Palin-Free in 2011
January 13, 2011 9:05 AM   Subscribe

I want to remove Sarah Palin from my internet. How can I do this?

It stresses me out to read anything about Sarah Palin. Nothing about her is interesting to me and her existence only adds negativity to my life. Therefore, I want to live in a world as Palin-free as possible. I get close to 100% of my news from the internet, so removing her from the internet would be the easiest way to vastly improve the situation. Ideally, links to any news article on any website containing her name would just not appear on my screen.

I know that something called Greasemonkey exists to alter web page coding, but I don't know how to write scripts, where to search for ones that currently exist, or how to enable them in my browser. I use Chrome but am willing to switch to Firefox to make this happen. I am also willing to learn to write scripts. I'm serious about this. Help!
posted by something something to Computers & Internet (25 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
The easiest fix of all: read, watch and listen to the BBC, FT, and the Economist instead.
posted by aquafortis at 9:08 AM on January 13, 2011 [14 favorites]

This doesn't strike me as a simple problem. The closest analogue I can think of is ad blocking, but that's a bit simpler because you just have to remove an image. Here you would want to censor text and links. (However I think some of the adblockers deal with Google text ads, so maybe I'm wrong.)

At any rate, look at Privoxy. This is the sort of thing usually used to filter Web content. It will work with any browser.
posted by massysett at 9:14 AM on January 13, 2011

I thought this is an interesting topic, maybe on day everyone will have their own private version of the internet? Anyway, I don't know specifics about Greasemonkey, but I did find this link that is supposed to remove an Ron Paul reference from a specific site, in this case

Link for your research:
posted by gregjunior at 9:25 AM on January 13, 2011

Mod note: Folks, you don't have to agree with the asker's desires, but answering the fairly straightforward question or just not answering are your two options.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:27 AM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

I tried to hack that script to block Palin related news but I couldn't get it to work.
posted by special-k at 9:34 AM on January 13, 2011

Have you tried FoxFilter or other parental control software? Most of them comes with keyword blocking, and it shouldn't be hard to block out sarah+palin.
posted by Sallysings at 9:34 AM on January 13, 2011

Oops. I just tried it myself and it blocks the entire page. Some parental control software does include "safe" search where results with flagged words simply doesn't show up.
posted by Sallysings at 9:36 AM on January 13, 2011

How about using a kiddie filter, and just blocking sites with the word "Palin"? You could combine this with using an RSS reader - that way, you might click on a link not knowing it's about her, but be blocked or redirected.

Note that if you do this, or any other solution I can think of, you're going to remove a lot of pages - everything about TLC, the Republican Party, Alaska, the 2012 presidential election, the 2008 presidential election, the Tea Party, conservatives in general, Glenn Beck, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Dancing With the Stars, ABC's 2009-10 schedule, reality TV, and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember will also be blocked.

Personally, I'd just get the Greasemonkey script that filters bad words, and replace the name with something like "sunshine and daisies, wheee!" To reduce stress, you see.
posted by SMPA at 9:37 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

But what if Sarah Palin's name were in the headlines on, say, Metafilter? Wouldn't the whole page be blocked?
posted by wayland at 9:40 AM on January 13, 2011

Grease Monkey functionality is available in Chrome. I'm not quite sure what you want to block, though. For example, when reading AskMe, would this question be skipped altogether? Or would just the name be blocked out? Replaced with a different name?
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:48 AM on January 13, 2011

I threw together this script which changes any mention of Sarah Palin to Porky Pig. You can change that to anything my right-clicking the greasemonkey icon at the bottom of Firefox > Manage user scripts > Choose the script > then edit.
posted by special-k at 9:55 AM on January 13, 2011 [15 favorites]

This is meant for blocking your ex, but perhaps it'll work for Sarah Palin too?

posted by jacquilinala at 9:59 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

The easiest fix of all: read, watch and listen to the BBC, FT, and the Economist instead.

All three regularly cover Sarah Palin.
posted by the foreground at 10:00 AM on January 13, 2011 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm not quite sure what you want to block, though. For example, when reading AskMe, would this question be skipped altogether? Or would just the name be blocked out? Replaced with a different name?

