Notes on TIG Advertising

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  • Notes on TIG Advertising

This is lifted directly from a message to the main TIG mailinglist, to be found also in the archives.

Advertising is not permitted on the main TIG mailinglist. If, in your zeal for a particular product, you want to deflect impressions of impropriety, disclaim your message at the end, e.g.: "I am not in the employ or service of the manufacturer(s) above". Advertising by manufacturer/vendors who have contributed to the TIG is permitted in the Commercial Announcements section of the wiki (send postings to rob (at)

Disclaimer: a statement that denies responsibility, esp. one's own. (from Webster's Collegiate) If you can't disclaim your financial interest in posting about a product, then it's better to rethink the posting and either send it to the administrator for approval (tig-owner <a t> or make it commercially neutral. A disclaimer can't be used as what might be coined a "Claimer" such as: "I work for Company Z, therefore realize that what I say above comes from that perspective."

Manufacturers and vendors have participated in the TIG since shortly after it started in 1991. It was, at that time, a controversial change to allow them in, as it tended to stifle the exchanges we had been having in complaining about equipment. But the consensus was that the benefits were worth it, and this has been proved. If one looks at the way Usenet functions (Usenet being a distributed conferencing system similar to the TIG and TIG/wiki), the professional groups have not allowed advertising and by self-policing or in some cases moderation insisted that a post that gives seemingly self-serving advice be disclaimed such that the author is not financially connected directly with the products or services being offered. Another example of an unbiased network is the Public Broadcasting System in the US, which keeps advertising limited to simple statements, such as what the main TIG mailinglist includes at the top of every message, the "contributor's credit."

In 1995 or so, we (the group) decided to allow advertising but not on the main mailinglist, instead on a separate "tig-announce" digest that would be sent out to all TIG subscribers separately, so they could keep a division in their mail between marketing and the main, original, information-based list. This has worked well over the years but was underused and has been discontinued. Instead there exists on the wiki a Commercial Announcements section, please contact the TIG admin about participation. There is also a Calendar section to list events, demos, etc.

A couple of years after the tig-announce digest was started, we created a wiki, (originally it ran TWiki software) which has gone through three main iterations. The wiki can be used by any registered user as a "pull" type of mechanism (as opposed to the TIG mailinglist's "push" model) so large files, images, commercial announcements, etc. can be web-based. It was originally thought that this might replace the mailinglist, but email remains the primary means of communication on the net, though as a primary it has been diluted significantly by spam. Spam has in its turn spawned antispam software which is an industry in its own right; if one thinks seriously about this it becomes clear that the antispam industry depends on the proliferation of spam for its income, so the two are in a sycophantic relationship, or have an inherently strong mutual interest. The same is true of viruses and anti-virus software...

Private, individual "For Sale," "Wanted," "Jobs Offered," and "Positions Desired" postings are accepted on an individual basis, and go out to the main list, sometimes after a contribution (in the case of For Sale ads) but often not (in the other cases). These are distinct private-party classifieds. The example of newspapers' classifieds sections is appropriate here; in the USA, private party ads come under different rules than those from dealers and manufacturers.

The last point is perhaps the most important: when a subscriber to the TIG needs information from a manufacturer, or help, or input of any kind, the manufacturer has two choices in how to respond: privately, or publicly on the mailinglist. Private responses are not in any way regulated by TIG rules. Public list-based responses are regulated by these simple rules: marketing is not allowed, in the sense of statements something like "See what we're offering this year at booth xxxx we have just what you're looking for" or "Please check out our [monitor, software] it's significantly better than xxxx." A further netiquette-based TIG guide is available at Guide to TIG Etiquette

Rob Lingelbach 02:00, 26 October 2009 (UTC)