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REMAIL: Anon.penet.fi no
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> The anonymous service at anon.penet.fi has been closed down.
> But of course this political situation is mainly caused by the abuse of the
> network that a very small minority of anon users engaged in. This small
> group of immature and thoughtless individuals (mainly users from US
> universities) caused much aggravation and negative feelings towards the
> service. This is especially unfortunate considering these people really are
> a minuscule minority of anon users. The latest statistics from the service
> show 18203 registered users, 3500 messages per day on the average, and
> postings to 576 newsgroups. Of these users, I have received complaints
> involving postings from 57 anonymous users, and, of these, been forced to
> block only 8 users who continued their abuse despite a warning from me.
This is truly tragic. Julf has endured weeks of attacks and now The
Powers That Be have managed to shut down this widely used service.
In the debates we've had here about anonymous posting, we have distinguished
two problems: volume abuse and content abuse. Volume abuse is the use of
the remailers to send "mail bombs", excessivelly large or numerous messages
to an individual designed to fill his mailbox, or to similarly bombard
newsgroups with large numbers of messages. Most of us have agreed that
this is a legitimate problem, and various mechanisms have been discussed
to address this.
Content abuse is more problematical; it basically refers to someone posting
a message whose contents someone else objects to. The traditions of
freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the U.S. make it difficult
to argue in favor of restrictions based on message content.
Despite this, I have the impression that most of the objectionable messages
Johan refers to actually were objected to based on their content. It's
not that people were bombarding newsgroups with excessive numbers of messages,
it's that they were posting things that (some) people didn't want them to
It would be useful if Johan, after he has a chance to rest up a bit from
the recent political battles, could take the time to summarize information
about "abusive" posts. To what extent are the problems due to message
contents, versus size or frequency, for example? Are there any patterns
that can be gleaned about what material people most object to? In particular,
it would be interesting to know whether there was material posted which was
arguably illegal versus just in bad taste (in someone's opinion).
This kind of information would be useful for the next time someone is
willing to brave the net censors and start another anonymous posting
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