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Re: Statements against

  • From: Scott Francis
  • Date: Thu Mar 15 21:20:00 2001

On Thu, Mar 15, 2001 at 01:19:03PM -0800, Patrick Greenwell had this to say:

> What Vadim is trying to explain to you is that this does not scale(or at
> least not with the current system.) When I type in the world "apple" do I
> want information on the fruit, the computer company, or the record
> company(or something else that contains/is related to the string "apple"?)

see below - folks should NOT be encouraged to expect that the computer can
read their mind. As Dominus of #perl is famous for saying, "YOU CAN'T JUST MAKE
mjd). Obviously, this applies more to programming, but I think the general
principle holds true for any interaction with computers - people need to be
taught not to expect telepathic machines (not until we can build them anyway).
You type exactly what you mean, and you should get there. This is what DNS
currently accomplishes (with the exception of domain squatting, but that's
another story).

> Add to this the complexity of multilingualism, where a string of
> characters can have a reasonably deterministic meaning or set of meanings
> in one language, and a completely different set of meanings in
> another. 

Oh, give it up on the multilingual thing already. I have been hearing this
for years now, and yes, it sucks in some ways that nearly everything having
to do with the Internet was originally developed in English (including
programming languages). HOWEVER - trying to re-engineer the entire ball of wax
to incorporate the multitude of localized languages is not technically feasible.
We can make our best effort by allowing people to register domains in other
languages, but an attempt to make DNS multicultural would mean rewriting the
underlying systems to support that functionality as well. This would lead to a
cascade that would eventually have us rewriting Perl, bash and HTML to support
any arbitrary language the user wanted to speak. (please don't throw XML into
this - I'm making a general point, to which I'm sure somebody will come up with
specific instances of exceptions).

> > Search engines are horribly inaccurate for trying to reach any
> > single particular page, unless it's so bizarre that you only get a dozen
> > search results. I would definitely not advocate search engines to replace
> > the current DNS system, unless a whole new generation of search engines
> > was created that could effectively deduce exactly where the user _really_
> > wanted to go, accurately, every time (which is what DNS currently does).
> So tell me when I type in the word "apple" where exactly do I want to go? 

you DON'T type in the word "apple" and expect to go anywhere specific. This is
EXACTLY the point I have been trying to make - people should not expect to be
able to type 'apple' either in a browser or a search engine, and always reach
some arbitrary site. OTOH should resolve to Apple Computers or
whoever owns that domain. If you don't know the name of the specific site you're
looking for, THEN it's time to dig up a search engine. But if I had to go to a
search engine everytime I wanted to read slashdot or userfriendly, the same
marketers that are causing the current crop of problems would quickly figure
out how to get their own unrelated sites to return at the top of any search
results for any reasonably common word. (porn search, anybody?)

If we remove DNS or a similar unique naming convention, the only way people have
to navigate is by hoping that their search terms are specific enough to have the
site they really want to reach appear somewhere in the top 100 results (i.e.
"apple computer corporation" should hopefully return but may also
return fansites, technical reviews, magazine sites, etc.).

Scott Francis           scott@   [work:] v i r t u a l i s . c o m
Systems Analyst     darkuncle@   [home:] d a r k u n c l e . n e t
PGP fingerprint 7ABF E2E9 CD54 A1A8 804D  179A 8802 0FBA CB33 CCA7             
               illum oportet crescere me autem minui

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