I discovered this by accident. Recently, redding.com switched using Facebook to host their reader comments. For a while, I saw no comments on any article. It was a revelation. I really don’t care that much what a random group of strangers thinks about everything written at redding.com. It was nice.
But then I saw others commenting on Facebook about the comments at redding.com (negative comments, of course). So I began to wonder if it was just me who couldn’t see the comments. Sure enough, it was just me.
I use Chrome. I had previously installed a privacy plug-in named https://disconnect.me/ It was not letting Facebook requests into my browser, effectively shutting off the comments.
I like this plug-in. The free version lets you see who is tracking you and making requests at various websites, and you can turn them on or off with a software switch. So the default setting turns off the comments at redding.com. And several other things as well. The plug-in counts 66 things at redding.com at my browser:
Obviously you can leave the comments available, and choose not to read them for the same refreshing experience. But just like the ever popular car-wreck-rubbernecker analogy, I just always looked. And doing so, I was nearly always disappointed. The rare insight gained was not nearly valuable enough to offset the barrage of negativity I could not un-see.
So now they are simply switched off.
I suppose I’d forgotten just how pleasant it can be to simply read an article, and move on. No rubbernecking the wreckage. As revelations go, this one wasn’t earth shattering. But it’s been a change for the better.