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Re: Raising a new issue on the need for a statement on the roles and mutual respect of author/user/transformer.

From: Luca Passani <passani@eunet.no>
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2009 20:51:53 +0100
Message-ID: <49B967D9.5030008@eunet.no>
To: MWI BPWG Public <public-bpwg@w3.org>

> Enabling authors can mean giving them the means to adapt (like
> MobileAware does today with our various products)
> or providing them with the means to influence what other
> can do to their content (e.g. the HTTP
> No-Transform/Vary headers, POWDER, etc.), which would only
> work if the authors are assured that the guidelines
>  are respected.


actually, I was thinking of a third model; an operator sets up a 
transcoder and advertised at content owners that they can mobilize their 
content by subscribing to their transcoding service: an operator navbar 
or even ads may be then injected into the transcoded content:

- with the consent of the content owners.
- with economic remuneration for content owners.

I suggested this a few times, but it was always ignored. Obviously, 
Vodafone and some other operators think that "appropriating" content 
makes more economic sense than sharing the cake with content owners.

Luca 




Rotan Hanrahan wrote:
> Hello Luca,
>
> Very interesting to be engaging in a substantive dialogue with you after
> so long a time. Let me respond a little to the points you raise. I
> regret I cannot give them the full elaboration that they may require, as
> unfortunately I am pressed for time.
>
>   
>> To which extent does the transcoding craziness jeopardize the concept
>>     
> of 
>   
>> the web as a whole?
>>     
>
> By "transcoding craziness" I assume you mean the presence of transcoding
> solutions that may appear to be operating without clear and respectful
> guidelines regarding how they treat the content of Web authors and the
> browsing consumers of content. It is a matter of public record that the
> introduction of transcoding proxies in some cases has resulted in some
> less-than-optimal experiences, both for content producers and for
> consumers. It is certainly possible for transcoders to provide their
> services in a manner that will not result in such an experience, and
> thus could achieve their stated objective of improving the general Web
> experience (for mobile users). It is my understanding that this is what
> the CT guidelines intend to facilitate, just like other efforts in the
> mobile community, which are intended to reduce/remove the "craziness".
> One could argue that the introduction of these "guideline" initiatives
> was in response to a perceived threat to the concept of the Web,
> ensuring that the clever technology within transcoders would only be
> used to improve the Web experience (for everyone, not just for the end
> user). The guidelines are not complete, and not every transcoding
> provider has agreed to abide by the emerging guidelines. Bodies such as
> W3C cannot demand compliance, but a strong enough argument that shows
> how particular guidelines can benefit everyone should encourage
> compliance. There may still remain some who will shun these guidelines,
> preferring instead to persist with the "craziness", interfering with the
> author-user relationship in ways that are probably motivated by
> commercial concerns rather than any concern for the Web itself. The
> "craziness" could jeopardize the Web, but (properly managed) transcoding
> does not have to be seen as a major risk.
>
>   
>> The foundation of the web is that individuals and companies invest
>>     
> time 
>   
>> and money to create content because that content will be accessed by 
>> end-users.
>>     
>
> Indeed. Creating content without having to worry too much about how your
> audience will access or render that content is one of the big benefits
> of Web publishing, assuming that you are confident that your content
> will be treated with respect. The Web experience is so much better
> because you know that the time (and money) you invest will have
> beneficial results.
>
>   
>> In the case of transcoders, we are talking about network elements
>>     
> that, 
>   
>> from one day to the next, become alive and start playing tricks with
>>     
> the 
>   
>> content that travels in the network!!!
>>     
>
> Transcoders that suddenly and unexpectedly appear and start undoing the
> effort you have invested in creating your content are unwelcome.
> However, if you have not put in effort to facilitate a good user
> experience in a particular delivery context, it should be comforting to
> authors to know that it may yet be possible for the user to view your
> content and get a good experience. And this would be at no expense to
> the author. However, providing this "gap filling" service may involve
> costs, and today these costs are primarily covered by the users. Indeed,
> the provision of the service may be profitable. But when the technology
> is pushed further purely for commercial reasons (such as the
> injection/removal of advertising), it begins to look like the proxy is
> behaving like a content author, and now the author/user relationship has
> been affected. The proxy is not respecting the intentions of the
> original content author, but instead is encroaching on the author's
> role. When the relationship between the original author and the end
> consumer has been affected in this way, the Web suffers.
>
>   
>> I mean, are you all blind? or crazy? can't you see how much confusion 
>> and disruption this "technology" can bring to the way the Internet and
>>     
>
>   
>> the Web have worked all of these years?
