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Re: Katz on cypherpunks, in HotWired's Media Rant
At 9:06 AM -0700 9/30/96, Declan McCullagh wrote:
>[Background: the cypherpunk/pw:cypherpunk account used for HotWired's
>Threads discussion section has been used for anonymous flaming and
> Linkname: The Netizen - Media Rant - Jon Katz
> URL: http://www.netizen.com/netizen/96/40/katz0a.html
Katz has no understanding of the difference between someone (or some bunch)
who use a name-password combination called "cypherpunks" with the
discussions on the _list_ called cypherpunks.
His comment, "Cypherpunks don't want real confrontations or discussions, or
they would reveal their identities and make it possible to respond, as most
flamers do. They are among media's rarest and at the same time most
easily recognized subspecies: nihilists." shows the same level of
sophistication as someone accusing Bill Clinton of misdeeds because
"whitehouse.gov" is used as a name/password for some forum.
Someone this naive (or this disingenous, if he knows better) has no
business writing for anything about the Net.
Once again, "Wired" and "HotWired" disgrace themselves.
>30 Sep 96
> In addition, the digital culture has long been demonized by the
> outside world and is inherently defensive and edgy.
> Cypherpunks give us fascinating insights into this subject, since
> their equivalent exists in no other medium, and they epitomize the
> often mindless verbal violence that characterizes some parts of the
> Net. Their original purpose - techno-anarchy and advocating unfettered
> access to information - conflict head-on with the Web's mainstreaming
> and the arrival of the newly wired middle class.
> Cypherpunks don't want real confrontations or discussions, or they
> would reveal their identities and make it possible to respond, as most
> flamers do. They are among media's rarest and at the same time most
> easily recognized subspecies: nihilists.
> Anonymous communication makes verbal violence easy. Since most flamers
> don't know their targets and won't ever meet them, it's easy enough to
> attack individuals and question personal motives, with none of the
> social consequences of face-to-face verbal assaults.
> And Net communication also offers no filter: because it's
> instantaneous, people often don't take the time to cool off, reflect,
> or take another look at the messages they mail and post.
> When tempers flare here, it doesn't even take the time of a phone call
> to pop off. So, hostile messages are often impulsive and frequently
> regretted, apologized for, or taken back and clarified.
> Since the Net makes communication so easy, it makes corrections,
> criticism, and discussion inevitable. Nobody who writes or posts on
> the Web should expect anything less than sustained and continuous
> challenge and critique, something that is rarely permitted in
> mainstream journalism. Web writers and posters have to see these as
> integral to their work - not simply attacks - and as healthy antidotes
> to conventional media arrogance and elitism.
> Accompanying the hundreds and hundreds of personally assaultive
> messages I've gotten - as opposed to the thousands of simply critical
> ones - there is a strange and recurring phenomenon: If you respond
> quickly and respectfully, the overwhelming majority of hostile
> emailers either apologize, change their tone, or write back in a more
> reflective, serious, or friendly way. Most of these posters are
> stunned that anyone read their mail in the first place, or, even more
> amazingly, responded to it.
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that that ain't allowed.
Timothy C. May | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected] 408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1,257,787-1 | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."