Should Companies Participate in Newsgroups?

Patricia Thomas thomas at pharmdec.wustl.edu
Tue Nov 4 13:14:05 EST 1997


I think that it would be a great if companies would directly respond to
questions that they see posted in our newsgroup, especially if the
questions/comments are about things that happen when people use their
product(s)!  I mean, I wouldn't want them to give out the standard
company line, eg., "This is the best product available and it is Q.C.'d
to the highest standards possible! Any problems must be YOUR fault." But
sometimes someone will suggest a modification that sounds good, or on
the other hand, totally trash a product as being worthless.  You rarely
see people write back in to rescind the advice that they've dispersed,
but if we're all honest to ourselves we have to concede that it is a
rare individual indeed who hasn't thought that her problem was due to X
but it was later found that Y was to blame. 

What I've been doing is calling the companies concerned to see if
they've tried the modification(s) or have heard of anyone trying them,
and the result(s)...before I jump in with both feet. Sometimes I call
another Core facility, but this is rare because I hate to bother
anyone...everyone is busy!  This works nicely and has probably saved me
a lot of heartache and wasted time. But it seems that if one of the
company's tech support people simply wrote in to sometimes simply say,
"DON'T DO IT! We've fielded 20 calls from people who tried it but it
made their gel melt!" it would A.Save me and everyone else calling time,
and B.Make me feel that I was getting more value from their over-priced
reagents, and C.Be another,valuable source to consider before making
changes to one's protocol.  What does everyone else think?

Patricia Thomas
MB&P DNA Sequencing Facility
Washington Univ. School of Medicine, St. Louis

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