I am contemplating a major / drastic change to the behavior of all downloads on the site. The change would be to make all downloads Elite Only. I mean all downloads, in posts, threads, downloads section, everywhere globally. The only exclusion would be images (screen shots), but all other file types would be available only to Elite Members.
I have mixed feelings on this, so wanted to get some feedback from the users to consider as well before making any decisions. The main reason for the desire to change is to protect the work and to protect the value of the community.
Right now, too many "bots" are downloading our indicators and posting them on other sites as their own. Right now, too many real people register "fake" accounts because they can't even be bothered to spend 30 seconds to type in correct info when they register, all because all they want is to download something and likely never participate further in the site.
I previously tried enforcing a 10 post minimum for downloads, but all that did was have people create 10 junk posts. So that isn't going to work.
It seems the best way to protect the collection of downloads the users have worked very hard on, is to restrict access to only those who are serious about trading.
It certainly doesn't have to be Elite only, but the only other realistic option to implement is the minimum post requirement. If I change it to say 50 (instead of what we tried before, 10) then maybe it would prevent people from creating 50 spam posts just to download something, but still allow people who are serious about trading - but for whatever reason aren't Elite members - to still download. But the problem is, 50 posts is far, far more than what most people have (unfortunately), so such a requirement is likely to just piss off a lot of people.
The desire to change is not about increasing Elite sign ups. In fact, lately I have been wondering if futures.io (formerly BMT) is getting "too big" as we've started to attract some of the trolls from other sites and sometimes some of the posts are getting unfriendly lately. I am fighting this very hard as I am sure you are as well. We all want futures.io (formerly BMT) to remain a unique place, a place where everyone is truly here to help, and not start arguments, call each other names, or other troll like behavior. So this might mean making futures.io (formerly BMT) a more exclusive place where only serious traders are welcome.
Now obviously, just because someone pays for Elite membership does not automatically mean they are a serious trader. But they are probably far less likely to be a trouble maker while paying for the privilege to be here.
So a move of making all downloads Elite only might stunt our growth in terms of new user sign ups to the site, but that is fine with me if it means that what growth we have is of a higher quality and caliber user. I don't want to make the requirement solely based on post count, because there are far, far too many people who do not post much but are still working very hard to improve their trading. These people have signed up for Elite status to help support the site, and I think that entitles them to receive the downloads without a minimum post requirement.
Anyway, so there it is. Some of my many thoughts on the matter. Please share yours. I'm hoping to get a good mix of replies from both Elite Members and non-Elite Members.
I'd like to thank everyone very much for the replies so far.
I want to make a few things very clear:
1) I am not entertaining any "pay per download" approach.
2) There will not be any extra charge for certain "extra" use of the site or extra functionality, etc, for Elite Members, this was never up for discussion. Elite Membership means you have all the site offers.
3) I am not entertaining any increase for Elite Membership fees at this time, and even if at a later date the fees were to change, all existing Elite Members would be grandfathered in naturally.
4) Verifying peoples identity via phone call is impractical and is not being considered. Over 30 new people sign up daily. A percentage of these people won't even list a nearby City, State or Country they live in, or they won't even list a valid email address. Asking for a phone number will probably give a large percentage of people heart attacks, and if not, I would certainly have one myself trying to call everyone and explain why I am calling. This is not an option.
That said, here are a few more thoughts:
a) Implementing Captcha's doesn't work, Captcha's don't prevent spam - they only annoy users.
b) Asking users to put their work in certain sections of the forum has more or less not been successful. As someone said, "people will be people", and that by in large means they aren't going to follow rules - they will just do whatever is easiest. What this means is by default, the most file sharing occurs in the open forum because it is simply easier. Even though the overwhelming majority of the contributors are Elite Members.
c) So far, regarding the non-Elite Members who have replied to this thread in opposition for changing the site to an Elite Only download configuration --- these members have very rarely posted or contributed anything to the forum. I understand that some people do expect everything to be free or given to them, especially on the internet, and object to anything other than that approach. But the overwhelming majority of these people have shared very little to nothing with the community, they only take. I'm just looking at the numbers. Obviously there are exceptions. When looking to make a decision for the greater good of the entire community, I am mainly interested in doing what is best for those who are active givers or sharers in the community.
d) Copyrighting code, implementing GNU licensing, obfuscating indicators, etc -- these things sound good until you try to understand what is actually involved. First, the people stealing the code could care less about copyrights or licensing. Second, obfuscating code is dangerous and goes against the nature of open sharing (even open sharing within the Elite Only community) because you can't see the code, you can't easily manipulate it or expand upon it, etc. Third, implementing a licensing system like a Vendor where everyone has to be licensed to run an indicator is impractical.
e) No change will stop or correct all the problems. But I'd like to at least curtail it. The general consensus is, when people "pay to play" as someone said, they are more likely to be civil and appreciative towards one another, which fosters a better community atmosphere. Obviously there are exceptions, but I believe we've demonstrated this is the overall case.
OK, that said, I am still thinking everything over and reading each post. I've not reached any decisions except with regards to the above.
