What I’ve Seen On Blogs Since I Started Blocking Javascript On My Browser

When I wrote my post about blocking newsletter popups, I was feeling pretty smug because I was finally getting back at all those sites that throw popups at you before you even get to see the content. In the month since, I’ve noticed some things that I thought I’d talk about as a follow up to that original post.

Happy Mitch

First, I’m still a very happy guy. Those of you who visit here know that is my ultimate pet peeve when it comes to visiting blogs. Turns out it blocks a lot of other nasty bits from other types of sites beyond just blogs; I’m not mad in the least!

Second, let me mention some folks whose blogs I know for sure don’t bombard you with popup requests; it’s a short list:

Donna’s blog

Steve’s blog

Ed’s blog

Dana’s blog

That’s it so far. It’s harder now to tell who’s doing what since I can’t see anymore who’s got it or not. Still, based on what I remember, this is a pretty small list, which I probably won’t be updating any time soon; I’ll get back to that in a bit.

Third, it seems that without knowing it, all of us have some kind of javascript on our sites. Mine turns out to be my share buttons, and it seems to affect most of the blogs or websites I go to in that fashion. It also affects those commenting systems I didn’t like to begin with, such as Disqus and Livefyre. They don’t even come up; I get a message saying I need to activate javascript in order to comment, and since I wouldn’t comment on those anyway, I’m good once again. Also, I’m blocking both Forbes & Inc before they can block me because of my adblocker; winning! lol

Fourth, one of the messages I often stated was that I tended to believe that people who threw a popup at you before you could even read the content didn’t care whether you read it or not. That seems to be proven by many sites I go to because, unlike the majority, they won’t let you read any of the content, period! As a matter of fact, some of those sites never even load, there’s so much javascript in it. Oh, if only those folks knew how much all of that is negatively impacting their mobile speed! lol

Fifth, it also affects the ability to leave comments on blogs with CommentLuv, which I actually like a lot; that’s problematic. In those instances where I really want to leave a comment I’ll temporarily allow access to the site so I can have my say… even though 95% of the time it turns out the site throws a popup at me… sigh…

Sixth… come January I might be able to enable javascript on my browser again because Google has announced that it’s going to be punishing sites that use annoying pop-up ads… awww… They’re especially going after those sites that have popups that won’t allow you to view the content unless you hit the X, and those sites where there’s no X to hit before you can read the content. Suddenly, the excuse people have been giving about how many subscribers they get because of those popups will find their traffic drying up because of those very same popups; I couldn’t be more pleased!

When all is said and done, I can honestly say that it’s not the popups themselves that has irked me as much as when those suckers come up. If I’m not allowed to read all of your content, let alone even begin to see it, then I’d rather block it and move on. As it is, I’m probably sharing more content from creators these days whose articles I get to read without knowing whether or not they have popups, so a lot of you should be thanking me for that. For the rest of you… well, it is what it is, and now you’re going to be forced into it or risk losing your traffic… which I understand well.

That’s one for my side; now if Twitter will only do something like that for those Auto DM’s! 🙂
 

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How To Block Newsletter Popups From Blogs

Anyone who reads this blog knows that the biggest issue I have with many blogs these days are newsletter subscription popups. Although I hate them with a passion, I didn’t mind as much when they showed up at the bottom of the content. My gripe was always that the popups came without giving us the opportunity to even know whether or not we wanted to subscribe to any of the content, and my solution had been to try to never go back to those blogs ever again.

NoScriptOptions
NoScripts menu

That turned out to be futile. I like sharing other people’s content but when you’re on Twitter, you’re rarely sure where a link is taking you. So I’d often end up on blogs I said I wasn’t going to visit again because of the popups, which was irksome because the topics seemed like they’d be really good.

I finally have a solution, it works every time, and I’m going to share it with you. The thing I want to tell you up front is that you have to be willing to either do some work on the back end or just ignore a few things here and there, but it works, it works every time on every blog or website… at least if you use Firefox, and probably on Chrome also.

What you have to do is add an extension to your browser called No Script. It blocks javascript, Java and other plugins from working on your browser, which in effect means no popups or ads or anything else you’re not in the mood to deal with. You can override the extension by adding the website to a whitelist, or you can temporarily allow a website to show everything without blocking it so you can see the types of things that might be on the site.

What happens is you go to a site and you see the content but nothing else that’s javascript related. At the bottom of the page you’re on will be this yellow bar that will tell you how many scripts are being blocked automatically by the extension. At that point you can decide a couple of things.

One, you can decide to either temporarily allow a site or permanently block it. You can always remove the permanent block in the extensions settings but I’d think hard before doing that. I’m only blocking a few sites, those being Forbes & Inc, which makes you turn off your Adblocker before they’ll let you see their content. I figure I’m not doing that, so why even keep me on their sites, right?

Two, you can decide you want to whitelist a site because you visit it often and trust it. In that case you highlight the address in the address bar, go to the extension in your browser and click on the options button, go to the whitelist menu, paste the address in and push Allow. When you go back to the site you’ll see the page as you expected to see it.

Of course there are some sites automatically whitelisted. Those include Google and Facebook. You can decide to remove those if you wish but why would you unless you’re never going to use either of them. 🙂

The one thing I’m still researching is whether there’s a way to allow certain javascript items to show on sites you visit. For instance, it blocks are share buttons visually on sites and blog pages, although if you’re astute enough to find them and click on them they’ll still work.

This extension is only for Firefox. Chrome has its version of the same extension called No-Script Suite Lite, and it does the same thing as No Script does for Firefox. The only reason I’m not adding it to Chrome is that I don’t use Chrome that often, and the only time I actually do is when I want to see some Flash content that Firefox won’t show (I removed Flash from my computer last year) and, for some reason, Chrome shows it. However, if you add this script you might have to either temporarily or permanently whitelist the site so you can view Flash content.

It took me a while to find this but I finally did. I’ve been talking about this irritation since 2008 when popups were in their infant stage and now I can breathe freely once more. Some people might say this is an inconvenience and yet many people are using Disqus or other inconveniences on their blogs which includes Captcha and moderation of comments; this proves we all have our bugaboos. If anything, this will allow me to share more content because now I won’t know which sites have popups on them, so it won’t be my problem anymore, and it won’t be anyone else’s problem if they decide to add either of these extensions.
 

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