Forum Rules Change

John Cote

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We have just changed the rules for posting to allow links to items for sale
Offers to buy or sell, links to active sales
  • No form of selling is permitted in any forum, including discussions implying your item may be available for sale. Want ads may be posted only in the restricted "Want to Buy" forum.
  • Links or references to active or completed sales or auctions for horological items are allowed. Please make sure the "Be Respectful and Courteous" and "Copyright Compliance" sections of these rules are followed when posting discussions of this nature, otherwise posts may be removed at the moderator's discretion. Sellers, consigners, employees or other representatives may not initiate threads for items that they are actively selling. They may, however, participate in such threads once started.
  • Requests for parts for repair of your watch or clock are permitted only in the "Parts Wanted" Forum. All transactions for such materials must be made outside these Forums.
  • PM/Conversations are not subject to any restrictions stated in this rule.
This change takes effect immediately.

Note that while we do not look at PM conversations, others may, if they are for the purpose of rigging auction bids. This is illegal and can result in fines for multiples of damage and jail time. We will not be looking at this but others may and these private messages may be the record of such misdeeds.


Also my interpretation of this, which I shall enforce, is that I will remove posts revealing what posters are willing to bid. I will also be very strict about removing references to auction items which are made by people associated with an auction house or by consigners which seem to be more advertisement than a search for knowledge. I will also be very strict about enforcing courtesy and accuracy of criticism of an item. If you have a technical criticism of an item you will need to back it up with evidence unless what you are saying seems to be of common knowlege. Value and prices paid are OK as are discounts secial deals or bundles offered on sales sites.
 
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Bernhard J.

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Hi,

I counted at least four threads relating to a change of rules. Would it be an idea to join all these threads?

Cheers, Bernhard
 

Tom McIntyre

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Many of the participants here do not look at the new threads list or other global listing and restrict their reading to the specific forum(s) that interest them. Since the moderator of each forum is responsible for the rules, they have each expressed themselves. (Not that we behave all that consistently anyway. :))
 

John Matthews

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Tom

While it is true that each moderator has specific scope, that members do limit their reading to specific forums and therefore it is sensible/necessary for moderators to post an alert to significant rule changes on the forums in their scope of responsibility, surely the sensible approach would have been for moderators to post a 'sticky read-only' alert with a link to a single thread for any discussion. The obvious destination being the original thread posted by Dave.

John
 

Tom McIntyre

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You may ask each of them why they posted what they did. I was only describing the process. Everyone is unpaid, so command authority is pretty limited.

The official rules are published with a link at the top of the right side column. I will, if I can, style it to make it more obvious since several users have said they overlooked it
 

Bryan Eyring

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Can anyone advise what, specifically, drove this change? I still assess that this opens the door to shilling and creating slander liability for the org.

I also agree w/ John - lock all the individual threads, make them stickies, and then provide a link to a single, consolidated thread on this topic.
 
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Bernhard J.

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... this opens the door to shilling and creating slander liability for the org.
Shill bidding is practice and common with or without the Rules change. And e.g. eBay officially prohibits, but practically even promotes this. A circumstance I can easily prove. No wonder, since the eBay provision increases with shill bidding.

I do not think, that anyone intending to cheat by shill bidding will go to this forum and search for a complice. If two persons go the shill bidding route, they will know each other anyway and communicate directly.

The only way of escaping such attempts is last second bidding. And if you are not online in the last seconds, just leave it.

Cheers, Bernhard
 

Bernhard J.

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Sorry for my limited English, but what is "shilling in the larger sense", translators do not seem to translate that? Even shill bidding ist translated as ..... shill bidding :D
 

John Cote

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I was referring to shilling in the larger sense, not specifically shill bidding
Bryan, I agree that we will not be able to stop every possible instance of someone trying to hype an auction item. There is no perfect system. I still see this as very worthwhile on balance. More people want to know whether something is OK before they buy it than almost any other thing in the watch and clock world. They go everywhere else to find out. We want them to come to the NAWCC.
 
