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July 1999, Week 2


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Tue, 13 Jul 1999 11:20:17 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (61 lines)
Jeremy wonders:

> Should advertisements for Web auctions of film/TV-related materials be
> permitted?
> On the one hand, Screen-L has always permitted postings from
> commercial entities.  E.g., film/TV publishers/distributors/magazines
> who wish to announce new materials are allowed.  So, there is some
> precedence for advertisements on Screen-L.
> Moreover, an auction site such as eBay can be a good source for
> off-brand film/video equipment (e.g., super-8 projectors) and film/TV
> memorabilia--which can be useful in the teaching/research of film/TV.
> If a Screen-L subscriber posts a search for such material, would there
> be anything wrong in someone saying, "Oh yeah, you can find it on
> eBay--auction #xxxxxx"?
> On the other hand, auction sites can encourage naked opportunism,
> commercialism, and consumerism.  Is this something Screen-L should
> tacitly endorse?

My immediate reaction is a qualified "No!"  SCREEN-L doesn't have
blinking banners, cookies, or other attempts to grab the reader and
make him/her buy something, and I don't think it should be encouraged.
I think that there is a qualitative difference between such
appeals to to buy a product and things like notices about books,
magazines, film festivals, and conferences that may be of special
academic interest.  It's the difference between Rutgers Press
announcing a new series of scholarly film books and a set of
announcements from Amazon, Borders, and Barnes & Noble each trying to
undersell the other.

There are so many potential sites for sales of hardware on and offline
that the list could risk becoming a set of unpaid classified ads.
However, there are other lists where advertisements for hardware of one
kind or another might be especially welcome.

None of this precludes someone from sending a specific query
for a particular piece of equipment, as a few recent posts have done,
or anyone from answering that query.  It also does not preclude
discussion about the merits of a particular brand or new form of
technology (eg., the unlamented DIVX vs. DVD).  I just think that such
dicussion and information about places and prices should come from
individual list members for particular purposes, not broad-based
advertising by a commercial entity.

Don Larson

Donald Larsson
Minnesota State U, Mankato
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