Is there anyone that actually likes the autoplay when watching Netflix on TV?
Update/Note: This is in the Roku app. I'm specifically talking about previews autoplaying while I scroll though different shows on the main navigation...
I can't think of a single time when I have encountered autoplay and liked it. Not even with video streamers like Netflix, YouTube, etc.
All of the other times, it's really just irritating, and I've only gotten more annoyed lately because of it. Netflix just promotes its newest shows, and frankly I don't watch that many Netflix originals. Youtube... the recommendations are fine, but the next video selection is very little hit and mostly miss for me.
Personally I'd rather prefer autoplay being something I give permission for than the site asking for forgiveness (which in 99% of cases I will answer by muting the site permanently).
Know who else's algorithm has done the same thing for me? Pandora. It's basically my go-to music app. I have groomed a station to be exactly what I love and it just sticks to a formula, automatically adds in new releases by the artists I already follow, and plays music I like.
I can't stand though when it autoplays trailers or previews or automatically starts something new when i've finished something i'm watching. Scrolling through netflix and having things autoplay as I scroll through is annoying as all fuck.
I assume it's driving engagement with people in general, but it inhibits my engagement.
Which goes back to one of my perennial frustrations with all this tracking and A/B testing bullshit; they're tracking my every mouse movement, they're slicing and dicing pennies in an effort to advertise at me, but when it comes to something I'd actually like, like them noticing that not only do I not "want" these autoplaying ads but that they actually decreased the very metrics they care about for me, suddenly our monstrous tracking machine with seemingly endless resources to stare at me like Sauron's All-Seeing Eye goes all blind on me.
It's extremely noticable in the roku app. It pauses for a couple seconds every time you navigate so you can't really do anything until the autoplay loads. You end up seeing a few seconds of it for every single item you hover over.
I don't like them at all but I do most of my Netflixing on my iPhone, where it doesn't happen.
(When I do go to the Netflix site in a web browser I sometimes temporarily use "Mute site" which is a pretty crazy thing for a site for watching movies to make you want to do!)
Autoplay every show I barely hover over? No, thanks.
I assume the Pi Hole still uses DNS to block.
We pay for Netflix to bypass this sort of noise.
Make no mistake: Netflix has certainly been measuring how well this works and the impact it has on the product. What we might hate has been proved to improve metrix Netflix seems to care about…
I'm really grateful for customizability of firefox. I discovered "media.block-play-until-visible" in about:config some time ago and I hope that they don't have plans of removing that option in the future.
The good thing is that I'm a programmer, I know the basics of c++ and js so I can just look around in firefox's source code and find interesting things that could make my web browsing experience better.
This announcement almost made my morning. It's frustrating seeing video everywhere when you're just trying to read an article. If I wanted video, I'd turn on my TV.
This was the case on mobile until recently (maybe a couple of years?) and the benefit to users after the change is obvious. I get the frustration but it's very much a real-world compromise with good reason. I do think that they could make this a configurable option though, much like disabling JS.
EDIT: looks like they did: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19077887
I know last year Chrome disallowed auto playing web audio, but they probably found a way around that too. Their scripts ran directly on the host's page (not in iframe), so they could probably trigger playback after any mouse event anywhere on the page.
This is just more fuel to add to the pro-ad-blocking argument.
Ad companies are filth.
To be honest, I am wondering more and more if those aggressive unwanted advertisement are having an impact on peoples behavior and emotional baseline. Similar to road rage. Except you dont always sit in your car, but most of us spend significant parts of their lives in front of screens.
I think the sites trying to do end-runs are generally low-quality and it will be relatively easy to ignore them. Sites like the Atlantic, The New Yorker, and etc don't do end-runs and so disabling makes my experience sooo much better.
If I came across a website that did this I would probably never come back.
They don’t give a toss how you actually feel about the ad. They don’t care that it’s wasting bandwidth, they’ve got ads to show you and nothing should stand in their way as it’s evidently their divine right because they’re gods gift to the internet.
