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RE: Deep linking barriers in the UK: The Royal Mail

From: Tex Texin <textexin@xencraft.com>
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2010 23:51:38 -0700
To: "'Pat Hayes'" <phayes@ihmc.us>, "'John Kemp'" <john@jkemp.net>
Cc: "'Tim Berners-Lee'" <timbl@w3.org>, "'Paul Libbrecht'" <paul@activemath.org>, "'Henry S. Thompson'" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>, <www-tag@w3.org>, "'Tex Texin'" <textexin@xencraft.com>
Message-ID: <000f01cae443$c246c4c0$46d44e40$@com>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-tag-request@w3.org [mailto:www-tag-request@w3.org] On Behalf
> Of Pat Hayes
> Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2010 10:00 PM
> To: John Kemp
> Cc: Tim Berners-Lee; Paul Libbrecht; Henry S. Thompson; www-tag@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Deep linking barriers in the UK: The Royal Mail
> On Apr 24, 2010, at 7:27 AM, John Kemp wrote:
> > On Apr 23, 2010, at 9:39 PM, Tim Berners-Lee wrote:
> >
> >> On 2010-04 -23, at 15:35, Paul Libbrecht wrote:
> >>
> >>> Le 23-avr.-10 à 04:07, Tim Berners-Lee a écrit :
> >>>
> >>>>> What is the reason this is called deep-linking?
> >>>>
> >>>> Well, it has been called that.
> >>>
> >>> Excuse me to insist but I really feel that calling it is tainting
> >>> it as sin while it really is just a usual form of linking and it
> >>> should be clear to be a normal right except on "evil sites". I
> >>> feel that naming it such, from an authority such as the TAG, does
> >>> justify policy-makers to write such conditions-of-use.
> >>
> >> "Tainting it as a sin"?  I must be missing something.   What is
> >> wrong with the word "deep"? as in "not shallow" meaning "not to the
> >> highest level of the hierarchy". Can you think of an alternative
> >> word for the issue which you would prefer?
> >
> > I believe that the point is that a link is a link, no matter to what
> > place in a hierarchy -- proposed only by the site owner -- it
> > points. So why do we believe that (or talk as if) there is some
> > hierarchy ("shallow", "deep") implied only by a link?
> This seems rather disingenuous to me. Sure, a link is a link. But I
> read the Royal Mail request (as quoted by Dan C.) simply a plea, or
> warning, that their 'internal' links are labile and liable to be
> changed without warning, and that therefore it would be unwise to use
> them as if they were stable links. In contrast to the links to the
> 'top' of their internal hierarchies, which are promised (or assumed)
> to be more stable. Now, of course, this doubly flies in the face of
> the standard advice on the coolness of URIs: nevertheless, it seems
> like honest and potentially helpful advice about how the Royal Mail
> are failing to be cool in their use of URIs. No doubt such uncoolness
> is regrettable, but it does not seem to me to be a terribly important
> or far-reaching matter for the TAG to be considering.
> Pat Hayes

If we treat all links the same (a link is a link) and fail to recognize that
from the point of view of the content owner all contents are not the same,
then we drive owners to either reduce the quality of their web offerings or
to resort to additional technologies to satisfy their viewpoint.

Deeplinking is not about depth. It refers to content that is a component
that supports a page or other larger entity. Owners may object to direct
linking to these components if context, advertisements, or license or
copyright information is lost, if the reference is for an unintended
purpose, or because it drives up hosting costs without returning value.

If I have a page on exercises and have an image of a girl demonstrating a
maneuver, and the image is referenced directly for prurient or other
interests, my hosting costs can become significant. I am sure you have run
across other examples. If other exercise companies use my embedded
components and do not mention my web site, I don't recover the investment I
made to create the content.

As a consequence people employ various techniques to present embedded
content without using a simple link.

It would be better to recognize that some content is intended to be part of
an atomic unit and the artifact that the unit was formed by links doesn't
necessarily mean that the individual pieces should be available or that the
owner is responsible for uses other than those intended.

Which is more dangerous to the web: recognizing link inequality or having
numerous technologies to assemble contents so they are not easy to reference
directly, but which are also likely to be incompatible with accessibility,
certain browsers or devices, security, internationalization, etc.?

Tex Texin
Received on Sunday, 25 April 2010 06:52:13 UTC

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