web: how to read blocked web articles

It’s an arms race to read articles that fade out under a “Please subscribe” overlay. In Firefox, try:

  • Click the “Toggle reader view” icon between the location field and star.
  • Press F12 for the browser’s Developer Tools, use the “Pick element” cursor to click on the overlay, and delete it in the Inspector.
  • Press F12 for Developer Tools and in the console type document.body.innerText and press Ctrl+Enter.
  • Read the article at the Internet Archive’s Wayback machine.
  • There was a Firefox add-on that told web sites “I’m Google’s web crawler” so you’d see what they want Google to index. Now I can’t find it amongst dozens of add-ons in search results for “bypass” and “paywall.”
  • Give up and run lynx in a terminal.

I feel bad doing this, and a little less bad for running uBlock Origin to disable ads. I subscribe to the Guardian, Washington Post, New Yorker, probably others I’ve forgotten about, donate to PBS, contributed to LWN and Phoronix years ago, … but it’s not enough. I wish the 1990s idea (by David Chaum?) of the cursor changing to a ¢ when you hover over a link, then you pay $.15¢ or so to read the article had taken off. Imagine getting hacked though!

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