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PDF "File Download" window?

P: n/a
On many web sites or pages (including my own home page) clicking on
certain links will start downloading a PDF file, sometimes without the
author having provided any warning in the text of the page that this is
going to happen (although in some -- all? -- browsers the "next link"
line at the bottom of the browser window may show that the next line is
a ".pdf" file).

I was recently on a page in which clicking on a link brought up a small
"File Download" window which displayed som info on the PDF file and
allowed a choice of actually invoking the download or returning to the
original page.

Is there some special HTML capability I've not yet found that can be
used to implement this, with all coding right on a single main page? Or
does it require setting up an additional page (i.e., file) to implement
this "File Download" capability?

And on the same subject: Is there an HTML syntax that creates a link
that will just punch any browser's Back button? (so that no matter how
you get to a specific page, clicking this link will take you back to the
page you came from, as contrasted to using an anchor tag that points
back to a specific page)

Thanks for patience with novice queries.
Jul 23 '05 #1
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24 Replies


P: n/a
AES/newspost wrote:
On many web sites or pages (including my own home page) clicking on
certain links will start downloading a PDF file, sometimes without the
author having provided any warning in the text of the page that this is
going to happen [...]
Right. The page author has no control over whether it's downloaded,
displayed, or used as toilet paper; she just links to it and lets your
browser do
I was recently on a page in which clicking on a link brought up a small
"File Download" window which displayed som info on the PDF file and
allowed a choice of actually invoking the download or returning to the
original page.

Is there some special HTML capability I've not yet found that can be
used to implement this, with all coding right on a single main page?
I haven't seem the page in question, but it was probably just a second
page being linked to, and the second page linked to the actual PDF file.
Nothing special.
And on the same subject: Is there an HTML syntax that creates a link
that will just punch any browser's Back button?


Why do you want to do that? Your visitor knows how to use his browser's
back button; why does he need another one?
Jul 23 '05 #2

P: n/a
In article <2r*************@uni-berlin.de>,
Leif K-Brooks <eu*****@ecritters.biz> wrote:
AES/newspost wrote:
On many web sites or pages (including my own home page) clicking on
certain links will start downloading a PDF file, sometimes without the
author having provided any warning in the text of the page that this is
going to happen [...]


Right. The page author has no control over whether it's downloaded,
displayed, or used as toilet paper; she just links to it and lets your
browser do

If the text of a page says something like

". . . Here's some more info on <auto repair> [PDF,800K] . . ."

where <auto repair> is the clickable link, she'll have some warning that
the download may be slow, depending on her connection speed, and it may
take some time for the Acrobat plug-in to start up (my browser's plug-in
is very slow to load for some reason).

Including something like the "[PDF,800K]" warning in a case like this
seems to me to be a small courtesy, at least for large PDFs.

And on the same subject: Is there an HTML syntax that creates a link
that will just punch any browser's Back button?


Why do you want to do that? Your visitor knows how to use his browser's
back button; why does he need another one?

Why not? Does no harm; could be useful on a complex site; lets the user
keep their attention focused on the page content; if placed in certain
locations, can considerably reduce the amount of mouse travel needed to
go Back; and could allow the browser's toolbar to be turned off,
providing more useful screen real estate in some cases.

So, is there such an HTML command? (You've implicitly implied that
every browser _has_ a back button; so can it be triggered with HTML?)
Jul 23 '05 #3

P: n/a
AES/newspost wrote:
Leif K-Brooks <eu*****@ecritters.biz> wrote:

AES/newspost wrote:

Is there an HTML syntax that creates a link that will just punch
any browser's Back button?
Why do you want to do that? Your visitor knows how to use his
browser's back button; why does he need another one?


Why not? Does no harm;


Yes, it does do harm. You've provided a link that may not work at all.
Or, if it does work, it will only work on your site. Giving users a new
feature to learn only for your site is bad usability. Every browser has
a back function. Every user seems to learn how to use it, and quickly.
There is no point in trying to duplicate it.
So, is there such an HTML command?
No. In fact, there is no such thing as any HTML command. HTML is a
markup, not programming, language. It describes things, but does not do
anything.
(You've implicitly implied that every browser _has_ a back button; so
can it be triggered with HTML?)


You can try to replicate a back button with javascript. It'll be a
fragile, poor replacement for the real back function. Still want to do
it? Then ask in a javascript group. Better yet, read the archives of
e.g. comp.lang.javascript. You'll likely find the answer there.

