Solicitation on the Forum

This is a gentle reminder that the Employers Forum doesn't allow marketing or advertising for any products, services, websites, etc. Except for HR Hero products, naturally. x:D

This policy was instituted years ago at the popular request of Forum members after a couple of solicitations occurred. The policy forbids solicitations in Forum messages, in our private message system, and especially through e-mail addresses that you obtain on the Forum, since many people are protective of their e-mail address. The policy is here to protect the privacy of all Forum members.

If you receive a solicitation or have any questions, please contact me or Christy Reeder at [email][/email] .

We recently removed a couple of threads promoting another website. Normally we would've removed them immediately, but we left them up for a week as a courtesy to the people involved.

James Sokolowski


  • 24 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • There seems to be a whole lot of views to this, but no replies. So I thought that someone should reply.
  • >This is a gentle reminder that the Employers
    >Forum doesn't allow marketing or advertising... since many people are protective of their e-mail address. The policy is here to protect the
    privacy of all Forum members.

    James states the obvious, to which most (if not all) of us agree!

  • No message of any kind was intended. That zero responses just looked awfully lonely.
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 10-25-05 AT 01:38PM (CST)[/font][br][br]Are you saying that your private message system isn't private? So if I send a private message to Joe Blo that says, " hey Joe, check out" Joe can send it to you and then what, I get my hand slapped, or are the pm's not really private, and, not being a lawyer, is asking someone to check out a web site really solicitation?
  • I have given me email out to a number of folks I met on this and other HR forums. We regularly engage in email conversations. One of the things about email addresses is that you don't know where the sender got yours.

    Since I began participating in forums, and until recently, most of my participation was on this forum and the SHRM site forum (is that solicitation?), I have noticed that I get a ton of unsolicited email for HR products. I am not talking about all the notices I get from ML Smith and SHRM - I am talking about lots of HR products from companies I never heard about.

    The privacy statements by ML Smith and SHRM say they do not give out contact information on members without permission, except in special circumstances.

    Who gets to decide what those special circumstances are? ML Smith does. I am not saying they have or have not sold our names to other companies to solicit our business - why would they invite the competition in? But I am still receiving all those email solicitations.

    So how private is it?
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 10-26-05 AT 03:59PM (CST)[/font][br][br]Regarding Safety's question:
    James's message was referring to solicitations, not simply telling a friend about a helpful website. For example, don't contact forum members en masse about products or services. Don't gather e-mail addresses or contact individual people with whom you don't already have a relationship with the intent to solicit their membership, business, etc. That policy is in place because forum members (as Marc mentions) don't want to be barraged with solicitations.

    Regarding Marc's question about M. Lee Smith Publishers giving out customers' contact information, we have never and will not share that information without your express permission. Incidentally, even if you have given us express permission, we haven't ever shared that information.

    A few times a year, you might receive an e-mail distinctly from HR Hero that tells you about a product of one of our partners (for example, AHI), but they simply send us their information and that information is sent out through our e-mail system. We don't share with them our customers' e-mail addresses.
  • Thanks for the clarifications and feedback.
  • Christy, could you ask James to clarify his post. When I first read his post, I took it to mean we are not allowed to privately email people about I followed that rule.

    Now I hear you saying that it is OK to tell someone about another helpful website. One of those would be Please help me. Is my interpretation correct?

  • SMace:

    What is your intent? To tell a friend about a helpful website, or to go into the forum system and begin to solicit everyone you can get a hold of to get them to join another website? Are you contacting a few people with whom you already have a relationship? Or are you contacting people that you have no reason to believe would want to be solicited?

    Another angle you can consider ... what is your motivation? Is someone else motivating you to contact others on the forum to solicit them, or do you simply want to tell a buddy about a website that you've found helpful to you as an HR professional?

    Hope that helps. James is at a conference, so he may reply when he gets back. Feel free to reply here or e-mail me at [email][/email] if you'd like to discuss this more.

  • How can your response help? I asked a question and you responded with more questions. What I tried to ask was, "Is it OK to tell a website buddy about a helpful website?" I've referred poeple to and

    So, here is my yes or no question: (drum roll please)

    Am I violating the Forum rules if I post or privately email an individual about a helpful website? Yes or no?
  • Is someone else motivating you to
    >contact others on the forum to solicit them,

    So if someone asks me to tell someone else about another website, I can't do it, right?

    >do you simply want to tell a buddy about a
    >website that you've found helpful to you as an
    >HR professional?

    But, if the thought come from my own brain, it's ok!?

