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Re: KidCode: Next steps

From: Darren New <dnew@sgf.fv.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 1995 19:38:56 +0100
To: Terje Norderhaug <Norderhaug.CHI@xerox.com>
Cc: Nathaniel Borenstein <nsb@nsb.fv.com>, Wes Morgan <morgan@engr.uky.edu>, rating@junction.net, www-talk@www10.w3.org
Message-Id: <Pine.3.89.9506191819.A2826-0100000@sgf.fv.com>
> I replied:
> > I refer to document as what is transmitted from the author/content provider,
> > not what is viewed by the reader.
> 
> Thus, while a browser may receive the a "document", parts of this document
> might be filtered by the browser to better fit the needs of the reader. The
> result is of course also a document, although not the same as the one
> transferred.

Oh!  My apologies. I thought you meant the server was inserting ads
dynamically, not that the ads were there and the browser was taking them
out. 

> At 7:13 AM 6/19/95, Darren New wrote:
> >>
> >If what you're saying is that someone writes HTML then gives it to a
> >service provider who then modifies it, I think that's something entirely
> >outside the control of HTML or HTTP.
> 
> This does not match with what I am trying to say.

Right right right.  I was equating "browser" with "reader".  Sorry.

> You seems to have a censorship perspective on this issue. Giving the right
> meta-information/markup of the document, a browser would be able to "fix"
> the document to adapt to the preferences of the user.

Well, maybe a little. I really had an "advertising" slant on it, and a 
"stupid" slant on it.  :-)

> new here. Of course, part of the determination is manual, but we assume
> that people actually would pay to avoid ads (or group together do share the
> effort).

Except that people publishing adult material generally don't mind if you 
avoid it, while people publishing ads generally do. 

Given the growth rate of the web and everything on it, and given the 
number of new links and new documents each day, I would think it would 
cost a *lot* of money to try to police the entire web for commercial 
content, especially since the advertisers won't want to make it easy for 
you. However, if you want to do this, go for it.

> Such considerations should be an integrated part of a proposal. Thus I am
> proposing something, not just bashing KidCode. If you look back at the
> discussion, you should already have an early framework for alternatives.

I have plenty of alternatives that basically say "use an entirely 
different method" and a few people that have even proposed an entirely 
different method. I also see a bunch of people saying I'm evil, and a 
couple actually making suggestions about how to improve KidCode rather 
than replace it.

Of course, I prefer the last type of message, altho the "entirely 
different message" camp does have some good ideas too.  I just think 
anything where every single access to anyplace on the web is going to 
have to go to some server somewhere that essentially has a database of 
everything on the web is just too monolithic to work. 

> I haven't really bashed KidCode, but rather tried to come up with some
> constructive and normative ideas. Hopefully you might find something you
> didn't already know if you look for it.

"Bashed" may have been a little too strong. My apologies. But KidCode is 
specifically intended to not *need* a centralized repository of "bad" 
sites, since that implies there's someone with the resources to keep up 
with everything on the web.  I expect that would cost a *lot* of money, 
if only for the litigation expenses.

KidCode *is* intended that even people who are not running their own web 
server can use it, and that the main expense is borne by the people who 
want to be "protected".  That is, even people on NetCom (say) can put 
their stuff under a KidCode.18 directory, and they don't need to convince 
NetCom Inc to install patches to whatever server they happen to be using.

> Any suggestion can not be based on that advertisers would support it.

Yes. That's the basic problem that KidCode avoids.

> 1. Start by building a database of links to commercials (blacklist).

Hmm. Somehow, I expect HP's entire site is one huge ad. Yet, if I'm 
looking for an HP printer, that's exactly where I want to go, and if I'm 
not, then I don't need to go there anyway.

The only ads that are actually objectionable (I would think) are the ones 
that are embedded in other documents.  It's a poor ad indeed that you 
don't know before following the link that it's an ad.  (Well, maybe not. 
But it's a poor ad that you don't recognise as an ad right away. :-)

Don't get the web confused with broadcast media.  You don't *have* to 
listen to the ads to get to the information.  If the fact that there are 
ads there is a problem, you can go someplace else, and advertisers will 
hear about it.   Don't you think that if Purina (say) got a bunch of 
complaints about their new radio commercial where people said "Your 
commercial is so offensive I changed the channel" they would change it? 

Won't this happen on the web?   Hey, want a Green Card?

> 2. Create a way to identify ads, for example, by a clearinghouse or
> volunteers.

OK. How about if I volunteer your site?  ;-)   Seriously, are these 
volunteers going to get sued for libel? What happens when people 
rearrange their sites, and it's no longer ads there?

> I encourage you to build on this to propose other ideas that might further
> the purpose of defeating the advertisement based revenue model for the Web.

Well, since I have nothing against advertisements in a medium where I 
don't have to listen to them to get to the information, I'll leave that 
up to you.  I agree that ads interspersed in the middle of a web page are 
very annoying, but I don't see it as that much of a problem, either.