Of course they do, their money depends on having people engage with those ads.
The site that the ad runs on might care about how this affects reader loyalty, but, if they've decided to go with ad networks, they have rather limited editorial control over what ads the networks choose to run on their sites.
So, for those visitors who have adblock, you don't do any more harm by serving annoying ads.
For those who don't have adblock, well, you do do harm, but the cost gets spread over the entire ad industry, which is why adblock usage has grown . On the other hand, the money made from serving the annoying ad and getting the impression comes directly to you (and not the industry).
In short, benefit is immediate to you. Damage is delayed and doesn't come directly to you.
Anyway, I despise this kind of reasoning.
ps. People who worked there seemed quite decent. And that somehow showed in part of their biz practices too. E.g. they intentionally refrained from tracking visitors.
Too many clients (from an agency perspective) are implicitly given good advice "Your potential customer base isn't interested in this" but someone has to ask "How do we get them to see it anyway?"
They have forgotten that potential customers don't have to do business with them. They have options. Time for folks to re-read Seth Godin's "Permission Marketing", it seems.
So everyone ITT saying that “nobody wants automatically playing videos”. Actually yeah, we do, and there are many, and I mean MANY of us.
But I do have a lot of friends that spend time browsing facebook, and not a single one likes autoplaying videos, either wanted or unwanted ones.
Videos do not get into your screen at the same exact time you focus your attention on them. On the occasion that you'll want to watch the video, autoplaying just forces you to see a lot of out of context spoilers and video endings.
There are probably uses that I'm not thinking of (or don't partake in) where this would still be a problem for people.
I don't think "makes imgur gifs stop playing" is going to attract more users than it drives away. By all means have that as an option, but it'd be a terrible default experience.
Firefox 57 changed to using a more limited extension system like Chrome already had, so it's not like users could jump ship to Chrome to get back Firefox 56's more powerful extensions.
You may not have liked or agreed with that change, but I don't think it actually drove people to alternative browsers. If anything they might have said "Well, I have to going extension browsing anyway to find new ones that work, maybe I'll take a look at the options in Chrome too."
This seems like an assertion in advance of evidence.
To be sure, the entire internet-using public does not get a vote on the issue, aside from browser configurations and plugins (which the people who deny us a vote pay PR agencies to hate). Just like in other instances of disenfranchisement, those who aren't allowed to vote are indeed considered to be "minorities," even if only in the amount of political power they wield.
Basically, what bothers me is that most of software being developed nowadays treats users like shit and the excuse is always along the same lines: "We ensure that we do what users want, by measuring their response, and if they didn't like it they would use something else".
Turns out, you can't go anywhere else if everything is corrupted through same perverse incentives and you don't have the power to change it yourself. Back when most users were more computer-savvy, the users had more power. Obviously, we can't go back to computers being mostly a hobby for geeks, but there has to be some kind of a solution to put more power in users' hands. I just can't think of one.
Yes, this would be what I want.
Edit: Actually, it seemed to be hit-or-miss. Some gifs work, some refuse to play at all.
If that caught on, hopefully it would also be the end of gigantic, unnecessary UI libraries.
Let's disable that too. My browser is not someones corporate programming play room.
Let them. And we'll fight that too. We are all still not closing pop-up windows like the yesteryears of the internet because we refused to accept it.
Personally I don't care for them. I don't care for emojis either but good luck to anyone who wants to take either away from users, particularly in a competitive product like a web browser where users can just switch to an alternative.
Then they can choose to play it. Just like you can opt to allow pop-ups in your browser. Nobody is asking for a one-size-fit-all solution - all they are asking for is choice and control over their browser.
Right, because that isn't possible. Instead you choose sensible defaults that match what users want. Like it or not, the majority of users want autoplaying GIFs.
> all they are asking for is choice and control over their browser.
Which you have. It's a configuration option to disable autoplaying muted video.
Please, what is the name of this one now? And do you know one for disabling autoplaying GIFs too?
EDIT: Oh, it's media.autoplay.enabled, another discussion has it. Thank you for pointing it anyway.
That's an assumption. If you ask users if they want gifs or no auto playing video ads they will choose the latter. And if they don't, so what let them choose.
And that’s a false equivalence. I am able to block annoying ads with an adblocker and simultaneously enjoy my desired auto playing muted videos just fine.
Personally I feel like gifs are annoying and distracting.
Fighting that too is exactly what we need. Don't be such a push over.
For what it's worth, disabling JS today is actually more reasonable than it was 10 years ago. CSS and HTML actually gets you most of the way there now. (Talking about news style/blog sites, not web apps)
Maybe we should be aiming for that?
Your proposal breaks Google Maps, as well as thousands of other sites, in order to implement an ineffective heuristic that pages can easily bypass by disguising image data as other data.
> For what it's worth, disabling JS today is actually more reasonable than it was 10 years ago. CSS and HTML actually gets you most of the way there now. (Talking about news style/blog sites, not web apps)
> Maybe we should be aiming for that?
Trying to use 10% market share to push the Web to disable JS is a good way to make that market share 0%.
The other assumption here is that the bad actors are actually ad pushers. In fact somewhat reputable news sites like SFGate often push auto playing videos that take a few seconds to stop/close. The likelihood of SFGate, WaPo, or the BBC going to such lengths to display videos seems low — especially since the more aggressive solutions require more bandwidth.
You'd think so, but the same argument is used to claim that blocking isn't needed at all. "Obnoxious ads will negatively impact a site's reputation and people's willingness to view/use it."
Another problem with adding rate limits or other ever-increasingly complicated heuristics is that it makes the Web platform ever more difficult to deploy applications on. You may not see that as a problem, but it pushes app developers to support only native platforms --- where you can't block anything. More unintended consequences.
Web browsers are part of a complex ecosystem where seemingly straightforward actions have all kinds of unintended consequences. Browser developers think about these things all the time and have, in some cases, decades of experience dealing with them, yet they constantly get lambasted by armchair strategists who've thought about these issues for five minutes and decided it's all easy.
We have already mostly solved the problem by playing whackamole for a few years. Ublock mostly have things solved now. Sure some lists are over the top but for the most part it just works.
Maybe you're just jaded and thing it's too "user land" or something but from my perspective the browser should be urging developers toward non shitty user experiences.
Because I know the ad pushers are basically never content with n-1 ads.
Native server side ads would be brilliant by the way. The ad quality drastically shoots up when the buyers have to trust the people pushing their ads.
Its still a nascent thing only found in Blink browsers but at least its something.
I wish there was an option in browsers to prevent the downloading of GIFs (especially on mobile). It used to be useful for artwork, but PNG has taken that over.
If this was common, sites could also serve GIFs with an the content-type of a different image. Since browsers content-sniff between image formats, if the GIF was served as image/png then it wouldn't be until the image finished downloading that the browser would learn it was a GIF.
GIF has a header at the start of the file identifying it as such. It starts with one of two six byte long sequences identifying the version of the format that is being used.
0x47 0x49 0x46 0x38 0x37 0x61 ("GIF87a")
0x47 0x49 0x46 0x38 0x39 0x61 ("GIF89a")
So as long as the file isn't served with additional compression obscuringly applied on top (gzip etc) you will have an indicator that the file might be a GIF after downloading just the six first bytes of it.
Of course you could be unlucky and try to download a file that is not a gif but which happened to start with either of those two sequences of bytes.
But you could:
- Stop downloading it if the URL was loaded via <img>, and place something like an image of the word GIF with a cross over it in the img tag.
- If it was loaded outside of <img>, let the user know that it was blocked as suspected GIF but allow them to override.
