comments on reviews!

11:00 p.m. on June 16, 2010 (EDT)
13 reviewer rep
2 forum posts

How come we can't leave comments on review pages? It'd be nice to weigh in with additional thoughts, things that might be overlooked, etc.

12:01 a.m. on June 17, 2010 (EDT)
235 reviewer rep
649 forum posts

Not for nothing but I thing something of that nature is in the works with some new programs that should be coming out soon. But don't quote me on that it was just something I herd on the wind.

9:13 a.m. on June 17, 2010 (EDT)
775 reviewer rep
2,162 forum posts

Oh, and a heads up to Trailspace staff and Members, there is a "New Member" who is an Online Retailer posting reviews of products they carry. Unsuprisingly, all of thier reviews are glowing, with high ratings....

10:48 a.m. on June 17, 2010 (EDT)
235 reviewer rep
649 forum posts

Im sure they will give them the boot soon well I hope anyway. I think the mods already goten rid of a few of there posts like this one.

If you see something susect just bring to the attention of one of the mods they are pretty fair here at trailspace.

12:09 p.m. on June 17, 2010 (EDT)
848 reviewer rep
3,902 forum posts

ladybugblue, yes, I agree. That is something we want to add as well. It's in the works.

On a related note, at the bottom of all reviews, you can say if a review is useful or not: "Was this review helpful? yes | no"

This will allow us to rate and highlight the best Trailspace reviewers.

Gonzan and Mike, thanks for noting the retailer reviewing gear. I've been keeping on eye on this guy. We deleted a bunch of his reviews that were pure ads and told him why last week.

However, now he is writing about gear he's supposedly used, so it's a little tougher call. We do let anyone write a review, as long as they are upfront about any/all connections and have no advertising info in the review (no commercial links, etc...).

I am inclined to add a line to every review he's written so far that he is a rep for the brand and sells the gear, and to keep an eye on how many he writes (he's done 5 so far).

We are also considering flagging members who are retailers and reps so it's immediately obvious to other members and readers. Having reps answer gear questions can be highly useful on the site, but it needs to be transparent who someone is, especially with the reviews.

I am, as always, open to all other suggestions from our users on how to best handle such situations. We want the info on Trailspace to be reliable, relevant, and useful.

1:28 p.m. on June 17, 2010 (EDT)
775 reviewer rep
2,162 forum posts

Yeah, I actually thought a bit about it after I posted that "heads up." It is quite a quandary. It would be good to be able to get the perspective and input from a good outfitter, especially if they are knowledgeable about all types of gear. It would also be beneficial for all involved- customer and seller for an outfitter to really hear what is expected of outdoor products from those who really use them. Having active members on both sides of the equation should and could result in positive interaction.

But, on the other hand, it is just too easy for an unscrupulous retailer to merely use forums like Trailspace to advertise and drum up business, which isn't cool. Especially if it is being done under the guise of "reviewing" gear or writing "trip reports" that are just feature articles for products they sell.

Anywho, I don't know that I have any suggestions at this point, but it got me thinking for sure.

2:07 p.m. on June 17, 2010 (EDT)
52 reviewer rep
200 forum posts

Not to be critical, but it seems to be that you taught him how to circumvent your own system. He seems to have merely reworded his own sales pitches by adding some key phrases that give the reviews a first person perspective. For what it's worth, a resourceful person could discover the individual's name and legal history.

3:32 p.m. on June 17, 2010 (EDT)
848 reviewer rep
3,902 forum posts

Agreed, there's always a way around any rule or guideline if you're so inclined. However, since we read every review, we often know when an individual is doing so and in violation of the spirit, if not the rule, and do our best to shut them down and/or call them out on it.

And in this case, the reviewer — — makes no bones about being an online retailer in their member profile, which isn't against the rules either.

I did add a line to each of his reviews about his interests.

However, there are several reputable reps who are active on our forums. And if in addition to talking backcountry skills, they also can answer someone's specific question about X stove or filter, then that is an asset to the community, as long as they're upfront. But that's not the same thing as what this reviewer is doing here.

FYI, we'll also be adding an option for members to "flag" a post or review as inappropriate, either because it's spam, has an error, violates some rule or guideline, or whatnot.

5:04 a.m. on June 18, 2010 (EDT)
1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts


2:05 p.m. on July 5, 2010 (EDT)
1,422 reviewer rep
1,344 forum posts

I second the motion that it would be nice to be able to "comment" on reviews ... or ask questions of the reviewer. For example I read a review about a water purifier, the reviewer had some issues with it, and I wanted to ask the person for more info about the conditions under which the problems were experienced.


