As far as I’m aware support isn’t mandatory?
We have to assume that in these cases, customers will still find a way to help each other. Here are two examples:
Example #11) Author actively answers comments.
2) Customer posts a link and sees “link only visible to author”.
3) Customer doesn’t think much about it, knowing the author will answer their comment soon
Example #21) Author does not provide support
2) Comments are full of “PLEASE HELP ! Why don’t you provide support??”
3) Customers start to help each other instead, and a link is posted
4) Customer realizes the link is hidden for only the author to see
5) Customer edits the post and changes the link to: google dot com
I already spent too much of time and energy so just completing my cry by pointing this info:
1. The help / info sharing between buyers is a rare case. For any item that continuously sells, the comments will be always adding (moved to back pages) and even if someone (other than author) adds an answer it is very rare that it really solves the issue and importantly an answer after a week or two is useless. To the contrary, a link that posted even on 10th page is useful for those who hunts for this to download free copy.
2. Compare the pros and cons. Even Pros (help between buyers) are actually misleading when it happens due to link; that is making the comment section into community sharing area instead of feedback / professional help specific to the item ‘as is’.
3. From my personal experience, even some buyers hesitates to post their links on comment section due to privacy issue which sounds they will never expect other buyers to look / answer.
4. As of now the links are accessible even without login. Someone doesn’t going to register here just to answer/help strangers but going to understand it is possible to get usable source even before they register here.
There is no point in arguing. I have seen many sites such as Elance.com never wanted to show any links to public (requires atleast login and relevant connection to the project with member).
Good point by VF about the pros outweighing the cons. And maybe we can even make this an “opt-in” thing for authors who don’t mind sharing their unprotected source with the world.
I didn’t read all the posts, but i do think having them visible only for the Author and the Comenter is a good idea. Altough, when replying to questions I often post links to the demo site of my item, or screenshot images, and sometimes this answer is valid to other users with the same question and therefore those links should be public. But…. we do have a FAQ section, so I guess I would start using that more often.
Considering not all links in the comments are bad, like maybe some code from pastie or similar web pointers which some buyers can potentially find useful, not necessarily all links need to be hidden, I think its better to make every comment from the buyers hidden until ‘approved by author’.