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Re: Many Topics are Appropriate for Discussion Here

>Suppose I have serious and plausibly realistic aspirations to become an 
>authority in some subtopic of cryptography, network security, etc. (sometime 
>well into the next millenium). Am I more likely to learn and hone my skills
>by actively participating (sticking my neck out) or merely lurking
>indefinitely ?  Regardless of the answer to the previous question, should
>the list suffer me my missteps and naivete ?

This dependsd on what you are attempting to do. If you are attempting to
not be thought a fool by anyone then keep quiet. If you want to learn
something then you have to speak up.

If you have an idea then the only way to know if it is any good is to 
test it. In the sciences we perform experiments. In engineering and 
social sciences this is not necessarily possible. We can still test an
idea by voicing it and looking at the response. This is the heart of 
Habbermass's theory of communicative action (modulo it is impossible
to communicate such a complex set of ideas in a single paragraph).

Just because the response to an idea is hostile does not make it invalid
however, the quality of the responses matters. If you get back a reasoned
argument you may judge it on the basis of the plausibility of its axioms
and the correctness of its logic - accepting that the argument may be
incomplete and not fully explain the point of view.

If on the other hand people write "This is wrong and I've told the
person why in secret" then the argument probably isn't valid. The funniest
version of this type of post being the "Here is an example of what is
wrong, I won't waste bandwidth here explaining the faults even though
I have already done so in making the post in the first place. So I have
not only wasted bandwidth but interrupted a lot of people with a vacuous post.

To address perrys point on social security privatisation, If there was such
a proposal and the basis on which it were to be run was that the privatised
company would gain all the data rights then I think there would be the
very type of political debate that characterises clipper.

One thing about the "new" key escrow system that people have not picked
up on. Would you trust Microsoft to be a key agent if you were Lotus or 
vice-versa? Why on earth should private key escrow be any better?