On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 22:50, Graham Klyne wrote:
If we were to take a view that email should not be free for anyone to send
to anyone, then I think that would fundamentally constrain the technical
design of any system that conforms to such a goal. Is freedom to speak,
for free, at anyone truly a desirable goal in a global network?
Freedom to speak should definitely be preserved. What we want to introduce is
"freedom to not listen".
Proposed general principle: mail-ng should enable, facilitate and make
efficient all message transfer in which the sender AND recipient wish to
participate. Conversely, it should prohibit or impede all message transfer in
which the sender OR recipient do not wish to participate. The system should
facilitate message transfer on terms which are acceptable to both
participants, or decline to transfer the message at all if no agreement as to
terms can be reached.
High and lofty ideals, these. We'll be lucky if we can even come close to them
in actual practice. Even so, you'll note that the idea is compatible with
both minimal-cost communication (as per email today), and sender-pays
communication. In cases where the recipient wants to be paid and the sender
doesn't want to pay, the system should gracefully decline to transport the
message. The general principle even allows a sender to charge for sending a
message, should a recipient agree to those terms, which wouldn't be a bad
model for paid subscriptions.
The broad technical requirement that arises from this, I think, is "a means
for mail system agents to negotiate message delivery parameters prior to the
actual delivery of the message", or something along those lines. It would be
premature to start rambling about details at this time, however.