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bruce linde

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Can anyone advise what, specifically, drove this change? I still assess that this opens the door to shilling and creating slander liability for the org.
years and years of discussion questioning a long-ago determination by nawcc legal that such discussions would put the organization at risk for being sued.

counter-arguments included "people can sue no matter what, any time" and "why not just add some legal that says 'any post discussing auctions are the sole responsibility of the poster and have nothing to do with the NAWCC' " and "everyone else allows such discussions" and "our charter includes disseminating information on clocks and collecting... such discussions are germane"

again, anyone can do or say anything, and that's on them... any comments here would not be from the org, but from individuals. risk-adverse posters should tread carefully when discussing live auction items.

as far as shilling goes, we would be remiss in not helping all practice 'caveat emptor'... which such discussions would only encourage.

is what i think :)
 

bruce linde

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I suspect that a lot of individuals are not aware of this new personal liability.

Since when is this a new liability? If people don’t know they need to be responsible for what they say. I don’t think telling them is going to help at this point.

Everyone knows you’re not supposed to yell , ’fire’ in a movie theater… Seems like it would be common sense that you don’t say ‘wow that auction item is a piece of crap’ in a public forum unless you’re willing to back it up

I hope that such legal ease has been added to the NAWCC legal disclaimers to protect the organization and make it specifically clear that comments on auction items made by individual posters have nothing to do with the NAWCC, but you never know
 
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Tom McIntyre

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My belief in supporting this change is that the cost of withholding honest opinions on authenticity or value is greater than the probable liability risk.

If there is an entity with sufficient assets and a strong enough motive to damage the NAWCC, it could attack us and cause us harm at some cost to itself. Such actions can be taken for any cause or no cause and we only have the legal system's judgement of frivolous to dissuade such actions.

Being widely admired for our honesty and goodness is not an adequate protection, but it is all we have.

Ultimately this was a business decision, which has been made by the business.
 

John Cote

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Appreciate your thoughts and hoping one of the mods will provide some facts around this.

If this is in fact true, is it now incumbent upon the NAWCC MB to notify any potential participants of this new risk?

I suspect that a lot of individuals are not aware of this new personal liability.
There is no change to the risk to the NAWCC or to forum participants and there is no change in the legal advice given by our corporate attorney. In the USA anybody can sue anybody for anything. You can be sued for having a belly button. Everyone and every organization needs to make a business decision and balance the risk and benefit of any decision involving tort risk. If you are not willing to take any risk you should never leave your house and never let anyone in, including your friends who could theoretically turn on you at any moment. Things like commenting on a public message board or allowing comments on your public message board carry a modicum of risk. Please don't take part if you don't feel comfortable doing it.

The management of the NAWCC has decided that the risk to the organization is worth the potential benefit. It is a business decision. The legal data to support this decision has not changed since the question was last considered but the present world and social media context and the viewpoint of management has.

Again, nobody will fault you or any contributor to these forums from refraining from taking part in these discussions...or any discussion. As far as I am concerned, I have been taking part in public discussions of live auctions and sales for years on other web based platforms. I have been civil and evidence based in any criticism or praise I give. As far as I know nobody has sued or threatened to sue me or any of the other participants in these discussions. My decision, as an NAWCC forum member, will be to participate in these discussion in a civil manner when my input might be valuable. As a moderator I will do my best to make sure that participants follow the rules and to act when and if they don't.
 
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Dave Coatsworth

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Seems like it would be common sense that you don’t say ‘wow that auction item is a piece of crap’ in a public forum unless you’re willing to back it up
And, we will not allow this. Such a comment without justification fails the 'respect' test.
 
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bruce linde

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And, we will not allow this. Such a comment without justification fails the 'respect' test.
dave - has any specific language been added anywhere that says "comments about active auctions or sales are the sole responsibility of the posters, and should in no way be construed as coming from the nawcc'? given how lawsuit-shy the organization has been for so long on this issue, i would think this would be a condition of the rule change.

