Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
The Web We Want (webwewant.mozilla.org)
298 points by raldu on June 10, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 266 comments



The web I want is one that doesn't assume I have an unmetered high-speed internet connection.

I'm visiting my parents right now. They have what I would term as "rural internet options": satellite, fixed cellular, or dialup. There is no DSL. There is no cable. There is no wifi. Satellite has awful latency and an effective 20GB monthly cap (their advertising is very deceptive because they pool midnight off-peak data in their advertised caps), fixed cellular has a 30GB cap: there is no provision to buy more data on either service short of ruinous overage fees.

Browsing around on the modern web filled with autoplay videos, huge JS libraries, giant pictures, etc. has been sufficient for a 2 person household to blow through that 30GB cap in less than a month. It was hard for me to believe, until I instrumented their network and saw for myself. Of course, accidentally updating any software, accidentally syncing their photo libraries, etc. are all expensive mistakes.

Most effective changes I have been able to make so far (without frustrating the parents too much) have been to ad block and get them to use Opera with Turbo, which has been sufficient to cut their data use by about half. I also put a timer on the cellular hub power supply to manually shut it off when they're not at home or when they're sleeping, because despite best efforts some software still automatically updates.


I had a similar problem working over a metered cellular data connection recently. One thing that helped a lot was the uBlock Origin extension for Chrome & Firefox, which has a feature that prevents automatically loading media elements over a certain size (say, 50kb). If you want to load a large image or video you can click to load it or turn the feature off on a per-site basis. Can use it in Firefox on an Android phone, too, since it has extensions.


if I had only two words for anybody desperate to reduce their monthly data download while browsing: uBlock Origin

I'm loving the big improvement so far. Plus many sites seem to be loading faster now.


What I find annoying is that most of the websites that have the features consuming the broadband that you are describing ("autoplay videos, huge JS libraries, giant pictures, etc.") are just showing some text and a few pictures and video, and there is no need for them to require things like sophisticated js that make them slower - I am OK with a website that does 3D animation in js being slow, I am less tolerant with, say, quora's scrolling being slow.


I will never forgive websites that break scrolling.


But the Google Plus experience would be irrevocably compromised if you were able to scroll by hitting the space bar!


I can sympathise with this, as the average Internet speeds at my place are terrible, especially on the so-called "unlimited" plan, which actually has a ridiculously low Fair Usage Limit set by my ISP so that I apparently blow through it within days of the start of a new month, all from just plain browsing and updating (Linux) software, not even torrenting. Once you're beyond the fair use limit the speed becomes 60 kbps for the rest of the month unless I "top-up", for which the ISP often nags by redirecting plain http connections to their nag-page or sending me emails. But I stick it out and do any heavy downloading by running the program continuously overnight. It takes ~12 hours to get ~1 Gb of data.


>so that I apparently blow through it within days of the start of a new month

Interesting, had the same experience this month, though on my mobile phone's post-paid data plan. Actually in earlier months too, but those were near the middle or end of the month. This time it happened within 5 days of the start of my billing cycle.

You in India? Asking because Fair Use Policy (also has another cynical/realistic expansion given by users) is a term used by Indian ISPs (though could be other places too of course).


Yes. And my so-called "broadband" ISP is BSNL to be exact. But since their "full-speed" (~200 kbps) connection lasts only a few days each billing cycle before their fair-use policy kicks in, throttling me to ~60 kbps, you can hardly call it 'broadband' in any sense of the term. Nevertheless I stick with it since its sufficient for my needs (albeit you need to cultivate patience) and cheap enough. But their recent increasingly aggressive attempts to redirect my connections to their nag-pages asking me to "top-up" or register for their email are testing my forbearance.


I was in Kashmir a couple of years ago and Aircel 3G was almost invariably faster and more reliable than the BSNL ADSL "Broadband".


Bad scene.


That's a pretty exact description of a Canadian service I had until recently as well. It's not just India.


Wow. Sort of thought so (that it could be world wide), but interesting to hear it. And shit.


>for which the ISP often nags by redirecting plain http connections to their nag-page or sending me emails

My phone ISP nags me too. After I buy a booster pack (see nearby comment by me) because the main one got over early, I get unwanted calls from them selling more offers. Have to tell them I'm not interested.


I used to work at a place that tested their software on a >5 year old POS computer, with a <1mbps Internet connection. If their software ran on that computer, it would run on their user's computers. I wish more people would test like this.

Your webapp runs great on a laptop in the middle of SF, but not on my crappy phone in the middle of Nowheres-ville.


Yes, so much this! I went to Wisconsin recently to visit relatives, they had a really nice house but in the rural location. They were always going over the data limit (30GB cap through satellite) and it was an awful experience overall. With all the same problems, trying to install ad-block and figure out how to minimize data drainage from auto updates. At that point I just never realized that there are places in US that might have these problems still. Everything is geared towards unlimited high speed cable connection.


Broadband in the US is an excellent example of how a free market doesn't really provide any benefits for consumers.

Case in point: Wisconsin has about as many people as Norway, but Wisconsin is around three times smaller in area and has a much simpler topology and topography. Still, Norway has a lower number of households where broadband is unavailable.


Can US broadband be considered free market? Cellular (and satellite?) is limited by frequency allocations and wired is limited by franchise agreements.


Regarding unanticipated software updates, this may be slightly off topic, but updates are particularly troublesome with Windows 10. Unfortunately Win10 doesn't permit reviewing updates before downloading them, an option that was available in prior versions. Even though Win10 Pro version users can delay update installation, automatic downloads can't be turned off and occur without prior notification.

While some tools are available to reduce tracking and other MS privacy-invading practices, auto-updating remains a curse that's hard to counter.

Obviously this is not a fault of the web itself, but an example of the ways vendors use the internet in opposition to interests of users. It's unclear how these abusive practices can be curbed, but I'm all for Mozilla and other organizations trying to do something about it.


> updates are particularly troublesome with Windows 10.

A happy discovery: marking a particular wi-fi network as 'metered' (the obvious thing to do, right?) will prevent automatic downloads of updates over that network.


Thanks for your observation! I'll have to try it.

I'm assuming having to check manually for updates but that's not a big burden. Hopefully no inadvertent "side-effects" from running as a metered connection.


I just got back from a 2-week Asia trip where the only Internet I had was on my phone, on high-latency 3G. I completely agree with you. My online experience was simply atrocious. Most sites I visit on a daily basis were simply unusable.


Hear, hear. Coincidentally, and on the same topic, I posted this question on superuser.com. Was surprised that there were not more responses [1]:

http://superuser.com/questions/1085654/how-to-minimize-unwan...

[1] The NetBalancer software seems to be helping with the issue.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of these ISP issues of excessive bandwidth usage are intentional.

Where in the world did you have the issues you describe, if not private?


The "Metered Connection" option in Windows 10 might help here, but as for websites you can't do much except using Ad blocker, "Disconnect.me" or Opera Turbo. (I'm not sure if Disconnect.me exists on opera).

Another way to mitigate would be to have the browser identify as a tablet/mobile as some websites assume mobile == metered connection. On top of my head, there is some addon like this in Chrome.


This is a two sided problem. The massive page sizes and the sad state of rural internet options. Everyone loves to complain about Comcast and the other big providers (I'm not going to defend them either) but honestly, you don't know how good you have it until you've tried to find a good provider in a rural area.


I wish I could get a fixed cellular install with 30GB. I pay $60 for 10GB cellular, and I only survive by watching like 5 videos a month, using my church's wifi and putting anything that doesn't require low latency on my dad's 10GB per month satellite, which with 5 people in the house the high speed data is gone in a week.


Have you looked into Amazon Prime? You can download stuff to your phone/tablet when you have unmetered internet and then listen or watch it later.

I haven't tried it yet, but I think that the Apple Lightning to HDMI adaptor will work to get Amazon Video on the TV. I would think that HDMI would be even cheaper/easier on an Android device.


I didn't know about Opera with turbo and I'll try. But it's a real problem. Since it's been redesigned I'm unable to access Coursera at home. I had to download videos at work and bring them back home. There is nothing in the UI that justify this.


The web I want is free of junk loaders, javascript tracking ad garbage making my page requests crazy slow, unpleasant and hard to use.

FB Pages now have a giant login thing that takes over the entire page if you aren't logged in. If you close it, it comes back for every other page you visit.

The amount of stuff that uBlock origin blocks now is amazing. I couldn't even use WSJ until I turned on ad blocking.

I'm starting to think text based browsing is the future. Using chat like interface along with voice commands, mainly work directly with APIs and just never use a browser again. HTML and JavaScript are being taken over by crap on sites.

The web is starting to feel like a garbage dump. API's are the only logical path forward I can see.


I think I have a better solution. How about keeping HTML/JS and lose the bidirectional protocols used to track you.

As a side project I am starting to work on a non-HTTP browser (and non-websocket, non-webrtc, etc). The first "protocol" will be IPFS. Download all of the HTML/JS/images and store all the cookies/localStorage you want, you can't send the information back to any server. Heck, you can't even know you have a page view. Now to make it more powerful, I will offer a JS API to pages that let's them use the mutation features of IPFS, but it is strictly opt-in and the permissions are very narrow and clear to the user (think specific oauth scopes).


