I think if the technical details with screen-size and tracking what was indeed visible at the time of acceptance are worked out, that this is a great idea and really would use market forces to naturally shorten TOSs. It has a very Libertarian Paternalism idea about it in that it's not limiting freedom but gives them a Nudge in the more universally beneficial direction.
As a user who just wants to click accept and GTFO, this would initially be a burdon as all existing TOSs are aligned with this requirement. I don't want to accept 60 pages just to install WinRar (the trial of course, because I'm still not sold on it's benefits).
But as someone concerned with what I'm actually agreeing to, and someone who doesn't have the time to read the TOS for everything I come across, I'm fully behind that and would like to have some words with the lazier side of me about the importance of agreements.
As an aside, maybe there could be an article of the law that allows for a legally binding summary of terms which they could use to supplement the full terms. In that case, the user would be bound to the terms of the summary--in reference to the full terms--which were visible on the screen when they accepted. They would still be required to accept the full terms (likely with the same TL;RD scroll and accept).
I'm thinking that there's somewhat of a precedent to such summaries: ballots. When you vote on on a resolution at the ballot, you're reading a summary. But that summary has to be legally accurate to the content of the bill.
By a nudge we mean anything that influences our choices. A school cafeteria might try to nudge kids toward good diets by putting the healthiest foods at front. We think that it's time for institutions, including government, to become much more user-friendly by enlisting the science of choice to make life easier for people and by gentling nudging them in directions that will make their lives better.
"Most people know they should save money, but many don’t save enough and may not
even be sure what amount is enough. Most savings advice goes against human nature
and asks people to make complex calculations. To help people save, nudge them. When
it is time for employees to enroll in your firm’s retirement plan, make signing up the default.
People can choose not to sign up or can quit any time, but inertia and the status quo
conspire to keep them from doing what’s good for them. Try a “Save More Tomorrow”
program that “invites participants to commit themselves in advance to a series of [savings
account] contribution increases” as their wages rise. This approach recognizes that
people fear loss, and may perceive savings as a loss of disposable income, so it links
increases in their savings rate to parallel increases in their salaries. When people earn
more, the company automatically deducts more in savings. They don’t have to decide to
Set up choices in a way that takes advantage of how humans make decisions. You can nudge people in beneficial directions. To facilitate better decisions, design a default option that benefits people unless
they explicitly choose otherwise.
quick summary - http://www.slideshare.net/sgmitch/nudge09
Even if IQ gains grind to a halt in particular places, there is still much to be done to raise the level of rationality in the population there. (Another reply to this thread just cited Keith Stanovich's recent book What Intelligence Tests Miss,
which is all about how to improve rationality among people of various IQ levels.) And for general social improvement, it is also possible to shape public policies so that they take into account common forms of human irrationality,
so that daily life is more sound even if the people living it are neither more intelligent nor more rational.
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