Re: History/archive of list (was Re: is there an archive ...)

Max More (
Sat, 3 Aug 1996 17:32:50 -0700 (MST)

At 05:36 AM 8/2/96 -0700, Tim Freeman wrote:
>a consequence, anything of value that happened on that list is
>essentially lost.

As I noted in reply to Erik, perhaps we should encourage old List
subscribers to repost (or add to the archives those of their posts that they
think especially valuable.)

>I once asked why this was done, and at least one person who knew
>refused to tell me. I am aware of two advantages of the old scheme:

Who refused to tell you? Maybe someone who didn't know! There's no secrecy
involved, so your statement puzzles me.

>1. It allowed people to speak their views with some confidence that
>they wouldn't get back to their employer. This is still possible with
>the present scheme; all you have to do is set up an anonymous remailer
>account and subscribe it to the list. Doing it with the anonymous
>remailer is more secure than trusting that all the subscribers will
>respect the privacy of the list.

This was indeed one consideration. I agree with your comments. That's one
reason why we decided to change things.

>2. In some people's minds it allowed sending copyrighted material to
>the list. Since the list was "private", this was not "publishing".
>This seemed dubious to me.

Maybe that was a consideration for some people, but I don't think it a
reason for our old policy. Certainly *I* didnt' think of that as a reason
for it, and I don't recall anyone else in on the decision thinking that
either. Umm, Your description does sound like Perry Metzger's line of
thinking, and he originally started this list, though very soon turned it over.

>I do not think either of these advantages was the cause of the
>decision. The brief refusal to explain the history of the decision
>mentioned AMIX (AMerican Information eXchange, now defunct), which
>leads me to guess that there was an earlier time when the list was not
>"private" and that someone tried to sell the archives of the list on
>AMIX at that time.

I don't recall anything like this. I don't think there was ever a time when
the list was not considered private. Perhaps there were individuals who
hoped to sell their restricted writings on AMIX, but that wasn't a policy of
the List.

>History tends to repeat itself with more vigor when it is kept secret.
>If my guess is right, then the current way of running the list is such
>a repetition. Is anyone who knows the history willing to speak up

I'm lost here. A repetition of what? The list has always been private, but
now it's not. This is a change, not a repetition. Nothing about the history
of the list or the reasons for it's policy is a secret.

I encourage others involved in creating the old List policies to add their
versions of what they remember.

Upward and Outward!


Max More, Ph.D.
President Extropy Institute (ExI)
Editor Extropy