1997-02-04 - Re: Moderation, Tim, Sandy, me, etc. * Strong crypto == DES?!

Header Data

From: Jeff Barber <jeffb@issl.atl.hp.com>
To: Cypherpunks List <cypherpunks@toad.com>
Message Hash: 756b87906916869b4724bc463db379fd2590e7f7da376636ceb672e2a90177fc
Message ID: <199702041942.LAA04370@toad.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1997-02-04 19:42:06 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 4 Feb 1997 11:42:06 -0800 (PST)

Raw message

From: Jeff Barber <jeffb@issl.atl.hp.com>
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 1997 11:42:06 -0800 (PST)
To: Cypherpunks List <cypherpunks@toad.com>
Subject: Re: Moderation, Tim, Sandy, me, etc. * Strong crypto == DES?!
Message-ID: <199702041942.LAA04370@toad.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I'm another long time list member.  I've posted before on a number of
occasions but not often.  And I was one of those who subscribed immediately
to the unedited list.  Anyway, herein my 2 cents.

John Gilmore writes:

> Tim May said:
> > I don't want Sandy Sandfort sitting in judgment on my
> > posts, deciding what the Cypherpunks--a group I co-founded for God's
> > sake!!!!--are to be allowed to read and what they may not.
> Tim, the Cypherpunks have chosen to follow Sandy's lead for this
> month.  I'll admit I made it easy for them, but the results are
> conclusive.  There are 1311 addresses in the cypherpunks list today;
> 42 in the unedited list; and 19 in the flames list.

"Conclusively" this has shown only that most folks are willing to go
along with an experiment -- especially if it requires them to do 
exactly nothing.  The results of the moderation experiment itself
can't possibly be conclusive until the moderation has gone on for
much longer--a few months at least, possibly years.  Then, we'll see
how many people are willing to put up with the high volume over the
long term, even possibly in the absence of thoughtful essays from
long-time list members (like Tim) who have been driven away from the

Even if it "survives" by that criteria, it may not survive in *my*
book.  There are only a handful of people whose posts make the
cypherpunks list worthwhile (IMO of course).  There're quite a few
others who contribute to the discussion but aren't themselves worth
the trouble (no offense intended to anyone; I would certainly count
myself in this group as well).

I don't deny that putting up with the noise on the list takes some
effort.  In fact, after years of surviving with only my 'd' key, I'd
finally been driven to install a procmail filter shortly before
moderation was announced.

Interestingly, since that point, it *has* become more difficult to
filter--but IMO that's because it's also gotten less interesting
(how do you know if you're filtering is successful?).  In fact,
lately I've begun to "filter" *all* of cypherpunks into an alternate
mailbox file, and find that I'm perfectly content to look at it only
every couple of days, and just pick and choose among the posts based
on author and subject.  I don't claim to be representative of the
average cypherpunk, but in my view, this is a bad sign--it indicates
a lack of compelling "content".  It might as well be a Usenet group--I
don't feel like a "member of the Cypherpunks list" anymore.  As the
list stands now, I would hardly even notice (or care) if I were no
longer subscribed.

> I'm definitely bugged by the community's attitude toward my
> "censorship".  Rather than being glad that someone, anyone, was doing
> something about the major problem on the list, 99% of the reaction was
> to create even more ill-considered, emotional flamage.  *I* didn't
> make the signal/noise get worse at that point -- *you-all* did.

Well, I did do something.  When the volume got too high for me to take
unassisted, I installed procmail to tailor the list to my own likings.
Many have been advocating it on the list for years.  I was just too 
lazy to do so until the pain of not having it finally got too high.

As for the signal to noise ratio, John hasn't made it worse, but he
hasn't made it much better either.  No offense is intended--John's 
posts were always at the top of my reputation list--but he posts so
infrequently that he falls into that "not worth subscribing for" group.

What was the problem with the list that finally required that somebody
"do something"?  Sure, the list was high volume.  And there were a
lot of flames and silly useless garbage.  But this is no different
than it has been for years.  And the Vulisgrams were no more (or less)
vicious or annoying than Detweiler's Medusa and S.Boxx rants from the
old days.

(The reason I personally could stand it [without procmail] back then
was that I wasn't on so many *other* mailing lists at the same time.)

> The experiment will be over in a few weeks.  Who's going to take over
> deciding how to run the list, and running it?

Can't we just forget any of this ever came up?  Drop the moderation, 
resubscribe the Vulis 'bot and go on as before.

> PS: Can we talk about crypto too? ...

Sorry, that would be off-topic; this list is only for discussions of
the cypherpunks moderation policy.  Maybe you could post something on
Perry's "cryptography" list though.  (:-)

-- Jeff