Automatic time-based Subject-line declassification for -private
I was at a small party drinking perhaps too much port and I proposed
in jest a scheme which now, even though I'm sober, seems like it
might actually be a good idea:
Suppose we instituted a rule that every posting to debian-private had
to have, in its Subject line, exactly one subject like tag like:
Some robot would file messages tagged [d-private-YYYY] in an inbox for
YYYY. On the 1st of February YYYY, the inbox would automatically be
made public. (Messages tagged YYYY would be rejected after the 1st of
* Anyone who posts a message on -private knows when it will be
* If you want to say something more private than the thread you are
responding to, you have to make a deliberate action to adjust the
year in the Subject line. But you can still do that.
* If you want to say something _less_ private then can do so by
editing the Subject line appropriately. You are then expected to
appropriately remove or redact what you are responding to (including
quoted text and the bulk of the Subject). When you do this you can
still address the same audience as the rest of the thread.
* There would have to be some guidelines on what kind of redactions
are expected, since such redaction would become more routine.
* We might expect these `declassification dumps' to generate the same
kind of historical interest (but of course on a smaller scale) as
time-based government records declassification.
I would like also to suggest the following additional rules:
* Someone who feels that a message has been inadequate redacted in a
reduced-YYYY followup can complain to listmaster. If listmaster
agree then the errant wording needs to be fixed up in the archive
file. In the worst case there is a month to do this.
* Message-IDs of messages posted to debian-private are not
confidential. The upside is that someone replying
less-confidentially does not need try to stop their MUA from
including an accurate References header. The downside is that the
mere fact that someone posted to a thread on -private, and perhaps
the number of messages they posted, can no longer be (reliably) kept
Would anyone here use anything other than [d-private-never] ?
Ian Jackson <email@example.com> These opinions are my own.
If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.