Subject: Re: MSIE "Smart Tags" -- what's the real deal?
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 13 Jun 2001 11:07:09 -0700

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp> writes:

> These are not "contract violations."  IMO.  Having only seen verbal
> descriptions (and a satire) of Smart Tags[tm], I tentatively conclude
> they are a natural extension of generated glossaries.  Am I missing
> something?

No.  The issue for me is how they are presented.  If they look pretty
much like links--say they are the same, only a different color, as in
the examples I've read about--then I think natural confusion will
follow.  If the mouse pointer turns into a smart tag when it hovers
over a smart tag word, then I don't think there will be any confusion.

In other words, since smart tags and author links are significantly
different content, I believe they should have significantly different
presentation.

>     Ian> Consumers may of course speak against smart tags, and get it
>     Ian> removed, as they spoke against the dancing paper clip.  But
>     Ian> history shows that it may take several troubling years.
> 
> If a consumer can't find his way through
> Edit/Preferences/NotInYourBestInterest/M$Disapproves/You'reMissingStuff
> to disable the feature, he doesn't dislike it very much.

Or he doesn't understand how to set preferences, or doesn't bother to
look through the hundred different possible preference settings to
know what is possible.  I'm not worried about sophisticated computer
users--they will already perceive and understand the difference
between author links and smart tags.

>     Ian> But I do feel that they have a moral responsibility to take
>     Ian> extra care given their position of power.  I don't think
>     Ian> corporations live in a moral vacuum.
> 
> I don't think they do, either.  _But neither do consumers._   Who's
> the bigger sinner, a Microsoft who defaults their browser to
> WithSmartTags, or a consumer who can't be bothered to learn how to
> turn it off?

I don't have any hesitation in saying that in this case Microsoft is
the bigger sinner.

Ian