It seems like a great time to reiterate: I hate clientside JavaScript, and the feature bloat it has brought to The Web and mainstream browser engines (Gecko, WebKit, & Blink). This can't and shouldn't last!

I want The Web to focus on hypertext (without JavaScript turning every feature into an attack vector on privacy) that can be rendered nicely in more form factors than just a laptop or tablet.

Everything else should be shoved off onto other MIMEtypes or URI schemes.

@alcinnz A huge amount of JS could be eliminated if basic HTML had some notion of a post/comment response tree, relation, and interactions (scoring, filtering, replying, muting, blocking). That should be a fundamental part of the epistemic (content-based) Web.

I've also argued that the Web should be divided into four roles:

- Text/content and interactions.
- Commerce, including payment and trust mechanisms.
- Multimedia: video/audio playback.
- Apps beyond these.

@alcinnz The Web *began* as a content delivery / publication systems (though lacking Critical Bits such as Search and Archival).

Media got bolted on via the <img> tag (later audio and video), and commerce was later added. Both remain problematic.

The absence of sane defaults for styling, a recognised set of standard page formats (index, article, gallery/catalogue, discussion, stream, etc.) and uniform formatting, is a huge part of the problem -> CSS and JS paper that over.

@dredmorbius @alcinnz HTML5 is making some long overdue improvements as far as adding structural elements for indexes, articles, discussions, and so on.

@mathew Elements are good, but mechanism and enforcement matters.

By the mid 1990s, Usenet had a whole mess of newsgroups for governments, groups, topics, etc. Structure and elements. But they weren't used, or were spammed to death, or most often: both.

There was a saying for a while that "Google is a blind user". That favoured accessibility for a while. Google's gotten both less blind, and less significant with social / algorithmic discovery.


@mathew Reputation, _appropriate_ use of tools, penalties for misuse & misrepresentation, publishing tools that follow the fucking specs, and some means for dragging the old into the New World, would help.

Then again, look at books. We don't rely on publishers to do cataloguing correctly, we have librarians and cataloguing specialists.

Or did. That seems to be a dying art, in favour of full-text search and various Majickal Diskovery Tuuls.


@mathew I look at, oh, say, to pick an entirely random example, PDFs.

Here's the "pdfinfo" dump from a randomly selected PDF I've downloaded:

Producer: Adobe Acrobat 9.13 Paper Capture Plug-in
CreationDate: Mon Sep 22 17:12:13 2003 CDT
ModDate: Wed Sep 2 12:32:37 2009 CDT
Tagged: no
UserProperties: no
Suspects: no
Form: none
JavaScript: no
Pages: 168

Note conspicuosly: no author, title, or publication date.


@mathew That is, as it happens, the "IBM 360 System Principles of Operation" manual, published by IBM in 1964, and posted online by some Good Soul, recently shared to Hacker News.

None of which is apparent from either the metadata or filename.

(I've been trying to formulate a reasonably consistent, useful, file-naming format, for a few years. Surprisingly difficult also. Generally:

Author-Name_Title-words_Publisher_Date.extension is a good start. Not all fields may be present.


@mathew PDF *HAS* the structure to capture metadata.





And not only isn't it used, it's a motherfucking pain in the ass to update, correct, or even *find* this fucking information. Particularly at scale.

Again, it's often the pirates (Libgen, ZLibrary) or librarians (Internet Archive) who Get This Mostly Right.


@dredmorbius @alcinnz I use a handy Mac app called PDF Attributes which lets you edit core metadata for any PDF easily.


@mathew I've been looking at various Linux PDF metadata tools, which are variously pdfutils and/or poppler. Not sure they do what I want, wrestling with the docs / options is daunting.


@dredmorbius @alcinnz On Linux, exiftool is a good option. I've used that for things like adding geotags to RAW image files, and it handles PDF, including XMP in PDF I think, which will give you Dublin Core support.

@mathew I'm somewhat familiar with exiftool, mostly for graphics. Haven't looked into its editing capabilities.


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