Increasing Filesize & Compression Ratio

Roger Clarke
Wed, 16 Oct 1996 08:50:54 +1000

Bernard stirred:
>Any comments on the suggestion that users should be licenced, like gun
>owners, car drivers and dogs?
>Duck ... runs away quickly.

Society falls back on licensing after abuses catch the public eye.
Regrettably it quickly becomes institutionalised, and is seldom of much
real value, i.e. gun registration simply won't stop the next Dunblane and
Port Arthur.  [Note that this isn't an expression of opposition to gun
registration - merely a lament about the intransigence of the real world].

But Bernard spotlights the need for user education, and that can be
*successfully* institutionalised.

The ISPs have all been very happy to touch their forelock as soon as the
ABA said 'we need regulation of [extreme forms of objectionable] content',
and one or more Codes of Conduct are likely to result.  So we need to
leverage off this idea of Codes, and have ISPs commit also to providing the
infrastructure whereby users can learn about citizenship.  The problem
we're dealing with doesn't have the same finality as murders - if we
reduced the dysfunctional behaviour by 75% we'd have improved things
immensely, i.e. a few unreconstructed grots don't have to spoil our day.

Remember classes on citizenship in your schooldays?  Yuk!  So formal
induction classes in how to be a netizen are hardly likely to deliver the
breakthrough.  But there are many more practical mechanisms, like terms and
conditions of contract, and pre-configuring of web-browsers to establish
appropriate cache and proxy settings, and provision of examples and
reference information, and pointers to that info from multiple locations
within the ISP's pages, and monitoring of certain kinds of behaviour (like
huge attachments, and attachments to mailing lists), and feedback to users
who evidence particular kinds of problematic behaviour ...

Roger Clarke    
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel:  +61  6  288 6916                       Fax:   +61  6  288 1472

Visiting Fellow, Faculty of          Email:
    Engineering and Information Technology
Information Sciences Building Room 211       Tel:   +61  6  249 3666
The Australian National University
Canberra   ACT   0200   AUSTRALIA            Fax:   +61  6  249 0010