Rick Knight (
Thu, 24 Jul 97 10:07:07 CST

Hal Finney wrote:

There are larger implications. By filling the list with stupid ideas,
we will attract the kind of people who like such things. It's a fact
of life on the net: quality attracts quality, and the opposite is true
as well. Ultimately the goal of comments like Perry's is to encourage
the kinds of discussions that will attract and keep the many fine
thinkers the list has had.

Rick Knight responds:

Not good enough argument to compel me. There've been voluminous
threads written about F111 planes (stemmed of Roswell thread I
believe) and the correlation between our mechanics problems and that
of an interstellar craft. Geez! Talk about a stretch of the
imagination! Oh but wait, there's some technical relevance there.

I think the controlling mentality is not justified...not yet. There
is plenty of quality material on this and as Forrest Gump would say
"Stupid is as stupid does." If unworthy posters are attracted to this
mail list, it is unlikely just by coincidence. Either they WANT to
learn and be educated or the appeal of extropian values/thinking
extends to the less-scientific, more sensational science
fiction-oriented mind. Me thinks a little o' both.

The best defense is a good offense: filter your mail. This digest is
cumbersome for me and I haven't the time to thoroughly read most of
it, particularly when ideas drift off into semantical offshoots that
essentially begin other topics. But I deal.

While I feel Perry M. has a right to be annoyed about whatever he
wants in regards to this list, allowing for questionable posts that
don't explicitly offend or harrass does seem to be one of the costs of
a forum where free expression of ideas are encouraged, even wacky

I think there are ways of curtailing the zanier notions without
resorting to elitist and overtly-critical tactics. It is my feeling
that quite often, a person with a gripe about one thing has a spur
somewhere else. E-mail lists are impersonal enough without resorting
to such imperious grandstanding. I would think that it would be a
near "prime directive" of an Extropian to not let the petty social
foils of our culture interfere with the exchange of information, even
if they don't agree with it.

By virtue of the discussion this thread has caused, people like Danny
could well be credited as an impetus for enabling us to look at what
triggers are desire to control, curtail and otherwise thwart
cooperative effort. I for one am not clutching my pearls in panic
that the poles are going to shift in less than 3 years. But if it
came out tomorrow that it was, I think it would be utterly fascinating
from a scientific as well as sociological standpoint!

For a brief moment when pouring through that thread, I asked myself
"what would you do if you only had 3 years left?" It was a great
self-exploration for me. To that end, scientific "garbage" or not, it
provided value! I look at the subjective "I" as well the objective
"it" (as Ken Wilber would say).