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Re: Snake-Oil FAQ

Timothy C. May wrote:
> At 4:44 PM 9/22/96, Dale Thorn wrote:
> >The basic outline for any products included (and don't forget, just
> >getting included is some sort of endorsement, if you know what I 
> >mean)
> >could be a feature/bug listing, using common crypto terminology, and
> >could be followed by side-by-side argument paragraphs from the author
> >and from a reputable review panel.
> >The usefulness of the list would probably depend on:
> >1. The participation of all those names people like to name-drop on
> >this forum.
> >2. And/or the quality of the list itself if done without (1.) above.
> >   In this latter case, it could still be useful, but the variances
> >in evaluation owing to personal bias would be difficult to overcome.

> The Basic Problem (tm) with a "Snake Oil FAQ" is that the very persons 
> most in need of it won't read it.
> If those who post descriptions of their "Unbreakable Virtual
> Whammo-Matic Really Complicated Transposition Cipher" have not
> bothered to read Schneier or other basic texts on ciphers, why would
> they bother to read a Snake Oil FAQ? This applies to their customers 
> as well.

[additional text deleted]

Maybe I shouldn't have tried to (slightly) change the subject.  It was 
my thought that someone could encourage the person(s) who wanted to do a 
Snake-Oil product list to generalize the list, to be a more scholarly 
reference, and not just a blacklist.  Since the original(?) proposal 
concerned actual products, and not just techniques which fit into neatly 
identifiable categories, that might justify a Consumer Reports type of 
review list for these products.