Re: PR disasters

Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 22:31:03 MDT

> I dont know how to deal with deniability of archived posts
> other than to request a complete version of any quoted post
> and a request to confirm my authorship. spike

In the early days of the extropians list, there was a policy that archives
were not allowed. Each person was expected to agree not to store or
publish any messages from other participants without their permission.

I think this was mostly to address the PR problem. People were afraid
that if they knew their words would come back to haunt them, they
would censor themselves and we could not have a fully free intellectual

The early days of the list were heady and exciting. I don't believe
they were quite the "golden age" that some have suggested, but IMO they
were the equal of many of our most productive periods.

>From the viewpoint of historical completeness, it is unfortunate that
no publishable record exists of those discussions. (I would guess
that individuals did keep at least partial archives in violation of
the agreement, but they may have been lost by now and may never be made
public.) But at least it was one way to largely solve the PR problem.

Perhaps some thought could be given to the creation of a more freewheeling
counterpoint to the extropians list, one which required agreement to a
no-archive policy. (I am presently on one mailing list which has such
a policy.) Then perhaps certain threads could be shunted to that list
if they were getting into unacceptable territory.

Here's another idea, which just popped into my head. It doesn't help
with the "extropians believe X" taunt, but it would prevent individuals
from being linked to their comments in the archives.

Imagine a "pseudonymizing" mail list. Everyone who posts gets their
name transformed into a pseudonym which is a deterministic but secret
function of the email address (for example, the md5sum of a fixed secret
string concatenated to the email address). These are put in as the
"From" addresses.

The idea is that each person gets a pseudonym, which will be stable over
time as long as their email address remains the same. People would
get to know the personalities and characteristics of the pseudonyms,
and the mailing list would have much the same "feel" as an ordinary list.
It might even be that it was easy to make a guess about the real names of
some of the pseudonyms. The idea is not so much to have high security,
but rather effective deniability.

By putting the work into the mailing list server it makes the list much
easier to use. You could even make it somewhat fun by using one of the
funny-name generators on the web to create the pseudonyms.

Not a very well thought out idea, but perhaps some will like it -


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:14:21 MDT