[cryptography] New mailing list for cryptography discussion

Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn zooko at zooko.com
Fri Mar 12 15:41:51 EST 2010


On Friday, 2010-03-12, at 12:39 , Jack Lloyd wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 02:25:51PM -0500, Steven Bellovin wrote:
>
>> I'll give it a try.  Experience suggests that on occasion, you  
>> will have to intervene on certain threads.
>
> Perhaps so. My general hope is that at least most of the time, the  
> list population itself will do well in terms of policing /  
> enforcing norms. I think generally this is more effective at making  
> long-term change in behavior than a dictatorial stance from me,  
> especially as I
> lack much authority beyond the fact that the list happens to be  
> running on my mail server.

My experience running the p2p-hackers list for many years mostly  
bears out Jack's approach. I've never yet used moderator power to  
silence specific people or threads, although I have occasionally  
advised people politely on how they could improve their  
communication. (Sending them email privately seems to work better  
than publicly.) I finally did last year institute a policy against  
CFPs being blindly spammed to the p2p-hackers list, since CFPs seemed  
to be drowning out actual conversation. Today you can get your CFP  
posted to the p2p-hackers list only by including a cover letter that  
demonstrates that you read the list and you think your CFP should be  
of particular interest to the list members.

Of course, I've certainly seen many a forum disintegrate due to  
misbehavior or spam, including with the old cypherpunks list, which  
Perry's cryptography list was created to replace. I dunno, perhaps  
peer-to-peer hackers are more civil than the average bear. Or perhaps  
it is that you get a lot of mileage out of polite social pressure  
backed up by the implicit threat of your power to censor/ostracize.  
Some combination of that seems to have worked for me.

By the way, I had been intending to set up a Perry's-cryptography- 
list replacement just like this one, but since you did it first I'm  
happy to use yours. :-)

Regards,

Zooko



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