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Re: CfC: new WD of Clipboard API and Events; deadline April 5

From: Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org>
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2011 18:51:01 -0400
Message-ID: <CABirCh9t11xvi36visQKUAUeF10Q_wnHvuMYQSxXZL-u58zKTQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Paul Libbrecht <paul@hoplahup.net>
Cc: "Hallvord R. M. Steen" <hallvord@opera.com>, WebApps WG <public-webapps@w3.org>
On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 11:41 AM, Paul Libbrecht <paul@hoplahup.net> wrote:

> Slowly, users start to see the disadvantages of a dirty web-page (e.g.
> flash advertisement 100% cpu) and I am confident they will not that some
> pages mingle with their copy ability or actually provide a service to do so.

Sorry, I'm having trouble parsing this.

My experience so far is that people are aggravated by pages that insert ads
into copied text, but not quite enough to stop them from using a page.  They
grumble and delete the ad.  That's the most annoying category of abuse, in
my opinion: not bad enough to strongly discourage its use, causing it to
spread, but bad enough to continuously annoy users.

I'd love to hear your feedback but that's how I feel things and I think we
> just have to accept it: new technology, new risks, positive and negative.

It's acceptable for new technologies to have negatives, of course; the
positives need to balance the negatives.

To be clear, I don't mean that this abuse is newly exposed by this API.
It's an abuse that's been spreading lately, using hacks with existing APIs.
I meant that it shows that people will broadly abuse anything that lets them
fiddle with the clipboard; in other words, this isn't a theoretical problem.

I'd hoped to see browsers adjust behavior so clipboard copying happens
before anything else (before firing DOM events at all), making it more
difficult for pages to fiddle with the selection before the copy occurs, but
this API makes that approach useless; it officially blesses the entire
category of messing-with-what-the-user-copies, so it'd never be fixable.
That's frustrating.

(As an aside, it would still be possible to do this sort of clipboard
hijacking even if that was done, by fiddling with the selection when the
selection change happens instead of waiting for the copy.  From my
experiments, though, that approach is much more brittle, which is a
deterrent in and of itself.)

We can't stop pages from being annoying, but we should definitely keep in
mind the annoying things that are actually being done in the wild today, and
be aware of the things a new API might exacerbate.

Glenn Maynard
Received on Monday, 5 September 2011 22:51:39 UTC

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