Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(February 2003)

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Subject: Re: [Fwd: EFF Mailing List Query]
From: "Roger B.A. Klorese" <rogerk @ queernet . org>
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 14:09:50 -0800
To: Rich Kulawiec <rsk @ gsp . org>
Cc: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <20030223185147 . GA25969 @ gsp . org>
References: <3E583DD9 . 8030705 @ vo . cnchost . com> <20030223142626 . GA20724 @ gsp . org> <3E590776 . 7050601 @ vo . cnchost . com> <20030223185147 . GA25969 @ gsp . org>
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.3b) Gecko/20030210

Rich Kulawiec wrote:

I am, however, very disappointed in their weak anti-spam position.
They do not seem to have grasped yet that the largest threat to online
free speech is spam and that therefore spammers and their supporters are
the mortal enemy of everyone who values online free speech.  They have
not yet -- as far as I can tell -- focused on the core of the problem:
spammers/spam-supporters, and have instead focused on the secondary
after-effects, such as erroneous blocking/filtering.  IMNSHO, this is
nibbling around the edges of the problem rather than attacking it at
the center.

I'm sorry, but I can't disagree more.

I, and every other publisher around, has a *right* to act like a citizen and not an activist, no matter how much this burns your ass.

It takes too much of my time to allow people to publish information for me to allot any of it to preventing bad-guys from doing so, especially since most of my clients will be perceived as spammers by their enemies, even though they never send a single piece of mail that is not to a confirmed subscriber. Our issue is that governments and corporations may choose to find mail from our clients unacceptable even when the subscriber himself requests it.

We have to work in the here-and-now. For me, it is a foregone conclusion that we will never be able to do anything to eliminate spam completely, because it will always be possible for entities -- service providers, publishers, whatever -- to connect to the net in a new identity, and nothing will ever auto-detect the first piece of spam sent and pull the plug.

Right now, >90% of the mail I receive at my personal account is spam. I use no filtering, and it takes me about 2 minutes a day to find the messages I care about.

What *does* interfere with my ability, and my users' ability, to get the job done is even a single false positive -- even if it is only tagged or refiled, not blocked or deleted, that action creates the preconception that the filtering is accurate, which intrinsically makes it useless. And that's why OPG does not offer its users any sort of spam blocking.

If you want to devote time to putting pressure on ISPs, fine. I'll write a check. I'll sign a petition. I have too much useful work to do in my corner of the net to devote any energy to the whole net.

By the way, EFF's interest in the blocking/filtering area has nothing at all to do with spam. It has to do with content that might be found objectionable, and with filters that might falsely mark content as objectionable. Even if the net never carried another piece of unsolicited commercial email, this vital issue would be there.

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