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vintage cpunk

On 04/26/2016 05:56 AM, John Young wrote:
> Great repost. May is unique. And well armed and bunkered, physically,
> philosophically, politically.

Corralitos is a good place to 'bunker down' at. He still lives up there
last I knew (2015)


> At 01:27 AM 4/26/2016, you wrote:
>> From "Timothy C. May" <[email protected]>
>> Date: Sun, 2 Feb 1997 19:25:50 -0800 (PST)
>> To: [email protected]
>> Subject: My Departure, Moderation, and "Ownership of the List"
>> A couple of people have sent me pinging messages, asking about my
>> status on the Cypherpunks list....apparently it has taken several weeks
>> for folks to notice my absence! :-}  This may speak volumes about why I
>> have left the list, and what the list has become.....
>> I chose not to write a "departing flame" (or message, but some might
>> call it a flame) when I unsubscribed several weeks ago--within an hour
>> of reading that John and Sandy had decided to make "their" list a
>> moderated list, by the way--as I saw little benefit. I was also fed up
>> with things, and saw no point in wasting even more of my time arguing
>> against the New Cypherpunks World Order, as the NCWO was clearly
>> presented as a fait accompli, not something ablut which opinions of
>> list members (or even list _founders_, at least not me) were being
>> sought. It's my nature to just say "Fuck it" and leave when I feel I
>> have overstayed my time, or things are no longer fun, or I am made to
>> feel unwelcome.
>> But since several people have pinged me, asking about my status, I'll
>> take some time to say a few things. I've had access to the hks.net
>> archive site, and/or the Singapore site, to occasionally see what was
>> being said on the list (old habits die slowly, so I sometimes drop in
>> to see what you people are flaming each other about...not
>> surprisingly--in fact utterly predictably--I see vast amounts of
>> bandwidth consumed by arguments about moderation, about the putative
>> biases of the Moderator and Director of the New Cypherpunks World
>> Order, about alternative moderation strategies (which is stupid, as
>> John and Sandy announced what they were going to do, not just some of
>> their preliminary thoughts), and so on. I've also noticed fewer
>> substantive essays. With no false modesty I tried awfully hard to
>> compose substantive essays on crypto-political topics, often more than
>> one per day. (Others did too, but they seem to be tapering off as well,
>> leaving the list to be dominated by something called a "Toto," the
>> "O.J. was framed!" ravings of Dale Thorn, the love letters between
>> Vulis and someone name Nurdane Oksas, and the occasional bit of crypto
>> news. Ho hum. I'm glad I'm not reading the list in e-mail, and thus can
>> easily avoid replying to these inanities...which would probably not be
>> approved for reading by Sandy, so why bother anyway?)
>> Rather than compose a traditional essay, I'll take the  easy way out and
>> list some bulleted points.
>> * First, I don't argue that John Gilmore is unfree to do as he wishes
>>   with his machine, toad, which has been the major machine host for the
>> Cypherpunks list. John can tell us we have to write in Pig Latin if he
>> wishes. Much of the debate I saw in the archives was debate that missed
>>   the point about what John could and couldn't do. No one can seriously
>>   question the right of the owner of a machine, or the owner of a
>>   restaurant, etc., to set the policies he wishes. The owner of a
>>   restaurant is perfectly free--or used to be, and still is to anyone
>>   with even slightly libertarian or freedom tendencies--to set the
>>   rules of his "house." He may insist that shirts and shoes be worn, or
>>   that smoking is not allowed (or even is required, in theory), etc. He
>>   may say "All those eating in my restaurant must wear funny hats and
>>   have their costumes approved by Sandy Sandfort." This is
>>   unexceptionable.
>> * However, anyone who disputes these rules (disputes in the sense of
>> disliking or disagreeing with them, not legally challenging them) is
>>   free to leave. Those who don't like crowded, noisy, smoke-filled
>>   sports bars are encourgaged to leave. And so on. Again,
>>   unexceptionable.
>> (The more complicated case of contracts, verbal or written, and
>> "changing the rules," does not apply here. No one had a contract with
>> John, or Sandy, or Hugh, etc., so this is not germane.)
