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EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor
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Sat Sept 10 2011 12:26:42

Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Dear Ina,
I am writing you in regards to the recent changes of Bonanza.com. They have implemented a new "look" to the site along with quite a few other changes including redoing their browsing for buyers. Part of this new browsing search are options "For Him", "For Her" and "For Everyone". They have literally separated the sexes in these categories.

When doing this separation they have put search categories like food/cooking in the "For Her" shopping options and the handyman options in the "For Him" shopping options. When did we go back to the dark ages and the battle of the sexes or is the CEO of Bonanza just so ignorant that he thinks women do all the cooking and men do all the handywork? I'm appalled at this type of discrimination and yes, that's exactly what it is!

They have also changed quite a few other options on the site. Moving arrows that confuse a buyer on the home page, they have completely forgot to put the shopping button back in from the My Bonanza page so that if a person is on that page it's confusing to know how to even shop unless your mouse catches the right place on the page. The colors are horrible and hard on the eyes.

To top this off, they still haven't fixed past glitches on the site yet they implement more changes that are sure to set off even more glitches, and they do this right before the upcoming holiday season. I have a background in business management and these have to be some of the worst management decisions I have seen yet for a business that proclaims to want to grow to be the number one online shopping venue.
Thank you Ina for letting my voice my opinion on this.
Signed,
"Very disappointed"

Reading EcommerceBytes Letters Blog: Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
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Readers Comments

Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
This user has validated their user name. by: Tula
       
Sun Sep 18 18:11:57 2011
@Watching the Wheels makes some great points. Judging by the posts here, it seems people do get very emotionally wrapped up in their venue of choice. There's nothing wrong with liking your venue, but you need to make sure it doesn't blind you to the faults. People need to maintain some objectivity, else they'll miss important signs of impending disaster.

I think part of the problem with Bonanza is expectations. Different groups have different needs and expectations from the venue they use. There are many of us who are business sellers. We want our venues to function properly and consistently. Stability is important, so we can build our business processes and not have to change them every other day. Many of us don't have the time to hang out in the forums and play games, since we sell on multiple venues and simply lack the time. It can be hard enough to do all the normal marketing tasks without having to spend time in forums for no real purpose other than socializing.

Some people prize these social aspects of the venues, with the forums as their prime interest, and that's fine, but if that becomes the focus of the site or the main way to sell things, then it likely won't work well for the more business-oriented folks. For myself, I want the site to function as it's supposed to and to not change the rules frequently, so I don't have to keep revising my listing processes. If the venue can't do that, then it simply won't work for me.

Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: JSGeare
       Web Site
Sun Sep 18 19:19:21 2011
Clearly my contribution has generated some of the impassioned responses I previously mentioned. But this is not about me, really; so I won't address the comments that were made about me personally except to say that I take no offense.

My status as a "hobby seller" appears to have been either misrepresented by me, or mischaracterized by others, so let me clarify. I don't sell AS a hobby. I DO sell to make a buck. And the merchandise I sell is hobby products (HO trains items, specifically). Possibly that explains the confusion about my "hobby seller" status.

So, am I doing this to make money? You bet! My sales venues are by no means limited to Bonz, but Bonz has been, and contnues to be, a substantial and a growing contributor to my earnings. This is all to say that Bonz works for me, well enough for me to continue selling there.

I am not suggesting that my success with Bonz implies that others will enjoy similar results. But I am suggesting that what each individual seller does has an impact on results, above and beyond what Bonz itself does. The mere fact that some sellers do quite well, and others do not, suggests (although not conclusively) that there is more to it than just the venue.

To address another concern: I have had no contact with management at Bonz about this material. I learned about it from a post on the forums, and followed the link. Futhermore, I have never had any contact regarding similar controversies appearing now and then in the forums. Nonetheless, the report that I am here as an agent lends strong support to my contention that many other claims about Bonz are similarly lacking in factual evidence. Still, even though we don't always have the facts, we believe. Human nature - I won't challenge that.

