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A Modest Proposal

Michael D. Baron michael.baron at afrc.ac.uk
Wed Sep 21 05:43:18 EST 1994

Dear netters,

quite a lot of mail this morning about the rather weird anonymous 
posting that came under the title 'A Modest Prposal'; permit me to 
add my two penny worth.
It seems that there are two possibilities:
(a) He is winding us up (and succeeding in some cases), hence the 
title borrowed from Swift's great satirical pamphlet. He has gone to a 
lot of trouble to use (or fake?) encrypted addresses, but hey, no 
good practical joke ever came easy. However, it's an old joke, and was 
done rather nicely by Kurt Vonnegut in "Galapagos", where the 
consequences of such a virus (to which NO-ONE was immune) were 
(b) He is serious (BTW, the verbal clues were there in his first 
posting to indicate a he, not a she). This is very *sad*, and I feel 
sorry for him. The fact that he wants to remain anonymous indicates 
that he knows that this idea is repugnant to 
99.99999999999999999999999999999% of humanity, and there is a word to 
describe people who are convinced that they know better than the rest 
of the world what is needed to make us all happy. I'd better not say 
any more on this subject since the crass arrogance and ignorance 
displayed (if it *was* serious) are quite match-ic (=> flame-inducing)
He also seems to lack virological knowledge, so why feed it to him?

I feel there is a more important point here, to wit that BIONET 
messages can be sent anonymously. Should we try and stop this? Should 
the distribution nodes reject any message that does not have a correct 
sender's address (and not just a gateway to a commercial feed)? Is 
this possible? Will we have to moderate all the newsgroups (heaven 
protect us from this!)?


Michael D. Baron
BARON at BBSRC.AC.UK			Institute for Animal Health
Fax: INT+(0)483 232448			Ash Road, Pirbright
Tel: INT+(0)483 232441			Surrey GU24 0NF, U.K.

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