Killing GreaseMonkey

19 comments
Source Title:
How To Disable GreaseMonkey On Your Web Site
Story Text:

Dean Edwards posts code to kill GreaseMonkey. If you're worried about user scripts mucking up your pages, a la Autolink, then you may want to slip this little bit of code into your templates...

Oooooh, evil evil evil!

No, not really. It's your site, you published it, and just becuase GreaseMonkey is cool, it's really no different from Autolink other than the fact that it's in the hands of the little guys rather than the GOOG jugernaut....

Comments

Big sidenote.

Have you noticed how track-/pingbacks look grayed-out on that blog? Seems like a good way to have them in between the posts, but get the 'real' posts to stand out more... (€ .02)

"It's your site, you published it"

Correct, it is your site and you published it. You published it to my computer whereby it was reorganised to my preference.

It is, after all, my computer where it is modified.

The egocentric "It's your site" approach shows little respect for your audience.

[)

 

>>The egocentric "It's your site" approach shows little respect for your audience.

...but using software that can radically change, even break the publishers website is the height of respectful behavior, right?

If a publisher chooses to implement code that excludes a portion of the potential audience for whatever reason, that is his right. If you as a viewer choose not to visit sites that don't permit you to monkey with them, that is your right also. Neither side has an absolute right to dictate to the other.

One of the great strengths, and weaknesses, of the Web as it stands, is that it is a dialogue, and thus, like all conversations, it needs the cooperation of both sides to make it work properly.

 

actually I published it to a webserver where I invited visitors to view it. Since the visitors computer has to take a temporary copy of the data to allow the visitor to see it then I have no issue with that.

But if everything someone views on the internet becomes theirs to do as they wish with by the act of their taking a copy then we have some very interesting legal cases coming up I imagine.

 

Correct, it is your site and you published it. You published it to my computer whereby it was reorganised to my preference.

The internet is a library, not a bookstore.

When you buy my site, you can modify it all you like, just as if you were running a highlighter over a book you just purchased from me or my good friends amazon.

 

Copyright law gives you protection against unauthorised duplication.

It does not give you the right to dictate how people view your content nor what they do with your content for their own use.

If you wish to enforce such terms upon a user you will need to get them to agree to a contract. Check out other references on the Internet for the legal opinion on the validity of anonymous click-through agreements.

If I buy a book I am quite entitled to read it in any order I like. I can highlight words, cut pages out and stick in my binder for future reference. I can rest pages of my own notes or other interesting articles between the pages.

If you don't like the idea of people being able to use your information how they want for their own use, don't publish it.

[)amien

 

If I buy a book I am quite entitled to read it in any order I like. I can highlight words, cut pages out and stick in my binder for future reference. I can rest pages of my own notes or other interesting articles between the pages.

Exactly. If you've bought it. You highlight library books, and you're in the wrong - and not just because other people have to use it (as this doesn't apply to personal internet settings) - but because its not yours.

(FWIW, I'm not entirely against the practice, I use Greasemonkey myself, I just think its worth being clear on things through ambiguous and somewhat ridiculous similes)

 

Yeah wibble,

I'll add that i couldn't care less what GreaseMonkey does with my sites, it's ok by me - there's a world of difference between the small usage of GM and the large scale usage of Autolink - and it would depend on the site of course - i've no problem with AL on my current sites, as it won't really affect them much - but if i ran a travel site, or sold books, i'd block it.

look at it this way Damieng.

If you were talking to people you knew and every time you mentioned a book some strange bloke walked up and told them they could buy that book from his mate for only $10.99, and while he was doing that he distracted them from your conversation, you'd get a bit annoyed I'm sure, even if your friends found that information sort of useful.

If you asked him to stop and he said that if you didn't want him to do it you should not talk to your friends that would probably also be a tad irritating?

At the moment there are no sites of mine I actually want to block autolink on. But Marissa has said, officially, in interviews with journalists, that they plan to expand it to include products. Also given the inaccuracy of the mapping in the Uk currently I'd rather not have that 'facility' from my sites. So I would like the ability to say "thanks but no thanks". As TallTroll says customers can always vote with their feet.

as a "content publisher" i see it like this...

I don't mind my site's pages being monkeyed to add additional user functionality. Also like Nick I don't have a lot invested in the bookseller's arguments against it, but I do have concerns about readers not getting my real content because a GM script they downloaded from somewhere is having unforseen (or forseen) effects on what I published.

