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Thread: What IS SFI's Policy On Discussing Auctions?

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    Question What IS SFI's Policy On Discussing Auctions?

    What is the official stance of the admisistration of this site, in regard to posting and discussion of auctions?

    Comment?

    Hotspur; There seems to be some confusion

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    Angus Trim is offline Moderator
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    Re: What IS SFI's Policy On Discussing Auctions?

    Originally posted by Glen C.
    What is the official stance of the admisistration of this site, in regard to posting and discussion of auctions?

    Comment?

    Hotspur; There seems to be some confusion
    Hi Glen

    I don't think there's an official "policy" at this time. I think it depends on how the thread goes, ie, as long as it won't get SFI in trouble, or isn't in bad taste, isn't inflammatory, I think it'll fly..........

    But..........*g*

    If things were to get "iffy", then it likely wouldn't take long for a solid policy on auctions to happen too...........
    For Good or Ill......

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    Re: Re: What IS SFI's Policy On Discussing Auctions?

    Originally posted by Angus Trim
    Hi Glen

    I don't think there's an official "policy" at this time. I think it depends on how the thread goes, ie, as long as it won't get SFI in trouble, or isn't in bad taste, isn't inflammatory, I think it'll fly..........

    But..........*g*

    If things were to get "iffy", then it likely wouldn't take long for a solid policy on auctions to happen too...........
    Is this then a change from this summer? http://forums.swordforum.com/showthr...threadid=53212

    Not picking on you - but I've PM'd at least one other admin in the past and asked for a specific hard and fast ruling on auction discussion, and a sticky for it - and never got anything back.

    I'm not sure how the legal issues would work out. I've done some heavy duty research and haven't found anything directly on point..
    Christopher A. Holzman, Esq.
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  4. #4
    It's not a change. You'll notice that the Moderator's decision in that thread was entitled "Moderator's decision". Karl imho did the right thing and I'd say the same thing should be done again but...

    Like Gus said, there is no official policy, though if you don't think we've got enough work right now we can try and come up with one?

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    Angus Trim is offline Moderator
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    Re: Re: Re: What IS SFI's Policy On Discussing Auctions?

    Originally posted by Chris Holzman
    Is this then a change from this summer? http://forums.swordforum.com/showthr...threadid=53212

    Not picking on you - but I've PM'd at least one other admin in the past and asked for a specific hard and fast ruling on auction discussion, and a sticky for it - and never got anything back.

    I'm not sure how the legal issues would work out. I've done some heavy duty research and haven't found anything directly on point..
    Hi Chris

    There was this lawsuit three or four years ago...... it colored everything that might represent a repeat of that even though the lawsuit was "won"........

    So, if a mod sees something that he/she feels could leave SFI vulnerable, or is off color, or any of the other things that can get a thread locked or canned, well the mod will do that. Each mod, being a human being interprets things a bit different than the next......

    But still, you can bet that there are certain things that would get all the mods to act......

    So, at this juncture, there is no hard and fast rules on auction discussion. Some would probably get locked immediately, some, maybe an auction of a kool antique, could be discussed if the discussion was in "Good Taste" SFI style......

    Auld Dawg
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    Thanks for the response so far but I feel clarification is in order. As individual as moderators are (and I appreciate that), if they are going to present something as SFI policy, then it needs to be across the board. I'll echo Chris' link with a more recent one.

    http://forums.swordforum.com/showthr...&postid=695282

    Again, I respect any moderators decision but if some are saying something is policy and others do not, it leads to confusion. I'm not trying to add an assignment to the moderators tasks but if there could be a unilateral decision made about the issue, the posting public will feel more at ease.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; thank you for this consideration and futher commentary

    Another, perhaps definitive?

    http://forums.swordforum.com/showthr...threadid=51269
    Last edited by Glen C.; 12-23-2005 at 12:37 PM.

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    Angus Trim is offline Moderator
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    Originally posted by Glen C.
    Thanks for the response so far but I feel clarification is in order. As individual as moderators are (and I appreciate that), if they are going to present something as SFI policy, then it needs to be across the board. I'll echo Chris' link with a more recent one.

    http://forums.swordforum.com/showthr...&postid=695282

    Again, I respect any moderators decision but if some are saying something is policy and others do not, it leads to confusion. I'm not trying to add an assignment to the moderators tasks but if there could be a unilateral decision made about the issue, the posting public will feel more at ease.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; thank you for this consideration and futher commentary

    Another, perhaps definitive?

    http://forums.swordforum.com/showthr...threadid=51269
    HI Glen

    Sorry, but I'm not going to comment on what Manoucher may or may not have done on the Antique Forum..........*g*

    Even here, Karl and I and Co would keep an eye on it........
    For Good or Ill......

