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Well Derek Tearne responded by saying there is no middle ground and then
went on to outline one that was pretty close to what I suggested. Do we
want long advertisements... no. But for materials relevant to the academic
discussions on the list - books, art, casts, etc. - knowing about what is
out there is important and it's not unreasonable for an individual to mention
himself as well as other people's stuff with the subsequent possibility
that people who are interested contact that person directly.
I think everyone is using the Internet to his own advantage in one way or
another and most of us also have at least some more altruistic part to what
we do. A list like this is only worth it to many of us if we learn information
that we don't know or, at least, get some info faster than we would.
So, if a new line of dino models comes out that attempts to reconstruct
dinos accurately, I want to know about it. Same for books and journal
articles, etc. That's why I spend the time to put new references in -
so that others may know what's going on. When I mention Colbert's new
tome it informs but also simultaneously advertises that book. I would see
it to be no less acceptable if Colbert himself told us of his new book
and encouraged us to check it out.
We all have to live with the bad stuff no matter what happens because
those sending out irrelevant ads don't care who they tick off and won't
be monitoring the inevitable complaints that occur after.
If it gets too bad, moderating the list will have to be done. We'll
just have to cross that bridge when we get to it. The idealized notion
of an advertisement-free section of the Internet does not exist and never
has. There have always been people advertising their stuff or themselves
although some has been more subtle than others. I don't know what others
on the list want, but I want to hear about those things I wouldn't know
Ralph Chapman, NMNH