Thursday, May 03, 2012

(Note when "Chrome" is used in the post below, the Web Browser and not OS by Google is meant.)

For years of Firefox use, consuming the web as I see fit rather than as publishers dictate, I did not know that certain fundamental issues of etiquette online are still routinely violated.

I made this discovery while using Google Chrome, because of Android; I received a Galaxy Player 5.0 for Christmas and so Chrome became a regular tool I used. The browser by Google currently does not implement enough hooks and features for programmers of add-ons, plug-ins, and extensions to implement the likes of NoScript, or Adblock Plus, to quite the same extent as is possible with Firefox.

Chrome sits on the ten+ year-old desktop at home, but was used rarely. I quickly noticed while browsing with the mobile version that pop-ups are still prevalent, whether as new windows initiated as Javascript or, more cutting-edge, the nag-ware "installed"-per-instance using HTML5. Then I found the same with the desktop version. Thankfully, though far more limited, there is now a desktop version of Adblock for Chrome, though even as I began writing I was loading multiple tabs therein, and an advertisement with video and audio started playing.

I find it troubling that so-called "professional" sites and leaner and smaller ones both alike use such irritants. As one hunting for employment, job sites that operate as bait-and-switch operations (come for a job, be inundated by education and training offers) are reliable culprits, yet so are certain mainstream publications: one can expect to run into pop-ups, flyovers, and generally elements that hover above the main content.

Have the gurus in business sold the idea, similar to the sale of metrics for internal evaluation (and to dupe investors that transactionless activities can be reliably quantified) that the online equivalent to walking into a Hindu home with muddy shoes and trampling everywhere is a good idea? (Indian Etiquette.) Perhaps it is more like putting a muddy shoe into a Muslim's face (Islam and sole of shoe), because the messages tend to consist of something one doesn't want to touch ("unclean"), and it blocks one's view.

Though not as frequent, I am regularly encountering automatic playback of audio and video as well. Perhaps the marketing geniuses think this is a good idea, to convert a medium largely centered on text1 to something more television-esque, but like the pop-ups, it is an intrusion. Plenty of us found it bad enough when Youtube decided to auto-play content (for which there are many additions and scripts for Firefox to rectify), and that's a site built around publishing and access of (or, "sharing") video.

So I've been struck that as I navigate to some page to read this or that, I am suddenly assaulted with dynamic media I did not request. I understand that sites have bills to pay, but there is a reason the most successful online advertiser, Google, has largely been in the business of text ads, and that folks like me often choose not to block their advertisements: they aren't a shock, offense, or "Jack Russel [...] Terrier".

1 cp. "Literature is everything, and thus everything must be employed in its support." from retrieved 2012-05-03 17:01MST

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