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SFGate inserts a link to the story when you copy text on their site. Try it (sfgate.com)
47 points by bkudria on July 28, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 46 comments

Slightly off-topic, but I tend to highlight text as I read it, and I find it very annoying how they seem to automatically save the text snippet that you highlight whenever you highlight it. The progress bar constantly updates and it's quite distracting.

Good to know that I'm not the only one. And not only do I highlight the text, but I just keep clicking, highlighting and un-highlighting. So I'm probably really overloading their servers with the AJAX callbacks.

I do the same. The New York Times and similar sites that have actions on highlight drive me nuts.

AdBlockPlus. It flags .tynt.com as adware, so sfgate just seems like inert text to me.

With respect to NYT, I've found this rule to be quite effective:


Kills that nasty action.

Out of curiosity, do you (and this question is open to other compulsive selectors) tend to play with things physically when you read as well? Eg. subconsciously pick up a nearby object and start playing with it.

(I do both, and I suspect they tend to go together)

Yeah I'm the same way. I'm a compulsive highlighter and I often find myself disassembling pens or mechanical pencils, or folding paper, or removing the plastic coating inside a bottlecap, or balancing my glasses on the tip of my finger...The people I spend time with in meetings must wonder if I'm actually paying attention.

Yes I do, and now that you mention it, I'm sure it's two manifestations of the same behavior.

Not while reading, but I'm notoriously bad when I'm on the phone...small objects all over my house and office are in a constant state of displacement because I pick them up and set them down somewhere else while on the phone.

Haha, yes, absolutely. I always like to have something to distract my hands. Rubber erasers are heaven for this.

No, not usually.

Same here. Those tiny inline balloon popups are always in the way!

I highlight to track my position, so it's easier to keep reading after I scroll.

Hmmm, scrolling is not ideal for reading (e.g the Kindle pages, I think). Problem = opportunity, so maybe one solution is a plugin that automatically adds pagination (not actual pages, just mark them with horizontal bars - I think easy enough to do in greasemonkey).

Every time you select something they post back to their server with details about the selection (including the article, location of your selection, referrer, etc)

Would it be useful for browsers to allow AJAX requests that don't trigger "network use is happening" ? Is there a security concern?

That's already the case for AJAX requests in most browsers. The problem is that Tynt doesn't use AJAX for the communication (they can't, because they communicate with a domain other than the one serving the content). I'm guessing they use a hidden iframe instead.

It's Tynt Tracer: http://tracer.tynt.com/


I'm not getting an inserted link. I am, however, using NoScript, and this kind of nonsense is exactly why I love that add-on.

Note that the front page (which HN links to) does NOT have this feature -- only the article pages.

Congrats! You win!

It is sort of a silly feature, but I figured the discussion here would be interesting. I was right :)

Under Linux with Firefox and NoScript enabled. Right-click "Copy" does add the link. But just a "highlight" and "middle-button-paste" doesn't add the link. NoScript warns me of an XSS attempt when I highlight the text though.

Esquire is doing the same http://www.esquire.com :

<!-- Tynt Tracer Beta --> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://tcr.tynt.com/javascripts/Tracer.js?user=aTIf7gthSr3P6...; <!-- //Tynt Tracer Beta --> </div>

Mac OS X, safari 4, Doesn't work. When I copy parts of a story, all I get are a couple of blank lines.

Mine is working with the same setup, are you sure you don't have any script blocking activated?

edit: You have to use CMD+C to make it work, not the mouse buttons.

Doesn't work with Chrome either. I copy the text, I get empty lines.

hmm just tried it with Chrome on my machine and it seemed to be working, perhaps they've already updated?

Firefox on Linux. No link.

You also have to copy through the browser's clipboard interface, not the X11 selection. Presumably Javascript is capable of hooking the former, but not the latter.

Ah, select/middle mouse button click is the one true copy/paste. I would never have occasion to see this happen.

Still doesn't work, even with using the Edit menu. I setup AdBlock to stop the NYT doing similar (as others have mentioned), and possibly it's blocking this one too.

I feel so isolated from the everyman. The web I see is not the web he sees.

I'm not even sure how to copy text to the clipboard (with conkeror).

I'm using Seamonkey on Linux, with javascript on, and the page fully loaded. I've tried ctrl-c, right click/copy, and edit/copy from the toolbar. In all cases it copies normally with no link inserted.

Worked for me using both Ctrl-C and right-click copy in Firefox in Linux.

Page seems to have to completely load before it works though.

Text gets scrambled when you copy. First paragraph works ok, try others. http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/yazarlar/11403547.asp?yazarid=69

Doesn't work in Opera 10 b2 on Windows Server 2008...still, neat feature.

Haven't bothered looking through the JS source, but it seems to be something bound to C-c. It only works for me on Linux when I use the main clipboard; highlight-and-middle-click doesn't do it.

Mac OS X, ff3.5, Doesn't work. I just get the text. No link.

Well, it works for me on FF3.5 and Linux, which is a bit more exotic, so...are you sure you have JS turned on?

worked here. tiger, ff3.5.

I don't understand why this functionality angers people. It's like people don't want their information to have context...

Lots of people compulsively select text when they read, and this feature makes that distracting.

That's an argument against the "helpful" little box that pops up when you select on NYTimes ... but that's not what this is about. This is silent (until you copy/paste anyway).

I can't speak for other browsers, but in Firefox there are some brief but distracting UI changes when you select text. It is a side-effect of the click tracking code they use.

This is a great idea on their part.

Much, much, much better then the Don't you dare link to us! strategy.

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