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Is choice for the webmaster not also important? (Read 199 times)
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Is choice for the webmaster not also important?
Nov 24th, 2017 at 12:27am
Hi all,

Let me just start by saying that I'm not exactly savvy when it comes to server-browser relationships on the net, so I don't know the technical aspects of what I'm discussing/suggesting. Also note that I myself am not a webmaster, but am a No-Script and ABP user with googlesyndication.com whitelisted. With that being said, here I go.

The whole noscript snafu has got me thinking about the ethical implications of ad blockers. Throughout the whole discussion the phrase "user choice" and "user experience", but rarely is the webmaster's choice or the webmaster's experience. I mean, say if I was running a grocers, and someone was taking my inventory without paying, I would most certainly have it in my power to eject the person from my store. (and of course seek legal consequences, but that extends the analogy too far).

However, if a surfer with adblock comes and views a webmaster's site (say mine, even though I don't have one) that is ad supported, they can still access my content without "paying for it". In effect, they are using my content in a way I did not intend it to be used. However, I understand that it is rather difficult for the server-end to detect if a client is using a ad-blocker.

Hence, I would like to suggest that the developpers of ABP make it somehow available to webmasters a method of "denying" access to a website at a webmaster's request. As per implimentation, could it not be something as simple as a webmaster adding a command to their page that ABP can detect and display a plain-text "cannot view this page by request of webmaster" instead of the page. This can even be extended to allowing a site to be shown if the site is whitelisted, and communicating this fact and instructions on how to whitelist a site on the plain-text info page.

Some of you may be asking "well, why should ABP have to be the one responsible for this?" It is my understanding that ABP was founded with an originally-ethical idea in mind - that people should not have to lookat ads if they don't wish to. This ethical background has continued with the development of the project, evidence of which can be seen in the creator's latest blog post concerning what should and should not be done by FF add-ons (in relation to no-script, but alot of general remarks were also made). While many of these ethical implications relate to user-choice, webmaster-choice should also be taken into account. I respect the user's right not to have to look at ads if they don't want. But I also respect the webmaster's right to use their content in whatever respectful ways they see fit, and to deny the access to such content if their ways are unfairly circumvented. Out of good faith, and as a sign of their equal and strong ethics, I think that ABP should impliment this feature.

Finally, to those who say that it's pointless because users will just find a way to bypass the restrictions, I say that then the fault and ethical problems lies no longer with ABP, who offered their best effort, but rather with the user, who chose to crack the now-locked door to the store.


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