"The original page has been disabled by the publisher"

Something I see on a few of my feeds… Kind of curious about it.

First question, how exactly do they specify that this should be disabled? More importantly, why would they want to disable it and why is it even an option?

I just fail to see what the benefit is for the publisher in forcing me to see the generally truncated feed text to then click the link to read on if I’m interested, wouldn’t it be in their best interest to have me load the actual page ads and all by default? This is only made weirder by the text only view that pulls out the complete text from the page, how is that not disabled?

Among the few readers that have the option to display the original article inside the reader this is the first where I’ve seen publishers able to disable it.

So yea, why is that an option for the publisher and why would they want to use it (I’ll assume at least one asked for it seeing how there is no benefit for the user in it)?


My guess would be these sites are showing that message because they don’t allow being loaded through an iFrame. Samuel can probably confirm.

As I said though, I’ve never seen this before in any reader capable of showing the original article.

For example, two of the feeds where I see this happen, The Escapist and The Verge, both load fine in the the website view on Netvibes (reader I’ll likely be switching from) and that’s not Netvibes working around some limitation put in place by either site either, I just made a basic HTML file with bare minimum iframes for both sites and both loaded just fine.

OK, found an answer in the FAQ. Any site can just email Samuel and he will put them on an opt-out list…

As pointed out in the FAQ though this view doesn’t affect ads or original content so there really is no point for them to do so.

Guess I’ll be sending a few site some mails and ask them why they’ve chosen to disable this as there really is no good reason to, I could understand an opt-out for text mode but not story or original, that opt-out should just be removed…

If I get any answers from the sites I email I’ll post a comment here for anyone else who might ever wonder this.

The FAQ says this though:
“However, consider that when in the Original view, your ads and original content are unaffected.”

But yea, I suppose the snapshot would be a reasonable explanation… In that case I agree with you Cody, disable the snapshot and let the user simply load the original page in an iframe from the original publisher, might take a bit longer to load for the user but it will always be an option and it’s on less thing for Newsblur servers to handle (which would be good right now), everyone wins.

Two things.

First, a note about the FAQ. The FAQ is correct in saying that - the ads and original content are unaffected in a visual sense. You are still seeing the ads. But they are cached ads, meaning they are the ads newsblur was given when they cached the site. No ad network wants this - they want you to hit the ad servers yourself, to get “personalized” ads or to at least log the crap out of you and track you across websites. Websites need to keep their ad providers happy. The publishers themselves also generally want the hit - they want to know what stories are popular, where the users are coming from, etc. If they didn’t care about any of this stuff then they wouldn’t be feeding you a truncated RSS feed and you wouldn’t need story view!

Second, how it actually works (on the dev server). Now I am not yet (plan to be when android app is improved) a paid user of Newsblur, although I think its probably the best replacement and blows my mind that’s its a one man show. Off track, my point being I only had 12 sites to check, several which had their original views “disabled.” In my tests I found that the “Original View” is indeed a cached copy of the site homepage served from Newsblur’s servers - this is what publishers/advertisers object too. I did find however that the “Story View” is an frame of the actual publisher website.

You imply a question of why cache the view? Again, this is my opinion based on the behavior of Newsblur I see because Samuel has yet to comment. Anyway the “original” view is likely cached because that is how Newsblur can mark stories as read as you scroll through the original view. Newsblur probably reads the DOM of the site to understand where stories change, and can thus mark your unread items off as read as you scroll down the page. Cool feature indeed, and probably can’t be done with a frame. Thus the cache! And it’s the cache publishers/advertisers object to, possibly even with legal grounds. Thus the process to remove them Newsblur follows.

However, Newsblur disables both the cached original view and the non-cached story view on disabled feeds. My question - why block the story view too?

From what I can tell, this is how Newsblur works now:

  1. Cache original view but frame story view.
  2. If publisher objects, disable both views.

Obviously, many of us users find this non-ideal. I can think of two alternatives.

Ideally, if Newsblur wants to keep caching, then it could:

  1. Cache any views it wants.
  2. If publisher objects, stop caching and instead frame all views.

Or the other alternative:

  1. Stop caching, frame both views.
  2. Publishers have no ground for objection.

Unless I am unaware of some problem with framing? I’ve been on the internet forever and never heard any such thing. According to Stanford’s Copyright and Fair use and a Wikipedia summary of court cases, there is no legal problem.


Of course the publishers are free to put framebusters on their site, which I’m free to strip out with a browser extension.

I’m also interested in hearing the official response. Not happy about this limitation.

One of the three sites I sent emails to actually sent me an answer today, The Verge (other two being Neowin and The Escapist), interestingly the answer was that they were not aware of ever having opted out. I’m inclined to believe it, their sister-site Polygon isn’t disabled and I see no reason for them to lie.

The person who mailed me said he’d put it on his list of things to look in to and I provided him Samuels email.

Still awaiting answers from the others, will be curious to see what they say.