I'm not going to disallow GM, but I do have concerns.

 

The difference with your book guy story is that nobody asked him. If a user is greasemonkeying a script against your site it's because they have specifically gone out of their way to get that functionality for whatever reason. You don't know that reason or even what the script is but blanket disable the functionality.

If a user was running these scripts unknowingly because they were part of a default installation I'd understand where you are coming from, especially if they were financially motivated.

But this is not the case at this time.

[)

but...

Damien I'm not sure if you were responding specifically to my post, but I think you're making an unwarranted assumption: that users will always know what scripts they're running and what those scripts do. That may be mostly true now, but will become less and less so as more and more non-geek (as in "unable to read javascript") users start to see the benefits of GreaseMonkey. The way I see it the "the user chose this behavior" argument is only valid if the users always remember what they've chosen, but in many cases the user forgets that they've even made a choice.

Let me posit this. Suppose someone builds a script for fun that prepends every instance of the string "Microsoft" with a more offensive version of the word "frelling" so that everytime I publish "Microsoft" the user of this script sees "frelling Microsoft". It's far from unimaginable that some users will forget that there's a script doing that. Those users might think that's my opinion, or decide that my site is offensive and block it. Many more serious examples can be imagined as well.

To further clarify my concerns though, I'll go this far - I don't even have a problem if a GM script modifies my content (I can see many, many useful reasons for doing this) as long as the user knows they're getting modified content. And before I'd consider blocking GM I'd have to see some pretty extreme cases of modifying behavior.

sorry for doubling posting...

Here's a quote from Mark Pilgrim on the GreaseMonkey mailing list that illustrates my point:

Eventually you'll get so used to your user scripts that you'll forget
they're running, like you forget that the web has ads and popups until
you see some poor schmuck using IE during a presentation or something.
(During a training class last year, my instructor had multiple
spyware toolbars visible on the projection screen.)

-- Cheers, -Mark

It's merely a control issue

You think it's useful/funny/cool/necessary etc. to fuddle around with my site content by implementing a script (normally not even your own either) to screw it up - fine, go ahead. It's not even for me to condescendingly say that this is "your right" because I don't have any "rights" to confer. You don't need my permission to do it.

On the other side, if I think it's contrary to what I deem to be usability, if I find it obnoxious/impractical/misleading/disruptive or whatever, I'll block your nifty little shapeshifter script if I can. So go and shout bloody murder, I couldn't care less.
Get a stronger script to bust mine, and I'll get or develop another one that'll kill yours in turn, etc. etc.

We don't need no stinkin' Goo Web Accelerator traffic on our sites, so we tell them as much. If they don't like it, no problem - we don't like their spyware either and it is, after all, our call alone.

You don't want to see my site the way I want to present it to you, just get lost.

Because, see, I don't need your permission either.

No scope for moralistic debates there, IMV.

Exactly!

>> You don't want to see my site the way I want to present it to you, just get lost.

>> Because, see, I don't need your permission either.

Ah, that says it just about right.

>> The difference with your book guy story is that nobody asked him. If a user is greasemonkeying a script against your site it's because they have specifically gone out of their way to get that functionality for whatever reason.

The corollary to that assertion is that the user never asked ME if I mind them running a script that changes how the site appears. For the overwheling majority of publishers, it's a non-issue, but for the small remainder who do care, it's important that they have the same level of choice (ie, to block GM) as the audience does to use it

GM vs AutoLink

I'm personally strongly in favour of all kinds of Grease Monkey stuff, but i'm strongly opposed to Autolink, which is very much the same thing from a pure functional perspective.

The reason for this apparent contradiction is only that Google chose to autolink to certain shops (eg. amazon) so that my page will work as an affiliate vehicle for Google and/or those shops.

I do not mind scripts that add functionality to my pages, or even change design/layout/whatever, but i am against using my pages to generate income for any party that does not include me as part of the deal.

 

Even if GOOG were to give publishers a cut, i couldn't stomach autostink unless one could opt out...

Opt-in only, please!

Going for opt-out is tantamount to accepting it without resistance.

Wait...

It seems greasemonkey only affects the code on the browser on which it is installed...

So..what's the big deal?

*confused*

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