>> * But the really important issue is this: is the _physical hosting_ of
>>   the Cypherpunks mailing list coterminous with the "Cypherpunks"? If
>>   the list was hosted by, say, UC Berkeley or PGP Incorporated, would
>>   we consider these hosts to be the "owners" of the Cypherpunks group?
>>   Would we think that a corporate host, say, would have the authority
>>   to direct what we could say on the list? (Again, not disputing their
>>   corporate property rights...as a libertarian, I cannot. Other issues
>>   are what I'm getting at.)
>> * If a Boy Scout troop meets at a local church, and has for several
>>   years, continuously, would we consider the church to be the owner of
>>   the troop? Could the church insist on avoidance of certain "cuss
>>   words" and demand that prayers be said before each gathering?
>>   Certainly the church could tell the troop what policies were to be
>>   followed if the the facilities were to be used, etc., and the troop
>>   could leave if it didn't like the terms (or, in parallel with my
>>   situation, any troop member could choose to leave....). This is what
>>   we mean by "property rights": the legal right of a property owner to
>>   do with his property as he wishes, modulo prior contractual
>>   relationships, criminal laws, etc.
>> * How did the mailing list for the group, now called Cypherpunks, get
>> started, and how did it end up being run off of John's hardare? Hugh
>>   Daniel got the actual mailing list rolling, based on a discussion
>>   Eric Hughes, Hugh, and I had the day after the first physical
>>   meeting, in September 1992. We thought the group we had just spent
>>   the day with ought to be able to stay in touch, and that a mailing
>>   list was the right way to go. There was talk of siting it on the UC
>>   Berkeley computers (actually, the Undergraduate Association
>>   computers, a la the Cypherpunks archive site at "csua"), but Hugh
>>   thought he might be able to use "toad," and this is what happened. (I
>>   have not heard from Hugh on his views of this New and Moderated
>>   Non-Anarchic List.)
>> * I think we should all be very grateful to John for agreeing to let it
>>   run on his hardware, but not let our gratitude turn into some sort of
>> subservience and blather about how John "owns" the Cypherpunks group.
>> * Again, is the "Cyherpunks community" the same as the mailing list?
>>   And is the mailing list, hosted at toad, the "property" of John
>>   Gilmore?
>> * In my view, neither John nor Sandy in any sense "own" our group. It
>>   is a virtual community which sometimes has physical meetings at
>>   various places (including corporations, restaurants, and bookstores,
>>   none of which are even partial "owners" of the group) and which has
>>   had several instantiations on the Net, including sub-lists not
>>   connected to toad.com in any way. While John is of course free at any
>>   time to suspend his hosting of the list, I think it a serious
>>   misapprehension of the basic nature of virtual communities to accept
>>   the claim that John should decide on what is appropriate to bear the
>>   "Cypherpunks" list imprimatur and what is to be consigned to the
>>   flame list.
>> * The mechanics of the announcement troubled me greatly. To be blunt, I
>>   was seething with anger. I was mightily annoyed to read that John had
>>   made a decision to appoint Sandy as his Moderator, with no discussion
>>   on the list. I don't know if Eric Hughes and Hugh Daniel were asked
>>   their opinions, but I certainly know I was not. I feel that as one of
>>   the two or three founders, depending on how one is counting, and as a
>>   frequent contributor to the list since its inception, and so on, I
>>   (and others) should at least have been told of this plan. Better yet,
>>   have the plans discussed on the list, as some good ideas may have
>>   been generated.
>> I'll have more to say about my problems with how things were handled.
>> Frankly, it smacked of the same kind of fait accompli decision John made
>> with the unsubscribing of Vulis. While John had (and has) every legal
>> right to do with his property as he wished, the effect was very
>> negative. First, Vulis found other ways to post (duh). Second, the list
>> was consumed with flames about this, many from Vulis, and many from
>> others. Third, journalists (who love sizzle over substance any day of
>> the week) lept into the fray with articles which gave Vulis the
>> publicity he craved. Fourth, it sent a message to enemies of liberty
>> that "Even the Cypherpunks have found it necessary to abandon their
>> anarchic ways."
