Felix Stalder on Wed, 2 Nov 2005 16:45:41 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> call to nettime moderators to change email address/systems [u]

Nettime gets about 1000 spam messages per day. About 95% of this is filtered out
automatically by SpamAssassin, installed on bbs.thing.net and configured by
nettime, the rest slips through and is deleted manually. 

I guess that's not an unusual situation for well-publicized email accounts.

Occasionally, we teak the filters, when too much spam is coming through, or when
we realize that legitimate email is being filtered out. Of course, this is
difficult to see as spam is deleted right away, so we usually react only to
complaints, like Geert's.

Spam filtering is a reality of email, a consequence, some say, of the openness of
the email protocols. There are thousands of ideas how to change that, some of
which would kill a project like nettime right away (i.e. attaching a 'moderate'
cost to sending out emails to make spam unprofitable).

Email list software, such as majordomo which nettime relies on, is ancient and was
written before spam became such a problem, hence it offers no way dealing with it,
and more generally, incorporates very little social process intelligence, but lots
of bottlenecks and opaque functions (such as moderation).

Thus, short of a radical rewrite of email lists software -- often promised, 
never done -- there is little that can be done within this format. 

Of course, there are other formats. Experiments with those are open to anyone who
might wish to use the nettime feed and pump it into another platform, but again,
it seems like there is, in the end, not much desire to do so. 

It seems there is a close relationship between the culture of an informational
network and the technological platform through which it is realized. Changing the
platform becomes increasingly difficult as the culture matures. In many ways,
decentralized networks are flexible only in so much as they easily constitute
themselves and easily fall apart. Decentralized networks that persist over time
seem to become conservative, that is, their culture is hard to change (lost look
how "radical" the recent overhaul of slashdot was). In itself, this might not be a
bad thing, given what Lovink and Rossiter call "short-termism" as the dominant
contemporary culture.



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