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Re: The Esther Dyson Flap

At 08:11 PM 9/2/96 -0700, Timothy C. May wrote:
>Esther Dyson says that anonymity on the Net can do more damage than
>anonymity in other forums, and thus may need to be regulated and restricted
>in various ways. I disagree, as "the Net of a Million Lies" (to use Vinge's
>term) has grown up with anonymity, and few people take the anonymous (or
>not) rants and charges made in the millions per day with the same degree of
>certainty they take print comments. Put another way, there is no clear and
>present danger.

Indeed, I support the elimination of concepts such as "slander" and "libel" 
precisely because they cause more harm than good.  Currently, there is an 
illusion among ordinary citizens that "if that was untrue, you could sue him 
for libel!" despite the fact that this is rarely practical.  In that way, 
the law actually adds credibility to what should be an incredible claim.  
Eliminate libel suits, and you've eliminated any presumption that because 
it's been spoken or is in print, it's likely to be correct.

Jim Bell
[email protected]