Subject: Re: MSIE "Smart Tags" -- what's the real deal?
From: Don Marti <>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 10:01:47 -0700

begin Seth Gordon quotation of Tue, Jun 12, 2001 at 02:51:46PM -0000:

> There's been a lot of noise on Slashdot et al. about the new "Smart
> Tags" in the version of Internet Explorer that comes with Windows XP.

Most hypertext out there isn't very hyper.  Legal issues, laziness,
concern for "stickiness", whatever -- very few sites make appropriate
links even when it would be easy to do so.

I'm not a big Microsoft fan, but when small or startup companies
do stupid and greedy things (like Unix wars, buggy proprietary
web browsers, or not putting links in natural, useful places) and
Microsoft calls bullshit on that, they're a stabilizing influence.

> Most of the people complaining about Smart Tags are focusing on how it
> subverts the relationship between a Web surfer and a Web author when
> they are working for separate organizations.

Everything interesting that ever happens on the web happens because
someone subverts the relationship between a web surfer and a web
author.  Without subversion, the Web would be like fax-on-demand,
only faster.

> So how do corporate customers (ostensibly) benefit from Smart Tags?

The "stickier" a site tries to be, the less useful it is.
Corporate web users, like all web users, are sick of rat holes.
Smart Tags are an attempt to put the links where they belong.
Hooray for Smart Tags, and too bad Free Software didn't get
them first. It's catchup time.

Don Marti              "I've never sent or received a GIF in my life."    -- Bruce Schneier, Secrets and Lies, p. 246.    Free the Web, burn all GIFs: