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Ethical disclosure guidelines.

Lindon

VST/AU Developer
Hi (Mike - really addressing this to you as its your forum to run as you please....)

I think its time we had some (at least) guidelines about full disclosure.

When an individual posts regularly about a named product, promoting its benefits and or the company the makes the product I think we should all know the posters relationship with the company involved and if they stand to gain some advantage (financial or otherwise), directly or indirectly from the promotion of the company or product.

Such information will allow us to make our own minds up about the opinions being expressed, perhaps that the poster has some real insights into the machinations of the product or company concerned, or perhaps we might see their commentary through a lens of their bias.

If I were to post regularly about the fantastic capabilities of UVI's Falcon software in one of the forums it might come as a disappointment to later learn I worked for UVI on Falcon - I dont and never have by the way.

Of course there's no way to FORCE someone to admit they work as a contractor for company A on product B, but defining a set of guidelines I think is morally and ethically the right thing to do.

Interested to know what you (all) think.
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
This has come up in the past, frequently really, and it seems like the rule of thumb is that people should identify when there is a potential for gain, since that could influence their opinions. Thus far it has been entirely voluntary, and near as I can tell, most folks have done just that, either in their signatures, or only in posts where they are talking about their employer.

It is, however, a double edged sword. It could lead to lots of PMs begging for discounts, or requesting support - and no one wants to voluntarily subject themselves to that. And while no one is ever dissatisfied with a purchase, if that were to happen the disappointment could surface here.

A far better solution - to me - is for folks who are employed by a developer simply refrain from posting about those products, or only post solutions, not opinions.

That leaves the topic of shills - sadly they will nor volunteer their status as an affiliate or associate or whatever. That's the group I would like to see regulated.
 

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
Hi guys and gals I just wanted to share I came across this super rad new sample library company they seem like really good dudes and they've donated ALL of their profits to charity to date! Also they make funny videos sometimes and I especially like the lali drums which are entirely FREE (though suggested donation is $5).

Here you go, enjoy!

www.botdogsamples.com
I have it on good authority that the guy who runs this company is a total jerk. Plus ugly. And smells bad. Cool lali drums and frog guiros, though, so even though these guys are sleazeballs, I got their libraries anyway.
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
I believe I am the one that started that rumor, but yeah, the libraries are cool!
 

d.healey

Music Monkey
YouTube does this kind of thing. A little "Paid promotion" notice appears in the bottom corner of such videos. Maybe there could be an icon or something that you could select when posting that would show it was an affiliated post.
 

Polkasound

Senior Member
Chillbot, I heard that you know a guy who knows a guy, who once knew a guy whose sister used to walk dogs for a guy who was once engaged to a girl who knew the first guy's barber, whose kids were in the same Cub Scout troop as the kids of a lady who used to buy flowers from a guy who did some gardening for a guy who did some sampling for Bot Dog Samples.

Therefore, I have completely and utterly lost faith in anything you say about Bot Dog Samples.

Bot seriously...

Full disclosure is great, Lindon, and I support it wherever possible, but it is not always possible due to NDAs and not always practical due to other factors. In the case of the person to whom you're referring (based on another thread) he's an industry icon and one of the most respected members of the VI community. He has a reputation for never mincing his words nor leading people astray. If you are not all that familiar with him, then I can see why you might be concerned. He did publicly disclose as much as he could, just for your benefit.

The longer you belong to and participate in an online community like this one, the more astute you become in regard to taking or leaving what you read online based on who is doing the posting. There are guidelines in place to deter things like shilling and misrepresentation, but the people who knowingly commit such violations are obviously not going to disclose anything. The upstanding members of this community, however, have no problem with disclosing their affiliations.

Ultimately, the responsibility for what you do with what you read is always in your hands.
 

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
Hi (Mike - really addressing this to you as its your forum to run as you please....)

I think its time we had some (at least) guidelines about full disclosure.

When an individual posts regularly about a named product, promoting its benefits and or the company the makes the product I think we should all know the posters relationship with the company involved and if they stand to gain some advantage (financial or otherwise), directly or indirectly from the promotion of the company or product.

Such information will allow us to make our own minds up about the opinions being expressed, perhaps that the poster has some real insights into the machinations of the product or company concerned, or perhaps we might see their commentary through a lens of their bias.

If I were to post regularly about the fantastic capabilities of UVI's Falcon software in one of the forums it might come as a disappointment to later learn I worked for UVI on Falcon - I dont and never have by the way.

