Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

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Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Hubird » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:21 am

I know this has been brought up in the past but it seems like is it only just coming to fruition so I wanted to revisit this...

I just updated to the latest ABP dev build and was notified that (without my permission) changes were made to my configuration to allow "acceptable ads".

Firstly I feel that making configuration changes without the express consent of the user is over stepping the bounds of an automatic update (this is no small change). These changes should be opt in for existing users and can be enabled by default for new users if need be.

Secondly there seems to be now way for a user to make an informed decision as to weather or not they want to enable this new functionality. How are these acceptable ads allowed (is it a whitelist subscription & if so where can one find it?).

We need some transparency for those that wish to make a more informed decision...
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby vinny86 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:12 am

@ Hubird : I think the feature is not yet activated. Didn't see any ads yet.

@ Wladimir : Is this just a GUI change?
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Hubird » Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:23 am

vinny86 wrote:@ Hubird : I think the feature is not yet activated. Didn't see any ads yet.


I turned it off straight away so not sure if it does anything as yet.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Mike Rosoft » Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:41 am

As I had said, this has been done in the completely wrong way. It should have been strictly opt-in, not opt-out, and it should be a whitelist that a user can view and disable individual entries, not a separate option that you have no option to know, let alone influence, what it does.


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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Mike Rosoft » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:27 am

To elaborate, not everybody agrees with your definition of "acceptable ads". A user who doesn't want to view any ads can disable the option, all right. A user who is more tolerant of ads can create an additional whitelist. But what he wants to block some ad that you have whitelisted (either because the advertiser no longer meets your criteria and you didn't remove him from the whitelist yet, or because his own criteria are stricter)? Or what if he uses Adblock to remove something that is not an advert, but rather some other annoyance (usually an ill-conceived background, CPU-intensive animation, etc.), and you happen to whitelist the site? That's why the whitelist must be user-manageable.


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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby nitrox » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:30 pm

After an update for Adblock Plus i noticed it opened the first run page. Plus the first run wizard said that
Adblock plus has been configured to allow to non-intrusive advertising.


The user has to opt out if he doesn't like it. My suggestion would be is to add a tick box where the user can either tick to opt in or remove the tick to opt out. I would prefer the latter option.
Actually it is simple for users than to open preferences and untick acceptable ads option since most users install adblock plus and just select ok in the first run wizard. They wouldn't know about the acceptable ads and list authors would be getting users complaining that they see ads.

http://i.imgur.com/vZhkf.png

Btw, It would be nice if you could add an option to let user know that they have acceptable ads turned on when they use adblock plus issue reporter to report that they see ads.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Wladimir Palant » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:33 pm

Please don't think that I am ignoring you - I will answer to all concerns but that most likely won't happen before Monday. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to write up a proper announcement for that feature yet, it is coming.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Steve » Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:36 pm

How much does it cost to be added to the whitelist?
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby MadMax » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:30 am

Is this only for Firefox? I'm running the latest development/experimental for Chrome and I don't see anything like that in the configuration.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Ares2 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:13 am

Hubird wrote:Secondly there seems to be now way for a user to make an informed decision as to weather or not they want to enable this new functionality. How are these acceptable ads allowed (is it a whitelist subscription & if so where can one find it?).

We need some transparency for those that wish to make a more informed decision...
Mike Rosoft wrote:and it should be a whitelist that a user can view and disable individual entries, not a separate option that you have no option to know, let alone influence, what it does.
This is my biggest concern. We absolutely need as much openness as possible when it comes to this "feature". If a potential business partner doesn't want users to be able to easily see that he is in the whitelist, PLEASE reject him and don't adjust ABP to make him happy at the cost of transparency. PLEASE don't hide stuff like this, don't make it harder to access and don't obfuscate it or make it harder to understand in any other way.

