[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Many Topics are Appropriate for Discussion Here

Timothy C. May writes:
> Implying that the reason Bellovin and Karn left the list--if they did, as I
> haven't checked--was because of "off-topic" posts seems to be a stretch.

They both left because the noise level was too high and the
cryptography content too low. I'll ask Steve to comment if you insist.

> Certainly using the departure of J. Random Subscriber, or even R. Noted
> Hacker, as "proof" that topics are inappropriate is flawed logic. "We've
> lost fine subscribers like Phil Zimmermann because of crap posted here." I
> suspect there's some fancy Latin name for this kind of appeal to authority.

The point of this list is to provide the community of people who are
interested in cryptography and its application to further personal
freedom to congregate and exchange information. If important members
of that community -- people with important input to give -- cease to
be here because of the noise level, then we most certainly are not
meeting our goal. Its not a question of appeal to authority, except
that we want this list to appeal (in the other sense) to authorities
in this field.

> Lots of other people have joined the list, and the subscription base has
> done from an earlier plateau of about 700 subscribers to more than 1200
> recently.

I don't care about quantity. Steve Bellovin is worth 500 subscribers
-- maybe 1000. I'd rather hear his or Phil's off the cuff remarks on a
lot of this stuff than most of what passes for careful thought from
the average person here.

> Political aspects of strong cryptography have always been important to this
> list. Though new subscribers may be forgiven for thinking this is the
> "Netscape bug list," such has not always been the case. Key escrow was a
> dominant topic in the early days, as it is today.

Key Escrow is a fine topic of conversation. My problem is when someone
posts a long and totally irrelevant article about the value of
internet stocks to the list, as just happened.