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The Purpose of the BST Forum - optional reading
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Posted Thu Mar 19, 2009, 3:19pm
Subject: The Purpose of the BST Forum - optional reading
 

With the release of new rules for the Buy, Sell and Trade (BST) forum, I decided to do a short and sweet rules post that is required reading for all participants in the BST forum, and it can be found here. Discussion about these rules is encouraged in this thread.

The old announcement for the rules of this forum was very long, and detailed why the rules exists. As a result, not many read it. But I still feel the need to write the reasons for the rules, so there's no misunderstanding if you happen to have your thread deleted, and a strike issued. This post will attempt to explain the rules with clarity and valid reasons.

Why BST exists
For a long time, those into coffee and espresso in the home had only one avenue to sell their machines when they decided to upgrade - alt.coffee. Then eBay came along, with its associated fees. We decided to introduce the BST forum some five or six years ago, long before Craigslist really took off in major (and minor) cities, with one purpose in mind: to help our active membership sell their machines to other members once they decided to upgrade their equipment. To help them save some eBay fees. To continue the sense of community, with a more senior member passing along great equipment to a more junior member looking to make their first quality espresso machine or grinder or coffee brewer purchase.

This forum exists solely as a courtesy for our active membership. What's an active member? Someone who visits CoffeeGeek regularly and reads the website, for months or years. Someone who posts regularly in the forums - learning new things, and sharing learned knowledge. Someone who posts comments in reviews. Someone who posts member reviews. You don't have to be someone who has 100 posts under their belt to be an active member. But we don't consider people who just signed up to be active members just yet. You need to be a member of this website for a while.

This forum doesn't exist for those who only sign up to CoffeeGeek in order to sell a machine and avoid eBay fees.

Who Can and Cannot post to the BST Forum
Here's the simplest way I can detail who can and cannot post here. This also assumes you meet the new Rule 1, listed below.

If you have a machine or cup set or whatever that you bought, you used, you had in your kitchen or wherever, and have decided to upgrade or move on, the BST forum is here for you to help find someone else to take it off your hands.

If you in any way derive normal, occasional, weekend, whatever profits from buying and selling equipment, cups, or other coffee related items, the BST Forum is not for you. Please use Craigslist, eBay, other auction sites, or buy a SponsorAd from CoffeeGeek.

The Rules, and explanations

Rule 1: You must have at least 10 posts on CoffeeGeek, or be a 'Senior Member' (3 months as a member of CoffeeGeek) to be able sell something in this forum. Absolutely no exceptions to this rule. 'Junior Members' with less than 10 posts (not including posts to this forum) will have their threads deleted and a strike issued to their account. AMENDED: This rule does not apply to new members who want to post a 'Wanted to Buy' thread - if you are looking for an item, you are free to write a Wanted post, regardless of your site status or amount of posts.

See above, re 'Why the BST forum exists' for the reasons behind this rule. We still do allow new members to post WTB threads - if you're looking for a product, feel free to post your wanted ad, your offer price, and location.

Rule 2: You must list the following information in your thread when posting in this forum: Your real, full name. Your city and state/province/territory. Your asking/buying price. State your conditions (eg Or Best Offer (OBO), Firm, Willing to trade (WTT), etc etc). You must have a valid email address as your "public email' in order to post, or list a valid, unobstructed email in your for sale / trade / buy post.

This was a suggested rule (not enforced) before - it is now a rule, set in stone. Why? Because over the last several months, some folks have been burned by sour deals in this forum, and by requiring a bit more transparancy, the hope is people will be more morally obligated to be up and up with their sales.

We do understand privacy concerns, but the bottom line is this - if you want to use this forum to sell something, you have to list your real, full name and your location and have an unobstructed public email address. If you list your city in you profile for public viewing, you do not have to list it again in the forum posting. however, if you choose not to have an unobstructed email address or choose not to list your location, then do not use this forum to sell your coffee related equipment.

