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Re: What is the PICS labels for a site targeting to people over 16 years old?

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 21:53:14 +0100
Message-ID: <AANLkTi=Zw6EPPLM-EtCf=FwQuwTr1m7oLn-9qWiFo7_V@mail.gmail.com>
To: Brian Kelly <b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk>
Cc: Phil Archer <phil@philarcher.org>, Eduardo Lima Martinez <eduardolima@codecweb.com>, pics-interest@w3.org, "Ralph R. Swick" <swick@w3.org>, Roessler Thomas <tlr@w3.org>
On 10 February 2011 13:13, Brian Kelly <b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk> wrote:
> I must admit I had forgotten that I was still on this list - or that it
> still existed.
> Anyway I'm interested in what can be learnt from standards which have failed
> to take off. I don't know if W3C carry out such reflective activities but it
> does strike me that unless one learns from history one will be condemned to
> repeat mistakes.

Certainly I think such evaluations are worthwhile. But in the case of
PICS, I don't think it was a simple failure. PICS succeeded by showing
that a decentralist, pluralist approach could address social concerns;
and by providing the seed that grew into RDF, the Semantic Web project
and Linked Data.

Firstly - in 1995/1996, with the Web exploding from nowhere into every
day use, there was some serious risk of ill-judged legislation from
governments. By showing that it was at least possible to have some
technically-facilitated mechanisms, perhaps some risk of draconian
crude censorship was offset.

PICS showed that it was possible to build a system in which (a)
decisions about filtering were highly contextualised --- to a
particular browser installation or household or network or time of day
(b) were based on plurality of descriptions: self labels and those
from a marketplace of other suppliers (c) were expressed in a variety
of schemas/models, capturing different policy concerns, worldviews and
policies. W3C's Metadata Activity of that era also imho did a fine job
of demonstrating that these issues are better addressed within a
framework for describing things which addressed a variety of different
scenarios --- resource discovery, general document metadata and
structured data exchange.

Secondly - PICS is not dead; it simply evolved. The "Linked Data"
shared by scientists, libraries, museums, governments and social
networks; the RDFa markup used by Yahoo, Google, Facebook; the huge
datasets from Wikipedia, Open Directory, or the Web-scale 'Social
Graph API' from Google's FOAF indexing, ... these are direct
successors to the PICS initiative and the original W3C Metadata

Personally I have never been particularly persuaded by the child
"protection" use case; but then I don't have children, so should
perhaps avoid comment. I don't believe these techologies do a lot in
terms of "safety", however they are relevant to a range of legitimate
needs including avoiding upset, embarrassment, and awkwardness and
perhaps distress. There are lots of reasons to describe e.g. adult
content; to find it, to not find it, to avoid it popping up in the
wrong context, etc. W3C has never made a big fuss about RDF's PICS
heritage (perhaps to avoid inheriting the associated controversy -
some saw it as a censorship tool). So I am not particularly surprised
that people aren't using it for PICS' original use cases, even if it
might be quite applicable to them.

The lack of direct browser support for consulting *RDF* services is a
related issue, and I think that is also worth some introspection.
Beyond the early Annotea prototypes and Netscape's "What's Related"
service, the practice of browsers live fetching supporting metadata
hasn't really caught on. There is a lot of RDF data out there, it's
just not typically being sent to browsers in real-time as we explore
the Web. Microsoft's early lack of enthusiasm for RDF is probably also
an ingredient here; and Netscape's PR claims in
probably didn't help the situation on that front.

One issue I heard re 'What's related' was that Netscape were getting
lawsuits from sites. And there are definitely business model questions
about how high quality metadata services are paid for, especially when
there's no obvious 'slot' for advertisements.



ps. view-source: on http://www.mademan.com/chickipedia/gillian-anderson/

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rdf+xml" title="gillian
anderson" href="http://www.mademan.com/chickipedia/Special:ExportRDF/gillian_anderson?xmlmime=rdf"



...perhaps this use shows some of RDF's PICS heritage, however
tastelessly or inadvertently? But it does make the point that the same
piece of descriptive information can have many uses; something long
ago realised at W3C.