>> (I'm well aware of the issues with pests like Vulis, who seek to destroy
>> virtual communities like ours. But the solution John used did not work,
>> and generated more crap. As you all should know, it was John himself
>> who coined the wonderful saying, "The Net interprets censorship as
>> damage and routes around it." A delicious irony.)
>> * In the archives, I did see a bunch of "I support Sandy" and "John is
>>   our leader" comments from reasonable people. The obvious noise of
>>   Vulis and his cohorts like Aga made a "Do something!" attitude
>>   somewhat understandable. I don't think the decision made was a wise
>>   one, and I strongly doubt it will work to make the list a better one.
>> * The proper solution to bad speech is more speech, not censorship.
>> Censorship just makes opponents of "speech anarchy" happy--it affirms
>>   their basic belief that censors are needed.
>> * "Censorship" is another overloaded term. I don't think the
>>   "Definition 1" of dictionary definitions, about _governmental_
>>   restrictions, is the only meaningful definition. Everybody knows what
>>   it meant when we say that "Lockheed is censoring the views of
>>   employees," even though we know Lockheed is not using government
>>   power. A censor is one who censors. And even my "American Heritage
>>   Dictionary" gives this as its "definition 1":
>> "censor n. 1. A person authorized to examine books, films, or other
>> material and to remove or suppress morally, politically, or otherwise
>> objectionable."
>> (Other dictionaries of course give similar definitions. The notion that
>> censors are confined to being government employees is a misconception.)
>> * OK, even given that John had decided to censor "his" list, what about
>>   his choice of Sandy Sandfort as the censor? I've known Sandy for
>>   several years (I was the one who invited him to the second
>>   Cypherpunks meeting), but he's a poor choice as a censor, moderator,
>>   whatever. First, because he has so often gotten involved in
>>   protracted flame wars, such as with Vulis (remember the dozens of
>>   messages about the "bet" to bring Vulis out? I stayed out of the
>>   charade completely.), with Hallam-Baker, and with others. Second,
>>   because he has not been actively composing essays for a while,
>>   perhaps because of his job with Community Connexion. Other reasons,
>>   too.
>> (I count Sandy as a friend, but I'm just being honest here. Sandy is
>> just not a "Peter Neumann" (moderator of the "RISKS" list).
>> * Nor do the announced criteria make any sense. While the inane one-line
>> scatological insults have been filtered out, many "flames" make it
>>   through, based on what I've seen in perusing the hks archive site.
>>   And some reasonable comments get dumped in the flame bucket.
>> * As expected, those who only want to talk about cryptography (but who
>> rarely do, themselves, also as expected) waste bandwidth saying the
>> "anarchist" and "libertarian" stuff ought to go in to the "rejected"
>>   list. More bandwidth wasted, as each group lobbies to have its
>>   ideological opponents censored by Sandy.
>> * I would have had no problem had John announced that he was creating a
>>   new list, the "Good Stuff" list, with Sandy has his Chooser of Good
>>   Stuff. After all, both Eric Blossom and Ray Arachelian already offer
>>   just such lists, and more would not hurt.
>> But by making the _main list_ the censored one, this skewed things
>> considerably.
>> * (Frankly, one of my considerations in leaving was the feeling that I
>> would never know if an essay I'd spent hours composing would be
>>   rejected by Sandy for whatever reasons....maybe he might think my
>>   essay was off-topic, or used one of the Seven Deadly Words, or was
>>   "too flamish." Whatever. I realized that life is too short to have
>>   Sandy Sandfort deciding whether my essays should go out to the main
>>   list (which is really just a list like Eric Blossom's best-of list,
>>   except it is be edict now the main list) or be dumped into the flames
>>   list, to be read by a handful of people.)
>> * Why, many reasonable people may ask, did I not simply unsubscribe from
>> the "Cypherpunks" list and subscribe to the "Cypherpunks-Unedited) (or
>> whatever it is called) list? Because of my overall anger with the issues
>> raised above. The imperiousness of the decision, the notion of favoring
>> Sandy's tastes in a more "first class" way than, say, the tastes of Eric
>> Blossom, Ray Arachelian, or, for that matter, me.  "Some censors are
>>   more equal than others."
