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Rich Young young at clpd.kodak.com
Wed Feb 8 13:02:49 EST 1995

In article <3ha55r$suj at mserv1.dl.ac.uk> ajt at rri.sari.ac.uk writes:
>Rich Young (young at com.kodak.clpd) wrote:
>: In article <1995Jan31.224224.27645 at news.snu.ac.kr> ginseng at tpa.cent.com (Ginseng Select) writes:
>: >Unique HIGH quality line of ginseng products at {http://tpa.cent.com/ginseng.html}
>: >
>: >Need help getting the word out on the net..  
>: >
>: >Give us a call or E-mail if you have any interest.  We are willing to make 
>: >it worthwhile..
>: 	It's this kind of thing that threatens to make Usenet a Home
>: 	Shopping Channel without the pictures.  See below and please
>: 	refrain from indulging your temptations in the future.
>Rich, I agree that blatant abuse of newsgroups for commercial ends is
>undesirable, but how do we strike a balance between the needs of
>readers of this group who ask for information about where to obtain,
>for example, ginseng products and the desire of other readers to keep
>off-the-topic postings out of the group?

	Asking where to obtain certain products is one thing (though
	the whereabouts of "medicinal" ginseng might be better located
	in groups like <misc.health.alternative> or <alt.folklore.herbs>),
	but this was clearly a pyramid sales scheme.

	In an unmoderated group, it's virtually impossible to keep stuff
	like that out, but I do think regular reminders of the group
	charter discourage all but the most incorrigible; Ronda DeVold
	over on <rec.animals.wildlife> has done this and I really think it
	helps.  A listing of alternate groups would help, too...some
	people just don't know about more appropriate groups.  This group
	has been here long enough so that a weekly recommendation to try
	the two groups mentioned above as well as <rec.gardens> would
	seem to cover most of the inappropriate incursions.

	In the case of blatant sales schemes like the one which prompted
	my response, a recommendation to peruse the <biz.*> groups might
	be worthwhile.

	Perhaps I'm oversensitive to the problem, but it does seem that
	"spamming" with advertisements to long lists of [mostly inapprop-
	riate] groups is becoming more and more of a habit.  There is a
	real hazard that Usenet will become an advertising bulletin board
	if some relatively immutable rules are not promulgated and observed.
	The Usenet etiquette is clearly stated, and I do believe that we
	must be vigilant to ensure the continued worth of the medium.
>I would say that posting the URL of a place where the information can
>be obtained is quite reasonable under the circumstances.  I'd also say
>that a gentle reminder of the group's charter would be appropriate:
>This group was created for discussions about _any_ aspect of plant
>biology.  The majority of people reading bionet.plants are only
>interested in scientific discussions about the behaviour of plants. 
>There are other groups better suited to more general questions about
>gardening, drugs, alternative medicine etc.

	I think you should post that message once a week, with the
	following addition:

	   The following groups may be more appropriate for questions
	   concerning herbalism, alternative medicine, and gardening:


	   In addition, the biz.* hierarchy is specifically intended for
	   commercial postings.  Thank you for your consideration.

	In the spirit of the group charter, this is my last posting on
	the subject.   :^)

- Rich Young

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