I am more than happy to be a target of such recriminations and invective as may be cast at me. I take none of it personally, and understand all of it to be a relief of pent up frustrations and disappointment which is experienced at a deeply personal level. While I, personally, can't really be injured by any of this, it may yet serve as a way for others to just come out and say here what they can't say, elsewhere. The worst that can happen is that you feel better.

Finally, lest anyone mistake me, please read again my last paragragh in my original post to this thread, which clearly stated my confidence in you as trustworthy sellers, whose frustration with Bonz is owed in great part to the high standards you set for yourself.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: Pied Piper This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Sep 18 21:17:40 2011
@jsgeare
Thank you, for volunteering as a ''Sacrificial Lamb''.

I have no doubts, that your chosen path, shall not go unnoticed ....SAINTHOOD is undoubtedly in your future.

Until that time .... ''put a cork in it''.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: Shopatusm This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Sep 18 21:56:19 2011
It's funny the gang bang crew doesn't want other members to see this discussion.. They are attacking a member for posting a link to here. Why?

Look how the members in the forums treat others!!!

http://www.bonanza.com/topics/174277?currency=USD&for
um_id=9&locale=en-US&page=2

Mark
needs to put a stop to the gang type behavior from a certain few, because this makes Bonz look worse.

Why do you people care if the person has a booth or not.. If she doesn't have a booth she is not allowed to post in the forums?

These are the same cowards posting here under fake ids..
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: finally my chance
       
Sun Sep 18 21:58:27 2011

@ js

"I DO sell to make a buck"

Well, that sure puts things into perspective! Many of us sell because it is our sole income. That could be why your measurement of "success" and my measurement of success (and definition of not a hobby seller) are completely different. I can not survive on a few sales a week or month, if any. I need several sales each and every day. That is not going to happen on Bonz unless you sell $ .99 - $4.99 items as is proven on the site daily.

If a seller doesn't have any expectations of the venue they spend hours listing items on and they don't care that they aren't even making a dollar an hour for the time they invest (through their sales) then I guess Bonz is the place to be.

It's hard to miss the spin and how you choose sides according to who is fairing best and or you try to come off as the great negotiator or wise one - when it's all talking in circles, brown nosing and BS.

@ Pied Piper - hilarious and my sentiments exactly. Couldn't have said it better.

PS: there's still something on his nose.  ;)
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: Shopatusm This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Sep 18 22:59:26 2011
The members attacking another member for posting the link to here has now been moved to drama. Look at how they are attacking the member!!

http://www.bonanza.com/topics/174277?currency=USD&foru
m_id=9&locale=en-US&page=2

The
Bullies of Bonanza!
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: finally my chance
       
Sun Sep 18 23:16:44 2011
They attack people all of the time. Anyone who has the nerve to say anything that could possibly be seen as even a tad negative - gets it.

The attack in that thread is not that bad - although it should NEVER happen to any extent. It's been so bad there that one time, that the person being attacked considered suicide. Now that is bad. What they did to that poor soul was horrendous.

Management won't do anything about it but I would say the victim in this attack will likely be disciplined and told that it is all her fault.

That's how they roll on Bonz.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: Carolyn
       
Sun Sep 18 23:35:03 2011
I have been selling on Bonanza for about 2 1/2 years now. I am happy with my sales and I am now selling enough to justify a Platinum Membership. Can't say much about the shipping calculator problems as my items are small and ship 1st class. I offer free shipping. I think that the economy has a lot to do with the difficulty in selling online successfully. As for the home page, I don't like it much but also realize that most of my buyers never even see it because they are coming directly to my booth via Google shopping. All in all, Bonanza has been a good selling venue for me and my sales are improving monthly.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: Bonanza Blog Link
       
Mon Sep 19 01:46:47 2011
Here is the link to the Bonanza blog for these changes that took place. These changes were the ones mentioned in the letter written to Ina.

http://www.bonanza.com/blog/main/We_ve_got_a_new_look_


The
above blog link, where discussion has already taken place for one week between Bonanza management and members that posted, is a nice discussion to read.

Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: Silver&Gems
       
Mon Sep 19 02:43:43 2011
Bonanza or as I like to call it "Blissninia" has passed it's "expiration date" as a potential internet site.I laugh when I read people say how "Blissninia" will someday be successful. It's been 3 years people & they've gathered about a half million users.3 years in internet time is a lifetime & a half million users is LESS than a drop in the ocean on the
internet. If "Blissninia" was going to "take off" it would of already happened. I've sold 22 items at Blissninia since August 5 2009 while selling 900 elsewhere since Jan. 2010 so obviously my stuff sells. When I hear people who think Ebay fees are high I know right away that those people have NO business experience. They've obviously never sold anything at auction or at a consignment store. I sell at Conventions, Art shows, Festivals & all sorts of venues & space fees plus gas plus hotel etc.etc. make Ebays fees look like small change. While we're on this subject I have something I want you all to think about. I keep hearing over & over about FREE listing & the small fees here but have you ever considered---The min. wage here in Calif. is $8. an hour so if you spend 20 hours a week promoting your booth here & in REAL business terms that means selling here is REALLY costing you $160. a week for 20 hours which is $640. a month.I'm sorry but that's how REAL business people think.There is no FREE lunch people
I'm so over the cheerleading holier than thou Kool-aid drinkers & delusional deep thinkers who live out in the woods somewhere & have their deepest conversations with their pet dogs and/or cats.The censorship has gotten more & more paranoid lately.I was recently suspended for quoting a famous Jack Nicholson line from a movie---"You can't handle the truth". Nobody in Blissninia ---Mgmnt. OR Sellers wants to hear or discuss the truth. The bottom line is that if it looks & walks & quacks like a duck then it's a freaking duck people & Bonanza--Blissninia is A FREAKING DUCK.Last but not least I have a new slogan for Bonanza-Blissninia----"Bonanza-Blissninia everything but traffic & sales.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: Watching the Wheels
       
Mon Sep 19 05:38:33 2011
@ Silver&Gems,

I have looked at all the potential "labor" costs involved with online, pimp the given venue sales. It's one of the main reasons why I stopped doing any of it. PLUS my GA stats were showing that the entirey of social media primping wasn't bringing in views, so why bother.

I do have a basic/free Bonanza booth. If the site ever wants money out of me, well, it's up to them to figure out how to get traffic to my booth, BECAUSE, I'm not going to do it.

I have also essentially given up on venue selling being a viable or predictable money producer. Thre are way too many things that just aren't in MY control. I am also not overly "techy", and have no plans in spending money to take the various computer classes that would bring me up to speed.

I've decided to shift my expectations. Items that I have listed across 3 venues are now my "sweat equity" portion of commodities investing and speculation.

AND after doing a bit of a cost analysis, the only way to produce a profit, per item, is to be able to list and run.

If it sells, it sells. If not, eventually, I deactivate a given listing, allow it to time out from Google shopping and hit the reactivate button within another venue.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: pugs This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Sep 19 06:46:04 2011
@Bonanza Blog Link

the blog is like the forum, the let post what they want there and remove wha they do not.. they will leave just enough negative comments so they can say they are being fair.. but, not only do they remove comments from there but you can get suspended for your comments there.. comments that are not bad, or rude... but the official slap will literally tell you they were "negative" and if you don't believe me I can post the proof.. comments and the reprimand
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: JSGeare
       Web Site
Mon Sep 19 10:58:05 2011
While some contributors to this conversation report doing well on Bonz, I don't really see anyone claiming that their success is owed merely to choosing Bonz as their selling venue. I don't see anyone saying that on the Bonz forums, either; or anywhere else, for that matter. And Bonz certainly doesn't tell anyone that using their site will produce sales. It is a great frustration and terrible disappointment to labor so long and reap so little. Even so, I can't really vilify any selling site for not producing something that was never promised in the first place.

In the end, no matter how and where we ply our trade and no matter how much or how little we need to live, it is basically up to each of us to pick our way through it - and in a very bleak economy this is extremely difficult to do and very exhausting work. Little wonder that people are angry.

