Forum Rules and Posting Guidelines
I am convinced that whoever said history repeats itself somehow knew about Team Talk because here we are again - some people get negatively vocal, reasonable people ask them to tone it down, the unreasonable scream about 1st amendment rights, is this America or some communist country? Yawn...
Now before I get to a review of the rules and the reason for those rules, let me go ahead tackle this first amendment issue. Do you have the right to say whatever you want on this message board? Yes. As the company who pays for and adminsters this board, does that afford us the right to establish rules and guidelines to create an environment that is representative of the world class company MasterCraft is and hopefully the world class owners we have? Yes, mainly because we asked you to agree to these terms in order to post. DOH! So here is where the rubber meets the road as they say - you have the right to say whatever you want - rant and rave under your first amendment rights all you want. But know that I and the other moderators have the right to dole out consequences if there are any violations of the guidelines we have set in place and that you agreed to abide by. So lets stop using the 1st amendment argument - it is tiresome.
Now onto the meat - the guidelines and why they are there. Yes, there are reasons despite the notion that the rules are random and this joint is being run by Kim Jong-Il.
1) No Disparaging MC or its Partners. No Promoting Other Boat Brands
There are a lot of reasons this one exists but I will just hit the main points. First this is a MasterCraft site - why would we condone being bashed? Does this mean you cannot express disappointing experiences? No - you can share disappointing experiences all you want - it is the tone and approach we are addressing. If you have a bad experience with a dealer or with us, then come here to talk about it and get advice. Once the corner is turned and the defaming adjectives start coming out (MC sucks, this product is horrible, I would stay away from this dealer, he's an idiot etc.) that is where we have to stop it. And the main reason is this - anger tends to breed more anger. It is amazing to watch the tone switch and see how one angry, defaming post can breed endless angry stories or rude comments. As a result, nothing is really getting solved or done, just bashing. Bottom line we are not going to let chaos ensue from angry comments. That is not what MC is about.
Does this apply to our partners? Yes and the reason for that is they are, in many ways, part of this company. Without them you would not have towers, props, engines, cruise systems, gas tanks, ballast tanks, etc. So you may think another product is better and that is fine - let me show you how to present that on Team Talk - "I used product X on my boat and love it - for my set up it seems to work the best and I recommend it." No need for "I recommend product x because product y sucks." In other words, treat our partners like you would treat us (or as laid out in these guidelines for you smart alecs)
As for promoting competitor boats, that is just a no-brainer. Since we do not limit who can be on this board, we still have the obligation to protect Team Talk from becoming a megaphone for another company. It just doesn't make sense to let that happen and honestly I don't think many of you would want that to happen. We are all here because we love skiing, wakeboarding and our MasterCraft boats.
Nothing even approaching sexually oriented material.
The only thing I will say is if, in a reasonable, grounded family, you would not let your 10 year old son / daughter look at it, don't post it here (both text and images). This is a family friendly site - again aligning with the fact that MasterCraft is a family friendly product.
No room for negotiation here either. MasterCraft is not going to support attacks, in any form including humor, on TT members.
If the moderators determine that a thread or post in a thread is in violation of forum rules, the moderators may lock or suspend the thread at their discretion.
Promotion of Products/Services
I know this frustrates many of you but believe me, it is easier this way. What you don't know is that when group-buys get posted, that company's competition contacts us and says they want to offer up a deal. Now many of you are going "Great, capitalism at work." And while in theory that would be correct, honestly the site would turn into group buys, dealer promotions, etc. It is one of those things where if I let one in, I would have to let them all in. The "noise" from that would be so loud that I believe many people would leave or at least lower their involvement. So it is just best to keep this board as intended - a place where people can talk about their MC experiences and garner advice and a sense of community.
A few other notes
The consequences of this are simple - if you choose to exercise the full extent of your "first amendment rights" and ignore the fact you agreed to support these guidelines, you will be warned adequately and then ultimately kicked off the site if it continues.
Along those lines, we are about to initiate several more moderators but you will not know who they are. They will simply be "Moderator 1" or "Moderator 2" - this allows them some anonymity when addressing certain behaviors (we modeled this system after Austin Powers - the #2 thing sounds cool)
Hopefully this helps. Either way, I will be back here next year, same bat channel, same bat time to re-hash these issues with you again. So until then, happy posting.