Re: HTTP Futures

Brian Behlendorf (
Fri, 2 Dec 1994 14:29:36 +0100

On Thu, 1 Dec 1994, Dan Lester wrote:
> In addition to being abhorrent to most of us for all sorts of
> reasons related to censorship, if there weren't some centralized
> "power" and "control" involved, it wouldn't have a prayer....and not
> much of one even then. Just like students always find ways to hack
> systems (and not just computer systems), I can guarantee you that
> some students would click up pix of mickey and minnie mouse from the
> G server at and get a picture of three men, four women and
> a pony doing all sorts of unnatural things. If ratings weren't
> centrally controlled, you could also be sure that lots of 'porn
> servers' would rate themselves G just for the hell of it.

We made a big leap from voluntary filtering tools to censorship here.

First off, a poll: I can very easily set up a separate mailing list for
discussions related to group and public annotations. There are a lot of
people working on this and related systems, and while there are probably
enhancements to HTTP (and definitely to browsers and servers) needed to
implement this correctly, I think it's a big enough issue on its own to
merit separate discussions from www-talk. Send me mail privately if you
have an opinion, and I'll act accordingly.

Okay, now, two points about the above:

1) It's conceivable that the party being rated wouldn't be responsible
for placing or maintaining that rating themselves; while, yes, this
brings up the scary prospect of "officially sanctioned" content, it also
means unethical content providers can't squelch or discourage unfavorable
ratings. I mean, can you imagine if Siskel and Ebert could only post
their reviews on movie newspaper ads? "Two thumbs up!" would be all
you'd see.

2) If a kid is smart enough to download his own version of NetScape,
install it, and enters the URL for, I say he's
smart enough to handle whatever he finds there. Yes, this system is not
designed as a fail-safe system, but that doesn't mean that it's unusable.
Any grade schooler in the Bay Area can plop 75 cents into a newspaper
vending machine and get "The Spectator".


Your slick hype/tripe/wipedisk/zipped/zippy/whine/online/sign.on.the.ish/oil
pill/roadkill/grease.slick/neat.trick is great for what it is. -- Wired Fan #3