    What Comes Around Goes Around.....
    and

    You Reap What You Sow...

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    Far from trying to pit one against another, believe me. I was hoping for some unified effort for clarification but more than appreciate the latitude and diversity.

    So, I guess we read this as it is ok to post about auctions, discuss the items but not get carried away with ripping them apart (sometimes and in some forums). I can live with that

    Cheers

    Hotspur; just voicing what some are wondering about

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    Here is eBay's own page on Auction Interference.

    http://forums.ebay.com/db2/thread.js...ame=CMDV:ICOUT

    Bidding and Buying.
    As a buyer, you are obligated to complete the transaction with the seller:

    * if you purchase an item through one of our fixed price formats; or
    * if you are the highest bidder at the end of an auction (meeting the applicable minimum bid or reserve requirements) and your bid is accepted by the seller, unless the item is listed in a category under the Non-Binding Bid Policy or the transaction is prohibited by law or by this Agreement.


    By bidding on an item you agree to be bound by the conditions of sale included in the item's description so long as those conditions of sale are not in violation of this Agreement or unlawful. Unless you and the seller agree otherwise, you will become the item's lawful owner upon physical receipt of the item from the seller, in accordance with Ca. Com. Code § 2401(2) and Uniform Com. Code § 2-401(2). Bids are not retractable except in exceptional circumstances, such as: when the seller materially changes the item's description after you bid; a clear typographical error is made; you cannot authenticate the seller's identity; or when the seller does not confirm your purchase in the Half.com area of our services. If you choose to bid on mature audience items or items that are restricted to adult use, you are certifying that you have the legal right to purchase such items.

    ------------------------------

    That is what the User Agreement each and every eBay member agreed to says about bidding.

    Sometimes you may see a listing that you believe is not right for one reason or another. You may feel that you need to do something to protect other members. If that is the case, what you need to do is to report the listing to Trust & Safety for someone to investigate. There are forms to do that under the "Help" link at the top of the page.

    What you must not do is to become a vigilante. You must not interfere with the listing itself in any way. Do not bid or "BIN" to prevent someone else from buying. Never bid only to be able to request contact information. Never email a bidder or buyer on another member's listing.

    Even though your intentions may be honorable, you are operating in a vacuum and do not have all the facts available to you. The only appropriate action to take is to make a full and complete report to Trust & Safety about your concerns. To do otherwise is to commit Auction Interference and may result in the loss of your own eBay membership.

    I think this is pretty self explanatory. Commiting auction interference as defined above "may result in the loss of your own eBay membership."

    My viewpoint is that "auction interference" is an eBay rule and is a huge can of worms as it is widely discussed on eBay's own website. You should do a Google search for "auction interference" and the like. In of itself, discussing an eBay auction is not aganist Federal Law but the motive behind the action may be subject to applicable rules that eBay may chose to enforce if anyone discussing an auction is reproted to eBay. For example, if someone is trying to discredit a particular auction, and if eBay determines the discreditor is involved with a competing business, that person may lose his account.

    Still, we want to play it safe. There are many readers here on SFI who lack the expertise to give proper assessments and yet speak as if with authority and knowledge, and usually such anger offended auctioners and businesses. Since I've been made aware of lawsuit threats against certain forumites, I would encourage people to not post out of place their opinions if they cannot back them because it only adds fuel to the fire. If a forumite makes careless or witless comments and a business threatens to sue, it is that forumite's responsibility solely and that forumite should get an attorney. Better yet, read up on the topic and avoid it. Here's a good link:

    http://www.dancingwithlawyers.com/freeinfo/libel.shtml

    Keep all posts cordial, friendly, educational and informative.

    We should not fear discussing things openly if our motives are right. But sometimes things do not need to be discussed. The wiser forumites among us may have noticed that if something is very strictly not discussed on SFI, it's not so much that we fear a lawsuit or a lawsuit-threat situation from a particular business, but that in not discussing a certain subjct or business, our silence itself should speak for itself, and ever so loudly. To my knowledge, no-one has ever been sued for being silent, e.g. "Don't you think ABC Swords makes the best swords in the world and they're an honest and integrous business, Adrian?" and you hear me say nothing and see me only smiling politely.

    I've not been able to ascertain if auction interference is against Federal Law. However, slander is. It's one thing to say, "I'm dubious that the sword is of Japanese manufacture because of the folding pattern and hamon; it looks more like a modern Chinese piece." versus, "The seller is an obvious crook and should be hung from a tree for peddling a fake"... I would warn you all not to go the route of the latter.

