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From: lauren@vortex.UUCP (Lauren Weinstein)
Subject: AI
Message-ID: <494@vortex.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 4-Jan-85 18:21:57 EST
Article-I.D.: vortex.494
Posted: Fri Jan  4 18:21:57 1985
Date-Received: Mon, 7-Jan-85 02:12:26 EST
Organization: Vortex Technology, Los Angeles
Lines: 46

If anyone can come up with an AI program that can determine whether
or not a piece of text contains potentially libelous or copyrighted
materials, not only would I be personally interested in it, but
I suspect that every magazine and newspaper publisher in the world would
also be ready to snap it up.  I won't be holding my breath....

Without addressing in detail here the issue of who does or does not wish
to broadcast obscene language, I will point out the individual
publishers of any materials decide what they feel is appropriate for
their medium.  Time Magazine and Hustler are different sorts of
publications.  Persumably the people buying Hustler expect and desire
a different "type" of material from those buying Time, to say the least.

"HBO," late at night, might not mind running movies with occasionally
dirty words.  But you will not find a hard X film on HBO, and you
won't find any obscene language on Nickelodeon -- regardless of any
"theoretical" rights to run such materials.  They don't WISH to run them.

The important point, however, is that ALL broadcast materials and
publications that have mass distribution screen all input material
to meet legal, ethical, topic, and quality standards.  Does 
"Time Magazine" run every article sent in to them?  Of course not.
Does HBO (or even the "Playboy Channel") run every movie that shows
up without screening for suitability?  Not on your life.
Forgetting the practical considerations, nobody would read/watch these
services if they operated in such a manner.  Nobody would have the
time and few would have the inclination.  They'd turn into cesspools
in short order.  More cesspools in the world we don't need.


P.S.  To the AI screening advocates among you, I can assure you
      that there are innumerable means to bypass any screening software,
      even if the algorithms were not known by the public.
      I was going to demonstrate some of them here, but I've
      decided not to bother since they are pretty damn obvious.

      You can say a lot to libel or injure people without
      saying anything that software could detect!  I would think
      that this would be totally obvious to everyone.  And until
      software has the cognitive powers of the human mind, human
      screening will be needed by all publications that wish to 
      maintain any sort of quality, legal considerations aside.


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From: gnu@sun.uucp (John Gilmore)
Subject: Need for Stargate screening?
Message-ID: <1917@sun.uucp>
Date: Sun, 6-Jan-85 06:12:14 EST
Article-I.D.: sun.1917
Posted: Sun Jan  6 06:12:14 1985
Date-Received: Tue, 8-Jan-85 02:48:28 EST
References: <494@vortex.UUCP>
Organization: Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Lines: 17

Lauren, why are you trying to make a perfectly good Usenet distribution
service into an electronic Time Magazine?  If Time Magazine was good
enough for us, we'd buy it at a newsstand, or have them mail it to us.
Reread "Bug Jack Barron" by Norman Spinrad for an example of a live
public-access nationwide video "issues discussion" and how tempting it
is to exercise covert control.  Look at the Washington Times for a
low-tech example.

I certainly appreciate the technical and liason work you're doing, but
I really dislike your efforts to tie it to "forced moderation".  Please
let the net decide what it wants to send over this medium.  If the
case for forced moderation is good enough, it will stand on its own

Is there anyone at Turner Broadcasting (or whatever subsidiary we are
dealing with) who sees any of this discussion?  Will any of them be at

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From: lauren@vortex.UUCP (Lauren Weinstein)
Subject: Re: Need for Stargate screening?
Message-ID: <498@vortex.UUCP>
Date: Sun, 6-Jan-85 18:01:50 EST
Article-I.D.: vortex.498
Posted: Sun Jan  6 18:01:50 1985
Date-Received: Tue, 8-Jan-85 05:16:11 EST
References: <1917@sun.uucp>
Organization: Vortex Technology, Los Angeles
Lines: 145



Feel free to call me if you want to talk about this stuff in depth.
I've been over this again and again, and I'm sorry if I'm offending
your attitudes on these matters.  Be that as it may:

1) There will be insufficient bandwidth to send all materials indefinitely,
   even with high speeds, and the percentage of netnews that
   represent repetitious or useless articles continues to grow.  This
   growth will be astronomical as more sites join the net.

