What is ads.js?

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Sami
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RE: What is ads.js?

Post by Sami » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:59 pm

<quote user="issviews">
So, suffice it to say, this experimental add-on appears to be extending the website 'similar sites' feature which should be optional and not pushed upon users in a toolbar.
[/quote]

The add-on is not experimental (or a toolbar), and this has nothing to do with "similar sites" features you may come across elsewhere. This feature is part of an experiment to see if less active users (which means not you) find it useful. It's been shown to ~0,0015% of our users.

Of course, no matter how unlikely it is, should you come across such a notification at some point, there's a "Hide forever" option in the notification window itself. Such an option exists in every user interface element in the add-on that prompts the user about something, and it permanently disables the feature.

Also, we are very much aware that you or other users who know what they're doing are not interested in these type of features, which is why you are never part of these tests, and should this be taken into wider use some day, it will never be shown to you.

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Sami
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RE: What is ads.js?

Post by Sami » Tue Dec 03, 2013 2:14 pm

<quote user="tuan jinn nguyen">
WOT for whatever reason shouldn't have done it without announcement.
[/quote]

Shouldn't have done what? Pretty much every web service is running experiments to test new features with a small, random sample of users. It's an unobtrusive and effective way to see which features work and which ones don't.

If I understood correctly, nobody in this thread has actually seen this feature or been affected by it, aside from the annoying debug entries in the console log and some confusion caused by unfortunate naming in the source code.

Guest

RE: What is ads.js?

Post by Guest » Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:05 pm

<quote user="sami">
The add-on is not experimental (or a toolbar), and this has nothing to do with "similar sites" features you may come across elsewhere. This feature is part of an experiment to see if less active users (which means not you) find it useful. It's been shown to ~0,0015% of our users.

Of course, no matter how unlikely it is, should you come across such a notification at some point, there's a "Hide forever" option in the notification window itself. Such an option exists in every user interface element in the add-on that prompts the user about something, and it permanently disables the feature.

Also, we are very much aware that you or other users who know what they're doing are not interested in these type of features, which is why you are never part of these tests, and should this be taken into wider use some day, it will never be shown to you.
[/quote]

Have I misread what the actual purpose is? On reading your initial response to this thread:
This script in the Chrome add-on is part of an experiment we are running on a small subset of users where the add-on recommends you trustworthy (based on user ratings, as usual) alternatives if the website you are visiting matches certain criteria.
it recommends alternatives. Isn't that what similar sites do too?


0utfl0ws
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RE: What is ads.js?

Post by 0utfl0ws » Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:45 pm

For anyone who wants to disable the logging, what you need to do (in Chrome):

Open the console.
When the logged data appears; right click on it, and choose the option to hide future logs (I forget how its worded, but it works fine).

Also, To WOT developers:

2 things.

1. It is borderline bizarre that you chose to log this to our console. Not only will you not see it, but I imagine you understand that most Web Developer's nowadays use the developer console; and thus, will see it.

2. I don't know if this is something completely benign or not - it probably is. However, your answer to what it IS leaves much to be desired.
How can you know who an experienced user is without tracking our browsing, or even with tracking our browsing? How could you tell?
Are you tracking our browsing?
Also, if experienced users are never included, and I am an experienced user, why am I getting notifications in my console? Is this my punishment for not getting notifications on my screen?

Ultimately, your answer to the question is fine. However, it is not one of those answers that is so clean and straight that it leaves everything cleared up, and everybody with questions satisfied. I don't think this is something evil or malicious, but as a business, I recommend learning to address the concerns of the intended audience with your answers. And most importantly; when something happens that threatens the integrity of your (so far spectacular) business practices, I highly recommend that you deal with it seriously, and make sure that your speaking is super straight and clean.
That is all.

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Sami
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RE: What is ads.js?

Post by Sami » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:15 am

<quote user="0utfl0ws">
It is borderline bizarre that you chose to log this to our console.
[/quote]

As donsorg explained, logging to the console was for debugging, and it was mistakenly left there during development. If I understood correctly, a new version which solves the problem has already been released.
How can you know who an experienced user is without tracking our browsing, or even with tracking our browsing? How could you tell?
It's based on the activity score, which you accumulate by rating websites, posting comments, and participating in forum discussions. We consider you experienced with our service if your activity score is high enough. While I appreciate healthy paranoia as much as the next guy, this has nothing to do with where you browse.
Also, if experienced users are never included, and I am an experienced user, why am I getting notifications in my console? Is this my punishment for not getting notifications on my screen?
Surely you can't be serious. The logging on the console was a mistake, which has already been fixed, and you can hide it with a couple of mouse clicks, as you mentioned.

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Sami
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RE: What is ads.js?

Post by Sami » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:22 am

<quote user="issviews">
it recommends alternatives. Isn't that what similar sites do too?
[/quote]

The last time I checked, similar sites showed you alternatives for every page you visit, and didn't really care if these sites are good or not. The feature we are testing is different, in that alternatives are only shown under very specific circumstances, and only have sites with a good reputation. We also don't use any third party data for this.

For example, let's say an inexperienced user is looking for something specific and ends up on a site that other people do not consider trustworthy. At this moment, they might appreciate it if we pointed them to a trustworthy alternative instead of merely telling them that others don't trust the site they found. Well, at least we think they might, which is why we are currently testing this. Thoughts?

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Myxt
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RE: What is ads.js?

Post by Myxt » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:54 am

<quote user="0utfl0ws">... How can you know who an experienced user is without tracking our browsing, or even with tracking our browsing? How could you tell?
Are you tracking our browsing?
Also, if experienced users are never included, and I am an experienced user, why am I getting notifications in my console? Is this my punishment for not getting notifications on my screen?

... as a business, I recommend learning to address the concerns of the intended audience with your answers.[/quote]
So, as a web developer who should be keenly aware of his environment:
- you have been here since 2009;
- you have rated 3 domains;
- you have written 2 extant forum posts;
- and you have either not read or not understood: Evidently you were not the intended audience.

Guest

RE: What is ads.js?

Post by Guest » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:42 am

<quote user="sami">
... in that alternatives are only shown under very specific circumstances, and only have sites with a good reputation.

For example, let's say an inexperienced user is looking for something specific and ends up on a site that other people do not consider trustworthy. At this moment, they might appreciate it if we pointed them to a trustworthy alternative instead of merely telling them that others don't trust the site they found. Well, at least we think they might, which is why we are currently testing this. Thoughts?
[/quote]

A site can have an excellent/good reputation and be the exact oposite due to the fact that it has not been properly reviewed, has no third party source flags (HpHosts, etc.) or has simply been rated by a lot of members with little to no previous ratings on WOT. How will you determine these very specific circumstances to offer a site with good reputations? This could bite you in the backside if not carefully managed.

You refer to an inexperienced user. How are you determining these individuals? Just because someone has not rated much or been active this doesn't mean they are not fully competent with assessing sites or working with computers. A difficult task determining who fits this category. How do you plan to identify who these users are?

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Sami
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Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:43 am

RE: What is ads.js?

Post by Sami » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:02 am

<quote user="issviews">
You refer to an inexperienced user. How are you determining these individuals?
[/quote]

We are using the activity score, as I mentioned previously. It's not perfect, but if someone who doesn't find these useful will see them at some point, I don't think it will kill them, and they can always turn the feature off permanently.

Guest

RE: What is ads.js?

Post by Guest » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:53 pm

<quote user="sami">
We are using the activity score, as I mentioned previously. It's not perfect, but if someone who doesn't find these useful will see them at some point, I don't think it will kill them, and they can always turn the feature off permanently.[/quote]

You will make this feature public with clear guides on turning it off, wont you? When/if it goes main stream. Obviously I don't like anthing that is optional turned on by default in upgrades or new downloads without the possibility of disabling them during the install process (not that this will affect me and other select members, as you say).

I note you did not mention how you will choose good sites to be shown to those with this feature (once it's mainstream)!






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