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Change to the Code of Conduct

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Neil Wyatt22/06/2020 19:56:58
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Moderator
17970 forum posts
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We have had requests from advertisers about an increasing for links being posted to products from certain online suppliers, in particular ones who don't operate under the same sort of trading rules (e.g. sources of non-CE marked products).

Also, there's been an increase in links to videos that are more than just simple hobbyist content, but are actually run as money-making concerns - not so much popular ones that get ads added top them by YouTube, but the ones that have along list of 'featured products'. These feature links usually generate income and often refer to the supplier mentioned above.

After considerable discussion we had to find a compromise that wouldn't stifle open discussion, but also wouldn't fill the site with lots of free links to these suppliers. We have to bear in mind that this website is paid for by our advertisers and without their support it could not continue.

As a result, we have added a fifth section to the 'Code of Conduct', www.model-engineer.co.uk/conduct/ :

Posting links to unregulated sellers or ‘review videos’
While we understand that forum members want to discuss all aspects of the hobby, we reserve the right to remove links or posts linking to sellers who may be supplying goods not properly covered by UK safety or consumer legislation. This includes ‘review videos’ that generate income from such links.

If you intentionally or unintentionally post a link to content of this, we will normally delete the link (we will try and avoid deleting entire posts, although this may sometimes be unavoidable if the post is little more than the link).

If we edit you post in this way it will be clear as the name of the moderator who did the edit will appear in the post.

We will try and apply as light a touch as possible.

Thanks for your understanding.

Neil

Martin Kyte22/06/2020 20:11:22
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1901 forum posts
34 photos

Sounds reasonable.

Martin

Oily Rag22/06/2020 20:27:06
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112 forum posts
57 photos

Neil,

This is a bag of worms!

Quote:

A CE Mark denotes compliance with minimum performance requirements enabling a product to be placed on the European market. The CE Mark is not a ‘Quality Mark’ and should not be confused with ‘Third Party Product Certification’.

CE Marked products may not necessarily comply with regulatory requirements outside of the European Union.

Unquote.

From what I read into your note we are therefore, in future, to be discouraged from availing ourselves of goods from outside of the EU? This could be a huge stumbling block as we head into a post EU world with an, as yet, unknown trading relationship with the EU.

From my time working in China I know that the CE mark applied to their goods was under the belief that it meant 'China Export'! The documentation that was sent to the relevant authorities for self certification was not worth the paper it was written on in terms of meeting EU environmental standards, process standards, or any other perceived trade standards. A fact that caused me great concern for a major European automobile manufacturer, whose products contained many parts of dubious quality.

I would like to understand at greater depth why this is being raised at this time, which would seem to be a case of rearranging the following into order - Horse, stable door, bolted, close, after!!

IanT22/06/2020 21:03:38
1547 forum posts
144 photos

Sorry this is not a "bag of worms" at all OR.

The CE Mark is well known and should most be certainly be well understood by any would-be 'Exporter'.

It's use (other than as originally intended) is a clearly an attempt to deceive. If someone wants to proclaim the fact that their product is a Chinese export, then they could simply use the traditional "Made in China".

So I've no problem with this change.

Regards,

IanT

Neil Wyatt22/06/2020 21:11:44
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17970 forum posts
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The CE mark is just one, easily understood example. There are other issues from tax dodges to lack of consumer protection that vary by the source.

It's clearly up to the individual what and where they choose to buy.

Neil

Barrie Lever22/06/2020 21:15:59
645 forum posts
76 photos

Neil

Are we talking about Bangood, Alibaba and the like?

Barrie

Barrie Lever22/06/2020 21:18:17
645 forum posts
76 photos
Posted by IanT on 22/06/2020 21:03:38:

Sorry this is not a "bag of worms" at all OR.

The CE Mark is well known and should most be certainly be well understood by any would-be 'Exporter'.

It's use (other than as originally intended) is a clearly an attempt to deceive. If someone wants to proclaim the fact that their product is a Chinese export, then they could simply use the traditional "Made in China".

So I've no problem with this change.

Regards,

IanT

The problem is that 'Made In China' is not a great value adder unless it is line 44 of the take away menu !! It is hardly like saying 'Made in Switzerland'.

So dodge around and use CE instead.

B.

Paul Kemp22/06/2020 21:37:54
509 forum posts
18 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 22/06/2020 21:11:44:

The CE mark is just one, easily understood example. There are other issues from tax dodges to lack of consumer protection that vary by the source.

It's clearly up to the individual what and where they choose to buy.