> I think I have a better solution. How about keeping HTML/JS and lose the bidirectional protocols used to track you.

Is it that common for trackers to have Websocket/WebRTC as a requirement? Pretty much any trackers I see in the wild is using regular Ajax calls. And if you're a tracking service, it's not exactly hard to fallback to Ajax if Websockets aren't available...

EDIT: My mistake, I misread the first mention of HTTP as HTML.


I also consider HTTP a bidirectional protocol used to track you.


You can be tracked without bidirectional calls, without JS, even without images or cookies. See the Panopticlick.


> You can be tracked without bidirectional calls

No, you can be fingerprinted and what not, but being tracked requires you send the data somewhere.


You can be tracked from page to page using your fingerprint, optionally with server-side checking of referrers and URL parameters.


> You can be tracked from page to page using your fingerprint

That's not really tracking per se any more than any local stateful data is.

> optionally with server-side checking of referrers and URL parameters

Again, no, this requires sending data to the server (in the URL or as HTTP headers in this case) which is exactly what I am saying would NOT happen in my project.


Saying that fingerprinting is not tracking "per se" is like saying that a series of pictures taken at evenly spaced sub-second intervals is not a movie "per se".

How do you request data from a server without making any contact with the server? The initial page request is sending data to the server. That is unavoidable.

A web browser sends (or doesn't send) lots of HTTP headers all the time. The particular headers sent (User-Agent, Referer[sic], Accept, etc.) or not sent are additional data that can be used to fingerprint, and thus track you (not to mention your request IP address).


> How do you request data from a server without making any contact with the server?

I specifically mentioned IPFS

> The initial page request is sending data to the server. That is unavoidable.

Wrong. I specifically mentioned IPFS and would introduce storj, sia, maidsafe, etc as deemed worthy.

> A web browser sends (or doesn't send) lots of HTTP headers all the time.

Not the one I'm talking about. HTTP isn't even in the picture. Please please read my post that mentions non-HTTP.


I was thinking, IPFS + Gopher or a Gopher-like system. But lose the damn JS, use Lua or something if so desired, and lose the JS web compatibility requirement. Allow public key encryption and signing on a per-document basis.


got a mailing list or something we can subscribe to in order to stay updated on your project? it's extremely important.


I did some early work[0] but the project hasn't started in earnest (a big issue w/ electron and web views in separate partitions was just fixed). I made a POC for maidsafe also [1]

0 - https://github.com/cretz/shrewd 1 - https://github.com/cretz/safe-poc-browser


Have a walk down Times Square. It's gross. Sure, if you're a tourist, it's one of the first things you'll do upon arriving in NYC. If, on the other hand, you live in NYC, you'll avoid Times Square at all costs.

Times Square is what you get when you try to clean something up and it becomes commercialized. A lot of it has to do with the incentives put in place to clean it up. Tax brakes are generally provided for companies to utilize the space, and "clean it up". Even Lincoln Center is an example of this sort. The money provided to develop Lincoln Center was supposed to be utilized to improve that area, but instead it pushed out all the residents. It did not improve their lives. They can't afford events at Lincoln Center. They were relocated.

In both cases, Times Square and Lincoln Center, the communities that were utilizing the space prior to redevelopment / improvement were simply displaced. The redevelopment did not benefit these constituents. These constituents did not have the influence needed to either send help their way or steer changes that would affect them.

So really, the incentives are directed by the political mechanism, which is directed by the interest groups with the requisite influence.

Companies and affluent individuals.

This should look very familiar.

Many of the most visible parts of the Internet today (I guess the press recently decided that the "Internet" should no longer be capitalized, but they are wrong) might fairly be viewed as our shared digital Times Square. It looks like a public space, but in actuality it is a heavily regulated private space.

If, on the other hand, you are a New Yorker, you don't go there. You go to the many other amazing pockets of humanity and creativity that the city has to offer. And they're constantly changing. One week a space smells like urine and you wouldn't go down their after dark even if it was 4:30 am and had the only street meat in sight; the next week your buddy gives you the heads up that it's now an awesome bar, just make sure and use the door in the connected building because there are no signs or working doors at the front yet. And then, in a year, that bar turns into a Gristedes.

My point, long winded though it might be, is that sure parts of the Internet are being co-opted and grossly commercialized, but a true local explores beyond these parts and makes a home amongst these parts. Going native means knowing where the alleyways and speakeasies are. It means having your ear to the ground and finding out about the newest restaurants by word of mouth instead of paid advertisements. In a word, taste. Acquiring and exercising good taste in the places your frequent, you patronize, you invest in, you wander in, will both benefit you and the community you are a part of.

One last point. One advantage that the Internet has over our share physical spaces is that distance is, practically speaking, a non-issue. In our shared physical space it takes a good while to walk from Times Square to Lincoln Center. But, to go from the web presence of Times Square to Lincoln Center takes no time at all. Heck, you can have both tabs up on your screen at the same time. So, sure, parts of the Internet can be co-opted and ruined. But there is space enough for us to recreate. And if others want to come along, we'll always be a click away.


"In both cases, Times Square and Lincoln Center, the communities that were utilizing the space prior to redevelopment / improvement were simply displaced."

In the case of Times Square, the "communities" that were "utilizing" the space before were three-card-monte scammers, porn theaters, and drug dealers. Not all change is bad.


not all porn actors or drug dealers are bad people. you can change a place without forcing out the people.


If you define community by geography, then I have no desire to be a part of the home or "community" you lionize. I suspect I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

I'm sick of being told that I can only think and live in some antiquated way because some people in the 1960s and 1970s thought it was a good idea.


Actually it's the above reasoning that it's not just antiquated, but prehistoric -- humans as nomadic animals with no ties to any specific location. Most of civilization happened after we abandoned that.

Physical space -- or "geography" and the community defined by it, is not some "antiquated idea".

And just because one can have friends (or "friends") all over the world through the internet and modern communications, doesn't mean that where one lives is not important, and they should not care of it and try to improve it -- and yes, connect with nearby people.

If you slip and break your ankle on the pavement, or your house catches fire, it's those "antiquated physical neighbors" that will come to the rescue. Or not -- if they too consider the whole "community by geography" notion antiquated, they wont.

"Community by geography" is just another term for the place we live and the people in it. One might not care for most of them, by its sad to not care of any of them, and also sad not to care for the place. It's also a recipe for a decayed urban civilization, fewer local opportunities, and a derelict neighborhood.


Word.

Ever as I gain more experience with 1s and 0s, I find a greater appreciate for and a greater draw to my front porch.

Without going into neuroscience, physics, chaos theory, and what not, by acknowledging and embracing that I am human and not some abstract distributed, computing network, and by accepting the consequences of that, my life grows richer.


You are free to think in whatever prehistoric mode you wish. That's fine. I simply desire to not be coerced into thinking like you. I should be free to choose to think like you or not as I see fit.

In this context, what I really mean is that a space should not be controlled entirely by the people who just happen to be there at the moment. Every space has a past. Every space has a future. The past and the future are always different from the present. That's as it should be. People who think in terms of "I control this space now, so all things should be about me" are thinking in a prehistoric mode I find distasteful.


I don't like the approach you're proposing. The ability of people to share the space around them seems like the most basic of the "rights" you could have. "[A] space should not be controlled entirely by the people who just happen to be there at the moment" feels to close to encouraging uninvited and unwanted guests to take over communities and reshape them.

Like, imagine if suddenly the fishing community decided to come en masse to HN and start talking and upvoting only fishing-related stories, while downvoting / flagging everything else. I think the present HN community should have the (moral) right to tell them to go and find their own spot, instead of taking over someone else's.


I'm saying that new blood and new thoughts and new ideas should always be encouraged in any community, space, or location. Particularly when resources like physical space are very much finite. I think that any desire to freeze a community, space, or location in amber is unhealthy. Those with an interest in the future of a community, space, or location will not be identical to those who happen to be there at the moment or those who were there yesterday.

For an example, look at what that desire has done to the housing market of San Francisco.


your line of reasoning is becoming very tangled.


It's a tragedy of the commons combined with the lack of any economic model other than tracking and ads.


You know, I think there's another part of this--income inequality (stop groaning, it's relevant!) that means that everyone has to try and shill and monetize their stuff as much as possible.

I dream of a world in which the typical worker's wages hadn't been suppressed and decoupled from productivity for the last four decades, and people had the disposable income to work less and write and make art more, and give it away instead of tryin' to get us all to punch the monkey and win. I dream of a world in which we can ALL punch the monkey and win! Well, ok, maybe not, but still...


If incomes had not stagnated / declined in real earnings against cost of living patronage would be a much, much more viable field to replace all IP and advertising.

Though in general, I think there is an obvious trend in markets - if the people are rich, you reinvest money into new products or into improving your existing products so you can sell more stuff. When the people are poor, you use psychologically targeted advertising to make people buy things they cannot afford and sit on vast cash reserves because fundamental to capitalism is that markets respond to the needs of capital, but when you have incredible wealth inequality the only demand of capital is making more capital, and sitting on money becomes more profitable to shareholders than taking risks trying to get the drippings out of an already empty pot of middle class wealth.