Silver and Gems has offered a very astute explanation of the real cost of doing business on the Internet. The cost is not really "free" at any place which charges no listing fee. The greatest expense is the money value of time spent doing something which earns little or nothing in return. How nice it would be if we received the equivalent of a 40 hour week at minimum wage in return for our efforts. Sheer logic would tell you that the minimum wage job (if you can find one) carries a better pay off then selling at Bonz or other ecommerce sites.

And Watching the Wheels appears to have put this wisdom to work, by listing products, then moving on to something else. That's the beauty of selling on the 'net; there is no need to watch and wait. You can use the time to do something else. Makes perfect sense to me.

And this brings us to the matter of forum discipline at Bonz, something that could have been handled much better, I believe. Recently, enforcement appears to be more prompt and more broadly applied then in the past. A year and a half ago, the kind of exchanges we see here  would have survived for awhile in the Drama forum. But I doubt it would have a snowball's chance today. The problem is not the enforcement itself, but rather the apparent change in applying it. This is an area where I believe consistency is important. Regardless of what the stated rules say, people learn the actual limits by simple experience - sort of like knowing the police will give you an extra 5 mph, or that they won't even give you 1. If that 5 mph allowance suddenly disappears, the "violators" understandably feel betrayed, because they had been following the rules of the road as they believed them to be. Likewise, I'll also say that enforcement seems to be more capricious then in the past. Certain topics or responses are either moved to Drama or deleted even though they seemed (to me) to be innocuous. People ask, "What was THAT for?" On the face of it, this may really be kind of trivial, but it tends to create distrust and anger. It would have been better, I think, to have been consistent; and if changes were made, then it would have been a good idea to have announced them.

None of this addresses the independent issue of certain individuals who very clearly and repeatedly skated along the edge or just flew off completely. I refer to personal attacks, innuendos, "ganging up" on target members, fomenting dissent for its own sake, and similar behavior. Folks who are predisposed to behave in this way will be a problem no matter what the rules are, and tinkering with enforcement won't change anything. In such cases, the violators must be handled directly. For the past few months, the forums seem to have been free of gross violations and also free of the most willful violators.

Which brings us back to THIS discussion, where the rules are loose and people believe they may speak freely. It can get pretty intemperate, at times, but even so there is always something to learn from it. But what we won't learn is whether Bonz is a good choice for any particular person to sell and interact with others. In my opinion, there should be zero expectation that merely being on Bonz (or most anywhere else) will automatically produce sales. There are no sales at all on Bonz, or eCrater, or Addoway, or anywhere else. The sales are between buyers and sellers, regardless of venue or circumstances. Expectancy realistically should be limited to the ease of use and functionality of the web site, freedom to adapt the site to your own style, continued efforts by the owners to improve the venue, prompt support and an over-all comfort level.

Whether it works out or not in terms of sales is completely a matter of how any particular seller uses the venue. As Silver and Gems has reminded us, while it is free to list, there nonetheless is a cost. If the cost is too great, it would be prudent to apply your time and effort elsewhere.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: Silver&Gems
       
Mon Sep 19 13:07:38 2011
Let me set the record straight. For the last 2 years the things I've posted on Blissninia were NEVER meant as an attack on the site mgmnt. or any other sellers. I know that there are those that are successful there & they have both my utmost respect & admiration. On the other hand over the last 2 years I've seen MANY who are much smarter than me work their butts off with NO results & have since moved on. To me this is a HUGE flaw in the BOYZ business concept. Yes there are those that are selling things but I'll bet my bottom dollar the people who ARE NOT selling far outnumber the people who are. We are all basically 'Big Kids" & as such I post what I do as a way of telling mgnmt. "Hey Boys we ALL want to play too". Now that I realize after 2 years that the Boyz are more interested in "techie tweaks" & creating childish "Busy work for BOO-BOO Bears" instead of what's needed I've lost all interest. I keep my booth there because---for me it is TRULY FREE--- since I refuse to waste anymore of my time doing the"Blissninia dance". NOW I post what I do as a WARNING to the selling community because I feel so SAD 2 years later to read a an entirely new crop of sellers saying & hoping for the same things that we did 2 & 3 years ago---"summer is slow & things will get better after the kids go back to school & get ready for the big Christmas rush etc.etc. I feel so sorry for the poor saps because I know how much it hurts in January when you realize that there's NO Santa Claus in Blissninia.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: JSGeare
       Web Site
Mon Sep 19 16:19:48 2011
I could not agree more with S&G's statement: " . . . I feel so SAD  . . to read an entirely new crop of sellers saying & hoping for the same things that we did 2 & 3 years ago---"summer is slow & things will get better after the kids go back to school & get ready for the big Christmas rush etc.etc. I feel so sorry for the poor saps because I know how much it hurts in January when you realize that there's NO Santa Claus in Blissninia."