--
Brian (remove "invalid" to email me)
http://www.tsmchughs.com/
Jul 23 '05 #4

P: n/a
On Sun, 19 Sep 2004 17:49:06 +0000, Brian wrote:
So, is there such an HTML command?


No. In fact, there is no such thing as any HTML command. HTML is a
markup, not programming, language. It describes things, but does not do
anything.
(You've implicitly implied that every browser _has_ a back button; so
can it be triggered with HTML?)


You can try to replicate a back button with javascript. It'll be a
fragile, poor replacement for the real back function. Still want to do
it? Then ask in a javascript group. Better yet, read the archives of
e.g. comp.lang.javascript. You'll likely find the answer there.


Is it really that big a deal to answer the question here?

javascript:

history.go(-1);

Or, a possible implementation:
<INPUT TYPE="button" VALUE="Go" onClick="history.go(-1)">

--
Jeffrey Silverman
je**********@jhu.edu
** Drop "PANTS" to reply by email
Jul 23 '05 #5

P: n/a
On Tue, 21 Sep 2004, Jeffrey Silverman wrote:
Is it really that big a deal to answer the question here?
Long experience of usenet shows that off-topic answers are usually
even more unreliable than on-topic ones. Caveat Usenaut.
Or, a possible implementation:
<INPUT TYPE="button" VALUE="Go" onClick="history.go(-1)">


That's going to be visible - but isn't going to do a damned thing - on
any client where JS is unavailable or turned off.

Any self-respecting JS programmer would write enough JS to ensure that
the button (along with any associated operating instructions) wasn't
even displayed if/when JS wasn't available.

But I don't recall meeting a web browser which didn't have its own
Back button - which (for a given browser) looks the same, and which is
found in the same place, and which has the same shortcuts etc. on
-every- web page. And which works reliably[1].

I really think it does the reader a disservice to offer them the
author's random choice of browser control surrogates within web pages,
instead of falling into line with the web's own consistent model.
Readers of any standing will already have learned that authors vary in
their ability to program such surrogates, and I suspect that the more
discerning readers soon get tired of the uncertainties involved in
trying the surrogates instead of the real thing.

Abigail's page will soon be celebrating its 10th birthday!
http://www.foad.org/~abigail/HTML/Misc/back_button.html

ttfn

[1] Modulo those ratbags who put zero-delay meta-refresh into their
pages.
Jul 23 '05 #6

P: n/a
On Tue, 21 Sep 2004 15:07:24 +0100, Alan J. Flavell wrote:
That's going to be visible - but isn't going to do a damned thing - on
any client where JS is unavailable or turned off.

Any self-respecting JS programmer would write enough JS to ensure that
the button (along with any associated operating instructions) wasn't
even displayed if/when JS wasn't available.

But I don't recall meeting a web browser which didn't have its own
Back button - which (for a given browser) looks the same, and which is
found in the same place, and which has the same shortcuts etc. on
-every- web page. And which works reliably[1].

I really think it does the reader a disservice to offer them the
author's random choice of browser control surrogates within web pages,
instead of falling into line with the web's own consistent model.
Readers of any standing will already have learned that authors vary in
their ability to program such surrogates, and I suspect that the more
discerning readers soon get tired of the uncertainties involved in
trying the surrogates instead of the real thing.

Abigail's page will soon be celebrating its 10th birthday!
http://www.foad.org/~abigail/HTML/Misc/back_button.html

ttfn

[1] Modulo those ratbags who put zero-delay meta-refresh into their
pages.

I realize all of that. However, by answering his question with a JS
snippet, I was solving some problems that in my experience are quite
frustrating.

1) So many usenet posts that start but have no end. Questions with no
answers -- not even a reference to a URL.

2) Giving more information than is needed based on the preferences
(however valid) of the answerer. The question was quite simple -- how to
create a "Back" link in the browser. The answers were diatribes on how
this is a Bad Idea (TM).

Your points are valid and make sense. But sometimes programmers miss some
points regarding computers and their use, the primary one of which is that
people are idiots. But they still have a right to use a computer! Have
you ever actually *watched* a novice computer user try to figure out how
to go "back" in their browser history without having an obvious link to
where they want to go?

On the one hand you are advocating a consistent navigation model for a
website -- on this i agree! But i see no problem with including a "Back"
button type feature as long as it is consistent and well implemented.