Simply put, my favorite metric of whether an economy is fair is how large an advertising budget the economy as a whole has. The larger it is, the less fair the market is, and the more unequal the wealth distribution is, and every society should aspire to be one where nobody needs to advertise because all your reinvestment can go into making more, better stuff rather than trying to manipulate people in buying your stuff over someone elses stuff. The more valuable advertising is the poorer your country is.


I'm about to take us from off the rails to into the forest, but since we're on the subject - poor people are poor, yes, but I think the biggest problem is lack of financial education. I know people that are making enough money to live comfortably, but are crippled by debt caused by poor decisions when they are younger, or poor decisions now.

I say better financial education, and then the next step.


You know, better financial education would be great.

I don't think it's enough, though, when you're trying to stretch a $230 paycheck to $300 in expenses.

I don't think it's enough, either, when you look at how poor people get dinged with so many more fees than the less-poor whenever they go out to do anything in the world.

And I don't think most of the "save what you can" advice is particularly meaningful when you're telling people to put aside $10 a month. One big family gathering could wipe out a year's savings on food costs alone!

I think the first solution has to be getting people--especially the poorest--paid more for the incredibly taxing work poor people tend to do, like cleaning, cooking, all those jobs where you're on your feet 8, 10, 12 hours a day and your body's worn out by the time you're 40.


I agree, but feel the root cause is actually easy access to credit. Credit has been driving the economy for the last few decades. If we didn't have easy access to credit that may have forced wages to stay tied to productivity increases.

Oh and the decline of unions meant that workers lost their ability to successfully lobby their government, business meanwhile increased their lobby efforts.

So, I see the root causes as a rigged game against workers. (Rigged as the odds slightly against our favour, so we get just enough wins and benefits as to not realize that we are loosing overall).


Speaking of finance and education... One things that makes no sense to me.

Take 2 different scenarios:

1) Youth gets paid $4/hr (well below the minimum wage) to work in their chosen field as an apprenticeship. Graduates with a certification in their field with a little bit of money saved up, no debt, and real work experience.

2) Youth gets into massive student loan debt, gets a degree but has no real job experience or employment prospects. Has to work the next decade to pay off their student loans.

The one that makes the most sense and that would result in people being better off is illegal.


Why personal finance isn't taught in school is beyond me


Because the best personal finance advice it could give for the majority of people would be 'don't get into debt, don't buy shit you don't need, and support unions'.

Two of the three would be the death knell for our economy, whereas the third is politically unpalatable.


I get the feeling that naming a course "home economics" and including subjects like how to cook and clean and run a household is "too lame" for students these days. A better name might be something along the lines of "how to not end up in a van down by the river." [1]

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nhgfjrKi0o


We did have that kind of a subject, 4-7 grade I think. Learned basic cooking and baking, doing the dishes, cleaning the floors basic nutrition theory (macros, vitamins, trace minerals, fibres and I even think we touched into calorie counting before finishing off.)


I had an "economics" class in school that was mostly a personal finance class. It boiled down to "credit cards will destroy you", which isn't a bad lesson.


In some schools it is. One of my favorite classes in high school was class where, they taught us everything from balancing a checkbook to dating.


In my experience, it is taught in school, only as an afterthought and a single semester-long high school course with usually one of their least competent teacher, much like the computer literacy courses.


It wasn't even taught in my school unless you didn't sign up for any other elective classes (e.g. shop, computer classes, etc). So on top of it being only taught once, it wasn't even taught to the majority of people that signed up for something else.


That's a great way to make sure that everyone mentally checks out of class and doesn't learn anything (even if it wasn't much.)

My high school had a financial literacy requirement, but it was a half year class taught by one of the worst teachers I've had (very nice lady but like the computer teacher they were just riding out to retirement and relegated to these classes that were undersupplied and they weren't knowledgeable in), the content was out of date, and sparse. They cover things like writing checks, bank account creation, but I remember nothing covering how loans work or anything of that nature because the math required would make the class too tough for general education. The class was really something the school just paid lip service to as the state required it. It's a damn shame school's don't have better experiences because people enter the world totally unequipped for the financial predators that loom.


I think you've raised an excellent point here.

Loans (interest, and also contracts in general) are not required to be presented at a level that /most/ of the population can understand. There is a giant, thick, legal language contract that even if you are a lawyer you probably don't really understand (it hasn't been adjudicated, so you don't know what a judge feels it says).

Disclosure: I do use credit cards, but only as a convenient and insurance providing mechanism for accessing my bank account and recouping some of the fees built in to prices by the predatory banking industry.


Does better financial education actually help? I mean, I know it sounds like it should, but does it? I ask because I have a super-hazy memory of seeing some report that it turns out not to make much difference to later wealth, happiness, etc.


Compound interest isn't much help to those spending their whole paycheck meeting their basic needs. Knowing how to properly invest doesn't help those who can't generate enough income to effectively invest, and didn't receive any help from family or angels.

https://xkcd.com/947/


That raises an interesting question. If you were poor, would you want to sacrifice your happyness a bit to ensure that your children will be better off than you? Sure this is quite a slow solution but it would actually work if done consistently.


Happens all the time. I keep running into stories from people that grew up in a poor household, or is a parent in the same situation. And always the parent will sacrifice a meal or similar to make sure that the kids get to eat.

In nature, getting between a mother and her baby is perhaps one of the most dangerous situations you can be in. very few predators, unless they are out of options, consider humans a viable meal. But even ruminants will potentially attack you to defend their young.

Trying to treat humans as cold calculators of utility is perhaps the worst idea economists have clung to over the years.


This got downvoted and I'm curious why. (Perhaps because talking about my "super-hazy memory" sounds lazy? I dunno -- if I'd omitted the last part, would my comment have been better received? It doesn't seem like that would actually have been an improvement.)

If you downvoted the parent of this comment and would like to help me do better in future, I'm all ears...


Income inequality is just the symptom, capitalism is at the heart of the problem. This is what happens when you get a saturated labor market and employers have all of the bargaining power as the vast majority of people are unable to obtain the means to sustain themselves without selling their labor. The way I see it is we can only solve this problem possibly through a livable UBI, or preferably doing a major overhaul of how property rights work. Rather than having individuals own productive property where they employ others and keep everything the employees make, the property should be collectively owned and managed by those working it.

If anyone is interested, I recommend reading up on socialist theory. If you like markets mutualism, market socialism, or collectivism may be interesting to you. If you think planning might be a better route for the 21st century check out syndicalism or communism. There's a number of other philosophies I'm not acquainted with. Also, inb4 "communism/socialism is big government and authoritarianism", I'm tired of explaining the failings of tankies.


>Also, inb4 "communism/socialism is big government and authoritarianism", I'm tired of explaining the failings of tankies.

There hasn't been any evidence yet that central planning is effective in the long run. What do you think will work this time around?


Actually, the questions discussed in Ronald Coase's "Theory of the Firm" are alive and well

Central planning and command economies work really well inside corporations, such as Apple or Google. They don't make internal decisions by hosting mini-markets and pitting their workers against each other, they have departments who study demographics and departments that study research and logistics and so on.

Tankies claiming the fall of communism is just around the corner are in the same bucket of "bad" as free market libertarians who adore corporations.


>Central planning and command economies work really well inside corporations, such as Apple or Google.

That's because they can fire anyone that works for the company who doesn't agree with the goals. Do you propose to jail or disappear people that disagree and work against the direction defined by the central plan?


I mean that's only if you have some over arching entity that does all of the planning that commands from the top down. Some people argue for planning at a regional level and cooperating on a larger scale as needed, or organizing work into industry wide unions where leadership is democratically elected, immediately revocable, and the unions go around to communities to gather input for what is needed. If people were being difficult they would likely be kicked out, like a company today. I would hope people still provide for them

Again though, I'm not here to talk about the failings of autocratic state planning advocated by tankies.


The government equivalent would be loss of citizenship or residency rights (exile), not jail or death.


Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't -- corporations fail all the time. The crucial difference is that when a corporation gets it wrong, it fails and is replaced by another that does not get it quite as wrong.


Iirc, even old man Marx back in the day considered central planning a stop gap measure for the transition, not a end goal.

That said, while most people seem to barely know about his writings in Capital Volume 1, Volume 2 and 3, published by Engels after Marx death, went on to point out that while there was a struggle between the factory owning capitalists and their workers. There was also a struggle going on between production capitalists and finance capitalists. And that the ultimate culprit of capitalism was likely to be finance.

IIRC, Marx even noted that in the long run it would likely be better for production capital to ally themselves with the workers against finance. But that production capital was more likely to squeeze the workers as they themselves got squeezed by finance (with landlords and other rent seekers lumped into finance).


Note: I'm not an advocate of central planning. However, I do believe that technology could make it viable. Our purchases in markets are used as inputs to companies so they can plan and allocate resources. I don't see any reason this sort of interaction couldn't be emulated by people giving input as to what they desire. We also have to admit that the USSR and China saw possibly unprecidented growth with centralized economic planning, although I wouldn't really argue that's necessarily a good thing and came at great costs. Personally I believe in more of a transitional approach by converting all corporations to cooperatives and allowing communities to democratically manage property, and seeing where that leads us.


