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Re: Anonymity: A Modest Proposal

On Wed, 18 Oct 1995, Doug Cutrell wrote:

> It seems that there could at least be a hierarchy of shadowed newsgroups,
> e.g. alt.freespeech.*,  requiring the enduser to use special software to
> reassemble actual postings.  This could even be integrated into the
> newsreaders, or even at a local newserver level.

There already is. I think the *.test (or at least alt.test) groups have 
good propagation. Nobody "reads" anything but their own posts anyway, so 
the natives wouldn't be bothered. 

There are some "real" (as opposed to usenet posting tests) *.test 
newsgroups, so you'd have to be careful about which ones you post to.

ire hierarchy for this sort of thing widely
propagated. Last year I was a prolific contributor to alt.config. At one 
point someone on c'punks mentioned problems in getting alt.anonymous and
alt.anonymous.messages. I hoped my good reputation in alt.config (at that
time, anyway ;) might help my call for a round of re-newgrouping to increase
the groups' propagation. But I found that I couldn't convincingly justify
their existence against the objections raised by news admins. 

Let me summarize the arguments I've seen against alt.anonymous.*:

1) It's a hopeless mess for readers, because messages on all imaginable 
topics will be jumbled together there. Messages there won't fit conveniently
into the flow of threads in other newsgroups. So anonymous messages intended
for general consumption will be pointless in alt.anonymous.*

2) In light of 1), people won't look there unless they expect a personal 
message from someone. So most of the traffic there will be irrelevant to 
nearly everyone on Usenet. 

3) If it has sufficiently low bandwidth for news admins to overlook 2), it 
should be a mailing list.

The fundamental conflict, as I see it, is this: 
For security reasons, we want messages to be distributed to a very wide
audience, although those messages are only of interest to a very narrow
audience. News admins understandably are generally inclined to accept
bandwidth only in proportion to readership. For practical reasons, they don't
want to carry messages to people who aren't interested in them. It's not
easy to convince the news admins to do it anyway out of altruism.

-Futplex <[email protected]>