    How are you going to tell the difference? Are you guys locked in a room with a carbon-monoxide leak?

    As a paying member, I would like an answer to my question about the rules. You have every right to set them, and I don't want to break them. So please answer the question in the above post.
  • Frankly I am quite offended by the answer that Christy gave you SMace. We are all adults here, paying customers. I have much respect for all of the regular posters that have vanished from this site. I miss all the intellect, excellent advise, bantering, challenges to questionable posts, political differences, wide variety of opinions, etc., etc. that disappeared from this board.

    What I never understood is why some regulars were constantly being reprimanded for giving honest opinions and sharing hard-earned experiences. If the alleged professionals and paying customers that complained were truly offended by some of the comments that were made here, I am truly amazed. I always believed that to be a HR professional or to be in the field, one needed to have a thick skin and be open to criticism, challenges and differences of opinions. Personally, the poster that was banished from this forum never offended me. Which leads me to question … was it paid posters that actually complained or were the offended actually the people at MLS, the people we paid our money to? This is one of those things that makes you go …Mmmmmmmm????????

    Although I am not a regular poster, I have been around for some time. When MLS began charging to have the privilege to post in an effort to keep out non-professionals and people that would post simply to stir the pot of controversy, I readily paid up. I believed that this site was worth the money my company paid for my fees. But now, that has all changed. The knowledge was asked to leave and what I paid for has lost its value.

    If I’ve offended anyone, I must say, I cannot apologize, as what I have written here is my opinion and my truths.

  • I don't discount your opinion, Pixie, but on the flip side, I don't see how Christy was being offensive. We all know it is difficult to determine the tone of a message on these boards (although I don't know what emotion icon could possibly have helped x:-/). While Christy didn't answer SMace's yes/no question, I think it falls into a grey area. Regardless, referring someone to DOL or OSHA is different than referring someone to a competitor of the site on which you are posting.

    If someone I didn't know sent me a notice of a new HR site, I would consider it to be a solicitation (and probably would delete it with the Nigerian bank account schemes, and be annoyed). If it came from someone I knew, I would consider it an invitation. If it came from someone that I knew but had previously really ticked me off in one way or another, I might consider it an "invitation" for a throwdown! x}> I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's completely subjective. What if someone joined for the sole purpose to PM every person who has posted on these boards to advertise their site? That isn't what we want, and that is what MLS is trying to discourage.

    Remember, the forum membership is open to those who purchase the publications. The way I understand that, MLS is in the publication business and provide this forum as a courtesy that we can take or leave. Also, I believe the tone has changed because the current wave of posters aren't as familiar with each other yet. After a few months or so, it will pick back up.
  • BINGO!!!!! Your darn tootin' it's a gray area.

    That's why it is absolutley ridiculous to try to regulate this stuff. It's so gray it gets people talking in circles. But if you must, spend hours and hours pouring over this minutia.

    I just want an answer to my question.

    I bet they have a staff meeting Monday morning, 8:30 am sharp to discuss the answer they will give me. Don't forget to roll your clocks back.

    P.S. You better believe the OSHA and DOL sites are competitors. They offer many of the training and compliance information that this site does.
  • SMace,

    Sorry for the confusion on this issue. Christy and I talked about this on the phone while I was in Boston and I asked her to post a reply based on our conversation. Looking back, that wasn't a very good way to compose a message. #-o I hope I can clear things up a little, and I hope everyone will see that I'm really talking about people who make a conscious effort to solicit others, not the average Forum member doing typical Forum stuff.

    First, a little background. I posted my original message in response to a discussion board on another website, where someone has repeatedly urged people to come to the Employers Forum, collect members' e-mail addresses, and send them e-mail messages urging them to visit the other website.

    The Forum staff was (and still is) worried about someone collecting the e-mail addresses of hundreds of Forum members and sending mass e-mails soliciting them for the other website. Some of these e-mail recipients - especially those who didn't know the sender - would be angry with for allowing their e-mail addresses to be harvested like this. And I wouldn't blame them.

    You asked for hard-and-fast rules about when it would be OK to send an e-mail or message to tell someone about a website, product, service, etc. I think it's pretty much what you might expect:

    th-up You send an e-mail or message to a buddy or someone you've communicated with in the past. I think this is what you're really asking about and it's A-OK.

    th-up Someone asked a question and you're telling them about a resource that might help.

