Keith Robison robison at
Fri Feb 24 14:20:16 EST 1995

Richard H. Miller (rick at wrote:
: In article <3iktq2$s1p at>, ckrepel at (Candace Krepel) writes:
: |> I think registration and automoderation is a great idea. As to
: |> administrative difficulties with people not canceling out-of-date addresses,
: |> there could be an automatic annual re-registration, with the last year's
: |> list being purged.  This would help clean out students who graduated 8*).

: However, bear in mind one thing that happened during the CREDIT REPAIR spam; 
: the spammers included the magic cookie to allow the adds to be posted to 
: moderated groups. Auto-moderation will work to eliminate the clueless spammers
: but, unless a fundamental change is made in the news transport software and
: replicated globally, a determined SPAMmer will bypass any auto-moderation 
: scheme. 

I don't expect it to be driven by BIONET ( :-) `, but I do expect the
whole news scheme to be drastically rethought.  At least as I understand
it, Internet news is analogous to conventional newspapers in libraries
 -- copies of the news are dropped off at sites, which periodically
clean out their news.  Some articles are read a lot, for which the
resources of propagating them and storing them are well spent, and others
are read little if at all.  When news traffic is light and the
networks are subsidized, this is an easy way to go. But with 
subsidies for the Internet disappearing, all the news traffic is going
to end up costing somebody a lot.

An alternative would be for a few central sites (such as
to keep copies of the news for the newsgroups they oversee (which,
of course, BIONET already does).  When users want news, they request
it from the central site.  This keeps the accountants happy:
people only pay for what they use.  Large institutions, such as 
fair Harvard, might wish to locally cache certain groups or messages,
but would not be required to.

It's not difficult to imagine such a system growing out of the WWW,
and perhaps NNTP already has provisions for such things (does it?).
For the purposes of our current discussion, the big advantage is the
spammers couldn't circumvent the moderation, because there would
be no constant news traffic for them to slip into and because all
news traffic would be on a demand basis (and nobody EVER demands spam :-)

Keith Robison
Harvard University
Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
Department of Genetics / HHMI

robison at 

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