On that last note, of course, my sample code was not well implemented. But
full implementation was not the question. Just, "can it be done and how?"

Oh, and one last thing -- what is wrong with a zero-second meta refresh?
It can be annoying, but is it as annoying as going to an old link (say, an
old bookmark) and finding it dead, gone, missing, etc.? For some people
in some situations, a meta-refresh is a good way to keep old links from
breaking!

later...

--
Jeffrey D. Silverman | je**********@jhu.edu
Website | http://www.newtnotes.com

Drop "PANTS" to reply by email

Jul 23 '05 #7

P: n/a
Jeffrey Silverman <je*****@pantsjhu.edu> writes:
On Tue, 21 Sep 2004 15:07:24 +0100, Alan J. Flavell wrote:
But I don't recall meeting a web browser which didn't have its own
Back button - which (for a given browser) looks the same, and which is
found in the same place, and which has the same shortcuts etc. on
-every- web page. And which works reliably[1].
I realize all of that. However, by answering his question with a JS
snippet, I was solving some problems that in my experience are quite
frustrating.

2) Giving more information than is needed based on the preferences
(however valid) of the answerer. The question was quite simple -- how to
create a "Back" link in the browser. The answers were diatribes on how
this is a Bad Idea (TM).


Well, it is, for the reasons already stated. "It doesn't work/isn't
advisable/is unreliable" is not unnecessary information.
On the one hand you are advocating a consistent navigation model for a
website -- on this i agree! But i see no problem with including a "Back"
button type feature as long as it is consistent and well implemented.
It can't be consistent, though. Every website will implement it
differently. (Consider 'navigation bars' - should a site have one,
where should it be, what should be in it on each page, what colour
should it be, what colour should the links be, should it have flashy
pull-out bits, should it be marked up as a list or not, etc? [1] If
<link> had been implemented sooner and better there could be a
standardised way of doing these things).

[1] Some of these questions are answered in the archives, others seem
to come down to personal preference. Nevertheless there's examples of
all sorts of answers to each question on the web at large - we don't
need *more* non-standard things when the users would appreciate more
standardisation.

Yes, some users don't know a lot and don't learn quickly. All the
*more* reason to use standard features of their browser wherever
possible - that way, once they do learn it, it works all the time. If
every site has it's own implementation, users have to learn one per
site - frustrating even for advanced users.

[On the topic of well-implemented, the only *browser* I've seen with a
decent back button is Windows Mosaic 3, which has something slightly
more useful than the average simple history stack. Shame the interface
is a bit clunky.]
Oh, and one last thing -- what is wrong with a zero-second meta refresh?
It can be annoying, but is it as annoying as going to an old link (say, an
old bookmark) and finding it dead, gone, missing, etc.? For some people
Yes.
Page 1 ---link--> Page 2 ---zsmr--> Page 3
Back button returns to Page 2, which immediately goes back to Page 3.

Additionally, IE and Mosaic provide ways to disable meta refresh.
in some situations, a meta-refresh is a good way to keep old links from
breaking!


It's always worse than a proper HTTP redirect, and there aren't many
servers that don't provide at least one way to do those.

And even on those servers, what's wrong [2] with
<!DOCTYPE ... >
<title>This page has moved (Fish farming in 1750)</title>
<p>Our article "<a href="http://www.example.com/newfish">Fish farming in the
1750s</a>" has moved to a new location. (etc)</p>

[2] Well, lots, but nothing that can be fixed without being able to
send real HTTP headers.

--
Chris
Jul 23 '05 #8

P: n/a
In article <pa****************************@jhu.edu>,
Jeffrey Silverman <je**********@jhu.edu> wrote:
Is it really that big a deal to answer the question here?

javascript:

history.go(-1);

Or, a possible implementation:
<INPUT TYPE="button" VALUE="Go" onClick="history.go(-1)">

As the OP on this one, I do appreciate getting this simple answer --
I've at least learned a little something, even though I'm pretty sure I
won't dig into learning javascript and trying to implement this.

As for where it could be useful I can envision something like a sequence
of photos or reference pages embedded in a complex web site, with this
sequence being accessed by users coming from multiple other starting
points within that site, and with each of those pages having an
identical set of closely clustered button links _at the precise same
point on each page_ that might say

BACK PREVIOUS NEXT DOWNLOAD PRINT

In other words, BACK would be like HOME -- but allowing for multiple
dwellings; and the primary gain would be just faster mousing.

