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I'd love to go back to the days where I didn't have to endure the 20+ external scripts (mostly ads, analytics, social and "optimization") that some crappy dev has crammed into their markup, just to read an article or browse a store.

Maybe we need a content oriented alternative to the web browser.

Maybe a modern Gopher.

Display preferences are handled by the client. Sure, support video and audio. Support tables. But keep it minimal. Put all the scripting on the server side, as it should be. Lock down the specification - do everything to stop it becoming web browser 2.0.

Then we wouldn't need junk like AMP.

Maybe it would take off well in some nice to start with.




External scripts are not a requirement, just an option, and it's quite possible to optimise pages without something like amp or FB instant articles.

The web is really well suited to content heavy sites, it's just being used to do all the things humans like to do (spam,ads,control over access), as gopher would be if it were popular. I think your problem is more with the behaviour than the medium and if you restrict the medium people would just look elsewhere.


The whole point is that people who wanted to do spam, ads and paywalls would look elsewhere.


The problem is with humans, not the medium; even plaintext can easily carry spam, pointless content or links etc and it's very hard to separate from real valuable content, in fact it me be considered both by different people.


Core problem is that creators of value want to be paid for it. The delivery medium doesn't change that.


Much value is created by people who don't want to be bothered with payment because they are motivated by the social capital accruing from contribution to a community. Trying to pay for such gifts actually drives these contributors away, by devaluing their efforts - as though they were only doing it for the money. There is labor you literally cannot buy.


That class of people is not as large as you might think it is.


There's a strong selection bias, of course, given that I have structured my social life around communities of people who value community. Still, my impression is that it's less about wanting to be paid for creative work and more about needing to be paid for it, else they can't afford the time to do it. If we had a basic income system, I suspect you'd see a lot more work done for community benefit, without the overhead and distraction of payment.


> Core problem is that

[some]

> creators of value want to be paid for it.

The WWW has been a proof of concept of how much people will do _without_ direct monetary compensation. If you're thinking who's going to build Kayak on a glorified Gopher though, maybe you should start by asking where audiences will go when they find something that provides a better experience than Chrome.


I suspect the problem domain is more along the lines of work requiring capital expense - like remote war reporting which is tough to do from your bedroom in your pajamas. It takes real money.


No, I don't. I'm sure many others creators feel the same.


You and all the other freebie guys are welcome to create content without all the extra scripts then. Pretty simple no? It would appear though, seeing as this is considered a pretty big problem, that the vast majority of people do want to be compensated.


I can see at least 5 viewpoints someone might have about ads on their site:

* They don't care about the money and don't want ads on the site.

* They're someone whose content is the advertising. A database consultant might write an article on using indices to speed up low-selectivity queries. He doesn't need to plaster his site with ads, but his articles do serve a secondary purpose of advertising himself. Or something like Angie's List, where people literally visit the site with the goal of being advertised to.

* They don't mind unintrusive ads, and these help provide money and motivation to work more on the site. Google ads would be acceptable here.

* In addition to their site's primary content, they also write sponsored content for companies that give them enough money.

* They only care about extracting as much value from their site as possible. They might hire ghostwriters on Fiverr to write cheap articles, apply SEO techniques to get them to rank higher than they should, and then plaster noisy ads and popups everywhere. They might buy cheap traffic on low-contested keywords, and redirect them to sites with more expensive ads to arbitrage the traffic. They might have a form to collect your name, email address, and phone number; and then sell your information to a mortgage reselling company. They might have loud ads that play music on page load, that automatically play video, that pretend to be a Windows error dialog, that look like download buttons, etc. Some of these are arguably the ad networks' fault, but the maintainer of the website is ultimately responsible for anything that appears on his website. They might release news articles with clickbaity headlines just to drive traffic to their ads.

I think most people take offense to #5. A minority also take offense to #3, since these track location and can form profiles of you between pages. I don't think anybody really minds the #2 or #1 people.

If you banned ads entirely, you'd still be able to monetize using method #2.


Yes, the second option is the best however it is the one that scales the least. As the content creator will have to use their time to find comanies interested in sponsorship and with their line of work. Time spent not creating quality content.

This is where I think tracking went wrong. Advertisers were so happy they could track users that they (kind of) forgot to track the content. I think basing ads on the page content is, in the end way more safe and beneficial to everybody.


Value is a property of a market. If there is no market (like in free software because it's "free") or if people don't want to pay for it, there is no value.