The problem is how could a central planner ensure technological progress and manage people in a bureaucracy composed of the entire country population.

Managing static resources is easy.

Now, cooperatives are interesting. They mostly don't work, but when they work, they are great.


Central planning doesn't work because to achieve a perfect result the people in charge of the planning have to be perfect too. This clearly doesn't work in practice. Think of it this way. Communism has a better best case scenario than capitalism but this is rarely achieved. On the other hand capitalism has a better average case scenario and gives us consistent results.


> capitalism is at the heart of the problem

What we call "capitalism" is a perverted incarnation with low interest rates and extremely high monetary inflation. This eliminates the ability to save for the lower class, and pushes in the middle class into wall street's fake "investments" where they can be scavenged by management fees, insider gaming, and bubbles caused by the surplus of dumb money.

Despite what the inflation acolytes preach, prices should be downward trending because price is the primary metric that an economy optimizes for! Gains in productivity should be directly reflected in the price of goods (eg computer technology, which has been advancing strong enough to resist the forced inflation). Instead, these gains are inflated out of sight and the corresponding new money is distributed to the gatekeepers of monetary creation.

In a functioning economy, workers should be able to gradually save some surplus, decreasing their reliance on weekly income, and giving them more bargaining power. This should cause wages to rise, creating a feedback cycle where workers demand to work ever less (as their marginal utility per extra dollar drops).

Instead, extremely low interest rates create a zero-sum treadmill for any modern necessity that can be financialized (eg housing, healthcare, cars, education), leaving us to compete against one another for minute changes in standing while the banksters collect the surplus as rent.

Then again, perhaps my argument is just a no true Scotsman similar to the ones defending communism, and any fiat capitalistic system will eventually succumb to itself and centralize in this manner (deprecate wealth in favor of income).

What I do definitely know is we're not going to get there by demanding top-down change, because the top retains power for itself regardless of what paradigm it promises. We must secure our freedom through technological means and build a better system from the ground up.


Definitely have to agree with you. I do believe it possible to have a functional capitalist society, however it will always devolve into something like the present day as groups natural accumulate large amounts of capital and use it to tip the scales in their favor, continuing the trend and making it so damn hard to account for market externalities or ensure the working class has bargaining power. This also is separate from what I believe to be one of capitalisms greatest ills: worker alienation and the capitalist class expropriating what the employees produce. It creates a huge conflict in society. Collective work requires collective expropriation, otherwise people will feel cheated.

The point about organizing from the bottom up is spot on. I believe many of socialism failings were because of attempts to organize top down and not allowing people to manage themselves. This is why I'm particular to anarchism, as the focus is on creating freely associated communities that come together so power comes from the bottom up and there are no concrete hierarchies. Many also have abandoned the idea of some great revolution to topple the system and instead opt for building structures like co-ops, mutual banks, neighborhood assemblies, community gardens, and charities in hope of building a new society in the shell of the current one.


I believe in a balance.

The goals of society at large should be reached through agreement.

These goals might be reflected in decreased costs (or even funding) for desired activities and 'taxes' on undesired or activities that should be limited; or maybe through another agreed means.

Individuals, and possibly small groups of individuals, should then be free to choose their own means and methods for realizing those goals (or abstain from that process).


Excellent comment, thank you for posting this description!


>the property should be collectively owned and managed by those working it.

In that case the solution is not communism, the solution is compensating people with stocks or other forms of equity.


"I dream of a world in which the typical worker's wages hadn't been suppressed and decoupled from productivity for the last four decades,"

less than 1% of the population make minimum wage. Most companies, even the big ones you hate, pay well above minimum wage. For instance, All of the fast food places in my area pay $10.15/hour starting. The minimum wage is a few dollars less than this. The free market has pushed the wages higher, because nobody will work for less than this.

"I dream of a world in which the typical worker's wages hadn't been suppressed and decoupled from productivity for the last four decades"

It hasn't been suppressed or decoupled. If you have essentially have the skills that a high school student can perform at 30 years old, you aren't going to get paid enough to have a house, 2 kids, and a car. I see nothing wrong with this. If anything, the wages in the past were artificially inflated. Especially when you factor in unions.

We also are now competing globally. The beloved Internet has also created an environment where we need to compete with someone overseas making much less.

It has many parallels to file sharing over the last decade: musicians and artists now have to compete with the filing sharing sites because of the Internet and this same paradigm shift has now moved to other industries and jobs. The only difference is that I don't see people here on HN crying out to give the artists money through government intervention. Quite the contrary.

"and give it away instead of tryin' to get us all to punch the monkey and win"

I don't really see a problem with so many people trying to make money online. Money has fueled pretty much every technology breakthrough in the last 50 years.

Money also gives you power..over your own life and your own decisions. I started my own business online 5 years ago. I can schedule my own vacations and I don't need to answer to a boss. This is true freedom. I also contribute to many open source projects. When I was working for a living, I contributed nothing.

Your 'dream' would mean that most things online were free, ruining the ability for the independent artist to actually make a living with what they love. The end result would actually mean less freedom because our only choices would be working for the government or a large corporation.

The need for money will not go away any time soon and the person with the money makes the rules.

What we need is more educated people (so they don't have to work terrible jobs for little pay) and more people starting businesses and making money doing what they truly love (creating a more independent society).


> less than 1% of the population make minimum wage. Most companies, even the big ones you hate, pay well above minimum wage. For instance, All of the fast food places in my area pay $10.15/hour starting. The minimum wage is a few dollars less than this. The free market has pushed the wages higher, because nobody will work for less than this.

I don't think so. Not according to this[1]. Besides, close to minimum wage is hardly live-able.

[1] http://poverty.ucdavis.edu/faq/what-are-characteristics-mini...


I don't see why you dragged minimum wage into this? The above poster is correct. Employee productivity has increased immensely the past 40 years, while wages have remained practically stagnant. Meanwhile costs of housing and education continue to rise. This isn't something related to low earners, we're all getting ripped off here.


Yes, the junk will hopefully diminish when we get a micro-payment framework that actually works and people will use. Websites are bottlenecked into ads for revenue, to everyone's detriment and sorrow.

Unfortunately, it won't do much to decrease Javascript abuse, unless NoScript becomes some kind of a default.


> unless NoScript becomes some kind of a default.

It is on my systems. The OOOOP's web - that's the one that I experience every single day.


That does about sum it up. Just be glad we have the option to browse with ublock origin. Of course not browsing crappy sites is another option.


> that we have the option to browse with uBlock Origin

Isn't it ...copyright infringement? Sigh... DRM are incoming...


The web I want is free of junk loaders, javascript tracking ad garbage making my page requests crazy slow, unpleasant and hard to use.

You should try Brave if you haven't already.


There are some remarkable patterns you can gleen from the data.

---

1. rich countries don't care about freedom

2. countries that are quickly industrializing value opportunity

3. privacy is valued by everyone - but especially wealthy European nations

4. privacy is least valued by countries in war / unrest

--

However, the message between the lines it seems that everyone is basically saying FREEDOM but within the context of their political realities.

In North America we're worried about our adult content habits becoming public, or our extramarital affairs, or our secret bank accounts. So hence _privacy_ most reflects this political reality.

In Turkey _freedom_ and _privacy_ are both ~25%. This reflects a developed society which is experiencing increased controls on internet (and IRL) freedoms.

Par contre, countries like Iraq / Egypt / Bangladesh, _opportunity_ and _accessibility_ are the most important, reflecting that what the population cares most about is economic progress rather than press freedoms.

Malaysia is interesting; they top the list at 31% wanting freedom, yet, there has been little news (that I heard) about political reform/unrest.

All these responses reflect different freedoms that people are seeking -- contextualized by their political reality. If you lack humans freedoms, like freedom of speech, the type, of freedom you seek is best described _freedom_. While _opportunity_ and _access_ best describe economic and knowledge freedoms. Freedom to do whatever you want without fear of public exposure damaging marriages, job prospects, is best described by _privacy_

[edit - added clarity] --

Disclaimer: The above are based on observation and not statistical analysis. If you can download the raw data please let me know.


The reason you've heard little news about unrest in Malaysia is because it's literally illegal to publish. Its media censorship is near the top, if not at the top, of the world's list of worst countries in terms of media censorship.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_Malaysia


To (possibly?) validate your point, I chose freedom but only because I understand freedom to be a larger category which also encompasses privacy. (I live in the U.S.)


Interesting.

I chose user control. What does that tell about me or my country?


  What kind of Web do you want?

  + Promotes freedom
  + Inspires learning
  + Safeguards privacy
  + Is available to all
  + Creates opportunity
  + Puts me in control
This is a good question. My answers would be "inspires learning" and "puts me in control".

Sidenote: let's address the "enable JS" issue once and for all since it keeps popping up in these threads.

Imagine an alternate history where a book reading program went critical (we'll call it "Reader") and took over the world. (In the actual world of course it was a static document consumer -- the "Browser" -- that took over everything and eventually became its own operating system).

