Re: When was the last time an extropian post changed your life?

Max More (
Sun, 30 Nov 1997 23:09:40 -0800

Replies to several posts...

At 02:08 PM 11/30/97 -0800, Geoff Smith wrote:
> Also, I don't think being a member of the
>extropy institute implies you make less "noise."

*On average**, I would say that those who have joined ExI provide more
content and less noise than those who don't. Of course there will be
high-signal non-members and high-noise members, but there are too many who
join the list without much of a clue about our interests and perspectives.
This move will reduce the number of such folks, since the uninformed
usually don't become ExI members until better informed.

This move will also mean we can block spam.

As I will explain in a separate message, improving the signal/noise ratio
is one goal of this change, but it's not the main one. Even if that doesn't
happen as expected, I think the move is desirable for ExI.

>Others, who would contribute a lot to the list, may not be interested in
>joining the extropy institute, either for monetary reasons or because they
>do not want to incur the wrath of those who would take out their petty
>frustrations on the members of the extropian movement.(ie. misguided

I don't understand this. If there are Luddites out there who want to hunt
down extropians and transhumanists, they can do that as easily for the
non-members as for the members. If someone is afraid of a Luddite attack,
they should stay off all lists, or post anonymously.

Harvey Newstrom says:

>I wasn't around when the list became free again. What was the reasoning
>behind that decision? Have the motivating factors changed? I also was not
>around when the PPL system of voluntary list-policing was abandoned. What
>happened to the PPL experiment that governed the original list?

It was too difficult to maintain records of who had paid the list fee and
who had not. The change we are about to make should be much simpler to
administer. Good thing too, since so many are too stingy to join the
Institute so we have no money to pay for adminstration. :-)

Damien Sullivan says:

>Given the $95 price tag on membership mentioned in the most recent
>Exponent newsletter, this may not be too likely. Of course, it may
>drive signal people away as well. A list membership fee of $8 hit the
>list hard some years ago. $95? I don't think I can justify that to
>myself. And the "benefits" were interesting: a t-shirt, mug, or
>mousepad, oh my.

Wow, Damien, I'm glad you're not doing marketing for ExI! You didn't
mention the Exponent newsletter that keeps members up to date on what's
happening and helps them network, the local meetings, or the substantial
discount on the EXTRO conference (that paid for half the dues this time

Damien, I thought you were a student. If so, the rate is merely $30. Hardly
a burden. For those who think $95 is too much, note that Alcor yearly dues
are $360, The Life Extension Foundation (which uses membership to sell many
products) is $75, and the World Future Society professional membership is
$95 ($175 for full prof. membership).

We *have* to raise dues. Personally, I have worked some of the time for a
ridiculously small amount, giving up opportunities for properly paying jobs
in order to develop and disseminate extropian ideas. Most of the time I
have worked for ExI for nothing. The other directors have worked for
nothing. The advisors work for nothing. David McFadzean manages the list,
the web site, and the domain for nothing. Derek Strong, our webmaster,
manages the site for nothing. Those who contribute to Extropy (and now
Extropy Online) do so for nothing.

It does costs money to run an organization. The current membership dues are
insufficient and we don't want to ask yet again for donations. I don't
understand why so many capitalist-friendly people seem to expect us to do
all that we do with such a pitiful income.

>More interesting is the right to "sponsor one new member". This implies
>either that future membership will be restricted to those spoken for by
>members, which is disturbing,

No, it doesn't mean that. Why on Earth would we want to restrict membership
entry only to those spoken for by others?

or (more likely) that a current member
>gets to bring in one new one for free.

Yes. It's a way of accommodating those who feel they don't earn enough to
join themselves, and who don't do anything for the Institute that would
justify a lower rate.

Ed Sona says:

>Personally I think one of the issues is that, given the increase of
interest in
>extropy, the idea of single list for an international community is outdated.
>Perhaps the communication in the ExI could be better distributed by separate
>lists for different topics. Also, an emphasis on local gatherings outside of
>California and other forms of networking might help. I for one would like to
>hear from extropians and transhumanists in the Chicago area.

I agree that a single list cannot serve all purposes. That's why we now
have several local lists and will be adding others. We recently added a
European list since we're seeing growing interest there. We are setting up
the NodeNet forums -- special email lists focusing on particular topics.
And we want to encourage the formation of more local groups and chapters.
(Working with us to do this is a good way to get a break on or waiver of

We would have more local meetings if more people were organizers. We've
been adding more places to the Local Events section of the Exponent
newsletter, and want to develop local activity further. I'm glad to hear
that you're interested in getting together with others in Chicago, Ed. I'd
love to work with you in getting it started. You may be the only doer in
the area, so if you don't start something, it may not happen.

Michael Butler says:

>Yes it's expensive, if this is the plan. But _I'll_ gamble a 1-year
>membership if the people who stay all plan to make the experience worth
>$95/yr to each other. I think of it as a pledge. I'm not being snotty about
>the decision I've made to invest. I expect dividends or I'll cut my
losses. :)

Great! But remember it's not just the list that you're paying for. As with
this year, members will receive a discount on EXTRO 4. Since I intend to
attract some well-off folks interested in life extension, I expect us to
make the registration higher to keep the organization alive, but to give a
major discount to members. With that, the newsletter, the networking, the
meetings, the new forums, the web site, the media work, etc., we will do
all that we can to make it worth it.

>Not being a member doesn't mean anything. Being a member means you put some
>money where your mouth is.

Yes. Many people just want to talk and not do anything, nor do they want to
make it possible for others to do anything. We appreciate very much our
members, who are willing to back their values with a little cash.

>Well, ExI isn't the only game in town. There is a lot of transhuman doing
>to be done. Excelsior!

I'm delighted to see the spread of transhumanism and the budding of other
groups. I hope the new groups -- unlike ExI --- have wealthy founders. If
not, they will end up either shutting down out of personal and financial
exhaustion, or they will have to charge sufficient dues and deal with

Geoff Smith says:

>The fact that you have to pay at least $100 dollars to join an institute
>to participate on a general extropian mailing list reeks of one of those
>cults where the members are wearing rags, and the leader is driving around
>in a Mercedes.

First, it's $95 (less for those with special arrangements), not "at least
$100", and it's $30 for students. Perhaps you didn't intend it this way,
Geoff, but the way you put it is sadly reversed. Many ExI members and
potential members have very well paying jobs. Meanwhile, a number of those
most active in getting things done work for nothing or for absurdly little.
I'm embarrassed to admit that instead of driving a Mercedes, I drive an old
Ford with well over 100,000 miles on it, and until very recently I didn't
even have that. I live with a large amount of credit card debt thanks to
working for ExI for extremely little instead of getting "a real job". And I
am the *only* person who ExI has ever paid any kind of salary to.

Your comment reminds me of a my very first TV appearance -- in England on
the morning news in 1987 when I debated a Prof. of Surgery on cryonics. As
we left the studio, the fellow turned back to me and sneeringly said "I'm
sure you'll make a lot of money." Knowing how the folks at Alcor had worked
for years for so little, this cheap shot made me furious.

Kathryn Aegis
>>Given the $95 price tag on membership mentioned in the most recent
>>Exponent newsletter, this may not be too likely.
>I didn't see this until I read the updated mission statement. I'm
>not going to be able to renew next year at that price, and I can't
>imagine that other members at my income level will be able to either.

Kathryn: I wish there were more like you -- transhumanists who actually
*do* something. Currently you are contributing to the Institute's work by
acting as an editor for Extropy Online. We will be very happy to work out
breaks for members who are not rolling in money and who are contributing in
other ways. You are such a person.



Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute:,