At least as a first step toward some kind of anti-GIF thing.
edit: at least it prevents them from being displayed :P
1. The solution as posed works remarkably well. I know this because I use it myself.
2. Extending the pattern to either be case-insensitive or include other animated image formats is pathetically trivial.
1. Specifically, in my "Annoyances" stylesheet, applied to all sites by default:
/* gifs: So, it has come to this ... (xkcd) */
opacity: 0 !important;
opacity: 1 !important;
If fighting that sort of thing mandates an arms war, this is a hill we should be willing to die on. Battle until the bitter end, until the rivers run red with blood.
Note: the plugin could do this on a server, for the additional benefit of smaller bandwidth use.
When I first learned Chrome disabled autoplaying videos, I converted my video, which was around 500 kB, to a GIF, which was now 30 MB, with a noticeable decrease in smoothness and quality. Companies will not stop autoplaying videos, they will merely find other ways around it, because autoplaying videos work for the vast majority of users.
The idea that advertisers are the only thing enabling a free web is bogus and needs to be dispelled, the costs of hosting a small amount of personal content are negligible and prior to the advertising era the occasional dude with cash would just altruistically host random niche websites on a subdomain.
If we are talking about society energy usage it would be ideal to ban ads/adtech entirely.
There are a lot of interesting experiences that can be enabled by autoplay. If a site ends up being too annoying it will simply lose visitors, and extensions can perform more aggressive blocking for those that don't like it.
IMO this is a fine compromise solution.
It’s atrocious UX. It’s hostile to users. It’s presumptive and frankly rude. There’s no excuse for autoplay. Even on YouTube, it’s more often infuriating than not.
Edit: clarified “autoplay video”, not animated GIFs
It's probably too difficult for software to tell the difference between something like a high brow long form interactive article, a tasteful hero banner background, and an annoying popover or sidebar ad.
My least favorite auto-playing videos in a site I use regularly are in the Netflix UI.
Look at the number of complaints people post about EU cookie warning banners, which usually don't even block you from consuming the content on the page, even though they usually can be dismissed in one click. Or the number of complaints if a site puts a sign-up or logic request, dismissable in one click, that obscures any of the content.
Sure, with an extra click to play video, as opposed to an extra click to read an article, it will save annoyance on sites where the person is not there specifically because they clicked a link to see the video.
There are probably more sites where the auto-playing video is an annoyance than where it is the thing you came to the site for, and so blocking auto play is probably a net win for most people--but will they perceive it that way?
You are more likely to notice that something has annoyed you than to notice that something has not annoyed you. With blocking auto play I think a lot of people will only notice it, therefore, when it makes them do an extra click to see something they came to see. They aren't going to notice that it saved them from having to click to mute or pause some ancillary video on a page.
That doesn't mean it should not be added. It just means some care should be taken into how it is presented and configured.
I don't know about that. I would think YouTube alone easily accounts for the majority of autoplaying videos that users encounter.
Firefox only restores tabs (and thus resumes playing) once I actually select them. This sounds like a better solution for your specific problem. A drawback is it being easier to end with a significant tab graveyard. But won't be able to have it any other way once you're at four-digits open tabs...
Wall of sound I agree with. Disable that. But don't force me to click a video or gif to get it to play.
Those would be the big four which would negatively impact my daily web usage.
If autoplay videos and gifs were disabled the whole value of that site would disappear. I wish 4chan and Reddit would do it as well. It's great for feed content.
There are plenty of other examples of auto-playing videos being a good thing. Please don't take those away.
Yeah, like alerting the participants of a meeting to the fact you are browsing crap on your phone.
I am working on a platform that's a mix of Twitch and Netflix. Entering a "show" starts muted autoplay until the audience member explicitly turns on audio. If they're coming to the show URL I give them, presumably they're there for the show.
You’re helping yourself to their bandwidth and local compute without their consent or knowledge.
Why do you think this is okay?
So your site/idea is OK, but people should stop going to others or use adblock on them.
I like cheese, everyone has to have cheese on all meals!?
