NodeNets and ExI: A step back?

Paul Hughes (
Thu, 04 Jun 1998 18:52:09 -0700

Max More wrote:

> My own perspective on this is that the NodeNet forums should incorporate a
> reasonable degree of exclusivity. We do indeed want to build a strong
> reputation for ExI. The lists will not be open to all. They will be
> restricted to ExI members, and only those applying members whom each
> NodeMaster deems appropriate or qualified for a forum.

Since such list will only be open to *members*, how will any of this improve
ExI' overall reputation? A post I made awhile back suggested that rather than
require membership to read the contents of NodeNet, that a small reasonable
subscription fee be instituted as a way of covering costs. Membership in ExI
could then include a subscription to NodeNet as well as other perks and
discounts on books, conferences, etc.

> However, to address Reilly's concern, the criteria of "qualified" will vary
> for each list. Even if desirable (and I agree it is not), qualifications need
> not be academic degrees. (Requiring higher -- or any -- degree in relevant
> fields, given the size of ExI's membership, would guarantee very little
> participation!)

I can't help getting the feeling though that somehow such a system will in
short time be abused by the occasional shortcomings of the NodeMaster, where
personal feelings, egos and the like will keep otherwise intelligent posters
from being included. Also, the intrinsic exclusivity of the NodeNet is almost
completely retrograde to the evolution of the Net as a spontaneously ordered,
open, agoric, free-marketplace of ideas.

> For highly technical forums, we probably want to be more restrictive in
> allowing members to be posting-enabled Participants. Here, either a formal
> background in the topic, or demonstrated knowledge in writings, previous
> email list postings, etc. would count.

This is probably a good idea, which is why such high caliber content should not
be restricted to those with ExI membership.

> For other forums, especially highly
> cross-disciplinary ones, or more practically focused ones, the default
> might be that all applicants can be participants, with the NodeMaster
> merely screening out those who have shown little substantive imput in the
> past.

All I can say here, is I hope such an idealistic scenario works. As Heinlien
once said "Specialization is for insects", and as Extropians, cross-pollination
is becoming more and more the benchmark for informed debate.

In this time of flag-buring and prayer amendments, new and improved
communication decency act legislation and cloning bans, the rational, positive
and life-affirming agendas of the trashumanist community are needed more than
ever. I just hope that the proposals you are making Max are the ones that will
proliferate extropian ideas and not exclude them to the select few.

Most Sincerely,

Paul Hughes