The warning, to new sellers especially, has the highest crebility and is one that I often make myself. I can't know how many sellers do well, and how many do not. Nor can I know that alternatives to Bonanza do better or worse.

But I do believe I often see that sellers who report disappoinment often seem to share an unrealistic expectation: That merely having a presence on the 'net, be it Bonz, somewhere else, or their own web site, will somehow produce sales spontaneously. The horrible truth is that mere presence will rarely, if ever, do any such thing.

To my mind, there are really only two choices when it comes to "getting" sales simply by listing, and those are eBay and Amazon. No guarantees there, either, but the familiar destinations and gargantuan number of shoppers certainly improve the chances on the numbers alone. But of course, there are many reasons NOT to use those sites and I need not recite them all here.

That said, many who have abandoned eBay in particular are perhaps the least prepared to prosper elsewhere, simply because of the mistaken idea that merely listing will produce sales. That worked (often enough) on eBay, but it won't do much elsewhere. Little wonder we see people ask, "Where are the sales?" Does anyone ever sell anything here?" and "What am I doing wrong?"

The answers to these questions sometimes take the form of "cheerleading," or the assurance that it just takes time; these are hollow assurances for those who have struggled to get it all right. Sellers are also given to believe that establishing a presence in the wider social media will do the trick: Tweeting, Facebook, writing a blog, etc.  Indeed, for those who are ALREADY well connected on the social networks, it would be short sighted not to use them to spread the news. But the creation of a social account as a means to "generate" sales is hardly more productive then establishing the Bonz or other ecommerce account in the first place. Few will notice, even fewer will care.

Probably the only activity which can build traffic and sales is optimizing listings for high appearance in Google and Google shopping. That's an art and science unto itself, and no matter how well it is done technically, there are certain problems it won't solve.

Which brings us to the school of thought which insists that big advertising is the answer; advertising that is frequent and persistent enough to make Bonz (or any other site) become a household word, to drive huge numbers of people to the web site. The idea is that "you've got to spend money to make money." This is an incredibly naive concept which is often misunderstood to mean that you need ONLY spend money to make money. It's a tantalyzing proposition: insert $1.00, get $2.00 in return. More basically, it ignores the fact that to spend money, you must also HAVE money.

This is often the point at which many sellers place the blame on Bonz for not advertising heavily enough to have the desired outcome. But Bonanza, from the get go, has clearly explained that they don't advertise at that scale. As a practical matter, Bonz doesn't have the money it takes to do so. Nor do many of the alternative sites. Nonetheless, the lack of advertising is often introduced as the reason for poor sales, and Bonz is characterized as either lacking in business sense or unreasonably stubborn or indifferent.

The fact is that success on Bonz, or anywhere else outside eBay and Amazon, is heavily dependent on factors which run way beyond what the site itself does. It is an enormous challenge, and new sellers in particular shoud be aware of what they face if they take it on.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: HodgePodgeLodge
       
Mon Sep 19 17:47:51 2011
I have to agree with you js.
I am happy at Bonanza...it suits me fine at this time in my life.
I treat my booths as if they were my own personal websites (at least in my head, I think of it that way)  I don't expect Bonanza to sell my items.  When I left ebay and came to Bonanza I expected more at first.  On ebay you list and thats it.  If it sells, Great!  If not, hit the relist button!  Not much to think about and we were doing well on ebay.  We still occasionally list there.  I sometimes think that new people to Bonanza might be thinking it will be like E or A and then get discouraged, angry and then blame the site for the lack of sales.  I know many posters here are blaming glitches but I honestly have not run into any that I feel have affected my sales.  You get problems on every selling site.  I, personally, have not had any problems with management. For me , it's best to just contact them directly with problems & questions that involve the actual workings of the site.  Sometimes when a problem (example: "the cropper isn't working")is posted in the forums you never really get an answer that "fixes" anything, just many opinions.  Thats why I go to support directly and they have always answered me promptly.
Please, do not accuse me of being a cheerleader or that I work for Bonanza.  I have sold on other sites as well and if something works for me, I'll stay...if not, I'll move on.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: mychance2
       
