bulk postage fine (was Re: non-censorous spam control)

stewarts at ix.netcom.com stewarts at ix.netcom.com
Tue Aug 5 13:29:31 PDT 1997

>Kent Crispin <kent at songbird.com> writes:
>> In more general terms: A "free market" fundamentally grants more
>> control to those with more money.  Postage of whatever variety turns
>> the medium over to those with more money.  That would, in my opinion, 
>> fundamentally alter the character of email in a strongly negative 
>> direction. 

More to the point, if you're charging prices that don't reflect the
true costs of the activities, it'll catch up with you after a while;
either the Tacky People will find a way to siphon money out of the system
by some variant on spamming, or it won't have the same community you're 
looking for, because it's only used by people willing to pay extra for 
the service, or because the information flow that used to be provided free
gets stifled, or somebody will offer a competing system that offers 
similar features at a lower cost, or whatever.

Somehow Usenet has survived growing from a system small enough to read
all the mail to a system with gigabytes of traffic per day,
and it's still possible to find some signal among the noise
(though the Web has siphoned off much of that signal.)
And we've grown from tens of thousands of students and defense contractors
on the Arpanet and UUCP and Fido nets and BBSs to tens of millions of 
users on the Internet.  Filtering tools help find the interesting
parts of the global discussion, and make it easier to get rid of
the uninteresting parts.  

The present situation is that the social dynamics and economics are such
that Tacky People can make money by being rude to everyone without being 
interesting in return.  While trying to charge money for communications
may work, I'm inclined to doubt it; the more interesting currency to
try to model is Reputation, which leads to more like an Ender's Game
kind of net, or to semi-closed communities like the Well (is?was?).

#			Thanks;  Bill
# Bill Stewart, +1-415-442-2215 stewarts at ix.netcom.com
# You can get PGP outside the US at ftp.ox.ac.uk/pub/crypto/pgp
#   (If this is a mailing list or news, please Cc: me on replies.  Thanks.)

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