Gospel Library iPhone app leads to YouTube - DELETED IT

Discussions around the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch versions of the Gospel Library application.
joej-p40
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Gospel Library iPhone app leads to YouTube - DELETED IT

Postby joej-p40 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:48 pm

Hi - thanks for developing the Gospel Library iPhone app. We tried it today but deleted it once we saw that LDS.org was available with links leading to Youtube. :mad: We have agreed in our family that all iPhones and Ipod Touches are to have Safari, You Tube and other items disabled in Settings-->Restrictions.

As you know, there are a large number of apps on the AppStore that use and internal Webkit to view local HTML, help files on the device, help files hosted remotely, or often credit pages hosted remotely. It simply takes tapping around for a while until there is a link to Google, or Twitter, etc, and then one can be off and surfing the web from within the app.:eek:

So, Gospel Library iPhone app, falls into this category. It provides a "back door" to the web via the LDS.org page.:(

Please consider removing the use of an internal browser, or anything which in any way connects to the web. Or, block all links to anything except LDS.org.:D Until then, we will have to avoid it and go with alternatives.

Thanks

Rob

njpomeroy
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Postby njpomeroy » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:31 am

I fully, wholeheartedly, disagree with this request, and hope the developers pay it no mind.

Sadly, I think people try to solve a social problem (accessing inappropriate content on the web) with a purely technological solution (disabling a browser et al.). Such solutions never work for long, and without solving the social problem, sooner rather than later, the technological solution fails to work any longer.

How is it that one's family keeps the Sabbath day holy without physically locking everyone up in a closet in the house, unable to conduct commerce, unable to go to sporting events, unable to go to work? One does it by consistently, and diligently teaching the correct principle, solving the social issue of Sabbath observance by social means. I believe this example is directly analogous to media/information access in the home (as well as any other number of moral and ethical standards and practices).

I believe that consistently and diligently teaching the correct principles of personal purity and responsibility, one solves issues by giving one's family the tools necessary to make correct decisions by themselves and not have the default decision made for them by (imperfect, bound-to-fail) roadblocks.

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Postby mkpolansky » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:51 am

This is clearly a family's own decision. While the Church has created a Facebook page and has done wonderful things with You tube videos, the Adversary has inspired others to abuse it and destroy men and women worldwide. This is why the family is the central unit in our Heavenly Father's plan; parents know their children and those areas in which extra caution is necessary. While we all hope that we can fall into the "teach them the correct principles, and let them govern themselves" category, we have to do what we think is best for our specific family.

That being said, I absolutely love this ap and will install it on those iTouches we have in our house. I too am in agreement to not only keep it, but please continue to add as many features to it as possible.

Just my two cents worth. :)

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:51 am

njpomeroy wrote:I fully, wholeheartedly, disagree with this request, and hope the developers pay it no mind.

Sadly, I think people try to solve a social problem (accessing inappropriate content on the web) with a purely technological solution (disabling a browser et al.). Such solutions never work for long, and without solving the social problem, sooner rather than later, the technological solution fails to work any longer.

How is it that one's family keeps the Sabbath day holy without physically locking everyone up in a closet in the house, unable to conduct commerce, unable to go to sporting events, unable to go to work? One does it by consistently, and diligently teaching the correct principle, solving the social issue of Sabbath observance by social means. I believe this example is directly analogous to media/information access in the home (as well as any other number of moral and ethical standards and practices).

I believe that consistently and diligently teaching the correct principles of personal purity and responsibility, one solves issues by giving one's family the tools necessary to make correct decisions by themselves and not have the default decision made for them by (imperfect, bound-to-fail) roadblocks.

While your disagreement has much merit, it is beside the point of the request. You responded to the original poster's motivation, rather than the actual bug report. The fact of the matter is that this mobile application is currently capable of being used in a way that is beyond its intention. The app is not supposed to be a general purpose web browser, and I don't think the Church would want its app used in this way.

This is indeed a technical issue, regardless of the original poster's personal motivations.
Many questions are already answered on the LDSTech wiki. Check it out!

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Postby JamesAnderson » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:29 am

One of the things that the Youtube postings of General Conference (it's all on there) does is that it makes the prophetic word available more readily to the world, in a way that many want to hear it, or will hear it for the first time. Youtube has helped greatly in the missionary effort since the Mormon Messages page went live, and the posting of Conference, along with the other content on that page, will only help, not hurt.