Of course there's no way to FORCE someone to admit they work as a contractor for company A on product B, but defining a set of guidelines I think is morally and ethically the right thing to do.

Interested to know what you (all) think.
This is a tricky one for me to respond to, because this thread is not really about what it presents itself to be about. So ... I'll just give my thoughts about what's been going on this last day or two.

I've deleted a number of your other posts this morning in the NI Layoffs thread, where you needle Mario (EvilDragon) about whether his info is legit and you ask for names of superiors, etc. I'll leave this thread up (for now, at least) to give my thoughts on the matter.

For the record, as far as I'm concerned, Mario doesn't have to "prove" anything to any of us. He's at the very top of the list of people I trust. If Mario said NI was sending checks for a million dollars each to all the developers, I'd be running to my mailbox right now. :grin:

Even on the topic of UVI/Falcon, Mario is very candid about the areas where it is superior to Kontakt. (And vice versa.) I have zero doubts about the integrity or motivations of anything he says. Zero. He certainly has opinions, but I never doubt for a second that they are sincere.

More to the point of what's going on here, though - It is not cool - at all - to get into an interrogation on this forum with someone who has the status of Mario. It reminds me of the Headshot thing with Hans, where Samy kept accusing and accusing (and accusing and accusing) Hans of lying about writing some big band cue. Totally inappropriate here.

Hans, Mario, or anyone else with established reputations (of which there are many here), should not ever have to "defend themselves." That turns their forum experiences into unpleasant ones, which means they'll be less inclined to keep visiting, which is obviously bad for all the rest of us.

On the more general topic of shills and full disclosure, etc. - That's not what this thread is really about, so I'll save that discussion for another time. (If someone really feels the need to raise the topic, please have a heart and wait a few weeks. ;) )
 
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OP
Lindon

Lindon

VST/AU Developer
This is a tricky one for me to respond to, because this thread is not really about what it presents itself to be about. So ... I'll just give my thoughts about what's been going on this last day or two.

I've deleted a number of your other posts this morning in the NI Layoffs thread, where you needle Mario (EvilDragon) about whether his info is legit and you ask for names of superiors, etc. I'll leave this thread up (for now, at least) to give my thoughts on the matter.

For the record, as far as I'm concerned, Mario doesn't have to "prove" anything to any of us. He's at the very top of the list of people I trust. If Mario said NI was sending checks for a million dollars each to all the developers, I'd be running to my mailbox right now. :grin:

Even on the topic of UVI/Falcon, Mario is very candid about the areas where it is superior to Kontakt. (And vice versa.) I have zero doubts about the integrity or motivations of anything he says. Zero. He certainly has opinions, but I never doubt for a second that they are sincere.

More to the point of what's going on here, though - It is not cool - at all - to get into an interrogation on this forum with someone who has the status of Mario. It reminds me of the Headshot thing with Hans, where Samy kept accusing and accusing (and accusing and accusing) Hans of lying about writing some big band cue. Totally inappropriate here.

Hans, Mario, or anyone else with established reputations (of which there are many here), should not ever have to "defend themselves." That turns their forum experiences into unpleasant ones, which means they'll be less inclined to keep visiting, which is obviously bad for all the rest of us.

On the more general topic of shills and full disclosure, etc. - That's not what this thread is really about, so I'll save that discussion for another time. (If someone really feels the need to raise the topic, please have a heart and wait a few weeks. ;) )
I'm sorry you feel this is not about ethical disclosure guidelines, I assure you it is from my point of view. I'm also sorry you feel I'm attacking Mario - I've known him for over 10 years, and I agree his technical information is very very often exactly on the money. It's true that Mario and my discussions elsewhere on the forum prompted me to write this post, it brought into focus how uncomfortable I feel about (often well intentioned) opinion being offered on topics where the poster has some "skin-in-the-game" but doesn't explicitly highlight that. That's not "Mario offering his opinion" its "anyone offering their opinion". I definitely DONT want this to be about an individual (me, him, you, anyone), I'm asking for a forum guideline that points us all down a more ethically grounded path.

I think Bill is pointing us in the right direction here:

This has come up in the past, frequently really, and it seems like the rule of thumb is that people should identify when there is a potential for gain, since that could influence their opinions. Thus far it has been entirely voluntary, and near as I can tell, most folks have done just that, either in their signatures, or only in posts where they are talking about their employer.

