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Welcome to IWETHEY!

New Site registrations

This will be familiar to subscribers of the mailing list.

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There is a list of site registrations for web content requiring registration, but not payment for materials, at [link|http://twiki.iwethey.org/|TwikIWeThey], as topic [link|http://twiki.iwethey.org/Main/SiteRegistration|SiteRegistration].

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Several points to discuss include:

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  • Why do this?
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  • What should the registration convention(s) be?
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  • How should registration notifications be handled?
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  • Can this method be improved?
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  • Is there any downside to current practices?
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Why do this?

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The sites for which this is being done are no cost, but registration required. I'm not advocating undermining financially supported sites. I do strongly advocate resistance of mandetory ubiquitous marketing -- the increasing degree to which marketing and gratuitous data gathering occur -- both on the Net and in "real life). General referene: Bruce Schneier's Secrets and Lies.

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That's the philosophical background. On the pragmatic side: we're simply providing ready access to material that's already free. Organizational subscriptions to many such resources exist. Countering the anonymity, IWeThey is providing a readership consisting of a group of skilled and influenttial technology professionals. If a given site decides it would prefer not to have this audience, this is its prerogative.

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What should the registration convention(s) be?

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For sites in which the username can be freely chosen, the established convention is "iwethey/iwethy". This works for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other sites. The keypair is chosen in the long tradition of "cypherpunks/cypherpunks", which many sites now change, refuse, or otherwise counter (the Times, I'll note, finally abandoned this practice at cypherpunks6/cypherpunks6, perhaps realizing that there was a large potential namespace).

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Some sites require that the userid be an email address rather than a composed password. I'd previously used the IWE list address as a proxy for this, for a number of reasons:

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  • It is a known group address. Well, modulo some variance.
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  • The list itself is subscriber-only. Other than notification/confirmation messages (one or two per registration), mail received as a result of such registration (eg: "marketing" or spam) will be intercepted by the Mailman list management software, and can be readily bounced by the administrators (or whom I was until recently one). The list address is also publicized (you'll find it at the top of this page), and consequently does receive a measure of spam already, which the administrators have until now been taking care of. Emphasizing this last point: no mail is delivered to the IWE list members unless it is sent from a subscribed address, OR is EXPLICITLY approved by an administrator.
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  • Use of the list address conveniently means that any such registrations are automatically announced to list subscribers. The list archives (both public and individuals private mailboxes) serve as a repository of such announcements.
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  • On the basis that there has been some past confusion over the appearance of such messages on the list, I've taken pains to pre-announcing any such registrations so that both list administrators (Rob Nelson and Peter Whysall) and subscribers will be awware that the messages are authorized and specifically requested. This is at the specific suggestion of Peter's message of 9 December 2002: "Er, a little message to the list beforehand would probably have defused a lot of this tension." I also note not without a little irony that a major display of outrage occured not in response to the confirmation message itself but the courtesy notice I'd sent in advance to the list.
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It's been suggested that a nondelivery address be used for subscriptions, namely iwethey@iwethey.org. There are a few problems with this approach:

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  • The address is potentially useful, and we may wish to activate it in future, at which point it may be subject to a significant amount of irrelevent traffic. Invalid addresses directed to a domain still result in network traffic and may result in other administrative overhead (logs, postmaster summaries, etc.).
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  • There is an inconsistency in use of this address. Apparently several people are using it or slight variants, but haven't publicized use.
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  • The address isn't auto-notifying. Among the advantages of use of the list address is that people subscribed to the list are then informed of available registrations.
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My proposal is this: if a registrations-specific email be used, it should be specific to that purpose (eg: registrations@iwethey.org), and should be linked to an archive or list to which persons interested in seeing archives of registrations or receiving notifications, can be subscribed.

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There might also be a benefit to bringing mailing lsits somewhat closer in house. For the past several years, we've been graciously hosted by VTLUUG at Virginia Tech, courtesy of Rob Nelson. Rob's been largely inactive in IWETHEY for much of this time, absent list administration, occasional moderation, and the odd post. It might be better to have administration which is more conversant with the group's pulse as a whole.

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There is a very large benefit to running the list itself on hardware and networks independent of the rest of the group infrastructure. One of the initial motives for the mailing list was to provide an out-of-band channel for when IWE was down. Today, with both websites (zIWT and TWIT), and jIWT, all hosted on one box, a remote mailhost would be useful.

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Giving the the group direct control over lists would also allow for creating special-purpose lists, including the above-mentioned registrations list and others. Most of these would likely be administrative at present (the list never did and still doesn't see much traffic). But there appears to be a clear call for seperation of roles.

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How should registration notifications be handled?

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As indicated above, use of the list address itself handily addresses the issue. The net mail load is minuscule (a half dozen messages in the past 11 months). Registrations are broadcast automatically. Public and private archives serve as a repository of registered sits (in the event the TWiki page isn't updated).

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Switching to a nonfunctional address loses a number of these benefits, as discussed.

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A registrations-specific list would be a good middle-of-the-road alternative, it seems.

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Can this method be improved?

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The main issues I see with registrations are:

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  • An established standard set of identification tokens which can be tried, or registered, at a given site.
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  • Notifying the group of sites and tokens for registration.
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  • A protocol for registering new sites that allwos for notification and uses known tokens.
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  • Keeping administrative overhead to a minimum.
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  • Keeping incidental burden (tracking, spam, addresses, notification) to a minimum.
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Is there any downside to current practices?

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There is list mail generated. At present, a total of six posts in eleven months. There is a contingent who apparently feels this is to great to be acceptable, though the logic appears variable, divorced from reality, and inconsistent. The initial complaint almost a year ago, by a listmember who's otherwise almost wholly nonparticipatory in the group, was far and wide of the facts. Recent discussion seems to have revived several gross inaccuracies promulgated at that time. If various constituencies would care to attempt a reasoned statement of their greivances, I'd appreciate elucidation.

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One line of reasoning appears to indicate that use of a valid or group email is fundamentally unacceptable. Again, this hasn't been clearly or consistently explained, and I'd appreciate a cogent explanation of just what harm this causes.

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As has been frequently explained: the IWE mailing list is subscriber-only. Nonsubscriber posts are held for moderation. The bulk of these are spam. Occasionally a user posts form a new or previously unknown account, and they're either subscribed or (per announced policy in the past year) the message is rejected with a note to the sender to please subscribe via the list web interface. Spam is deleted. Forwarded posts (if sufficiently announced or the moderator is aware) can be approved on a special-case basis. Discussion with a fellow list moderator indicates that the overhead to date of dealing with registration-generated email is "little other than the increased administrative overhead" -- of which he's seen precisely nil.

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An alternative has been proposed, and was apparently in use prior to a formal offer from Greg Folkert (domain administrator), to use iwethey@iwethey.org/iwethey as a registration code. Interesting, in spot checks of a number of group members, nobody actually seems to know a site for which this code is valid (though I strongly suspect any mailing list member could name all those for which the list address works). At the same time, this is a use of a shared resource (a valid, and potentially useful address in the iwethey.org domain). As the sites aren't being publcized, this strikes me as a preemption of group resources for personal gain. By contrast, I've been explicitly registering and publishing registrations. Those who don't care to make use of the service are welcome not to.

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I'm at a loss to come up with any other negatives. Again, I invite anyone who has complaints to come forward and state them.

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Karsten M. Self [link|mailto:kmself@ix.netcom.com|kmself@ix.netcom.com]\r\n
[link|http://kmself.home.netcom.com/|http://kmself.home.netcom.com/]\r\n
What part of "gestalt" don't you understand?\r\n
[link|http://twiki.iwethey.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/|TWikIWETHEY] -- an experiment in collective intelligence. Stupidity. Whatever.\r\n
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   Keep software free.     Oppose the CBDTPA.     Kill S.2048 dead.\r\n[link|http://www.eff.org/alerts/20020322_eff_cbdtpa_alert.html|http://www.eff.org/alerts/20020322_eff_cbdtpa_alert.html]\r\n
New My $0.02.
Hi K,

It's generally a pretty nice writeup of your position (there are some typos and some other things that probably shouldn't be in there, but I won't digress further). I think if you had posted this and asked for input before the previous go-round, then the previous and recent unpleasantness on the mailing list would have been avoided.

I don't know the intricacies of administering mailing lists and the like, but if possible I think it would be best to have the site registrations segregated to a different mail address from the mailing list. People, IMHO, take their InBox very personally and want to have some control over what type of information shows up there. If there are ways to avoid it, having subscriptions/autoresponders and the like use a different address would seem to be the most friendly to readers of the mailing list.

I hope a consensus can be reached (between you, Peter, Rob and Greg especially) on this soon. Thanks for trying to work it out.

Cheers,
Scott.
New I have no argument with your intent.
Indeed I find it reasonable...perhaps a tad unnecessary...but otherwise an ok thing to do.

HOWEVER.

And it was offered...

The use of a specific, publicized and completely separate email address for those sites that require it is what was asked of you last time.

You simply chose to ignore those that asked you to do this...because I'm guessing it either represented some sort of inconvenience to you or you thought our wishes were misguided.

I, unfortunately, was never operating under any mistaken assumptions. I understood perfectly what you were doing then...as I understand perfectly what you are doing now.

All that you were asked to do was use an email address other than the mailing list.

How fucking hard is that?

And now we have goodbye's, insults, and petty bullshit because you, for whatever reason, decided to ignore the wishes of people on the list...and the list responded in exactly the same manner as it did 11 months ago.

Surprise??? Really??? You're kidding, right?

And I commend you for apologizing for your complete and utter overextension of your admin role.

Its simple really. You think its an over-reaction...this time and the last. Maybe it is.

Rick Moen thinks were idiots to the point of insanity. Maybe we are.

Neither changes the simple fact that you were asked after the first occurence to not do it again.

And you did.

And you again are acting surprised that it actually pissed people off. Again.

A simple...oops I fucking forgot last December would have solved the entire issue...even if it was a lie.

If you push something hard enough, it will fall over. Fudd's First Law of Opposition

[link|mailto:bepatient@aol.com|BePatient]
New Frightfully logical
YAN exercise in mob shriek psych, I thought. But then, what are my credentials.. I haven't even killed a patient in my clinic, yet.

'It' could have been undone simply - except for the apparently hard-coded pissing match about Authority and then Punishment.

What a waste. Y'all get to be Righteous because He Didn't Follow Orders. Again! (Instead - it looks like - he thought through the means for making *this* trial pain-free, he thought. Maybe thought it a pleasant surprise, for any interested.) Radical thought: just maybe some material from Out There might be of interest to The List members, after vetting. But then.. Why.. he.. Skipped a Step!

If someone else had made a sl. different 'innovation':
please to call it research. Then, if the innovation proved more onerous than expected, ~ "OK we tried it and, it's a PITA. Please remove. Thanks for your effort, though!" At least I Hope that would be the generic process.. though now I'm not at all sure.

If Karsten:
then let's make an Example. He has ignored the putative 'majority'! - well, of the small part of the List who ever post to the list. Maybe. (Must be a boatload of lurkers.) If 'taking precautions' == 'ignoring'. Yeah, maybe he should have recalled the previous Sky Falling hyperbole; not have been so confident that, once explained - his present precautions would be seen to have been adequate. Bad Karsten: acting spontaneously.

I Love It when folks talk about "If Only He'd ___" Still and all, we "put up with" folks here, across a large range of talents and propensities to irritate; I believe that such toleration is generally associated with ideas like 'maturity' / freedom from rote judgments about motives, and the like. And some foibles kinda grow on one.. the whiney posts kinda leaven the stark didactic How-tos and such, I think.

Karsten tends to just Try Things without a formal vote. What a hideous nonconforming attribute - why, people like that might try almost Anything. And without permission from moi! :-0

(IIRC we even had a complaint about Clockwork --> OmiAllah; we failed to obtain pre-consensus!) We can be sure that Next April 1 shall pass uneventfully; I'm sure my plot for a dead-chicken on-a-doorknob Logo shall be voted down. Never mind the Surprise! factor. Logicians like process. With safeguards. In advance. Let's All be Safe and unSurprised, shall we?


{mumble}
Scary.. such unhomogeneous flippancy. And with no Authority, even. Best to make sure that no one ever tries to change /add anything there - again. Wait - no need.



Ashton
New Take 2
On reflection.. having now read all the posts instead of just 90%

This is an utterly smarmy apologia for the massive mob overreaction to a simple trial feature, followed by mob-pile-on with full ad hominems -- maybe the worst (and least tenable) by one who doesn't even post on IWE! Yep, had he just consulted everyone at all times before ever trying anything.. No technical 'clarification' can justify the petulant BS I just reread.

Rob's Position of Having No Position Except the Imaginary-mob's - is in same petulant spirit as your post. Nobody Asked 'The List'. A handful of Avengers pretended to Be The List.

I don't think you've pondered for a second, the resource you and a handful have rushed to jettison for Bad Boy misbehaviour: an event completely without any lasting consequences for The. List. or for any of the legions of silent members supposedly On The List. And that List is not zIWE. But we are going to lose Karsten because of the small overlap who joined in the massacre.

One thing I'll bet: you won't be taking up the slack in either technical writing or TWiki housekeeping - now vacated. And those who know many Debian intricacies - won't be explaining those quite as well, or with nearly as complete refs.

And I know some other things I'll miss, along with Karsten's presence. One is respect.. something no mob has ever deserved.

I also note that these punctilious Enforcement Procedures were commited without my vote being sought, and I've seen that sort of 'dialogue' only on schoolyards when the teacher was absent: 'democracy' my ass. Lord of the Flies. I'll repeat -

IT Eats Its Own

unless they conform to the opinions of the loudest.


Ashton
I come from experimental physics; a different attitude there towards Trying Things. The significant difference now chafes more than usually, as I discern the extent of 'procedural regimentation' many of you folk must get from 24/7 list sorting and perhaps - biz hierarchy ?? Maybe after a while - those artificial titles begin to seem to mean something.
New You know,,,
I may miss these resources...but will maintain that this is an over-reaction on his part to something he should have expected and could have easily avoided. (indeed was given the opportunity to avoid by using iwethey@iwethey.org).

Yes...it is an extremely minor...nearly trivial act that started this.

Not the point.

The point is he was asked not to do it. And when those same people became upset >again< (dood...we asked you knot to do that!!) he decided to over-react and now leave. (If I can't do what I want, I ain't playing anymore).

Quite simply...I like Karsten....I will miss Karsten....but if Karsten wants to act like a spurned child...thats his prerogative and I'm certain that I will not be able to change his mind about it.
If you push something hard enough, it will fall over. Fudd's First Law of Opposition

[link|mailto:bepatient@aol.com|BePatient]
New Over-react? Act childish?
You sure your still talking about Karsten?

The whole mess was dissapointing and I'll be unsubscribing from the list as soon as possible. Autocrats who yell "It's a democracy" are the worst sort of hypocrits.
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It is much harder to be a liberal than a conservative. Why?
Because it is easier to give someone the finger than it is to give them a helping hand.
Mike Royko
New Language is imperfect.
There were overreactions on both sides. The discussion probably should have ended after the 2nd exchange from each participant, but it didn't.

The principals (Rob, Peter, and Karsten) were each trying to do what they thought was ultimately best for the list, but there was insufficient communication before hand.

I hope you'll stick around, Don.

Cheers,
Scott.
New Not leaving
Just dropping membership in the list. I never post to it and the only reason I'm still on it is laziness. I don't want to see that kind of crap again though, so I'll be removing myself as soon as I find the link to do so.

Fucking worse than spam.
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It is much harder to be a liberal than a conservative. Why?
Because it is easier to give someone the finger than it is to give them a helping hand.
Mike Royko
New To counter slightly
Yes, indeed, I still maintain that Karsten is over-reacting.

I also maintain that main reason for it is obstinance...but K is not necessarily the source of that.

But again, my statement above appears to be a misrepresentation...as it was not directly asked of Karsten...only offered as a suggestion...and so, as in the other area offer an apology for this misrepresentation.
If you push something hard enough, it will fall over. Fudd's First Law of Opposition

[link|mailto:bepatient@aol.com|BePatient]
     Site registrations - (kmself) - (9)
         My $0.02. - (Another Scott)
         I have no argument with your intent. - (bepatient) - (7)
             Frightfully logical - (Ashton)
             Take 2 - (Ashton) - (5)
                 You know,,, - (bepatient) - (4)
                     Over-react? Act childish? - (Silverlock) - (3)
                         Language is imperfect. - (Another Scott) - (1)
                             Not leaving - (Silverlock)
                         To counter slightly - (bepatient)

Enjoy your amazement.
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