular basis by trolling for information about backpacking, posting his URL, which then leads back to a commercial website that provides little meaningful or original information about backpacking. The primary revenue source for this persons' vast network of sites intended to draw high amounts of traffic is via advertising servers.
This is not necessarily a bad business model. However, the more disturbing reality is that this person also owns websites promoting "get-rich-quick" schemes, a shady side of the Internet that has long since been recognized as unethical and deceiving. Moreover, this person promotes publications on those "get-rich-quick" websites that exactly describe the practice of trolling on forums for content created by others, rewriting it into articles and claiming original authorship, and using those articles as a source of revenue by creating content-rich websites, or submitting them to third party websites in order to drive traffic back to their own commercial site(s).
Further research into the business practices of this individual will uncover the realization that his/her primary motivation for being in these, and other forums, is to troll for information that leads to commercial gain, and drive visitors to his/her site via an active URL, rather than participate in the noncommercial nature of forum discussions. This practice violates the spirit of what we are trying to do with BPL forums: create an open community for the free exchange of lightweight backpacking information - while eliminating the motivation for commercial gain.
If you see posts from this individual, please consider not participating in the forums he/she creates. The practices he/she is employing are subtle and require some external research, either on the Internet, or by contacting moderators of other forums, to validate their bahavior elsewhere.
The key practice of this individual that is most unethical and troublesome is that he/she slams us all in the face by writing about topics and claiming ideas to be his own without giving credit to those who offered their tips, insights, or information. He/she credits no sources, leading the reader of his/her articles to believe that the content is original.
If this person continues to post here without participating in meaningful discussions rather than simply asking open ended questions and then mining the responses for their articles without disclosing their intentions, we will be forced to lock their user account and block their IP.
This person also seems to be posting on the forums at Backpacker.com and Backpacking.net.
Our forum policy is stated below, and can be found in the original post in this forum.
Introducing BackpackingLight.com Discussion Forums
We introduced a limited forum discussion interface in November 2003, for the sole purpose of offering readership the opportunity to provide useful commentary on issues and topics published in articles at BackpackingLight.com. We really enjoyed the reader feedback, were very pleased by your levels of insightfulness and personal resonsibility, and we'd like to move forward with more comprehensive discussion forum topics.
How the Forums Work
This forum interface is not a conventional "BBS" style discussion board. The interface is simple and based on a flat discussion architecture(replies appended to the ends of threads rather than nested).
To view a particular thread, you may access it via the index below. In addition, you will find some of the threads (especially those in the Editors' Roundtable Forum) embedded at the end of articles related to the thread topic. For example, to enter the thread LED Lights, you may click on that thread from the 'LED Lights' topic in the Editors' Roundtable Forum, or you may view the exact same thread at the end of each of the following articles: "The Weird Science of Night Vision", "Buying an LED Torch", and "LED Lighting Technology".
Policies for each forum may be slightly different. In general, our default forum policy requires login for posting, with all forums moderated by the BackpackingLight.com Editorial Staff.
Posts containing profanity, unsubstantiated claims that are perceived to be defamatory or slanderous, or off-topic posts will be deleted.
While you are welcome to debate and challenge manufacturer marketing claims here, discussion forums are not an environment for airing customer grievances about your gear arising from using your gear in situations clearly beyond what the manufacturer intended (e.g., this silnylon pack really sucks, it ripped to shreds when I slid down a talus slope). Further, flames and personal wars with other companies or persons will not be tolerated here.
NO COMMERCIAL POSTS IN THE FORUMS. Keep your signatures to a bare minimum. URLs posted in the forum should be useful and valuable to the readership in context with the post, not intended to provide trolls to drive traffic to your site.
Enjoy the forums, and feel free to provide us with any feedback.
Publisher, Backpacking Light