An important message - please read!

Janice

Specktra Bestie
Greetings Specktra Netizens!

It’s the holiday season and with many new MAC collections releasing, the subversive activity that was brought to our attention last month has not abated. In fact, it seems to have intensified to the point I have recieved several PM’s from upset members who can not understand why they are being left out of collection information.

Now that I have had time to reflect on the mission of the site, how things have changed over time, how far I am willing to bend my original vision of a intelligent and kind community that freely shares information, and where the best interests of the community at large lie - I have prepared the following announcement. Please understand that I am just as passionate about this as you, and I sincerely hope that you will listen and try to understand where we, the Specktra staff, are coming from.

To begin, I’d like to share our motto here at Specktra: Specktra is a cosmetics fan community with discussion open to all cosmetic lines and to all who are interested in cosmetics. We promote a healthy atmosphere comprised of education, diversity, and sharing information freely with each other.

Here at Specktra, we have dedicated almost 9 years to ensuring our forums are filled with kindness, respect, and information. The first iteration of the site was the MAC “encyclopedia”, a comprehensive guide to each and every MAC release from the beginning. This spirit of sharing brought other cosmetics lovers here, and is the reason that Specktra is still going. Which leads me to the point of this post.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen so many posts about PM’s being distributed to discuss specific launch details in private. While I will always maintain your right to discuss what you wish in private, sharing “secret” information to only a select group of people is by it’s very nature an exclusive “club”. I understand the initial intentions were good - to make sure the information is shared with fellow friends and MAC addicts, it has since created the perception that you have to meet certain criteria or “be in the know” in order to receive this information. When new users post innocently we have witnessed them berated by other members to keep quiet, how they “should know” that “we don’t talk about it”, etc. This goes against the very foundation of the site.

For those who are new here - I want to assure you that this is not our intention. We truly strive to be a community where all feel welcome to participate in discussions.

I want to make it clear that WE UNDERSTAND that with the rise of “evilbayers” (as they are now referred to i.e. those who glean our site for information in order to be one of the first to purchase, then post the goods on ebay outrageously marked up) it can feel challenging for those who are doing the research, spending the time, investing themselves in these new launches to share this information with those who are partners in this mission. We understand how you all must feel to have someone click a few buttons and have access to all the information you worked so hard to put together (TRUST ME when I say I KNOW HOW THIS FEELS! lol).

That is why we listened to your feedback and are making a change to better support you. We’re introducing a new subscriber feature, MAC Chat Premium. Located right below MAC Chat and above MAC Chat Regional (soon - we are experiencing technical issues with moving the forum ATM) this Premium Member only forum willadd two important barriers - the user must be logged in and must have a Premium Membership to view and enter. This is the most elegant solution we could think of while working within the constraints of the forum software. You all had some great suggestions but, as much as I would love to, hiring a team of engineers to make it happen just isn't within our budget.

While some won’t see this as a solution for them (and we genuinely regret that), instead of breaking down the very nature of the site with private, cliquey PM networks this will instead support keeping the site healthy while maintaining the level of privacy you've requested. In this forum you can feel free to discuss anything you’d like, such as new color collections or share swatches. Our goal is for everyone to find a comfortable place to belong. The addition of a premium option levels the playing field and puts an end to the secret society undercurrent of the current situation. Simply put, if you want to have access to the information deemed too sensitive for public use you now have a democratic way to gain entry.

This being said, Specktra will neither endorse nor tolerate the PM’ing system developed in recent months. Instead, we encourage you to utilize the new MAC Chat Premium forum as a safe space for your discussions. Let’s work together to foster an environment where everyone feels welcome. We understand this will upset some, I’m sincerely empathetic and welcome your feedback and suggestions. Specktra staff are always available for anyone who needs to chat about an experience on the forum or those who have suggestion/criticism/complaint.

I’ll end this post with Specktra’s collective mission: Specktra champions knowledge above all else. We follow through by sharing beauty information and opinions through an online forum community. Specktra exists solely to share our common passion, educate, and inspire makeup enthusiasts of all walks and races.