2) Even if there WERE such bandwidth, very few people would have the time
   or inclination to wade through all the muck to find articles of interest.
   Most people contacting me on this topic have been at least as excited
   about the prospect of a higher overall quality in netnews as about
   the means of distribution.  A few people can't seem 
   to understand the difference between editing and censorship, or the
   fact that many people no longer even read netnews since they simply
   do not have the time to pick through all the flames and meaningless

3) The legal issues surrounding national broadcast of materials are
   sufficiently cloudy that it appears likely that screening will be
   necessary simply to avoid transmission of materials that may 
   constitute libelous or previously copyrighted works.  Even if
   the project is theoretically in the right if it took a "common
   carrier" stance (which it can't do anyway due to bandwidth and
   other considerations) the existence of a single broadcast point
   will make it a logical target for lawsuits by people who imagine
   (rightly or wrongly) that their rights have been violated.  The
   project might ultimately win such suits, but we don't want the 
   suits in the first place, for obvious reasons.  Every day, I see
   cases of copyrighted materials posted to the net without 
   permission.  Right now there is no one entity to easily sue.  With
   the project, that entity would be much more obvious.  The history
   of such suits shows that both the author and the agency that did
   the distribution of the material tend to be sued in such cases.

4) The satellite carrier (which is not a subsidiary of Turner --
   Turner has nothing whatever to say about this) is not interested
   in simply providing us a "free" satellite channel to save us
   phone costs.  They are interested in working with us to establish
   a useful information service with public submission of materials.
   They are NOT doing this for their health, but hope to have a 
   service that will be of general interest to lots of people.  This 
   doesn't mean they expect to get rich quick -- they know they won't
   and they appreciate the experimental aspects of Usenet and that
   people don't have a lot of money to spend.  There has never been
   a broadcast service that allows the "public" to submit materials
   for transmission in this manner.  They feel that the time is right for
   such a service.  They think the Usenet community represents a 
   logical group that could contribute to and benefit from such 
   a service, so they are willing to go a long way to help get such
   a thing started.

   But this does NOT mean that they are just doing this for charity
   and saying, "Sure, send all your junk -- we're just swell guys."

5) The company is not on the net, mainly because they simply don't
   have the time to be.  I'm arranging for them to have an account
   on vortex so that I can forward them materials of interest, but
   after I showed them an unbiased sample of netnews, one comment
   I heard was -- well, let me put it to you this way.  I had to
   make it clear that we didn't intend to send that typical sample
   of material (there were 15 messages saying almost exactly the same
   thing in net.misc in the random sample I took) without some
   filtering.  They really couldn't believe that people spent money
   (for phone calls) to send so many low-information-content
   messages around.  I got the impression that they were starting
   to get cold feet about what they were getting into.  And who can
   blame them.  They want a high quality service.  Not a high-tech
   conduit for net.flame.  And I agree with them.  I convinced them
   of this and the project went ahead.

6) The satellite people are in general quite reasonable about
   what sort of material should be broadcast.  I think that
   with common sense we'll have a great deal of latitude.  But if
   we start yelling and screaming that EVERYTHING should be broadcast
   with no screening or controls, they're going to say, "Why the hell
   should we help support this?  This isn't a useful information 
   service suitable for national broadcast."  And they'll pull the
   plug so fast our heads will spin.  Remember that the only reason
   we have the chance to get the satellite time and access essentially
   for free is that the company is interested in participating in the
   project to create something useful.  We'd be paying full satellite
   rates (or rather, not paying them -- since we could never afford
   them, even collectively, and that would be that: no project) under
   other conditions.  

   They are NOT simply giving us satellite space and saying, "Go ahead,
   do anything you like -- we don't care.  We love giving away satellite
   time and computer resources..."  Rather, they want to build something 
   of value with us.

