Perhaps the simple solutions of a simpler world just aren't applicable in
the new, now-massively-popular internet. Many protocols on the net -- from
e-mail to usenet to more basic routing issues, all familiar to RISKS -- are
based in trust. When the net was small, trust worked; now, I have my
A couple years ago I proposed a new system to the team at CERN that created
the WWW. I won't bore everyone with the details, but basically 1)
discussion forums existed on an invisibly sliding scale between a
single-host web-annotations to a network-wide usenet group; and 2) user
access varied on a scale between completely-user-initiated "browsing"
through user-merely-notified "newsreading" to sent-to-the-user "mailing
However, the user interaction was with the local newshost, which then if
necessary dealt with remote servers. All articles, digests, summaries, etc.
that are mailed to a user are sent by that users' local newshost -- which
incidentally gives the user one central control point. (It also completely
automates mirroring and caching, which was my original aim.)
This certainly won't stop anyone from sending bogus mail. But it would be
more difficult to illicitly subscribe someone to a mailing list, and it
would be much easier for the user to clean up the problem.
Frederick Roeber firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com