Autoplay video is like if the waiter just starts shaving parmesan on your salad. If you didn’t want it, you now have to pick the shavings off. Annoying.
Nonautoplay video is like the waiter asking “would you like cheese?” “Yes” “Ok” and they commence shaving it.
I don’t see why we should all have to pick cheese out of our salads because some people are too lazy to have a 3 second interaction to get what they want.
I feel like I'm turning this setting off about once a month, usually after it has done something embarrassing or highly irritating on public transport .
This should have been the default since browsers were first able to play audio.
Setting your preference to autoplay may be irritating if you prefer it the other way, but you won't annoy your co-workers, leak any sensitive info, or wake up your SO before finding it in the wrong state. And the Firefox devs agree with me.
Could maybe add an option with Firefox sync to save browser settings if anyone really misses this "feature".
> Muted autoplay is still allowed. WTH Mozilla. Just stop. Stop the stupid auto-playing video. Nobody wants it.
Following your analogy, I don't think it would make sense by default for meals to always have no cheese, or for the waiter to always ask if you'd like to include cheese. But i think it's fine for them to allow you to ask not to get any cheese.
I've been using the mute sites by default extension in firefox for a while. That pretty much does what Mozilla is promising now. Works great for sound and I occasionally whitelist a website when I actually want some sound.
I'd love the same extension to be able to block video elements from playing as well. I find it highly distracting and I tend to have no patience for videos about news items.
As I understand it, that is actually not possible in Firefox. All of the extensions I've encountered that claim to be able to do that are a combination of either completely broken or merely turning off the ability to auto play video on every website without the ability to white list.
Muting sound by default is progress. Having the ability to black/whitelist sites from playing any media would be what I want. I don't need it to be default. I'm happy to do this via an add on, even. But right now there seem to be no good options for this.
 - https://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/west/weus/vis-animated.gif
Either that or it's forced you to develop a razor sharp visual memory of short weather animations. :)
There've got to be a zillion ways to do a spinner that wouldn't fall afoul of this blocking.
TBH, the way that it's so hard to even say, "All this moving stuff annoys me" without being reminded that it's impossible to opt out of the more annoying bits of the modern web without also making front-end developers cry blood kind of makes me want to opt out of the whole steaming compost heap and go back to using Gopher.
At this point I wouldn't be surprised if, 5 years from now, someone is telling me I can't disable WebAssembly to keep people from mining Bitcoin on my phone because that would also disable clicking on hyperlinks on modern websites.
edit: And the way that I'm getting downvoted for expressing a legitimate frustration kind of speaks to the extent to which the original vision that hypermedia should give the user-agent control over how the content is to be consumed is just straight-up dead. 25 years ago, we had alt strings for in case people couldn't or didn't want to view images. Now we have pages that won't even render if you try to disable extraneous animations that some people can't even see, and apparent hostility toward someone pointing out that this doesn't work for them.
The Internet moved on, it’s time to adapt, otherwise you sound like a grandpa missing the good old days, which are never as good as people remember.
Yes I remember the web of year 1996, of 1999, or of 2004 and it was shit.
After a bit over the top of the article played an entirely unrelated video from that site because man they wanted me to watch their video content. There was no way you could have read all the article, you were guaranteed to be interrupted.
Out of curiosity I went to an article on their site that was just a video and started that video.
After a bit over the top of that video played an entirely unrelated video from that site.... on top of the video I chose to watch.
It was just mind boggling.
Most news sites don't try to defeat my adblocker, to offer one example. It would certainly be in their interests to do so, but it's rare that they actively try. When they do, they usually try to block access while asking me to turn it off, rather than trying to sneak ads past it.
I'd probably stop visiting a site that actively tried to force video to play when I've asked my browser not to.
Since I don't allow scripts to execute in my browser by default, I've already blocked your autoplay workaraound.
For Firefox, about:config then media.autoplay.default and set to 1.
For Chrome, chrome://flags#autoplay-policy and select "Document user activation required".
