X-Message-Number: 6744
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 1996 04:00:23 -0400
Subject: CryoNet is Broken

Several of you, especially those who recently joined this list,
are probably wondering whether this is really the cryonics mailing
list (CryoNet), or whether you mistakenly stumbled onto a toddler's
playpen at which he is given free reign to fling his "PooPoo" at
all unsuspecting guests.  Unfortunately, it seems to be both.
That is why I titled this message "CryoNet is Broken" because
"PooPoo" is not the level at which we want to communicate.

How is this different from the situations we have encountered in
past years?  Certainly many rough words have been exchanged on
CryoNet, and it would be easy to say that I'm being hypocritical
by suggesting that _these_ offensive words are somehow worse than
_those_ offensive words.  Back then, though, I created a new
thread called CRYONICS.POLITICS and people posting on the current
hot-and-controversial topic usually directed their posts that way.
Somehow, I don't believe that if I created a special "PooPoo"
thread, that Mr. Anonymous PooPoo would direct his messages that way.
The intent behind these postings is different.  And they are persistent.
That intent is to troll, bait, and disrupt the list.  (Hail Eris???)
The intent behind the heated postings in the past was much different.

We have a tragedy of the commons.  The free, public good in this case
is the ability to post messages to CryoNet.  Among small groups of
reasonable people this can work well; it's a convenience that benefits
everyone, provided nobody abuses it.  (Or, when it does get abused,
if there are ways to remedy the situation so that it will work again.)
The persistence (and anonymity) of Mr. PooPoo make that quite unlikely
unless CryoNet changes.

So what changes can we live with for the next several years?
The most expedient solution does not necessarily make the best
policy.  For example, having someone act as moderator places the
burden of Editor on that person, with all the associated liabilities
and precious little recompense.

Another approach is to limit postings to people who are subscribed
to CryoNet.  Maybe that could be made to work, although there are
too many weaknesses in that plan for me to describe at 3:30 AM (EDT).

Yet another idea is to filter automatically any postings from the
one-way anon remailers.  There is some justice to that, I think,
and even a practical advantage.  The "justice" in requiring postings
to have a return address is that people who just got splattered with
the latest productions of Mr. PooPoo do not have to just sit and suffer;
they can shoot straight back at their attacker in private email (without
disrupting the list).  The practical advantage is exactly the same,
except that we call it "taking the discussion off-line".

I'll be taking some time off Aug. 15 - 20, probably with sporadic
email access but certainly not full admin capabilities.  Let me
know your brilliant ideas.  Thanks.

    Kevin Q. Brown

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