Neil

But those individuals must not discuss those purchases on a forum paid for by advertisers. There are plenty of forums that seem to function without advertisers. I can see the point but does this mean discussion threads on for example far eastern VFD's not sold by "reputable outlets" in the UK or Europe will be deleted in future? These may not contain links to you tube videos or adverts but in themselves surely promote the availability of such items? Where do you draw the line?

Paul.

Grindstone Cowboy22/06/2020 21:50:38
310 forum posts
27 photos

Seems entirely reasonable.

Oily Rag22/06/2020 22:05:45
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112 forum posts
57 photos

Ian T,

I can only speak from my experience of working for 9 years based in China with a Joint Venture company. The whole experience was one of continually fighting the corner of my European employers to keep standards in everything from materials, processes, assembly procedures to an agreed common standard. I can give many examples of where egregious practices were put in place by the local management to reduce costs. This 'cost cutting' was to the severe detriment of the product by reducing the material and process specifications. For example, the loss of quality control parameters in furnace monitoring by not replacing thermocouples for control and monitoring, and then the wanton forging of records.

In materials deviation to a lower chromium content for critical items such as valves. Poor inspection routines which allowed slag inclusions in castings. The list is endless and more to the point concerning for the end user - the customer.

The problem in China is the mindset there - a perfect example of this is when I bought an electric kettle and it failed in the first week. I took it back to the store and asked for another to replace it - the store people looked at me gone out! Apparently you do not do this in China because the reason the kettle failed was entirely my fault as I am a 'bad' person. Nothing to do with how it was made - I have bad 'Karma'!

The 'self certification' route for CE marking is its failing in this environment. With no oversight there is no incentive to not tell porkies when it comes to declaring that the item meets all relevant EU procedural standards. If the customer is at fault why should they not save money in a products manufacturing. That is the reason why I was, along with 30 other engineers, there - to stop the backsliding.

I did have some good laughs though, especially when I visited the 'Ministry for Internal Security' to apply for a visa extension which allowed me to visit a particular area (Urumchi - the area where the Uigar Muslims are). The form asked me which country I was a citizen of, I stated 'None', when I was questioned about this I pointed out that I was a subject not a citizen and as the form had in bold writing across the top that 'dishonesty is punishable by a fine and imprisonment' I was not going to lie. If anything upsets a bureaucrat its discovering his form is wrong!

Edited By Oily Rag on 22/06/2020 22:27:29

Michael Briggs22/06/2020 22:34:01
189 forum posts
9 photos

So that’s why ARC have disappeared, understandable from my point of view. If my company advertised on a forum that relied on my revenue for funding while supporting references to back door suppliers I would do the same.

Ed Duffner22/06/2020 23:12:11
803 forum posts
91 photos

I'll put my hand up here and say I don't understand, can this be simplified, clarified a bit more please? ...and the thread seems to be diverging into the old CE versus C E thing again.

 

- Are we only allowed to post links to the advertisers who facilitate this forum? Isn't that a form of bullying or what our friends across the pond call capitalism? given that I'm a paying subscriber to both ME and MEW. What is and is not acceptable? examples please?

- If somebody asks how I got a nice finish on aluminium (rare I know!), am I not allowed to post a link to the polished inserts I use from a UK supplier who might source their products from outside the UK?

- Isn't it a case that the advertisers who are present on the forum supply non UK conformant goods? I've had a few bad items from known UK hobby suppliers who advertise here. I can list the examples if required, but have historically not called out (I think) any supplier in the interest of keeping things positive and friendly.

In my mind, posting links to an advertiser spreads the knowledge, helps the hobby grow and may in fact produce follow-on sales from the forums advertisers. Model Engineers can make an informed decision based on their means and what is available to them. Such is the democracy that we live in.

 

Personally I hate all forms of advertising shoved in my face, every where I look or go. But I tolerate it because I can do nothing about it, that's the way the world is ...and how Google wants it.

 

Not trying to be awkward, would just like to understand better.

Ed.

Edited By Ed Duffner on 22/06/2020 23:36:31

Barrie Lever22/06/2020 23:39:09
645 forum posts
76 photos

No such problems over on the MyTimeMedia hosted Model Flying site, so why here?

B.

not done it yet22/06/2020 23:46:57
4735 forum posts
16 photos

The one specific seller referred to simply solicits free advertising on youtube with countless reviews that are always favourable to the product. Payment to the reviewer is by means of free goods and we know that they (some) receive commission if goods are bought through their channels.

References from the forum simply spread that free advertising to the forum. I can envisage any and/or all the forum supporters not being happy to see others getting free advertising. They should pay for it like everyone else.

Only earlier today someone on another forum (entirely sponsored by one company) had a poster asking which of four quotes should be accepted for a project. The best reply was to get a fifth quote from the forum sponsor. Quite right in my view. Links to competitor’s products are removed regularly on that forum if the sponsor supplies the same product. Quite right, too.

