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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
"Kevin. Mac Donnell" <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 4 Dec 2005 00:06:26 -0600
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (43 lines)
Mr Slotta's rude attack seems out of place in this forum, and while it
probably should not be dignified by a reply, it begs for correction.

Judging from the rule on commercial postings provided by the list moderator,
signature blocks are perfectly acceptable, as are catalogue announcements.
The earlier posting of my own that Mr Slotta cites as an example of a
commercial posting, if I recall correctly, was a follow-up to previous
postings by others about the disposal of the Nick Karanovich collection.

Finally, Mr. Slotta's own commercial posting solicited contacts (bids?) from
interested parties for material he had himself consigned to auction. He made
his solicitation without disclosing his ownership of the material in
question. This was hardly a friendly informational notice as some supposed,
but a blatant example of "touting his own stock" while failing to disclose
his own financial interest. Did he intend to reveal his financial interest
to those who contacted him? Only Mr Slotta knows the answer to that
question, but it seems reasonable to me that if he intended proper
disclosure he would have done so someplace in his posting. The crux of this
matter is disclosure of commercial interest, and the listserv rule on
disclosure is quite clear in the rule posted by the moderator. No amount of
smoke blown in any direction can obscure this.

Booksellers and private individuals often consign property for sale at
auction, and this allows them anonymity. People seek the anonymity of
auctions for a variety of reasons -- one reason would be the innocent wish
for privacy, while at the other extreme some use auctions to put forged,
fake or stolen material into the market. But regardless of why somebody
chooses to sell at auction, if the owner of a property promotes the sale of
their own property without disclosing their own financial stake, and
especially if they should go so far as to solicit bids (from a potential
buyer for whom they would act as agent, or to encourage that potential buyer
to bid directly with the auctioneer who is acting as the seller's agent)
without disclosing their ownership of the property in question, it raises
serious questions of disclosure, self-dealing, agency, and fiduciary duty.

I make no apology for asking my intitial two questions. Mr Slotta has chosen
not to answer the first question, but the answer to the second one is
clear -- the listserv rules on commerical postings require disclosure, and
that did not happen in this case.

Kevin Mac Donnell
Austin TX