In this alternate history there are regular internet fights (occurring in Reader of course) over whether turning off ReaderScript in Reader is a reasonable thing to do.

One side says: it's dumb to turn off the programming language in your Reader and still expect it to function -- programming graceful degradation into every reader app in the world would cost billions of dollars and be a huge waste.

The other side says: that's true, but I just want to read the Quran without popups!

Happily synthesis is easy since both sides are right. You should never expect a readerapp to work without ReaderScript. You should always be able to expect a book to work without RS -- they should never have had access to it in the first place.

The path forward is clear. Readers should have clearly different modes for books (documents/sites in our world) and apps. We should maintain a community list of which URLs are which, and load that by default into Reader. This way apps can continue to run programs by default, but we don't get popups in our books.


The web i want is one that isnt completely broken by not running javascript


This, so much this.

There's no reason why this page couldn't work without JavaScript. It's a poll and a display of the results.

Sure, enhance it with JavaScript: that's great, and it's cool, and it's useful. But don't force people to execute code when all they really need to do is POST a form and then GET a page.

People who do this are wrong.


> There's no reason why this page couldn't work without JavaScript.

Your position is ridiculous. HTML5 was designed in part to make it easier to create applications that run in your browser. So yes some people will be writing applications that run in your browser. It's like expecting flash sites to work when you don't have flash turned on. Either be happy with your choice or turn it back on. Don't expect the rest of the world to cater to your fringe browser settings.


But this isn't an app. It's a poll and some poll results. We were doing this on the web for decades without invoking JS.


Everything is an app. There are apps that show a GIF and all they do is that on many app-stores, with lot's of downloads because the GIF happens to be that of a woman's bum.


Okay, let's just make this a formal distinction then.

Web pages should use JS only when necessary to enhance the user experience.

Web applications can go hog wild and load 10MB of JS libs.


But what incentives will exactly cause developers to continue to develop web pages wherever possible instead of bundling everything into apps? Website owners also like the power that they can get from executing full-blown programs on each client's machine, rather than serving dumb unidirectional data. The Internet has evolved in many ways just like the outside world has evolved, IMO. The "correct" or the "elegant" is rarely what actually seems to happen. Instead it's a wild struggle for survival in which boundaries are pushed and abused, which leads to wonderful innovations, but the downside is there's nothing "ethical" about it.


Sadly, you're right.

The problem is that hosts have too much control over client's experience. Frankly, most of the works designers today do on the web is work that should not be done - 90% of websites would be infinitely better if they only sent text with lightweight semantic annotations and a list of available actions. The user should be able to explore the data in whatever way they please, and not be shoehorned into a single prescribed way of interaction.

That said, your point on incentives is spot-on. People making money on the web benefit from any marginal increase of control they can get - so the whole thing turns into a typical race to the bottom. And then, they also can (and do) use their money to influence the development of web technologies to make it easier for them to make more money. This process sadly isn't any different than regulations being influenced by businesses to benefit them instead of society.

Is there a solution? I don't know. Most people don't even realize how much of their own time and potential they waste by accepting the "status quo". I hope someone eventually develops a browser with sole purpose of unfucking the Internet. Some kind of a cross between links, Emacs and the Reader Mode from Firefox.


I can understand requiring JavaScript if it's a game or some sort of multimedia experience, but something like this really doesn't need JavaScript.

Search engines typically don't run JavaScript, so relying on it can be bad for SEO, and in some cases accessibility.

Considering iOS devices don't support Flash, and popularity for Flash is waning, I think it's even worse to suggest a website should cater only to those who can run Flash.


> Your position is ridiculous... It's like expecting flash sites to work when you don't have flash turned on.

Not really. Nobody is expecting JS code to work without a JS interpreter being available/enabled. Instead, they're expecting a page of text + images to work without any JS code being required.

In your analogy, nobody expects Flash objects to work without Flash. Everybody expects text + images to work without Flash objects being required.


Yes, and it's been thoroughly abused by lazy/incompetent developers. That's why we end up with 3 MB pages running React or whatever shiny new web framework Facebook/Google has released to display three paragraphs of text.


Here you go. I added one, but unfortunately, it returns a bad request code.

<html> <body> <form method="post" action="https://webwewant.mozilla.org/share/"> <ul> <li><label><input name="issue" value="access" type="radio"/> Is available to all</label></li> <li><label><input name="issue" value="freedom" type="radio"/> Promotes freedom</label></li> <li><label><input name="issue" value="control" type="radio"/> Puts me in control</li> <li><label><input name="issue" value="opportunity" type="radio"/> Creates opportunity</label></li> <li><label><input name="issue" value="learning" type="radio"/> Inspires learning</label></li> <li><label><input name="issue" value="privacy" type="radio"/> Safeguards privacy</label></li> <li><label><input name="issue" value="nojs" type="radio"/> Works without javascript</label></li> </ul> <input type="submit" value="Submit"/> </form> </body> </html>


So, a web of static files with hyperlinks?


I would really like to have a web of static files with hyperlinks. We could keep it separate from the web of AJAX and touch events and scroll-hijacking. They don't even feel like the same thing anyway.


Web pages can still be dynamically generated on the server without needing to use JavaScript.


Why would you want that instead of AJAX-y functionality? Page reloads increases wait times, and depending on use case, drastically increases page size.


>Page reloads increases wait times, and depending on use case, drastically increases page size.

Considering the sizes of the javascript libraries loaded by all of the websites, I find it unlikely that the page size for a static page will be larger.

The average size of a single page is larger than a doom install now. That's not because of orders of magnitude more of HTML. It's because of the 15 different tracking JS libs, analytics libs, effects libs, etc that are piled into every site.


Full page reloads were a big deal when most people were on dial-up connections.

With proper caching and today's connectivity it's far less of an issue.

AJAX-y still is nicer and definitely has its place but at least speaking for myself if I'm reading a blog or a news site I'd prefer a fast static page rather than a lot of gratuitious ajax animations and transitions.


The big difficulty these days is mobile. When I'm traveling, I can download a simple HTML page pretty quickly, but every request is a crapshoot. If I need more than a few small requests to use your site, I'm likely not getting it depending on where I am.


That sounds better than loading megabytes of JS so I can read a news article doesn't it?


News articles should absolutely be almost JS-free. The current status of news sites is ridiculous. But this page is an interactive visualization, so it makes sense to use JS. The JS debate isn't an all-or-nothing argument. Documents should be documents. Apps should be apps. Interactions that are more complicated than simple documents require some JS.


Yes, and I think no reasonable person will complain about JS in a document like this:

http://worrydream.com/LadderOfAbstraction/

or this:

http://worrydream.com/TenBrighterIdeas/

But documents like these aren't commonplace[0]. JS isn't used to enhance documents, it's used to make them much worse - because that degrading of quality and experience is how websites make money.

Apps are obviously a different beast. Most of websites don't need to be or behave like apps though.

[0] - which is a very sad thing; it's exactly the kind of advantage computers have over paper, and it's not being used at all. You either get dumb text that's even less functional than a book (think of articles rendered to image), or wasteful apps with shit-ton of ads and tracking.


Yes, please.


Honestly that sounds fucking great to me.

99% of the Web is shit.


And what about the 99% of people who don't have a problem with the 99% of the web you feel is shit? Why should the web be limited to only what you feel is worth your time?


Do we know that 99% of people don't have a problem with 99% of the web? Or do they not know how to express their displeasure with it or whom to express it to? I hear complaints all the time from normal users about top sites. They don't sound happy to me at all, they just sound like they're frustrated and don't think anyone is listening.


Exactly.

Also, most people have no clue about how websites work, and so they can't really imagine how they could look like. Moreover, most people accept whatever market throws at them, because they don't have any other choice anyway.


That's what gopher is for. The WWW has javascript as a requirement, and I think it's time to stop holding onto any misconceptions otherwise.

Apparently this is an unpopular notion. There's an entire protocol that's based on links between plain content - use it! The non-javascript users on the WWW are such a tiny minority that nobody who pays developers is going to bother with the time. The average user wants the extra functionality that even basic JS can provide - demanding that the web be supported without it is akin to demanding support for IE4 on Mac Classic.

That is the reality, folks. You don't have to like it, but you should accept it.


The average web user is ignorant of the possibilities. If they knew how much faster and stable their web-using experience would be without the excessive, unnecessary JS on many sites, they would gladly vote for "no JS" as a default.

The content of most sites created today could reasonably been hosted on sites when IE4 for Mac Classic was current, text, pictures, form fields & buttons. You don't have to prove it but you should build such a site today using methods that would likely mean someone using IE4 for Mac Classic would have some access to the content, albeit not an optimal experience.


faster and stable

And uglier, and limited. While the people here might not have any problem with the entire web looking like Ward Cunningham's wiki, I doubt the public at large feels the same...


This is not an attractive website. This site is objectively fucking awful because of the cruft. (Most of the time pages don't load for me. See this as one example: http://imgur.com/4WgHhVh )

http://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/

See also: Almost any other local newspaper website, from anywhere in the world.