??
 
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Dave Coatsworth

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dave - has any specific language been added anywhere that says "comments about active auctions or sales are the sole responsibility of the posters, and should in no way be construed as coming from the nawcc'? given how lawsuit-shy the organization has been for so long on this issue, i would think this would be a condition of the rule change.
Not specific to this rule, but in general the end of the Copyright section seems to cover this for any post.
 

Bernhard J.

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Please, what is "shilling" (in the larger sense)? Perhaps the following examples can be marked "yes" or "no"?

1) If I see an active auction of a person I do not know and think "Wow, what a great item" and post this in the forum (whether this would be wise, if I intend to bid, is a different issue).

2) If I see an active auction of a person I know and whom I like and post "Wow, what a great item".

3) If I see an active auction, wherein the item is misrepresented (irrespective of by lack of seller knowledge or with fraudulent motivation), and post "This item is not what the seller suggests, for the specific reasons 1, 2, and 3. Motivation: protecting potential buyers with less knowledge.

4) If I see an active auction, wherein I post "This item has several faults, namely 1, 2, and 3". Motivation: I want to buy it myself, as cheap as possible.

If at all, I personally would apply 1) and 3) only. In case of 1) only, if the bids are already higher than my own bid, which I do not intend to raise for whatever reason. I would regard 4) as unfair. In case of 2) I am unsure whether this would be unfair, since every potential buyer should anyway make up their own mind.

I see the situation of 3) quite often and think that it is like looking away, if someone obviously trys to cheat another person. But shut up, because I do not want to spend my time with quarrels and think that stupid buyers may remain more happy with continued stupidness ... :cool:

Cheers, Bernhard
 

Bryan Eyring

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There is no change to the risk to the NAWCC or to forum participants and there is no change in the legal advice given by our corporate attorney. In the USA anybody can sue anybody for anything. You can be sued for having a belly button. Everyone and every organization needs to make a business decision and balance the risk and benefit of any decision involving tort risk. If you are not willing to take any risk you should never leave your house and never let anyone in, including your friends who could theoretically turn on you at any moment. Things like commenting on a public message board or allowing comments on your public message board carry a modicum of risk. Please don't take part if you don't feel comfortable doing it.

The management of the NAWCC has decided that the risk to the organization is worth the potential benefit. It is a business decision. The legal data to support this decision has not changed since the question was last considered but the present world and social media context and the viewpoint of management has.

Again, nobody will fault you or any contributor to these forums from refraining from taking part in these discussions...or any discussion. As far as I am concerned, I have been taking part in public discussions of live auctions and sales for years on other web based platforms. I have been civil and evidence based in any criticism or praise I give. As far as I know nobody has sued or threatened to sue me or any of the other participants in these discussions. My decision, as an NAWCC forum member, will be to participate in these discussion in a civil manner when my input might be valuable. As a moderator I will do my best to make sure that participants follow the rules and to act when and if they don't.

Sorry John, but there is most certainly a change in risk. It was previously impossible for members to potentially slander an active item because a mod would immediately q-tine the discussion. That no longer occurs with this new rule.

Let me know what I'm missing here:???:
 

John Cote

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I don't get it Bryan. Now the mod will moderate the slanderous comment instead of the entire thread. Slander is a risk. There is no change to the risk of slander. What am I missing.
 

John Cote

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Please, what is "shilling" (in the larger sense)? Perhaps the following examples can be marked "yes" or "no"?

1) If I see an active auction of a person I do not know and think "Wow, what a great item" and post this in the forum (whether this would be wise, if I intend to bid, is a different issue).
I am not going to allow a post like this because it is essentially an advertisement for the item.

2) If I see an active auction of a person I know and whom I like and post "Wow, what a great item".
Same logic for this post...not appropriate.

