Hold on to your news servers

John M. Brown wrote:

Wouldn't it be nice if people actually quoted things correctly....

Quoting from his FAQ as posted on inet-access.


I presume you are referring to me. Here's the train of logic.

Karl's system is opt-in.
His cancels never make it to Usenet.

Then something goes wrong, and cancels leak to Usenet.

Now every Usenet news admin in the world must change their system, and/or
every Usenet user in the world posting binaries must register with
Karl's system.

At that point, Karl's system is now opt-out.
At that point, Karl's system is cancelling legitimate, on-topic posts
made by users wholly unrelated to his new business and his customers.

This entire line of logic depends on the likelihood of something going
wrong with Karl's system, where cancels leak out onto Usenet at large.
(Remember, for his "opt-in" claim to be true, his system must never fail.)

Now we turn to history. _Every_ attempt to prevent article leakages
on Usenet has failed. Chris Lewis' (?) example was ClariNet -- they
have far more money, lawyers, and connections than Karl ever will,
but they continue to battle leaks.

The logic connection is now made. All news admin opinions I've read
in the past 48 hours agree with my own -- cancel leakage is likely,
if not inevitable.

And if this wasn't enough justification, here's a further list of
problems, which I sent to Karl and copied to a newsadmin list.

Note the lack of response to certain key items in the second post.


P.S. Sorry for the verbosity. My last public post on the subject.
Karl will hang himself without my help :slight_smile:

[ First post -- my take on problems with his system -- he responded
  to all points ]

1) No accountability. If your goal was to make these cancels public, it
would be trivial to shift the blame and put yourself in a position where
the downstream peer gets all the heat.

2) No privacy. Requiring registration in order to post is a great idea
for cutting down spam, but it's the Usenet equivalent of a poll tax.
Individuals who do register have given up a slice of privacy in order to
do so. Individuals who do not register may have their post canceled.
Anonymity is treasured by many on Usenet.

3) No leak detection. I can guarantee that your cancels will
leak all the time unless you peer only with clueful admins -- not
just admins who pay a fee, or say they run a news site. Take a
look at Usenet II and see how their software works, and how their
network-within-a-network is set up. (even they have leaks, but it is
less frequent than your system, in its current incarnation, will wind

4) Censorship. Cancelling means you are denying someone a voice.
In this case, _your_ system denies anyone who has not registered with
your service a voice. And if one of your peers decides to leak your
cancels, you are now censoring the entirety of Usenet.

5) Attacking the wrong end of the problem. Once again, an anti-spam
solution is presented that tackles the problem after it becomes a
problem -- after the article has been posted, and after the article
hits all the peers on the backbone.

The net effect of your plan is to _increase_ the bandwidth consumed
by Usenet.

[ Second post -- he objected to the last sentence, and asserted
  that his system catches 50% of the bad articles before they reach
  news sites. I respond... ]

Cancels have always increased bandwidth. The past few years have
seen an increase in bandwidth, in no small part BECAUSE of cancels.
It's an arms race -- cancels come out more quickly, so spammers post
more, more quickly.

Graphs show that most articles reach well-connected sites within
30-60 seconds of being posted. Almost all articles reach sites within
10-15 minutes of being posted.

Because of high-speed news routing, a cancel that arrives _before_
the actual article is the exception, not the rule. One must introduce
artificial delays before early cancels become effective at all.

Hard numbers have been posted on news.software.nntp and
news.admin.net-abuse.usenet proving this. I'm interested to see if
you have anything beyond wild guesses disputing this.

[ no response to any of the 'hard facts' above... ]

Finally, the biggest problem with your proposal is cancel leakage.
The cancels WILL leak. History has proven this time and time again
with semi-private hierarchies.

And when the cancels leak, two things will happen. First, the
resulting cancel storm will kill many slower sites. Second, when
the binaries disappear all over Usenet, you will have _thousands_
calling their ISPs and complaining. Maybe one or two will sign up
with your system. The rest will put their money, influence, and
muscle towards cutting your peers and you off Usenet. Please don't
interpret this as a threat -- simply a prediction.

To summarize, you have a worthy goal. Nobody on any newsgroup or
mailing list has disputed this. But your implementation, your means
to an end, leaves much to be desired.