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When Community Members Sell Services

For the sake of argument and to get this discussion going, let’s say I want to start selling battery packs here on esk8.news. No, I have no experience building batteries, but I do have a soldering iron, a ton of extra Energizer AAAs and a good heart.

Because I’m only doing this as a favor to you all and not as a real business, I don’t feel like I need to post pictures or proof that what I’m offering is safe or reliable. But if you absolutely insist on this, here’s a picture of me building a battery:

Any takers?

Point being, right now anyone can sell their services here on esk8.news. On one hand, this is an essential part of innovation in DIY, and can lead to a slew of killer parts and services being made available to us here. Without this, we might not have easy access to the sexy goodness that Sender, Rey8801, RedEmber, Moon, BigBen and so many others are offering.

On the other hand, it can also lead to people with good intentions offering parts or services that are not up to the task and depending on the application, possibly being dangerous to community members.

So the question remains, is it possible to make sure that services or parts offered here are of a certain standard of quality without stifling innovation and entrepreneurship?

I’m going to share a few options which may or may not suck, and I would love to hear what ideas or thoughts the greater community can offer:

  1. Should step-by-step process pictures be mandatory? (Some may balk at this because it may reveal their “secret sauce.”)

  2. Should there be a small group of experienced volunteers who have private development conversations with prospective service/parts vendors and offer “seems good” thumbs up?

  3. Should there be a voting system that confers “approved” status and a special profile badge on those who have earned the unquestioned respect of the community?

Doing nothing and letting the current process play out no longer seems like a valid option given recent events, so we would appreciate any and all community help in figuring out the best way forward.

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

20 Likes

Agree with everything. To add, imo these vendors should be regulars

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Batteries are a tricky thing to “regulate” I would make pictures of the whole process a mandatory thing in the thread

Im in on this for sure, recently I have been getting too many messages about people buying the battery and it breaking down/not working properly and asking for repairs…

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Anything that can VERY easily cause a lot of harm, such as batteries that will catch your entire fucking house on fire when you sleep, should have strict regulations for advertising services on the forum.

Anything of the less serious variety - let people offer their services. It should be expected that if somebody pays for services and is not happy with what they’ve received, they should try to openly resolve it with the provider. If the provider refuses and is otherwise being a dick/not properly re-imbursing, can them permanently/near permanently from advertising on the forum.

I have to say against the “reveal the steps” for certain services. I’m sure @Sender has spent an absolute fuckload of time perfecting his skinning techniques and has learned a lot of things along a very tedious route. To ask him to reveal all of that would be quite demeaning IMO.

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Here is a question: should you have to make a monetary contribution to the forum to advertise your services?

Im all for any of this. Where as I will agree a step by step is not ALWAYS warranted, it would be an ideal application to MOST things. An approved badge would be awesome for newcomers to see so they can KNOW to place their trust in someone.

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I would decline to step by step, but everything else I would comply to be verified. Though I haven’t sold anything directly to anyone on the forum except for 1 or 2 I believe. Which lead me to the question. Would people go to vendors(selling on the site) despite being verified Or before they can sell they have to prove they providing a good or service(on the site)?

Anyone can sell parts, but only regulars can sell services maybe? And all sales require photos and countries in the first post?

I would strongly prefer keeping rules to the minimum-needed-to-survive

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I think an approved vendor badge or list of some sort would be an excellent idea. From there we can create sub categories ie batteries, builders, vendor etc. Then pictures of people’s work or links to their posts like reys many projects or Tim’s custom skinning post. I don’t think anyone should have to show their step by step process unless they want to but we need evidence of their skill and hopefully testimonials from forum members who have used thier stuff. When it comes to a new potential vendor I think we definitely need a solid design and theory discussion thread created for that said project. The haya thread on the old forum is a great example of concept to product and even with the problems the recent batch are going through we have excellent transparency from Mathias making him an established vendor in my mind. I think we should be more strict on people who offer a service such as battery building or any type of service that if done incorrectly can cause serious bodily injury. Less strict on conceptual work or people advancing ideas and testing things.

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BTW, I’m trying to shut up and let the ideas/thoughts flow. Good stuff so far, though.

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I like option 2, as a customer. Easy to see which prods are ok/good/superb.
Positive for sellers too as they can get experienced testers and feedback.
Testers need to be impartial and trusted.

