META: New horizons for the Extropians list

Max More (
Wed, 16 Jun 1999 23:14:10 -0700

To follow on from my recent message asking this community to employ its intelligence and creativity to improving the list, here are some additional thoughts:

I continue to like the NodeNet idea, implemented as a web-based set of boards.. I also like Robin's Hanson's urging of posting of well-developed papers and essays. We used to have an ExI-Essay list for this purpose, which perhaps should be revived.

While we (that is a small handful of ExI officers *and* any all of your willing to step up and help) work towards implementing a web-based NodeNet structure, or similar, here's a possibility:

Shut down <> while we reevaluate its function. I do not feel comfortable having people see it as ExI's main list. It does not represent the quality and civility that I desire for ExI. Instead, an immediate replacement might be <> where anything goes (other than libel, of course). This would, at first, amount to little more than a change in name, but would move in the right direction.

Following that, to move towards the NodeNet idea of focused forums -- even before we determine whether a web-based implementation is feasible for us -- we may want to create a substantial "portfolio" of topic-specific lists with clear rules. The g-topic will be perfectly appropriate on a list devoted to political freedom, for example.

You could help with the above idea by suggesting possible ontologies for the set of focused lists. This is not a simple matter. Should there be a single list for all discussions of technologies, or divide this into nano, AI, computer tech, biotech, etc. (but drawing those distinctions will sometimes be difficult). Aside from technology/technologies, there might be a list on alernative social and economic systems, one on philosophical issues, or several that divide these into sub-topics.

Again, I think this would work best with a web interface that lets you view any of the forums you choose, in order to maintain a sense of community, along with essays and articles to stimulate list discussions. But we could begin simply by starting and expanding on regular email lists. My earliest suggestion for what I would like to see happen is at:

I share Harvey's frustration at lack of progress. I won't rehash the various reasons for this. I will just note two things: All the time I have to Exi right now is devoted to a major, tanglble project -- Extro 4: The Biotech Futures Conference. I'm disappointed to hear little comment on this. If we can secure funding from foundations, I would to follow up on the event with a book, or web-published proceedings, or set of policy and/or educational papers But more on that another time.

As always, I continue to welcome suggestions for changing the status quo. Please work with us, not against us.



Max More, Ph.D.
<> or <>

Implications of Advanced Technologies
President, Extropy Institute: EXTRO 4 Conference: Biotech Futures. See