Deleted post

Oct 3, 1998
I just deleted a complaint about a dealer's alleged slowness to either communicate or deliver the goods or both, for the usual two reasons:

1) The only verdict that can be reached in a Trial by Internet is "mistrial."

2) As a dealer myself (and one with a couple or three items of unfinished business and outright screw-ups at my end to clean up), I have a built-in conflict of interest trying to "moderate" complaints about my competitors.

James I agree lets not get into dealer bashing..I think all dealers will resolve problems if you just talk to them, on the phone or by Email! Remember were all human!Just my two cents worth..NOW PRODUCTION COMPANIES, thats a different story..just kidding

I couldn't disagree more with this policy. Just as its very valuable to know who the good dealers are, its just as valuable to know where the crooks are holding out.

Of course there is always the possibility of misinformation but that is what the readers will have to decide for themselves. Based on your statement James all negative reviews of knives should be removed as well. If you are in a conflict of interest because of your position as a knife dealer then you should consider just asking another moderator to handle the related threads.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 05 March 1999).]
I agree with Cliff, we should be allowed to decide from our own experiences what to believe.

I don't think that companies should be "bashed", but readers should be informed of the ones that are not reputable. As knife collectors who spend lots of money, we have the right to be informed. This should also help keep the companies honest.

Note I am not advocating posts like the following [FICTIONAL ACCOUNT]:

John Smith is a crook. He ripped me off!!

Besides being useless (no details) you are making character statements which could get you into slander trouble.

What I like to see (not like to but appreciate someone taking the time to do so) are post like this [FICTIONAL ACCOUNT]:

I just finished a deal with John Smith and I am not satisfied with the service at all. After replying to my intial emails promptly, once I placed my order and sent my money all further communication was very difficult. My emails would not be replied until 4-5 days. Also after I placed the order I was assured that the knife would be sent out the next day by airmail and to expect in within one week. When I finally got the knife (after 2 months!!) I found out that it was shipped 2 weeks after I placed my order and it was shipped at the *ground* rate . I will not be dealing with John Smith of "Smith Knives" again.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 05 March 1999).]
As I said earlier, I don't think we should bash a dealer. But, if there is a problem that a dealer refuses to deal with, or something unfair and not just. Then its open ground. Since the complaint was erased, we don't know what the problem is? A dealer always has the right to defend himself here. But then you might get word wars. So I figure hey, were all mature! If you have a problem, does it hurt to talk about it? Don't think so. Just my three cents.
The trouble with this type of thing is what is a problem to one person might not be a problem to another.What is to stop the chronic complainer who is never satisfied no matter what solution is offered. I remember a thread about a certain knife and how it was represented in a magazine.The owner of said knife was complaining here and it ended up that not once had that person even bothered to comunicate with the person he susposedly was having the trouble with.There are people who if there knife is not on the UPS truck on the specified date will imediatly post here about lousey service.How would this type of situation be handled? Its not always the dealer or seller who is at fault.My ramblings on this matter.
Strider, it obviously has to be left to the reader to determine the value of the post. Anyone who constantly complained about trivial aspects would quickly get ignored and put in a "killfile" by most sensible people.

There is a huge difference between making a personal attack (which should be discouraged) and stating the *facts* of a deal that you think are noteworthy and letting the forum members weigh their importance.

I appreciate James Mattis not wanting to moderate complaints about businesses that could be considered his competitors. There are other forums for that kind of discussion, including a new unmoderated forum at this website -- there's no need to have it here and I think the only decent thing we can do is post anything that could even verge on conflict of interest somewhere else; it isn't fair to James to put him in that position. He's made it amply clear he doesn't want that kind of discussion in this forum and that deserves to be respected (and he deserves to be respected for taking such an uncompromising ethical stance, too).

I disagree with the idea that trial by internet is mistrial. Yes, there are cranks who are dissatisfied over nothing, and every business has some dissatisfied customers, but customers are smart enough to spot the cranks and to notice whether a business or product has only a few complaints posted about it and many posts from satisfied customers or vice versa. Geeks like me take great pleasure in exposing spammers who use false multiple addresses to post testimonials purporting to be from their customers or complaints purporting to be from rival's customers -- those kinds of forgeries are exposed as fast as they're posted. The newsgroup comp.sys.laptops has had a tremendous positive impact on retailers as well as manufacturers ... these knife forums have certainly had some impact on manufacturers and custom makers ... there are other examples I'm personally familiar with.

However, discussion of dealers in particular is hard to moderate even for a moderator with no potential conflict, and it works best in a forum with no moderation at all, IMHO. There are plenty of such forums available and one right here at this website -- there's no need to put James in such an awkward position and no excuse for it.