    In the two examples above, the recipient probably wouldn't be bothered, wouldn't complain, and the Forum staff wouldn't know about it. (Yay!) Even if the recipient complained, it would be no big deal (unless you did something like repeatedly send them e-mails about it).

    th-down You don't really know the person, and you tell them about a website, product, or service that isn't related to a question or problem that they posted.

    th-down You send a mass e-mail to a lot of people to tell them about a website, product, or service

    th-down You collect e-mail addresses on the Forum and give them to someone who's not a Forum member.

    I really don't think the last three examples apply to you, so you wouldn't have anything to worry about.

    Although this has been hard to explain, it's really the same policy that we created years ago at the request of Forum members who don't like unwanted solicitations. Most Forum members haven't given a thought about this policy, unless they happened to notice that they weren't receiving solicitations Forum.

    James Sokolowski

  • Is it OK to send information to subscribers who are asking what has happened to certain members and/or former members?

    How about responding to private messages from subscribers who are essentially asking the same thing?

    I have received a few PM's from folks who are asking what has happened to one or more folks, such as Don D, and I have responded. That response has included the web address of TheHRforum.

    I like playing by the rules when I know and understand them - and frankly - I find this pi$$ing contest irritating. I was upset when Don left, whether he was asked to leave or not, and was/am gratified that another site exists where I can exchange thoughts with him and others.

    There are several HR forums in which I participate, some have dues, like the SHRM site, and some do not. Anyone who participates regularly in these forums often sees the names of the others posted - it is no big deal.

    In my opinion, I am always in the learning mode and it is amazing how many different perspectives there are from HR folks who have much greater depth and breadth of experience than I do. Also those who have a fresh perspective and are not jaded with their time in the field - it's all information and opinion to help those of us who are looking at as many angles as they can before making judgement calls.

    OK, I'll stop for a bit.
  • I understand your frustration, Marc, and I'm getting frustrated, too. This policy has been around for years, so don't change the way you use the Forum and communicate with other members. This policy has absolutely no effect on 99 percent of Forum members. Maybe more.

    The e-mail and PMs you're talking about are ordinary back-and-forth discussions and not solicitations. Six months ago, you would've replied to these messages without giving it a second thought. Please don't give it a second thought today.

    The policy is aimed at unwanted solicitations, like you were talking about in message #6. I'm sure you're not doing that, so you and 99 percent of Forum members can ignore this thread.

    James Sokolowski
  • My posting at #6 on this thread has more to do with companies looking for money from me or the company for which I work - more spam than the conversations I have had with others.

    It sounds like I have a green light to use the forum the way I always have. I am therefore going to continue to do so. I don't mean that as a warning, just that my recent thoughts related to the administration of this site have, quite frankly, not been flattering.

    I don't imagine there is any way to undo what has been done, but I would be surprised if the lack of traffic and energy shown of late was anticipated. In my opinion, that change can be directly tied to the decision to remove Livindonsouth and then the handling of the aftermath that followed.

    This post may not be popular for those that thought Don to heavy handed, but it is my opinion.

    OK, let the lambasting begin for those that wish to do so.
  • "OK, let the lambasting begin for those that wish to do so."

    Uh, if you're going to baste lamb, shouldn't it be in the recipe section? x:9

    James Sokolowski
  • Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette is awesome to baste legs of lamb (or most any other meats for that matter) with.
  • James, I have not been around much for the obvious reasons. However, I have to comment on your "gentle warning" and your #16 post.

    You talk about unwanted email and solicitations. You specifically mention sending emails to people you don't know.

    I guess the rules apply only to us. Since this is your game I guess you can play by your rules when you feel like it.

    I think you should post your own replies to topics on the "other forum" rather than emailing people and asking/demanding them to publish or remove stuff.

    This kind of email from you does more to discredit your organization than any comment made on the "other forum."

    As TN HR said, there is no reason the two forums cannot co-exist without any animosity.
  • What is going on with this thread and/or this "conference" of the Forum? The last actual post shown is from 11/08. On the list of threads in the Using the Forum conference the last post is shown as being from 11/09. And on the Lobby page, there have been at least three times since 11/9 when a newer post was indicated but none could be found. Today the Lobby page shows a post from today, but there isn't one. Are these posts being deleted, or what??
  • I've also noticed that it does that.

    Sometimes someone posts a question in this section that should be elsewhere ... in the HR & Employment Law or Wage & Hour section. When we move the threads to the appropriate section (and notify the person who posted it), the forum still shows that there's a new thread here even though it got moved to another section.

    I moved one today to the Wage & Hour section, so that's probably what got your attention.
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