7) I encourage those who are not interested in the satellite project,
   and who insist that an information system is of no value unless
   EVERYTHING is sent, no matter how libelous, mundane, or useless,  
   not to participate in the project.  Feel free to keep using the
   existing network and send ANYTHING your heart desires.  That's
   what it's there for, I guess.  But frankly, the satellite project
   isn't being operated on the basis of a network-wide vote.  Those
   who don't want to participate need not.  Those who want to join
   in of course are encouraged to do so.  There are technical, legal,
   and practical considerations that shape the project in various
   ways which are not necessarily subject to personal opinions or
   desires, including mine.  We are working to bring about a useful
   service.  Nobody will be forced to participate.  The existing
   network can continue to operate just as it does now for those
   who prefer it.  But I do not feel prohibited from working toward
   something that might be a bit better for many of us, for the
   use of those of us who prefer it.  I appreciate your opinions,
   but you must realize that there are factors in a project like this
   that are not subject to our personal feelings about how the
   universe might "ideally" be structured.  Usenet, operating as an
   anarchy of separate machines, is one hell of a lot different
   than sending data to over 30 million homes (plus direct satellite
   feeds) over a national network.  To put it bluntly, some of you
   are looking a terrific gift horse in the mouth.  And if you
   keep it up, you'll succeed in destroying something that could
   be quite nice.  You cannot possibly realize how much was involved
   in even getting THIS FAR -- I haven't emphasized the difficulties
   and false hopes that eventually led to "success."  I didn't just
   snap my fingers and pop up with satellite time.  It was a lot
   of work and I enjoyed doing it.  But please understand that maybe,
   just maybe, you might not be fully aware of all the factors that
   must coexist to make such a project possible from a practical

I refuse to keep going over this again and again publicly.  People who
want to argue these topics should contact me directly, by netmail or phone.
I welcome your opinions, and I'm taking the opinions I hear into
account, but that doesn't mean that the project is operating on the basis
of network-wide votes.  If it did, I can absolutely guarantee that it would
never get off the ground.  I realize (from my private mail) that the
overwhelming majority of you apparently support the project.  To you
I say thanks, I appreciate your support.  If I didn't think the support
was there, I wouldn't be continuing with this work.  In Dallas, I hope
to have the time to discuss some of the aspects of the project that
I simply don't have the time to put into written messages just now.
I'll of course be happy to talk with any of you there about the
project in detail, as time allows.  Thanks much.


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From: robison@eosp1.UUCP (Tobias D. Robison)
Subject: Re: Software to screen future net news.
Message-ID: <1326@eosp1.UUCP>
Date: Tue, 8-Jan-85 12:15:51 EST
Article-I.D.: eosp1.1326
Posted: Tue Jan  8 12:15:51 1985
Date-Received: Wed, 9-Jan-85 05:38:05 EST
References: <494@vortex.UUCP> <32@osu-eddie.UUCP>
Reply-To: robison@eosp1.UUCP (Tobias D. Robison)
Organization: Exxon Office Systems, Princeton
Lines: 61
Xref: watmath

I've received some private mail with suggested ways
to trick a software moderator.  Based upon this I
am getting MORE hopeful that software moderation
can really be done.  Maybe we don't even need
sophisticated AI software to do it.

The following argument has some unexpected curveballs
in it so please follow carefully.  We have two

(1) The software moderator (I'll call it "sofref")
is a CONVENIENCE for people who want to avoid human
moderation.  It can be very restrictive.  If you
submit mail that doesn't follow its rules, you
simply have to accept human moderation.  Failure
to follow sofref's rules doesn't cause you to get
censored, just to be delayed.  Some perfectly
sensible types of mail could will be flunked by
sofref.  It doesn't have to accept all types of
OK mail.

(2) Sofref tries to accept material that is not
libellous.  If you make your pseudo-libellous
remarks sufficiently cryptic, or well-hidden,
THEY ARE NOT LIBELLOUS.  There is an enormous
body of law devoted to failed legal actions in which
printed matter avoided libel by thinly disguising
its intent.

Sofref can accept mail provided it consists only
of words known to it (except for the signature
of the sender).  To play it safe, it can flunk
obscenities and aggressive words. (NOTE AGAIN,

People have suggested fooling sofref by mispelling
people's names, e.g.: rreeaaggaaxnx.  But sofref
does not have to accept words it does not recognize.

Several people have suggested tricking sofref by
including vertical messages, or collections of
letters that spell out cursewords pictographically.
But sofref can flunk ALL pictures, and it can
randomly rejustify all paragraphs to ruin
vertical tricks.  (If you need your message to be
sent without re-justification, send it to the
human moderator; this is not a new problem,
telegrams used to be universally "shaped" by
the telegraph company.)

There may still be ways to sneak a curseword past
In order to be libellous, one must say something
in a number of words, and say it pretty clearly.

