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ABI Inherit software/hardware

David Kristofferson kristoff at net.bio.net
Fri Dec 3 01:00:18 EST 1993


timb at apldbio.com (Tim Burcham) writes:

>Harry writes:

>>See: The Journal of NIH Research, Vol 5, No 10, p 81-82 for one (not very

(stuff deleted)

>I won't comment on most of this (I'm obviously biased ;-), but the article
>cited should be considered an ADVERTISEMENT, not a research article.

(more stuff deleted)

Tim,

A couple of people are beginning to send me requests to formalize the
guidelines for commercial discussions as has been done for job
postings, and, in light of the increasing commercial presence on the
net, I suppose it is getting time to do so.

I realize from personal experience that it is hard to simply sit by
and ignore flames thrown at one's products, but the tradition on the
net has been for the commercial folks to stand aside and let the users
discuss the pros and cons among themselves.  On the other hand, I have
clearly stated in the past that commercial companies can respond in a
factual manner to questions about their products.  Each one of these
situations has many gray aspects, of course, but the one point that I
do want everyone to be clear on is that commercial users should not
take general requests for information (such as "I am looking for
software that does X ...") as an opening to get some free air time.

This is clearly not what you are doing above, but you are allowing
yourself to get sucked into a flame war which you might be better off
avoiding.  A simple reply such as:

"We believe there are inaccuracies in this article.  A response to the
article cited will be appearing in XXX."

would be sufficient without comments about editorial policy, etc.
Instead your use of text such as

>I won't comment on most of this (I'm obviously biased ;-), but the article
>cited should be considered an ADVERTISEMENT, not a research article.

has prompted other private comments to me to the contrary including
questions about the appropriateness of your message.

As to those who want me to start writing the BIONET analog of the
"Koran," I hope that it is obvious to all that every one of these
situations has nuances that are hard to capture in rules.  This is why
NSFNET Acceptable Use policy has been so vague.

A good rule of thumb is to keep emotions out of this and stick to the
facts.  I don't want to sound threatening in the slightest, but
posters who go way out of line and actually make libelous statements
on the network are not exempt from libel laws.  Internet legal
precedent to date holds the poster of a message responsible for their
actions.  In summary, a level head is in order on all sides of the
debate.

				Sincerely,

				Dave Kristofferson
				BIOSCI/bionet Manager

				biosci-help at net.bio.net




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