ANONYMOUS POSTING AND VOTING
                              First Draft
                              Comments to:
                           Homer Wilson Smith
     Since the shut down of because of anonymous abuses of
the server the availablility of anonymity to various groups has been
severely limited.  In my personal opinion this threatens to cause a
significant lowering of the quality of some groups, including but not
limited to alt.religion.scientology.
     This is not because anonymous posting has been forbidden in such
groups but only that such posting has stopped because of the
difficulties of getting the anon servers to service the group.
     There is a strong debate in news.admin.policy on the subject of how
to determine if a group should be reenabled for anonymous service
through any given anonymous server.
     There may still be anonymous servers that are willing to serve all
groups indiscriminately, and of course anyone with the know how and
courage can post via the usual outlaw methods, however I wish to
establish the validity, quality and respectability of anonymous posting
as a general way of doing business, so I have chosen as
the target for this proposal and experiment.
     Due to the publicity surrounding, and the seriousness
of its operator Johan Helsingius (Julf, it will
probably become the standard setting leader in its field along with
those others partaking in the anonymous enterprise.  Therefore I have
chosen it as probably the most suited for a highly visible and perhaps
controversial experiment in anonymous posting and voting in a group that
is certainly as hot and as controversial as they come.
     Alt.religion.scientology has long suffered from the fear and
trepidation of those who have felt they were not safe to speak, having
left the Church often on bad terms with a large, financially rich,
litigatious, and powerful religious organization who some seem to
perceive rightly or wrongly as willing to do anything to accomplish its
ends at the expense of freedoms of speech and religion on a world wide
    The Church and its members in good standing feel they have been
sorely wronged by those who have left the Church either to leave
Scientology behind entirely, or to join the Independent Scientology
field, the self styled Free Zoners or Independent Scientology Movement.
    Those who have left the Church claim they have been tracked and
harassed to the point of non survival by those in the Church whom they
claim are only interested in financial gain and the squelching of any
competition in the spiritual auditing field.  (Auditing is a Scientology
term referring to their technology to free the spirit from self imposed
limitations born of pain and suffering.)
     Those in the Church claim the independents have stolen or have
engaged in criminal conspiracies to steal from the Church the very
materials they are using in the field to audit their parishioners;
materials which the Church claims are its copyrighted intellectual
property and trademarked spiritual secrets necessary for its own
financial health and survival.
     Those in the field claim the Church has tried to copyright
spiritual knowledge that is Eternally True and applies to all of us and
thus by default belongs to the public domain no matter who first
discovered it.
     In other words 'if the cure for cancer belongs to all mankind, then
so does the cure for insanity'.
     There are definitely two sides to this story, the hostility and
rancor between the warring parties is extraordinarily and in my opinion
dangerously strong, and neither side seems willing to speak freely to
the other due to fear of repercussions.  Of course there are exceptions.
     Even those in the Church are limited by the Church in what they can
say in defense of the Church.  They have very strict non disclosure
agreements amongst themselves, which some say are necessary for the
health and well being of their parishioners.  Other's claim it is solely
for financial gain, and to hide the underdealings of their agents trying
to make a safe space for Scientology in a world hostile to it.
     Those out of the Church claim they are limited in what they can
relate of their experiences and auditing technology, a technology they
claim to be more precious than fire itself, by what they claim to be a
continuous threat to their lives and livelihood by the well financed
legal forces of the Church, and worse by the alleged unlawful and
underhanded attacks on their personal freedoms by members of the
Church's alleged dirty tricks department.
     Given this broiling cauldron, it seems reasonable that an
experiment in socially conducted anonymity should take place.
     Outlaw anonymity has always been available, and has indeed been
used to some effect on alt.religion.scientology, but it usually
engendered great hostility from some of the members, both for and
against Scientology, and lead to tracing efforts and the annoyance of
sysadmins who were requested to intervene.
     Although some of the tracing efforts failed, a few of the anonymous
posters folded up anyway and apparently have stopped posting which in my
opinion was a loss to the group.
     Scientology itself claims that communication is the universal
solvent for all things bad.
     It is in this context that I make the following proposal.
