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Kidcode, censorship

From: Robert Robbins <rrobbins@gdb.org>
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 1995 12:52:27 -0400 (EDT)
To: www-talk@www10.w3.org
Cc: Robert Robbins <rrobbins@gdb.org>
Message-Id: <Pine.3.07.9506201225.C4283-c100000@dev.gdb.org>

This discussion has so much focussed on preventing access to offensive
material that it has almost entirely failed to notice that something very
much akin to the KidCode idea would be a very useful add-on that could
allow people to find things on the net. 

Imagine a future world in which every thing ever written in any language
is available at some URL or another.  Imagine also that someone has
developed a nearly perfect search engine that can retrieve all relevant
documents within seconds.  What would this world be like?  I argue that it
would be a very difficult world in which to work, because any query would
return such a large set of technically relevant responses that the
percentage of really relevant material would be almost zero.

To make this world work usefully, the system will also need to allow the
development of value-adding classification schemes by third-party
developers.  Then, users would direct their queries through the search
engine, with various filters set on or off to restrict the answers to
third-party classified sets as specified in the query filter. 

Parents could use this to SET RAUNCHY OFF to keep the kids from accessing
things disapproved by the third-party developers who built the RAUNCHY list.

Biologists might use it to SET FASEB-APPROVED ON. FASEB is the Federation
of American Societies for Experimental Biology and it might be willing to
devote some editorial effort to classifying as FASEB-APPROVED those items
that pass its editorial process.

The point is, classifying WWW materials can be a value-adding third-party
activity.  If the fundamental WWW protocols are implemented to support
such an activity GENERALLY, then such classifications can be used by
anybody to accomplish anything.  Those who wish to use the system to
suppress access to some materials can do so.  Those who wish to use the
same system to facilitate access to materials can do that as well.  The
protocols should be designed to facilitate the USE of WWW materials, and
users should decide just what USES they choose to make.
Received on Tuesday, 20 June 1995 13:05:42 GMT

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