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Re: Hello directly from Jimbo at Wikipedia

Jeffrey F. Bloss wrote:
> I was operating under the assumption that the problem was more along the lines 
> of nefarious juveniles selectively posting "Kilroy was here" graffiti. 
> Something along those lines. If I'm out in left field about the nature of the 
> attack against Wikipedia, I'd be happy to be corrected, and forced to agree 
> that HashCash would be unsuitable. 

I have no opinion about HashCash just yet.  I have to think about it
some more.

The nefarious juveniles problem is partly what it is, yes.  But that
sort of random vandalism goes on all the time, and isn't particularly

What is problematic is the lunatic on crack and steriods who is
selectively posting "Kilroy sucked your mothers cock" graffiti,
obsessively, hundreds of times.  Our admins find it much more peaceful
to just block open proxies and Tor servers than to deal with that for
hours on end, days on end, weeks on end.

I am not an expert on ideas like HashCah or anything of the sort.  I am
a bit of an expert on the behavior of problem users at Wikipedia. :-)
And what I can say is that problem users at Wikipedia are problem users
everywhere for the most part.  Ordinary sane people don't go on a spree
of Wikipedia vandalism.

So the _degree_ of trust we need is actually quite small.  It isn't "We
certify this person to be a certain user, guaranteed, the same as ever".
It's just "this packet is being sent to you from a source that has
somehow tended generally to lead us to believe to some small extent that
the person posting it has not been a jackass, by and large".

Or, as has been brilliantly discussed here already, it could be "this
packet has been sent to you via a mechanism that one might bother to
use, were one a dissident really needing anonymity, but sufficiently
bothersome that were one simply a lunatic on crack, one would more
likely have simply switched to using anonymous proxies".

It won't be perfect, but as an empirical matter, it's probably good enough.