Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Web 2.0 Conundrum - How Much Control is Too Much?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the trust-versus-content dept.

59

CrashRoX asks: "One of the big hypes with Web 2.0 is that users should be able to control their content. We then end up with all assortments of mash-ups, widgets, feeds and customized pages/profiles. Given this, where do site admins draw the line on what users can do? MySpace is the best example for this question. Their popularity is based on promoting the fact that you can have a page that displays your personality, customize it and pretty much do whatever you want to it. Over time, they've had security problems with users using JavaScript. That privilege was revoked not too long after. Most recently, they've limited the use of flash controls and have started banning certain widgets (like YouTube and others). Sites like Google let you create your own widgets using an API. How much control from a programming, security and usability point of view should we give users? What guidelines should developers follow for building web 2.0 sites?"

cancel ×

59 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Major misconception (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16606512)

With Web 2.0 the user have no control over their content whatsoever. They give their content to the webmaster. It sits on the webmaster's server and that is effectively beyond the control of the users. Web 2.0 trades the illusion of control for valuable content. I can't edit this comment after clicking submit. Is it my comment or Slashdot's?

Re:Major misconception (1)

tres3 (594716) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606544)

An intelligent first post!! OMG, what is becoming of the slashdot we all know and love to hate? :)

Re:Major misconception (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16606606)

We're sorry. It won't happen again.

- CmdrTaco

Re:Major misconception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16607272)

You must be new here.

Re:Major misconception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16669923)

> OMG, what is becoming of the slashdot we all know and love to hate? :)

I'd say your post just restored it.

Re:Major misconception (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607074)

Yours. See the bottom of the page:

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the Poster.

Re:Major misconception (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607472)

I thought it meant that all posts belonged to this guy. [slashdot.org]

Re:Major misconception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16607560)

That's the difference between ownership and possession. I own the comment, but it's in Slashdot's possession. That means I'm legally responsible for the comment, but I don't have the power to remove or edit the comment. Great stuff. Guess why I'm posting anonymously.

Re:Major misconception (2, Insightful)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16608524)

You were legally responsible for posting the comment, sure. And you did so in the full knowledge that it wasn't editable afterwards.

If you punch someone you can't then get sniffy because they carry around the bruise and won't allow you to unpunch them again. Why should you get pissed if you choose to post something and then can't edit it afterwards? You control and select your actions - any opportunity to take back said action is a privilege, not a right.

You have the right to act as you wish: the right to unilaterally retract a previous action at any time was never offered, guaranteed and shoulnd't be assumed.

Re:Major misconception (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16609924)

Your analogy applies to the analog world only. Anything digital can be taken back with the right software. The posters point is that this software has not been made available. Thus while the poster of a comment may 'own' the comment, in fact very little having to do with ownership is present. If I 'own' something I should be able to: throw it away, change it, give it to someone else etc etc, but these ownership properties are not available with 'ownership' of a post.

Re:Major misconception (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641249)

"Your analogy applies to the analog world only. Anything digital can be taken back with the right software."

Says who?

Example: Take the Slashdot articles database. Remove every tag applied to every article. Now "put back" the structure back exactly how it was. No, don't recreate it by looking at a previous copy - "take back" your original action.

Just because something's digital, that doesn't mean it's automagically symmetrical in time. Sure, we back digital content up more, and Wikipedia will let you view every revision of an article back to its beginnings, but that doesn't mean it's some magical property of "digital" media that makes it so.

It's just as easy to point to blog systems with no "version" control, online forms that don't let you edit your response after it's sent... hell, even the great grandaddy of all digital media, e-mail. Ever tried to send an e-mail then correct its content after it's been sent?

Likewise, we "back up" analogue media like tapes and records. Photocopies allow us to back up paper contracts and magazine articles. Where did this magical division between digital and analogue content come from? You can generalise a lot abotu the two groups, but "take-back-ability" isn't even close to one of the differentiators.

About all your can say is that it's generally easier to back up digital media, like it's generally easier to copy, modify or distribute it. Nowhere does "generally easier to" become "always can", though.

"If I 'own' something I should be able to: throw it away, change it, give it to someone else etc etc, but these ownership properties are not available with 'ownership' of a post."

Again, says who? That's just your assumption, based on a very restricted view of ownership. Slaves in Ancient Greece were "owned", but people couldn't "change" them however they liked - there were very strict rules that limited what you could do to (and require of) slaves. You "own" your own life, but can you legally throw it away? Likewise, you "own" a licence to listen to your iTunes music, but you can't give that away to people.

Ownership means "possession of-" - it doesn't mean "can do whatever the hell I like to- or with-".

Would it be nice to be able to edit posts? Of course.

Would it break moderation, make trolls impossible to guard against? Yes.