It is, however, a double edged sword. It could lead to lots of PMs begging for discounts, or requesting support - and no one wants to voluntarily subject themselves to that. And while no one is ever dissatisfied with a purchase, if that were to happen the disappointment could surface here.

A far better solution - to me - is for folks who are employed by a developer simply refrain from posting about those products, or only post solutions, not opinions.

That leaves the topic of shills - sadly they will nor volunteer their status as an affiliate or associate or whatever. That's the group I would like to see regulated.
So if it's come up frequently perhaps we might address it?

Dave Healeys suggestion is good too.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
force every user to change their profile picture to them wearing a NASCAR style jacket - with a patch of the logo for every company they've received free products or money from.

really though, can this start to go in reverse? If I talk up a product and someone buys it, can I start getting some $$$ for pushing their wares?

Somewhat related, something probably equally misleading is people who make claims about a library because it's the only library they have and don't know any better.

For instance, if someone ONLY had spitfire studio strings and just constantly says it's the best hands down ect, but their comparison is like kontakt factory. It's okay to give an account of how much you like x library and how it feels like it does what you need it to do without much fuss, but I feel like too many people make claims from the perspective that they actually have the competitor products to have made any useful comparison.

And while we're at it, we should integrate the forum with native access so we can see who the pirates are >:) These suggestions have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I'd benefit from a community that values someone who "collects" sample libraries - rather than working composers who actually care about ROI. No conflict of interest here *whistles*
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
More to the point of what's going on here, though - It is not cool - at all - to get into an interrogation on this forum with someone who has the status of Mario. It reminds me of the Headshot thing with Hans, where Samy kept accusing and accusing (and accusing and accusing) Hans of lying about writing some big band cue. Totally inappropriate here.

Hans, Mario, or anyone else with established reputations (of which there are many here), should not ever have to "defend themselves." That turns their forum experiences into unpleasant ones, which means they'll be less inclined to keep visiting, which is obviously bad for all the rest of us.
The bigger issue from my perspective in both scenarios - is that it causes people to pick sides, and ultimately starts a downhill spirals of interactions between those people. It just creates enemies out of people who would otherwise be friends - and it becomes a little tit for tat in future interactions that snowballs into an irrepairable relationship. The argument between 2 people is ultimately a drop in the bucket in comparison to the vibe/tension it creates for the others in the forum. Maybe it doesn't need to be policed, but seasoned members should definitely be aware of the ripple effect it has - when weighing out the worth of being right.

the NI thread didn't escalate nearly to the point of headshot, but in headshots case - it carved out a group of talented and knowledgeable members, and pitted them against the rest of the forum until they were essentially exiled literally or functionally. All over a cue from a money most of us have never seen. Granted the greater point of the argument might have applied to other movies - but even if Hans Zimmer never wrote a single note of his own in is life, a lot of enemies were created, and whatever useful talents/knowledge members involved(both for an against) had been dimmed or snuffed out simply due to the lingering animosity from picking sides. Sure plenty of talented and knowledgeable members werent involved, but both those who simply backed off, or those who got caught up in it - had some very impressive work. And given anyone can get a composer cloud subscription - the barrier for entry is basically non existant for VI, so losing even 3-4 talented VI users is very unfortunate for the signal/noise ratio.
 
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Ashermusic

Senior Member
Even when I worked for EastWest as their Online Coordinator, I never saw Kontakt or other engine developers as somehow my "enemy." Indeed, I reviewed a bunch of them positively (and yes, they gave me NFRs) and became very friendly after meeting them at NAMM, great guys like Tari, Simone of Chocolate Audio, Paolo of Fluffy Audio, Trace of Indiginus, and on and on.

Mario is the most honest and knowlegeable Kontakt user I have encountered. I don't give a big rat's honey about what he does and doesn't receive from N.I. I don't believe for a nanosecond he would state something he didn't believe was true, just as I never did when I was paid by EW.
 
OP
Lindon

Lindon

VST/AU Developer
Even when I worked for EastWest as their Online Coordinator, I never saw Kontakt or other engine developers as somehow my "enemy." Indeed, I reviewed a bunch of them positively (and yes, they gave me NFRs) and became very friendly after meeting them at NAMM, great guys like Tari, Simone of Chocolate Audio, Paolo of Fluffy Audio, Trace of Indiginus, and on and on.

