Terms of Service & Soliciting for Money

    • Gold Top Dog

    Terms of Service & Soliciting for Money

    What is it with all the people coming here to beg for money? I understand emergencies, but that was not what this forum was originally set up for. Does anyone moderate these posts anymore? I can't even open the Terms of Service.

    I can see why so many old-timers have left, between the horrible format, the advertising (no, I really don't want to join ThaiMatches.com for Asian Women Seeking Love), and the BS posts.

    Feeling very disgruntled about this forum lately.

    • Gold Top Dog

    I SO agree, the only time i come here anymore is to read the just talking column and lately that does not have much on it, miss everyone that used to come here.

    • Gold Top Dog

    ^ Ditto

    • Gold Top Dog

    Hi everyone. You are exactly right. We have contacted the poster to re-word their post or remove it. We don't want members to feel that they can't tell their stories about their sick dogs, but we will not tolerate any kind of solicitation for financial support.

    This brings forward a few issues.

    1) The moderators have not many of the tools they need to do their jobs. This will be resolved in a new version next week.

    2) For a technical reason, the legal pages keep disappearing. This has also been resolved in the next version.

    3) We will customise the ad window to acceptable subjects. I don't get the same ads as I'm in the UK, but what you're describing is wholly unacceptable and we will deal with it immediately.

    4) You mention 'BS' posts. I am keen to understand what you mean so that we can make this site better. Can you private message me with more detail on this?

    We have a series of further improvements planned in the coming weeks. I will update you more on those shortly.


    • Gold Top Dog

    You mention 'BS' posts. I am keen to understand what you mean so that we can make this site better. Can you private message me with more detail on this?

    I would pm you, but your username comes up "unknown" when I try to.

    To be blunt, the posts designed to generate interest, such as the video about the husky escaping, or the dogs who need homes, or the blind dog who was rescued, or about all the homeless animals, or the numerous repeat posts about dogs helping veterans are the posts I am talking about. They may be viewed, but nobody is responding. Many of these items are old news. Those of us who have worked in rescue, volunteer at shelters, fostered, and truly love animals generally already have seen these stories. We are already doing as much as we can.

    This forum used to be a great place to come for valuable information regarding health, training. We used to have a fellowship, sometimes just chatting inanely, sometimes having heated discussions, but often sharing our joys and losses about our dogs. This place is where I first learned about choosing different dog food, about different ways of training and references to material by professional trainers, to name a couple of things. I find it very sad that this forum has changed so much. It was once a way to connect with other crazy dog people. Now, not so much. Newer is not always better. 

    • Gold Top Dog

    Well, that's not the greatest start is it? I've sent you a private message. In the meantime, I would like to say a couple of things. We're in a chicken and egg situation here; assuming that translates across the pond. We want you guys to engage and so we're putting things out there to get you to bite. Some of it is light and fun. Some of it you may well have seen before. But if we don't put stuff out there, we don't grow. But I really would love it if people said what they think about the burning issues and suggested their own topics and ideas. The daily chat alone does not a community make!

    I'm all for debate and disagreement. Bring it on!

    The reality is that the forum had to change for many reasons: the technology was no longer working, it was becoming harder and harder to maintain and we wanted to make it bigger and better. We have introduced many new things on the site and many are works in progress. Too many things all happening at once and some things, didn't work as we intended them to. That's why we're focused on making improvements to the experience and the functioning of the site in the next couple of releases.

    Newer isn't always better, I agree, but there's nothing wrong with new if it's combined with improvements. So my invitation to you is to help make what's new work better for you and every other member of this community. Sound fair?


    • Gold Top Dog

    In honesty I think it's a bit unfair to 'blame'  Dog.com -- what has historically been "I-Dog" began deteriorating a long time ago and many moved en masse to FaceBook and have chosen to stay there.

    I've been online a long time -- I may not always like the 'changes' that a website goes through (to be perfectly honest I*hated* the prior big overhaul far far far more than I find to dislike on the current board.) -- but ultimately I either decide to stay ... or go.  Many of us don't like change -- and this is one place where I'll admit that folks who have grown up with the internet have an edge.  They tend to embrace technical change rather than seeing it as a negative.  Me?  I just hope I can still see the screen and  I can figure out how to type with one finger pointing at a tiny screen  rather than being able to type whole words faster than I can think them when I can use .... gasp -- TWO hands on a keyboard!! (such an old fashioned idea!!)  