3:46 p.m. on July 7, 2010 (EDT)
2 reviewer rep
66 forum posts


Don't you have your sponsored stores you try to direct people though? When I've both equipment online I try to go through your site to give you the ad revenue. I like supporting the site if I can.

It seems like campingmaxx is trying to get free advertising. If he keeps it up just ask him for a portion of the sale if he is hones he'll help you guys out.

3:56 p.m. on July 7, 2010 (EDT)
848 reviewer rep
3,902 forum posts

Thanks, C4B7.

Yes, you're correct that stores listed on product pages are affiliates (essentially advertisers) with which we have relationships. (FYI, we keep all editorial and advertising activities separate, so I don't deal personally with any advertisers at all, except when busting people who just want free advertising and/or post reviews with a conflict of interest).

For anyone curious, you can view advertising info here:

As for the specific posts mentioned above, we'll considering banning members for serious and intentional infractions like those. While we aim to be as inclusive as possible and welcome a wide range of opinions and expertise, we don't want members to sabotage that spirit and openness.

11:58 p.m. on July 7, 2010 (EDT)
33 reviewer rep
202 forum posts

Hi Alicia,

How about allowing these folks as full fledged forum members but make it clear to all forum members that they are "vendors". Where you have "editor in Chief" and I have "Senior Member" these folks could be tagged as "Vendor".

You could even add a Vendor section on the board.

I have seen this used successfully with a forum I frequent dealing with cars.

It allows interaction with the vendor which we all like and it keeps them honest.

10:04 a.m. on July 8, 2010 (EDT)
775 reviewer rep
2,162 forum posts

That is an interesting thought.

I guess my issue with the guy is he disregarded the forum Guidelines/Rules, and Ignored Alicia after she let him know what was acceptable or not.

It is also telling that he hasn't made a single post accept to give glowing accolades to the products he carries in his store. That is what advertising is for. This conveys a strong sense that his interest is not in participating in or contributing to this community, but to merely advertise his store. That may not be his motivation, but all of his observable actions at this point suggest he is operating here under false pretenses.

I have been considering where "the line" would be on this subject myself, as there are a couple backpacking product ideas that I have been thinking about in the last couple weeks. If I ever actually made some of them I would of course love to be able to get the feedback of people that are members here. But I would never use the forums to advertise or drum up business for those hypothetical products. I would be very cautious about any related postings, especially without speaking with Alicia and the Trailspace team first. And certainly, If I was to actually manufacture something, as apposed to hobby tinkering in my garage, the only thing that would be ethical or honorable would be the use the advert options offered.

12:50 p.m. on July 8, 2010 (EDT)
848 reviewer rep
3,902 forum posts

BigSmoke, your idea is an excellent one. For legitimate, rule-following members, we've considered adding "Retailer" and/or "Rep" to their profiles just like you said. It can be an asset to have a rep of an outdoor brand available to answer specific questions about their product. As long as you know who's talking and they follow the community rules, I don't see any issues with that.

I'll discuss with Dave how we can do this.

Now, as Gonzan points out, there are others who choose not to follow the rules and aim to take advantage of the community. So, even if we can tag them as a Rep/Vendor/Retailer, they still have to follow the same rules as everyone else and be transparent in their dealings with other members.

In this case, I have deactivated the user's account.

Gonzan, if you do decide to develop some backpacking products we would be very open to you discussing them on the site and getting feedback from others. As an active, involved community member you have been contributing to the site, not using it for your own gain. There's the difference.

12:57 p.m. on July 8, 2010 (EDT)
848 reviewer rep
3,902 forum posts

One more thing, in Rule #10 of the Community Rules and Guidelines we ask members not to discuss moderator or administrator actions in the public forums. Usually, it is best to deal with conflicts personally.

However, I opted to air the issue above about a new member in a forum because it was brought up by several members and it can be useful to hear the opinions of other community members about infractions like this and how they'd like to see them resolved.


1:55 p.m. on July 8, 2010 (EDT)
775 reviewer rep
2,162 forum posts

you are very kind, Alicia :)

I hope maybe sometime I will be able to attempt some of my idea, unfortunately, right now they are just disjointed mental pictures, haha!

I brought it up because it seemed pertinent to the topic- I hope it didn't seem like I was obliquely hinting at permission.

June 23, 2018
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