Mario is the most honest and knowlegeable Kontakt user I have encountered. I don't give a big rat's honey about what he does and doesn't receive from N.I. I don't believe for a nanosecond he would state something he didn't believe was true, just as I never did when I was paid by EW.
I dont think anyone is saying that he would say something he didn't believe to be true, I for one have never seen him do that in the 10 years I've been here. But it is good to get the context of his comments.
 

Ashermusic

Senior Member
I dont think anyone is saying that he would say something he didn't believe to be true, I for one have never seen him do that in the 10 years I've been here. But it is good to get the context of his comments.
The only context that matters to me personally, is that he is knowledgeable and honest.
 

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
... in headshots case - it carved out a group of talented and knowledgeable members, and pitted them against the rest of the forum until they were essentially exiled literally or functionally.
... a lot of enemies were created, and whatever useful talents/knowledge members involved(both for an against) had been dimmed or snuffed out simply due to the lingering animosity from picking sides.
... so losing even 3-4 talented VI users is very unfortunate for the signal/noise ratio.
Exactly. Several of the exiles, including Samy, are very, very talented, and it really is too bad they're gone. That's something I don't want to repeat.
 

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
So if it's come up frequently perhaps we might address it?
My feeling is that the issue you described in your opening post doesn't come up very often, so I'm wary of applying a cure that winds up being worse than the problem it was supposed to solve.

VI-Control has very few rules or guidelines. That works because we're fortunate that the membership is sophisticated enough to moderate itself. We're really lucky that way. Most of us know instinctively what is cool and what is not.

I'll go so far as to say that most of the actions moderators take here do not have specific rules guiding them. Last night, for instance, I deleted a thread where someone asked if Danny Elfman is a Scientologist. I don't think we have a rule against that, but 99% of us know instinctively that that thread ain't gonna end well. Obviously, 1% doesn't automatically know that, so we deal with them on a case by case basis. It's not that hard.

Anyway, the original issue this thread was motivated by is resolved, so that's as far as I'll go for now. The broader topic of shills and reliability of reviews and stuff is certainly valid, but I'm not getting involved in that for at least a few weeks. (Spoiler alert - I'm very doubtful we can come up with new policies that would solve those issues without turning the forum into a disclaimery mess.)
 
OP
Lindon

Lindon

VST/AU Developer
Exactly. Several of the exiles, including Samy, are very, very talented, and it really is too bad they're gone. That's something I don't want to repeat.
Which is exactly why I think having a set of (suggested) guidelines might help head off this sort of issue. I certainly know a number of people who used to be very active here who these days dont show up much any more because of (their) perception that "its a Kontakt-only space" - which I've tried to argue isnt the case, but my feeling is this is getting harder and harder to justify.
 

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
Which is exactly why I think having a set of (suggested) guidelines might help head off this sort of issue. I certainly know a number of people who used to be very active here who these days dont show up much any more because of (their) perception that "its a Kontakt-only space" - which I've tried to argue isnt the case, but my feeling is this is getting harder and harder to justify.
Totally agreed that the forum is very heavy on Kontakt, but I don't know what rules would solve that. I'm not going to tell Mario to stop being helpful. ;)

FWIW, I offered to UVI to have their own subforum where they could promote their platform and answer coding questions and stuff. (I like the idea of more competition and the UVI platform is very cool. I'm also hoping HISE becomes a bigger thing.) The only requirement was that they would keep a presence here so that questions would get answered and the subforum wouldn't turn into a ghost town. They never got back to me on it, although the offer still stands.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
Exactly. Several of the exiles, including Samy, are very, very talented, and it really is too bad they're gone. That's something I don't want to repeat.
And that's just the obvious case - the not so obvious case, were the grudges that members here hold under the surface against each other - that end up being little bits of slights/attitude sprinkled in their interactions between one another. They might not even speak up about it, and one day they'll help pile on if they have the opportunity.
 

Ashermusic

Senior Member
And that's just the obvious case - the not so obvious case, were the grudges that members here hold under the surface against each other - that end up being little bits of slights/attitude sprinkled in their interactions between one another. They might not even speak up about it, and one day they'll help pile on if they have the opportunity.

But people can battle and later find a way to co-exist. Daniel James and I had some epic go rounds for a while, but eventually we agreed to disagree on almost everything but be polite to each other.

I don't hold any grudge and I don't think he does either. OTOH, there is one person who only comes here occasionally because of me I think, and I do hold a grudge against him. But when he posts, I just treat him as if I am meeting him for the first time and if I have a comment, make it with that attitude.
 
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