(I should skip the following additional comment, but I'll give in to
temptation: Although not a computer type myself, I've been dealing with
lots of them for just under 50 years -- even married one -- and I'm well
aware that some of them are _very_ helpful -- and some aren't.)
Jul 23 '05 #9

P: n/a
Jeffrey Silverman wrote:
On Sun, 19 Sep 2004 17:49:06 +0000, Brian wrote:
You can try to replicate a back button with javascript. It'll be a
fragile, poor replacement for the real back function. Still want
to do it? Then ask in a javascript group.
Is it really that big a deal to answer the question here?


If the answer is not as good as the answer would be in a group dedicated
to js, then isn't it better to steer the op to a js group?
javascript:

history.go(-1);
If you say so. I've done some js, but I've never seen the need to
replicate a basic browser function, so I don't know if that works or not.
Or, a possible implementation:
<INPUT TYPE="button" VALUE="Go" onClick="history.go(-1)">


From an HTML authoring standpoint, that is a bad solution. What does the
button do when js is off or unavailable? A well written page would use
js to create the element in the first place. No js, no button.

--
Brian (remove "invalid" to email me)
http://www.tsmchughs.com/
Jul 23 '05 #10

P: n/a
AES/newspost wrote:
Jeffrey Silverman <je**********@jhu.edu> wrote:
javascript:

history.go(-1);
As for where it could be useful I can envision something like a
sequence of photos or reference pages embedded in a complex web
site, with this sequence being accessed by users coming from multiple
other starting points within that site,
You're making this too complicated. The browser already keeps track of
where the user has been, and provides a way for the user to go there. KISS.
with each of those pages having an identical set of closely clustered
button links _at the precise same point on each page_ that might say

BACK PREVIOUS NEXT DOWNLOAD PRINT


If the photos are in a sequence of some sort, then next and prev buttons
might be quite useful. But they have no bearing on the user's history.
For an examle of what I've done, see

http://www.julietremblay.com/

Have a browse through one of the gallies in the artist's portfolio. If
you use Mozilla (Seamonkey), Opera, or Firefox with the navigation
add-on, you'll note the additional navigation aides provided by <link>
markup.

--
Brian (remove "invalid" to email me)
http://www.tsmchughs.com/
Jul 23 '05 #11

P: n/a
Jeffrey Silverman wrote:
Alan J. Flavell wrote:
I don't recall meeting a web browser which didn't have its own Back
button - which (for a given browser) looks the same, and which is
found in the same place, and which has the same shortcuts etc. on
-every- web page. And which works reliably[1].

I realize all of that. However, by answering his question with a JS
snippet, I was solving some problems that in my experience are quite
frustrating.

1) So many usenet posts that start but have no end. Questions with no
answers -- not even a reference to a URL.


This is not a help desk. If you're as experienced on usenet as you say,
then you already know that.
2) Giving more information than is needed based on the preferences
(however valid) of the answerer. The question was quite simple --
how to create a "Back" link in the browser.
And the answer I gave was quite accurate: it cannot be done, except with
js, a js back button is fragile, and the whole idea is unneccessary.
The answers were diatribes on how this is a Bad Idea (TM).
You're suggesting that my answer was sub-optimal. With all due respect,
I maintain that the opposite is true: telling the user, "here's now [js
code]" is only going to mislead him into thinking they've got a solution
when they don't. My answer -- don't solve a problem that is not really a
problem at all -- is better.
Your points are valid and make sense. But sometimes programmers miss
some points regarding computers and their use, the primary one of
which is that people are idiots. But they still have a right to use
a computer!
Give me a break. We discuss www authoring here. Do you really have a
problem with that? If someone asks me how to do something, I'll point
out any problems I see. That's what we do here.
Have you ever actually *watched* a novice computer user try to figure
out how to go "back" in their browser history without having an
obvious link to where they want to go?


Of course. And they turn to their back button. In usability studies, the
back button was the second most common action.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/990530.html

It seems rather obvious that the more inexperienced a user is the more
confusing a js "back" link will be.

