OptiBoard was started in 1995 as a resource for 'Eyecare Professionals'. However recently it is gaining many newer members who are consumers looking for advice and information.

The problem is that almost all of these consumer posts are asking for specific diagnostic information, which is not ethical to give without a face-to-face examination. Since that is obviously something that cannot be done over the Web, these kinds of posts are not appropriate for OptiBoard.

Unfortunately when we attempt to politley point this out, some people become extremely rude and demanding - acting as if OptiBoard is their own resource and we owe them something. It's unfortunate that a few consumers act this way, but the result is that these kinds of posts severely detract from OptiBoard being the 'Premier Online Community for Eyecare Professionals.'

Therefore we have been discussing this issue rather extensively among the most seasoned OptiBoarders in an effort to decide how to hanle this.

One option was to create a separate forum for consumers in which they could posts their questions. However during the course of this discussion many consumers came onto OptiBoard and proceeded to violate the forum posting guidelines and even became rude when they were asked to stop. This itself changed a lot of minds and the consensus started moving towards the alternative - banning consumer posts outright.

However many OptiBoarder's do feel that consumer questions related to general eyewear and eyecare topics are fine as long as they are not tied to a specific Rx or diagnosis.

Given all of this, I have decided that we need to strictly and vigoruosly enforce the existing posting guidelines and remove or close all consumer posts that are attempts to get diagnostic help or information. The guideline is:

"Consumers are allowed to post on the Board, as long as the posts concern general eyecare related topics. However please be aware that any questions that involve diagnosing specific eyecare and eyewear problems are not appropriate for an online discussion forum. These kinds of questions should be discussed with a qualified eyecare professional who has examined you and is familiar with your situation. Posts asking for diagnostic help will be closed or removed."

We will give this a try for a while to see how it goes. However if we continue to be ignored, treated rudely and abused by people who violate these guidelines, we may be forced to not allow any consumer questions at all.