Rated X

I’m so steaming mad; I don’t even know where to start.  I was minding my own business, surfing a little, reading some blogs, trying to take a break for a moment from the daily grind when I stumbled upon this beauty.  It sounded like a real winner, a good technical post about a new product that sounded like just what I needed.  You know me, always on the look out from some new gadget to perfect my life.  I guess they suckered me in.  I won’t even bother to link to the festering pile. The blogger doesn’t deserve to get the credit for my naiveté.  Of course, the whole thing was just a joke, an April fools joke.


Don’t get me wrong.  I like a good gag, as evidenced by my own stockpile of amateur witticisms.  But at least I’m honest about the whole thing.  At least I own up to the fact by the time you read to the end.  I guess that’s what sets me apart from these other hooligan bloggers.  They’re nothing but trolls lurking under a bridge.  This one didn’t bother to let me in on the joke.  I thought it was for real.   I spent the next hour and half on google trying to track down more information on the thing.  What a waste of my time.  If my manager knew I’d burned two hours like that I’m sure I’d be fired.


There should be a standard of fair play when it comes to syndication.  You should not be able to post just anything.  You should be accountable for what you say and anything that’s posted that’s flagrantly abusive, offensive, libel or just plain fabricated should be stricken from the web.  Like it or not, most trusted sources of information (the media) have these people called editors.  They don’t let just any old garbage get published.  Writers are expected to be truthful, honest and actually check facts. 


Of course, you cannot suppress someone’s right to spout off, at least here in the good ol’ US of A.  But what we can do, as a community, is to find a way to police ourselves.  What we need is a rating system.  We need to be able to slap labels onto other people’s posts that help the masses judge between what is honest and good on the web and what is a mound of horse-pucky.


All we need to do is modify RSS slightly to include a few extra bits of information, and then a new protocol that can be used by readers to cast votes for and against any given post.  This will require at least a large central server somewhere (preferably running windows, but if it has to be something else then so be it.)  Eventually, as blogs become even more popular we’ll need a whole hierarchical network of ratings servers, but we can leave the nitty-gritty to a standards body like the W3C.  They are exceptionally daft at things like this.


To get the ball rolling, I’m submitting these rating codes to be ratified by the appropriate group.  This is only a preliminary list.


G – General Audience.  Post is informative, insightful and free of pesticides.

PG – Programmer Goodness.  Don’t read unless you code.

R – Restricted from access by AOL users.

X – Post contains nudity, profanity, bald face lies or topics about Linux.

TB – Trifle and Boring.  Probably written by a product manager.

AH – Attempt at Humor.  Don’t read unless you are desperate for a laugh.


With this system in place, it becomes an easy task to install ratings filters into blog readers.  We must do this to make the web safe for our loved ones.


But I digress



Comments (12)

  1. Anonymous says:

    surf less, think more.

  2. Synonymous says:

    Less filling, tastes great.

  3. Jonno says:

    Don’t keep us hanging, drop some names dude.

  4. Johnny Hall says:

    You almost had me until "We must do this to make the web safe for our loved ones."

  5. Dennis says:

    Um, is this post an April Fools joke? We don’t need to modify protocols just because you’re gullible. The great thing about RSS is that we don’t need central ratings servers…subscribe to the good blogs and you’ve got your own view of what you consider to be good content.

  6. IM says:

    In a sea of shite April Fools blog entries, your one manages to keep its head above the water.

  7. Matt Warren says:

    Johnny, you mean you weren’t tipped off by the actual ratings terms? Also, I did rate this post (in the title.)

  8. Androidi says:

    While i took this as AH/X content, i still think that system similar to ./ should be used more (maybe not in blogs though), commenters should be able to rate comments, and then use some suitable algorithm to decide whether it is time to made the particular comment hidden or visible.

    I also think MSDN should take a note of php.net, where there is commentation after the official php documentation. These comments are often much more useful than the actual documentation. Now to keep it getting out of control, it should also include this sort of "moderation by readers".

  9. Androidi says:

    edit: Or was is /. ? Also while readers could participate in moderation of MSDN or MS KB comments, people with some sort of "expert knowledge" should be able to hide comments more forcibly than the average user, incase the comment should contain a bad code example or other time wasting information..

    For example, if you were MVP you could have bigger "force" to use moderation. Point is it should take more than one people to make visible changes.

  10. <skg:rating content="AH" />

  11. Louis Parks says:

    After reading tech news for a few years, I’m not sure I agree that just any old garbage isn’t published….or perhaps that was part of the joke as well.

  12. tc says:

    well i say you stay with the same guy for 2 years and he starts bringing other girls home do you think you have problems

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