For more information on becoming a premium member please look here.We’re actively working on new perks for Premium Members, including a new section of the Clearance Bin. We are also currently running a facebook contest where you can enter to win 1 of 5 Premium Memberships we’re gifting just for helping us spread the word about Specktra on Social Media. More details on new member perks to come soon.

Thanks for reading!
-Janice

Clarifications made by me later in this thread in one place:
Quote: Originally Posted by Janice

Hi all, sorry I am at work so this will have to be brief. I've read quite a few comments and thought it would be good to touch base on a few concerns. First of all, no poor Janice's please.
I mean that in the best way possible. While I do spend a lot of time thinking over every possible outcome of a situation, I can't be afraid to change the status quo when I see something happening on that genuinely concerns me. The forum is alive, each of your making your contributions and influences and I am sensitive to how delicate of a fabric that is.

The addition of MAC Chat Premium is not an attempt to "fix" the frenzy around MAC collection launches (I love the excitement we share about this!), it's not a crusade against evilbayers (which IMO are not the problem it's made out to be, I doubt it's even 1% of our population), it is about offering you a CHOICE. It should be YOUR decision to make if you want to have a secure place to chat about collection releases. No one should be punished for wanting to talk about where they ordered their product from. No one should feel excluded because they recently joined, or have no posts, or feel too intimidated to post because they've seen others eaten alive for mentioning where they shopped.

IF you want to take advantage of MAC Chat Premium as a private place to discuss collection releases, your purchases, and whatever else!, now you have that choice. If you don't choose to use MAC Chat Premium things will continue just as they are, there just won't be any fear of recrimination when you share where you purchased your latest lipstick from. This is a positive replacement for the current detrimental process of picking and choosing who has access to information.

The beautiful thing about being a part of something new is that you get the opportunity to influence and shape it. I can't wait to see what blossoms under the feet (fingers?) of those who choose to use it. I support whatever decision you make and I will hope you will support my efforts to give you the freedom to choose.



Quote: Originally Posted by Janice
I'm not sure how my original post was interpreted as fundamentally changing anything about the way the Color Collection forum currently works. That verbiage was not in the post and the forum is not fundamentally changing. Everyone can pick apart the idea until there are so many holes you can see right through it. It won't change the fact that we do not condone the current status quo of the Color Collection forum and are advocating change. The state of the Color Collections forum evolved on it's on and I'm not happy with the interactions I've witnessed, the PM's I've received (from NEW and OLD members alike!) and the members we've lost because they made the mistake of saying the "wrong thing" or because the tone of the Color Collections forum is no longer FUN and supportive like it used to be, rather now it can feel negative and snarky when the "drama" flares up.

However you approach it there is no perfect solution, and I for one am not going to advocate locking information up. That is the point I am trying to make. With the addition of this premium member perk you now have the CHOICE to chat in a private forum instead of trying to get navigate a social maze of who to contact and what to say. I've spoken with Richelle, the MAC Chat moderator, about it being a part of her moderating responsibility to share whatever PERTINENT release information (i.e. new collections) is shared in MAC Chat Premium. Specktra will still be your leading resource for MAC information regardless of if you choose to become a premium member because THAT'S WHAT WE STAND FOR. I would be a complete hypocrite if I had thought this through and accepted that it would cause the site to become pay for information. It's not who I am and it's not a direction I will willingly take the site in. In MAC Chat Premium will there be discussions that have information that you might not see in the public forum? Will someone maybe score a lipstick before you do because of something posted there? Sure! It's a private forum so people will talk more freely amongst themselves.

