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Re: San Francisco Editorial
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Another point re Cantor and Siegel is that there is now a service
calling itself CancelMoose which goes through Julf's anon server in
Finland (anon.penet.fi) to cancel spams. (Spams are off-topic,
nearly-identical posts to large numbers of groups.) This is what Siegel is
really upset about. She and her husband are publishing a book telling
businesses how they can use spam posts on usenet as free advertising.
But now CancelMoose is a relatively accepted counter to these
increasingly-frequent spams (pyramid schemes, etc.). This makes their
book obsolete and really hits them where it hurts. But they can't sue
CancelMoose because its identity is hidden.
Personally, I don't like the idea of cancelling other people's posts,
spam or not. I would rather see news readers enhanced to detect copies
of posts I have already seen and delete them. The awful thing about
Cantor and Siegel's Green Card spam was that they didn't cross-post, they
used a bot to individually post to all groups. I was shown their
message headers for days. Ordinary off-topic posts don't bother me much
because I can ignore them easily. With a better newsreader the Green
Card spam would have been equally trivial to ignore.
The scary thing about cancels is that some proposals have actually been
directed at anonymous posts themselves. Someone anonymously posted
what purported to be a grisly transcript of the last seconds of the
doomed Challenger crew as they fell to the ocean. This caused a great
hue and cry and some calls for banning anonymous posts and/or
retroactively cancelling them. This led to some very amusing events
which Detweiler has chronicled in his FAQ on anonymity, the net result
of which was that the idea was discredited. But the emergence of
CancelMoose is not an altogether positive event in my view.
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