From Joshua Schachter, inventor of memepool
, Geo URL
, and del.icio.us
and Maciej Ceglowski of Idle Words
and the Web crawl
, comes LOAF
, a way of sharing address books without disclosing their contents, so that groups of LOAF-enabled users can build social networks on top of connectedness metrics, without needing central servers or full disclosure.
When you receive an email from an address you have not previously written to, LOAF checks to see if the email address is known to any of your existing correspondents. This essentially sorts incoming email into three categories:
- Mail from complete strangers
These are people whom you do not know, and who are also unknown to your correspondents.
- Mail from partial strangers
These are people you have never sent email to, but who have gotten email from at least one of your own correspondents. [...]
- Mail from people you know
This last category consists of people whom you have written to before. Presumably this is email you're most interested in, unless it's another forward from your mom.
Mail in category (2) can be further classified by counting how many correspondents you and the sender have in common. If the originating email appears in the address books of several of your correspondents, this may indicate a person with whom you have many connections. Insert standard social network theory here.
Also, don't miss the discussion of LOAF attack strategies, including the Dictionary attack, Me Too attack, Ex-Girlfriend attack, and Marc Canter attack.
Both Josh and Maciej are geniuses, in the older and rarer sense of the word, so this should be well worth playing with.
UPDATE: Kellan has pointed out another LOAF
in the comments, which is a bizarre and elaborate joke, with verbose but uninformative language and a long list of fake implementations. (The Python implementation of that LOAF consists of the single command 'pass'.)
The two LOAFs (LOAVES?) are unrelated -- I doubt Josh and Maciej knew about the joke LOAF in naming their project.
Update to the update: The real LOAF is named after the joke LOAF. Maybe we can retrofit the acronym to mean List of a Friend?