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META: on topics
A message from your list maintainer.
I try not to interfere with topic selection too much. I have only
once or twice specifically requested that some topic not be discussed.
Today, however, I want to offer a specific guideline about a group of
The guideline is as follows: Do not discuss topics on cypherpunks
which are already frequently discussed on sci.crypt or
alt.security.pgp and do not directly relate to cypherpunks concerns.
To illustrate this guideline, the recent thread on parallel DES
cracking has been well discussed on sci.crypt. This initial
announcement was interesting, and maybe one round of short comments
were appropriate, but the discussion should be held on sci.crypt.
There is already a forum there, please use it.
The list is large and getting larger. There are, by my guess, maybe
four times as many people who were previously on the list than those
who are on the list; most of these dropped out for volume, from the
comments I get.
I echo the call for self-restraint made earlier.
Others have recently written on what cypherpunks, the list, is about.
I have some comments myself, which are long, and go back to original
purposes, and such. I will not elaborate too far in this message.
_Pace_ Tim May, I do think that there should be some guidelines about
Cypherpunks is not all cryptography to all people, and parallel
DES-cracking particular cryptography is totally mainstream.
Cypherpunks is not totally mainstream. Cypherpunks is about
implementations of cryptography, particularly disapproved-of
cryptography--not just the privacy of epistles but the privacy of the
structure of society.
There can be no hard separation of topics between the newsgroups and
this list; I don't intend to enforce one. Nevertheless, some things
clearly belong better elsewhere. The existence of gray areas does not
prevent the existence of clear ones.
I do understand the concerns that some members of the list are new to
cryptography as well as cypherpunks. Cryptology is a large and
increasingly technical field; there is no substitute for some hours of
study. I myself have logged hundreds of hours reading technical
cryptography, and while I don't expect that many of the members of the
list will ever do that, I do expect that those who want to learn will
do some proactive reading. You can't be spoon fed a working knowledge
of anything; working knowledge is the result of working.
Since meta-discussion can easily bring down a group, I will appreciate
it if responses to this position are short, cogent, and thoughtful.