FC: John Gilmore on Politech changes and NOT obfuscating email addresses

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon Sep 08 2003 - 22:35:08 PDT

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    Previous Politech message:
    To: declanat_private, gnuat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: Politech back from hiatus, and important list news
    Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2003 16:47:04 -0700
    From: John Gilmore <gnuat_private>
    I've seen a bunch of lists move back and forth between Majordomo and
    Mailman.  My suggestion is to stick with what you know.  There seems to
    be no compelling advantage, particularly over the long term.
     > Fifth, I have to figure out how to spam-proof the archives. Thanks to those
     > folks who responded a month or two ago (including Earl Hood, the estimable
     > author of mhonarc, which is the utility that builds the Politech web site).
     > A newer version of mhonarc includes email address obfuscation, and I can
     > write a Perl script to obfuscate the rest.
    Why have you fallen into the all-too-common fallacy of thinking that
    if email addresses aren't published anywhere, that will help "solve"
    the problem of unwanted communications?  I had an idiot come after me
    several times, demanding that my archive of the USENIX Face Saver
    images remove his email address, because he was trying to obliterate
    every reference to it on the web.  I refused, of course.  Have we
    reached a Brave New World in which we all start rewriting online
    history to suit today's prejudices?  That sounds like what you propose
    for the Politech archives.
    For the record, please keep my email address INTACT in the Politech
    archives.  I don't want my communications to be "obfuscated" in the
    historical record.
    Unwanted communications would exist even if every "spammer" was flayed
    and burned at the stake.  You should know -- reporters get more unwanted
    press releases than anybody.
    The only viable solution is for the recipient to filter their incoming
    email.  It's the only viable solution because only the recipient knows
    what they are interested in.  The anti-"spam" crowd seems to think
    that there is a category of communications that NOBODY is interested
    in, and that therefore should be suppressed.  That is obviously false
    with regard to commercial spam, or the "spammers" would not persist in
    sending it, since they wouldn't make any money from it.  Since some
    people ARE interested in it, it's our job (if we choose to accept it)
    to create a cheaper way for senders to reach those people -- cheaper
    than sending a copy to all of us as well as the recipients who desire
    it.  We cannot compel people to stop communicating, unless we break
    the basic foundations of our free society.  Good luck at finding a
    cheaper way; my efforts are going into reducing the cost to recipients
    of unwanted communications, rather than the cost to senders.  (There
    may be religious or political unwanted communications that indeed
    NOBODY is interested in; these would also be solved by reducing recipient
    costs to near-zero.)
     > Sixth, because of the deadly combination of spam and viral spam, I'm not
     > sure how long I'll be able to keep the declanat_private address. I estimate
     > I've received over 10,000 spam/viral spam messages in the last month. I
    Is that all?  :-)  The design goal of grokmail is to handle 10,000:1
    noise-to-signal ratio; that is, to be pleasant to use if you got 1
    interesting message and 10,000 uninteresting ones in a day.  Whether we
    reach that goal remains to be seen.  Today it is not even stable enough
    that I recommend its use by anyone but me (its internal database gets
    too easily corrupted, requiring a reloading that takes days).
    The viruses themselves are trivial to filter out.  I suspect that the
    load from bounced virus forgeries that use your from-address will go
    down rapidlyu; and at any case they're easy to filter out too.
    Leaving these aside, what's your issue about spam -- has the rest of
    the spam suddenly gotten worse?  10,000 messages a month is only
    about 330 a day; not an unusual load for someone who gets more than
    a hundred INTERESTING messages a day, such as yourself.
    PS: gnuat_private has been a working and active email address for a
    LONG time, since before ordinary people could get on the Internet.
    I don't plan to give it up.
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