Yahoo News, part 2


When I made that post yesterday about how the new Yahoo News Photos had broken middle-clicking, my hope was to get an answer like,

"Use instead, it does pretty much the same thing as what Yahoo News Photos does, but it has real URLs."

Because, you know, that's what I thought I asked.

Apparently, though, I somehow used the wrong words, because that post turned into my biggest inadvertent idiot magnet in a long while. Apparently the Fanboy Contingent read my request for an alternate web site as a request for them to tell me how cool they think it is to write Javascript that rewrites other peoples' broken web pages.

But you know what else I didn't expect?

I didn't expect Yahoo to actually fix it the next day!

That, right there, is pretty awesome. Thank you very much, gecampbell! Yahoo News Photos works great now!

Tags: , ,

50 Responses:

  1. c9 says:

    You have a superpower. You can make Yahoo! do anything you want, but the price is listening to idiot comments about fixing precisely the wrong thing FOREVER.

  2. ralesk says:

    Wow, you're famous and feared, Zawinski.

  3. zuvembi says:

    I thought a complaint somewhere in their feedback section saying they'd broken their pages IMO was in order. Especially since I didn't have any 'useful' javascript suggestions nor other non-broken news-photo sites to recommend. Not that I expected any sort of action, but I included a pointer back to your shark-jumping post in it. I do wonder how many other people shot them a complaint based on your LJ entry.

    • jwz says:

      I also sent in a bug report before I made my LJ post asking for an alternate site. I didn't really expect them to act on it, though...

  4. grahams says:

    Can you un-jump the shark, or are they tainted forever?

  5. jzawodn says:

    How many of us on the inside felt the same way you did.

    Thanks for bitching. :-)

  6. roninspoon says:

    As cool as it was to get an actual fix from this cat, it looks like he may have created an LJ account for the express purpose of notifying you. That's some refreshing customer service.

  7. lars_larsen says:

    I think the reason nobody suggested another site is because yahoo is the ONLY free AP news photos site. I guess yahoo is the only company willing to pay AP for the rights. You can't even see the photos on AP's own site! Even though they say they're free for personal use.

  8. mark242 says:

    Kudos to Yahoo. No, seriously. Kudos to Yahoo. Constructive criticism on why something is a problem, and how to fix it will do a million times more good than offering up some dumbass workaround-- Greasemonkey zealots, take notice.

    • I thinks you misunderstand geeks. Most geeks see a problem as an opportunity to create a solution. It's what we do. Not always the best reaction, but the one that works most often for geeks. Sorry if that offends. :-)

      • jwz says:

        Gee, I must misunderstand geeks too. Because my impression of what is going on is that the reason you and yours suggest non-productive non-answers to questions that were not asked is just that you like to listen to your lips flap.

        • Feeling a tad tetchy today? Firstly, I have never suggested stuff on your lj. So bite you arse on the lips flapping bit. And secondly, i fail to understand why hacking up a greasemonkey script to put in a hack to put back the middle mouse button clickability is a bad suggestion.

          Yahoo are fucking brilliant, in as much as the actually listened to you, and fixed their site. But I have to use hundreds of sites a day where the primary concern of the site developers is not making a usable site, but making a site that fulfills the perverse desires of the business analysts. Like trying to keep people on the site. Or owning eyeballs. Or some other web 1.0 business plan.

          I don't mean to disclaim that there are people out there who tend to spend more time yammering on the way things should be, but I get cranky that I get bundled in with them on flimsy evidence. I suppose that happens when you are an internet god.

          • jwz says:


          • romulusnr says:

            you have a point there, more or less, because someday yahoo! simply won't give a fuck if they break their own site. Wouldn't be the first. (how many times have I had to rewrite my yahoo! news scraper [before they finally went rss, anyway]?) and google maps certainly aren't quick to add the bazillion Incredibly Useful Things that people have hacked up using all manner of icky javascript injection and what not.

            but, unfortunately, your point, valid as it may be, was irrelevant here.

            /me goes back to lurking (because that means mine is too)

          • grahams says:

            I hate getting bundled in with people like you that defend fucking idiots... And there's no doubt about it, these people replying to <lj user="jwz" />'s post were fucking idiots.

            Why? Because he asked a simple question, and they gave completely unapplicable answers.. Why were they unapplicable?

            • Perhaps JWZ can't always use Firefox
            • Perhaps he doesn't want to use a fragile hack around someone else's problem
            • Perhaps he needs Yahoo News Photos for some aspect of xscreensaver which obviously doesn't get helped at all by some twat's greasemonkey script

            Stop using "but they're just being geeks" as a defense for the idiots...

            • scsidisk says:

              Ohhh, brownie points, brownie points! You've just earned some serious cred with jwz, pass GO and collect 200 points. Butt-kissing annoys me, but when it's as smooth as you make it I don't mind.

              • matt_trout says:

                It appears to be a non-account in any case - no details, no journal entries, no friends list, so I think blocking it as a troll is probably appropriate.

            • panda_boner says:

              shut up you jobless dickweed toadie.

            • Yes, and these are all completely valid reasons for behaving like a childish prick.

              Not a 'fanboy' here, just a guy that found his posts interesting. Until this recent display, anyways.

              Here's someone who has a problem. People reading take up the challenge of finding a way out of said problem, and give friendly ideas. Even though it's not exactly the solution he wants, rather than give them a trivial pat on the back for their attempt at ingenuity, it's more exciting to berate them and call them "idiots", or "fuck you". Perhaps some Midol is in order.

