How to Stop Junk E-Mail: Charge for the Stamp

Justin justin-cypherpunks at
Thu Mar 3 12:35:58 PST 2005

On 2005-03-03T11:52:59+0000, ken wrote:
> >Chat is already higher volume (I read somewhere) in
> >raw quantity of messages sent than email.
> I suspect you don't get much traffic. The beauty of a 
> non-real-time store-and-forward system like smtp (or SMS, or 
> oldstyle conferencing systems with off-line readers) is precisely 
> that  it can be automated. I don't have to see mail I don't want.

You don't have to see IMs you don't want, either.  You can refuse them
from people not on your buddy list.

> >A fate for email is that as spam grows to take over more
> >of the share of the shrinking pie, but consumes more of
> >the bandwidth
> A higher proportion of the snail-mail I get is junk than the email.
> A higher proportion of the landline phone calls I get are junk. At 
> least 4 out of 5 calls, maybe 9 out of 10. Email is doing quite well.

With 3 or 4 RBL blacklists, greylisting, and making sure senders don't
ehlo with my ip address, I don't even have to use dspam or Spamassassin
I get so little spam.

> A serious proportion of the rootkits and so on that have been plaguing
> us for the last few years involves chat & instant messaging & so on.
> I'd block it at the boundary firewall. People who use it should just
> learn how to use mail.  They'd get through more. Chat is for
> functional illiterates. Learn to read at adult speed and you'll prefer
> mail. Why should they put up with being limited to someone else's
> typing speed?

I don't think email will disappear either, but IM is good for 2-way
conversations.  Helping someone debug a problem via email gets tedious
very quickly.

Strangely enough, a good number of people I've talked to over the phone
have had their IQ drop by about 100 points when I start using a phonetic
alphabet to spell things.  I usually end up having to repeat the
phonetic spelling several times; it's really strange.  IM eliminates
that whole problem.  Unless communicating in a standard, often-spoken
language, phones lose their utility.

There's a place for both IM and email.  I agree, though, that IM may
suffer from a poor S/N ratio.

Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who
have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for
anything else thereafter.           --Hemingway, Esquire, April 1936

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