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What happened to Snopes.com?

A friend sent me a link to Snopes article and noted that JavaScript is used to prevent people from selecting text on their pages. It looks like they’re using a pretty dumb trick:

document.onmousedown=disableselect

You can still select all and copy. You just can’t select portions of the text unless you disable JavaScript.

I also noticed that Snopes has eliminated the bylines for the article writers. I find that a bit odd, not only because they used to be there, but also because some care was taken to make the bylines clever and pithy. I tried to find some examples of the old bylines, but I see that Snopes.com blocks archive.org as well.

The Snopes.com Wikipedia article doesn’t mention any changes to the site in recent times. I wonder if it’s just going the way of lots of enthusiast driven sites, where the only way to make a living is to lard the site user-hostile ads? (See also: Football Outsiders.) Anyone have any scoop on Snopes.com? It’s a shame to see what was once one of my favorite sites seemingly regress.

Update: Pulled up from the comments — XKCD on Snopes.

Another update: Some Snopes articles are really just ads.

8 Comments

  1. I think Snopes lost all of their credibility when they were pushing adware (Zango) in their advertising. All of a sudden they stopped being a place we could send the newbies to.

    As usual, XKCD summed it up brilliantly: http://xkcd.com/250/

  2. Yeah, I got the impression they sold out a while ago. It was a good idea but they lost a lot of credibility with their choices in online advertising technologies, etc.

  3. I run the Israeli equivalent of snopes.com and this is why I am so sensitive to what’s happening there.

    I have totally trusted them (I don’t belive I am writing this in past tense) but now I will have to put on my skepticism when I read their recommendations.

  4. That anti-select script has been there for as long as I can remember.

  5. Aristotle, this is Socrates. And I remember when Snopes had copyable text without turning off Javascript.

  6. Thank god for greasemonkey and noScript. 🙂

  7. In Firefox you can also select with the keyboard using caret browsing (F7 key).

  8. I can’t seem to be able to select any article text on snopes using caret browsing. The page layout is throwing off navigation.

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