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[Freedombox-discuss] Store-and-forward is a necessity

On 4 March 2011 08:30, StealthMonger <StealthMonger at nym.mixmin.net> wrote:

> And later in this thread, michiel at unhosted.org (Michiel de Jong)
> suggests the good idea of extending Usenet to Freedombox hosts:
> > to set up a revival of usenet....  putting usenet into the
> > freedombox would probably be easy, and definitely noone could say
> > we're reinventing the wheel (although, maybe rediscovering a
> > forgotten wheel)
> "Extending Usenet to a new medium" would be more accurate.  Usenet has
> not died.  Probably the NNTP Usenet protocol can be adapted to the
> Freedom Protocol.
> Moreover, pools can be used for both sides of a dialog, not just the
> ACKs.  See stealthmail [3].
> [1] http://mixmaster.sourceforge.net/
> [2] http://www.is-not-my.name
> [3] mailto:stealthsuite at nym.mixmin.net?subject=send%20index.html

OK, this leads to some complicated issues.

I have used Usenet since 1985, which is a moderately long time. I'm still
officially 'control' of the scot.* hierarchy, although that hierarchy has
been more or less destroyed by trolls and is moribund. I've been active over
the years in a number of groups, and until last month was a moderator of
uk.rec.cycling.moderated. But gradually - partly as sensible people have
left - the tide of trollish behaviour has washed out of the old alt.*
hierarchy and destroyed many once-useful groups. Don't get me wrong - some
Usenet groups still work very well, especially in technical areas.

But the anonymity of Usenet certainly allows a certain proportion of people
feel disinhibited from behaving extremely badly - from using behaviour which
they would certainly never use in a face to face situation. I've often felt
that Usenet could be rescued if people had to register their real world
identity - where they lived, what they did - before using it. It would
prevent nym-shifts and sock puppets, and would mean that trolls would know
that there could be real-world consequences of their misbehaviour...


But if we're to provide a system which works for people living under
repressive regimes, then we have to allow anonymity. And if we allow
anonymity, then we allow nym-shifts and sock-puppetry and all the trollish
behaviour which has eroded Usenet. I don't see a solution to this, beyond
using webs of trust and reputation to allow our clients to discriminate
between 'trusted', likely-to-be-valuable messages and untrusted,
unlikely-to-be-valuable ones...

BUT, again...

If we do that, then some new user to the system reporting some significant
human rights violation is unlikely to be listened to because (s)he won't
have a reputation and won't have a well-developed web-of-trust.

I don't have a solution to this. I think it is a genuinely difficult problem
at both technical and social levels.

At a technical level Usenet has a lot of merit and a sort of UsenetNG with
the addition of opportunistic routing, webs-of-trust and automatic digital
signing of messages to prevent (or at least expose) in-flight modification
is a good model for at least part of what we want to achieve; Usenet
successfully mixes real-time and store-and-forward transmission models to
achieve rapid decentralised worldwide broadcast of messages, with relatively
low bandwidth consumption. It could even use existing NNTP transport and
Usenet servers for part of its backhaul (although existing servers obviously
can't do opportunistic routing).

Simon Brooke :: http://www.journeyman.cc/~simon/

        ;; Stultus in monte
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