I'd like the question just not to appear, although that seems like it would be complicated to implement given that her name is just a piece of text on the screen. My main goal - which seems simpler, but I don't know that it actually is - would be to remove links to news stories that contain her name. So, for example, the page would still load, but "Ticker: Palin gets frank advice" (which is a headline on the site right now) would just not appear in the list of stories.

And thanks for all the ideas so far!
posted by something something at 10:19 AM on January 13, 2011

If you read your news through RSS, you can run your feeds through FeedRinse, and set a rule to disallow any posts containing She Who Must Not Be Named.
posted by schmod at 10:25 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

As a person who has attempted to do the very same thing, and failed, I have to say that your best bet is probably just going to be willpower. You see that name, you do not click, you step away from the computer, whatever. However, I will watch this thread carefully because my willpower is just not quite strong enough and I find myself freaking out more than I'd like after reading the current ridiculous statement.
posted by coupdefoudre at 10:52 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This script should do it (Use greasemonkey). This is only tested on It should remove links that contain "palin"

// ==UserScript==
// @name PalinHider
// @namespace pyro
// @include http*://*
// ==/UserScript==

function hideLinks()
var links = document.getElementsByTagName("a");
for(var keyVar in links)
var thisLink = links[keyVar];
var linkText = thisLink.innerHTML;
if(linkText &&>-1)"none";

window.setTimeout(hideLinks, 1000);
window.setInterval(hideLinks, 3000);
posted by pyro979 at 11:03 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you! This is very exciting. Now, how do I get that into Chrome? or do I need to switch to Firefox?
posted by something something at 11:31 AM on January 13, 2011

Another alternative, if you're interested in blocking just her name but not the great sites themselves (like Metafilter) that occasionally try to get her name on the front page in times of controversy, would be to look into a swear filter of some sort. Replace her name with something else or something funny/clever. A quick search brought up a Chrome plugin like this one which conveniently replaces offending words of your choice with asterisks (though you'd likely want your own word to go by). As diverse as webpages are I think it'd be hard to automate hiding specific content of a page pertaining to a topic you do not like. But blocking the page entirely is easy and very possible, albeit with its downsides (like occasionally no metafilter...and you wouldn't be able to come back and check on this particular question and give a favorite answer because it'd be blocked..which would make all of us sad).
posted by samsara at 11:40 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Maybe it would be a better idea to modify the greasemonkey script to block the entire parent element containing a Palin link? You might get a few false positives, but you won't end up with nonsensical paragraphs talking about She Who Must Not Be Named without mentioning her name.

I don't really think that's the best strategy for filtering these things's a very difficult problem!
posted by schmod at 11:54 AM on January 13, 2011

Best answer: this should help...Greasemonkey addon for Chrome.

Greasemonkey scripts are just text files which have the extension File.user.js

so in the above script by the user, copy it to a text file and name it noSP.user.js and add it to your chrome after installing the addon

Also if you want to look at other scripts is a great place to start.
posted by radsqd at 12:21 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

pyro979: Could that script be modified to knock out, say, paragraphs that include the offending word? (I don't know how different <a> and <p> are in that regard...) The result would be, to return to the AskMe example, that it would excise any paragraph (such as a question on the front page) that mentioned her rather than her name having to be part of the link. I think that would have the most effectiveness.

(Sports columnist Bill Simmons had this same idea for stories involving Brett Favre. Definitely not the worst idea I've ever heard...)
posted by SuperNova at 3:31 PM on January 13, 2011

But what about videos such as this one?
posted by rocco at 6:14 PM on January 13, 2011

I prefer substitution with ridiculous phrases. Figuring out which DOM object is the "real" one you want to block is rather difficult (impossible) across all sites without understanding the text itself.

I cobbled together a greasemonkey script to deal with iphone hysteria a few months back.
posted by benzenedream at 11:28 PM on January 13, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so much, everybody. I know this is a juvenile request but I really feel like I need a break from the Palin.
posted by something something at 12:33 PM on January 14, 2011

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