1997-02-15 - Re: [Declan McCullagh: “A List Goes Down In Flames,” from Netly]

Header Data

From: “William H. Geiger III” <whgiii@amaranth.com>
To: Martin Minow <minow@apple.com>
Message Hash: f4f5644fc11469d8efd6f99c095a4b07328f215e61512c24b0b5ba0df615822f
Message ID: <199702150726.HAA04553@mailhub.amaranth.com>
Reply To: <v03010d01af2a5a0699db@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1997-02-15 13:19:05 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 15 Feb 1997 05:19:05 -0800 (PST)

Raw message

From: "William H. Geiger III" <whgiii@amaranth.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 1997 05:19:05 -0800 (PST)
To: Martin Minow <minow@apple.com>
Subject: Re: [Declan McCullagh: "A List Goes Down In Flames," from Netly]
In-Reply-To: <v03010d01af2a5a0699db@[]>
Message-ID: <199702150726.HAA04553@mailhub.amaranth.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain


In <v03010d01af2a5a0699db@[]>, on 02/14/97 at 12:31 PM,
   Martin Minow <minow@apple.com> said:

>My first reaction to the "Death of Cypherpunks" (Declan McCullagh's article in
>http://netlynews.com Feb 12, 1997) is that it is another example of "The
>Tragedy of the Commons." -- the (unsolvable) problem of unlimited access to a
>limited resource. Cypherpunks was also
>susceptable to the strange Internet phenomenon where people could be proud of
>their anti-social, bad behavior (flame wars, "grafitti" in the form of spam).
>For this reason, I suspect that the future of the Internet in general, and
>Cyphperpunks in particular, will require serious editorial control (as is done
>by the Risks and Privacy digests).

>The only other alternative I can see would be to limit membership
>-- but not limit what members might write. In the long term, I suppose we'll
>have sufficiently intelligent software agents that can recognize spam and
>flaming and invisibly delete them from our e-mail in-boxes.

I compleetly dissagree with you.

The "Death of Cypherpunks" was not caused limited resources, or by spam, or by
the posts of the "good doctor". It was killed by two factors. The first was the
winning and sinviling crowd that was just too dam lazy to filter their mail.
With some very basic filtering the majority of the noise could be removed from
the list. There were a group of list members that were unwilling to take the
small amount of effort required to do this. They are the same type of people who
wine and cry that the governmnet should regulate this or regulate that all too
willing to give up a "little" freedom for promisises of extra "security". As if
this was not bad enough they typically demanded that everyone else give up a
"little" freedom along with them so they could have there extra "security".

The second and and even more deadly factor in the demise of the list was that
John & Sandy listened to these sheep. If there was such a great demand for a
censored cypherpunks list then they should have created a new censored list.
Those who wanted the services of Sandy to censor the list would have been free
to switch while leaving the main list intact. Instead the list was censored and
a cypherpunks-flams & a cypherpunks-unsensored lists were created. These list
were created with the promise that anything that did not make it onto the main
list would be placed onto the flames list. Well the inevitable happened a
message was posted that Sandy felt he could not forward to the flames list. All
this brew-ha-ha could have been avoided if Sandy had just posted a message to
the flame list stating that Dimitri had posted some crap that he could not or
would not repost to the flames list. No one would have faulted him for it as all
but the newest of list members know Dimitri. Instead threats of lawsuits were
addressed to anyone who even mentioned Dimitri's accusations. This blatent act
of censorship by Sandy and supported by John is what has brought cypherpunks to
where it is right now. Rather irronic that leaders of the fight against
"censorship" would use such tactics when it suits their needs.

>What bothers me more than anything else about the "solutions" I've seen
>proposed to the death of Cypherpunks is that they rely on technology -- and
>reject human judgement -- to solve what is, in reality, a social problem.  (One
>can certainly make the same argument about the V-chip, browser porn filters,
>and similar hacks.)

What bothers me more than anything is how false "problems" are created so
"solutions" can be implemented. Censorship of the list was NEVER needed.
Censorship of TV is not needed (ala V-chip). Censorship of cryptology is not
needed (via ITAR). Censorship is NEVER needed nor warented. Period.

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