Ensuring that the lowest-end gets some experience doesn't mean modern devices and browsers must have an uglier or limited experience. Progressive enhancement, it's a thing.


The last time I checked, the "average user" can't even use the web without getting their computer infected with malware served by ad networks. They may want functionality, but as far as I'm concerned they aren't aware of the price they are paying for it.


Honestly, most people don't want shit. They accept what they're given. It's not like anyone is even honestly asking them what they want.

(And if they complain that things are worse than they were, they often misattribute them anyway. My mother blames a lot of things on her computer being too slow, even though half of them aren't really the fault of the computer, but of the lazy-ass companies putting increasingly bloated shit on-line.)


i hold gopher in high regard. For most personal projects, gopher would make everything so much easier. Add a bit of convenience stuff, like basic text and image flow without having to do any css . navigation solves itself with gopher. wham, the perfect personal web page.


The Web I want is Hypercard style interactive documents, for all the rest we already have better options.

My browser use is not much different than on Web 1.0 days, except when I cannot install a specific native application.


Maybe we can fix what you don't like about Javascript while keeping the good parts? http://imgur.com/zY6Iu7D


I don't like it being required in order to browse effectively static pages on the web. The rest is fine.


What's the difference between having a web server look up an article in a DB and serve it to you, and having a web page's JS look up that article in a DB and pull it to your browser? It seems like that would be the least offensive use of JS.


For one, you have to execute javascript. For the other, you don't. If you want to do it on the server side, feel free.


But you said you'd be "fine" executing JS for other kinds of pages. What is it about "effectively static" pages that offends you?


Nothing about static pages offends me.


You can absolutely use JavaScript to pull an article into the browser.

But if the user doesn't have JavaScript, they should still be able to navigate the site the old-fashioned way. It doesn't have to be one way or the other.


I think the vast majority of people browsing without JS are people who have manually disabled it. Which goes back to my first question: Can we make a JS that's acceptable to those people, so they will just enable it?


I regularly browse the web using Lynx, a text-only browser that doesn't even have a setting to enable JavaScript.

There should almost always be fallbacks for people who don't have JavaScript, but if you are going to use JavaScript, it would at least help if any nontrivial code were free, such that it isn't blocked by the LibreJS add-on.

At the very least, the user experience with JavaScript enabled should not be worse than with JavaScript disabled.


It's not the problem of JS, it's what is being done with it. It's about bullshit and bloat, about lazy-ass developers, designers showing off and the web being fashion-driven industry. It's about ads and tracking.

The only way to fix it JS-level is to bake a requirement into the standard that the code size limit for JS is 256kb. If a company can't fit their "value-added features" in it, that's their problem.


I don't know if there are stats about disabling JS in the preferences of the browser, but I'm using NoScript. That's a finer grained control. Absolutely no JS would mean almost no web nowadays. Maybe wikipedia works.


People using Opera Mini are effectively browsing without JS, I'm sure they outnumber the people turning off JS or using NoScript in other browsers.


Compromise and make sure it's served 1st party?


Caches are nice though. Compromise and make sure it's checked against a hash provided by the first party?


As long as you use subresource integrity we have a deal! I know it's currently experimental but having native browser support is much more palatable than using JS to check the hash.


Then ensure that it can't communicate with the domain it's loaded from.


serious question: could you explain what you think is wrong with websites using javascript? Why do you refuse running javascript in your browser?

My understanding is that javascript is a part of the web today, and everything around it makes it easier to run javascript applications in your browser, making websites more powerful. I personally love this and a lot of website I browse would be worse without javascript (google docs, calendar, etc.), so I have trouble understanding what is wrong with javascript running.

Also, since now most apps are complete javascript apps (and not only some DOM manipulation), it seems a lost cause to try to get website optionally "extend" their experience with javascript. That would mostly just imply to re-built most of the page for when javascript is disabled.


I have a completely different experience from you. As I'm reading this on my phone, most of the website related experience is better without JavaScript.

I also had in the past legally blind co-workers that could barely use a browser, so they had their own problems with JavaScript overriding defaults.

By the look of it: if JavaScript proponents designed car doors, there would only be remote unlocking and no physical key.

It's just bad engineering lately beign promoted as 'the default way to build webpages'.


The problem is that once javascript is enabled on a page, there is too large of a business incentive to tack on google analytics, auto-playing video ads, facebook and linked-in and twitter integration, annoying subscribe popups, etc. Javascript is necessary in the web that I want for the future but I want some standards for what gets run in my browser without me going through manually and whitelisting specific scripts to block out the 10s of MB of crap that get thrown at me every time I go to a new site.


GA, popups, FB, et al. all get done in with modern ad blockers, don't they?


Because it gets abused by so many. It's used to track, to annoy (popups, autoplay and all that crap), it often breaks hyperlinks (you can't link to content that is loaded by JS code instead of by clicking a link), it blows my data cap on mobile, it heats my CPU, and it drains my battery.

If I start my browser with JS enabled, it takes a few days and Firefox is at 100% CPU continuously, making my laptop battery last 2 instead of 5 hours, and if you start a packet sniffer, you see how all kinds of tabs are constantly reporting back to their mothership what I am doing.

That is why I keep JS disabled.

Also, most things that can be improved in websites (not to be confused with web apps) with JS would be better implemented as browser functionality.


Obviously for a real web app like google docs javascript is essential. For a web site (blogs, news sites, shopping) it's not.


Its too late for that.


It's never too late to do the right thing. It may be expensive, and it may require swallowing one's pride, and it may not have the same benefits that doing it earlier would have, but it's never too late.


Would you really want google maps to be static? I remember those days with mapquest. I like my javascript.


Google maps is a reasonable use of javascript. Using a dynamic interface like that vastly improved the user experience. Can't say the same about showing an textual article or a photo.


This is like saying electric cars won't work because the energy density of batteries is too low to fly a 747 across the country.

JS should be reserved for heavy interactive applications. Not pages that amount to viewing a document.


This one is on the web devs more than Mozilla. IMO there is not much that a browser vendor can do, when what a large percentage of developers and users care only about the fancy new features.


This website is not intended for people who know what Javascript is or even how to turn it off. Most of the web are not (us) geeks, and not everything revolves around us.

Plus, there is such a thing as ROI.


What about blind people that use screen readers?


JavaScript is default technology. So it's like if you could disable C++ on windows and then complain that application don't work anymore.

JS is like HTML and CSS, core part of today's web.


Not really. I don't run JS by default and the vast majority of sites work. They look funny, but they work.


A couple of design comments:

First, I was confused by the animation of green dots on completing the poll question. I had expected that each dot would light up in a color associated with the selected poll answer for the associated user, and thought something must be wrong that I was only seeing the folks who had chosen "Freedom".

Second, once I figured out to hit the color legend to see different results, the contrast between some of the brighter highlight colors on the map and the blue background made it nearly impossible to visually distinguish the gradients.


Safeguards Privacy - "Firefox is made under the principle that security and privacy are fundamental and must not be treated as optional."

Mozilla is certainly treating the cookie management dialog box, which has been broken for years, as optional. Same with accepting Mike Perry's patches and various other examples.

If Mozilla could actually do better in terms of privacy and security features than a handful of Tor Browser Bundle devs, they wouldn't need efforts like this and their work would speak for itself. I still use Mozilla code every day and am grateful for their work, but this sort of rhetoric is unimpressive.


Yup, this seems a bit ironic coming from the foundation that recently introduced the Sync feature (which shits on the privacy section) and made no serious security enhancements in their browser for quite some time.


Could you elaborate on the Sync feature? I was under the impression that Sync now uses Firefox accounts and can't see how it would affect privacy.


I love that Africa is the highest continent (at time of posting) for "learning" and "opportunity." I've seen some articles about entrepreneurs in various African countries and it's always amazing how much impact they're able to have with limited materials, and access to the web can get you a lot.


The design of this site doesn't seem so good. It looks (at least on mobile) like it's informational, but it seems it's actually a poll. As a result, the numbers on the pages you get taken to after a selection seem a bit underwhelming. (Eg. 12% want a web that's...)


The web I want:

1) One that isn't completely dominated by advertising.

2) One that isn't dominated by proprietary software, that encourages users to participate in FOSS.

3) One focused on data. Part of the problem of javascript, so uneeded in most cases.

4) More on javascript, how about one where each page doesn't load 30 scripts from alternate domains? Even the major new sites do this, and it makes me hate them.

5) One where ISP's don't hand over browsing information to anyone with a dollar or a badge without a warrant.

6) One where VPN's and other privacy centered providers learn how to build systems that don't keep logs and are built with privacy as a first class citizen.

7) Not last, and certainly not least, I mostly want a web that encourages and grows the freedom of thought, speech, and discussion that is and was such a fundamental part of the origins of the internet in the first place. It seems increasingly marginalized on the modern web. The beauty of communications mediums is the power it gives the formerly powerless, but I think the oligarchy has recognized this threat and this is why the internet is going to be increasingly a target of bad legislation written by corrupt "representatives". Beware cries of hate speech or any other attempts at censoring "for the greater good".