The two step process of registration and payment WILL assist in diverting the 1% of the population that could POSSIBLY be resellers and the larger "lurking" population that concerns some members. The more personal information those who are up to nefarious ends have to give up the less likely they are to do it. I think it's important to understand the "lurkers" are makeup addicts NO DIFFERENT than you. Maybe they are a member of another board or blog and they don't want to make an account because a) they don't have to to see the information and b) they prefer their community but can't get the same info there. It's not your job to police the forum for the few who are looking to exploit, being suspicious, and making those who don't "contribute" to some arbitrary standard feel like they are unwanted! I personally feel the reselling thing is blown WAY out of proportion. However, I listen and I respect the fact that people would like a private place to chat.

Okay, so what about the concern there will be people who abuse the system? Sure, maybe it might happen. However, in the YEARS that the Clearance Bin instant access with Premium Membership has been established we have never had a case of abuse. Not once. Also, don't underestimate the love, care, and personal time investment each of your staff members make in keeping up with forum activity and linking it to outside acts. Yes, we do it all the time because we care about protecting the community. If we find someone is abusing their privileges we remove them. It's not difficult to reason out that what we give we can also remove.

As far as asking "well if nothing is changing, why would someone pay"? I don't know, maybe because they want to support the site? Maybe because they want a private chat? Maybe they want instant Clearance Bin access? Whatever the many reasons people may have when they choose to subscribe the ultimate goal is to ensure they have the choice. No secret societies, no vague guidelines for access, no arbitrary standards that go against the nature of the site, and no "why was I left off the PM". A fair and level playing field. And one personal thing on this - I'm sorry but anyone who tells me that this wasn't meant to be an exclusive club was IN and obviously can not comprehend what it was like for the users who were "out" by post count or by pure apathy. Period.

The best, most beautiful, part of this whole thread is that you're talking about how you feel. Thank you for speaking up and making your voice heard. Together we can make beautiful changes to the site, shape it into a place we all want to be and where we all have a home. You are the smartest, prettiest, totally amazing group of people I know and you make me so proud to be here.




Quote: Originally Posted by Janice

@beautybylele I was referring more to news items than normal day to day posts from members.
 

CartoonChic

New member
Thanks for posting this. I have met some wonderful members in this forum that I consider to be my friends, and have also learned so much from many members. I was already considering buying a membership just to support Specktra. I see a membership as a way to give back to the community. Is the Lifetime Membership no longer available? I see the Platinum Membership, but it says it's for 10 years.
 

Janice

Specktra Bestie
Thanks for posting this. I have met some wonderful members in this forum that I consider to be my friends, and have also learned so much from many members. I was already considering buying a membership just to support Specktra. I see a membership as a way to give back to the community. Is the Lifetime Membership no longer available? I see the Platinum Membership, but it says it's for 10 years.
Thanks for your support of the message CartoonChic. The Platinum membership is our Lifetime option, due to forum restrictions the max we can put is 10 years. However, the sub will be honored for the life of the account.
 

Greenbelt

New member
Thank you Janice for your hardwork to maintain the integrity of this site. I am a new member and I log on almost everyday mainly because of the friendly welcoming atmosphere and great information about makeup. I am not a makeup professional. I am just beginning to build up a makeup collection. I so depend on the great ideas that I glean from this site to make wise choices in purchasing top quality makeup on my very limited budget.

Thank you again. I hope this problem will be resolved and that this site continues to be a happy helpful place to hang out with my morning coffee for many decades to come.
 

Spectacular

New member
Interesting. I'm still a bit of a newbie myself but I understand the frustration the lurkers/evilbayers were causing members who then went on to cause frustration for newbies (unintentionally) in trying to find some solution to the problem.

I hope it helps. Clearly the fault is MAC's and the way they're encouraging this competitiveness and price jacking. I feel like the company is at a fever pitch in terms of popularity now so there's a strange large market of individuals who have become bulk buyers snatching up available product to sell at massively inflated prices.

Hopefully everyone can be happy and some of this crazy 'selling out in an hour' starts to cool down so the whole process can be fun again.
 

Naynadine

Veteran Moderator
Staff member
I'm sad to see the fees are that high, it's too expensive for me and being a non US member I don't think I can benefit a lot from it. I hope the collection info and swatches will still be shared in the regular section, I'd be sad to see less activity in the regular forums from now on.