Maybe having to add your name on a piece of paper for every picture so they know its yours and not just some random photo that was edited

[Proof of work]

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EDIT: This might be the longest thing iv’e ever written here.

Im actually looking at designing some parts at the moment to sell here but i havent sold anything before and i guess that means the quality of my work is still unknown here. I guess this makes me the exact person these rules might apply to so here my thoughts on this:

I dont think its makes sense. If you’ve worked out a reliable and easy way to do something, (eg battle harden motors or skin decks) then you likely dont want to show this off to your potential customers.

If you want people to trust your skills then it makes sense to show examples of your past work and show its quality but this is different from a full step by step.

These sorts of processes can be easily corrupt and are susceptible to personal drama. Who gets to say someone is reliable or not? also everyone has to start somewhere, you cant shun a service just because some of the OG’s here have not used it before.

Again my issue with this is that it can easily be swayed.

This is tough because there is also not a unified agreement on whats a good idea and what is acceptable, also this changes as technology develops.

A good example of this is a lot of the NESE modules available through the forum. Personally i dont think its a good idea and i would not recommend this as a safe way to build a reliable battery, but there are a lot of others in the forum that have had success using this method. additionally newer versions are much more robust that earlier versions and this development would not have been possible without investment from other forum users.

My opinion is that if you want to sell your product or services then its a good idea to upload pictures/videos of your product and development process to help gain trust of potential customers. But there is no reason this should be mandatory.

Everyone here is capable of making their own decisions. Each person who buys a product or service should be capable of evaluating what they are spending their money on.

Its common sense that if you buy a service from a new member who has posted no pictures of their work then its a risk.

Maybe your ok with that risk, and thats fine. maybe you want something well proven and reliable, thats also fine, jsut find someone else.

TL:DR :

If you have no experience but still want to advertise your battery building services then thats fine, but don’t be surprised if people get pissed at your shoddy work.

If you want to buy a battery from someone with no reputation, experience or pictures then thats up to you. You should realize your taking a risk and you have to deal with the consequences.

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I like option 2. A core of knowledgeable builders advising safety of products sounds wonderful. We can even call this discussion the Sokovia accords.

Option 3 won’t work, Trump got “approved”

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In my mind we’re a community, and communities are built on trust. People will see what you’re doing and either trust you or not. Best way to gain the trust of the community is to participate in the community.

  • Post what you do - sharing is important for transparency
  • Be open and honest with people - build trust by being trustworthy
  • Accept criticism gracefully and use that feedback to improve - grow as a builder, designer and human being

Nothing that anyone does here is unique.

You are not a special snowflake.

What you do will be replicated and improved upon by others - it is the way of things.

Be it battle hardening motors, developing gear drives, bringing out a community deck, building batteries, etc. Show what you do, and how you do it. Be proud to be a knowledge center in the community. Help build the house of ESK8 and become a pillar of the community.

Are there going to be bad actors? Of course. Sometimes it happens - people don’t do the math and wind up in a hole. That doesn’t make them a bad person, just a shit businessman. There will be scam artists of course, but if we use our best judgement we can ferret them out pretty quickly.

That’s my $0.02

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This is where people fail, as soon as someone questions them and criticizes them, instead of

  1. Taking the advice and using it

Or

  1. Explaining why they dont use it.

They get all defensive and start attacking people and creating problems.

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Step by Step pictures aren’t mandatory.

BUT. Pictures of the beginning and end result, and a defining description that doesn’t give away your secrets is a must.

Some things will need more detail, like batteries, we wanna see your welds and soldering, and how you make your pack safe.

Just my opinion.

Regarding badges, it’s a good idea, but I don’t want a badge to detract potential services from arising out of new members.

Proof of work & quality, and proving yourself trustworthy is all that should be needed.

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If we want to protect members from unqualified sellers we should also protect qualified sellers from dishonest members. Any dude can register in 10 seconds and order a service.
Some people orders a battery pack and then make a foolish use of it. Charge, discharge, balance wtf is balance anyway? Who cares? At first problem they ask for repairs and make PayPal claims. I am not interested on profit so I do not have a service and probably never will. Sellers are victims of bad customers pretty often.
This thread is good yet incomplete. Qualified sellers are members too and deserve some respect.

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How could you forget to mention eBoosted? :broken_heart:

When do we give out Best Vendor Awards?