  - Toby Robison (not Robinson!)
  {allegra, decvax!ittvax, fisher, princeton}!eosp1!robison

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From: lauren@vortex.UUCP (Lauren Weinstein)
Subject: Re: Software to screen future net news.
Message-ID: <499@vortex.UUCP>
Date: Tue, 8-Jan-85 23:22:44 EST
Article-I.D.: vortex.499
Posted: Tue Jan  8 23:22:44 1985
Date-Received: Fri, 11-Jan-85 23:23:10 EST
References: <1326@eosp1.UUCP>
Organization: Vortex Technology, Los Angeles
Lines: 46
Xref: watmath

I don't have any intention of letting software take the place of
human screeners in any system that I have anything to do with.  All
it takes is one slip and problems could result.  If people
are doing the screening, you can at least show that you made
reasonable attempts to provide protection.  If you rely on
software, you are just asking to be laughed out of court.
I'd be amused if someone could find a SINGLE national publication or news
organization that would be willing to put material on a national
network, when it was submitted anonymously by the public and only
screened by software.  GOOD LUCK.

The whole concept of having AI software try to detect things
like even OBVIOUS libel is ridiculous in any case.  I'd sure like
to see the software that could detect the potential trouble in the

"Yes, the diode ratios are indeed negatively biased, but remember
that flow control can be inactive in areas of high gain.  By the
way, does everyone out there know about the guy who runs the
computer over at the big diode company on the net?  Yeah, you know
the one, the one that posted that message about skinning chipmunks
to the net last week.  Well, I hope you all realize that he
does terrible things to young people.  Yes, he has a long record
of acts that would certainly make him unsuitable for employment
by any company with any sense.  He doesn't even really
deserve to be alive.  I hope his boss fires him, and nobody 
else will hire him.  Anyway, the diode matrices can be best
determined by..."


Now, if this had been a real message, enough was said that could
result in the person being spoken about (who even though not
named, was clearly indicated in a manner that most net people
could understand) getting VERY upset, especially
if he lost his job as a result of the message.

This is only a trivial example.  I submit that designing messages
that could bypass automatic non-human screening would be 
exceedingly trivial in nearly all cases, given the current
state of the art.

However, this discussion is purely an academic exercise in AI as far
as I am concerned.  So dream on...


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From: re...@Glacier.ARPA
Subject: Re: Need for Stargate screening?
Message-ID: <2309@Glacier.ARPA>
Date: Thu, 10-Jan-85 00:36:11 EST
Article-I.D.: Glacier.2309
Posted: Thu Jan 10 00:36:11 1985
Date-Received: Sat, 12-Jan-85 05:50:22 EST
References: <494@vortex.UUCP> <1917@sun.uucp> <366@hercules.UUCP>
Organization: Stanford University, Computer Systems Lab
Lines: 51

As usual, Lauren is right, and one of the reasons I think that Lauren is
such a major league dude is that he has enough sense and self-confidence and
vision of the future to ignore all of the people who are flaming at him
while still getting work done, and yet have the patience to keep trying to
talk sense into the heads of the flamers. Wow.

In the long run, unmoderated channels produce swill. Anybody who hasn't
reached that conclusion by watching the growth of Usenet must have overdosed
on reruns of "Gilligan's Island" in his early teens.

I read a lot. I read magazines, newspapers, a few academic journals, an
occasional book, and a few Usenet groups. I really appreciate the role that
editors play in making my reading palatable. In fact, I choose my reading
material partly on the basis of who the editor is and what his editorial
policy is: how he chooses what to publish.  Lewis Lapham is a fine magazine
editor, for example. So was Norman Cousins for many years.  There are also
certain authors, such as John McPhee, whose work I will read regardless of
where it appears.

Unregulated Usenet is drivel. Amusing drivel, perhaps, but drivel. There are
factions that claim unregulated publication to be politically correct.
For example, when I lived in Pittsburgh there was a biweekly magazine called
the Mill Hunk Times, published by a bunch of socialists, whose editorial
policy was that anybody who showed up at their editorial offices with some
typed copy could get it published, FIFO. It was awful; nobody read it, and
it went out of "business".

Usenet is different, though. I'm glad it exists, even though I read about 2%
of the messages in it. It's a marvelously democratic, unregulated,
unregulatable, by-the-people-for-the-people, drivel mill. Makes me proud to
be a humanoid.