> is this an area, in which, as Phil suggests, standards aren't needed?  Was
> the failure due to software vendors not being interested in providing
> support (in this case Microsoft did seem to have provided support)?  Is it
> because PICS didn't use XML?  Or other reasons?
> Some thoughts - but no answers, at [1]
> I'm interested is this area not because on any interest in content labelling
> as such, but in spotting standards which fail to be adopted -  see [2].
> Brian Kelly,
> ------------------------------------------------
> UKOLN, University of Bath, BATH, UK, BA2 87AY
> Blog: htp://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/
> 1
> http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/remember-pics-learning-from-standards-which-fail/
> 2
>  http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/feedback-invited-on-draft-copy-of-briefing-paper-on-selection-and-use-of-open-standards/
> On 9 Feb 2011, at 22:05, Phil Archer wrote:
>> Dan,
>> Thanks for answering this so comprehensively and for including me. I can't
>> add anything useful to it at all.
>> Eduardo - there really isn't any advantage in adding labels, whether in
>> PICS or POWDER, for child protection purposes. All the filters that people
>> actually use work well without using labels at all. It's an idea that has
>> long had its day. If interested, see [1, 2]
>> Everyone - I do worry that POWDER is always associated with this. I tried
>> so hard for it not to be. I'm hoping a paper that one of the guys at NCSR
>> Demokritos wrote (that I added just enough to to add my name to as well)
>> will be accepted for ESWC. It talks about how they've used POWDER to
>> significantly increase query performance in Sesame. That's more like a
>> proper, long-term use for it in my view!
>> Phil
>> [1] http://philarcher.org/diary/html5-pc/
>> [2] http://philarcher.org/icra/ICRAfail.pdf
>> On 09/02/2011 10:50, Dan Brickley wrote:
>>> On 9 February 2011 09:20, Eduardo Lima Martinez
>>> <eduardolima@codecweb.com>  wrote:
>>>> Hello!
>>>> I'm building a website for people over 16 years of age. This not is a
>>>> porn site, but shows raw images ("curcus pretty girls doing ugly
>>>> things") not suitable for kids...
>>>> http://www.circusdivas.com/
>>>> What are the correct PICS labels for this site?. I do not read/write
>>>> correctly the english language.
>>>> I do not understand the terms of HTTP headers "Protocol: {...}" and
>>>> "PICS-Label: (...)"
>>>> Can you guide me? Can you show me a sample site that has the correct
>>>> PICS labels?
>>>> Thank you very much !!!
>>> In 2011 PICS is largely obsolete technology.
>>> Most of the core functionality of PICS has been rebuilt around RDF
>>> (see http://www.w3.org/RDF/ ) ...
>>> 1. Roughly PICS label schemes are now RDF Schemas (or more powerfully,
>>> OWL Ontologies)
>>> 2. PICS Label Bureaus are replaced by Web services that speak W3C's
>>> SPARQL language for querying RDF - see
>>> http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-sparql-query/
>>> 3. PICS' ability to make labels for all pages sharing a common URL
>>> pattern is addressed by POWDER - see
>>> http://www.w3.org/2007/powder/
>>> However, these RDF technologies are not (yet?) widely used for PICS
>>> original use case.
>>> In the PICS world, RSACi ( see
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recreational_Software_Advisory_Council )
>>> became ICRA ( see
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Content_Rating_Association ) who
>>> became part of FOSI (http://www.fosi.org/icra/) and who no longer have
>>> any activities in this technology area, or support for their older
>>> work. So there is no direct modern successor to the RSACi/ICRA PICS
>>> work to recommend to you.
>>> That said, perhaps eg. Internet Explorer still supports the old 1990s
>>> work. Perhaps others can comment further?
>>> Hope this helps,
>>> Dan
Received on Thursday, 10 February 2011 20:53:48 UTC

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