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Re: Does the NY Times Paywall Misuse HTTP GET?

From: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 23:23:40 -0500
Message-ID: <4EE824CC.4010107@arcanedomain.com>
To: "Eric J. Bowman" <eric@bisonsystems.net>
CC: "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>


On 12/13/2011 11:10 PM, Eric J. Bowman wrote:
> Your blog post reads, "GET is inappropriate for any request that,
> directly or as a side effect, updates the state of a server."
>
> This comes up often on rest-discuss.  Hit counters (and even logging)
> are GET updating server state, nothing wrong with that.  The user-
> agent can't be held accountable for any changes made via safe methods.
> When a user is requesting a change, the user-agent should be instructed
> to use an unsafe method, not GET.  NYT's implementation is silly, but
> it's valid HTTP.

I think that calling this a "hit counter" is in the same spirit, though not 
as extreme, as calling something that decrements my back account a "hit 
counter".

Every month the New York Times gives me 20 units of value to spend. They 
happen to be accesses to their published articles. Each time I do a GET to 
one of those articles, my account is decremented.

I'm well aware that logs and traditional hit counters are considered to be 
appropriate for HTTP, but this is different. Incrementing those counters, 
or adding to those logs does not use up a valuable resource.

Noah
Received on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 04:24:04 GMT

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