     One problem with voting for anonymity in a group is finding a way
to allow anonymous VOTES in the voting.  Perhaps it is illogical to
allow anonymous votes in a group that has not yet voted to allow
anonymity, but it is clear that if a vocal presence in a group is in and
of it self a clear and present danger, then those who are most in need
of anonymity would also be the most in need of anonymous voting FOR
     However the anonymous severs in question will not enable anonymous
posting of any kind without a majority vote for anonymity.  This
presents a classic Catch-22 problem.
     Another problem with the way things are set up, is that groups are
either moderated or unmoderated.  There is strong fear that unmoderated
anonymous postings would bring chaos, leagl and otherwise to a group,
yet no one wants to moderate the unanonymous postings.  To date there
has been no way to moderate the anonymous postings alone.
     This proposal is an effort solve both of these problems, so please
give it careful consideration.
                              THE PROPOSAL
     1.) I have established for myself an anonymous id with  That id is AN19187 and corresponds to my real account
     Any anonymous mail sent to will be received
by me with your own anonymous id attached to it.  That means I will not
know who sent me that mail.
     If you wish to vote anonymously for or against anonymity in
alt.religion.scientology you may send your vote anonymously to me at
that address.  I will collect them and periodically post them to the
group as a single file under my own name.
     As there has been no consensus yet as to whether anonymous votes
should be ALLOWED in a vote for anonymity, it is not clear whether your
votes will be counted in the end.  But at least they will be collected
and presented to the group, the anon server admin and the people on
     2.)  Since I am setting myself up as a human remailer for anonymous
postings to alt.religion.scientology, I could if motivated act as a
moderator of anonymous postings to a.r.s. once anonymous posting has
been voted in.  I have little intention of doing this, but others could
put themselves in that position if they so desired.
     The advantage of this is clear.  The group may not want to be
moderated as a whole, but they also may not want to give anonymous posts
a free reign should the group give the go ahead for anonymous postings
based on the vote.
     This setup at least allows for the option of having an unmoderated
group with a moderated anonymous ability.
     3.)  It is also quite clear that as a moderator of anonymous posts,
not only can the moderator reject dangerous and illegal postings, but he
can also strip out the anonymous headers of the postings altogether.
This would allow absolute anonymity with absolute security as long as
the moderator does not keep the original postings and the headers he
stripped off.
     This is mentioned only as an option for a group that has matured
into its anonymous posting history.
                        HOW TO POST ANONYMOUSLY.
     1.) Send a mail file to
whose first line after the first blank line after the header is a
password of your choice.  You will receive back the entire help file,
plus your own anonymous id.
     2.) To send an anonymous mail file to me, send your vote or hate
mail to,
     There must be a line in your mail header BEFORE the first blank
line after the header that reads,
X-Anon-Password: your password here.
     Play with sending anonymous mail to yourself first to get the hang
of the thing.
     3.) Be very careful to get my anon id right or your mail will go to
the King of Zimbabwe or some such place.
     Don't expect responses from me, I have a real life to live, or what
may be left of it after numerous people get through with me for doing
     ALL mail received by me concerning these matters may and probably
will be reposted to the a.r.s. list without permission, so don't send me
anything you don't want the list to see.
     This offer of my time and services is for a.r.s. ONLY, don't even
think of asking me to do it for another group.
     Don't ask me to strip anon id's from your posts.
     Don't yet send me actual anonymous posts that are not VOTES to
accept anonymous posts on a.r.s.
     4.)  If you are member of the Church of Scientology in good
     'The Religious Technology Center has the purpose to safeguard the
proper use of trademarks, to protect the public and to make sure that
the powerful technology of Dianetics and Scientology remains in good
hands and is properly used.'
                    'Help Keep Scientology Working'
     Knowledge Reports are an essential part of Keeping Scientology
Working.  If you encounter any non-optimum situation or off-policy
occurring in your org, mission or area, write a Knowledge Report to your
local Ethics Officer and send a copy to the Reports Officer RTC if you
feel the RTC should be informed of the matter.
     Reports should be sent to:
RELIGIOUS TECHNOLOGY CENTER, Reports Officer, 1710 Ivar Avenue, Suite
1100 Los Angeles, CA 90028 USA