Slideshare? Really?

While I enjoy reading the presentations people post here, I've never been that happy with their using Slideshare. What's wrong with just putting a PDF somewhere? As it turns out, Slideshare is actually somewhat slimy -- they got caught using ETags to force tracking cookies on people who explicitly block them. (Do a search for "slideshare kissmetrics" and you'll see that they were proud of it.)

They're welcome to whatever business model they choose, as long as they're open and honest about it. But really, you're better off uploading your slides elsewhere.


You might be better off with me uploading a PDF somewhere else, but I'm not better off uploading my content somewhere else.

Putting a PDF at some random spot does nothing for me. Putting it somewhere that has lots of talks on all sorts of subjects gives me a lot of visibility I wouldn't get otherwise.

Use private mode in your browser, make a fake account, and download the pdf directly.

My biggest problem with SlideShare is that it corrupts Unicode characters in my PDF presentations that it doesn't understand, violating Unicode Conformance Requirement C7. This is a problem for Unicode 6.0 characters, possibly older versions too, and is most noticeable for emoji characters, which are increasingly popular.

For example, if I upload a PDF including 🐪 (U+1F42A, DROMEDARY CAMEL), it corrupts the character by replacing it with a sequence of ���� (U+FFFD, REPLACEMENT CHARACTER) for each byte in the UTF-8 encoded sequence . The proper functionality is to pass the original characters straight through (optionally canonically normalized) so that I can view it correctly as long as I have a typeface supporting that character, even if the server-side application doesn't understand the character. If for some reason it couldn't do that, it should at least replace the entire character with one � and not one for each byte in the encoded form.

I continue to upload to my SlideShare because of the large user base, replacing my emoji characters with images before uploading, but now direct people to my Speaker Deck instead. There are less reporting metrics but that's the trade-off for a nice minimal interface, plus no ads, tracking, upsells, and data corruption.

Note: The SlideShare functionality described was last tested in January 2013 and may or may not have changed since then.

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user-pic I blog about Perl.