In other words, create things is not enough.


There are three independent concepts: cost, use value (I usually abbreviate this as "value"), and price, or exchange value (which you are terming value).

There's rather more discussion of this in economic litereature than might be expected, both early (pre-Smith and 19th century) and contemporary.

Trying to make all three of these agree is a bit of a problem. Economic orthodoxy variously tries to do this / pretends they do (and mind, "agree" != "equal").

Content has cost. There's time and effort necessary to create it.

Content has value. It can improve, even drastically change, the lives of those it reaches. That cost may be negative as well -- disinformation or distraction, for exaple.

What content doesn't have much of is exchange value -- it's difficult to draw walls, fences, boxes, or whatever else it is that prevents free access -- around content such that people should pay to get it. And doing that ... has its own sets of problems (generally: under-provisioning of content, particularly to the economically disadvantaged).

Advertising essentially hijacks one content stream (that the audience seeks) with another (that the producer wants distributed). Advertising has value to the author, not audience, and so the author is willing to pay for it to be disseminated. This ... produces numerous perverse incentives. Crappy Web pages among them.

But claiming that no market value (exchange value / price) means no use value, or no cost basis, is simply false. Common, but false.


It was in the context of the comment.

"Therefore, in the course of the economic transactions (buying and selling) that constitute market exchange, people ascribe subjective values to the commodities (goods and services), which the buyers and the sellers then perceive as objective values, the market-exchange prices that people will pay for the commodities."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_fetishism#Objectifie...

It's not a personal point of view but it describes well the reality for most people.


You can just disable javascript. That seems to fix 99% of the problems. I use the scriptblock addon for chrome.

Give me HTML. Let my browser render it. If I need some fancy-sauce like websockets, then I will selectively enable them.


> You can just disable javascript

And break an increasing number of websites. What I'm suggesting is a platform where this isn't even a thing. I open my client and I'm guaranteed that all services on the network won't blast me with ads, lazy load content, have page weights of 1MB+ (for a 50KB article), won't let third party advertisers track me via their JavaScript. And they all just work.

Every time I open the uBlock panel, I see even more new domains pop up that aren't on block lists yet. One big UK detailed had over 50 external scripts. Worst is when a sites main layout JS relies on a function in some third party as JS (trackThisGuy()) and completely fails when that code isn't present - block the ad provider, site breaks.


I hate that sites fail to render without JS and dozens of calls to third party sites. At least degrade gracefully back to a readable page!


I've often thought that RSS would fit this role well, if only there was a way to display and reply to comments on the content as well. RSS readers are great for consuming content without all the BS, but I just miss being able to interact with the reactions other people have about the story so I find myself clicking through to the 'real' article about half the time anyway.


You basically described HTTP and web browsers, but with restrictions on the type of content that can be created based on nothing more than your preferences. The market in general has spoken pretty clearly that they want more capability, so I just can't grant that you have a real point. The popularity of your concept on HN is no real surprise given the conservative bent of some techies, but it's the sort of opinion that gets no traction out in the world because it relies on retarding progress.


wasn't all of your needs met by RSS? why did everyone stop using it after Aaron died?


I use RSS daily.

That said it doesn't prevent ads or tracking scripts. It's just HTML stuffed in XML


I've been flirting with no script on my desktop computer. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by how much actually work. Give it a shot if you use Mozilla Firefox.


Absolutely, nearly since it's inception it is the first addon I install.


The first thing I do after firing up a new copy of firefox is install NoScript, uBlock Origin, and Ghostery. I set all three to block everything and then set a) NoScript to temporarily allow top-level sites by default b) Ghostery to allow disqus (because lots of the sites I read use disqus). I rarely allow anything to bypass uBlock, and give sites three chances unblocking script sources in NoScript (mostly ajax.googleapis.com). If unblocking three sources in NoScript still doesn't get me the content I want, I generally just close that tab and don't go back.


Don't quote me on this but I think Ghostery is supposed to whitelist the benign stuff on Google domains such as googleapis.com automatically. I don't know enough about technology in general or NoScript in particular to tell whether this was a recent change or if it is then whether NoScript wants to mess with configuration for existing installations (my gut reaction is probably not as this is a little different from just getting updated fanboy's list for ad blockers).


What? Everyone stopped using it when Google Reader died.


Reddit/HN are the same interface but with relevant content and community interaction.




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