How far is to far?

FutureNerd Steve Witham fnerd at
Tue Dec 1 10:17:33 PST 1992

Mark (mark at sed

> Maybe it's not in the spirit of this mailing group but 

Seems on topic to me.

> what of the question
> of purposeful abuse of the anon mailers/newsposters? Say for instance some
> person posts either a sh*tload of garbage to every known group, flooding
> the USENET...

Tim May and Fen Labalme have given good replies.

I hate the sloppy setup of the internet/usenet/netnews/mailing-lists
in general.  The way things are gives anarchy a bad name, and I think 
they could use a good hosing off--if only that would mean they would
get cleaned.  Unfortunately the way people react to abuses is often 
just to add extra patches.

Take "kill files," which Tim mentions.  The thing I hate about that term
(even more than that they're lists of people to "kill,") is that they're
after-the-fact.  Here's this mail that keeps pouring into my mailbox, and
every day my robot has to find and burn the 90% that even a robot can be
taught to recognize as junk.  Prompt, temporary STUPID relief of symptoms.

(I mean, while I'm at it, I hate the broadcast-and-filter model of netnews,
CD ROMs, and cable TV.  I want things available for me to go fetch.)

That kind of filtering has a place, but I like more positive-reputation,
positive-interest models.  Like subscription mail groups.  Also, I
understand that Fido users have to pay their own transport charges.  I
don't know if that applies to the "echo" groups, but it should...Mr. 
Jennings?...because that's another natural kind of filtering against
network hosing.  You can flood my mailbox if you pay me enough.

>> or a more personal attack whereby they send out anonymously 
>> information that was so fundamentally personal to someone they could
>> possibly react very badly....
>> What if someone posted some top secret information and the various three
>> letter acronyms all went out for someone's blood.

I guess these won't happen much, just judging from how much they happen now
even though they're not that hard to do.  But sure, they'll happen.

It would be nice if people learned information-hygene lessons like
skepticism and protecting privacy, and accepting-life lessons like accepting
what does get revealed about oneself and others...(whistful grin).

More like, people will learn if we teach; things will change if we change
them.  Scary issues are good educational material when used right, 
especially when you can say, "This is stupid and it can be *fixed* and
we can use your help."

quote me...within *reason* of course
fnerd at (FutureNerd Steve Witham)

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