I hope it's a good solution for those who share release dates and launch information, without having to worry about the evilbayers lurking.
 

Audrey C

New member
Thank you, Janice. While I understand the frustration felt by members who are unable to obtain the products they want, I too have been made uncomfortable by attempts to exclude certain members from having publicly available information. Ultimately, this is caused by MAC's unfortunate business practices. I have personally shifted away from MAC being my primary makeup provider (after 20 years of purchasing from them) because I dislike the way they do business. Turning on each other isn't a helpful reaction; voting with our wallets is.

I am not likely to purchase a premium membership because I do not value 'early' notifications that a collection has released; those who do (including resellers) may, Realistically, whenever demand exceeds supply resellers will take the opportunity to make a profit. I don't think that can be stopped, but I appreciate that you're trying to find a solution to what is really the logical outcome of MAC's business practices. Perhaps members will feel less frustrated or in some way 'protected' by having a separate section of the site. Honestly, I don't think it will change reseller actions; anyone who wants the information will pay for it. I hope that the majority of conversation doesn't shift to the chat area, or the site will lose its appeal for those of us not willing to indulge/incent MAC's behaviour.

Thank you for making this site available to all of us.
 

boujoischic

New member
I'm not sure how the Premium section is going to be beneficial when members can post the color collections and launch info in the free section for everyone to see even lurkers. They would in effect be paying for information others will already be receiving free right?
 

Mac-Guy

Well-known member
I'm not sure how the Premium section is going to be beneficial when members can post the color collections and launch info in the free section for everyone to see even lurkers. They would in effect be paying for information others will already be receiving free right?
That's a good question. I would assume that anything MAC-related would be posted exclusively in the premium section (color stories, swatches, release dates, etc.). If that is not the case, the premium section would be pointless. Maybe Janice can weight in and shed some light on how it will work?
 

Audrey C

New member
That's a good question. I would assume that anything MAC-related would be posted exclusively in the premium section (color stories, swatches, release dates, etc.). If that is not the case, the premium section would be pointless. Maybe Janice can weight in and shed some light on how it will work?
Those of us who don't purchase the membership would likely still post our thoughts/swatches on the free part of the site (unless we're told that we can't discuss MAC products outside of the premium section, of course). People like our Detective Naynadine, for instance, who is skilled at finding early pics/swatches. I suspect that those with memberships would likely post the information in the premium section and those without will post in the free section as we do today. I would think that there would be some overlap (not necessarily deliberately) as people discuss products/launches based on their membership status.

I don't think there's a perfect solution for this. Those who purchase memberships may well include the very resellers we're attempting to deter.
 

Slimmycakes

New member
When I read it, I assumed that everything would remain the same in terms of posting of color collection's information but if you guys wanted to discuss places of sale (usual suspect websites) and restocks to give the community heads up, it would be encouraged to do so in the Premium Chat Area being that it's not visible to everyone instead of the PM system that used by some created a weird atmosphere. It is a valid question on whats the difference though so I'm interested in the answer as well.
 

Mac-Guy

Well-known member
Those of us who don't purchase the membership would likely still post our thoughts/swatches on the free part of the site (unless we're told that we can't discuss MAC products outside of the premium section, of course). People like our Detective Naynadine, for instance, who is skilled at finding early pics/swatches. I suspect that those with memberships would likely post the information in the premium section and those without will post in the free section as we do today. I would think that there would be some overlap (not necessarily deliberately) as people discuss products/launches based on their membership status.