Just a few of things I want in web off the top of my head. As for this Mozilla page, I think if we think about the four freedoms and fundamental principles behind them, user control really has to be the starting point. You can't have privacy if the user can't turn off spywidgetX. You can't have freedom if the user can't Y.

Once again, I feel like one day, if we don't destroy ourselves as a species, we will look back and wonder why it took people so long to understand why RMS is and was right. The four freedoms are fundamental to the web I want, and while I often get a lot of hate on HN for being so pro RMS/GPL, I think if more people took the time to understand the issues they would tend to agree.

edit: One where strong theoretical and practical encryption is for everyone, and isn't vilified by the government.


Why is this downvoted ? Shouldn't we share these values as hackers ?


As a hacker, I appreciate the platform the Web offers for code. So I don't see why you'd necessarily expect me to agree with a complaint about the ability to write code for the Web.

(I didn't downvote, though. I just think it's strange to expect universal agreement with Javascript Luddism among hackers.)


I don't see it as a complaint about the ability to write code for the Web, but rather a complaint about they way some people choose to exercise that ability. Seriously, it is crap that the Web feels slower today than it did in 1998, despite gigahertz of advances in processing power, many multiples more CPU cores, much larger pipes, SSD's, etc... And a lot of that is exactly because pages are loaded down with so much crap (ad networks, tracking scripts, etc.) that must load.


In my view, the worst part about including javascript everywhere on the net is that it limits scraping to the big guys who can afford to run all sites through a js interpreter. Google, Facebook, et al. And making them, even moreso than they are already, the de facto gatekeepers to information.


I don't perceive "Javascript Luddism" in GP's post, more annoyance with the abusive and gratuitous use of Javascript so prevalant today.


Couldn't have said it better. I have javascript activated and will continue to do so. But when my CPU fan sound like an airplane because of some slider or poorly written code ...

[Out of subject] I'm curious how many nuclear and coal plants are required for web browsing related tasks today ...


amen


What kind of world do you want?

  A) One with babies
  B) One with rainbows
  C) One with good meals
  D) One with friends and fun
  E) One with novelty and adventure
  F) One that makes us smarter, faster, and more beautiful
Click through to our map to find out where people were sitting when they picked one of these choices.

edit: to be clear, what I'm trying to say is that this is far less a survey than a vapid corporate ejaculation. I don't understand how Mozilla's culture ended up like this. Was it always like this?


No, it wasn't always like this.


That list is so touchy feely. It makes me feel like one of those "What are our company values?" meetings where people spend hours deliberating about things that are just a random list of positive adjectives taken from a dictionary.

How about a list of features instead?

Here are some things I'd like to see:

  - prevent videos from auto playing / making sound

  - prevent sites from forcing me to turn off AdBlock

  - sleep mode for tabs (sometimes I leave tabs open that I mean to read later) but they still take up a lot of resources even if I don't open that tab for weeks.

  - readable mode (I don't want to see animations right next to the article I'm trying to read).  It's extremely distracting.  Maybe a pause mode (where the entire page is 
frozen and nothing can change?)

  - stop changing where the text is on the page as I read it (as pages load, as ads show up / disappear).

  - Scrolling should be linear.  I shouldn't scroll down and see the text move in the opposite direction because some header disappears from the top of the page, this shifting the text up higher).

  - Raise the simultaneous download limit and/or allow a large number of them to be queued without me having to wait until a slot frees up to make sure that file is going to be downloaded.

  - Make it easier to kill distracting elements on a page with a single click.

  - Anything that allows me to be able to develop for a single platform (the web) instead of having to deal with native app development, app store restrictions, and another company taking a huge chunk out of sales.


And don' t forget to watch this short video by Mozilla - "The Hidden Business of the Internet" [1]

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LcUOEP7Brc


I wish that the vocal 1% who want a JavaScript-free web would just rediscover Gopher.


In this thread: people who don't turn JavaScript on by default and are unhappy when sites don't work because of it. They must get angry a lot.

It's like wanting my Android and Mac applications to work without code too, like wanting my entire operating system to just handle PDF files and maybe have a functional text editor. It's like whatever state computers were in 1999, that's what is desired. Are we on Hacker News? A technology news site? People here don't want to use technology and see it evolve and progress?


People don't turn off JavaScript because they hate technology and want to live in caves and eat moss. They turn off Javascript because they don't trust that the code won't cause harm.

Do you run every binary file sent to your email? I don't, as I don't trust the criminals that sends malware through email. I do run binaries sent through email if I trust it, like if it is cryptographic signed by someone I trust.

I would predict in a renewed trust in JavaScript if the language got limited, similar to the filters that exist in noscript, TBB, privoxy and other similar projects. No cross-site calls, no rewriting of links, no loading of tracking images and so on. The technology that prevents malware need to evolve and progress, or the result is that people will simply stop using new technology where the risk of being attacked is high.


> In this thread: people who don't turn JavaScript on by default and are unhappy when sites don't work because of it.

I think you have this backwards, sorry. Perhaps it used to be true?

We have reached a tipping point where using a JavaScript blocker like NoScript actually improves the browsing experience. And not just a little bit, I mean substantially. The NoScript UX is good, and I can easily toggle domains on/off. I very seldom have to enable JS for a new site and my list of permanently white-listed sites is relatively small, maybe 20 or so.

To anyone who still thinks that JavaScript makes your browsing experience better, try browsing without it again. The shitstorm of clutter and annoyance that people keep complaining about is now the worse option. No one is hijacking my scroll, no modals are blocking the page content, pages load lightning fast, it's great! For a select few sites that can be trusted to run JavaScript to improve my experience, they get white-listed and work well too. It's my browser, running code I decide to approve, and the overall experience is very good.


This may be true if it weren't for that fact that you mention "Are we on Hacker News? A technology site?"

As engineers, developers, and designers, there is a mantra of designing software to "fail gracefully". This means that even if a user doesn't have Javascript enabled, a site will still function in a usable manner.

It also means that Web developers should not be including every JS library they can just to save from typing (or fast iteration out the door), when the result is a laggy page that takes forever to load, scrolls 5 seconds after moving the mouse wheel, and requires a computer built within the last 3 years. That is not efficient, and not the best experience you can give for your users, nor the best way to develop for them.

People here want to use technology and see it evolve. But in this case of evolution, the bogged down Web pages are slow, fat gazelles that will probably not have a long enough life to produce.


In this thread: people who won't turn on uBlock/AdBlock because "the poor websites won't make any monies" and would rather load gazillions (literally tens if not hundred of megabytes per website) of tracking scripts and potential attack vectors onto their computer.

No amount of content is a worthy exchange for you butt-fucking my browser, my computer, and my life.


I love using technology. I hate using shitty technology that detracts from the experience, by trying to provide an experience.


So you would have preferred a survey monkey experience to this site?


"This site" (and I mean HN) is almost entirely JS-free. Coincidence?


You'd prefer a reload of the page every time you upvote? Even a mostly static site like HN needs some JS to make the experience drastically better.


I do believe JS can make sites better. I just think that it's WAY overly used and abused, and actually makes most sites less functional. Think of it like salt: a little bit and it enhances your food. But if you keep piling it on, it doesn't keep improving things.


The keyword being some. If HN started requiring JS for basic browsing (like a lot of other aggregators out there already do), I'd get the hell out.


HN's reasonable and minor js is an exception. And you only need it if you want to participate in the voting system. Reading and commenting works without.

The vast majority of js does not seem to provide me with any benefit.


One could just make the arrows links that load in a hidden iframe and add CSS styling that hides the image when it's been clicked. It's not strictly correct (side effect for GET requests), but that's what happens as a fallback anyhow (you get links with JS disabled, you just have to open them in a new tab to avoid the reload).


I would have preferred this site not use crappy JS. Or at least not require it.


It works without JS too


For various values of "works". I can read it, but the map doesn't work, the survey doesn't work, and I can't see any results.


You're making the classic mistake of thinking that technology is inherently good.

It's not.

Javascript developers have done more to erode privacy, openness, and trust on the Web than anyone else.

Why would I, a reasonably savvy aerospace engineer who doesn't even know all the dirty little tracking tricks, even consider for one second enabling js by default?

At best I am "just" increasing some scumbag advertiser's profit. At worst I am going to catch something nasty.


Is the average javascript developer responsible for the horrible security model and the dubious javascript-accessable features added every year to web browsers?

This is like saying developers of MS Windows applications are responsible for the horrible period of Windows worms we had a decade or so ago before MS started to get more serious about security.


The front-end community is responsible for forcing it to be used on most sites even for basic functionality like reading an article.


That is a specious retort. You don't need to pwn the browser to track a user.


Yeah, wanting brochures on the web to display without 10 megs of javascript is like eating with your hands and being afraid of fire.


It is not at all like "wanting my Android and Mac applications to work without code."

The web browser is a hypertext reader. When you go to a text content site, there is nothing wrong with expecting it to work without JavaScript.


In addition to the privacy and security concerns mentioned by other comments, I've noticed that a browser with JavaScript enabled and a couple dozen open tabs often causes the CPU fan to emit annoying noise, while the same workload with JavaScript disabled is blissfully silent and battery-preserving.


