[Greasemonkey] Greasemonkey: an Historical Perspective

Julien Couvreur julien.couvreur at gmail.com
Mon Apr 18 12:30:17 EDT 2005

We may want to split this thread into multiple threads (even though
they are related):
- advantages of structured/semantic data and what can we/GM do to help
get there (if at all possible)
- general fragility of GM scripts, means to defeat them, website
owners fighting user scripts
- letting site owners "hint" which user scripts work/break on the
current version of the website
- security of GM scripts and implications on Firefox

Regarding Matt's main suggestion: letting site owners "hint" which
user script version work or break:
There are very few sites that seem to have reacted to GM yet. I'd
recommend we wait to get a better feeling of how GM is perceived.

Have you actually run into a broken script because of a change in the website? 
It seems that a better fix would be to have website owners use a
special meta-tag to indicate the version of their website. GM scripts
could then say "known to work on website Y version X".

It's true that website owners can look up scripts in the current and
future GM directories. What if we actually had a GM header that would
inform the website of the scripts that will be used on the url being
We could always remove it later, either for all sites or specific
sites, if some sites actually start blocking users based on that

Aaron says:
> Authors adding rich semantic meaning to markup is awesome in a void.
> Who doesn't like the idea of  rich metadata to build applications on
> top of? The problem is that once these semantics have an economic
> incentive tied to them (read: search result position) they will
> instantly become abused, and so, nearly worthless.Author-supplied
> semantics might never happen on  a commercial web.

Never thought of it that way. I wasn't even going that far in the
reasoning: there doesn't appear to be many consumers of that metadata
(ex: Google probably doesn't care about rel=bookmark), so authors
don't have any incentive to put any.
I would still hope that if the metadata consumer/author loop was to
successfully bootstrap, abuse of this metadata would not completely
kill the system (ex: there is google bombing, but linking and Google
are still useful).

Aaron says:
> At the same time, I also wish there were more robust form of
> customization. I think the bigger barrier to that is politics and
> laws, not technology. If all GM does is get people thinking about
> their content being repurposed and allow a few hackers to fix some
> annoying bugs, I'm OK with that.

In regards to raising awarness about web remixing, GreasemonkIE would
definitely have been a good thing. Anyone looking into picking that
project up?


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