Mon Sep 19 18:13:06 2011
Re Forum bullies. Yes, they are alive and well at Bonanza sad to say.

The attack thread from yesterday is gone.  But  I saw it and was not surprised who the bulliers are, same ones that bullied and harassed the other person mentioned to the point where she left. I felt sorry for that person and I was appalled it was allow to happen.

Yesterday's attack was because a seller put her store on vacation because of all the glitches, which is her right. She told them why her store was on vacation when really it was none of their business.  She sure didn't deserve being raked over the coals by the big mouth know it all and the rest of them.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: Pied Piper This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Sep 19 22:24:08 2011
Blah-nanza year IV (Four), is like all Bad Sequels.
You thought, the previous sequel was the worst, only to discover that, the Writers
and Producers, are only in it, ''for the money''.

The Boyz, have a Golden Goose, with the Monthly Membership Fees.

Lets give them credit, after all they SUCKERED enough Blan-nanzers out of money, they could ill afford to waste.

Sellers' stop supporting this, Clueless In Seattle Venue.
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: pugs This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Sep 19 22:39:55 2011
ya know.. it's kind of amazing.. I and a couple of others that are no longer there are the ones many consider "the bullies" ...well, the bullies call us that anyway.. they consider speaking the truth being bullies.. but, don't recall any of us ever "attacking"  someone like that spectacle yesterday... interesting isn't it .. we are gone yet there is all that attacking and bullying going on.. as someone else mentioned.. those are the same ones here
Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes   Seller Disappointed by Bonanza Changes
by: JSGeare
       Web Site
Tue Sep 20 09:06:17 2011
@Pied: In it "for the money?" I certainly HOPE so, because if the money doesn't come in, then the tent folds and we're all out of luck.

In the absence of verifiable data, we can't know if the membership fee income is a Golden Goose, or just a turkey. But I assume that people would not pay for memberships (or, more importantly, renewals) if their sales income was not enough to support it. At the same time, I would also guess that some sellers pay for a membership right away, before testing the waters; not a very pragmatic approach. The veteran sellers seem to be frank when responding to forum questions about the sales pay-off for purchasing memberships: there is no direct pay-off. And I have seen nothing from Bonz itself to suggest that such a pay-off exists. Even so, you say people have been "suckered." Can you also say exactly how?

@pugs: The forums are definitely calmer now then they were previously, with an occasional short-lived exception, as noted above. My impression is that enforcement is applied more swiftly and more frequently since those days, although sometimes unevenly. Whereas in the past people asked how a topic could survive so LONG before being vaporized or remanded to the "Dungeon," now people wonder how it happens so QUICKLY to material that seems innocuous. I really have no clue how any of this portrays a management directive, but I can say that, these days, most forum participants are on their best behavior, most of the time. But this doesn't mean that "replacement bullies" won't appear. I personally believe they probably will.

I beleive there is a wide separation between speaking one's mind, and speaking the truth. People may honestly say, with great conviction, what they believe to be true, or what is true for them. Yet their claims may be manifestly untrue when tested against the facts, or otherwise not true in the personal experience of others. And all of this begs the question of how anyone can point to themselves, or someone else, as being uniquely possessed of "the truth." You and Pied, for example, might claim it is "true" that people have been "suckered" into buying memberships. Others might say, with equal conviction, that there were simply many gullible folks who believed memberships would pay off in sales - even when they were told that no such pay-off had ever been claimed or observed by anyone. What, then, is the "truth?" I honestly don't know; but what I do know is that I should be wary of any claims which are lacking strong evidence to support them.

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