>> * The decision to "moderate" (censor) the Cypherpunks list is powerful
>> ammunition to give to our opponents, and Vulis is certainly gleeful that
>> his fondest wishes have been realized. And it won't work. People are
>> consuming even more bandwidth arguing the merits of John's decision, the
>> traffic is presumably being slowed down by the need for Sandy to wade
>> through the traffic and stamp "Approved" or "Rejected" on what he
>>   glances at, and people are "testing the limits" of what they can say
>>   and what they can't say.
>> * It also sends a message that people are incapable of filtering out bad
>> speech, that they need a censor to do it for them. (Again, I have no
>> problem with competing "screeners," a la having Ray, Eric, or David
>> Sternlight filtering what they think is OK and what is not. Let a
>>   thousand filtering services bloom.) But the clear message by having
>>   Sandy censor the main list (the default list, the list name with the
>>   main name, the list we all know about, etc.) is that Cypherpunks need
>>   Big Brother to shelter them from Bad Thoughts, from Naughty Words,
>>   from Evil Flames, and from Impure Desires. Foo on that.
>> * Psychologists might point to random reinforcement, even to the
>>   effects of terror. How many of us are likely to write controversial
>>   posts knowing that Sandy might wake up having a "bad hair day" and
>>   thus reject our posts? How many will begin to skew their opinions to
>>   match those of Sandy? (I would venture a guess that a Duncan Frissell
>>   would almost certainly get a libertarian rant past Sandy while a
>>   Phill Hallam-Baker might easily fail to get a leftist rant past him.)
>> * Those who want "less noise" should subcontract with the filter
>>   services of their own choosing. This is the "Cypherpunk Way." Having
>>   Sandy as the censor is the easy way out.
>> * By the way, the moderated list "RISKS"  works pretty well. But it is
>>   not a _discussion_ group. It is, rather, a digest of news items
>>   related to computer and technology risks, with some discussion by
>>   various contributors, and with a long turnaround time of a few issues
>>   per week, tops. Peter Neumann also devotes a lot of time to making it
>>   run smoothly and bases part of his professional career on running it.
>>   I surmise that Sandy is not prepared to do the same. Nor would this
>>   be a good idea, as this would kill the spirit of the debate.
>> * Had there been a debate about the policy, I can think of several
>> approaches I'd like better. But inasmuch as John made it clear that
>>   there would be no debate (and, perhaps as part of the "problem," John
>>   has not really been a active member of the mailing list, in terms of
>>   participating in the debates), this is all moot.
>> In any case, my several years with the list have taken a huge amount of
>> my time. Given the way this whole thing was handled, and the way the
>> list is degenerating even further, it looks like it's good that I'm
>> moving on to other things.
>> * To summarize:
>> - the decision to censor the list was made without any discussion on the
>> list, without any discussion with at least some of the longterm core
>> contributors, and was presented as a "fait accompli."
>> - while John has every right to do with his hardware as he wishes, he
>>   does not "own" the Cypherpunks group (though whether he owns the
>>   "list" is a semantically debatable point)
>> - whatever our group once was, or still is, is not dependent on having a
>> particular mailing list running on someone's home machine...and it
>>   cannot be claimed that any person "owns" the Cypherpunks group.
>> - there is some talk of creating another Cypherpunks list, on other
>> machines; I don't know whether or not this will fly, or if I'll devote
>>   any time to such lists.
>> - the effect of censorship, such as I have seen it so far, is not
>>   producing a better list. In fact, as I would have expected, it is
>>   producing a more boring and sheltered list.
>> And so there you have it.
>> I had no plans to set down my views, feeling it was a waste of my time
>> and your time. Rather than foam and rant the way some did (and Vulis
>> must have posted 100 messages on the subject), I chose to simply make
>> my exit, quickly.
>> But as I have recently seen several mentions of my absence (including a
>> particularly complimentary comment from Asgaard--thanks), I do feel I
>> owe it to you all to explain my views.
>> Which I have done. Have a nice year, and a nice millenium in a couple
>> of years.
>> --Tim May
>> Just say "No" to "Big Brother Inside"
>> 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: 2^1398269     | black markets,
>> collapse of governments. "National borders aren't even speed bumps on
>> the information superhighway."

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