Here's my position on the matter of what is and is not acceptable Meaningful content in the post is the determining factor. Defining meaningful content on Trulia becomes subjective, similarly to defining a â€œniceâ€ house. Extremes are easy to distinguish. For a house, one that is in extreme disrepair, untidy and with much deferred maintenance clearly is not â€œnice.â€ Posts without any content whatsoever, clearly are only a personal ad or advertising. But, what about the house that isn't nice for in the eyes of some buyers because it has wallpaper, but another buyer finds the same acceptable? And, what about the post that offers worthwhile info for a consumer, and also says â€œcontact me if I can help you further?â€ Is that advertising?
There were a few prior threads where Trulia was asked to step in and moderate. There was an instance (or two) where one RE Pro went online and posted in 50+ posts in succession, all suggesting that the Q-Poster contact â€œx.â€ The volume of posts generated flags and complaints from across the Voices board. Because the posts were clearly void of any meaningful content, these posts were easily identifiable. I clearly remember Trulia stating that the use of your personal website in the web reference section was not a violation of Trulia policy. I also clearly remember Trulia disagreeing with some complaints on prior issues and finding that the posts of a RE Pro with an offer for further contact to be perfectly acceptable; even in instances where the offers were numerous and the content of the answers were, in my opinion, very weak.
It is a subjective evaluation when determining what is or is not helpful for the consumer. We aren't always going to gain consensus on what meets the criteria of meaningful. Two different consumers may read the same post, and one may find value in a post and another may not. Even if when a post lacks personal solicitation, it can be empty or even annoy a consumer. i.e. Q = How do I find out the value of xyz parcel? A = â€œCall a Realtor.â€
Voices is a place where consumers may ask questions without obligation. For my take, it is all about if the poster delivered content. I don't get bent out of shape if a poster offers to help further offline, as long as an effort to help online was extended. I haven't read in Trulia guidelines that a RE Pro was in violation for helping a consumer offline. I have also heard Trulia speak a few times on this matter, and fully believe that Trulia would be pleased about success stories of consumers and RE Pros working together offline. I believe that Trulia would find that a testament to the success and value of Voices.
I believe that some consumers who come to Voices have no need or desire to establish any contact with any of the RE Pros on Voices. Other consumers are in want and need of a Realtor, and Voices may be a path for their best find. It remains in the best interest of the consumer to let them have choice without obligation, all the while providing information and feedback.
I have seen a few other topics pertaining to Trulia guidelines debated repeatedly. i.e. Should a RE Pro be allowed to ask a question? I always go back to review my interpretation of the mission and purpose of Voices. Does it serve the consumer interest? For me, content rules. A thread that asks a Realtor-to-Realtor question that aids the consumer in making decisions about their real estate is a TU. A thread that asks a Realtor-to-Realtor question that is of no value to a consumer is one I prefer to not see posted on Trulia. IMHO, all things Trulia Voices are about the consumer first.