--
Brian (remove "invalid" to email me)
http://www.tsmchughs.com/
Jul 23 '05 #12

P: n/a
Jeffrey Silverman said the following on 21/09/2004 14:56:
On Sun, 19 Sep 2004 17:49:06 +0000, Brian wrote:

Is it really that big a deal to answer the question here?
Yes, but you already got some good feedback on that.
javascript:

history.go(-1);


If you persist on doing it with JavaScript, I think this is clearer:

javascript:history.back()

But I think there's something else wrong which hasn't been mentioned in
this thread. If a users come from another site, and hits the JS back
button, it'll bring him back to the other site, is that what was intended?

--
Regards
Harrie
Jul 23 '05 #13

P: n/a
Brian said the following on 21/09/2004 21:07:

[snip]
http://www.julietremblay.com/

Have a browse through one of the gallies in the artist's portfolio. If
you use Mozilla (Seamonkey), Opera, or Firefox with the navigation
add-on, you'll note the additional navigation aides provided by <link>
markup.


Thanks for a "live" example of link. Which navigation add-on are you
talking about? Location Navigator 0.2.0?

--
Regards
Harrie
Jul 23 '05 #14

P: n/a
Harrie wrote:
Brian said the following on 21/09/2004 21:07:
If you use Mozilla (Seamonkey), Opera, or Firefox with the
navigation add-on, you'll note the additional navigation aides
provided by <link> markup.


Which navigation add-on are you talking about? Location Navigator
0.2.0?


http://extensionroom.mozdev.org/more-info/linktoolbar

--
Brian (remove "invalid" to email me)
http://www.tsmchughs.com/
Jul 23 '05 #15

P: n/a
On Tue, 21 Sep 2004, AES/newspost wrote:
As the OP on this one, I do appreciate getting this simple answer --
An over-simple answer to a potentially complex question can be worse
than no answer at all. At least some of us -tried- to persuade you to
look at the practical issues, even if that's a bit harder than taking
the first glossy toy that's handed out.

[...]
BACK PREVIOUS NEXT DOWNLOAD PRINT

In other words, BACK would be like HOME
The whole point about "back" is that it's quite different from "home".
and the primary gain would be just faster mousing.
Eh?

Please, *don't* confuse navigating around the author's conceptual site
structure, with navigating in the user-defined space, i.e via history,
bookmarks etc. Those are two completely disjoint navigation systems,
and one does nobody any real service by confusing them on one's own
web site - because that's not how things work on the web as a whole,
and the key to clear navigation is *not* to create some non-standard
mechanism (which, in any case, if it's based on scripting, I would say
that hardened users have learned to distrust, due to the many
mis-implemented client-side scripts that there are around).
(I should skip the following additional comment, but I'll give in to
temptation: Although not a computer type myself, I've been dealing
with lots of them for just under 50 years -- even married one -- and
I'm well aware that some of them are _very_ helpful -- and some
aren't.)


Whatever conclusions you might care to draw, I'd say the facts (once
examined in enough depth) speak for themselves. Superficially, "check
there's a round in the chamber, aim weapon carefully at foot, pull
trigger" is a helpful answer to the appropriate question, but it's not
one that I'd care to give, no matter how much the questioner seems to
want it.
Jul 23 '05 #16

P: n/a
On Tue, 21 Sep 2004 19:31:46 +0000, Brian wrote:
--
Brian (remove "invalid" to email me)
http://www.tsmchughs.com/


Looks good!

Locally, I have the following spots that I like:
http://thestill.net/
http://www.citypaper.com/eat/place.asp?id=1914

among others...

--
Jeffrey D. Silverman | je**********@jhu.edu
Website | http://www.newtnotes.com

Drop "PANTS" to reply by email

Jul 23 '05 #17

P: n/a
Brian said the following on 21/09/2004 23:24:
Harrie wrote:
Brian said the following on 21/09/2004 21:07:
If you use Mozilla (Seamonkey), Opera, or Firefox with the
navigation add-on, you'll note the additional navigation aides
provided by <link> markup.


Which navigation add-on are you talking about? Location Navigator
0.2.0?


http://extensionroom.mozdev.org/more-info/linktoolbar


Installed it today and could finally see what I've read about LINK (I
didn't quite get it before). I'm going to rewriting some pages shortly
and will include LINK in it.

Thanks!

--
Regards
Harrie
Jul 23 '05 #18

P: n/a
Jeffrey Silverman wrote:
Brian wrote:

http://www.tsmchughs.com/

Looks good!


