Re: Forum Announcement: Regarding **********
Well now that we have seen this all finally play out, I guess I'll jump in and offer my own two cents for what its worth.
After sitting on the fence for quite some time, listening to both sides of the argument, and seeing this response by the HP Staff, I think there's a few points that I'd like to bring up, assuming that both parties are being truthful, without slander or falsifying information :
Part 1 : Johns Reponse
John Feels that he has been unfairly bashed on over the course of the last month or so, and with that, I agree to *some* extent. There have been posts, by members and staff alike, in threads relating to John and his products that have no place other than to serve as a bash against someone trying to discuss a product.
However I feel that this has been, lately, a recurring trend at HP over the last few months, and has contributed to my reluctant desire to continue to be a part of the community (For anyone who noticed that I havent been around lately, or cared for that matter). Being able to speak your mind on a forum without fear of retribution is a wonderful thing, however, many posts on this forum tend to lack substantial content, and just delve straight into product bashing.
I happen to be an avid Tangiers smoker, and as such, commonly catch a lot of shit by a certain group of members who feel that my choice of tobacco is inferior. I've seen multiple threads bringing up Tangiers (as an example) in which people ask questions such as "How to acclimate", and there are MULTIPLE responses that say "By throwing it in the trash". These kinds of posts are spiteful, unhelpful, and ultimately drive members to seek answers outside of HP. Tangiers being just one example, this happens on relatively frequent occasion with multiple products. (Please note that I'm not saying I have never done this, we all have our faults, Im sure if you dig through my post history you'll find a few posts that just tell someone a product is trash, however, rarely with a widely established brand, and I don't go out of my way to deliberately post in a thread I know I have no interest in being a part of.)
I know that the staff are overwhelmed with a large user base to pay attention to as well as managing their own personal lives and of course, only so many hours exist in a day, however blatant unhelpful posting to state your opinion isnt necessary, and it just trashes a thread that COULD have provided a useful response without trying to bait someone into a flame war.
Part 2: The HP Staffs response.
Obviously while getting one side of the story, the other goes often overlooked or unstated. After seeing the number of times that a vendor has deliberately broken vendor rules, I can understand the HP Staffs reluctance to retain John as an active vendor. You'll find no argument from me on their decision, as my personal opinion has no effect on the situation and I can still choose to buy from whomever I like.
In regards to product and reviews, I would ask that while the Staff has banned HJ as a listed vendor, we should still be allowed to say things such as "Im smoking from a Narbish Hose", "Im using ******* Hookah Natural Coals", ect. Blocking us from mentioning any products related to John could be a potential harm to the community, as many of us feel that he provides an extremely worthwhile set of products that are justified in monetary investment.
Second, while Im not sure that this will either A) Happen or B) Anyone else agrees with me, I would like to see some kind of Rule set put into place for Video Reviews. Video Intros like Sams that blatantly rep a product (How it was obtained is irregardless, doesnt matter if you bought it, stole it, got comped, ect.) create an air of distrust among some members. While its within Sams, or anyones right for that matter, to say they love a product, perhaps we should avoid allowing people to put advertisements, per say, in their videos. Endorsements are welcomed when a product is solid and reputable, but I think needing to state that something is amazing with a link to the companies webpage in every single review is excessive. Constantly promoting a product in this fashion does, indeed, make it look like you're receiving some form of compensation for promoting their products on the web, whether you are or not.
In closing, I'd just like to say that the HP community has been a long term source of enjoyment for me, I've gathered a lot of information, I've made quite a few online friends, and I've certainly tried things I would never had tried before had I not been here. I wish everyone at HP well, and as a community I hope that HP stays strong, the members stay objective, and as always this remains a forum by hookah smokers, for hookah smokers.
Thanks to Sam and the Staff for taking good care of the place.