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An Appeal to Calm



Folks,

Tempers have flared. Angry words have been sent out to the list. We've all
been mail-bombed by an angry member of the list (who wants off--NOW!).

I guess this is our first real flame war--now we're a real mailing list!

But let's not let the current controversy confuse our very real mission,
nor hide the progress we've seen so far (remailers, spread of PGP,
experiments with digital cash, etc.). If we let the list self-destruct
through a few unfortunate incidents, all hope is lost.

* The "unsubscribe" problem will hopefully soon be fixed. Maybe an
automatic handler (like "majordomo," someone suggested) can be installed.

* Mailing lists like this one characteristically have wildy fluctuating
traffic levels. No messages for a couple of days (leading to "Is the list
broken?" queries) and then 50 messages in a single day (leading to "Enough
already! I can't take the volume." messages). Remember, it is the list
membership that is generating the volume, not the list management (such as
it is).

* Some have said the "cypherpricks" list is generating all noise and no
signal. Many of us would disagree. Actual code is being written, deployed,
and experimented with. One bunch is helping with PGP, another is writing
and deploying remailer programs, another is pursuing steganography (hiding
messages). Pretty impressive. Especially for a new mailing list.

* And relatively little flaming is going on. The closest we've come to a
real act of malice was the mail bombing of the list by a disgruntled
member--I won't go into that further. 

* There are serious issues involving the uses and abuses of these various
tools and capabilities. Anonymous postings carry obvious concerns. So does
untraceable electronic mail, with the potential for extortion threats and
even fully-secure markets for assassinations and other crimes. Some of
these issues have been discussed on the list. No doubt some see these
debates as "noise." Well, a mailing list cannot of course only cater to one
particular set of needs.

* If we don't discuss these kinds of issues on this list, who will? The FBI
and NSA undoubtedly. So why not we the people?

I hope things can calm down a bit.

-Tim May



--
Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
[email protected]       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | Public Key: MailSafe and PGP available.