SPAMS are killing Bionet!

Robert Cowherd rcowherd at mail.med.upenn.edu
Mon Jul 21 08:33:56 EST 1997


<snipped>

>It is impossible to read many journals (LCGC, Biotechniques) without
>seeing ads. I have in my hands a copy of LCGC. Upon opening 5 times to
>different (random) places, there were ads on 4 of the 5 pages, Not
>very scientific I know, but my point is that advertisers (and journal
>editors) are realizing that I used to be able to do just what you said
>to avoid the ads. Even Science magazine now places ads throughout the
>issue so we "happen across" them as we read the journal.

Biotechniques _is_ ads.  I mean, the publishers sell ad space and 
distribute the journal for (in most cases) free.  The method articles are 
mostly just the publisher's way of making you look forward to receiving 
and reading it.  (kinda like radio and television in the U.S.)  I_ 
consent_ to being subjected to ads as a price for getting useful methods/
protocols/background.  (Usual disclaimers apply here:  I very much like 
Biotechniques and look forward to every month's issue.)  What 
distinguishes 
them from spammers is that they pay for their specific delivery and give 
me 
something I want in return.  Spammers on the other hand are shotgunning 
their ads "everywhere" at relatively little cost to themselves (often 
some recipients are charged for receiving it) while providing, in 
overwhelming instances, nothing that redeems the spam.  (I really dislike 
telephone solicitations for the same reasons...)

There are now several newsgroups I no longer read because my interest in 
the subjects do not outweigh my trepidation towards paging through 
screens 
of indexed spam (Too much chaff, very little wheat...).  Will bionet 
follow suit?  I hope not.  I expect not.  But then again that limen is a 
very individual thing and valuable input from welcome contributors may 
be inhibited.

I don't think that spam is a _ harmless_ fact of life.  Obviously it 
exists but I don't think we should just "get use to it" or be required to 
write large kill-files to avoid most of it. Spammers work over-time to 
circumvent kill-files and so kill-files represent an ever increasing time 
investment (perhaps someone would like to make their kill-files available
.. perhaps I can sell mine... anyone want to write my spam advertising 
it for me?  Just a thought...  ;^)

Something should be done.  Anyone with experience with "cancelbots"?

FWIW,

Bob Cowherd
U. of Penn.



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