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Message Posted: Mon, 26 May 2003 @ 18:43:58 GMT

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Subj:   Admin Comment - GIS Mapping Software
From:   John Hall

I certainly sympathize. The limits on the mention/promotion of products/services is a hindrance to the subjects we can pursue and it hurts the value of the TeradataForum, but I still believe that the restrictions are necessary and because of the behavior of some, I honestly don't feel that I can give any slack in this area.

The problem remains the gray-area between where the harmless mention of a product becomes outright promotion. After discussing this issue with people who have similar forums, I can't find any simple way of handling this without some people trying to take advantage of the List, while others claim that I'm being unfair.

This isn't some minor point, but rather a real problem: Nearly every time a product is mentioned on the List, no matter how innocently, I get barraged by people demanding to know why I won't mention their favorite product. Some arguments are half-reasonable and others are down-right stupid and blatantly self-serving. So a post where somebody mentions a product becomes an exercise where I spend hours of writing notes trying to keep everybody happy. At other times, I simply get mailbombed - like that's supposed to change my mind.

There's also a matter of fairness because I have regularly removed people from the TeradataForum because they ignored the Rules of Conduct. If people have been removed, then how can I permit others to make posts that are of a similar nature? Even though there seems to be opinion to the contrary, I do try to be as fair and even-handed as possible.

I firmly believe that if I crack the door now, then the door will effectively be stuck open. I'm sorry, I believe that the easiest way to address this issue is to continue the ban on the promotion of products/services.

As an alternative, about the only thing that seems reasonable to me is to create a section on the website which lists products that are Teradata-related or Teradata-compatible. Having such a section doesn't mean that those products can be promoted or recommended, but rather a place where I can direct a person when they ask about a product. Anybody have an opinion?

(As a word of warning, I'm inclined to ban those companies/people who have either sent spam to the TeradataForum or harvested its posts for e-mail addresses/contacts. After all, if they aren't going to treat the TeradataForum, its rules and its membership with respect and restraint, then why promote them and their products?).

Although I think that the Rules of Conduct are clear in banning the promotion of products/services, I frequently get notes stating that they aren't. To address those concerns, I have been working on a new Welcome Letter. Although the progress has been admittedly slow, I have been working on it and I will post the new Welcome Letter when I have it done.

In the mean time, let's use these as guidelines:

- Don't recommend products/services (et al)! I've received some complaints that this isn't clear enough and so, if you mention a product or provide a name, telephone number, address, contact or supply a URL (et al), then you've promoted a product. Refer to the current Rules of Conduct contained in the Welcome Letter (you received it when you signed-up or you can reference the Rules of Conduct on the website). It doesn't matter whether you work for the product supplier or just a happy user, if you promote a product, then you have the responsibility for doing so.

- You can include your company's or your personal URL in your sig. This should be an isolated use and not part of some type of promotion. (I've had a couple of people who have complained that if people have a URL in their sig, why can't they promote their product? Sigh).

- If you're having problems with a product and are trying to resolve a problem, then you can seek help on the TeradataForum - after all, this is primary purpose of the TeradataForum. As always, it needs to be Teradata-related.

- I would prefer that you didn't ask for product recommendations on the TeradataForum. If you really need to ask, please send the question to me and we'll find a way to get an answer.

- Occasionally a product recommendation/promotion will make it to the List. In those cases, be assured that I'm dealing with it off- List. Having such a note on the List is not an indication that the Rules of Conduct have been forgotten, waived or open to on-List discussion.

If I'm missing something, please let me know. And if I did miss something, this isn't an opportunity to view it as a loophole - I really think that point is clear and I expect people to respect the intent as well as the letter of the Rules of Conduct.

As soon as I finish the new Welcome Letter, it will be distributed.

Thanks for your patience,

John Hall
The TeradataForum

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