That's a bad analogy.


It's not even an analogy, it's just a series of slurs.


Honest question: why was this dead? It doesn't add much, but dead?


I am pretty sure people deliberately disable javascript for a moment just to make the first "oh-site-is-broken-without-js" comments. I think it is pretty illogical to expect any site to work without Javascript considering that even HN would end-up breaking some of its features.


HN works fine without javascript. The only change is that voting requires a page load. Most sites (especially ones that are basically just a bunch of text with junk around it) work fine without javascript, and it's easy to turn on for sites I want it on, so I have it turned off by default for sites I haven't visited, and if that causes them to just give a big expanse of blankness I usually leave.


I browse with javascript off by default and manage per-site settings with noscript. Ideally, sites would gracefully still work without javascript, but in a world of "rich webapps" I compromise.

At least maps.google.com let's you know, "When you have eliminated the JavaScript, whatever remains must be an empty page. Enable JavaScript to see Google Maps."

Instagram is just a blank white page.


I am really curious, what would the results be like if this we run on Facebook? Does the poll being ran where it is bias the results. ~34% say privacy, but it that sample bias? Or a real representation of what people as a whole are interested in?


AFAIK, this could be shared on FB, and we are probably eeing some of the results from there. It'd be interesting to see how this breaks down by source though.


> ...and we are probably eeing some of the results from there.

Yes, probably, but don't forget that those are the people who probably liked privacy-related Facebook pages and don't necessarily represent the opinion of an average Facebook user.


I find it sad that people value privacy so highly over anything else, including accessibility and opportunity. It's not that I don't treasure my privacy. I just don't get how it can be more important that ability to work on interesting stuff, freedom to access world's information and to learn from it, or even control over my devices configuration.

Privacy should be an added value, not something we put in front of everything else. It would be meaningless if web wouldn't enable us to do what we do. So in reality, isn't this poll just a list of things we already have thanks to the internet, plus one thing we don't have - privacy?


Privacy is a foundational value. It is necessary for trust and sharing. Without financial privacy, online commerce would not exist because people wouldn't trust to share their banking information. Without some modicum of social privacy, people wouldn't trust to share information with their friends & family.

& I avoid using the services I do not trust.


I think privacy really enables all of those others in a way though. If I want to learn about reverse-engineering, it's just as important to me that nobody knows that's what I'm learning, as it is to have access to the learning materials. Knowing that all my research and learning is being sent to 3rd parties has definitely curbed my desire to learn some subjects.


Without privacy, there can be no trust. Without trust, there can be no freedom, no access, and no opportunity. Even learning is hampered severely in a changing world, where the question of what society demands remain private changes from one day to the next.

In other words, privacy comes before everything else because it underpins everything else. Remove it, and the other values are all either illusory, or their non-illusory status is transient at best.


Privacy seems to be on top issue for all regions. Not surprising regarding recent events.


The thing is, I think the thing we want and the thing we get are two different things now. Its not a question of tech, such as Javascript, its a question of: I want to read, write and communicate. What I want basically, is an RSS feed reader and writer that actually works. I dont want adds, for the most part I dont want images, unless I specifically seek them out. What we want is the web experience that something like Instapaper provides, which is to isolate the content of the blog post or news article and eschew all the rest, and present it in a readable form in the font I like. This makes the act of information intake painless and flow easily. It sounds ridiculous in a sort of post-RSS environment, but what we need is RSS, to be implemented by someone in a way that makes it work, so it will be used by everyone.


An interesting but unsurprising result - we want a private web.


Not sure if I'm supposed to choose the most important one, or go back and select each thing that matters.


Looks good, but it really seems to be the "Web Europe and America want".


Mozilla is in the right place to implement two things (in a non-profit way): A centralized sign on a-la persona and a browser-mediated payment solution. These two would move the web forward in a fantastic way.


The web I want would have a built in micro-payment system (someone mentioned this in a presentation at the Decentralized Web Summit last week). This would provide an option to advertisements.

I would like to see strong privacy controls protected by the same strong force of law that media companies have with DMCA, etc. Citizen's interests should be protected at a higher level than corporation's interests.

I would also like a better mechanism for controlling how much extra media a server sends the browser. Browsing with Lynx (text based) is an option, but not so nice.


The web i want is a a web where Mozilla sees no reason to compete with Chrome, the web i want is where Mozilla still have faith in built inside customization and choice and options instead of design and simplicity and minimalism.

The web i want is a web with a Mozilla which does not care for Google at all and puts them and their shady actions and browser development concept on ignore.


HAHAHahahahahaha! Oh the irony. This page doesn't work with JS disabled.

(BTW you folks who downvote me for complaining about sites that fail without JS, what gives? What's your idea here? I can't use the web without JS? I'm the idiot? No. I don't agree. Make your site do something reasonable without JS or you're the idiot. C'mon.)


There's definitely a place for JavaScript. This page might not be it.

I know that if I want to make a simple web app, it's easier for me to write it in JavaScript, throw it on GitHub Pages, and have free static hosting for it. Much better for me that having to run a server with PHP or Node or Django or whatnot.

I don't miss a web that didn't have JavaScript. There's a lot we can do now that we couldn't then... say, like navigating pages without constant page reloads.

How would "The Web We Want" map even work if it were server-side only? Certainly it would be a very different experience, requiring Mozilla to code it twice. I suppose it is up to the developer to judge whether the cost is worth the benefit (0.25-2% of users)


Your expecations are way too high. That entire site couldn't even exist without javascript. How else would you visualise that data? Do something crazy like generate an image of the changed map on every request? At that point why even bother with HTML? Why not serve entire pages as a single image? Or worse we could also go back to the old days of flash and java applets...

HTML and CSS are crap. People are forced to use javascript even for the simplest things not because they want but because have to. Javascript itself is not much better but at the very least it prevents this frankenstein monster from falling apart.

You are the idiot because you're asking for the impossible.


How about I visualize the data myself?

I mean, honestly - this website is a simple poll with results in the form of (imprecise geographical coordinates, voting choice). It would be about 100x better if served in this form:

    | Country         | Availability | Freedom     | Opportunity | Control     | Learning    | Privacy     |
    |-----------------+--------------+-------------+-------------+-------------+-------------+-------------|
    | *NORTH AMERICA* | aggregate %  | aggregate % | aggregate % | aggregate % | aggregate % | aggregate % |
    | ...             | specific %   | specific %  | specific %  | specific %  | specific %  | specific %  |
    | ...             | ...          | ...         | ...         | ...         | ...         | ...         |
    | *EUROPE*        | ...          | ...         | ...         | ...         | ...         | ...         |
    | ...             | ...          | ...         | ...         | ...         | ...         | ...         |

It would be infinitely better if the whole data was also served as a CSV file.

I mean, I get it. This page is just an ad. It needs to look nice. But it bothers me when sites that are supposed to be useful are being designed as art forms.


We as a society are being pushed away from the ideals that took root in the 90's, when the web/internet was a libertarian paradise. Most graybeards would put freedom much higher than privacy or anything else. It seems the millenials are more concerned with hiding. How can someone have one without the other?


While "privacy" gets the majority of the votes, I believe that we can't get privacy without most of the others.


It's not a perfect method of collecting data, but interesting privacy is the top result in every continent on earth.


How typical. Offer "choice", but limit said choices to things which only serve Mozilla's interests....


The problem what that page is that it doesn't include answers that are antithetical to Mozilla's values. Add "I want a safe space on the internet" as a response, and I imagine you'll get far more people clicking that than anyone who wants freedom, privacy, learning, etc.


Why just six choices? Why these? Why not "Beautiful"? or "Ad-free"? You know, what I'd really like is a web full of intelligent and polite discussion. Where's that option? What does Mozilla mean by "Web" here? What exactly is on offer?


The web people want has all their favorite things like Facebook, Google, Netflix, YouTube, ESPN, Yahoo, and on and on.

People don't care about much else. It's the killer apps, not the freedom that people are buying. People trade freedom for shiny things because it makes them feel good.


The web i want is one where i can properly zoom... zooming in/out on a Macbook (pinch to zoom) is just terrible in Firefox - compared to Safari and Chrome/Chromium where zooming is very smooth.

It seems like a small/unimportant thing but it's sooo annoying...


stay on target - that's not the web you want, that's a bugfix in one of the dozens of browsers that try to present you with the data you're telling it to pull down from the web.


well okay, let me rephrase: Mozilla's "Manifesto" (and things like 'the web you want') is awesome, however some annoyances prevent me from using Firefox; i wish they would implement new features more rapidly like for example proper zooming (which has been present in other browser for ~ 4 years), and for example a sandbox.

It doesn't matter how great your Manifesto is (and what kind of web you want), if things like this prevent people from using your product.


Well, given I can't get even a jist of what the page is about without Javascript... not this.


I can't tell what's going on with the map?

What's with all the little dots fading in and out?


From the site: "When you select any of the sharing links, we add your location to the map to show the worldwide impact of our community."


From their video, "I am not a data point".

Proceeds to turn us into literal data 'points'.


> I am not a data point to be bought and sold.

Cutting off that clause really changes the intended meaning.


Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: