1993-10-09 - Safe and fun environment?

Header Data

From: Matthew B. Landry <mbl@ml7694a.leonard.american.edu>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 4934fe73398278b775ca6264ed6c9d55df2037308ed3131719d83b5b587a3492
Message ID: <9310090817.AA10656@toad.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-09 08:19:29 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 9 Oct 93 01:19:29 PDT

Raw message

From: Matthew B. Landry <mbl@ml7694a.leonard.american.edu>
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 93 01:19:29 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Safe and fun environment?
Message-ID: <9310090817.AA10656@toad.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

>Still, it might make sense for someone from this list to give them some
>help on the crypto aspects.  This could be a safe and fun environment
>in which people could be introduced to crypto, and it could even expand
        Unless this list undergoes some VERY radical changes, it will never be 
a "safe and fun environment" to introduce new people to anything. At the 
moment, in order to get anything out of it, one has to devote large quantities 
of queue space and time to the subscription, and sift through the flames and 
other noise to locate the rare bit of truly valuable info. There are very few 
people on this list who routinely post things worth reading, and many who 
_never_ post things worth reading, and seem to be only around for the flame 
        And god forbid that a newcomer should ask a QUESTION! Dear lord no. 
That newcomer will be flamed so totally that no burn unit around will be able 
to save them.
        Most of those that are persistent or resiliant enough to survive what 
this list can often put people through may or may not decide to stay. I would 
imagine that such negative experiences would turn a lot of people off to the 
whole idea of crypto-privacy. If I hadn't already been committed to privacy 
when I joined the list, I would have immediately unsubscribed, called Fort 
Meade, and asked what I could do to help. 
        The vast majority of people who post on this list and respond to other 
people's posts are obnoxious idiots who are willing to flame at the slightest 
provocation, and will do so until the person they attack backs down or simply 
gives up.

        No one on this list is entirely to blame, nor is anyone entirely 
blameless for this. Several of the top figures on the list (TC May and Eric 
Hughes to name two) have recently adopted an inappropriately elitist attitude 
toward the direction of the list, and the movement. No one can stop Eric from 
running the _list_ however he wants, but the _movement_ belongs to all of us, 
thank you. Even though I respect the crypto-political opinions that they 
express a great deal, I think that they and their supporters have taken this 
too far. And worse, they have not taken a firm stand against the kind of flame 
war that is continually erupting over individual posts on the list. For the 
leaders to sit back and watch this go on is simply not the appropriate way to 
handle things.

        Until we fix the serious problems in this list, it will never be an 
appropriate environment for newcomers to learn about crypto-privacy, just a 
training ground for flame-throwers.

        Dare I suggest (why not? I'm already burning to a crisp, how much worse 
could it get?) that we create a moderated newsgroup that would gateway the 
substantive traffic from this list into a more accessible forum (but NOT the 
other way around). In that manner, we could provide a place for newcomers to 
learn about cryptography and the movement, without forcing them to sift through 
mountains of flame wars. Questions could be referred to qualified personnel, 
instead of going to the list where they act like little flame magnets.
        This newsgroup would not replace the list, nor would it be more than 
marginally connected (because of the selected cross-postings), but it would 
provide the kind of environment that the list does not or cannot provide.
        Go ahead and dump flames in my mailbox. I've long since gotten used to 
it. I'm not going to back down until someone convinces me that a hospitable 
environment with informative traffic and a high s/n ratio is a bad idea. Or, 
you can save bandwidth and send the flames to /dev/null, because that's where 
anything that doesn't make sense will go. Rational comments are welcome, 

        Oh, and for those of you that are tired of seeing me post, you can rest 
assured that you will never see it again. Contributing to this list has brought 
nothing but trouble to my life, and I have better things to do with my time 
than wade through piles of flamage in my personal mail box.
Matthew B. Landry
(Finally!) mbl@ml7694a.leonard.american.edu