Guidelines Update: Attack/Shame Stories

Hey Sphinners,

I want to give you all a heads up on an update to our Sphinn Guidelines. In the News Submission Don’ts section, we’ve added a new item — it’s #11 on the guidelines page and reads like this:

(Sphinn users should not submit…)
11. attack/shame stories. Sphinn is not the place to wage reputation management battles. We may remove any submission that attacks or shames another party. Exceptions might be made in cases when there’s significant value in the submission. Our editors have final say over what constitutes “significant value.”

This is an issue we’ve been discussing internally for a long time — I’m talking at least a year or two. Attack/shame posts used to be fairly infrequent on Sphinn and we never reached a policy on them. But they’ve become more frequent in recent weeks and months, and we’ve decided it’s time to make it clear to all users how we’ll handle them in the future.

I hope the wording we’ve published is clear enough. As always, feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

- Matt

6 Responses to “Guidelines Update: Attack/Shame Stories”

  1. Michael VanDeMar Says:

    So, just to be clear, what you are saying is that if some company is ripping off people in the industry, or if Google is operating under double standards, or if industry giants are bullying smaller players… all of those types of topics, as a whole, are no longer welcome on Sphinn? You guys strictly want touchy feely, double rainbow type material being submitted, correct?

    “I hope the wording we’ve published is clear enough.”

    It might help if you could provide a link to a few submissions that front-paged this year that would not have been allowed under the new guidelines, so we can see some examples.

  2. Matt McGee Says:

    What we are saying is that any attack/shame post needs to have significant value as a whole, not just be an attempt to impact someone’s online reputation. No more, no less. I wouldn’t over-read (is that a word?) into it, Michael. This isn’t about targeting any one user, any one previous post (or series of posts), or anything like that. It’s about having a guideline in place that tells users not to try to use Sphinn for waging reputation management battles.

    Keep in mind that we see a LOT more submissions than actually make it to the site, too.

  3. Michael VanDeMar Says:

    Matt, I didn’t think it was targeting anyone in particular, it’s just that I am familiar with more than a few controversial posts (have written one or two, in fact) that involved conflict with players within the industry, and I know that the whole “added value” aspect is more than a little subjective. While I am admittedly biased, I definitely feel like the posts I write are not fluff pieces or merely personal attacks, and speak to the landscape of the industry. I would say the same about Aaron Wall’s posts that might have a similar flavor, or anything on the WordPress/GPL controversy, etc. But I also know that mods and admins here have on occasion deemed some of those discussions too heated, and closed threads or prevented posts from going hot. That’s why I was curious if you had stuff you could point to, in order to clarify.

    I mean, you might be talking mostly about stuff normal Sphinn users would never even see, stuff that was getting deleted even without the rule being published, but from your description it wasn’t clear (at least, not to me).

  4. Matt McGee Says:

    At the risk of being called lazy, I’m really not inclined to go back through the archives and say this one’s cool, that one’s not, etc. Branko asked on Twitter about the TopSEOs stuff, for example. I don’t remember every little detail of those posts, but in general, I remember those as being newsworthy and having value to the community as a whole. OTOH, if someone puts out another new post next week that goes on about “TopSEOs sucks, I hate TopSEOS, etc., etc.” and there’s no real value to it, we’d probably remove it.

  5. louis Says:

    its just a standard guideline guys to make sure people are not attacking others right ?

  6. Stewart Says:

    I understand what you’re saying but hell some os these SEO people need and deserve slagging off. Just imagine some poor young person staring out in business with a new website. Who do they trust, my own experience tells me I can’t even trust my own web designer and I.ve been in business over 20 years.

    I’ve suddenly discovered there are errors on my site which he is responsible for and now wants payng to correct. I asked for a site that was optimized for the serach engines and now he wants to provide SEO and infers that the optimization of the site will also be chargeable, how greedy is that. It would have been just as easy for him to write the site correctly in the first place but then he couldn’t have offered me a correction at a cost.
    Litigation approaches I think!!

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