    Therefore, learn about REAL swords through reading books BEFORE you make wild purchases on any auction site whereupon you have to rely solely on public opinion to give you confidence of a purchase.

    I would say that auction sites have some gems, but there are reputable antique dealers out there like:

    www.sevenstarstrading.com
    www.japanesesword.com
    www.antiqueswords.com

    You don't always have to go on an auction site to buy a sword. These three off the top of my head are with people who have proven themselves to us (SFI Staff). Some people like recommending certain antique sites because of their photos, and we would never make such recommendations based on photos alone.

    And considering the thundering amount of fakes coming out of China that are now confusing and polluting the antique market, you need to have a reputable dealer back your purchase with his/her reputation. In this regard, there are forumites who haven't dealt with certain antique dealers or are familiar with the cailber of the dealers' expertise and recommend them. People should qualify their comments, and people asking questions should qualify the answers they receive.
    Adrian
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    Thanks for weighing in on this Adrian. There was some concern expressed over the last couple of days in the A&M forum and most seem to realize the discuss but not interfere philosophy.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; Best wishes to all for a great holiday weekend

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    Originally posted by Glen C.
    Thanks for weighing in on this Adrian. There was some concern expressed over the last couple of days in the A&M forum and most seem to realize the discuss but not interfere philosophy.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; Best wishes to all for a great holiday weekend

    You're welcome. It's a very weighty question. One of the reasons why I've avoided setting up an auction system on SFI is precisely because of all the challenges that eBay staff have to put up with. They have to investigate each accusation of fraud, etc. and they deal with a category of individuals known as "auction vigilantes" (which may be good or bad, I don't know).

    Another thing is that not only are Chinese manufacturers dumping cheap product on the market but they're also making antique-looking swords. The problem is that they try to participate on SFI for everyone's "opinions" and they take that feedback to determine the price and value of their products. I'm always amazed at how many "expert-sounding opinions" are given by people who don't study antiques or don't study books on swords. Ultimately they end up paying for less than stellar garbage out there, publishing on their own respective websites what a great buy their purchase was!

    A while back I had the choice of spending $800 on a sword or on books. I used that $800 to purchase five volumes of Harry "Afu" Watson's hardback "NIHONTO KOZA" books and have never regreted it, because now I have pictoral documentation of many Koto and Shinto period antiques at my fingertips (the books are only 2 feet away from my computer).

    People should never feel "Wow, ABC Company is paying attention to me! Wow, wow!" as that person ends up becoming a zombie for ABC's "koolaid" and marketing propaganda. The moment someone becomes sparkly-eyed, that's when they cease to become an independent and objective thinker. Which is why, I believe, many Chinese manufacturers focus on the "bling-bling" and add so much gold and the like to make their swords look more flashy.
    Adrian
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    Click HERE for the SFI comic strip "Bloodgroove"!

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    I understand Ebay's policy. However, it is filled with ambiguity. What is "interference"? What power does ebay have to regulate free speach? That answer is easy -- none.
    Expressing an opinion regarding a sword is not actionable, but where does one cross the line? Ebay gives a hint -- directly emailing bidders would be interfering, in Ebay's opinion. I suspect that pertains to unsolicited requests for information, not the situation where a bidder, or prospective bidder seeks information from other people.

    With all that being said, I believe that open discussions of swords offered for sale by a dealer or for auction, no matter the site, should be fair game. However, I fully understand Swordforum's concern, and the desire to protect and its members from any ramifications from such behavior, no matter if the ramifications are hollow threats or otherwise. Therefore, heeding to Swordforum's desires, perhaps it is the best policy to avoid such open discussions.

    Andre

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    "Interference" is if any seller feels that you are "interfering" with his/her auction.

    Now "interference" is subject to the interpretation of eBay policies, but then comes the other question:

    "If I say something about an auction that's negative, could I get sued?"

    Now THAT is more the question.

    With respect to auctions, there are careless forumites who say things that then cry foul when we delete their posts, not understanding that we're doing them a favor to protect them. In some cases, some auctioners have reported them to us and because the auctioners are courteous, professional and that the careless forumites were only highly vocal and not too knowledgeable, we agreed the posts needed removal (and again for the forumites' protection). Sometimes the forumties then turn around and blast SFI for moderation not knowing how close they might have come to a lawsuit.... so dont' forget you clicked "I AGREE" to the fact that this is a moderated environment!

    There are some cases where the auctioners directly threatened lawsuits to certain careless forumites without ever contacting me.

    So the bottom line is: You simply have to be responsible for what you say as an individual.