Now to the FYI technical stuff:

The list: https://easylist-downloads.adblockplus. ... nrules.txt
The about:config preference: extensions.adblockplus.subscriptions_exceptionsurl
The related commit: https://hg.adblockplus.org/adblockplus/rev/ceca5deac82d
The $sitekey filter option commit: https://hg.adblockplus.org/adblockplus/rev/92898036c27e

As visible in the above commit, $sitekey=XXXXXKEYXXXXX identifies sites by keys and verifies the valid use of the key by a signature. To make that work, the sites in question add an attribute to the html tag of a page in the form of
Code: Select all
<html data-adblockkey="XXXXXKEYXXXXX_XXXXXSIGNATUREXXXXX">
This way a bunch of sites can be whitelisted at once.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby knight00931 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:59 pm

Ares2 wrote:This is my biggest concern. We absolutely need as much openness as possible when it comes to this "feature". If a potential business partner doesn't want users to be able to easily see that he is in the whitelist, PLEASE reject him and don't adjust ABP to make him happy at the cost of transparency. PLEASE don't hide stuff like this, don't make it harder to access and don't obfuscate it or make it harder to understand in any other way.

Now to the FYI technical stuff:

The list: https://easylist-downloads.adblockplus. ... nrules.txt
The about:config preference: extensions.adblockplus.subscriptions_exceptionsurl
The related commit: https://hg.adblockplus.org/adblockplus/rev/ceca5deac82d
The $sitekey filter option commit: https://hg.adblockplus.org/adblockplus/rev/92898036c27e

As visible in the above commit, $sitekey=XXXXXKEYXXXXX identifies sites by keys and verifies the valid use of the key by a signature. To make that work, the sites in question add an attribute to the html tag of a page in the form of
Code: Select all
<html data-adblockkey="XXXXXKEYXXXXX_XXXXXSIGNATUREXXXXX">
This way a bunch of sites can be whitelisted at once.

Agree Ares2, as a general ABP user, I think it will be better if everyone can see the whitelist easily. Not only putting a checkbox in dialog.

Whatever, I am still waiting for the proper announcement.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby anonymous74100 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:27 pm

Why is everyone so surprised? Did you actually think "acceptable ads" would be opt-in and that the whole process would be transparent ? Ha!
ABP's goal isn't to block ads any more, Its to make money for Wladimir.
I'm hoping someone will fork ABP or preferably create a new ad-blocker.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby vinny86 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:58 am

anonymous74100 wrote:Why is everyone so surprised? Did you actually think "acceptable ads" would be opt-in and that the whole process would be transparent ? Ha!
ABP's goal isn't to block ads any more, Its to make money for Wladimir.
I'm hoping someone will fork ABP or preferably create a new ad-blocker.


(I know i shouldn't feed the trolls, but here goes...)

This is a bit extreme isn't it ? :D
The addon that makes the changes is still in beta, and Wladimir said he will make a proper announcement as he is busy.
Just wait a couple of days.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby anonymous74100 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:58 am

vinny86 wrote:(I know i shouldn't feed the trolls, but here goes...)
Having a different opinion than you doesn't make me a troll.

vinny86 wrote:The addon that makes the changes is still in beta, and Wladimir said he will make a proper announcement as he is busy.
The problem is that Wladimir is implementing all this crap.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Wladimir Palant » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:47 pm

First of all: the change on Friday was a bit of a rush job, I was finishing up lots of things to have a string freeze on Friday (otherwise we would have to delay the release by a week). Changes since then:

  • As some people reported, $sitekey rules didn't disable properly. This has been fixed.
  • Currently we do not require "Do Not Track" support for the advertisements that we allow. So people who have a privacy subscription installed (EasyPrivacy, Fanboy's Tracking, Adversity Privacy) will not get this feature enabled by default. There is now a documentation section on why it has to be enabled by default in the usual case.
  • "Allow non-intrusive advertising" checkbox is good for user experience (easy to switch on or off) but bad for transparency. I've now added a way to disable special treatment of this subscription and also documented where one can find the list.

Now the answers I promised.

Hubird wrote:Firstly I feel that making configuration changes without the express consent of the user is over stepping the bounds of an automatic update (this is no small change). These changes should be opt in for existing users and can be enabled by default for new users if need be.