3) If I see an active auction, wherein the item is misrepresented (irrespective of by lack of seller knowledge or with fraudulent motivation), and post "This item is not what the seller suggests, for the specific reasons 1, 2, and 3. Motivation: protecting potential buyers with less knowledge.
I would allow this post as long as the critique was reasonable and backed up with evidence unless obvious to everyone.

4) If I see an active auction, wherein I post "This item has several faults, namely 1, 2, and 3". Motivation: I want to buy it myself, as cheap as possible.
I think this is fair as long as the faults are well reasoned and backed by evidence. Your motivations need not be evident.
 

John Matthews

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John (& others) - would you allow ...
Those members who are interested in < insert feature of interest> as used by <insert name of maker> from <date 1> to <date 2> will find this <item>, that has just appeared <here> on <name of auction house> <date> auction, to be a significant example.
This is essentially advertising the item, but clearly with an educational objective, viz. to inform members of an important piece for those studying/researching/collecting.

More importantly (sorry) would all moderators view it in the same manner?

John
 

bruce linde

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wait a second... John Cote just replied with a bunch of examples where he would delete posts about active auctions... but the new rule says:

Links or references to active or completed sales or auctions for horological items are allowed

How does he know whether the poster knows the seller and wants to help promote the item? if there are any restrictions on linking to active auctions or sale items, i haven't read any yet.

i think the 'shilling' concept is 'sky is falling'... there's no way to know, and who cares? auction item owners and auction houses aren't going to complain, are they? "we're suing you because you helped promote our auction!!!"... yeah, right :)

as for 'increased risk', as dave points out comments have to be polite and appropriate... or they will get moderated. let the people whose job it is worry about what's appropriate deal w it. if you think a comment about a live auction item is inappropriate, report it... but i didn't see the moderators asking for backseat moderating advice, and don't think they need it... they have been discussing this as a team for a very long time and have considered implications and nuances in depth. it's on them.

that said, i'm... concerned? confused?... about how nuanced john appears to want to be around this new rule, when Links or references to active or completed sales or auctions for horological items are allowed ... is they? or ain't they?
 

Dave Coatsworth

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Those members who are interested in < insert feature of interest> as used by <insert name of maker> from <date 1> to <date 2> will find this <item>, that has just appeared <here> on <name of auction house> <date> auction, to be a significant example.
Yes, this post would be allowed as long as the person posting is not associated with the auction house.

As far as applying the rule consistently, I don't see a problem. I think we do a very good job at applying ALL of the rules consistently. I don't see why this rule should be any different.
 

bruce linde

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another clarification request... are people allowed to comment on the items? i.e., "the dial looks repainted to me"? "the solder on the arbor is a shame"? if respectful and courteous?
 

Bryan Eyring

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i think the 'shilling' concept is 'sky is falling'... there's no way to know, and who cares? auction item owners and auction houses aren't going to complain, are they? "we're suing you because you helped promote our auction!!!"... yeah, right :)
Other dealers / galleries care. This type of activity creates an unfair competitive advantage for those who shill their items.
 

Tom McIntyre

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Plentiful public commentary also affects those who try to persuade naïve sellers to end auctions early at prices well below the actual value.

That practice is also illegal in almost every jurisdiction, but it is rarely enforced because it requires a complaint to be filed with the authorities.

I hope our new rule will help to combat that behavior.
 

Dave Coatsworth

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another clarification request... are people allowed to comment on the items? i.e., "the dial looks repainted to me"? "the solder on the arbor is a shame"? if respectful and courteous?
Yes, you can discuss item specifics. "I believe the dial is refinished" is fine. (You are going to be corrected by the community if it isn't.) General disrespectful statements like "Look at this piece of @#%" would not be allowed.
 

bruce linde

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Yes, you can discuss item specifics. "I believe the dial is refinished" is fine. (You are going to be corrected by the community if it isn't.) General disrespectful statements like "Look at this piece of @#%" would not be allowed.

thx for the clarification, and carrying the ball on this one. IMHO this issue has limited the organization's ability to help educate and champion informed horology and the rule change is another step in the right direction.