Nevertheless, we need moderated, selected, preened Usenet-style
communication, and Stargate is a great way to get it. The reason moderated
groups almost always die out for lack of traffic is that they don't offer
the author any more reward, any wider audience, any greater thrill of
publication, than the unmoderated groups. There is no motivation for a young
net flamer to calm himself down and write a professional-quality piece,
because he can dump his guts to net.flame or net.religion or net.politics
just as easily, and experience the joy of annoying 100 people in 12 hours.

Stargate offers something new, and I think we have almost a moral obligation
to exploit it appropriately. This new distribution medium will for the first
time offer something different in a moderated group, and provide an impetus
for all of you budding Menckens to get your work published in a respectable
forum. It will be the first real electronic magazine using our beloved
netnews technology, and I can't WAIT to see how it turns out. I might even
calm down my own flaming for that wider and more selective audience.
	Brian Reid	decwrl!glacier!reid
	Stanford	re...@SU-Glacier.ARPA

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From: geoff@utcs.UUCP (Geoff Collyer)
Subject: Re: Need for Stargate screening?
Message-ID: <328@utcs.UUCP>
Date: Sat, 12-Jan-85 01:04:06 EST
Article-I.D.: utcs.328
Posted: Sat Jan 12 01:04:06 1985
Date-Received: Sat, 12-Jan-85 03:02:33 EST
References: <366@hercules.UUCP>
Organization: University of Toronto - General Purpose UNIX
Lines: 10

Much of current USENET traffic is truly USEless: trash, tripe, gossip,
misinformation, repeated requests, ad nauseum.  I look forward to reduced
volumes of swill arriving each day and to moderation of even that traffic.
Very little of what we discuss needs to travel so fast that moderation will
hurt the discussion.

Note that transmission of fewer newsgroups or moderation of same is quite
likely on USENET-by-phone, let alone by satellite, since at least one
backbone site is finding the escalating phone bills unjustifiable.
And this will happen by fiat, not by voting.

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From: gnu@sun.uucp (John Gilmore)
Subject: Moderate landline Usenet first?
Message-ID: <1942@sun.uucp>
Date: Sun, 13-Jan-85 20:20:08 EST
Article-I.D.: sun.1942
Posted: Sun Jan 13 20:20:08 1985
Date-Received: Tue, 15-Jan-85 00:47:58 EST
References: <494@vortex.UUCP> <1917@sun.uucp> <366@hercules.UUCP> 
Organization: Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Lines: 36

I agree that lots of Usenet submissions are trash.  Everything is trash
to somebody.  What I don't want is centralized control.  That's the ONE
thing that makes Usenet different from every other network, and it's a
valuable difference.  For example, I submitted a message to the Arpanet
mailing list corresponding to "fa.telecom" describing the temporary
shutdown of a telecom-related magazine (TAP).  It was rejected by the
"moderator" who would not publish it because he was afraid DARPA would
object -- because the magazine was "out of favor" with the government.
The message described how the magazine had received arson threats and
how its offices were set afire, probably by government or telco
agents.  I'd have had no trouble posting it to net.telecom, unless of
course it was mod.telecom and sensitive to the possibility that the
uplink might be shut down by Reagan Administration or phone company
nuisance suits for reporting sensitive political news.

While the uplink IS a more likely target if someone tries to sue the net,
it hasn't happened yet, and if "society" is ready for a fast-turnaround
public access news medium, it won't happen.  If society's not ready,
then who are we trying to kid in creating such a medium?

It seems to me that there's a larger incentive to get real moderated
netnews going over phone lines than over a satellite, since the cost of
sending all the trash over phone lines is much higher.  Before agreeing
that all satellite news must be moderated, can we attempt to run a complete
landline network on that basis for a few months?  We should have plenty
of time before all the software and hardware for stargate are ready
anyway, and this will let us see how much trash it really does filter,
how much effort moderation is, how much slower such a network runs,
and what effect it actually has on "sensitive" submissions.

