2/22/06

New Site Rule

This one applies primarily to the RateItAll Local side.

Discussion of current, past, or pending law suits against local businesses and merchants is now officially off limits.

These sorts of things are beyond the scope of RateItAll to verify, and can be very damaging to a business' reputation.

Here are is the full list of site rules.


1 comment:

  1. This makes SOME amount of sense but even Microsoft is a local business SOMEWHERE. And given how often that company and lawsutis it has filed or had filed against it... I am just curious how stiffly this kind of rule will be enforced.

    The rule itself has just one line:

    "Discussion of law suits related to merchants or vendors (added 2/22/06)"

    I'd say the rule at least needs more clarification. The statement on the BLOG itself reads (in part):

    "Discussion of current, past, or pending law suits against local businesses and merchants is now officially off limits.

    These sorts of things are beyond the scope of RateItAll to verify, and can be very damaging to a business' reputation."

    The actual RULE seems to at least make an effort as to "merchants and vendors". What qualifies as either is anyones guess.

    But the explanation on the BLOG makes it appear more exspansive with "can be very damaging to a business' reputation".

    As I said... The rule itself makes some amount of sense but as with all rules I think it should be applied ACROSS THE BOARD. That would include Microsoft.

    Also, when one considers that RIA charges various fees etc... for businesses to advertise or even be included on some lists it presents a conflict of interest.

    The site can't very well charge a company money for inclusion and then allow the mass of users, regular or not, to berate and belittle them.

    But it is a severe conflict if the only goal is protection of the bottom dollar impact to the site. I would agree the site may need to protect those companies that pay to be included in various ways but everything needs to be on the up and up.

    One sure method is to simply not allow any mention of lawsuits etc... But RIA would be hard pressed to eventually eradicate all references to the multitude of big business lawsuits.

    The only other means by which to offer some amount of clarity and lessen the possibility of conflict is to at least disclose all contributing businesses on the site.

    A simple page listing sites that either pay to be included or advertise. Even those that assist with upkeep and development of the site. No need to list dollar amounts or even how or why a business is involved.

    There is no easy answer but the rule as written is far too generic and I would have to question if RIA is interested in protecting a businesses reputation or its own viability etc...

    That is why the Microsoft issue seems relevant. Not just that company but many like it. Are those companies to be allowed as targets? What about AOL? There are countless examples of businesses this rule will likely not be enforced on. And that leaves me curious as to how fair it can be.

    I hope the rule is enforced across the board but this presents RIA with another issue that looms large...

    Policing it.

    While new comments might not slip through very often there is little in the way of manpower or staff to effectively control or spy out such violations.

    Less than 5% of various rules violations I might have mentioned ever got dealt with. And let's not even get into weblist guideline violations.

    The race related lists themselves are already featured on this BLOG and should be banned.

    We'll see how things progress.

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