1993-03-27 - Re: we need a faq.

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From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
To: J. Michael Diehl <mdiehl@triton.unm.edu>
Message Hash: 5b6688e31ea971140d2064a2e1596eec80812ec61544b8b7b1cf45105bde3ddb
Message ID: <9303270256.AA21236@netcom.netcom.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-27 02:57:57 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 26 Mar 93 18:57:57 PST

Raw message

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 93 18:57:57 PST
To: J. Michael Diehl <mdiehl@triton.unm.edu>
Subject: Re: we need a faq.
Message-ID: <9303270256.AA21236@netcom.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

J. Michael Diehl writes:

>I will mantain the faq if people will send my usefull information, such as ftp
>sites, remailer-reposter sites, short answers to "obvious" questions, etc.  I
>will mail it out on a regular basis and perhapse to new subscribers, if that is
>Come on folks give me a hand here! ;^)

The problem with FAQs is that someone almost always volunteers to put
together a FAQ if people will "send them stuff." Then he realizes what an
enormous job it is, as the submissions are either a) not there, b) are too
brief or confusing, c) require lots of editing, or d) other problems exist.
Then that volunteer just sort of lets it all slide--and several months
later some new eager beaver makes a similar proposal. I've seen this happen
on several groups and mailing lists.

Someone on this list boldly stepped forward last September, begged for
submissions (some of us even sent stuff in), then let it slide. Officially,
I suppose he is still working on it, but nothing has appeared. I'm not
holding my breath.

Since we are an anarchy, nobody can force him--or you, for that mattter--to
finish it. The way FAQs traditionally get done is for someone to just write
the whole damn thing...this will of course mean that someone must become
quite knowledgeable about remailers, PERL, Chaum's work, the math of
crypto, the politics and jargon of crypto privacy, and on and on. Not
trying to scare you off, just pointing out that a FAQ will not write
itself, nor can you count on others to "contribute" (for the reasons
mentioned above).

(Sometimes a "stone soup" approach works, where a "Rev. 0" FAQ is posted
and then the critics come out of the woodwork to suggest improvements. If I
was writing the FAQ, that's how I'd approach it...just get *something* out
as quickly as possible and then see if anyone wants to change anything or
make additions.)

If you publicly announce your plans to do the FAQ, and begin soliciting
contributions, PLEASE make sure it gets finished!

By the way, in my opinion, the Cypherpunks FAQ is *essentially* available
already in the regular postings of list members Lance Detweiler (he posts a
long article to sci.crypt describing privacy on the Internet) and Karl
Barrus (he keeps an updated list of remailers).

Good luck.

-Tim May
Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay@netcom.com       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | Public Key: MailSafe and PGP available.