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Re: Fund raising advertisement on the DPN

Hi Stefano,

Le 2011-10-11 05:24, Stefano Zacchiroli a écrit :
On Thu, Oct 06, 2011 at 06:24:41PM -0400, David Prévot wrote:
It's the second time [1] such an advertisement reaches the DPN, and I
don't find it suitable at all. I think it was a mistake the first time,
and it would be a shame to consider the first error as a precedent. For
the same reason we don't do sponsorship link in the official website
main page, I believe we should not relay such campaign in the official DPN.
I didn't want to chime in this thread, mainly because there are active
editors of DPN and I think they are fully entitle to decide an
"editorial position" on these matters. I still maintain that, but I'd
like to point out to an implication which is present in this thread and
that I find a bit disturbing.

The implication is that *informing* about some money-related initiative
it's the same of *advertising* such initiative.

I maintain that informing and advertising are two different things and,
in terms of communication, we see that difference on many media. A
newspaper might have an advertisement link to some campaign, if they
really want to advertise it, or it might just have an article describing
that someone is doing some fund-raising. Another example comes from
wikipedia, where articles written as advertisement are explicitly
labeled as so and requested to be amended to have a more informative

Unfortunately, the difference among informing and advertising is often
blurry. It is, ultimately, a matter of writing style (another subject on
which an "editorial board" should usually have a stance.)

So, by all means, I encourage the people regularly doing DPN to decide
on these matters, but it would be nice to distinguish two separate
judgements. One on whether entries written as *advertisements* are
welcome or not. And one on whether DPN should refrain from *informing*
about fund-raising activities related to Debian individuals or not.

I agree. There are different ways to cover a topic, some of which are clearly advertising. However, depending on the context, there is not necessarily a way to cover a topic that cannot be considered as advertising.

In Wikipedia, in general covering a topic is clearly not advertising, as in the case you mentioned. For example, if you're reading the page on Mandriva Linux on Wikipedia, you're interested in Mandriva Linux, so the mere fact that Wikipedia's Mandriva Linux article mentions Mandriva Linux is clearly not advertising.

However, still on Wikipedia, a simple mention may be seen as advertising. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_Point_of_View#Due_and_undue_weight covers this "undue weight" problem, using the example of the Earth and the Flat Earth theory. To use the Mandriva Linux case again, mentioning that Mandriva Linux runs on computers in Wikipedia's article on Computers, even though it is factual and about the topic, will most likely be considered undue weight.

Which is why, although the difference between informing and advertising is first a matter of writing style, it is not limited to that.

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