I don't think there's a perfect solution for this. Those who purchase memberships may well include the very resellers we're attempting to deter.
I think it would really defeat the purpose when there are two places where swatches etc. are posted. For me it is also a question of time: I do not want to check the premium section AND the regular section to find swatches, color stories, etc.
 

boujoischic

New member
When I read it, I assumed that everything would remain the same in terms of posting of color collection's information but if you guys wanted to discuss places of sale (usual suspect websites) and restocks to give the community heads up, it would be encouraged to do so in the Premium Chat Area being that it's not visible to everyone instead of the PM system that used by some created a weird atmosphere. It is a valid question on whats the difference though so I'm interested in the answer as well.
But the announcement says that information should be posted and shared freely on the site not just the Premium Mac Chat section. So the places of sale would also be posted in the regular MAC Chat. The fact that the free MAC chat exist negates any benefits of having the Premium Chat.
 

Audrey C

New member
Janice, just a question about the memberships available. It looks like all levels have the same account upgrades


  • Special graphic underneath your name to show your "Premium Member" status

  • Access to the private Premium Member lounge on the forum
  • No Ads on the forum!
  • New premium MAC chat area

The four month package is $15 USD ($3.75 per month), the eighth month $25 USD ($3.13 per month) and one year $45 USD ($3.75 a month). I'm in no way complaining about the levels, but just wanted to ask whether the one year price is accurate (since it would be cheaper to buy a four month and eight month separately to get a full year).

Thanks!
 

Audrey C

New member
I think it would really defeat the purpose when there are two places where swatches etc. are posted. For me it is also a question of time: I do not want to check the premium section AND the regular section to find swatches, color stories, etc.
I'm not disagreeing, just pointing out that unless there is no free MAC section it's the natural outcome. It wouldn't be malicious in any way, it's just what would occur naturally.
 

Mac-Guy

Well-known member
I'm not disagreeing, just pointing out that unless there is no free MAC section it's the natural outcome. It wouldn't be malicious in any way, it's just what would occur naturally.
I totally agree. That's why I assumed that the Premium section is the only MAC section.
 

Audrey C

New member
I totally agree. That's why I assumed that the Premium section is the only MAC section.
We'll have to wait for Janice to clarify what her intent is with this. I do think it's a bit challenging to allow free discussion of all products except MAC (when it's such a significant brand). The discussion will just find its way to another board. I also think that we would end up getting fewer swatches in general since at least some who currently share information (Naynadine, some other bloggers/individuals who currently share early sample pics) may be less inclined to do so if they have to pay for the privilege.
 

OctoberViolet

Active member
I joined for the chance to meet others with the same interests/addiction in cosmetics as myself. I'm very happy I did find this website. I really have enjoyed meeting and conversing with everyone. I feel this information (about new collections, reviews, swatches) should be free. I'm not going to pay to find out information that is avail freely. It isn't fair imho. I have never been PM'd about information nor have I ever PM'd anyone to keep things private. If this is the case then maybe those certain members need to be told not to do it and not punish the rest of us. I would be sad if I need to leave these boards due to information not being shared due to a few people. It's like school. One person does the wrong thing and everyone else gets punished for it. Not fair!
 

martiangurll

New member
I like the idea of a premium area where only members discuss the release dates for collections where there is limited amounts of products and to discourage lurkers. Yes, it isn't fool proof and anyone making lots of money on ebay will probably pay the membership, but it will eliminate some of them. More importantly, since there has been such a division of opinion of whether or not to announce the information about releases on specific retailers, I am glad to see that there has been an official stance so the feelings of exclusion and a special clique for only the "in people" to get a PM will be eliminated as that does seem counter to the spirit of sharing information and welcoming all to the site. This is a difficult problem and I am glad to see that Janice has come up with a proactive solution and I appreciate it will be difficult to manage. I am hoping the MAC marketing will be less exclusive in the future so these hard feelings won't continue to put stress on the members.
 

LiliV

New member
But the announcement says that information should be posted and shared freely on the site not just the Premium Mac Chat section. So the places of sale would also be posted in the regular MAC Chat. The fact that the free MAC chat exist negates any benefits of having the Premium Chat.
This is what's confusing me as well, are we still allowed to post swatches and release dates in the regular Mac Chat or is all of that only allowed in the Premium now?
 
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