              A lot of the ideas given seemed to be based on the premise that "You Can't Change The Big Corporate Website" (despite the interesting outcome), and instead using tools available to end users, so that he could continue to use Yahoo instead of having to switch someplace else.

              Is it really that hard to say:

              "UPDATE: Thanks for the ideas guys, but I'm not looking for browser specific hacks, or any hacks in general. I want either the problem fixed, or a source for photos that behaves similar to the old behavior of Yahoo Photos."

              Whew, that was tough.

        • fantasygoat says:

          Although true, bad-beard-wearing nerds love the sound of their own voice, the thing they love most of all is coming up with incredibly complex solutions to problems that actually could be solved much easier, with less pontificating and a bit of social engineering. Like the pen in space anecdote.

          I deal with this at work on a daily basis - there's a problem, the nerds want to build a server cluster and throw a database at it, I just tell them to shut up and yell at whoever fucked it up to just fix their bugs. Lo! It works! Surprise. Lather, rinse, repeat.

          I can't blame you for popping a rivet. Yelling at them is cathartic and since they never listen or learn, it's safe to do so on a regular basis.

          • scsidisk says:

            More brownie points, many many more brownie points! Yes you are profound because you agree with jwz and yes you are cool because you have a balanced view of life and yes, would you please please be my lj friend?

            Pretty please?

      • mark242 says:

        My car pings when I put in lower-octane gas. Perhaps you'd care to build me a rig that detects the specific audio signature of my engine pinging, and outputs a phase-inverted waveform into the passenger compartment, thereby cancelling out the sound?

        Quit it with all of the passive aggressive web solutions. They. Don't. Work.

        • scsidisk says:

          I was going to say something sarcastic about kissing jwz's butt and trying to be come across as so "I'm not like those fanboys" but when I see your avatar's goatee I realize that would be uncalled for to somebody as awesome as you. Goatees are so cool. Do you have a goatee in real life? Any pictures?

  9. ciphergoth says:

    Obviously fixed sites are better than worked-around broken sites, and it's good that we have that result in this instance. But Greasemonkey exists because it's so often the case that a really fucked-up site is still your only real option, because all the other options are in some way worse. If there had been a site as good as Yahoo photos but non-fucked-up, people would have suggested it. As it was, they suggested Greasemonkey as the next least-worst thing. What's so strange about that?

    Yes, put pressure on site authors to fix their broken HTML. Yes, vote with your mouse where you can and it makes a difference. But when those options aren't working out, it's good to have a fallback, no?

  10. gfish says:

    Curse all those complete strangers for helping you in not-quite-exactly the way you wanted them to!

    • Too subtle. Try:


      Yeah, I realise I'm probably banned for posting this, but it had to be said: you're being a dickhead, JWZ. If you didn't like their offerings at the Altar of JWZ, all you had to do was ignore them. Maybe even update the post with "NO MORE GREASEMONKEY SUGGESTIONS!! (PS: I AM ANGRY AND CYNICAL!! GRRR!!!)"

      I know this is your journal and all that, but... I don't know, do unto others or something. Flaming people for trying to help is tactless at best, and then crowing about it is worse. And if nothing else, surely you want to maximise the signal (original thought) to noise ("ME TOO!! I love you, JWZ.") ratio on your journal, for your own sanity...

      (And why am I bothering to post this on your journal, wasting my own time (yes, I know: and yours) when I could just stop coming back if your behaviour really bothers me so much? I don't know, maybe out of some sort of community spirit. Yeah, I know: you care *so much* about my ridiculous ideals. Well, I tried.)

      (Awaiting the requisite banning / deletion / rant about how you are so sick of everyone and this is why you hate people / implication that I am a Firefox weenie / "fuck you".)


      [1] "the JavaScript broke Yahoo News Photos"
      [2] "so I'm looking for a new! better!! Yahoo News Photos!"

  11. nomenklatura says:

    like you said: wow.

    but I think your influence extends further than that, I think you have actually influenced the content of today's guardian. The pictures in the heads post are in it, including those later posted by strspn. Could be a coincidence.....

  12. companyman says:

    JWZ acts surprised, but meanwhile, several of us here in the office were running a betting pool on how long it would take yahoo to at least respond, if not fix.

    (for the record, I had "days" - but the person with "hours" was deemed the winner)

  13. ronbar says:

    Just IGNORE them. I know it's fun to some extent to taunt the geeks, but when you gaze into the void, the void gazes back into you.

  14. You are the Harlan Ellison of blogging :)

  15. haran says:

    Apparently, though, I somehow used the wrong words

    The portion at the end of the post where you actually describe how to convert the sucky HTML\Javascript into something less offensive was an open invitation for GreaseMonkey suggestions. On the other had, thats probably what got the site fixed at the end, so thats there.

  16. baconmonkey says:

    have you considered ansking your questions i esparanto?
    you could probably write a hack to ping babelfish to translate your posts to esparanto.

    • edge_walker says:

      Using Greasemonkey?

    • taffer says:

      I usually just run things through the English to Korean filter, and then back again. For example, your comment:

      The ansking it did to spare your question iesparanto which spreads out? It was possible in Ping babelfish and the fact that it will translate your branch office in the esparanto the possibility the hack being bitter it was.

      Then again, I don't get out much.

  17. Maybe I'm mistaken about Hotmail's switch to JS coinciding with the popularity of tabbed browsing ... I might just be a poorly-thought-out "feature" from a mega-company.

  18. dzm6 says:

    Your lazyweb is teh awesome.