I would like to hear more from non-Elite Members. I realize I can't please everyone, but since the change is going to affect you the most, I'd like to hear more from you. In particular if you are active on the forums (lots of posts, lots of sharing, have received lots of thanks -- but have chosen to not become an Elite Member) I'd like to hear from you.
----- EDIT: ADDED TUE 9/6/11 1:11PM EST -------
I want to once again thank everyone for their feedback.
Based on the feedback I have received, I have made a change to the Downloads section of the site just now. You must now be an Elite Member to access any of the Downloads within the downloads section.
We will see how it goes, and the next step will be to make a similar change in threads so that only Elite Members can download attachments from within posts or threads. After a trial period, I will look to re-organize the Downloads section to eliminate the "The Elite Circle" section within the downloads area, dispersing it instead into the platform categories that exist.
I am unsure how long the trial period will last. I will play it by ear.
1) This will not effect our Google indexing. The pages are publicly visible on the Download section, just not publicly accessible. The exception is the category "The Elite Circle" which is hidden. As mentioned above, after the trial period I will look to disperse this section since the entire Downloads area will be Elite only.
2) To those who suggested a point-based system or a limitation on the number or frequency of downloads, I am sorry to say it won't work. This is because people will just attempt to create duplicate accounts to get around the block.
3) To those who say I should just increase the number of ads on the site if I want more money. To that I say "no thanks", I don't want more ads on the site, and the changes proposed had nothing to do with generating revenue. I already turn away about 80% or more of requests to advertise on the site. This is because of something I like to call integrity, and not allowing "get rich quick" type ads on the site or companies with poor reputation. Also, the desire to improve the site is not fueled by money. I want futures.io (formerly BMT) to stay pure and on point as it is today, full of helpful traders, and not become overrun with trolls like other trading sites. I believe this change to restrict access is a good one in this regard.
---- ADDED WED 9/7/11 11:15AM EST ----
Once again, I want to thank everyone for their feedback. I'll be closing this thread now as I work to implement the changes previously discussed.
I do want to specifically bring up one last point, regarding those who believe this change won't effect the stealing of our stuff. I strongly disagree. With a 20 year background in IT, and as site admin, I clearly see a "path" or a "connection" between the bots or low-paid foreign labor on the site that have a specific purpose of downloading content and specifically indicators to simply place on their own websites, or blogs, in order to drive keyword traffic to make money on advertising.
By making these items unavailable to the general public, it will, in my eyes, eliminate the majority of the problem.
Yes, there are still those who are in the trading business who will purposely become an Elite Member with the intention of stealing our code, and that is unfortunate and disturbing. But, I believe those cases are relatively rare compared with the near non-stop daily amount of stuff being stolen and duplicated otherwise when everything is freely accessible.
So all I can do is act in the best interests of the majority of the forum in the best way I know how. It is impossible to please everyone, but the majority of people in this case are happy with the decision and support it. As for the minority that are not, I am sorry, but it is impossible to please everyone.
Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.
Need help? 1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first. 2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses. 3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make. 4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance. 5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers. 6) Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.
If you want to support our community, become an Elite Member.
Last edited by Big Mike; September 7th, 2011 at 11:15 AM.
The following 150 users say Thank You to Big Mike for this post:
A great move.Passionate traders in futures.io (formerly BMT) go out of their way to help each other and to only see their great work is taken away...can i say stolen from futures.io (formerly BMT), packaged up and sold as their indicator.
Lets make it to Elite only members.
However, how would this stop them from becoming Elite members and abusing the privilege of being a member of futures.io (formerly BMT).
The following 7 users say Thank You to sharmas for this post:
Maybe allow one to download after they themselves contribute an indicator or something of substance evaluated by the mods ? Something equal to or greater than the relative value of what they would be entitled to at least in the download section . All content here is valuable in my opinion but unfortunately theres individuals and entities that seek to profit from the hard work of others without contributing themselves .
The following user says Thank You to Eric j for this post:
Mike, I think you would be justified in implementing this. Although I haven't been the largest poster by any means, mainly because at times I feel I don't have much to contribute, but in the 2 years I have been associated with futures.io (formerly BMT) I have thoroughly enjoyed the type of community you have here and with all the various trading forums out there, this is by far the best I know of. So, I think your idea of making downloads an Elite requirement will more than likely alleviate some of the problems that you have addressed. Just my 2 cents.
The following 6 users say Thank You to jdella for this post:
I feel strongly that if we make downloads harder to get only quality people who go forward with down loads. By harder to get I think futures.io (formerly BMT) should make them pay for tools.
Now amount is not as important but should be large enough for one to think more then once before just coming and taking tools from futures.io (formerly BMT). I know some would disagree with me. On the other hand when money are in stake people would pay attention.
The following 2 users say Thank You to tickvix for this post:
Why did it take this long??? I'm by no means the biggest poster on futures.io (formerly BMT), but I've been wondering about this very subject since I joined in 2009. Implement it Big Mike, that's my vote.
The following 11 users say Thank You to trs3042 for this post: