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Re: So, What Now, NANOG? Was: Request response [important]

  • From: william(at)
  • Date: Thu Mar 18 13:50:26 2004

On Thu, 18 Mar 2004, Daniel Golding wrote:

> Its time to figure out what to do about this, employing a proactive stance.
> The answer is not "start a new mailing list". Names have power, as they say,
> and NANOG has the juice. So, a few simple proposals for people to chew
> over...
> 1) Turn on list moderation and recruit a corp of volunteer moderators. The
> FAQ volunteers did a good job, BTW. Dave Farber's IP list (not Internet
> Protocol, its Interesting People), is a good example of a low volume
> moderated list.

Direct moderation of every post I don't particularly like - this shuts 
free speach which is important and that is seed as bad for moderator may 
not be for many others; besides it creates an unfortunate delay and some 
subjects posted to the list were of most value when being posted within 
that short period of time - like when particular fiber cut occured or 
when somebody needs immediate help from such and such network, etc.

One of the options to direct moderation that some lists use is to better 
identify subjects by main grouping. Usually by adding [subject group] on 
the subject line and if you're not interested in anything [email-related] 
for example, you'd ignore such threads from the start and only focus on 
[bgp-routing] for example. We could come up with acceptable list of 
subjects and much later require every posted to use them when the people 
become familiar with how to do this. Moderator can change the grouping if 
it has not been chosen appropriately and post to the maillist when the 
subject should be closed. Those who regularly do not choose group 
correct can be set so that their posts are moderated. Setting subject 
would also some effect on viruses that would not be able to provide posts 
with correct subject either.
> 2) Convert this list into a blog or discussion forum with some sort of
> moderation. Yes, the idea of SlashNog is disturbing, but email is a pretty
> weak medium at this point in time, for multipoint communications of an
> important nature. We have stuff like RSS that may be better suited.
Not everybody agrees we are rather used to email and mail lists, 
particularly people here I suspect.

> 3) Figure out a better way to "gatekeep" nanog-post, to keep the number of
> permitted posters down and to confirm their identities.
> This forum is not of any use if any significant percentage of the posters
> are teenage IRC-lurking hackers or spammers. We need to "do the Darwin" -
> change or die.

Regarding those posting anonymously trying to go after others, this is 
problem with email in general that we either have to allow newcomer to 
communicate with you (presumed trust) which opens it up for abuse we all 
now hate or we can moderate ourselve to just few trusted persons and 
verify everybody new (which approach is also now hated by some for being 
very intrusive on especially when mail lists get involved). 

I'm not certain how we can deal with it properly in general, but PGP 
seems to answer this in that person's identity must be verified by 
others. Possibly this can be adapted either directly (require digital 
signature) or indirectly that new poster must be confirmed by two 
existing mail list members to be able to post. 

Or possibly simpler approach is that first-time posters are  by default 
moderated and then after say 4 or 5 posts, it is automaticly removed.

P.S. I'm not sure the situation with NANOG-l is that bad. Any high-traffic 
list has its own noise problems in general and I think it has not been 
that high here that you could not easily just ignore the thread when it 
turns into noisem, nor is amount of spam (non-existant) or viruses (none 
up until recently). I've seen it a lot worth ...

William Leibzon
Elan Networks

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