SmallBusiness.com: The free small business resource
The collaborative nature of a wiki-model, community-created resource like SmallBusiness.com requires certain ground rules and etiquette. Not all wikis operate on the same ground rules. For example, some wikis allow anyone, registered or not, to make changes to any page. On the other extreme, some wikis allow only a small group of individuals -- or one person -- to make such changes. We require contributors to register with a valid email address and to be logged-in. We also require contributors to answer a simple math question when making edits in order to prevent automated spamming efforts that have targeted the site in the past. Because we encourage -- and depend on -- user contributions to the site, I thought it might be helpful to outline some suggested guidelines for what is and is not appropriate on SmallBusiness.com. This is an evolving set of guidelines that will be, over time, modified in response to suggestions from those who use SmallBusiness.com.
Creating or editing information on SmallBusiness.com
SmallBusiness.com is comprised of information that is shared by users of the site. Many different types of individuals use SmallBusiness.com, so it's important that the information be written and explained in a way that is understandable by a diverse audience. Here are some guidelines:
- Write for a tradesperson or craftsperson who runs a small business, not a person who has studied business or in an expert on the topic you are writing about.
- Write for a person who is in the process of making a decision or in need of background information on the topic. An entry in SmallBusiness.com should help provide background and guide users to helpful resources on the web.
- Look for other entries, guides or articles on the topic. Whenever possible, improve existing content rather than create new.
- Except on User profiles or on pages that explicitly request such information, do not include links that are promotional or commercial. Your addition to the page will be promoted by the display of your User photo and a link to your User page. That is where such links should be placed. (See below: sections on appropriate and inappropriate ways to promote your business on SmallBusiness.com.)
- Always be on the look out for terms in an entry that can be linked to another page within SmallBusiness.com. Please add those links.
- Use plenty of specific suggestions and recommendations for how-to achieve tasks related to the entry.
- Use the "See also" sub-section to add links to related pages on SmallBusiness.com
- Use the "External links" sub-section to add links to neutral, authoritative web pages that provide information directly related to the subject covered in the article.
As the content on SmallBusiness.com is all shared by users of the site, it is important that certain community guidelines govern the way people work together on specific entries, directories, guides or other projects. Here are some basics:
- Be nice.
- Treat other people the way you'd like to be treated.
- Don't make unnecessary edits on the contributions of others, but feel free to correct typos and grammatical errors.
- Use the "Discussion" page of an entry to discuss ways in which the page can be improved.
- Don't get into a "war" of versions of an entry. Take the debate to the Discussion page.
- When making changes, use the box at the bottom of the page to explain your reason.
- Do not edit any content because you in particular do not agree with it.
- If any information provided is incorrect or grammatical errors have been made, then feel free to, but do not edit or delete a page needlessly.
- If a legitimate disagreement exists, use the "Discussion" page related to the entry to discuss the disagreement.
- Disagreements can often be resolved by the creation of sub-sections providing divergent views or recommendations.
- Disagreements can sometimes be addressed by providing a "Disambiguation" page that leads users to alternative pages related to the same word, term or subject.
- Disagreements can lead to the creation of other guides and directories related to the same topic.
- When all else fails, the host of SmallBusiness.com or a member of the SBTeam will help referee content disagreements.
We discourage anonymity. We'd like for people to introduce themselves on their User Profiles and to gain as much visibility as possible for themselves and their businesses. However, we do not prohibit contributors from using nicknames. In disputes, however, the user who operates with the most transparency will be given more weight.
Here are some other guidelines related to identity:
- Claiming to be someone other than who you are is strictly prohibited. (i.e., using the identity of someone else.)
- Users of SmallBusiness.com should be skeptical of claims and offers made on the User Profile pages of anonymous users. See: SmallBusiness.com disclaimer for more such warnings.
- We encourage you to share promotional information about yourself on your User Profile, but please note that such information is public and can be viewed by any user of SmallBusiness.com. (The email address you provided to register, however, is not made public.)
- We promote the concept that your online identity is probably best maintained on a blog or website. That's why we provide many ways for you to link to and display RSS feed headlines from those other sources. Make use of these features.
Appropriate promotional use of SmallBusiness.com is encouraged
What are appropriate ways to promote yourself or your business on SmallBusiness.com?
- User Profile
- Contribute neutral, helpful information in entries on SmallBusiness.com
Inappropriate promotional use of SmallBusiness.com is prohibited
- Spamming (posting of commercial messages, or content deemed to be designed primarily to influence search engine results) on pages other than your User Profile.
- Adding links in multiple, miscategorized places on SmallBusiness.com
- Using promotional language in describing something in which you may have a vested interest.
- Using language or tactics to undermine a competitor
Abusive or inappropriate conduct
- Spamming (posting of commercial messages, or content deemed to be designed primarily to influence search engine results). Note: User Profiles may contain commercial messages.
- Threatening Another User
- Deleting Site Content Unnecessarily
- Deliberately Posting False Information Repeatably
- Uploading Useless Junk That Doesn't Benefit Anyone
Material that will not be tolerated on SmallBusiness.com
- Content that falls outside the copyright guidelines described in our Copyrights policy
- Irrelevant links and content deemed intended for commercial purposes of the influence search engine results of the sites linked to.
- Promotions of illegal activity
- Promotions of unethical or questionable "business opportunities"