(I'm suggesting that we distribute net.all and mod.all in parallel for
a few months, so we can really see the difference.  We can arrange
the software so that each moderated group contains a subset of the
messages of the unmoderated group, avoiding retransmission and double

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From: lauren@vortex.UUCP (Lauren Weinstein)
Subject: Stargate and I
Message-ID: <502@vortex.UUCP>
Date: Mon, 14-Jan-85 02:12:01 EST
Article-I.D.: vortex.502
Posted: Mon Jan 14 02:12:01 1985
Date-Received: Wed, 16-Jan-85 04:47:20 EST
Organization: Vortex Technology, Los Angeles
Lines: 51
Xref: watmath

I intend for this to be my last message (other than status
reports) regarding Stargate for awhile.  The issues of
editing and screening (which some are still insisting on calling
"censorship," but I'm not interested in linguistic battles right now)
are important, but right now I need to spend my time trying to
make this EXPERIMENT WORK.  And it is JUST AN EXPERIMENT.  You know,
bubbling test tubes and sparks and groans from deep within the
Vortex "R&D labs."  Not a service.  Not a product.  An experiment.  

I am spending a lot of time working to try make a demo happen
at Dallas in about 10 days, and I just don't have time to keep
arguing future history right now.  Many people have suggested to me
that I simply ignore the arguing for now and proceed with the work,
and I'm going to TRY take their advice for awhile.  We'll have plenty
of time later to kick and scream and gouge each other's eyes out
if that's what some of you *really* want to do.  But not right now.
Remember when Steve Woods said that only a damn fool would send
unscreened materials through a fully operating Stargate service?
Well, I'm not a fool.  I have no intention of getting myself
into legal entanglements over a project that was (a) designed
to help people, not hurt them, and (b) is a volunteer effort
on my part.  If there are going to be endless problems with all this
stuff, you can bet that someone else will be running the service,
and I'll have nothing whatever to do with it from an operational
standpoint.  I really don't need the hassles, and I'll be damned
if I'm going to let myself get shoved into a position where the
hassle factor outweighs the good I thought I was attempting to do.

I am, in cooperation with Usenix, simply conducting an experiment,
and for all I know it may never get beyond that stage.  My crystal
ball needs batteries so my ability to predict the future is somewhat
limited just now, and speculation beyond the experimental stage,
at this time, is just that: speculation.

Assuming that the dish people can get a clear shot at the "bird"
from the hotel, we will hopefully have a demo on the afternoon
of Thursday, January 24th.  Some sample text messages are now
flowing through the system on a repeating basis, without any
obvious technical problems.  So from a technical standpoint,
we are in pretty good shape for this early in the game.

I may sound a bit cranky in this message, but I must admit
I'm getting close to the end of my rope when it comes to
all this early arguing.  The experiment continues, but I am
made of flesh and blood, not stone.  Please try to keep 
that in mind.  I'd appreciate it.



Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
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Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!burl!ulysses!allegra!bellcore!decvax!
From: lauren@vortex.UUCP (Lauren Weinstein)
Message-ID: <504@vortex.UUCP>
Date: Wed, 16-Jan-85 20:32:41 EST
Article-I.D.: vortex.504
Posted: Wed Jan 16 20:32:41 1985
Date-Received: Fri, 18-Jan-85 02:20:26 EST
Organization: Vortex Technology, Los Angeles
Lines: 192
Xref: watmath net.followup:4342

I am including the text of the threatening message from "hercules"
below.  Some of you will have already seen it.  But I want to
make sure that everyone interested in the project (one way or
another) sees this particular message.  I've had several people
already suggest to me that I or Usenix should take legal action
against the author of the message, under one or more of several
strong legal grounds.  However, my own inclination is not to hassle
with such things whenever possible.  I'll say this though.  If
the hassle level about this stuff continues to rise, I will pull
out and I will recommend to the satellite carrier that they pull
out as well.  In that respect, our friend at hercules may get his 
way--and then you can all personally thank him for the results,
one way or another.

I'm not going to go over all the issues again.  They've been 
discussed ad naseum in and, quite 
openly.  If you haven't seen them, I recommend that you dig up
the archives and look them over.  I'm not going to point out
the factual errors in the author's message, they have been
discussed already in previous messages.  My own impression is that
the clear issue bothering the message author is that he wants
to make sure that EVERYONE is forced, forever, to pay for and
receive EVERYTHING that ANYONE ever posts on Usenet.  Only in that
way can he be sure to keep getting all his free goodies, even though
he's forcing other people to pay for things they might not want,
and to spend their time wading through the muck.  But if that's
the way most people want it, that's fine by me.  The ONLY way stargate
can work is through moderation.  Not vicious censorship--but
considered moderation.  Nothing forces people to drop landline
netnews feeds other than their own costs and interests.  Right now
they are held captive by the technology of the net.  I was hoping
to give people some choice.