Other dealers / galleries care. This type of activity creates an unfair competitive advantage for those who shill their items.
can you provide some specific examples of what you're talking about? and maybe come up with a dealer or gallery owner who wouldn't be thrilled to have people discussing one of their items and calling attention to their auction or gallery?

any post is going to be about a specific clock or watch. where is the 'unfair competitive advantage'? for example, chet hicks just added a beautiful chelsea base and ball ships bell clock with verde finish and gold 10" dial to his website. it is a totally unique clock.. if another dealer happened to ALSO have a chelsea base and ball with 10" gold dial and verde finish and comments here were comparing the two... maybe. but no does, and no one is going to... so where's the competitive advantage or disadvantage? i expect this is the same for watches.... one clock or watch per thread, yes?

btw... i don't like gold dials on chelseas. if i had the scratch to buy that clock i would re-silver the dial immediately.... original surfaces or not. :)
 

John Cote

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wait a second... John Cote just replied with a bunch of examples where he would delete posts about active auctions... but the new rule says:
The two examples I just noted might be moderated seemd simply to be showing off an auction but not asking a question about an auction. I would probably have to read a whole example but I don't think we want people simply advertising an auction...which is what this sounded like.
 

bruce linde

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The two examples I just noted might be moderated seemd simply to be showing off an auction but not asking a question about an auction. I would probably have to read a whole example but I don't think we want people simply advertising an auction...which is what this sounded like.
sorry... if links to and discussion of live auctions are now allowed, then they're effing allowed... including simply mentioning an auction. the rules don't specify that i need to ask a question or comment... they specifically say i can now link to an active auction... but you said you wouldn't allow such a post.

if that is the case, the rules need clarification. what you and dave are saying is conflicting... and confusing.

maybe Dave Coatsworth could clarify?
 

John Cote

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sorry... if links to and discussion of live auctions are now allowed, then they're effing allowed... including simply mentioning an auction. the rules don't specify that i need to ask a question or comment... they specifically say i can now link to an active auction... but you said you wouldn't allow such a post.
Bruce, the rules don't make it that simple. Remember "Sellers, consigners, employees or other representatives may not initiate threads for items that they are actively selling. They may, however, participate in such threads once started." If a post with a link seems to me to be a shill post I will be firm in my moderation. I am not saying that I will absolutely take it down but if an auction link is just a gush of praise and no question I will moderate in one way or another. We will never be perfect.

This thread has gone way off the rails. I know there are some people who don't like this rule change but it is what it is. If you don't like it just don't take part in auction link threads.. It is as easy as that.
 

Dave Coatsworth

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John is right. This thread has gone off the rails. We're trying to moderate a bunch of "what ifs". The rule change is in and we will moderate it to the best of our ability. I think we've done pretty well in the past and will continue to do so.

Let's move on...
 

Dr. Jon

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Linking to a live auction if not the owner or seller is tricky business for the OP too. The people asked for advice may bid against the OP, once they know of the item for sale.

It might be sensible to do for an assessment of authenticity or a clarification of claim. For example, I know of one auction house that lists almost every watch as a lever chronometer, when very few they offer are. SOmeone might reference this and ask whether it truly is a lever chronometer.

Once on line the seller is free to comment.

I also expect that most such posts if truly not involved in the selling will come from people new to to the type of item on offer. Experienced collectors usually make such inquiries privately.

A related question:

Do we moderators have an obligation or a matter of courtesy to notify sellers that their item is under discussion?
 

bruce linde

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i thought this thread was in 'forums help and notices' and was responding accordingly.

my apologies.




(maybe it should be moved there? since these are message board discussions and not just about watches?)
 

Dave Coatsworth

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Do we moderators have an obligation or a matter of courtesy to notify sellers that their item is under discussion?
We do not.
 
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