I’ve got an issue with sites like Beginner Triathlete and Slowtitch.
Both of these sites offer up fountains of information, and serve a fairly broad purpose in the word of triathlon. That said, however, both have ticked me off, and I’ve had enough of it. The straw has arrived; my camel’s back is broken.
What on Earth could they have done, you might ask?
Well…..to me, it all boils down to a lack of consistency.
See, I’ve posted on both of these sites for more than a handful of years now. I’m not the most prolific contributor on the planet, but I’ve been an active participant. Sometimes I’ve contributed to long-lasting threads (for example, the Ironman Florida and Ironman Louisville threads on BT back in 2009). Other times, I’ve congratulated someone on a race report. Or commented on a picture someone posted.
Both of these sites have rules or guidelines about what can and can’t be posted. I’m fine with rules. We have to have them as a society. I’m OK with a forum setting a rule and expecting members of the forum to follow the rule – so long as they apply the rules in a consistent and non-arbitrary way.
Case in point: In 2010 and 2011, I ran a series on my blog called “Ten Questions With…” where I interviewed lots of triathletes – many of them were professionals that we see at races, read about in magazines, and dream of beating. OK – maybe I’m the only one who dreams of beating them. In any case, the interview series was a huge success – many of those interviews remain the most-read articles I’ve posted on this blog. When I started writing the series, I posted threads on both BT and ST which included links to my blog articles. All was good & well in the world. I got a lot of hits on the website and there were lots of comments left in the threads. Then….something happened. Both sites started deleting any new post I put up announcing a new article. When I asked about it, the moderators/owners of both sites said that what I was doing was against the rules. Mind you, I had very carefully read the rules from both sites, and they were silent about what I was doing. So I pushed back a little. Other folks had linked to their blog and not had those posts pulled. Folks continue to do that even to this day. I relented, and ultimately decided to no longer post announcements to my new interviews. I even offered to become a “featured writer” for both sites – but neither took me up on it. Honestly, I think it was because I was getting better interviews than they were – but that’s another story.
My issue with it? Both sites were arbitrary with how they applied their rules. They deleted some of my threads, but let others’ remain. They allowed me to post some, then removed other people’s posts. That is what ticks me off.
And it’s happened again.
Today, BT yanked a thread that I started announcing Rev3’s newest race (in Williamsburg, VA). When I asked why, the administrator of the site (a guy with a screen name of Marmadaddy) replied and told me that because I was sponsored by Rev3, a very specific portion of their guidelines relating to Commercial Interests applied to me. They claim that just because I’m sponsored by Rev3 I am not allowed to proactively post anything favorable about Rev3 (like a race announcement).
Again, rules are rules – and I respect that. BUT….once again, BT has chosen to be arbitrary in how they apply the rules.
How so, you may ask?
This was not my first bite at the apple in terms of promoting a new race on BT. In fact, I have previously announced three other new Rev3 races in the same way that I announced the Williamsburg race. None of those threads were ever pulled. Even Charlie Patten – the owner of Rev3 has announced a race in the same way. His post wasn’t pulled, either.
So which is it? You can post stuff like this or you can’t? Why did they chose now to pull my thread when they had never pulled similar threads?
That’s what is so irritating about sites like BT and ST to me. Rules are great. Clearly outline them, and I’ll follow them. Apply them uniformly – to everyone. Don’t be arbitrary in terms of when to enforce them and when to not.