Re: 3 Proposals: session ID, business-card auth, customer auth

Terje Norderhaug (
Thu, 20 Jul 1995 19:15:43 -0800

At 6:08 AM 7/19/95, John Franks wrote:
>Yes, and I personally find this objectionable. It is the reason that
>I have never been beyond the front door of Hotwired. I have been thinking
>about why it grates on me so much. It is not primarily the privacy issue,
>thought that is part of it. Primarily it is because the practice is such an
>atavism. It is a throwback to a 1970's mainframe computing paradigm.
>It betrays a fundamenal lack of understanding of the Web culture.
>Considering the source this is very ironic.

Interesting, I stay away from HotWired as well for similar reasons...and
encourages others to do the same!

>It is also completely impractical. Does Wired really expect readers
>to maintain a unique password for every publication to which they
>subscribe? And worse, to supply it *every* a publication is read??
>This is certainly something which will not scale -- on the user's end.
>Fortunately, it does not seem to be catching on.

Well, I see an increasing number of forum services on the Web that requires
a password to read the messages. This might be due to lack of design
skills, copying a previous medium (BBS) without thought for the special
features of another medium (check the so-called "WebBoard" software for an

>In many ways it is
>analogous to copy protected software. A benefit derives to the
>supplier at considerable inconvenience to the user. Hopefully, it
>will suffer the same fate. An interesting, but probably unattainable
>statistic would be how many people would like to look at Hotwired, but
>won't because of their registration procedure.

The password protection of each site contribute to keep the Web more
similar to a traditional magazine, book, or newspaper as it forces people
to enter through their "frontpage" and as is directed. Increasing password
protection on the web is working against the idea of an interconnected web.
It is a reactionary design decision... often taken by those with a
background in traditional publishing.

For example, check how Elsevier has applied this worldview for the on-web
proceedings of the Third International WWW Conference, so everybody has to
pay $50 to get the password to read mine and other papers (if you pay
you'll HAVE to get the paper version as well!). Suddenly, it doesn't make
sense to link directly to an article in the proceedings (or directly to any
paragraph in the proceedings, as they actually allowed for as a result of
that I requested labels on each paragraph). :-(

-- Terje <>