Spam. Again.. -- and blocking net blocks?

Vadim Antonov avg at
Wed Dec 11 00:30:48 UTC 2002

On Tue, 10 Dec 2002, Barry Shein wrote:

> The only solution to spam is to start charging for email (perhaps with
> reasonable included minimums if that calms you down for some large set
> of "you") and thus create an economic incentive for all parties
> involved.

Absolutely unrealistic... micropayments never got off the ground for a 
number of good reasons - some of them having to do with unwillingness of 
national governments to forfeit financial surveillance.

Even if e-mail will cost something, you'd still be getting a lot more spam
than useful mail.  Check your snail-mail box for empirical evidence :)

I'd say strong authentication of e-mail sources and appropriate sorting
at the receiving end should do the trick.  When I give someone e-mail 
address, I may just as well get their fingerprint and put in my "allowed" 

The question is, as always, convinience and useability - with a good 
design that doesn't seem unsurmountable.
> Face it folks, the party is over, the free-for-all was a nice idea but
> it simply did not work. See "The Tragedy of the Commons".

Linux does not exist, science disappeared long time ago, etc, etc.  Those 
are commons, too.

In fact, the prevailing myth is that property system is the primary driver
of progress.  As if.  It existed for several millenia (in fact, all higher
animals exhibit behaviour consistent with notion of property, usually
territory and females) and not much happened most of that time, aside from
endless wars.  Then the decidedly anti-proprietary "gift economy" of
science comes along and in couple hundred years completely changes the

The free-for-all is a nice idea.  Should be preserved whereever possible.  

Spam is not "tragedy of commons" (i.e. depletion of shared resources
because of uncontrolled cost-free accessibility) - the spam traffic does
not kill the network, last I checked (in fact, TCP's congestion control
provides a basic fairness enforcement in the Internet - which explains why
the backbones aren't really prone to the "tragedy of commons", even when
demand is massively larger than supply).

Spam is theft (i.e. unauthorized use of private resources), and should be
fought as such - by prosecuting perps, by installing locks, and by
checking ids before granting access.


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