    If you don't have an attorney and cannot afford being sued, don't immediately try to blast someone's auction as "FAKE" especially if it's conjecture on your part and not wisdom begotten of experience and study. And even then you'd have to present your findings thoughtfully and politely. Again, read the following link.

    http://www.dancingwithlawyers.com/freeinfo/libel.shtml
    Adrian
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    Click HERE for the SFI comic strip "Bloodgroove"!

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    Adrian,

    Is there an issue with talking about auction once they are completed? I have had two threads locked by moderators in the past week.

    we were discussing a item that was deleted for sale by ebay. The short of it is:
    - the item was a new chinese sword
    - the seller identified it as such and explained why it was new
    - the seller had purchased the item from ebay as a supposed Gunto blade, and had been 'taken'
    - the seller did not say who the other seller was
    - the seller's intent was clearly to educate
    - I emailed the seller to tell him I loved his post
    - Ebay pulled the item for bogus reasons (probably thought it would id all the other 'junk' on ebay
    - I posted about it AFTER the auction was completed
    - I have contact with the seller over email and he sent me much of the verbiage from his item, which I posted (with his permission)

    The bottom line is that I beleived it to be an interesting discussion point for the forum and it was. I woudl never risk injury to SFI and I understand the overly caution nature of the Moderators. However, I belived this to be a healthy discussion that was closed down due to the 'auction policy' Clearly, a post auction discussion, about an auction that was pulled does not violate our policy?

    Thanks,
    Marshall

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    hmm i can see the legal ramifications of talking about an ongoing auction without the owners permission, but surely if the owners permission is given or the auction has ended, then surely there can be no come back.....

    and for the record if any one wants to comment on any of my auctions hey go a head, i would rather know if i have made a mistake or aquired a fake than have to go through the process of returning goods etc, i would rather know in advance so i can call the auction off.

    however as these forums are run by an individual i guess they have to be more careful of the legal ramifications
    “Do you know what astonished me most in the world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the spirit.” Napoleon Bonaparte

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by Marshall G.
    Adrian,

    Is there an issue with talking about auction once they are completed? I have had two threads locked by moderators in the past week.

    we were discussing a item that was deleted for sale by ebay. The short of it is:
    - the item was a new chinese sword
    - the seller identified it as such and explained why it was new
    - the seller had purchased the item from ebay as a supposed Gunto blade, and had been 'taken'
    - the seller did not say who the other seller was
    - the seller's intent was clearly to educate
    - I emailed the seller to tell him I loved his post
    - Ebay pulled the item for bogus reasons (probably thought it would id all the other 'junk' on ebay
    - I posted about it AFTER the auction was completed
    - I have contact with the seller over email and he sent me much of the verbiage from his item, which I posted (with his permission)

    The bottom line is that I beleived it to be an interesting discussion point for the forum and it was. I woudl never risk injury to SFI and I understand the overly caution nature of the Moderators. However, I belived this to be a healthy discussion that was closed down due to the 'auction policy' Clearly, a post auction discussion, about an auction that was pulled does not violate our policy?

    Thanks,
    Marshall
    Hi Marshall: Look at it point by point:
    "new Chinese sword" heresay, you personally didn't see or handle it and are believing it to be Chinese simply by the buyer's (a man who by his own accounts was fooled) account

    "intent to educate" as the buyer , only he knows if his intent was to educate or get back at the seller somehow: it doesn't take a genius to look at a persons past purchases (feedback) to determine who the seller was

    "Ebay pulled the item for bogus reasons" opinion: unless Ebay advised you of the reason it was pulled, it's a little onesided.. What if you were to find out tomarrow that the reason for it being pulled was that Ebay was still investigating the complaint?

    "I posted after..." This doesn't change the fact the vendor may have had other items currently for and you are directly interfering with said auctions.

    During that thread several things were said that could be easily interpeted as insulting to the Chinese people as a whole.

    Please note, anything that is posted here, may have direct financial impact on SFI and personally on the folks that run it.

    I'm not advocating poor business practices but, if one does not have any knowledge maybe one shouldn't take a chance if they can't afford to.

    There are some very good deals on Ebay if you learn how to search and some great dealers. I have picked up 2 Del Tins off Ebay. The first a Gothic longsword(used) for $75 the second several weeks ago, a Norman longsword (pristine) for a very low amount. I know several forumites, that averaged $150 on some Del Tins they picked up. Both of these gentlemen are careful, know how to search (most people don't know the ins and outs), and most importantly invest the time and patience needed to find the treasures that are posted without the seller investing the time or energy to determine what they are selling. These gentlemen are still taking a risk, but educating themselves first reduces the chances they will be "taken".
    I am the voice of Reason, but I'd rather have his eyes.

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