The rules that govern discussions in the TR forums and comments haven't changed in over four years, but today, we've decided to update them in order to address a growing problem known as stealth viral marketing.
We've had a pretty confident suspicion for quite a while that a subset of the people posting here have alternative motives and agendas, even if you account for the fanboy phenomenon. The "contributions" these folks make to discussions tend to worsen the signal-to-noise ratio of many threads and to distort the priorities expressed in them. If you've sometimes thought certain discussions seem like a weird echo chamber filled with more marketing concerns than traditional PC enthusiast concerns, you know what I'm talking about.
Trouble is, definitively identifying and reining in stealthy viral marketing activity isn't easy. Still, we have decided to take the small step of adding a forum rule explicitly banning it. Here is the text of the new rule:
Our goal is to make clear that TR is not a hospitable place for stealth viral marketing activity.
We are, however, very open to participation from folks in the industry. We're just asking that participants adhere to the standard most good corporate social marketing policies already require: that you actively identify yourself as affiliated with the company you represent.
In other words, stealth viral marketers may want to close their accounts now, because this rule change is going into effect. Consider this post fair warning.
Let me be clear: we are not going to post the email and IP addresses of obnoxious fanboys or suspected stealth viral marketers as a matter of practice. But if we conduct an investigation and can make a link between you and a viral marketing operation, we are giving ourselves leeway to make the results of that inquiry public.
For the vast majority of you, even the hopeless fanboys, the only effect of this rule update should be better interactions. Our hope is that we can maintain the discussion quality that has been so good here at TR for years. This step is just a small one, but we think it's necessary at this point. Please bear with us as we continue working to maintain the integrity of our community.