TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: A Shameful Surrender to Pornographers

Re: A Shameful Surrender to Pornographers

Robert Bonomi (
Tue, 01 May 2007 23:18:19 -0000

In article <>, <> wrote:

> Note: mention is often made of "the secret word" to include in the
> subject line to prove that the submission isn't spam. Unfortunately, the
> word is very secret. I've yet to see it mentioned in any recent posting,
> and I can't find it in the submission guidelines on the website. So I
> would like to request that Pat at least point out, without actually
> speaking the secret word, how we are to determine the secret word so we
> can use it.

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: For Gawd's sakes! This will be the last
> time -- hopefully -- I have to use the word 'telecom'. Do not make me
> say a word like that again in this Family Oriented Digest, please!
> Now you were otherwise saying ... PAT]

Note to the esteemed moderator -- you might want to consider how a _new_
reader of the newsgroup is supposed to divine: (a) the need to use a
'magic word', (b) =how= to use it, or (c) *WHATITHEHELL* it is.

You have invented an extremely effective way to 'discourage' new people
from participating in the group -- 'ignore them and they'll go away'.

Consider the _vast_ amount (*snicker*) of spam you get with either a
'Telecom digest' subject line, or the subject line of one of the
articles as posted to USENET. You -can- safely put the 'magic word'
on all the _outgoing_ messages, so that anyone who simply 'replies' to
the message has the appropriate incantations done for them

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: In order for me to divine how a new
reader is supposed to figure out this divine news group, first we need
to have YOU divine the volume and nature of messages received in this
divine news group each day: Let's say there are about 500-600 messages
each day purporting to be legitimate. Actually, maybe five or ten are
legitimate, the other 590-595 are spam. That's only the count of
messages which the spam filters (procmail and spam assassin) failed to

Instead of using your 'extremely effective way of discouraging them
from participating' (and really, do _you_ want spammers participating?),
I still send them a note saying their submission has been rejected. I
then manually scan those approximatly 595-600 items, ocassionally finding
some _NON-SPAM LEGITIMATE_ item, rarely, but ocassionally, and of
course I use it when I find it. Some readers say I am too loose about
that part of it: Are you suggesting I should be looser still in my
manual selection of what appears here? My experience has been that
when I widely publish the secret word (as you seem to be implying I
should do) my work load only increases. That is, if the magic word
was 'abracadabra' and it was published here daily, not only would you
Usenetters have the incantations done for you, but so would all the
spammers. In other words, messages with the subject line "This is the
telecom subject" would begin appearing in my system as "Abracadabra
This is the telecom subject" (or perhaps just 'abracadabra') with the
remaining five thousand or so words being the same foolishness as
before; instead of me being able to quickly scan the header and first
few words of the 'questionable message' and devote most of my
attention to the chosen messages for the day, I'd be going through
dozens of 'abracadabra' messages tossing them out. Instead of being
able to 'speed read' the subject line of dozens of messages at once
and tossing them, you'd have me read through the same number of
messages all incanting 'abracadabra' at me and wind up tossing them
anyway, is that it?

If someone writes here (new user, or whoever) I generally catch them
and deal with them, do I not? But I'll tell you what I can do,
Robert: Since you are a much more experienced Usenetter than myself, I
can see to it that all my rejects get re-routed to whichever moderated
or _unmoderated_ Usenet group you suggest, where you and other
Usenetters can pick through them looking for the rare new user --
innocent and virginal and all that rot -- which I somehow missed and
deal with the poor guy appropriatly. You can just let him know you are
taking over for the Moderator Who Doesn't Give an Iota (of much
anything), and that you will see to it his intelligent messages, et al
will be dealt with properly and appropriately.

ObRobert Snicker: *snicker*. PAT]

Date: 2 May 2007 00:12:50 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.dcom.telecom
Subject: Re: A Shameful Surrender to Pornographers
Message-ID: <>
Organization: Aracnet Internet Services
X-Telecom-Digest: Volume 26, Issue 115, Message 6 of 7
Lines: 90

Did I get the secret word right? :-)

> Now a few remarks about the rest of your letter:

> You claim drugs are illegal for anyone to use. That is
> false. Tobacco products require one to be at least 18 and the
> store clerk has to check your age. To use your illustration, what then
> prevents the store clerk from making a little 'secret list' of names
> (ala Joe McCarthy) copied from ID cards and abusing this list of
> names? Alcohol (another drug) is available if you are over 21. What
> prevents the bartender/7-Eleven clerk from compiling the same sort of
> abusive list?

The fact that they only look at the ID, they don't capture the
information. I suppose if someone had perfect recall they could create
such a list, but I doubt the people who stand behind the register at
7-Eleven have that good a memory.

Besides, the entire article is ranting about "perverse", "disgusting"
and "illegal" activities. I'm fairly confident that she wasn't talking
about legal drugs like tobacco there. In fact, I expect most adults
wouldn't think of tobacco as a drug.

Even if someone did create such a list, tracking socially acceptable
behavior doesn't really get you much. However, I imagine most adult
bookstores and bars would have a difficult time staying afloat if every
patron had to let them photocopy their picture ID and enter the
information into a database before being allowed to enter.

> The only completely non-privacy invasive way would be by simply asking
> the potential viewer "check this box if you are over majority age".
> And naturally -- but of course! -- kids would never lie about that,
> would they? That would be like asking children 'are you old enough to
> buy these cigarettes and this beer?' and just taking their word for same.
> I've never seen any children lie about things like that, nor about their
> sexual urges either, for that matter.

I agree that's not good enough. Technology has created a difficult
problem. A solution would be to separate verification from
identification. After all, you don't need to know who they are, just
that they're old enough. Obviously we don't have a method for doing
that now, but it's technologically feasable.

> And just because what you term the 'religious right' says something
> does not automatically, as an entire subject, make their point of view
> wrong.

I don't have a lot of respect for the "Religious Right" and their ilk.
But it's not because I don't have an open mind. It's because they've
demonstrated through their behavior and their words over the years
that they're belligerent, intolerant and completely focused on
imposing their views and beliefs on the rest of society. In fact, I'm
apalled that they call themselves "religious" since their
ultra-conservative intolerance goes against everything my Catholic
education taught me.

Still, I don't believe something's wrong just because they said it. In
this case it's wrong because what they propose is a further erosion of
our constitutional right to privacy, it's dangerous, and it wouldn't
be effective in 3/4 of the world, which would still be accessible to
100% of the US children.

> The porno peddlers _still_ want to sell their wares, do they
> not? So the government, via the court, has now said "you may not
> demand identification in order to view;

No, they didn't. They said,"you don't have to." There's a huge

> My point yesterday was that the very same people who climbed all over
> the librarians about 'internet porn filters' not being any good are
> now trying to say the same filters are pefectly good enough to use.

Sorry if you thought I was addressing your comment. I wasn't.
Filtering software is a poor solution. It's been shown time and again
that it not only doesn't work, but that it restricts access to
legitimate material and sometimes enforces hidden agendas of the
people who provide the blacklists.

Maybe we wouldn't have these situations if we didn't have such
repressive ideologies promoted by conservatives who seem to be afraid
of sex. There are other cultures in the world where sex is not a "sin"
and is openly discussed with appropriate education. A comparison of
the effects of attitudes and practices on the health of the respective
societies would be interesting.

John Meissen

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