For an idea how polarized the debate over whether Google’s new Auto Links function is, check out the comments on this entry from Rogers Cadenhead. The debate is interesting because there’s no clear line here, it’s a judgement call and everyone’s judgement differs. I have an example that plays into this somewhere. I have a Firefox extension installed called Adblock. All it does is prevent the browser from downloading resources containing the patterns that I specify. I installed it for one reason, to keep my browser from downloading any content from BlogAds. In my experience, BlogAds’ overburdened servers made pages containing their ads download slowly, and their crappy HTML made those pages display improperly rather frequently. Obviously the sites that run BlogAds would prefer that I download that content since they get paid for it, and maybe my use of Adblock is unethical, since I’m modifying their content as I display it. It’s a tough call.