PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING: Self-promotion guidelines for "Language Programs and Resources"

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PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING: Self-promotion guidelines for "Language Programs and Resources"

Postby emk » Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:00 pm

First, some background: The goal of this forum is to help people learn languages, and to promote interesting, mutually-respectful discussions between language learners. We are a community. We help each other out, and we answer questions for people who want to learn languages.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are promoting low-quality, overpriced language courses and apps. Some of these people promote their courses by "spamming" as many forums and websites as possible, in hopes of convincing novice language learners who don't know any better to buy their product.

We do not want our forum filled up with spammy posts for bad, overpriced courses. Allowing these posts would only mislead novice language learners, annoy established forum members, and ultimately cause the forum to be penalized by Google (making it harder for new language learners to find us).

Rules for promoting your own products. Before promoting your own courses, books, websites, apps or other projects, please ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I just signing up for the forum to promote my product? Or have I been here for a while? If you're a member of the forum in good standing, we'd love to hear about what you've created! Please feel free to create a thread mentioning your book, project, etc. But if you're new to the forum, please consider the other questions carefully before posting.
  2. If I'm a new user, have I asked for permission before posting a link to my product? If you are new to the forum, the safest course of action is to introduce yourself to the moderators via PM and ask for permission before posting a link to your product. If you neglect to do so, then the fate of your post is up to the whims of the moderators—we will consider the criteria below and decide whether we think your post will contribute to the forum.
  3. Am I here to interact with the community, or just drop a link and disappear? If you're just here to make a single post promoting your product, you risk having your post deleted and your account banned for spamming. We give more leeway to people who are here to provide technical support, or to engage in interesting conversations with the community.
  4. Is my product already used and recommended by forum members? If the consensus of the forum members is that your product is an excellent, useful tool, then you're welcome to join the forum and to participate in ways that help language learners. If in doubt, please feel free to ask a moderator before posting.
  5. Is my course or product really useful and original? Sometimes, the moderators will allow a post through because we're genuinely impressed by your product. This is a hard call, and it's entirely subjective. If we've already seen 20 products that do the same thing, but better, there's a good chance we'll delete your post as spam. But if your product makes us say, "Wow, somebody finally created exactly what I was looking for!" or otherwise blows us away, we'll usually let your post through.
  6. Is my product commercial? If so, is it a good deal? Overpriced commercial products will be treated with extreme suspicion. Free, personal projects will be given much more leeway. And open source software projects (those which may be freely shared and modified by their users) are almost always acceptable.
  7. Does my product comply with other forum rules? Products which contain copyright violations, which are off topic, or which violate other forum rules will be classified as spam, and promoting them will almost certainly result in your account being banned.
If you've read these rules carefully, you may have noticed that all the rules except (1) and (2) involve subjective judgments by the moderators. This is because we only allow new forum members to promote their products if those those products would, in our personal judgement, be interesting to forum members and new readers. If in doubt, play it safe: Introduce yourself, and contact the moderators via PM.

Examples. Here are a few examples of how these rules might work in practice:

  • Marie is an established member of the forum, and she has just published a course about Breton. Probable result: Everybody says, "Wow, cool!"
  • Sammy Spammer has a $500 language course full of second-rate content, and signs up just to post a link and boost his company's rankings in Google searches. Probable result: Sammy's post is deleted and his account is banned.
  • Amira Author has never posted to the forum before, but she just wrote an excellent book of advice for first time language learners. She contacts the moderators, asking if she can do a Q&A thread about her book. Probable result: We invite her to go ahead and we ask her lots of questions.
  • Pierre Publisher works for a small family publishing company which produces language courses that are loved by many forum members. He makes a post announcing which courses have just been released with an English base. Probable result: The moderators allow the post to stand, because many forum members will find the information useful. (But it would still have been a good idea to ask before posting.)
  • Paetra Programmer wrote an open source app that allows people to watch videos on their phone, and to create Anki cards containing images, audio and subtitles by simply tapping their finger. She wants to create a technical support thread for users of her software. Probable result: Half the moderators jump in the air and shout, "Yes! That's so cool!" before immediately downloading her app.
Thank you for helping keep the forum useful and spam-free!
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