W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webappsec@w3.org > September 2019

Re: Explainer: IsLoggedIn (in preparation for TPAC)

From: Daniel Veditz <dveditz@mozilla.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2019 18:03:38 -0700
Message-ID: <CADYDTCDOAceq1i6eP6zgNq06618GrVfW1VxqHooCSBgkPfMVHA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Michaela Merz <michaela.merz@rollofone.com>
Cc: John Wilander <wilander@apple.com>, Craig Francis <craig.francis@gmail.com>, "public-webappsec@w3.org" <public-webappsec@w3.org>
On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 10:23 AM Michaela Merz <michaela.merz@rollofone.com>
wrote:

> I am not happy with blocking communications due to convenience concerns -
> e.g. autoplay. If users don't like blaring videos, they are free to never
> again visit the site. Convenience filtering is a slippery slope: Will we at
> some point see image blocking, because users may feel uncomfortable with
> certain depictions - or an automatic browser profanity filter? Once we
> start to accept the convenience factor as valid reasons to filter or
> prohibit certain elements - where will that end?
>

Over and over the history of the internet shows that a small number of
selfish assholes ruin a good thing for everyone: spam, popups, the robocall
epidemic, trolls, adware, ransomware, battery-draining
cryptocurrency-mining web ads. I dispute your characterization of these
problems as one of "convenience": these are abuses and lots of people are
fed up with them. It's natural for browsers to compete on who can best give
users a better experience of the web.

Early on yes there /were/ browsers with image blocking -- because the
explosion of images on a previously text-only web was choking many people's
meager pre-DSL modem connections. To this day Firefox on Android makes it
easy to block all images or load them only over wifi (I imagine this is a
common option on mobile browsers). Way back in the day Netscape folks added
a pop-up blocker to Mozilla code. AOL management wouldn't let us ship the
Netscape version with the pop-up blocker turned on, but the "open source"
Mozilla did. Guess which one is still around today? (Cheap shot; that
wasn't Netscape's downfall.) For a few years Internet Explorer continued to
not have a pop-up blocker and users had a choice: the insufferable nanny
state of a browser with pop-up blocking, or a web full of pop-ups as God
intended. IE added a pop-up blocker.

Browsers compete to give users what they want, and users are telling us
they don't like this stuff. Even when we agree something is a problem we
might not agree on solutions, but if we can agree we ought to standardize
it for the benefit of users writing web content. You can still write web
pages with abusive pop-ups, but why bother if they don't open in any
popular browser? But if you're writing content that is best presented in a
pop-up and you want it to work, it's helpful to have standards explaining
when that pop-up is going to work and when it will be blocked.

[note: this is a general response. I have not digested the isLoggedIn()
proposal enough to have an opinion yet.]

-Dan Veditz
Received on Friday, 13 September 2019 01:04:13 UTC

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