>>     
>
> Are we blind to the issues? Are we crazy? I cannot speak for others, but
> I hope nobody thinks I am blind to the issues, and I hope you are not
> questioning my sanity. Unmanaged, without guidelines, the transcoding
> proxy technology has the capacity to create confusion and disruption.
> Properly managed and with well-reasoned guidelines, the technology has a
> role to play, and the Web can benefit. Hopefully the guidelines will be
> well-received and adopted by the technology providers, and hopefully the
> guidelines will mandate the respect and fairness that I suggested when I
> raised the issue.
>
>   
>> Anyway, there seem to be agreement that transcoders are a "temporary" 
>> and "transitional" technology. In this case, you don't need a 
>> recommendation or a spec. Just guidelines which may even happen
>>     
> outside 
>   
>> of W3C. If you want W3C to make these guidelines happen, there is only
>>     
>
>   
>> one logical thing to do: demand that transcoders do the maximum effort
>>     
>
>   
>> possible to preserve authors' intentions, and err on the side of not 
>> transcoding.
>>     
>
> The current batch of transcoding solutions may be
> temporary/transitional, but I think the Web will always have layers of
> advancement, so there will always be some subset of the Web community
> that will struggle to gain access to certain content, and won't have the
> benefit of a content author who has taken, or can/will take, their needs
> into consideration. For this reason, I expect that there will always be
> a role for some intermediate adaptation, and this makes it all the more
> important for the Web to have proper guidelines on how proxies can be
> "good citizens" of the Web. Among those guidelines, as I have previously
> said, should be a requirement to keep improving the analysis of content
> sources, and not just rely on a few known heuristics. I agree with you
> that transcoders should do the maximum effort in this regard to discover
> authors' intentions. However, in the absence of any evidence to the
> contrary, I still believe that publication via the Web is done under the
> assumption that "Web-like things" will happen, and so a certain amount
> of adaptation may take place anyway. That does not give anyone free
> license to edit/elide portions of content at will, as this would not be
> respectful of the publication process per se. This goes beyond the Web;
> it is at the heart of how society relates to intellectual property.
>
>   
>>> Authors, users and transformers should cooperate to help the Web
>>>       
> reach
>   
>>> its full potential, specifically: all can publish, all can consume.
>>>       
>> this can only happen by "enabling" authors, not by bastardizing their 
>> content behind their back (with a good injection of operator-managed 
>> banner ads in the someone else's content, please)
>>     
>
> Enabling authors can mean giving them the means to adapt (like
> MobileAware does today with our various products) or providing them with
> the means to influence what other can do to their content (e.g. the HTTP
> No-Transform/Vary headers, POWDER, etc.), which would only work if the
> authors are assured that the guidelines are respected.
>
> Speaking personally, I would be concerned about someone altering my
> authored content, making it look like I was the one providing that
> content that in fact had been inserted by a third party. That includes
> inserting advertising into my content. I like the idea mentioned by
> Bryan recently: "editrights" (viz. copyrights), which might give me a
> way to advise current and future proxies what I consider to be
> reasonable with respect to subsequent adaptations of my content. It
> might even be possible for me to delimit subsets of my content to ensure
> that future adaptation takes my wishes into consideration, which is
> possibly one use case for the W3C's XHTML Role technology. If I had my
> own adaptation technology (which, interestingly, I do!) and a means for
> adding metadata (Headers/Role/RDF/etc.) to influence 3rd-party
> adaptation, then I would feel "enabled", to use your word. We are not
> yet at that position because we haven't figured out the metadata, nor
> have we agreed the guidelines for proxies to follow in the
> presence/absence of such metadata, even though a lot of progress is
> being made.
>
> ---Rotan.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-bpwg-request@w3.org [mailto:public-bpwg-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of Luca Passani
> Sent: 12 March 2009 12:54
> To: MWI BPWG Public
> Subject: Re: Raising a new issue on the need for a statement on the
> roles and mutual respect of author/user/transformer.
>
>
> Rotan, I think the issue you raised fails to consider one basic aspect:
>
> To which extent does the transcoding craziness jeopardize the concept of
>
> the web as a whole?
>
> The foundation of the web is that individuals and companies invest time 
> and money to create content because that content will be accessed by 
> end-users.
>
> In the case of transcoders, we are talking about network elements that, 
> from one day to the next, become alive and start playing tricks with the
>
> content that travels in the network!!!
>
> I mean, are you all blind? or crazy? can't you see how much confusion 
> and disruption this "technology" can bring to the way the Internet and 
> the Web have worked all of these years?
>
> Anyway, there seem to be agreement that transcoders are a "temporary" 
> and "transitional" technology. In this case, you don't need a 
> recommendation or a spec. Just guidelines which may even happen outside 
