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Re: KidCode: Next steps

From: Nathaniel Borenstein <nsb@nsb.fv.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 1995 15:08:22 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <sjt7aaz0Eyt514uehj@nsb.fv.com>
To: hardie@merlot.arc.nasa.gov (Ted Hardie)
Cc: rating@junction.net, www-talk@www10.w3.org
Excerpts from mail: 14-Jun-95 Re: KidCode: Next steps Ted
Hardie@merlot.arc.na (17090*)

> One set, in particular, I think needs to be addressed immediately: the
> idea that several different approaches should be implemented and sites
> should comply with all of them.  This, I believe, is a major mistake.

I'm not suggesting that there should be several incompatible
implementations of the same approach, merely that there are several
applicable technologies -- URL labelling, blacklists, rating
authorities, etc. -- which are all mutually compatible and can be
pursued independently.  While it is remotely conceivable, I seriously
doubt that any one of them will satisfy all the real and perceived needs
of the community.  Therefore, I see it as pointless to argue over which
is "best", and instead I prefer to focus on how to do my particular
favorite -- URL labeling -- in the best possible way.

> Mr. Borenstein has put forward his suggestion as an Internet-Draft; I,
> and many others, assumed from this action that he saw the issue as one
> which should be addressed by a standards body.  I agree with that assessment,

An Internet-Draft is an Internet-Draft, nothing more.  I *never*
intended this to be something that went down the whole standards track. 
The goal here is to publish an Informational RFC, which can be
implemented or ignored by anyone who sees fit.  It was published first
as an I-D rather than an RFC because we wanted to get constructive input
on the best way to do URL-level protection.

> By setting a single standard method, we are far more likely to get
> uniform usage (even if we do not got uniform compliance, the yardstick
by which compliance is met will be easier to measure against).  

I don't give a hoot how we measure compliance.  I want rough consensus
and working code.

> By setting a standard method through a recognized standards body like
> the IETF, we are also far more likely to get recognition outside of the
> U.S. market context; we need the experience of a group which has
> negotiated international cooperative networking standards.  

The basic misperception here is that we intended this to go down the
standards track.  We did not.  Think of it as being analogous to the
mailcap RFC, which is informational only, and specifies compatible
naming conventions for those who want them, and which is happily ignored
by those who think that mailcap files are a bad idea.

> I personally believe that KidCode is overly complex, inelegant, and
> very easy to circumvent, 

Well, it's trivial to circumvent.  It's a VOLUNTARY standard.  You can
circumvent it by saying "I won't use it."  So you'll get no argument on
that score.  

As for "overly complex" and "inelegant", these charges are meaningless
unless you explain them.  Personally, I'm very concerned if it is in any
way overly complex -- simplification in such matters is almost always
good.  I have trouble getting too concerned about elegance, however --
this is, after all, the Internet, and "elegant" is not the word I would
choose to describe most successful Internet protocols.  (It does,
however, describe an awful lot of the ones that failed.)

> Because of the
> importance likely duration of those issues, we need to think very
> carefully about scalability and extensibility; many of the current
> proposals may be workable now, but will not scale to meet the needs of
> the Web as it will be in just a few months time.  

First of all, I agree completely.  However, I can't imagine ANYTHING
that scales better than a voluntary URL-based approach.  It's
scalability is one of the key reasons I prefer the URL approach.  What
doesn't scale about it?

Second, saying "we need to think very carefully" is fine -- motherhood
and apple pie -- but some of us believe we have already done a fair
amount of careful thinking.  If there's something about the KidCode
proposal that doesn't scale, I'd like to know what it is.  Constructive
input is ALWAYS welcome.

> We need to think in
> the context of what standards will be emerging; implementing a
> proposal that will not work in the context of HTTP-NG or other
> emerging standards is ultimately counter-productive.  

Well, if HTTP-NG breaks URLs, it's a non-starter, I predict.

> Worries over
> proposed legislation should not force into something which could,
> easily, having a crippling effect on the growth of the Net or the Web.

We're not trying to force anybody into anything.  We are, however,
trying to move as fast as possible towards a single set of conventions
for those of us who want to implement URL-based labelling.  People who
want to pursue other mechanisms are free to do so, and I encourage those
efforts.  -- Nathaniel
--------
Nathaniel S. Borenstein <nsb@fv.com>    |           When privacy is outlawed,
Chief Scientist, First Virtual Holdings |     only outlaws will have privacy!
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Received on Sunday, 18 June 1995 15:10:34 GMT

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