Should interests/involvement of posters in hifi products be disclosed?

Following recent revelations on the "Do all competently..." thread, it seemed sensible to me to open this as a thread in itself. For my own part I think that when reading people's posts I would like to know whether they have any interest or involvement in the industry, and especially in the products being discussed. It is apparent that one member SQ is involved in marketing hifi products, although he says he is not paid to do so. Since he is a marketing professional this could be regarded as a sort of pro bono work. He is apparently not willing to disclose which brands he works for

There are quite a few ways in which people might have interests, they could have a stake in the manufacturer/dealer/distributor or its profits, they could be paid, or they could get discounts. (NB a big enough discount could more or less guarantee break even or profit on resale.)  Equally it seems to me very important that members should be entitled to know whether a recommendation should be taken at face value or whether the poster has a reason to plug the product, of even simply that they may be taken as parti pris.

It seems to me extraordinary that his should not be a concern,bearing in mind the amount of time on this forum spent discussing the somewhat theoretical issues of expectation bias, placebo, or to put it on the other side, the weight that should be given to anecdotal reports or (dare I quote it) what is sometimes described as "consensus".

Lots of people appear to be prepared to take other people's recommendations in good faith, and expect their own experiences to be accorded respect. How is this possible if it is ok to take an inducement to make a recommendation? Should any poster with an interest (or anyone inducing someone else to post) be obliged to disclose that interest? Well PFMers, what do you think? I shall not be around until this evening, but will check in then to see whether anyone cares.


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