While we do allow for links to other sites, that comes with the admonition that our boards are not a place for advertising commercial concerns. [...] All other commercial links are forbidden.
I would like to protest this rule.
I got my hand slapped for linking to a site that sells sex toys in response to someone who said he was making that kind of (unique) sex toy and wanted to know people's thoughts on them.
I have no affiliation with the business I linked, nor do I receive any compensation from them. I posted the links to help another member who was posting about something he was doing - making sex toys for sale - and to share information about a product I use and like.
So my concern here is twofold:
1 - Apparently posting a whole thread talking about the sex toys you make and sell (or plan to sell) and talking about PMing members to discuss purchasing/making those products is ok (which is clearly contradictory to the spirit of the "no commercial links" rule).
2 - The way this rule is written it means contributing members are not allowed to refer businesses or products that they use and have had good results with.
I think this is an extreme way of enforcing a no spamming rule. It is pretty obvious who regular members are vs. people who are just spamming. It's pretty obvious when someone is pimping something vs. recommending something to their friends/peers.
I own and run message boards of my own, and I would never place a blanket ban against all links of all kinds. I think that's counterproductive to the idea of a community - one that helps and supports each other.
I'd like to see this rule rethought and rewritten. The way it's written now, someone wouldn't even be allowed to post a link to something they bought and were excited about (say the boots I bought this weekend and might want to share with my friends) because it would be a link to a commercial site.