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Re: NYT on Internet Flaws

In article <[email protected]>, sameer wrote:
> 	I completely agree that the reporters on this list make things
> very difficult and people do need to be very careful about posting
> things which will get misinterpreated by reporters.. but--
> 	This list is -not- an "announcement" list. If I see a
> potential bug, I want other cypherpunks to tell me whether I am onto
> something or not, so I would post. If some idiot reporter takes that
> and writes an article saying "XXX has a hole" that is -EXTREMELY BAD
> 	I understand though, that we can't control what the reporters
> say and how they interpret what we say. It is very important to word
> your posts carefully such that when you post a bug a reporter won't
> think that they should write an article on it until it is verified.
> 	It's very sad, though, that we have to be very careful about
> what we post now because of the media attention. I would prefer if the
> list could just be a forum where we can discuss things, but that is
> not the case.


Don't lose heart completely that your discussions on this list are
not being read carefully by some of the media. As a case in point, I'm a
freelance magazine writer who has been lurking on this list for at least 6
months (although I do get behind at times due to the volume). My reason
for doing so is to become familiar enough with crypto issues so I
might be able to write intelligently about these at some point in the

Bad or superficial reporting is just that. It is part of a writer's job
to understand what he is writing about, or at least understand it enough
to be able to accurately inform the uninformed about something.

You shouldn't be too disheartened about mis-reporting regarding this
list because there is definitely something you can do about it -- at
least after the fact. There is nothing that makes a sincere writer
squirm more than his getting his facts wrong or even inadvertently
misinforming his readers.

If someone mis-reports something which is discussed on the cypherpunk
list, a letter to the editor clearly pointing out the factual error not
only has a good chance of getting printed, but also places the writer in
an uncomfortable position of having egg on his face with his colleagues,
bosses, etc. And while this might not undo the damage done by the
original article, the writer or reporter is subsequently likely to
check his facts a lot more carefully when writing about the topic
again (unless he or his editors have a hidden agenda).

Which isn't to say that the writers and reporters who lurk here will
necessarily agree completely with the general cypherpunk views regarding
crypto-anarchy and other such matters.

However, this is high quality mail list and the more that writers
and reporters lurking here, the more chance there is that your views
will be understood and given serious consideration. And those views will
increasingly surface as at least _one_ point of view presented in media
articles, whether they specifically mention cypherpunks or not.

Worthwhile ideas, if a few people keep putting them out there, have a
way permeating a culture in strange and sometimes almost untraceable
ways. Or as Margaret Mead put it: "Never doubt that a small group of
thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the
only thing that ever does."

... back into lurk mode.

-- Blake Harris