[e2e] intelligent network design

Ted Faber faber at ISI.EDU
Fri Dec 2 08:32:12 PST 2005

On Thu, Dec 01, 2005 at 08:00:39PM +0000, Jon Crowcroft wrote:
> its different from charging (e.g. proof-of-work schemes like penny black) because
> 1/ the money does NOT go to the receiver
> 2/ the money _only_ goes if the participants fail to meet metcalfe's law.
> (i.e. fail to increase the value of the net)
> so the point is that it is a _tax_ on network stupidity.
> the footnote in the message actually contains clues about a way you
> really might implement the metcalfe control

I don't think there's an objective function for "increases the value of
the net," and it's tough to imagine a better metric than "recepient says
it increases their value."  I'm willing to accept that metric, but I
recognize that there are local/global issues.  Victimizers of children
probably (locally) believe that receiving messages that facilitate their
predations increase the value of the net while society as a whole (for
reasonable definitions of that entity) believes that those same messages
(globally) reduce the value of the net.

As I say, I'm willing to start with sender validates.  I'm also willing
to say it all just works.  Even under those conditions there are things
to think about.

When you say that the penalty is a tax, you are speaking precisely, and
I wonder where my taxes go.  (Sometimes.  Often enough the answer makes
me unhappy.)  I think (rational) users will behave differently depending
on where the tax goes.  Your charity example earlier is a good case -
most people are delighted to be charitable with others money, and may
overmark spam to make contributions.  (There's something delightfully
bizarre in marking an ACLU e-mail as spam in order to force a
contribution to Amnesty International.)  A different destination for the
money - a government one doesn't like, a private company providing
network service that is substandard - may cause users to undermark spam
and do the work of filtering it themselves, rather than send the tax to
an entity they dislike.  (Letting the tax-collecting entity mark spam
for recepients has obvious disadvantages.)

Significant overmarking or undermarking potentially distorts the
penalties assigned, and therefore the amounts of spam one gets - or
conversely the amount of directed mailing a charitable organization can

Of course I haven't proved that the destination of the penalty would
cause such *significant* mismarking, but I think it would be an effect to
look for if such a system were rolled out.

Ted Faber
http://www.isi.edu/~faber           PGP: http://www.isi.edu/~faber/pubkeys.asc
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