    But a board like this *will* die if people are constantly complaining, pointing out what is wrong, and generally showing discontent.  Message boards grow very largely by "sharing" (something which FB -- which is so **Not** my cup of tea -- has turned into a huge asset).  Sharing - meaning telling other people you know about it -- both people online, and in real life.  Taking the time to try to initiate new posts, or trying to support people who have posted.

    But as far as the blatant "feel sorry for me and send me money" stuff -- it is ***EVERYWHERE**.    I can see they are trying on here to remove such posts, and trust me, it's NOT an easy job to moderate.  When I moderated Canine Club years ago I used to spend hours every night identifying and deleting hundreds of inappropriate posts or spam posts.  

    But with the advent of "GoFundMe" and 999 others, people are turning "begging on the internet" into a lucrative place to find easy money.  It's not just here -- in fact, what's on here is mild compared to what you see elsewhere.  I totally agree it's annoying, inappropriate and just plain anger-inducing  to see people try to make their story so heart-wrenching that it loosens people's purse strings..  

    This very small core group of folks from Dog.com's history -- I find it really interesting to see which ones of us have stayed.  Are we all bosom buddies?  Nope -- far from it.  But all of us   do seem to understand the meaning of the word "commitment".  And that's a good thing.

    Granted - most of what I do online has to do with Dog health issues  (no surprise there)  but I do talk about **this** forum a lot.  I invite people, and often refer them to old posts about a thing or encourage them to try it out.  I also recommend the store.  AND I still try to buy from Dog.com as opposed to going to the "big box" dog stores in town.  

    It may be an out-moded concept but I honestly think that we will get much further with honey than with vinegar.  If you have an issue with the powers that be, email them or PM them. or make a post simply asking JB or Elizabeth to contact you.  But if we keep posts positive  and a place that makes people feel good to be ... it will grow.    I remember I told Glenda about 9 years ago that one of the reasons why I stayed was because I knew there were a lot of people here who knew a *LOT* about dogs.  That  held my attention then, and it would now.

    I like the people who own Dog.com now.  I appreciate JB's efforts to address things  I've told him about.  I appreciate the girls from Dog.com who make an effort to post and be friendly.  And I really appreciate Dr. Tab.   First time in all my years online that I have seen a business owner put themselves out there and made the effort to be approachable as he has.

    Perfect? nope -- far from it.  All of us are on this side of "Rainbow Bridge" so there's nothing here that is perfect..    

    This isn't meant as criticism of anyone.  I think this original "core" group knows by now that none of us are going to "change"  any one of the rest of us.  But if we can look outward and reach out to others it may serve to help things grow.   (and if we're all vigilant we can catch the begging posts and snag JB or someone to remove them.)

    • Gold Top Dog

    Just wanted to echo everything that Tina said SO well, and to add my agreement with Jackie's and Vivian's.  

    Things that come to my mind, in no particular order:  

    I, too, would like to see the elimination (or at least alteration) of the kinds of ads and banners I see when I log in.  Tina's example of an inappropriate ad really isn't an exaggeration of the type of garbage I'm seeing, too.  For example, as I type this, there's a gross looking photo of an arm with tons of age spots on it, and a headline enticing me to click to learn how to remove dark spots.  I understand ads are necessary in the internet world, but at least make them somewhat related to the forum's focus (pet care, pet supplies, travel with pets, outdoor activity things, etc.).  

    I also understand your point, Jonathan, about your team needing to do things to get people to engage, when we're not making a huge effort ourselves to initiate much more than the daily chat.  But, here's our "chicken and egg" problem (translates perfectly!):  when there are only fewer than a dozen of us who post, there are only so many new topics we can come up with each day, unless (doG forbid) one of our pets becomes ill, has a new behavior challenge, etc.).  We need a larger community in order to have more variety and activity of posting topics, in my opinion.

    Improvements in the layout and clutter reduction may help generate more activity on threads.  Speaking for myself, I've posted one or two outside of daily chat, and they don't always get many replies because I think people simply don't see them amid all the clutter of the "light" threads that start to pile up.

    Those "light" threads that are initiated by the forum itself may be fun for some lurkers to view, but there's not much to add to them other than to post a reply saying, "Cute!" or "Funny!"  It's likely we've all seen these things floating around in our email circles, Facebook, from friends and office mates, etc.

