Re: Jobs / Seminars

Subject: Re: Jobs / Seminars
From: John Renish <John -dot- Renish -at- CONNER -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 1995 16:12:11 PST

Lori Lathrop (76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM) writes:

>Why is it OK for people to post job openings (which can certainly benefit
>subscribers who happen to be looking for work) but it's *not* OK for
>people to post information about workshops or seminars (which can benefit
>subscribers who need to improve their skills)? What's the difference?

I subscribe to several lists, have lurked on this list for a few weeks, and
have sent a few mails to individuals. Now to add my two kopeks' worth to
this thread.

Here are the differences I see. In the first case, the direct economic
benefit is approximately equal to the buyer (employer) and seller
(employee). In the second case, the direct economic benefit to the seller is
considerably higher than it is to the buyer. A seminar _might_ improve your
income; a job you decide to take _will_ improve your income (or location, or
whatever). Buying services from a writer has a direct economic benefit a
little over the cost. Usually, the value of buying services from a seminar
provider is unpredictable, at best (but then, I live in California, the land
of disappointed but perpetually hopeful seminar junkies). Additionally, many
more people are selling (seminars, etc.) at any given time than are buying

Even more to the point, every writer I know is willing to look at job
opportunities, if only to compare current income with potential income.
Every businessperson I know is willing to expend a minimal cost or effort to
increase income dramatically. In effect, advertising seminars, books,
software, etc. over list servers uses the net to subsidize marketing costs.
This activity has two effects: It increases the direct and indirect cost to
the net (computer time, disk space, connection hardware, accessibility) and
it increases the indirect cost to subscribers who want information but not
the sell. It is the equivalent of junk mail or phone solicitations that
subscribers cannot avoid.

Mary Deaton's posting was essentially one long ad, which I found offensive.
Similarly, I dislike five- or ten-line "signatures" that are clearly
commercial, particularly when the posting is sent to the entire list. On the
other hand, I have no objection to postings that _briefly_ point interested
subscribers to a web site; e.g., "Joan Genius, training consultant. WWW," to an e-mail address; e.g., "Jim Genius, training consultant,
jim -at- genius -dot- com," or any similar tag. Of course I welcome positive or
negative information on commercial products when it is provided by somebody
who has no stake in them.

Commercialization on the net is pollution, especially when multiple lists
receive it (you have heard of the slimy, and unrepentant, "Green Card
Lawyers," no doubt). Commercialization is a classic case of the "tragedy of
the commons," in which one can greatly increase his benefit at the cost of
all others. Many may disagree with me, certainly those guilty of making the
mess (hey, I'm just trying to make a buck, here--exactly like the guy who
dumps toxic waste in the woods of New Jersey); but I leave it to you to
answer: Would you rather drive on a figurative highway lined with trees and
vista points or one lined with billboards, even if they advertised your
favorite beer?

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