Open Letter to Hacker News: Please ban sites which fail to function using vanilla HTML
I'm predicting you'll reject this.
You're wrong to do so.
Basic HTML functionality is a cornerstone of the Web.
Practices have been evolving away from this.
My experience is that practices, in the absence of consequence, will devolve to a minimum viable standard (see "Tyranny of the Minimum Viable User" for a similar dynamic), and that there are manifest dyamics in otherwise unregulated markets which will increase negative experiences to users, in part because this is an effective market segmentation technique. See my recent HN comments on Jules Dupuit (or look up his commentary on railroad carriage accommodations by class).
HN is a small but significant player. It has an outsized influence over startups, online technologists, web designers, and media entities whose content is linked to the site. Shifting the needle, even slightly, in this calculus, would be a net positive.
The practice will make it easier for users of systems which don't function without JS dependencies to request graceful fallback.
The impacts on HN of various user-hostile practices (paywalls, JS requirements, autoplay video/audio, etc.) also have a significant knock-on negative impact on the experience of reading HN itself, both through the inaccessibility of content, and the inevitable sidetracking discussions on how to overcome such malfeasance.
My suggested implementation is to institute site bans based on reports / awareness, and to leave those bans in effect until the problem can be verified to be fixed. That is: the system needn't be perfect, but it should exist, bans should be instituted when requested, and sites themselves must take positive action to see them lifted.
(Multi-strike treatments for repeat offenders / recidivists / systems incompentent against regressions is an additional question, I'd recommend a once-every-six-months appeal for such cases.)
Please do the right thing.
-- Edward Morbius (email@example.com) Dr. Edward Morbius's Lair of the Id https://dredmorbius.reddit.com
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