Is it your inalienable right to edit your posts? Nope.

Re:Major misconception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615998)

I only found out I couldn't edit posts after I went looking for an 'edit' button to click.

Where does it say -in advance- that I would not be able to edit my post?

Re:Major misconception (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641117)

If you weren't aware of it beforehand, then I apologise. However, there's almost no chance that any given post was that particular poster's first ever on Slashdot, so it seemed safe to assume you'd posted before (and hence, should have noticed the lack of "edit" links already).

If this really was your first post, then I apologise and retract my comment - I thought it was mentioned in the FAQ, but I can't find it now so perhaps it isn't.

Nevertheless, the original poster (was that also you?) seemed to be complaining that he should expect to be able to undo things on-line, and it was somehow his right to do so. I was merely pointing out that freedom of action is a right, but freedom of retraction wasn't guaranteed anywhere, ever.

If there's one thing everyone should understand before they make their very first post on the net, it's that the net is like cooking - you can add more, but you can never take away. You can amend, explain and add commentary to something you publically posted, but you can never, ever "take it back" once you've published it to the world. Even editing posts is only a superficial band-aid to the problem, as it doesn't prevent cached copies, saved pages, etc, etc, etc from showing exactly what you wrote previously.

Re:Major misconception (1)

grazzy (56382) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607188)

You shouldnt be able to edit a previously written comment. I'd agree to a revision history where you still can see all original comments though. Or a "appending changes" feature. But never to remove. Diggs way of doing it (for instance) sucks, you can basiclly troll by writing something and then change it in the 300 seconds window you get.

Re:Major misconception (1)

kchrist (938224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616148)

I've always thought that the best approach would be to let people edit or delete their comments up until the time someone replies to it, at which time it's locked. Or moderates it, if we're talking about /.

Re:Major misconception (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607620)

It's always been this way, users trade control for free web space. You can get free hosting on tripod or whatever, but you have to follow the rules, and put up with the software they provide you. You get a little more freedom once you get shared hosting, but there are still limitations, such as the number of databases you can have set up. If you get you own dedicated server, then you have a lot better control of what goes on it, and what you run on it. I don't know why people are surprised when free services try to limit what you can do on their hardware. If you want to post whatever you want on your website, you should at minimum pay for shared hosting.

Re:Major misconception (1)

ELProphet (909179) | more than 7 years ago | (#16619506)

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.

IANAL, but it looks like /. says it belongs to you. They are just storing it and showing it to whomever possible. Kind of like that annoying 8-year old who keeps telling everyone what he heard Grandma say last Christmas when she poked herself quilting...

Re:Major misconception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16632366)

exactly

Easy... (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606518)

No more than two animated gifs, no bigger than 100x100 pixels, on each page. That'd remove half the dross from the web.

Re:Easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16606814)

And no flash adverts, by law

What do you mean by End User? (2, Insightful)

ralatalo (673742) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606540)

When I think of End user I think of the person viewing the page, not someone who is making the page? Ie.. if the End user doesn't want Java Script or Java Applets or funky back grounds... adjust the settings on their browser! What do you mean by End User?

Re:What do you mean by End User? (2)

Ira_Gaines (890529) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606656)

Just because everyone has fast connections doesn't mean people should quit designing webpages that are efficient to load. Myspace is like any other site, basic rules of web page design still apply. I have flash and java disabled specifically to keep myspace profiles from pissing me off.

Re:What do you mean by End User? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16607804)

Try not going to myspace, that works really well.

Re:What do you mean by End User? (1)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615084)

Try not going to myspace, that works really well.

If that doesn't deserve a +5 Insightful mod, nothing does!

Re:What do you mean by End User? (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16614384)

MySpace is designed to get the maximum amount of ad impressions without pissing users off to the point where they stop using the site. That would explain why it's so fucking hard to do anything and why you have to navigate through like 50 pages to do anything.

The least restrictions possible for security (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16606560)

How much control from a programming, security and usability point of view should we give users? What guidelines should developers follow for building web 2.0 sites?"

As much control as reasonably practical, without intruding on other users' security.

For example, a page that only gets seen by me (e.g. a plugin for my customised google homepage) might as well let me write Javascript: to do so wouldn't mess with anyone else's security.

On the other hand, a public page in the myspace.com domain could use javascript to read visitors' cookies and forward them to malicious third parties. If the ability to do this was left open, it would inevitably be exploited. This would impinge upon the users' security, and hence should not be allowed.

If you have to ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16606564)

...then perhaps you shouldn't be working in the field.

Web 2.0? (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606588)

Is this an issue with web 2.0 (whatever that turns out to be) or with the ability for people to host content in general? Surely JS, Flash etc are old tools?

