for sale etiquette?

From: Vintage Computer Festival <>
Date: Wed May 26 10:11:17 2004

On Tue, 25 May 2004, der Mouse wrote:

> > If we are ever in a situation where legal action is required, we
> > would be stupid to not make it easy for ourselves to sue an offending
> > party. This is standard in business.
> Right, and it's one reason I don't trust businesses farther than I can
> throw them. Actions that are considered perfectly normal for a
> business would, in an individual, be considered psychopathic.

Ok, you're right. Let's just all go back to being peasant serfs living
under servitude to a regional lord. We can all dwell in mud brick houses
as we work the land as subsistence farmers and rely on our great noble
lord to protect us from invading barbarians. That system worked great, so
I don't know why we changed to what we have today.

> In this case, it's not at all clear you could get more than an absentee
> judgement against me in any case, but (unlike, apparently, a lot of
> people) I refuse to pretend to agree to things I do not in fact agree
> to just because I know it's unlikely I'll ever be held to the
> agreement. (I also think this is way too small a thing to throw away
> what freedom I currently have to visit friends in California over.)

You know, I really wish I had the power you imply here. Because, rather
than go after puny little insignificant targets like you, I'd go after
people that really count. Like heads of state.

> > I don't know any business that would say "if we sue you, we'll do you
> > a favor and sue in your jurisdiction to make things easy for you".
> This is why legal systems include rules governing jurisdiction. Your
> T&C attempt to brush aside those rules, which evolved for very good
> reason; I consider that unacceptable.

YANAL (You Are Not A Lawyer) so stop trying to act like one.

> > As long as you aren't scraping our site and causing problems with our
> > server then I don't think you'll hear any fuss from us.
> I know perfectly well I won't, and I know perfectly well that what
> you're trying to stop bears little to no relation to what I want to do.
> I nevertheless refuse to agree not to do something when I still intend
> to do it - and the third alternative, just not fetching images, would
> rather severely cripple my use of the site (admittedly it might still
> be better than not using it at all, if that were the only issue).

Look, we're not going to go around drafting personal editions of the T&C
for each user that objects to one thing or another. Either you use the
VCM or not.

You're really making a fucking joke of this, though my guess is you
believe otherwise.

> > Why do we require this? To make sure all users are dealing in an
> > open and honest manner.
> And my point is that it would be working _against_ that goal in my
> case. Using my "full legal name" (in the sense you mean it) _would_ be
> hiding, since that is not a name under which I have any significant
> reputation; I would be risking nothing, as compared to putting my
> reputation behind my actions by going by the only name I have used in
> my entire on-net existence.

So you're saying if someone needs to sue you because you never sent them
what they paid you for, they can put down "der Mouse" as the defendant?

> > If you want to sell under an alias then use the Usenet or some other
> > mechanism that allows you to hide your identity
> You are sliding from one thing to another. You are writing as though
> not using my "full legal name" is "hid[ing] [my] identity", by writing
> of the two as if they are the same.

No, I'm not sliding from one thing to another. I'm pointing out the
reality of the matter. Using an alias is hiding your identity. When I
sent you that box of hardware, why did you give me your real name? Can't
Fedex deliver boxes to "der Mouse"?

> This is not so, and this is my point: using my "full legal name"
> _would_ be hiding my identity. (I know this from experience. One of
> the first computer-related conferences I was ever at, I started out
> introducing myself by my "full legal name"[%]. After a few blank looks
> which turned to recognition when I said who I was, I learned.)

What a touching anecdote. Unfortunately, it bears no weight on the matter
at hand.

> Still, your marketplace, your rules. I'm explaining why I find that
> point unacceptable; I don't really expect you to change anything in
> consequence, especially since you haven't after I already said more or
> less the same things in a different channel some time ago.

Right. And now, as then, your arguments make a mockery of common sense.
I appreciate constructive criticisms, but this is a just a big waste of my

> >> - They require you to agree to California legal jurisdiction
> > Standard.
> To whom?

To whom? The entire world-wide business community. Have you heard of
Earth perhaps?

> >> - It requires that I use my full legal name.
> > My Pendantic-O-Meter is pinned. You admit that it's the name you use
> > "in computer circles", so by your own words it is therefore a
> > nickname.
> And in banking circles, I use a different name. Is it therefore a
> nickname too?

How come your bank doesn't cancel your accounts for fraudulently using a
nickname on your bank account when you opened your account and signed
the form averring that 0everything you filled in was true and correct? By
your own logic then that should be the inevitable outcome.

Why do you waste so much time quibbling over VCM terms & conditions when
much more important battles are to be won against the bank? Is it because
you know the bank would not give you an account if you tried to argue over
their T&C?

> In a common-law jurisdiction (which Quebec isn't), I could probably get
> legal recognition for it as a name for me, even, if I cared to bother.)


> > and frankly having to argue this point with you is tedious.
> You don't have to argue it. In fact, I see little point; you have
> settled yourselves on that particular method of achieving that
> particular goal, and nobody's mind seems likely to change.

Yes, we do have to argue it, because if we don't then your (at this point
worthless) criticisms going unanswered would be misleading.

> I don't see anything left to argue about.


Sellam Ismail                                        Vintage Computer Festival
International Man of Intrigue and Danger      
[ Old computing resources for business || Buy/Sell/Trade Vintage Computers   ]
[ and academia at  || at  ]
Received on Wed May 26 2004 - 10:11:17 BST

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