The site? or the restaurant?
Locally, I have the following spots that I like: http://thestill.net/
Maryland is a little far to pop in and check out the fare. ;-)

The site is problematic. Firefox informs me that it tried to pop a
window up. Tsk tsk. Very slow to load. Text as images. All in all, a
less than c grade for markup.
http://www.citypaper.com/eat/place.asp?id=1914


Another MD offering, too far for me to check out.

The site was not quite as slow to load as the first, but microfonts,
banner ads, again, not a terribly well authored site.

--
Brian (remove "invalid" to email me)
http://www.tsmchughs.com/
Jul 23 '05 #19

P: n/a
On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 20:10:00 +0000, Brian wrote:
The site? or the restaurant?


The restaurant! I love Irish pubs.

--
Jeffrey D. Silverman | je**********@jhu.edu
Website | http://www.newtnotes.com

Drop "PANTS" to reply by email

Jul 23 '05 #20

P: n/a
"Jeffrey Silverman" <je*****@pantsjhu.edu> wrote in
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html:
I realize all of that. However, by answering his question with a JS
snippet, I was solving some problems that in my experience are quite
frustrating.


If true, that would be laudable. But in fact you gave a _partial_
solution, one which will fail in an annoying way for a significant
number of Web surfers.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com/
HTML 4.01 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
validator: http://validator.w3.org/
CSS 2.1 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/
validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
Jul 23 '05 #21

P: n/a
"Jeffrey Silverman" <je*****@pantsjhu.edu> wrote in
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html:
2) Giving more information than is needed based on the preferences
(however valid) of the answerer. The question was quite simple -- how to
create a "Back" link in the browser. The answers were diatribes on how
this is a Bad Idea (TM).


That is not "more information than is needed" -- it is NEEDED
information.

When someone asks you how to do something that is a bad idea, you do
them no favor by answering the question they asked.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com/
HTML 4.01 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
validator: http://validator.w3.org/
CSS 2.1 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/
validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
Jul 23 '05 #22

P: n/a
On Thu, 23 Sep 2004 03:14:20 -0400, Stan Brown wrote:
When someone asks you how to do something that is a bad idea, you do
them no favor by answering the question they asked.


Not necessarily. There may be reasons that are unknown to any other
than the OP that they would like to know the simple and
straightforward, "yes" or "no" answer. (And this is especially true in
usenet where often there is background information that is unknown the the
responder).

My point here is that just because *you* say it is a bad idea, no matter
how expert you are, and no matter how many others agree that it is a bad
idea, does not mean that the "bad idea" answer is a disservice to the OP.

Just telling someone how to tie a hangman's noose is no reason to assume
that they are going to hang themself. (or is it themselves? ...not sure...)

--
Jeffrey D. Silverman | je**********@jhu.edu
Website | http://www.newtnotes.com

Drop "PANTS" to reply by email

Jul 23 '05 #23

P: n/a
"Jeffrey Silverman" <je*****@pantsjhu.edu> wrote in
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html:
ust telling someone how to tie a hangman's noose is no reason to assume
that they are going to hang themself. (or is it themselves? ...not sure...)


"Not sure"? Then, in Noel Coward's words, "You're making giant
strides." :-)

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com/
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Jul 23 '05 #24

P: n/a
begin quote from Jeffrey Silverman in
<pa****************************@jhu.edu>:
On Thu, 23 Sep 2004 03:14:20 -0400, Stan Brown wrote:
When someone asks you how to do something that is a bad idea, you do
them no favor by answering the question they asked.
Not necessarily. There may be reasons that are unknown to any other
than the OP that they would like to know the simple and
straightforward, "yes" or "no" answer. (And this is especially true in
usenet where often there is background information that is unknown the the
responder).

My point here is that just because *you* say it is a bad idea, no matter
how expert you are, and no matter how many others agree that it is a bad
idea, does not mean that the "bad idea" answer is a disservice to the OP.


I would disagree. If I was asking (in an appropriate newsgroup) how to
convert my car to run on plutonium instead of gasoline, I'd definitely
expect many replies as to why that is a bad idea.

Half of learning is knowing the right questions to ask. I'm not going to
answer the wrong question (as in a question that shouldn't even be asked to
begin with).
Just telling someone how to tie a hangman's noose is no reason to assume
that they are going to hang themself. (or is it themselves? ...not
sure...)


Without further context, they are likely intending to either hang themselves
or hang someone else. I would want absolutely no part of either, and that
is only considering moral grounds, not legal liability grounds.

--
Shawn K. Quinn
Jul 23 '05 #25

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