-Cougar Allen :{)

I agree troll type bashing is inappropriate, but after repeated steps to resolve the problem with the dealer is unsatisfactory a warning to members helpful. After all buying from Internet Dealers is such a large part of our knife experience.

James this is the second time you’ve claimed conflict of interest on this subject that I’m aware of. This isn’t a personal attack, and I appreciate your honesty, but maybe as Cliff suggested someone else could moderate these threads.

Our policy is that you should use these forums to express your dissatisfaction only as a last recourse, when you have tried every other route/ method of communication reasonable.

If you've called, emailed, and faxed, all more than once, and still haven't had your problem resolved, then this would be your next step: get the word out.

Please note, this isn't to say that if you called last night at 0300, and it's now 1500 the next day and the guy hasn't gotten back to you that you have free reign to bash him on the forums.

But when you've gone out of your way to try to fix the situation, and still aren't getting any satisfaction, then it's time to go public.

I won't lie and say that I enjoy seeing these things on the forums. But some things have to be said, and some issues have to be addressed. We like to hear about the people who give us good service, and it's our duty to make sure that the ones that give bad service are known as well.

Don't flame, don't troll, just state the facts of the case in detail, and if the problems don't get resolved then move to the next level.

Again, be calm and rational about this, you'll have better luck in the long run.

Hopefully these guidelines will help.


Kevin Jon Schlossberg
SysOp and Administrator for

Insert witty quip here

[This message has been edited by Spark (edited 05 March 1999).]
IMO, both sides of this issue have some merit. However, I can also certainly understand James' reluctance to be placed in the position of moderating complaints about his competitors.

I am going to suggest to Mike & Spark that a "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" forum be set up in the Knife Exchange section of Blade Forums dedicated to customer feedback. It won't necessarily resolve the fairness aspects of "trial by Internet" but, at least, a dealer won't be in the position of overseeing it.

As a purchasing professional, it's been my experience that few people take the time to comment on a supplier's 99 44/100% performance in meeting or exceeding their expectations, but are very quick to complain when that 56/100% problem occurs. Who knows, but having a section dedicated to comments may prompt people to good things about the service they have received.

Having said all that, where is that order that I placed from XXXXX over 2 weeks ago?

Cougar, I don't see it as reasonable policy to suggest that discussion move elsewhere because you are in a conflict of interest. As an actual payed moderater I would never suggest that someone not speak because I could not unbiasedly chair the discussion. I would simply ask someone else to handle that particular situation. All James has to do is simply drop a note to Spark or Mike if he feels that he cannot unbiasedly judge a particular thread. Of course a separate forum would be decent idea as well.

What about if the person moderating the review forum has a conflict with a particular poster doing reviews. Should he not be allowed to review knives in the review forum? Of course not.

I too agree totally with Spark.

I have one addendum: there's times when clear, obvious outright fraud is involved, in which case go public ASAP. Classic example is a mess brewing now on the Himalayan Imports forum, Bill Martino is altering the world to a clown selling junk Khukuris on EBay and claiming to BE "Himilayan (sic) Imports". We also had the "Stellar" knifeworks debacle back before BF even started.

This sort of thing needs an alert PRONTO.

Jim March
Well said gentlemen.

It appears that constant vigilance is much more important in these eCommerce times of ours. We have the power now to quickly point out the clearly fraudulent, but also must assume the responsibility of acting prudently.

Regards to all.
By the by, it's certainly refreshing to be involved in a discussion centering around "What is the proper thing to do?" rather than "How can we best benefit ourselves?"
When I made James moderator I made a great decision and I stand behind anything he choses to do here and this decision to delete the thread is also backed by me.

However there are some very valid points for both sides and this site is known to be laid back and willing to do whatever the members want.

This is his (James's)forum and we do tend to get off topic every now and then and that is OK.

Dealer bashing and even accolades need to be in a certain area so they can be readily found. So on bcaffrey's advice I will open this forum and see how it goes.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

I'm glad (mostly) to see the new Good, Bad, and Ugly forum up. Among other things, it means that I won't be the one getting e-mails saying, "They're trashing my reputation on 'your' forum!"

Up above, it was suggested that the same logic would apply to criticism of knife companies too. I'm working on the logic as I go along and learning from the feedback. Off hand, I'm more comfortable with saying that such and such is a bad knife than saying that so and so runs a bad company.

I would recommend that anybody following a "Bad or ugly" thread rent a copy of Rashomon at the video store and watch it a couple of times, and assume that the woodcutter who saw the whole thing won't be posting his version.