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> I really think there is a middle ground here that we can reach. I have always
> found the gentlemen's agreement on non-advertising on the Internet to be a
> bit unrealistic if not hypocritical in many cases.
I don't think so. It's really a protection against being flooded with
irrelavent junk mail/postings.
> For one thing, people are
> advertising themselves in various ways - and sometimes not at all subtlely
> in cases where people are directly soliciting post-docs, etc. Don't get me
> wrong, though, that's the way it was always going to be and should be. Also,
> we get indirect advertisements of people recommending other people's books
> and materials - which is also why many of us subscribe.
I'm frequently in the situation of advising people on the internet, what
it means etc. ("Hey, Derek, you've got a modem, tell us about the internet!".
It happens so often we're starting an internet consultancy business, but if I
mentioned that I'd be advertising ... d'oh)
Frequently people ask how they can use the net to their advantage - which
generally comes around to 'can I advertise'.
I've found it best to describe the isue of advertising on the net in the
following way. (and I appreciate many of the people reading this already
understand all these issues).
Firstly on the WWW it's open slather. Market to your hearts content.
It's a bit like a magazine where people accept that some of the
content will be 'features' and some 'adverts'.
However Usenet newsgroups and mailing lists are like a group of
people getting together and having a quiet chat, perhaps about their
abiding interest in dinosaurs.
If someone walked into this conversation and said "Hey, eat at
Joes, it's a really great place to eat", they wouldn't get a very
If the conversation turned to food and someone asked for the name
of a good place to eat while visiting dinosaur NM and the same person
said "Try Joe's it's a really good place to eat", this would be received well.
If a well-known member of the group says "Hey, I'm really excitined I
just bought a restaurant at dinosaur NM called Joe's, I'd love to see
some of you there". Again it would be reasonable. Or better if someone
_else_ said "Hey, Fred just bought Joe's restaurant, check it out, it's
great! You can even watch them digging out a hadrosaur while you eat!"
If that same member said "Hey, I just bought a restaurant called
Joe's, I've brought you all copies of the menu, price lists for
meals, conference rates and special deals as well as a two hundred
page share portfolio", the reaction would generally be unfavourable.
If a stranger did the same they'd be heckled off the list.
And of course the difference between a mailing list and a newsgroup
is that a mailing list is like a polite coffee lounge and a
newsgroup is a noisy pub late on friday night when fights
have been known to occur.
So, I guess in the context of this list referring to a recent paper or
book one has written in answer to a question is fine - in fact
to be encouraged. Posting a twenty screen long list of the products
one has to offer is not. Especially of those products are rare fossils
which may very well have been exported without a licence.
Or, telling everyone about your the models you have made (and which are
available for sale) during a discussion about models is fine, dropping
the price list out of the blue may however not be received as well.
Trying to sell anything which is not related to palaeontology, being
Ukranian brides or girl guide cookies, is out.
And the term I prefer is "Cooperative Anarchy" rather than "Anarchy with
It's a technical difference only important to anarchists...
Now I'd just like to tell you all about my latest product