Another ClayShirky point, does the problem of email being swamped by spam signal a deeper problem : openness will be exploited! :

But is this argument against all commons? Why have public parks and spaces when some people will take advantage by vandalizing them, littering them etc? Better to enclose everything?

Surely it's not a question of either open or closed ... there's a requirement for both. And indeed, the term 'open' is used in so many contexts that it's losing it's expressive value. After all, public key encryption is an 'open' technology in so far as everyone knows the algorithm and can implement it for themselves (uurm.. I don't know if there's a patent in some contries on this basic maths !).

Indeed, the most important part of the 'openness' of the email protocol is that it's free (beer) for anyone to use.

So, IMHO it's not openness that's the problem, it's the fact that the email protocol doesn't (natively) allow for a more 'closed' communication to ALSO happen over the same protocol.

However, given that the email protocol allows for header extensions (AFAIK), this suggests to me that the underlying protocol could be 'saved' by the development of a few simple extra headers. So I'm starting to think that the 'solution' to the email spam problem is to improve the end client programs to use a few simple extensions to the protocol.

However, as this is a page about openness, I'll start a new one about HowToSaveEmail (I searched, but couldn't find an existing page).