I feel with you and it wasn't an easy decision to make. However, this isn't something that can be rolled out gradually, to new users only. We got some companies interested, one of them even agreed to disable animations during the pilot phase to meet our requirements. If they notice that it isn't worth doing (only few Adblock Plus users have the feature enabled) they will go back to more annoying ways of advertising because that's where the money is right now.

Hubird wrote:Secondly there seems to be now way for a user to make an informed decision as to weather or not they want to enable this new functionality. How are these acceptable ads allowed (is it a whitelist subscription & if so where can one find it?).

The documentation has been improved in this respect.

vinny86 wrote:@ Hubird : I think the feature is not yet activated. Didn't see any ads yet.

It is activated, it's merely that our list is very small right now.

Mike Rosoft wrote:As I had said, this has been done in the completely wrong way. It should have been strictly opt-in, not opt-out, and it should be a whitelist that a user can view and disable individual entries, not a separate option that you have no option to know, let alone influence, what it does.

See updated documentation - as much as I would like it, opt-in won't work here. As to disabling individual entries, experienced users can do it (and more easier now that you can disable special treatment for this subscription).

Mike Rosoft wrote:To elaborate, not everybody agrees with your definition of "acceptable ads".

I absolutely agree. Which is why our definition of "acceptable ads" is probably more strict than necessary - we tried to find the lowest common denominator.

Mike Rosoft wrote:That's why the whitelist must be user-manageable.

Here I disagree. The user already can manage his personal whitelist. However, only few people actually do this. That's ok - most people aren't geeks, they don't want to tweak settings all the time, it should just work. So that's how this feature is built - it will just work. But everybody is free to disable it and build up his personal whitelist, as before.

nitrox wrote:My suggestion would be is to add a tick box where the user can either tick to opt in or remove the tick to opt out.

If I understand correctly, you suggest duplicating the checkbox we have in Filter Preferences on the first-run page. This was the original design and it does save one click (the user can uncheck immediately instead of clicking "Filter Preferences" and unchecking there). The reason why I decided against allowing to change the filter subscription and the "acceptable ads" option directly on the first-run page: the first-run page is (obviously) a one-time thing. People change something there and they don't know how to bring it back to change their choice. If they change something in Filter Preferences - finding them again isn't hard.

nitrox wrote:Btw, It would be nice if you could add an option to let user know that they have acceptable ads turned on when they use adblock plus issue reporter to report that they see ads.

Yes, I think that some special treatment for this subscription in the issue reporter would be nice. But I'm not quite sure what's the best way to do it - a straightforward warning wouldn't do any good right now (people reporting "ad not blocked" will usually still do that because ads are actually not blocked, not because these ads are whitelisted). Anyway, for now we have the option to communicate back by setting status on the reports.

MadMax wrote:Is this only for Firefox? I'm running the latest development/experimental for Chrome and I don't see anything like that in the configuration.

Yes, this is only Firefox for now. We want to add this feature to Chrome as well in the long term - not before the user interface has been brought on par with Firefox however.

Ares2 wrote:As visible in the above commit, $sitekey=XXXXXKEYXXXXX identifies sites by keys and verifies the valid use of the key by a signature. To make that work, the sites in question add an attribute to the html tag of a page in the form of

Code: Select all
<html data-adblockkey="XXXXXKEYXXXXX_XXXXXSIGNATUREXXXXX">

This way a bunch of sites can be whitelisted at once.

Yes, correct (I hope to document this before the release). With the one filter currently used we are indeed talking about a very large number of domain names - and the current implementation was the only feasible solution. Adding each domain name to the list individually simply wouldn't have been possible. The implementation is pretty complicated to make sure that this feature doesn't get abused - only one company can use this filter (because they have the corresponding private key) and we have a contractual agreement with them concerning how they can use it.

Transparency is important, I fully agree. The big question is how far we can go while still being taken seriously as a cooperation partner. That's something we are trying to figure out right now.

@anonymous74100: Trying to offend me in my own forum? That's the very definition of being a troll. The goal of Adblock Plus didn't change: https://adblockplus.org/en/about#project. Please note that we are generally polite when communicating in this forum. We respect the people we are talking to and we swear on constructive criticism.
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