In fact, directing to Youtube can raise the awareness of the video on Youtube, and in fact, after the posting of portions of Elder Holland's Easter talk last year, that talk alone propelled the Church to #1 in several areas. Including the top-viewed nonprofit page. That gives the Church more visibility, and piques the interest of nonmembers in the page, they come and find out about what we believe, and what the prophets are saying, today.

In fact, people browsing Youtube on their iPhones will find these videos, and we could well have more converts going forward because of it. The app can't store the videos, they are too large for the average iPhone's memory anyway, so it makes much more sense on that front to post them to a public site like Youtube and direct people there.

The other thing is, and this has been requested for some time, is that now we can share entire Conference talks on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc., favorite them on Youtube itself, and do more than we've been able to before with them simply by being able to link to the videos of them on Youtube.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:35 pm

Yes, the videos were already on YouTube before this mobile app came out, and yes, that is a good thing. Yes, the videos are too large to really put anywhere else, especially in the phone app.

But I still do agree with the original poster that the mobile application has a side effect ability of becoming a general purpose web browser. I don't think that's what the Church/Community developers intended, and it seems it would be best if the mobile app itself could be restricted to where it could browse to (even within Youtube somehow).
Many questions are already answered on the LDSTech wiki. Check it out!

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Postby JamesAnderson » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:41 pm

A possible solution is to use Youtube's embed code to display the video in the app rather than just link to the video using the Youtube-provided URL you would in an email message If you use the embed code instead, 'related videos' and other things don't show up, just the video itself. Is this a possible way to allow viewing of the Church content posted to Youtube without opening the door to the rest of the site?

Following on the same lines, there would need to be a 'back' button that you could click on to go back to the app after viewing the Youtube video itself.

As it is, the Conference videos have received thousands of hits each already, some more than others.

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Postby joej-p40 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:17 pm

Thanks for the replies. I do agree with the idea raised by njpomeroy that we should teach correct principles which lead to individual decisions. However, there is clearly a role for safety mechanisms. For example, I have heard the advice (from local leaders on up) to have the computer in a high-traffic area of the home (for example: http://tinyurl.com/y4kfhmw). So, how does one use the (excellent) browser on an iPhone in the spirit of using it in front of everyone for all to see (and thereby provide support and safety)? Internet usage on handheld devices is more private than it ever was on a fixed desktop computer in the living room. This is why we have chosen to lock out browsers on our devices. The decision that I hope my sons will make in the future is to choose to employ safety mechanisms for themselves when they are on their own.

That being said, it is true that one of my main reasons for posting was that I was fairly certain that the church would not want its app to be used in any way for surfing the dark regions of the internet. How ironic it would be for a person to locate pornography, violent or profane material via a church released app!

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Postby kennethjorgensen » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:21 am

JamesAnderson wrote:A possible solution is to use Youtube's embed code to display the video in the app rather than just link to the video using the Youtube-provided URL you would in an email message If you use the embed code instead, 'related videos' and other things don't show up, just the video itself. Is this a possible way to allow viewing of the Church content posted to Youtube without opening the door to the rest of the site?


That sounds like a great idea in my humble opinion.

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Postby joej-p40 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:41 pm

I like the Youtube solution but it does not address the other problem. If the internal Webkit allows one to peruse LDS.org pages, and there is an external link ANYWHERE (especially google, yahoo, bing, twitter, etc) on LDS.org, then one can skip from link to link until one is at a search engine. For example, this link

http://tinyurl.com/y3wnwt7

gets to a LDS.org page that has a link at the bottom to a church Twitter page. From there you could go to the main Twitter page and enter www.google.com as a search term to get a long list of tweets with www.google.com as a weblink. Hit the link and you are at the Google search page - FROM WITHIN THE CHURCH's APP. Proceed to search for whatever is desired - good or bad. All this is possible without the opportunity to enter in a URL into the browser.

This "back door" to the web exists in countless iPhone apps. It is, however, inappropriate for it to exist in a Church app (IMHO). Solutions could include: removing access to LDS.org from within the app as web pages, serving up church content in some other form, removing all links to google, twitter, facebook from LDS.org, only serving up a portion of LDS.org, etc. Some of these are not very practical. Perhaps there is a more technical solution?

Does anyone else think it is inappropriate for a Church-issued app to have this kind of "back door?"


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