Stop making “lazy list” posts or I’ll kill you (with Greasemonkey script)

Posted in Web

I really was going to let this slide. But something pushed me over the edge today.

I’m not the first to complain about this; Matt Haughey said it a year ago. But since then things have only gotten worse.

Blogging is a trade far more respectable than its silly name would suggest, folks. I understand that traffic equals money. I don’t mind that you’re using a gimmick to get people to click on your link. I mind that you’ve been using the same gimmick for a year and a half. Find something different! Hell, fall back on the old “CLICK HERE FOR GIRLS MAKING OUT” ruse! You’ve only begun to explore ways to manipulate your readers!

“Protest programming,” as a form of agitprop, is at least a generation old. Its earliest recorded practitioner was the anonymous soul who uploaded a simple GW‐BASIC program to a BBS in 1986:

20 GOTO 10

Profound commentary for its time.

My contribution to the art form is a Greasemonkey script that will “redact,” CIA-style, those posts that are deemed to use the “list format” crutch. It does this by checking for a numeral at the beginning of the link. It also jumps through a few hoops to catch edge cases like a preceding article (“The 9 Best Ways to Blog Your Meals”), spelled‐out words (“Thirteen Productivity Habits of Insomniacs (Tip 1: Sleep Less)”), and preceding blog titles (“WorkflowSynergies » Blog Archive » 4 Ways to Synergize Your Workflows”).

To illustrate, here’s a before/after screenshot of’s popular links tagged with “lists.” (Fish in a barrel, I know. But I needed something to test against.)

Download it. Observe how much it obscures, your network’s links, or even your own links. Gaze into your own souls, Internet users. Like what you see?

Here’s the script. Should also work with Safari 3 and GreaseKit.