What is a 'commercial' post?

Jeff Rawlings rawlings at silcom.com
Mon Mar 6 17:27:49 EST 1995


Dave Kristofferson said:

> [...] I explained the rationale behind BIOSCI's
> commcerial use policy back then.  I'll do so once again now publicly.

I believe I understand the rationale, which is similar to the reasoning
behind all newsgroup charters: the desire to restrict off-topic posts,
which contribute to noise in the group. What is still unclear to me are
the details about what constitutes "commercial use" or a "commercial" post
- there is a large gray area. In our previous communication, you implied
that clear guidelines are elusive because this gray area is impossible to
define. I would like to try to define some of those gray areas.

This post has two purposes: to discover bionet's current policy for each
of the hypothetical situations below; and to find out whether other bionet
users would like to see such hypothetical announcements. For each
situation below, the post might originate from a university, a non-profit
organization, or a for-profit organization. I have included possible
examples for each case. 

In making your determination for each situation, please assume:

   1) that the post would be an announcement to bionet.announce;
   2) that the hypothetical poster is a member of the biology research 
      community, with training and professional experience;
   3) that the post is short, to the point, free of hype, and related to 
      the professional conduct of biological research.

(Please note that I have included a couple of examples that are clearly
against current bionet policy, for the sake of completeness.)

Situation 1:  Announcement of a _new_ product or resource, related to
research, which costs money to buy or use.
   A) University: rare; for example, a professor announces her new book, or 
                  a university offers technology transfer opportunities.
   B) Non-profit org: a protocol guide, ethics guide, scientific 
                      journal, or other reference material.
   C) For-profit org: announce new reagent, instrument, scientific 
                      journal, bibliographic database, or other databases.

Situation 2: Announcement of a _new_ information resource, which is free
to the biology community.
   A) University: WWW site, grad program info, etc.
   B) Non-profit org: WWW site, newsletter, free catalog of services, 
                      scientific journal, databases and archives.
   C) For-profit org: WWW site, newsletter, protocol references, catalog,
                      application guides, scientific journals, databases of 
                      research-related information.

Situation 3: Announcement of a scientific meeting of some sort.
   A) University: Seminars, symposia, classes.
   B) Non-profit org: Seminars, symposia, conferences, classes.
   C) For-profit org: Exhibitions, workshops, seminars, symposia, 
                      conferences, classes.

Situation 4: Announcements of funding opportunities.
   A) University: tenure-track position (better for bionet.jobs)
   B) Non-profit org: Grants offered, by government or foundation sources.
   C) For-profit org: Grants or other funding opportunities for academic 
                      researchers.

I am sure that there are others I haven't included, but I think this is a
good start. For each category or specific item that you believe to be
inappropriate for annnouncement in bionet, I would be interested in an
explanation based on your needs or the needs of other bionet users. Also,
for those 'prohibited' categories, I would like to know if the bionet
users out there would like to see an alternative newsgroup for such
announcements.

Thank you all for your time. I hope this message and the responses it
generates will clear up some murky issues, and improve the bionet system
for everyone.

Cheers,
--Jeff

-- 
Jeff Rawlings                                   Internet Consultant
rawlings at silcom.com                                             and
rawlings at cco.caltech.edu                         Research Biologist



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