Re: Self-censorship using URLs

Larry Masinter (masinter@parc.xerox.com)
Tue, 5 Sep 1995 12:09:06 PDT


To: rdaniel@acl.lanl.gov
Cc: clarkem@unpsun1.cc.unp.ac.za, uri@bunyip.com
In-Reply-To: "Ronald E. Daniel"'s message of Tue, 5 Sep 1995 08:13:27 -0700 <199509051513.JAA06500@idaknow.acl.lanl.gov>
Subject: Re:  Self-censorship using URLs
From: Larry Masinter <masinter@parc.xerox.com>
Message-Id: <95Sep5.120921pdt.2763@golden.parc.xerox.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 1995 12:09:06 PDT

> The URI-WG is defunct, so I suggest you monitor "ratings@junction.net".

The working group is "closed", not "defunct". The interpretation of
"closed" is that there are no more meetings scheduled, but the mailing
list remains open for discussion of URI related-issues that are not
being addressed by other WGs.

While ratings/censorship etc. was discussed at the IETF BOF, I think
there's a URI issue that lurks here: many users would like to be able
to supply some kinds of metadata along with the rest of their
reference. 

The question is really just how we might accomodate that. For example,
you might say that metadata like 'rating' belongs in a URC. But the
current URC syntaxes being proposed seem too clumsy to stick inside a
HREF.

You should note that in this example, the *publisher* didn't supply
the rating. Rather, it was the person making the reference.

<UL>
 <LI> <A URC="Rating: V4; URL=http://sample.gif"> A very violent picture. </A>
 <LI> <A URC="Rating: S5; URL=http://sexy.gif"> A very sexy picture. </A>
</UL>


Someone else might provide a different guide to the same material
which supplied different ratings.

> As for your particular proposal, it seems very similar to the "KidCode"
> proposal from Borenstein, et. al. (Look for it in the Internet Drafts
> repositories).  For a variety of reasons I believe that both proposals
> are undesirable. First, I have strong reservations
> about the idea of encoding rating info into the URL.

Right, don't encode it _in_ the URL, put it in material that goes
_with_ the URL.

> The whole
> reason people are looking at URNs is because URLs already confound
> identity and location. Adding resource description info and implicit
> access control info is just going to aggrevate the scaling problems
> the web is already experiencing.

Putting rating information with URLs doesn't aggrevate scaling
problems.

>                            Second, ratings by the publisher are
> inadequate for a global system.

The rating information isn't supplied by the publisher, it's supplied
by the author of the reference.

> Ideas of decency vary too much from
> one culture to another for such ratings to work well.

So different authors of hotlists and index information can provide
different rating services.

> Therefore,
> provision has to be made for other parties to rate resources.

Yup. Whenever you publish something with a link in it, you can put in
a rating.

> Once
> those provisions are in place, there is no need for the publisher to
> have their own priviledged rating scheme.

Yes, this isn't priviledged information.