coderman coderman at
Sat May 30 11:47:15 PDT 2020

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
On Saturday, May 30, 2020 5:49 PM, Faux Dameron <fauxdameron at> wrote:
> ...
> I have two questions, why did the group die

i asked a similar question around a decade ago. i don't have a definitive answer, but some opinions...

there is no one causative factor; many combined:

- early progress in privacy tech leading to a languishing (or at least a decline). "we won the crypto wars!" (hah :)

- sustainability; there was insufficient passionate new blood to sustain what was "the cypherpunks" of that era. or said another way, the passionate coders of future privacy tech moved in circles that overlapped, but were not defined by, the cypherpunks.

- centralization; it is a strong attractor! when you've got development idioms and norms all built around github and package repos and "free" services, each somewhat or very opposed to decentralized cypherpunks ethos, the result is a drain away from core cypherpunks (if there is a thing) into other endeavors. this is pervasive and persistent.

- sophistication; the state of the art moved on from the realm of amateur practitioner to applied graduate level computer science and information theory.  the incremental gains in privacy effectiveness required increasingly complicated constructs. the ideal constructions with severe performance constraints suffered and died due to lack of adoption. usability and privacy are complicated in ways we continue to discover - requiring mastery of many domains to implement effectively.

> ... and what needs to happen to bring it back?

i had hope the Snowden leaks would revive a passionate cypherpunks groundswell. in one sense, it did: end-to-end secure open source tech is widely available, most of the internet is encrypted - it's hard to overstate how monumental this is! but it is also clear this progress was made outside of whatever "cypherpunks" is today.

if that didn't do it? perhaps email lists are simply too archaic for modern popularity :)

if slack remade IRC, what does a  shittier, web'ified maillist look like? (a forum?)

> ... as long as you know how to create filters/killfiles, the
> spam problem really isn't that bad.

agreed. but try to convince everyone of that!

best regards,

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