From: Steven J. Coker
Date: September 01, 1998

COMMENT: Regarding the following exception about announcements.

"Announcements of ON-TOPIC Public email discussion groups, online chat groups,
web sites, or other Internet based services which are directly related in a
useful way to the Forum topic.  This includes services dedicated to surnames
PROVIDED THAT the announcement identifies at least one person with the surname
who was resident in South Carolina prior to 1861.  Announcements regarding
surname services which do not meet this requirement are considered OFF-TOPIC."

This may eliminate African Americans who are in the early stages of research
From posting info on their web sites. If they are researching enslaved ancestors
the 1861 date is tough.

RESPONSE: If I've overlooked something that needs rethinking, then the policy
can be revised to fix it.  I don't intend to be overly demanding on the
requirement about naming an ancestor.  Its intended to minimize abuse and
overuse of surname service announcements.  I want them kept to a reasonable
minimum and not have them overwhelm the Forum, which I'm concerned they could do
if unchecked.

I picked 1861 as a convenient time marker.  It only applies to the single
exception about announcements of services and sites.  I'm open to revising if
justified.  My reason for including this limitation is that I'm concerned if
some limit isn't given, then the Forum could someday be "swamped" with people
announcing Surname services.  There are many more Surname services than there
are surnames.  And that is a lot.  

As we get closer to the present day, the number of surnames that have been in
South Carolina becomes extremely large.  I don't want people using the Forum for
announcements about surname services that aren't highly relevant or useful for
South Carolina researchers.  Most people can trace their ancestors in South
Carolina back to 1870 with census records, oral history, and such.  For most
family groups (white, black, red, and yellow) it generally doesn't get really
hard until the Civil War.  

If someone hasn't been able to trace back to 1870 or earlier, then I think it is
unlikely they will have much on a web site worth announcing in the Forum.  But,
like I said, this is open for rethinking.  Let's wait and see how the test
period goes first.  I might decide to nix the whole idea and go back to the
general prohibition on announcements.  There can be a fine line between
"announcements" and SPAM.  I'm trying to find a workable middle ground.  And, as
has been noted, there are always taglines that can used for subtle

The 1861 limit certainly isn't intended to make research of slave ancestors more
difficult.  I have particular interest in researching slave genealogies
connected with my family groups and have worked to help understand slave
connections with my family groups.

Such restrictions probably wouldn't be a major problem right now with 600+
subscribers.  But it is possible we might someday have 6,000 or 60,000 or
600,000 subscribers.  I'm trying to setup a system that will work now and in the
future.  It has to be a system that allows me to offer this free service without
spending every waking minute monitoring the Forum or resolving problems that
develop.  I have a real job and a life too, so the Forum operations, policy,
etc., need to be clear and self-sustaining.  If we learn after sufficient
experience that a policy restriction isn't needed, or should be modified, then
it can be. 

Steve Coker
Forum Manager

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