I say we dust off (0, Redundant)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606640)

And nuke MySpace from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

MySpace is not Web 2.0 (4, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606662)

Nothing in MySpace is "Web 2.0". All the control you have on that site is within the very limited bounds of a form that accepts HTML and CSS. Geocities had a pagebuilder that gave users as much back in 1996. Web 2.0 is about rich interfaces and client side applications. As yet I would argue that there are only two popular Web 2.0 sites. Those are GMail and DeviantArt (and DevArt is flakey at best). The rest are just sites that claim to be Web 2.0 but aren't (Digg, Flickr, MySpace, etc).

As for how much control to give users, give them whatever your resources will allow. If you've got the team strength to be able to firefight a javascript worm (MySpace) then give them a lot. If you've got the bandwidth to give them video upload (YouTube) give them space. If you're a one man team working on a toy website give them a couple of checkboxes and a button.

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16606708)

> If you're a one man team working on a toy website

As opposed to the armies working on toy sites like flickr, MySpace? I'm just trying to be clear on your usage of the word "toy" because there's no reason one man can't create the next flickr or myspace with a couple of months coding.

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16606802)

Ah, the Internet Dream. It happens, but you're more likely to succeed with people doing PR, accounting, systems administration, aquisition of advertising partners, etc. while you're doing the coding. Also it's often not a coder who has the brilliant idea what the next big thing is going to be.

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16606874)

Au contraire, you don't need people doing PR or accounting until you have a product or service to take to market. Startups that go this route are always staffed by VC funded MBAs and just like the one man shop, the majority will fail. Also, who's idea is the next big thing? Google, Flickr, MySpace and YouTube had all been done before, none of them were new ideas although obviously there are some subtle differences between a local shell script spitting out html and something like google.

And surely the internet dream is some idiot buying your startup for 100 times the net worth of the entire market segment? It happens:p

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16606920)

In order to be successful, you need these other people. You can have a good idea and implement it, but to make money (because that's what being successful means, right?), you have to reach your market. And that means you need PR, accounting, etc.

The money to pay these people in the beginning can come from venture capitalists or from the tooth fairy, it doesn't matter. You need these people to be successful. One man can create the next Flickr, Google, whatever, but he can not run it alone. A site which is "in productive mode" and run by one person is almost by definition a "toy" site.

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16607018)

I once worked at a VC funded startup that had everything in place before they had a marketable product. I never could understand why a company without a product needed so many well paid CxOs and sales staff? The entire thing was a joke. IMHO one or two guys with a 'toy' site is a more viable business than a VC funded 'toy' company. Nobody is questioning that a growing company will need more staff and funds for expansion.

Google (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607694)

So when google started, they had all these other people?

Stanford University (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607786)

Yes. Google started as a project at Stanford University, first called "BackRub".

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (2, Insightful)

freedumb2000 (966222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606930)

Now whoever came up with the term Web 2.0 in the first place? It is really a phrase with no specific meaning in the first place. I never even noticed there was a switch-over or a release of HTTP protocol v. 2. So it is really anyones own make up of a defintion for Web 2.0 (when is 2.1 getting released? can't wait) . One is as good as the other.

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16609054)

web 0.1 html text,
web 0.5 html text with pictures!
web 1.0 html text, pictures, javascript
web 1.6 html text, pictures, javascript, java, flash, shockwave, ad nauseum
web 1.9 html text, pictures, javascript, java, flash, shockwave, ad nauseum in frames
web 2.0 sctrach frames and replace with spans!

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16614518)

Frames were replaced with Ajax. Typical Ajax use loads shit into another fucking unsemantic div element, not span.

Oh, and Shockwave isn't really used much anymore (except for some games, but Java applets are being used for about the same thing nowadays as well).

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (1)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615152)

Now whoever came up with the term Web 2.0 in the first place?

I've heard people credit the term to Tim O'Reilly [oreilly.com] but I'm not sure
how accurate that is.


It is really a phrase with no specific meaning in the first place.


Yes.

I never even noticed there was a switch-over or a release of HTTP protocol v. 2. So it is really anyones own make up of a defintion for Web 2.0 (when is 2.1 getting released? can't wait)

Just wait until you see what we announce at the Gopher 3.1 Expo [1expo.ws] .

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606970)

Other examples - Yahoo! Mail Beta, Google Home Page, Windows Live!, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps. All of these allow you to take content from either themselves or someone else and stick it into a different page. That is the crux of "Web 2.0" - mashups of content.

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16621740)

There's nothing stopping you from doing that with _any_ web page.
Also, the "Web 2.0" description in the original post put me seriously in mind of Geocities, mp3.com, netscape.com and other sites from last century.

