Hi Mary -
I don’t want to delve too deeply into this on this thread, so feel free to message me privately if you have more questions after this explanation below.
I too noticed this posting and I have already written to Adwar Casting about it. This is a commercial post with a link to a product, the intention of which is to derive commercial benefit. For the purveyor of such a good or service to do this, they need to be a platinum member. I wrote to them and told them to become one and support Orchid.
We don’t allow (at least not currently) product announcements on Orchid, even by advertisers. I don’t want Orchid to turn into a constant stream of people trying to sell stuff, as that’s not what it is for. If Platinum Members wish to respond IN CONTEXT to a post about a product or offer helpful commentary and follow up links, they may do so. Provided the link or comment is relevant, applicable to the discussion at hand, and not originated by the advertiser.
Obviously, there is some subjective interpretation here… and I am going to work to refine the rules and make sure everyone understands them going forward. It’s obviously a bit of a work in progress.
As a general rule, I am obviously a lot more open to posts of these kinds (as I assume Orchidians would be also) by Platinum members, because they are financially supporting the work we do. I am obviously not very open to people who are not paying members at all trying to advertise their goods and services, as that is taking advantage of your attention and seeking to use what the paying members subsidize to their advantage without contributing in kind. I am also not open at all to spam posts or folks who don’t contribute financially or knowledge-wise who swoop in and want to take advantage of your attention without giving back to the community.
Of course, there are gray areas. I have seen and let slide on occasion folks who haven’t supported the forum financially, but who are incredibly generous with their time and knowledge sharing. If someone has been on Orchid for 10 years, answering questions and giving of themselves, I am obviously a lot more open to things they do. Reputations and approach matter.
Again, I realize this is super subjective and I want to make it more cut and dry over time. I don’t want to seem like I have an “attitude” about this – my goal is simply to make things valuable for the community and create a happy medium of people giving and taking.
On the issue of people posting work examples, those are not commercial. At least, I have not seen anyone seeking to sell their items (message me if I am mistaken, I may be)… they simply share them because people like looking at them and talking about them. It is true that sharing your work is likely to benefit you in various ways, but I don’t view it as commercial in nature. By contrast, posting about a new tool you are trying to sell, or a new product is quite clearly commercially motivated.
I hope this helps, and I hope my approach to such things is taken in the spirit with which it is intended… improvement of the community.