    My fear is the activity level may never return to what it once was, and therefore the information value that once was here won't ever exist.  I came here looking for information about 9 years ago, and along with getting tons of valuable input about my dog's medical condition, I also learned lots of other valuable things about diet, training, etc., as Tina mentioned.  It may be that those types of info exchanges are just happening on private Facebook pages or other breed-specific forums and sites, and sadly the community here just can't compete with that.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Ditto that, Tracy.  I'm quite active now on a forum that's much like this one used to be with a simple format and a lot of active members who post daily about behavior, training and health problems. and share pictures and fun stories too.  I find it much more appealing than a forum that basically is just feel good fluff posted by employees of the company.  There aren't enough active members here who have much knowledge about dogs and I find the cutesy stories to be distracting clutter and meaningless.   If that's the audience that dog.com is trying to attract, they're succeeding.  

    Callie, I don't mind change if it's change for the better.  As for your suggestion that we send private messages rather than publicly state our opinions, that's your point of view.  Mine is that this is a public forum and the best way to get a point across is to state it publicly and honestly.  I'll continue to visit this forum because of some of the friends here that I don't get to interact with elsewhere.  I don't think my or anyone's opinion is going to cause dog.com to lose any sleep.

    • Gold Top Dog

    On the topic of private messages -- how do you send them?  I tried once or twice but couldn't figure it out.  Maybe I should try again to see if the process has been improved.  Do you have to formally "friend" someone first to send them a PM?

    • Gold Top Dog

    yes, Tracy, you can't send a pm to anyone unless you're friends.  

    • Gold Top Dog

    Thanks @JackieG for saying something I should have explained from the getgo. Only friends can PM just like all other forums, communities or social networks.

    By hey, if you all want to be my 'friend' on the site, I'd welcome that. The more the merrier, frankly. You can then send me REALLY horrible messages about what you think of the site.... I have broad shoulders and a thick(ish) skin.

    • Gold Top Dog

    There's an interesting thing about the ad network that we currently use. It presents ads based on sites that you visit. Practical example, I recently bought some skimpy undies for my nearest and dearest for St. Valentine's. Now every time I visit this site, I'm presented with ads to buy more skimpy undies or related products. In fact, I'd be sorted if I happened to want to buy make-up, underwear or any other product of that nature. You see, we can only control so many things with the ad network. I will get someone to switch off inappropriate ads (just like we banned computer games ads and adults ads outright), but some advertisers do like to push the envelope when it comes to how they advertise their products. All I can suggest is when you see something inappropriate screen grab it and send it to me. I will then knock the relevant heads together and figure out how something appeared.

    I'm glad you understand my chicken and egg point, but that does not mean that we're getting right all the time. We're a retailer that's trying to build an awesome community for you guys. Our 'angle' on this is that you'll find our community decent enough to come back again and again, and sure, buy the odd product or too. That's it, nothing more complicated than that. So we're testing out approaches, stories, pictures and videos to see if you engage.

    But you guys have a role too and it's this: you are the fabric of this community. Not us, you. You persevered through all of the recent changes and those of the less recent past and so I'm going to ask you three things:

    1) Keep telling us what you miss, don't like or - even like - as constructively as you can. We love what we do and we love it even more when people love what we're doing even a little bit.

    2) Tell us what we're really doing wrong. We may even stop that thing or adapt it dramatically.

    3) Participate. Yes, I know you guys have seen it, done it, heard it all before. But you are the custodians of this site and you have a lot to teach the 500 new members that join each month. Just think how vibrant this will be when we have 5,000 members then 50,000 members each month. You could be part of making that happen and reap the rewards of a better community as a result.

    We will continue to improve this experience (we are far from happy with it right now), but we believe it has potential and that's what's driving us: realizing that potential.

    • Gold Top Dog

    I think 'feel good fluff' has its place on this site just like any other. We can all do with being entertained for a couple of minutes once in a while. For me this is a question of where do we put the emphasis.

    Our goal is to make this site THE destination for lively debate, expert opinion and helpful advice. Yes, sure we put up pretty pictures and videos and that is valued by our more passive consumers, but I'd much rather start a few fights than post a few videos.

    I also don't have a problem with people posting publicly. I'm just aware that not everyone wants to say what they think in a public forum.

    And on the losing sleep point. I've lost more night's sleep on this project than any other in my 20 or so years of doing this stuff. You see, every single person involved in this at DOG.com wants to see this succeed. And that's where we need your help.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Jonathan, I do understand that there is just so much anyone can do about whether people actively post and participate.   I also understand that what I find interesting isn't the same for anyone else and the site does want to attract as many people as possible, not just cranky  old broads.  :) I'll try and start more threads on various subjects.