Paul Kemp22/06/2020 23:53:20
509 forum posts
18 photos

I didn't see any specific seller referred too? Did I miss something?

Paul.

IanT22/06/2020 23:54:46
1547 forum posts
144 photos

My machinery is mostly 'old iron' - but I do have quite a lot (that's probably an understatement) of Far Eastern tooling to use with them. A large percentage of this was purchased from ARC and the rest from other UK importers (such as RDG & Warco). I've always been very happy with ARCs products and service - something you will see repeated by others here over and over again.

All of it could have been acquired directly from China, probably saving quite a bit of money. But it's been purchased over a long period of time and I've really not noticed paying a price premium. I much prefer to deal with a UK based company whenever possible as cheaper sources can be a bit of a lottery. You might be fine (or you might not) but frankly, why risk the hassle.

I also enjoy the odd bit of electronics and some of the eBay "component" PCBs (I2C multiplexers most recently) are so cheap that I will take a chance (and ended up with some dodgy SBCs [Blue Pills] recently as a result). But the money involved was very small. Anything involving mains power is of course checked most carefully - whether it's CE marked or not!

I still purchase my small passive components & MPUs from UK sources though ( Farnell mainly) as I want to know that I'm not buying someone's production line rejects being sold by some chancer who buys a reject job-lot to flog on to hobbyists in low quantities. After all if the device fails from ESD issues after 6 months, they will probably assume it's just bad luck.

So - you pays your money etc - but I don't see any good reason to plug these 'no-name' sources here. We have a range of people here in terms of knowledge and experience, who read our musings (or two fingered ramblings in my case). I do think newcomers should be directed to the known 'good guys' - rather than the potential bandits. There is a lot of good advice available online but there is also a great deal of very bad advice around too.

We should be pointing folk in the right direction where we can....

Regards,

IanT

Martin Connelly22/06/2020 23:57:33
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1399 forum posts
164 photos

Ed, the issue I saw causing a problem here was a thread linking a video on YouTube. The person in the video either deliberately of through incompetence did some machining that damaged some tooling. He then proceeded to blame the damaged tooling and was promoting an alternative make/supplier.

Let's say someone had a ready meal from Tesco and deliberately heated it for too long at too high a setting then complained that it was too dry and was burnt. Then proceeded to say they had a ready meal from Waitrose that was great and far better and proved it by cooking it in accordance with the instructions. If he was doing this on a website funded by Tesco what do you think Tesco would do?

Martin C

Ed Duffner23/06/2020 00:30:22
803 forum posts
91 photos

Martin C, thank you for the explanation and example. I can see the issue in those particular scenarios. The video could have been reported I suppose, as a conflict of interest. Maybe it was?

It's a shame that Youtube is now a money making Google platform at all. I resented a comment by one youtube welder guy who called viewers freeloaders because he chose to upload his videos and expected payment of some kind. That isn't what youtube was started for.

Ed.

Bruce Edney23/06/2020 06:08:22
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161 forum posts
53 photos

Part of the problem with this new rule is that not all of us are from the UK and we are often purchasing from sites like Aliexpress etc. Also if a Kiwi member asks for supplier advise here and I offer a NZ supplier it technically contravenes this rule. That sucks.

If VAT and the likes are a concern then that is up to the government where the purchaser lives to sort out. For NZ purchasers via Aliexpress we are now charged GST (VAT) at checkout.

This is just going to lead to more and more PMs being sent to get around this rule. Ridiculous if you ask me. More work for Moderators too.

My suggestion is ask your supply questions in a less controlled forum if you want some reasonable goods at reasonable prices.

Rant over

Edited By Bruce Edney on 23/06/2020 06:10:01

not done it yet23/06/2020 06:39:50
4735 forum posts
16 photos
Posted by Paul Kemp on 22/06/2020 23:53:20:

I didn't see any specific seller referred too? Did I miss something?

Paul.

Yes, you did. Read Barrie’s post? Specific enough? It was for me.

If you haven’t seen their ‘phoney’ reviews plastered across youtube, wherever they can attract ‘reviewers’ with free gifts (at least), you may be living in a sheltered world.🙂 That, or you believe these reviews and accept them as completely reliable?

I live in the real world. There are some completely honest people and there are also some that would rook you. ‘Influencers’ are called that for a very good reason. I’ve been around long enough to have encountered the whole range of honesty, or otherwise...

VAT-free, free delivery (and there are others) are just not true (if VAT registered or unless delivered locally, respectively). Even ‘item location’ on ebay items is not always true, either - I know that because I have had at least one item delivered directly from China, even though supposedly posted from the UK!

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