If you as I think they the caching/snapshot should just be removed and the original site simply displayed in an iframe (which would remove any reason to even provide opt-outs) you should come over to the idea thread and make your voice hear there as well :smiley: https://getsatisfaction.com/newsblur/…

OK, so I had a twitter conversation with Samuel about this:


The take away is that this is by design, likely as a courtesy to publishers, and won’t be changing.

So the reality is that those of us who dislike this behavior need to get an extension developed! I tried peaking at the JS but its obfuscated. I know I can look at the source on github but its likely beyond my limited skill, we need to get someone with more know how involved!

Given that this behavior is not gonna change until we can get an extension made, this is a good idea to email the publishers, I’ll take start doing the same.

Well that’s a shame.

I just had a look at the source of Newsblur (html source on page that is) whiling having a story loaded in story view. From that I’d guess that the iframe of the story view is not cached as the iframe’s src attribute points directly to the article original site. Original view on the other hand points to “/reader/page/#######” which would be internal.

In other words, I could understand allowing opt-outs for original view as it would interfere with ads for example, story mode just shows the original site a directly. Many feeds are truncated specifically to make people visit the actual site, story mode allows users a simple way to do so while staying inside the reader and not opening a bunch of new tabs.

(Yes, still hoping Samuel might see it our way :p)

As for an addon… I could probably, given enough time, find the related functions in the source code of Newsblur but I’ve never done a single browser extension so all I could do with it would be tweak it and host my own version of Newsblur, yea, not doing that. I tried finding some kind of list of opted-out sites in the source by using githubs search functions but had not luck, either the search isnt very good at searching through code or the opted-out sites aren’t listed with their URLs in plaintext.

FWIW, I found a workaround. If you filter the feed through Yahoo Pipes, then it will appear as a different feed which should render opt-out by RSS feed url ineffective.

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That’s funny I thought of that last night in bed and was gonna try it when I got home!

Only problems:
1.Dependent on Yahoo keeping Pipes around.
2. A laundered RSS will have less followers, and then slower updates, then the original on Newsblur.
3. We are making Newsblur do more work then is really necessary.

Anyway, until we get an extension, is a good work around!

I’m quite sure Samuel knows what we want and the reasons why, he’s chosen to do it this way. And until I’m a Newsblur developer I respect that.

You wanna really have some cognitive dissonance, try squaring the reasoning of respecting an opt out for story view (which does load the original site and give a publisher pretty much everything including ad views) but keeping text view (which extracts all the content from the publisher while giving them nothing in return).

Anyway, back to an addon. I doubt a list of opted-out sites is sent, I’m sure it’s just a flag stored on the server for each feed and send to you with the reading view. I would wager the javascript just adapts to the flag. Once identifying the relevant functions, a small tweak to the javascript would likely be all that is needed. Wouldn’t even really need an extension, a userscript should do the trick. Unfortunately while I’m decent at HTML/CSS I am a new at JS. Maybe some day I’ll tackle it.

Indeed, could have sworn I made that point already (though from the publsiher perspective) opting out of story is odd since it just displays odd content, text view doesn’t have opt-out put rips text out of the original page and context, peculiar…

Hmm, your probably right. With a database heavy project like this having the opt-outs hardcoded would be kind of silly :stuck_out_tongue:

Hopefully we’ll catch the attention of someone like minded who do know their way around browser addons or userscripts.

Been playing with the source for a few minutes, the disabled status is passed as a property from the server “disabled_page.” By removing the classes “NB-disabled” and “NB-disabled-page” from the buttons, the buttons become non-greyed and clickable. However, the view still doesn’t switch. I believe there is a part of reader.js that still needs to be modified to enable the switching. I might play with it some more but its hard because I don’t know JS and its obfuscated.

If I figure it out though, then its just up to automating it with a userscript or extension.

Probably be very easy for someone with decent JS knowledge, wish we could recruit someone.

Had a quick look at reader.js, what a massive file, and no comments…
Not much time now but I did find this, line 1231.
That function seem to be determining if a feed is disabled (wouldn’t surprise me if it’s done in more places though), first it does this var feed = NEWSBLUR.assets.get_feed(feed_id || this.active_feed); it then uses that a couple of lines down if (feed && feed.get(‘disabled_page’)).
Looking towards the top of the script (first few lines) we find this NEWSBLUR.assets = new NEWSBLUR.AssetModel();.

Find where the code for NEWSBLUR.AssetModel() and then the function get_feed within it, one possible route to get around this might just be to have the userscript make sure get_feed(‘disabled_page’) is never set even when it’s supposed to. Not quite sure how one would do that, would have to look in to how userscripts work more specifically, but first we need to find that function.

Right, I know where the feed[‘disabled_page’] is set, line 162 in models.py. Question is how you can modify that using a userscript.

Although this misfeature is publisher-friendly, it is customer-unfriendly. If I had known about this before becoming a user, I would have chosen another product.

It’s not even publisher friendly really. Disabling the ‘Original’ view might be since it shows a cached version of the site but all story view is is an iframe for the article URL it shows the original page without interference.

I still can not see a logical reason for why story view is also blocked, especially since text mode which rips the text out of an article is always available.