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Old 11-08-04, 11:55 AM  
WWWendy
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Attn: disclosure policy

Hi everyone,

The past week or two I have been working with the moderators on a disclosure policy that will now be in effect for all VF members, myself included. We have tried to be as fair as possible with this policy, while acknowledging that, as this community and the Internet have grown, the consumer power of the VF community and the potential for conflicts of interest also have grown.

In the User Profile area (accessible via the My VF screen, Edit Profile) there is now a "Disclosure Statement" area. I have created this field so that any potential biases or conflicts of interest such as those below can be listed as part of your profile. This area should be used by (for example):
  • video instructors/producers of fitness videos
  • owners, employees or contractors of a company that sells any of the types of products we discuss (workout videos/DVDs, fitness equipment, gear, clothing)
  • those who have appeared in an infomercial for a product (e.g. the FIRM)
  • those who have appeared as a cast member in a video (e.g. the VF Spinerval)
  • those who are moderators on vendor or instructor-owned forums
  • close personal friends, colleagues, or family members of video instructors or vendors
  • those who do unpaid work for a company/vendor
  • those who have received free workouts or other merchandise from a fitness-related vendor

[Edited to add that last bulleted item]

If one of the above situations applies to you, or if you feel there are any other factors that might potentially affect your objectivity, please use the Disclosure Statement area to describe the situation. For example "I was a cast member in Enter the Red Zone with Team VF, and received a free copy of the DVD for my participation" or "I am a volunteer moderator at Instructor X's forum" or "I designed Instructor X's Web site." This field allows up to 250 characters.

In addition, if you are an employee, contractor, or receive regular and/or significant compensation (e.g. money, merchandise, travel) from companies that sell the products we discuss or if you own such a company, please put this small GENERIC disclosure at the bottom of your signature block:

Quote:
DISCLOSURE: I have a professional relationship with a seller or producer of fitness videos or products. For details, please see my profile.
I have added this disclosure to my own signature block, since VF belongs to a number of vendors' affiliate programs (affiliate commissions help pay for hosting this Web site).

Those who were cast members in a video who received no compensation other than a free copy of that video do not need to use this signature disclosure, however if they are participating in a thread about the video in which they participated, I would ask that they work a small disclaimer into their first post in the thread (e.g. "FYI, I am a background exerciser in this workout").

I hope you will understand that this policy is not meant to be punitive and is not meant to suggest that someone can't be objective even in cases where there are potential conflicts of interest. The intent is just to make relationships with vendors as transparent as possible without interrupting the flow of discussion any more than is necessary. Please pm or email me if you have any questions.

Thanks,

Wendy
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DISCLOSURE: I have a professional relationship with a seller or producer of fitness videos or products. For details, please see my profile.
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Old 11-08-04, 01:46 PM  
Loretta S.
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Thanks Wendy! (Hug of appreciation)
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Old 11-08-04, 01:50 PM  
Seabush
 
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Wendy,

Suppose I participated in a contest and won a rather significant prize from the instructor, should I disclose that information? I'm glad to see this policy. I think it is important to disclose paid or unpaid involvement with a company.
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Old 11-08-04, 01:59 PM  
dnk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seabush
Wendy,

Suppose I participated in a contest and won a rather significant prize from the instructor, should I disclose that information? I'm glad to see this policy. I think it is important to disclose paid or unpaid involvement with a company.

Crystal
I'm curious about contests too. I won shoes from Petra Kolber a while back, and I'd be lying if I said that didn't contribute to the warm and fuzzy It doesn't feel like a conflict of interest, but I'll be happy to "disclose" if necessary.

Thank you for your hard work!

Deb
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Old 11-08-04, 02:13 PM  
Seabush
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnk
I'm curious about contests too. I won shoes from Petra Kolber a while back, and I'd be lying if I said that didn't contribute to the warm and fuzzy It doesn't feel like a conflict of interest, but I'll be happy to "disclose" if necessary.

Thank you for your hard work!

Deb
Deb,

I guess it's a judgment call in some cases. For example, before I swore off BBF workouts, I made several suggestions (Extreme Challenge, 100 Reps Compilation) for workouts which Wendilee had agreed to create in the future. If she adopts your suggestion, you get the workout for free. I would imagine that disclosing this information would be important if I choose to participate in a discussion about that particular workout?
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Old 11-08-04, 02:36 PM  
Lucysql
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WWWendy - great job of striking just the right balance!
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Old 11-08-04, 02:43 PM  
WWWendy
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prizes

If you've won a prize from a vendor, I think it comes down to a personal judgement call whether or not to add it to your profile disclosure statement. Do you think it affects your opinion of the instructor/vendor? If it's a significant prize, I would probably choose to disclose it. There would not be a need for any sig disclosure in the case of a prize.
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DISCLOSURE: I have a professional relationship with a seller or producer of fitness videos or products. For details, please see my profile.
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Old 11-08-04, 02:49 PM  
Carol_is_fit
 
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AWESOME job, Wendy!!!!

Carol
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Old 11-08-04, 04:14 PM  
Mollie F.
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Thank you, WWWendy.

Where's the big-sigh-of-relief smiley?
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Old 11-08-04, 04:25 PM  
Jane C
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great job, WWWendy, et. al. Thanks for the hard work - really.

I got a very sweet email from Eoin Finn today, and felt I had to make full disclosure - below.
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Come, and come yet again.
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