Myspace is doesn't even come close to qualifying for even the most boardly defined "Web 2.0", it's nothing but mp3.com without the ability to sell your music, mixed with the quality of your average Tripod or Geocities page from 1997.

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (1)

LargeWu (766266) | more than 7 years ago | (#16609588)

You are basing your definition of Web 2.0 around technology. There is another camp that bases the definition around community, i.e. sites that are based on user-supplied content, vs. than content that is posted by the site and consumed by users.

Re:MySpace is not Web 2.0 (1)

kchrist (938224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616202)

While I mostly disagree with your assessment of what should be considered "web 2.0", I've been trying to tell people this about MySpace [inmostlight.org] for quite a while now.

Quite easy (1)

trojjan (994851) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606666)

Preventing access to external content(like most free web hosting providers do) will reduce security risks significantly but then that might be 'too much control'

:| jadablabla (1)

mtjs (918147) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606824)

TROLL ME DOWN! (before I say anything useless)

Control code, not content.... (1)

sugapablo (600023) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606906)

Hands off content. Let the users post whatever CONTENT they wish. Restricting what code they can post (i.e. JavaScript, etc) is a safety measure that's perfectly reasonable. After all, even the most free nation has laws. http://subuse.net/level2 [subuse.net] is a great example. No rules on content. Everyone can edit anyone else's content even. But it's not like they let you post huge scripts. It's about as free and open as a website gets without handing out ftp passwords.

Re:Control code, not content.... (1)

searchr (564109) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615680)

"Let the users post whatever CONTENT they wish."

If only. But "Web 2.0" isn't just for MySpace. User created content pretty much defines FLICKR, for example. But Flickr has decided to keep a quite narrow field of what can be posted and viewable in the public areas. Adult materials, nudity and sex, those are out. But also interestingly, so are "non-photos", such as screenshots or artwork. Flickr wants to be a family-friendly photo site, thus the content allowed is only photos. As the user base grows, it will be interesting to see if they can keep that narrow focus.

Not to mention, Yahoo hasn't figured out how to make money with Flickr yet. That may throw it all into chaos, who knows.

Different story.. (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606998)

Myspace and other blogging sites are a different story than the rest of the internet. They are places where users can easily make their own personal webpage. If they want their webpage to be fucked up they can make it fucked up. It's no different than personal geocities or angelfire pages of the past, just easier. Users cant fuck up websites whos purpose is something other than having their own personal website, IE. Slashdot, porn sites, etc. (Yes users can make stupid comments on slashdot but that is different than physically screwing the website up).

Useless until you define web2.0 (2, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607174)

The question is ambiguous and too broad, just like "Web 2.0".

Until you frame the question by defining what the heck you mean by that, this discussion will be useless.

What do you expect to be able to do? (1)

searlea (95882) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607370)

The question is asked from the developer's point of view: what should we let users do?

Hopefully, the developers know who the target audience is for the webiste. So, thinking like one of the user's... what would you expect to be able to do?

This is different from what you want to do. You may want to access the personal details of every user... but do you really expect to be able to do that (would you want everyone to access *your* personal details?)

The question's a little too generic. It depends entirely on who the target audience is, and what function the site is performing (is it informational, particapatory or purely commercial/sales driven?)

The "Web 2.0" label means something different to every developer, and it really means nothing to the user. Think of "Web 2.0" as modern-day-mature. What would user's expect to be able to do on a modern website today? Now try and exceed those expectations.

The User Friendly... (1)

wetelectric (956671) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607406)

guys said it best. [userfriendly.org]

The Old Adage Holds True (2, Funny)

Jester998 (156179) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607412)

Never give users a choice, they'll invariably choose the wrong one.

Does it fit the program? (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607450)

If the features and controls you give the user add to and aid the overall functionality, them yes, it's a fit.
While features for features sake can hinder the user.

It's a pretty simple equation really.

Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16610212)

Back in the day, noone normal used Flash. Why? Mostly because it crashed Netscape quite often. The other reason was the lack of control the user had. As such, i don't install Flash on my browsers. Even today, and i am happily without those annoying ads. Though, if i really want to see something on YouTube i'll fire up IE on my other computer which has it installed. (*hangs head in shame*)

People just gave in at some point. It's what companies have going for them. Just stop using Flash, or other nasty user-control-limiting plugins, and eventually they'll give more control to the user.

Re:Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16623472)

I find it dissapointing that some big sites like youtube would limit their userbase to flash-capable browsers only. It's like using javascript for navigation, instead of a proper html link tag.
I don't even have access to a flash-capable browser, unless I'm willing to run an emulated binary, or something in vmware/qemu. But no, I'm not going to go through that trouble just to see some random video clips.

Too Much (1)

UMTopSpinC7 (1010729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643491)

Eventually too many options and widgets just get annoying.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>