But I can live quite nicely, thank you, without threats and
intimidation over a damn volunteer project.  I am *this close*
to pulling my support from the project and recommending that
the satellite carrier refuse to provide facilities.  Some of 
the satellite people are going to be at Usenix, and I'll be
damned if I'm going to let them get insulted, even if only
by a few people.

I don't need this kind of sh** in my life.  Within the next
24 hours I'll probably decide if I'm going to proceed at all.
I know that there are many people out there who support the
project, and I have appreciated your messages of encouragement.
But I hope that you'll understand, after reading the message
below, why I may be forced to recommend that this entire
matter be terminated.  And if that happens, you'll have 
the author below, and a relatively few people like him,
to thank.

I have my own life to live and I'm not ready to put up with
this sort of stuff indefinitely.  I hope you all understand.



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9/28/84 based on 9/17/84; site hercules.UUCP
Path: decvax!tektronix!teklds!hercules!franka
From: franka@hercules.UUCP (Frank Adrian)
Newsgroups: net.cooks,net.crypt,net.cse,net.cycle,net.flame,
Subject: WARNING
Message-ID: <387@hercules.UUCP>
Date: Wed, 16-Jan-85 00:59:34 EST
Article-I.D.: hercules.387
Posted: Wed Jan 16 00:59:34 1985
Organization: Tektronix, Beaverton OR
Lines: 119

     First of all, let me apologize for the  multiple  post-
ings,   posting   to   groups   where   I   am  not  allowed
(net.women.only), and, in general, making a mess of the net.
Also,  let me say that ALL  RESPONSES to this  should either
use  or private mail to me.  Again I apologize  for
the  inconvenience,  but  in  this  case,  due  to this mes-
sage's importance, I feel this is justified.

     Also, the opinions posted here are my own and in no way
reflect those of my employer or any of its other employees.

     Primarily, the message is  that,  unless  something  is
done  shortly,  this  newsgroup  may not exist a year or two
from now.  To understand why requires a bit of history.

     The USENET was at first a very small net.  Being a very
small  network,  the  news  software was written as an unmo-
derated bulletin board system, where anyone could post items
thought to be of interest to all.  As time went on, the suc-
cess of  this  concept  became  evident,  as  shown  by  the
increased  number  of  machines  on the news network and the
corresponding increased volume of news items.  In fact,  the
volume  of  news  items  increased  so much that some of the
backbone sites were finding it hard to justify the  cost  of
news forwarding over long distance phone lines.

     A few months ago, a group of network administrators got
together  and  decided  to fund a project called "STARGATE".
Basicly, this was a  sound  idea.   News  sources  would  be
routed to the STARGATE transmitter which would beam the mes-
sages to a satellite which would, in turn,  relay  the  mes-
sages  to  more localized network hubs, thus alleviating the
need for as many long distance calls.  A  satellite  carrier
was  found and the plans for designing hardware and software
put into motion.

     Unfortunately, the people who have promoted this scheme
could  not  leave  well  enough  alone.   They felt that the
volume of "garbage" flowing through the net  was  too  high.
They  felt  that the carrier of these messages might be able
to be sued for possibly libelous messages.  They  felt  that
this  was  their  chance  to  play God and they took it.  In
short, the new network will have no unmoderated news.

     Any message that is to be transmitted through  STARGATE
will  be  screened  by a  moderator for "suitability of con-
tent",  "possibility of libel",  and  other  vague  criteria
which  only  he  moderators will know.  You won't be able to
protest a bounced message, because the moderator is the only
person  with  a right to relay your message to the STARGATE.
If your article is bounced or edited beyond recognition  you
won't  be able to defend yourself - how are you going to get
a message past the moderator?  In short,  you  can  call  it
moderation, but it's still a euphemism for censorship.

     "Fine," you say, "We'll just post  it  in  groups  that
don't  go through the STARGATE." Well, I wish that were pos-
sible.  Unfortunately, the backbone sites have decided  that
since  they have STARGATE, and all of the "important" groups
are there, they don't have to forward news articles in other
"less  popular"  groups.   The net, except for STARGATE ser-
vice, has effectively been destroyed.  The only  people  for
whom  the  net exists freely is the moderators.  The modera-
tors decide what are "acceptable" topics for the net.   They
have the power to say what you can say.

