Author Topic: Forum section : Shopping, geographically  (Read 1788 times)

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Offline Watth

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Forum section : Shopping, geographically
« on: December 03, 2021, 02:04:52 pm »
As a hobbyist and an individual, I sometimes have issues with finding best ways to buys tools, components and other materials.
A problem is that it is very different from a country to another, to name a few criteria :
  • What vendors are preferable, and in which form (i.e. local and physical (radioshack-style) or web shop (generalists: amazon aliexpress; or specialists: mouser, rs, farnell, etc.)
  • Manufacturers/brands availability
  • Particular items availability (for example semiconductors shortage affect differently each geographical zones).
  • Taxes (VAT)
  • Regulations
  • postal or package services reliability[/]
The advantages:

For each location, vendors could be compiled, with the info regarding shipping costs and usual delays.
In some countries,some products are harder to find because they are usually only sold to professionals. There can be workaround, like buying online from a neighbour country.
Another example : I talked on reddit to a person in Turkey for whom importing (buying from international website) is way more expensive than buying on a national site.
Also, some deals can be discussed as to who really worth the cost they are (item is cheaper, but with lesser guarantee, lower quality, etc.).

So a location dedicated sub-forum can be the place for topics like:
"What reputable components sellers are available in [my location], which is better for my situation ?"
"I'm looking for a flux capacitor of at least 1.2 GW, where would you think I should look to purchase it? Note: I need it to be delivered on my front step."
"I'd need a tiny amount of unrefined dilithium, but either the minimum amount is ridiculous, either they won't sell to non professionals"
"I bought a second hand hoverboard but when I received it, it looks like it was water damaged. The seller (McFly558515) won't respond. What should I do?"

The difficulties:
First, advertisement (that can be more or less subtle) can be tricky to manage. Answering to someone asking for advice regarding a purchase is already a risk that someone promotes their business. Informing others of a deal even more so.
A solution would be that people who have (or their employer, family member, etc.) personal interest in the mentioned business/offer can post at the condition they disclose they are not impartial and can benefit from sharing this information.

On the subject of reviewing negative experiences, defamation is to be avoided: an angry rant about a seller could lead to legal difficulties with the latter. Or a competitor could write a negative opinion about their opponent.

To address these difficulties:
A detailed set of rules, with an appropriate enforcement are needed, therefore even if some topic are location-dedicated, they should be written in English to allow moderation.

Defamation can be limited if some words are forbidden (at least to avoid being detected by robots): "scam", "theft", etc.
Users can express their disagreement and disappointment in an objective way that doesn't put the forum owners in difficulty. Keeping factual is the best precaution: "I was very disappointed that Mr. Scott didn't provide the warp drive I ordered. I paid [amount] for it, and 3 months later I didn't get anything. From this experience, I personally wouldn't advise anyone to trust Mr. M. Scott". This is less dangerous than sayin "That gorn-faced Scotty is a *** thief! Their shop is a scam, I might as well go on with an impulse drive!!!".
The danger is also that such a negative comment could be fabricated by [seller]'s competitor.

Therefore a general disclaimer shall indicate the forum can't be responsible for what is said, that for this kind of opinions, the reader shall know that in the absence of proof (like an invoice) they shall remain skeptic. The post's author providing proof could protect the forum's owner as if said document was falsified, the author didn't follow the forum's rules (note: add in the rules that posting falsified documents is forbidden) therefore the forum's owners can't be responsible. But I guess a lawyer could correct me if I'm wrong.

In conclusion:
I suggest this feature since for electronics enthusiasts, acquiring tools, instruments, components and such is a non negligible part of this domain. Some hobbyist have limited budgets, and a good deal on an otherwise unaffordable equipment, or knowing where to order parts for a reasonable price, can open new horizons in the EE domain.
But as it's directly linked with business, there are legal considerations to bring up, and all the precautions I presented could make it look like it's a lot of work and risks for the forum. But on the opposite, it shows we can try to be as exhaustive as possible to ensure we take measure that would allow such topics to be discussed.
Because "Matth" was already taken.
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