Sequencher vs Applied Biosystems

Ralph Edward James B zoorejb at leonis.nus.sg
Fri Dec 3 21:24:52 EST 1993

David Kristofferson (kristoff at net.bio.net) wrote:
: Bo.Servenius at wblab.lu.se (Bo Servenius) writes:

: >I hope you ABI guys get more involved on the networks an see all the
: >advantages of using it. With these means we the custumoer could
: >send you our bugrepports etc directly instead of having them filtered 
: >throu your marketing or techsupport which many times might distort
: >the messages. 

: Everyone please remember that there is a fine line that must be walked
: here.
This is not an easy issue to resolve, and is perhaps worth discussing.  
The line may be so fine that it is hard to find even with the aid of an 
electron microscope.

: People who endorse products should do so only if they have *no*
: financial connection, direct or indirect, with them and they should
: clearly say so in ther posting.

And what counts as a financial connection?  Certainly those who own part 
of the company.  This seems obvious enough, but if you participate in a 
pension plan (as most readers of this likely do, apart from students) 
what if the company managing your pension funds has invested in the 
manufacturer in question?  If the manufacturer is well established, such an 
event is likely and would by a simple application of the above preclude 
many (most?) from commenting.  If the net is broadened to include those 
involved with the suppliers of the company, or those who work for such 
companies or who have relatives working for such companies, those who 
have broadly based mutual funds, ... , an even larger proportion of us 
would not be able to comment favourably on a product.  Certainly, there 
is a direct financial relationship between anyone using the product and 
the manufacturer unless the product used was stolen.  This would preclude 
anyone who knows anything about the product from commenting favourably 
about it.   ;-)

: People at companies may answer in a factual manner direct questions
: about their products but should stay out of the debates about which
: "product is better."  Advertising hype should obviously be avoided.
What do you recommend if such a debate includes misinformation, or 
obsolete information, about the product?  If such information is not 
corrected, both the company and potential users suffer harm.  If it is 
corrected, the people at the company may well get drawn into the debate.

I think we all understand what the objective is.  No-one wants to be 
swamped by electronic junk or 'advertising'.  The experience of the 
comp.os.os2.* and comp.os.windows.* groups is informative, and their 
strategy for handling the problem is a useful compromise.  One of the 
things to be observed there was that plenty of bandwidth was consumed by 
people inquiring about, and speculating on, the price and availability of 
various products and their release dates.  Some of this, particularly 
information about where to get materials was included in the FAQ, but 
some of this, particularly information related to new releases, could not 
be handled in such a manner.  Thus, a moderated newsgroup was created 
specifically for product announcements.  I have seen other newsgroups 
where people have been badly flamed for responding to a query like 'what 
can I use to do X' with information that a given product can do it and is 
available at a specified cost.  Such a response was treated as if it was 
base advertising.  However, if product announcements = advertizing, then 
many people are denied information they are seeking, and it can be 
observed that in the above mentioned newsgroups, the product 
announcements are welcomed in the specified and moderated newsgroup 
dedicated to such announcements and that this practice uses much less 
bandwidth than the inquiry and speculation that occurs without it.  I 
don't think, from a network perspective, that email is an adequate 
alternative since with an announcement, only one message is sent while 
with email, there are a certain number of kBytes transmitted with each 
inquiry and another for each response.

I would also observe that in the comp.os.os2.* newsgroups, IBM staff, and 
staff from companies making apps for OS2, participate regularly helping 
people fix problems that have arisen and pass feedback back to the 
company, and this includes people directly involved in writing the code 
used in OS/2 and related apps.  Some  of their responses would be seen as 
advertising in some other newsgroups and yet they are among the most highly 
valued and useful articles posted to the newsgroup and are NOT seen as 
advertising by those using these OS/2 newsgroups.

This is not an easy issue to manage, and based on what I have seen, there 
are no solutions, only compromises dependant on the identity of the 
participating population.

R.E. Byers,
Department of Zoology,
National University of Singapore
zoorejb at leonis.nus.sg

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