But there is an even simpler way
"... when you're just trying to read an article."
(Nor do you need images enabled, if all you are doing is reading.)
Firefox "reader mode" might be one alternative.
That has been my experience.
There are also some sites where users usually want the video to autoplay, where the primary purpose of the site is watching videos (eg. Youtube, Niconico Douga, Vimeo) so disabling it as a default is more annoying than beneficial because it would also break it for those sites.
 Source: I browse with JS disabled.
Of course our browsing habits are probably different.
- http://isfiberreadyyet.com/ - From: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14145881
- https://zencastr.com/ - From: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12065622
- https://belowthesurface.amsterdam/en/vondsten - From: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17439832
- https://blog.stgolabs.net/2018/03/linux-v415-performance-goo... - From: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16659360
- https://pricehipster.com/ - From: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17467204
No probs. I know people here get passionate about the health of the WWW. And thanks :-)
A list of those sites is not pointless; a user could use it for whitelisting.
What's more, IME sites using "blank pages" are not usually sites that serve much interesting reading material. They fall outside the category of sites where the user just wants to read an article without distraction.
If anyone reading has examples, please share.
All of the content of isfiberreadyyet.com is on Github. It is a website for users of React, one of the frameworks that is used to make these "blank page" websites.
There are no articles to read. In any case, if a user just wants to read the raw data, with no visualisation, she can get it from Github.
A user has no reference point to whether a site is going to be a visual-based site or a reading-based site if a blank page is served to them. On HN, I get a brief description of the site through a title and a link to the site. Here's my first opinion of each of these sites with the HN information I have to go off of (note: I often browse using /newest , so I'll ignore user comments for the most part as I'd likely try visiting the site before there are even comments on the HN post).
isfiberreadyyet.com was posted with no description and was merely a link in response to an HN post. It could have been an entire essay about whether or not fiber is ready or even a simple Yes/No page like iscaliforniaonfire.com or isitchristmas.com which is what I was expecting to see when I clicked it.
belowthesurface.amsterdam was posted on HN with the title "Below the Surface – Finds from an archaeological project in the River Amstel". That sounds like it's going to be a lot of pictures with explanations of their history from an archaeological project in the River Amstel.
>We can access the pages of text directly as json from the CDN
In the thread pricehipster.com was posted in, jazoom at least mentions that they have been using React/Vue so I can expect the site to be broken with JS disabled. My brief description is that people quickly glance at prices (taken from: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17467842 ) -- it's the worst example on the list because it's the only one that isn't misleading and is expected to be a blank page before I even click on it.
There's also simple animations between text, and alike.
There's no point in breaking those, since they don't emit any sound when they're on a background tab anyway.
While I agree with this for 99% of sites, there are some sites like dubtrack.fm (successor to turntable.fm and plug.dj) where you expect to hear music right away. But I understand these music sites are in the very small minority.
I want it on specific sites. For example, if I'm watching a video tutorial, I want the option to proceed to the next video and automatically start playing.
Saying, "nobody wants it" is simply not true, and there are incredibly valid uses for it.
seriously, if you just want video on your tv, just filter all video elements out of your browser and let those who want video to have that
why would I want to click to watch a video if I put in a link to a video/video-site?
There are also more than enough that I don't have to use ones that refuse to accept my preferences.
The web is consisted of not only hypertext, but also hypermedia.
Quite the jump in logic
It's this concept called liberty that people have seem to have forgotten.
Why don't you complain to the authors of such sites? Or stop visiting them? You want a higher institution to forbid something for everybody (even though it can be appropriate in many cases), but why do you keep visiting it and don't look for a better website?
If we want people to be happy visiting sites unfamiliar to them and encourage diversity in their reading, we need to make sure the defaults are good. You can always adjust them on sites you know well.
Honestly, I am quite scared by people, who so easily agree to ban or restrict things for the whole population, just to avoid those 3 seconds of a day, during which they may feel uncomfortable.
And I believe the exact opposite.