     The new people in power bleat, "We're saving  the  net.
Without  this  the backbone sites will desert, anyway." What
good is saving the net if only the people in power can enjoy
it?   If  they  cared about the net (and not just their cozy
little portion of it) they'd fight in their  institutions to
save  it.   The news network, as it stands now, is something
unique and should not be drastically altered.

     What can we do about this?  I  really  can't  think  of
much.  The net has always been voluntary.  One thing is cer-
tain, though.  As soon as STARGATE  goes  into  effect,  the
chances  for  a free network surviving is nil.  The institu-
tions involved can point to STARGATE and say that there's  a
perfectly good network right there.  There will be very lit-
tle chance to start a new network at that time.  So the only
thing  I  can  suggest is to try to stop STARGATE in any way
possible.  Let the people who conceived of this know that it
is  not  appreciated.   E-Mail  bomb them.  Flame them until
they drop.  If you see them in public, spit on  them.   Hide
dog  turds in their desks.  Disrupt the next USENIX meeting.
Check with your local ACLU to see if  there  are  any  legal
means to stop this.  Harass them in any way possible.

     In the mean time, organize.  Let your institution  know
that  you  appreciate this service they provide to you.  Let
them know that any change in the posting criteria of one  of
the  last  free  bulletin  board systems is not appreciated.
Set up an alternative network to take this net's place  when
it  folds.  Hopefully, there will be a place for unmoderated
news posting when this is over.

     The organizers have been less  than  honest  with  you.
They  hide  in (and, discussing
these things which will alter  your  news  service,  without
generally  informing  the  public.  The first you would have
heard about it is  when  backbone  sites  would  have  said,
"We're  not  transmitting anything but moderated groups from
now on." You wouldn't have been able to stop them.  Goodbye,
net.women.    Goodbye,   net.motss.   Goodbye,
Goodbye, net.rec.*.   Goodbye,  net.flame.   Goodbye,  every
news  group that doesn't relate directly with what you do at
work, is politically unpopular, or that  your  administrator
just doesn't like.

     It looks as if a great experiment is coming to an  end.
But  it  doesn't  have  to be this way, if we work together.
Save the net.  Stop the STARGATE.  Don't let them  take away
a  unique  and wonderful resource from us.  Together, we can
stop them.

                         Stop the STARGATE,
                         Frank Adrian

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Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!cbosgd!ulysses!allegra!bellcore!decvax!
From: lauren@vortex.UUCP (Lauren Weinstein)
Subject: what is stargate?
Message-ID: <510@vortex.UUCP>
Date: Sat, 19-Jan-85 15:49:18 EST
Article-I.D.: vortex.510
Posted: Sat Jan 19 15:49:18 1985
Date-Received: Tue, 22-Jan-85 05:15:28 EST
Organization: Vortex Technology, Los Angeles
Lines: 18
Xref: watmath

Unfortunately, I don't have sufficient disk space on vortex to keep
all the{.stargate} traffic on this subject around.  In
one sentence, stargate is on ongoing experiment to broadcast "netnews"
materials via the vertical interval of "Superstation" WTBS, available
in over 30 million locations via over 8000 cable companies (and via
direct satellite pickup).  For a variety of reasons, it became clear
that materials for broadcast would need to be "screened" by
human moderators (not by automated software) before being passed to
the broadcast satellite.  It is this latter point, which has been
discussed in great detail in and, that
has been taking up most of the space in these groups.  If you
can find the archives, you'll find it all there in full detail.

A very simple demo of the experiment is currently planned for the
Dallas Usenix on Thurs. Jan. 24 from 2-5 PM.  They don't have cable
at the Fairmont hotel so we're renting a small dish....


			  SCO's Case Against IBM

November 12, 2003 - Jed Boal from Eyewitness News KSL 5 TV provides an
overview on SCO's case against IBM. Darl McBride, SCO's president and CEO,
talks about the lawsuit's impact and attacks. Jason Holt, student and 
Linux user, talks about the benefits of code availability and the merits 
of the SCO vs IBM lawsuit. See SCO vs IBM.

Note: The materials and information included in these Web pages are not to
be used for any other purpose other than private study, research, review
or criticism.