Asking price is required now as well. This is a must, and has been requested as a rule dozens of times by our forum regulars. Do not post unless you are willing to state an asking price (or equivalent in the case of trades). This also applies to offers to buy threads.

Rule 3: No links to external sales can be made in new threads on this forum. This includes, but is not limited to, eBay and Craigslist.

This rule is new, and again, comes at the request of our forum regulars. This includes all self promotion links to items you may be selling in another venue online, be it in new threads or followup posts. People can still post eBay or Craigslist links in followups only to new threads where the situation is warranted (ie, 'it's listed for much less here on Craigslist), but we have zero tolerance for self-promoting links to external for sale and auction sites.

Rule 4: Only private, consumer sales are allowed. No commercial posts at all. No business postings. No website domain name sales. No hobbyist tamper makers. No weekend fixer-upper cottage business posts. If you in any way profit on a regular, irregular, or occasional basis from the buying and selling of anything related to coffee, you cannot post an ad in this forum. This forum is provided as a courtesy to our membership for the times when they decide to upgrade their brewing equipment, and want to sell their existing machines to their fellow members.

We've had a lot of issues in the past with a variety of people on CoffeeGeek in this forum who violate the above rule. People who routinely scour garage sales for uber-cheap machines, clean them up, and resell them. People who made a tamper on their home lathe, liked it, and decided to make a few more and sell here. People who tend to flip machines often (buy from one source, sell here for profit).

Also, CoffeeGeek.com is supported by our paying advertisers. Without them, this site would not exist, and because of that, we have an obligation to them to make sure no one is getting a free ride on this website - if we allow any kind of commercial posting in our forums, our paid support would dry up. If you profit in any way from the sales of espresso or coffee equipment, and want to use CoffeeGeek to sell your wares, you should be using our advertising options, and not expect a free ride.

Rule 5: No machines obtained from a coffee or restaurant or food service business are allowed to be listed here. It doesn't matter if the business is real or failed, or if you bought it at a bankruptcy auction, or are selling it for a friend.

This one has been an ongoing problem. We've heard every excuse in the book, from "it's never been used commercially!" to "I'm selling this for a near bankrupt friend!" and everything in between. But the bottom line is this - if it is in any way tied to a commercial food venture, real, failed, or never realised, it cannot be sold here. No exceptions. Use eBay or Craigslist.

Rule 6: ONLY coffee and espresso related products may be listed here in the BST Forum.

We have everything from cell phones to software, to website layout automated engines attempted to be advertised here. All get deleted. It has to be directly related to coffee or espresso to be listed here. Pretty simple, actually.

Rule 7: If you sell the item you have listed, you must edit the original post's title to indicate it has been Sold.

Again, fairly simple. Helps with the flow or threads, and closes off threads for sold items. Editing is easy - log in, find your initial post, click the edit link / icon, and change the subject title. Hit submit, done.

Further Tips on using CoffeeGeek's BST Forum

One thing I need to make crystal clear to everyone using the BST forum. You use this forum at your own risk. If you get burned on a deal, in no way, shape, or form are we, the site adminstrators, owner, or moderators, responsible for your loss.

That said, I do have some tips to help you make your transaction safe and uneventful.

- Insist on real names in your communication with the buyer / seller
- Insist on a contact number they can be reached at. Negotiate the deal via phone if possible.
- Even if paying via an online service, insist on a real mailing address; avoid PO boxes or other types.
- Request proper packing, and ask the seller to confirm how the item was packed before shipment; photographs help.
- Buy from established members - those who have been on the forums for some time, or have been participating members of CoffeeGeek for more than a several months (check their sign up date, visible on all members' profile pages)
- If not an established member, ask for references, and verify them.

A lot of trust is given when someone pays for something before it is shipped to them. It's not irresponsible or rude to ask for the above when conducting a transaction. Sellers who balk at this are best to be avoided.

Mark

 
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