> there might be a wish for seeing _related_ commercials in content, just as
> many read trade magazines partly for the ads.

Right. I also can't imagine anyone with half a brain paying to put an 
automobile commercial in the middle of a web page about cats.  I don't 
hear pet-food commercials at 2AM, I hear phone-sex commercials. And 
truck-driving school commercials on daytime TV, and new car commercials 
on rush-hour radio.  So I would expect *most* ads to be related to what 
you're looking at.

> Exactly! The revenue model of the Web will be changed to the better.

I agree that paying to fetch would probably be an improvement, due to 
being the consumer rather than the product.  :-)

> However, it might be worth considering to support users choice in way of
> paying. Those that rather view ads should be able to. On the other hand, it
> would be a bad idea to protect advertisers as web technology is furthered.

Probably the best mechanism would be to include commercials if the person 
doesn't pay, or allow them to get the pages without commercials if they 
do pay.  I think that's probably a better model than how to avoid the ads 
in spite of the content provider.

> Decentralize as much as possible. 

Um, that's what KidCode proposes, and lots of people think it's a bad 
idea to trust the author instead of some central authority.

> Do not favor the blacklist created by a
> particular institution or company.

Well, unless that company actually *wants* to blacklist people.  I can 
easily see ads for encryption products blacklisting non-US IP addresses. :-)

> Provide easy ways to create personal
> add-ons so individuals can themselves be innovative in how to avoid ads,
> and stay ahead of the ad business. Make sure that many alternatives are
> proposed as the technology is designed - so what do you suggest?

You're trying to solve a different problem than I am. My concern is not 
"how do I get effective and personalized censorship for myself" but rather 
"how do I get rid of censorship."

> Then, as I argued, the metaphor of a porn shop might not be relevant.
> Thus, we cannot assume that porn sites will behave in the same way as
> a physical porn shop.

From my experience, "porn sites" have no qualms with limiting access to 
consenting adults. Advertisers certainly want their toy commercials to 
reach children, yes, but not porn merchants.

> The medium reaches outside US, and so does its users. Thus what is locally
> illegal might not restrict what will appear.

True, but you'll still go to jail.  :-)

> I propose that instead of tagging the content with "ratings", they should
> be tagged with criteria that can be used to calculate a rating. Thus,
> instead of coding the document with "Not appropriate for kids below 7",
> it should be coded with something like "Intercouse, visible penis, blood,
> rape, no nude women" on which an algorithm can be run to calculate a rating.

Honestly, if you stuck something like this where a kid might see it, 
you're already in trouble.  :-)  One of the advantages of KidCode is you 
don't have to receive a list of objectionable words in advance. ;-)

> This allows different rating algorithm, in the same way as logical markup of
> web documents allows tailored presentations. It is less cultural dependent,
> and more open for various individual preferences.

The point of KidCode is to be quick, to set up something voluntary that 
won't interfere much with adults, that will interfere with people 
proposing more censorship laws on the grounds of "protecting kids", and 
that would be very difficult to turn into a represive sort of law.

> As a start, it might be an idea to look into the criteria used to evaluate
> movies in various countries.

OK. If you can get this set up in all the countries of the world before 
the Exon bill gets thru the House, I'll be impressed.  :-)

> I am sure that it would be possible to create
> some form for categories based on this. Then, pick a random selection of
> movies, identify which categories are present, and run this with the actual
> rating into a fuzzy system. Voila, you have an automatic rather that
> follows their norm...

Um.... maybe. I'm less impressed with inference engines than you are, I
think. Again, if something slips thru, are you going to take
responsibility for it? 

> >Where's the money for running a rating server going to come from.
> Well, you have some potential revenue models. Pay-per-use, subscription,
> not to mention - commercials :-)

Sure, a subscription service works, but it's not a self-starter.  You 
have to invest a huge amount of money up front and hope that you have the 
mechanism that wins.  That's what SurfWatch does, and they don't need to 
run a rating server either.  Of course, you have to take their word for 
it, and it's only updated monthly I understand, but it's a great system 
if it works as advertised.

> Too bad for the Catholoc Church. Too bad for slow legislators. No reason to
> take their role, unless (as might be the case) it would be strategically
> beneficial.

I think you miss the point. In your proposed rating scheme, you require 
some small collection of people to rate a huge collection of web stuff, 
yes? In KidCode, the rater is the author, so as the web grows 
exponentially, so does the number of people doing ratings.

> I would be happy to collaborate with you and others in doing this. I
> believe considerations should be taken also in areas where I do not have
> the expertise. I believe an appropriate strategy would be to identify how
> currently evolving rating technology can be used. Are you ready to join
> with your mind in the effort?

I'm too busy to worry about zapping commercials against the publisher's
will.  It would honestly be inappropriate to try, given the business I am
in, and perhaps contradictory to my employment contract.  :-)
Received on Monday, 19 June 1995 19:45:41 GMT

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