> of W3C. If you want W3C to make these guidelines happen, there is only 
> one logical thing to do: demand that transcoders do the maximum effort 
> possible to preserve authors' intentions, and err on the side of not 
> transcoding.
>
>  > Authors, users and transformers should cooperate to help the Web
> reach
>   
>>  its full potential, specifically: all can publish, all can consume.
>>     
>
> this can only happen by "enabling" authors, not by bastardizing their 
> content behind their back (with a good injection of operator-managed 
> banner ads in the someone else's content, please)
>
> Luca
>
>
> Rotan Hanrahan wrote:
>   
>> Jo has invited me to raise an ISSUE, so that something more specific 
>> relating to the CT document can be considered. I have already 
>> presented the background to my concerns in [1], and I now add this 
>> email to raise the ISSUE, which I hope will be added to the Issue
>>     
> Tracker.
>   
>> = Summary =
>>
>> Absent some indication from the author of the original content, it is 
>> fair to presume that an author publishes content via the Web knowing 
>> that "Web-like things" may happen to that content, but also having an 
>> expectation that such Web-like things would be "reasonable". Where the
>>     
>
>   
>> author has provided some indication of how the content should be 
>> treated, this should be respected. Nevertheless, it is also fair to 
>> assume that publication via the Web has an implicit intent of 
>> publication to the widest possible audience. Where there are users 
>> within that Web audience who, for whatever reason, have trouble 
>> consuming the content, the architecture of the Web provides for 
>> remedial action via a transforming proxy. That proxy must take into 
>> account the gap between what the author provided (and intended) versus
>>     
>
>   
>> what the user can consume (and prefers). Authors, users and 
>> transformers should cooperate to help the Web reach its full 
>> potential, specifically: all can publish, all can consume.
>>
>> = Issue =
>>
>> = = =
>>
>> ISSUE: The CT document is missing some statement recognising the role 
>> and expectations of the main parties (author, consumer, transformer) 
>> and the need for mutual understanding and respect of the others' 
>> needs/expectations. Perhaps also some suggestion from the BPWG on how 
>> to prioritize the different needs/expectations would be useful, as a 
>> general principal, especially given that there will be conflicts to 
>> resolve.
>>
>> = = =
>>
>> = Illustration =
>>
>> I think this issue could be addressed by a sentence or two in the 
>> introduction, to which we can refer when consider the technical 
>> matters elsewhere. For example, with the principle of mutual fair 
>> respect, one could examine the technical suggestion (4.1.5.3) for 
>> "User Selection of Restructured Experience" and ask questions like:
>>
>> - Does this respect the efforts of an author to provide alternative 
>> representations?
>>
>> - Does this respect the need of a user to obtain alternative 
>> representations?
>>
>> - Does the proxy fairly take into account the gap between author and
>>     
> user?
>   
>> - Is it fair to allow the user to select the proxy's representation 
>> over that of the author?
>>
>> In the above example, the first three points appear to be in keeping 
>> with a principle of mutual respect. The last point shows the potential
>>     
>
>   
>> tension between author and user, but the CT guidance suggests that it 
>> is the user who makes the decision (not the proxy) and we should also 
>> consider the assumption of "Web-like things" happening to what you 
>> publish, in which case the user's choice prevails. Thus 4.1.5.3 
>> appears to be reasonable.
>>
>> However, an explicit indication from the author that transformation 
>> not permitted would show that the author was not making an assumption 
>> regarding Web-like things happening. Perhaps in this case the author's
>>     
>
>   
>> representation should prevail. Personally I would find such an 
>> attitude by the author to be narrow and short-sighted because the 
>> author would be intentionally limiting the Web audience, ignoring what
>>     
>
>   
>> is technically possible today and what might be possible in the 
>> future. Unfortunately, the existing mechanisms (e.g. HTTP 
>> No-Transform) are not expressive enough. I'd like there to be a HTTP 
>> Avoid-Transform, so that there's flexibility to do the right thing 
>> under circumstances we can't predict, but I know that creating new 
>> technology is out of scope.
>>
>> = Closing =
>>
>> We in MobileAware have considered what this means for our own 
>> products/services. We aim to give an excellent end-user experience 
>> regardless of the browsing device, and we hope that any intermediary 
>> would respect our efforts by not transforming our content unless the 
>> user's circumstances strongly demand it. At some time in the future 
>> there may be some unanticipated delivery context (e.g. the spherical 
>> display of a holographic browser) and rather than deny people access 
>> to our content via such an amazing device we would accept an 
>> intermediary stepping in to do additional adaptation. Indeed, we might
>>     
>
>   
>> even work directly with an intermediary to help them adapt our content
>>     
>
>   
>> to the niche market of spherical holographic displays. It's all about 
>> mutual respect.
>>
>> ---Rotan.
>>
>> [1]
>>     
> _http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-bpwg/2009Mar/0073.html_
>   
>
>
>
>
>   
Received on Thursday, 12 March 2009 19:52:35 UTC

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