Author Topic: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?  (Read 11003 times)

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VanguardLH

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WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« on: March 02, 2011, 02:34:45 PM »
After installing WebRep for Avast v6, a new toolbar shows up in IE8.  I don't see why I need that rather undetailed toolbar.  All it shows is some overall rating for my search results.  What would I need that for?  If I want to know the rating for a site then I look at the rating bar placed alongside each search result?

In the past, I've tried WOT and SiteAdvisor but gave up on both of them.  They slowed IE not so much in how fast the search results were performed but how long before the ratings showed up.  WebRep seems faster than these at showing its rating alongside the search results.  However, I've found these user-voted ratings rather unreliable.  Was was safe before might not be safe now.  Was was unsafe before might be safe now (the site took care of the problem or changed their behavior).  When reading the ratings, I see a lot of boobs participating in the voting.  So I gave up on these site ratings where the user community was involved in deciding what was good or bad.  I believe SiteAdvisor has their own ratings which can be modified by the user ratings but the user ratings don't have primary impact on the ratings, but SiteAdvisor seems pretty slow on rating sites (most end up as unknown for rating).  So I might just uninstall WebRep since I haven't found similar site rating services to provide good and up-to-date protective value.

Until I decide whether or not to keep WebRep, I do find the inclusion of a rather nondescript and limited function toolbar to be just a waste of screen realestate in the web browser's window.  However, if I try to remove the toolbar (by disabling it) then IE8 asks if I want to disable the add-on.  I just want the toolbar to go away, not the WebRep ratings shown alongside the search results.

If the only way to get rid of the toolbar is to also disable the add-on then the add-on gets removed and it's all gone.

spg SCOTT

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 02:40:01 PM »
The problem with it being a toolbar is described here: http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=72084.msg605205#msg605205


As for it's usefulness, well that is a personal thing. You have to decide whether you want it or not. If you don't then fine.

Can't you just right click on the toolbar area and uncheck the webrep one?
Can't exactly test right now, I'm on linux...

YoKenny

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 02:48:35 PM »
No problem on my IE8 on my XP Pro system.
I just put it at the right end of  the Menu Bar.
 
How to Display the Menu Bar in Internet Explorer 7 works for IE8
http://browsers.about.com/od/internetexplorertutorials/ss/ie7menubar.htm

VanguardLH

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 02:48:56 PM »
The problem with it being a toolbar is described here: http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=72084.msg605205#msg605205


As for it's usefulness, well that is a personal thing. You have to decide whether you want it or not. If you don't then fine.

Can't you just right click on the toolbar area and uncheck the webrep one?
Can't exactly test right now, I'm on linux...

When I elect to remove (hide) the toolbar, IE asks me if I want to disable the add-on.  If I say No, the toolbar remains.  If I say Yes, the toolbar disappears but then so do the site ratings shown along search results.

Looks like the toolbar is to tell me what is the rating of a site that I visit versus telling me ahead of time in the search results.  I really only want to know the rating BEFORE going to a web site.  If I'm already there, a safety indicator is rather fruitless since anything malicious already happened.

VanguardLH

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 02:49:41 PM »
No problem on my IE8 on my XP Pro system.
I just put it at the right end of  the Menu Bar.
 
How to Display the Menu Bar in Internet Explorer 7 works for IE8
http://browsers.about.com/od/internetexplorertutorials/ss/ie7menubar.htm

Squashing it to the right (to show just its icon) is a workaround.  Thanks for that hint.

Offline Zyndstoff (aka Steven Gail)

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2011, 02:53:06 PM »
WebRep is going to be further developed, also linking it somehow to virus-lab-results.
No further details available at the moment.

That means: currently I would agree that there is not too much use, but it looks like it will gain value over time...
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VanguardLH

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2011, 03:08:07 PM »
I just reinstalled the WebRep add-on and squashed it to the right to get it mostly out of the way.  It does report a rating a visited site and not just alongside search results.  However, by the time I visit a site, it's pretty much pointless to tell me that it's a bad site after I already loaded it and ran any scripts from there.  I don't know of a bad site in its listing to go visit to see if it blocks or prompts me before letting me load that bad site.

One of the features of the Finjan browser add-on was it would inspect the site for obfuscation code and other "bad" behaviors.  I don't know other than ratings what the WebRep add-ons gives me.  Is it just based on a voting scheme?  It'd be better if it checked for bad stuff on the site (but then maybe that's what the Web Shield is supposed to do).

