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Web App Idea

New web idea today:

A worksafeness database for URLs, comprising three parts:
  1. A site that lets people vote on whether the consider a specific URL SFW or NSFW.
  2. A pair of bookmarklets to automatically vote one way or the other for the URL being viewed, so that people can cast their vote with just a mouse-click.
  3. A Mozilla extension can be written that automatically looks up the worksafeness of a URL before fetching it, and presents you with a choice of continuing if a majority of users have marked the URL NSFW.
Think of it: no more accidental goatse or random embarassingly loud Flash movies! What do you all think? Worth doing?



( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 18th, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC)
Not a bad idea at all. However, different workplaces have different tastes - some might care about women in bikinis, and some might not, for instance. I think three levels would be good: "Totally worksafe, NWS if your boss is strict, NWS anywhere". Not sure what best to call the levels.
Jun. 18th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC)
Or perhaps people could choose to specify a reason when they submit a vote. Nudity, skimpy clothing, loud noise, violent images, offensive text, whatever.
Jun. 18th, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC)
You don't want to make too much involved in submitting a link or nobody will do it.

Also, it occurs to me that a lot of messageboard posts use pic hosts like www.imageshack.us, so a lot of the urls that you most care about will be newly generated and only used for a brief spike, so there won't be much chance for them to get into the database.
Jun. 18th, 2005 11:07 pm (UTC)
Well, I guess there could be simple "just vote" and advanced "vote and give a reason" bookmarklets, so people could choose which they'd prefer.

And for your second point, I guess we'd just have to hope for widespread adoption, so not-safe URLs get added more quickly.
Jun. 18th, 2005 11:30 pm (UTC)
Don't think that's a good idea - if some people are depending on the advanced features to know whether a site is safe, and only half the people voting are using the advanced features, the tool beceomes much less useful/more confusing. We should just find a good range of choices that aren't too complicated but give a fair amount of data.
Jun. 19th, 2005 12:23 am (UTC)
I dunno. "88% of voters considered this page NSFW. Additionally, the following reasons were given by some voters: Images of nudity, sexual language." That doesn't seem too confusing to me.

I think I'd rather keep the number of bookmarklets to a minimum. People don't like to have their bookmarklet toolbars cluttered, and requiring two to vote is already pushing it. (Ha ha, pun.)
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Jun. 19th, 2005 03:45 am (UTC)
Good point. I'll have to include reasons that specify either pornographic nudity or artistic nudity.
Jun. 18th, 2005 10:21 pm (UTC)
Or alternatively, variable comfort levels. Have a slider for the % of people who need to have voted something NSFW before you get warned about it.

Of course, this'd be massively abusable if it ever got widely adopted. Googlewars all over again.
Jun. 18th, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC)
Nah, that confuses "number of people who have actually seen the site" with "how graphic the site actually is".
Jun. 18th, 2005 11:10 pm (UTC)
I like the slider idea. That could be doable.

I have this (probably foolish) faith that the overall decency of humanity will prevail and keep public systems from being abused too much. Plus, we'll limit votes to one per IP per URL, and then people can't do too much harm by themselves at least.
Jun. 18th, 2005 10:31 pm (UTC)
Aren't there companies out there that do exactly this, for money? And they all creep me out, like Tipper Gore does.
Jun. 18th, 2005 11:13 pm (UTC)
Sure, but they all use closed rating lists and don't base it on public opinion, and generally don't let you choose whether to view the blocked sites. This is less of a site-blocking tool and more of a first warning system so your work computer doesn't randomly yell obscenities when you visit that URL your "friend" IM'ed you.
Jun. 18th, 2005 10:52 pm (UTC)
I dunno, but it sounds like you should patent #2, one-click voting. (Hm, maybe somebody already has, so you'd have to pay them to implement this.)

I always get the feeling that one of these days one of your brainstorms is going to pay off and suddenly make you a lot of money. I recommend investing it wisely.
Jun. 18th, 2005 11:08 pm (UTC)
DIEBOLD already holds that patent, #7,234,285. The whole voting screen is one large virtual button (but displays a graphic like it had more than one choice).
Jun. 18th, 2005 11:15 pm (UTC)
Ha ha ha ha.

BTW, I've got a script running now collecting LJ account-type statistics at a glacial, won't-upset-the-LJ-admins pace. It'll probably be done in a week or so, and then I'll post the info I have gleaned.
Jun. 18th, 2005 11:14 pm (UTC)
I think they'd be more likely to pay off if I actually had the perseverance to follow through and implement them fully. I have loads of unfinished projects sitting on my hard drives, mocking me. Sigh.

But thanks for the vote of confidence!
Jun. 18th, 2005 11:10 pm (UTC)
I'd say it would be prone to abuse. A famous Internet filtering company I once worked for took a look at doing something similar (community rating) and found it near impossible to get consistent results. The false-positives and false-negatives swamped anything that could be considered information.

Now: if you tied this in to something that might simulate a trust network, like say my LJ friends, then that could be interesting.
Jun. 18th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC)
But to use something like a trust network, you'd need to add some sort of account management system, which suddenly ups the complexity hugely.

Despite your warning, I'm inclined to give it a try, just to see for myself how it turns out. If it ends up being largely useless, you have every right to say "I told you so!"
Jun. 19th, 2005 04:49 am (UTC)
For account management, one might be able to use brad's new OpenID system.

Definitely go for it.
Jun. 19th, 2005 01:11 am (UTC)
Dangerous. That technology would be useful for collaboratively generating other kinds of ratings that I would prefer were not easy to generate. That doesn't mean good people shouldn't do it (because if it's useful to bad people, the bad people will do it themselves anyway) but it does mean caution is called for.
Jun. 19th, 2005 02:36 am (UTC)
Hmm. As long as the reasons are restricted to a set that deals with worksafeness, that's all that people would be able to rate. I guess anti-X people could collaboratively rate an X-related site as NSFW and perhaps turn away some visitors, but I would hope that the fair-mindedness of the majority would overrule that.

You're right, though, it could easily be tricky, and as an admin I'd probably have to do a fair amount of dispute mediation. That could get bothersome.
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Jun. 19th, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
I agree that it's worth a try. Maybe the whole thing will turn out to be a bust, but at least the attempt will have been made.
Jun. 20th, 2005 02:51 am (UTC)
My suggestion
Jun. 21st, 2005 07:32 pm (UTC)
Outfoxed (kind of a cross between Friendster, StumbleUpon and del.icio.us) has this, in that you can rate pages "good," "bad," or "dangerous." However, their stated criteria for "dangerous" is "spyware, trojans, phishing, dialers or other dangerous content"; I suspect there'd be a divide among users as to whether goatse.cx is "dangerous" or not.

I also don't know if Outfoxed actually warns you in advance about dangerous pages.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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