[ExI] META: A modest proposal for the Extropy-Chat list

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Wed Apr 29 13:36:16 UTC 2009

On Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 1:19 AM, Max More <max at maxmore.com> wrote:

> In the meantime, this issue -- and I don't pretend to have read anything
> close to every post by Lee recently (though I certainly value his
> contributions in general) -- raises again the question of how best to manage
> this list according to the purposes for which is was created early last
> decade, and for which it still exists. Personally, as a co-owner of this
> list, I feel internal conflict. One the one hand, I don't like to suppress
> vigorous debate on controversial and troubling topics (such as forcibly
> relocating people of a certain religious belief). On the other, this list --
> to retain its unique flavor -- should cleave reasonably closely to the
> Principles of Extropy... .What to so? I do think that we face an
> overwhelming amount of digital "stuff" and quite reasonably want to focus
> our discussions. Requiring some basic level of adherence to the Principles
> of Extropy on this particular list seems quite reasonable to me. (And I
> don't believe anyone could demonstrate dictatorial behavior from me. EVER.)

When I was encouraged by Natasha to join this list, I had the pleasure to
discover not only the oldest transhumanist list, but that which is probably
is the richest and the most vibrant, and to get a direct exposure to the
extropian environment that I had just known only through very dubious
mediations until then.

Now, as to the concerns currently expressed by Max, I would reiterate the
view already expressed once in a private exchange with Spike that the really
crucial issue, IMHO, is "that we face an overwhelming amount of digital
stuff and quite reasonably want to focus our discussions".

I am far from scandalised by "vigorous debate on controversial and troubling
topics", but I think that the really troubling aspect thereof is *when even
the vaguest reference to the topics of the list (namely, estropy,
transhumanism, technology, posthuman change, futurism, etc.) risks to be
lost along the way* (possibly along with civility, critical spirit,
pertinence, constructive attitudes, etc.).

This risks to make for repetitive, stereotypical, radicalised/personalised,
and/or less-than-focused exchanges, including when the contents do not call
at all into question the Principles of Extropy but may remain nevertheless
detrimental to the health and flourishing of the list.

On the contrary, I suspect that *a much stricter requirement to stay on
topic*, which includes constantly justifying one's position in view of the
said Principles (be it in terms of adherence, or even just in terms of
*relevance*) *would be enough to avoid 99% of what might be perceived as
embarassing, exploitative, irritating, provocative, propaganda-sounding, or
simply boring*.

Moreover, the choice to concentrate on this aspect has the distinct
advantage of avoiding any hint of censorship as to the merits of the
positions expressed, while at the same time achieving in a subtler and less
disturbing way the same goals - keeping the list on track and retaining its

Just my two (Euro) cents...

Stefano Vaj
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