Being new at this (as is just about all other free version users since this wasn't in the free version before), I have to wonder why the voting window doesn't disappear when I click on the Vote button.  I click on the toolbar icon to open a voting dialog.  I select my rating (users must guess red is bad and green is good) and click Vote but nothing happens.  The dialog doesn't disappear to let me know that my vote got accepted and to get the voting dialog out of the way.

Also, if this is just a voting scheme, how is reputation earned by users that make more correct votes (which requires some validation by Avast that a vote was correct)?  Some users will be better than others at voting on a site.  They vote more often but they must also vote correctly.  I believe SiteAdvisor rewards repetitive voters regarding on how correct they are by giving more weight to their votes.  Better voters (not just prolific voters) affect the ratings more than occasional or incorrect voters.  It's not like you create a voting account at Avast that gets opened when the add-on loads so your votes get recorded into your account and can be tracked, along with providing your comments to other users.  Just letting anyone vote anyway they want without any reputation weighting of their votes seems a hazardous setup. Malicious users that want to malign a site could severely impact the rating of a site with just repeating negative voting.

Offline Zyndstoff (aka Steven Gail)

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2011, 03:14:48 PM »
I do agree to what you post.

However: there is more to come concerning WebRep.
The issue of the not closing voting window is, I believe, just a current glitch due to server problems on avast's side. Happens on my machine sometimes, sometimes doesn't.  ;)

Security-wise, the WebRep "as is" does not provide any added value, but again: there is more to come.

And you're right: the protection is provided by webshield and scriptshield.
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YoKenny

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2011, 03:23:19 PM »
VanguardLH please go to PROFILE then Modify Profile then Forum Profile Information then update your Signature: with information like my signature as this helps the helpers offer pertinent advice.

@Zyndstoff
As WebRep is new and will be enhanced I would wait to offer advice on its use.

Offline Zyndstoff (aka Steven Gail)

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2011, 03:38:57 PM »
YoKenny: I'm trying not to offer any advice, or did I?

I'm just sharing what I know so far.
 8)
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VanguardLH

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2011, 03:51:41 PM »
VanguardLH please go to PROFILE then Modify Profile then Forum Profile Information then update your Signature: with information like my signature as this helps the helpers offer pertinent advice.
What more than the current versions of Avast and Internet Explorer were needed to address this issue?  I might've mentioned the OS (Windows XP) but I didn't think it relevant to the behavior of the toolbar in IE8 on any version of Windows where IE8 may be present (Windows XP, Vista, 7).  Also, I configured my profile to strip out signatures, so I don't bother adding one of my own.

Since it's just a voting scheme for now, and not even one with reputation weighting, and because most sites I've tested so far note that the rating is based on low vote count, I'll disable it again and wait for subsequent improvements and enhancements.  Just seems it was premature to add this feature in a released version.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 03:53:51 PM by VanguardLH »

Offline DavidR

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2011, 04:43:28 PM »
Well if everyone disabled it and doesn't use it to vote on the sites that they visit, how do you think that the reputation database will be developed allowing for the adition of other elements, etc.

There is a weighting already in effect, that weighting will also be tweaked as the database develops. What the webrep needs is time and more importantly participation.
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VanguardLH

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2011, 04:52:05 PM »
This is the same scheme that Comodo attempted to employ for its inadequate anti-virus products by trying to use its user community to report on malware.  They don't have the funds to setup a research lab, like Symantec, McAfee, or other AV vendors, so they tried to use users to improve their detection rate.  It didn't work and eventually Comodo discontinued providing CAV separately and instead bundled it into their Internet Suite which compensates by employing their HIPS (Defense+) function to cover what their AV component is lacking.

It doesn't appear Avast is itself involved in rating the sites.  SiteAdvisor, for example, has McAfee rate the sites with additional input from users (which take a lot of votes to sway McAfee's rating).  A general user community swaying the decision of professional raters is a lot different results than just a general user community doing the voting.

You said there was some weighting.  Where is this documented?  Users of WebRep don't have accounts against which their votes can be tracked and the reputation of that voter can be associated with their votes.  Where's the weighting coming from?

Offline DavidR

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2011, 05:00:27 PM »
Avast doesn't have to have users report malware (web shield detections, etc.), that is done transparently if you participate in the avast Community program.

The weighting isn't documented in what that weighting is, but it has been reported by one of the avast team working on the webrep in these forums.

I don't really care about other companies attempts that failed or why, but if no one is prepared to participate then all projects are going to fail.
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Offline Zyndstoff (aka Steven Gail)

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Re: WebRep: Do I need to waste space for a worthless toolbar?
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2011, 05:09:04 PM »
I don't really care about other companies attempts that failed or why, but if no one is prepared to participate then all projects are going to fail.

Full Ack.

+1000  :)
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