With the iPad 3 (supposedly) launching soon, movie spoilers hitting the internet before a trailer is released, and the general overabundance of news online, it can be difficult to avoid learning things you don’t want (or care) to. Here’s how to set up automatic blocks both globally and on specific websites so you can avoid any type of news.We’re inundated with news and rumours from all sides, and it often feels impossible to initiate your own media lockout on content. Whether you’re annoyed at all the iPad rumours, you’re trying to avoid Batman spoilers, or you simply want to unclog your feeds and get to the content you really enjoy, here’s a few tricks you can use depending on how hardcore you want to make your lockout.
You Don’t Mind a Little News Sneaking in Here and There
Most of us have a limit to the amount of rumours we can handle on any specific topic and if you want to subtly filter web content it’s not too hard. Here are a few mini tips and tricks to cut down on your exposure.
Use Blog-Specific Filters
A number of blogs have a way to automatically filter content when you visit them so you can avoid a type of news. You need a basic familiarity for how they use tags, but a little trial and error you can usually get it working pretty easily. This makes it so you can enjoy your favourite blogs without being inundated with content you don’t care about or are trying to avoid. Here’s a couple for popular blogs:
- On Many AOL sites (Joystiq, Engadget, etc): You can hide any tags you don’t want to see. Use /not:NAMEOFTHING to filter content. This doesn’t work across the network, but it does come in handy on a handful of sites. Use /exclude/name-of-thing after the URL. For instance, http://www.engadget.com/exclude/apple or http://www.joystiq.com/exclude/mass-effect-3.
- Filter tags on Tumblr: There doesn’t appear to be a URL trick for Tumblr, but there is a userscript. Use TumblrSavior to create a blacklist of tags that won’t show up when you’re browsing your favourite Tumblr blogs.
Block Keywords on Social Networks
Blocking content on social networks is a great way to intentionally keep yourself in the dark on any topic of your choosing. It’s especially handy during sports games you don’t care about, tech launches that mean nothing to you, or on opening weekend for games and movies. Here are a few ways to block content without unfollowing or defriending everyone.
- Twitter: Some Twitter apps, like Tweetdeck have a text filter hidden away in the options panel. On Tweetdeck, click Settings > Global Filter and add the text you want to filter away. If you prefer the web experience, two great ways exist to filter content. One is the Proxlet extension for Chrome that can actually block content on Twitter for iPhone, Twidroyd, Seesmic and Spaz as well on in Chrome. The other is the DeClutter bookmarklet that works in any browser. Both allow you to set up blacklists for specific words and phrases.
- Facebook: If you have friends that can’t seem to stop talking about iPads, then you might want to set up filters to get that content out of your news feed. FB Purity is an extension for Chrome and Firefox that allows you to set up content filters for status updates. Click the FB Purity button when you’re logged into Facebook. Type in any words you want to block in the Custom Text Filter box.
Automatically Hide Comments on Sites Known for Spoilers
One of the most annoying ways to spoil a movie, book or video game is when some commenter drops a massive spoiler out of nowhere. This is especially the case if you’re just trying to watch a trailer for a movie or a review of a video game. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to block these comments and continue on spoiler-free. Here’s how to do it.
- Block YouTube comments filled with spoilers: YouTube is a treasure trove of spoilers and it’s impossible to avoid them if they’ve been voted up. Blocking them can not only save your sanity, it can also keep spoilers at bay. No YouTube Comments for Chrome and YouTube Comment Snob for Firefox will hide the comments so you don’t have to worry about accidentally learning the end of a movie.
- Block comments on many sites: If you want to go on a full-blown comment lock-down, it’s pretty simple. CommentBlocker for Chrome and Firefox block a wide variety of comments across blogs and can can help ensure you don’t accidentally come across any information you don’t want to.
You Want to Initiate a Complete Block on All Spoilers and Rumours
If you’re going for a more extreme or long-term method, you need to set up your browsing in a way where you can avoid any type of content. This means tailoring and filtering your RSS feed and using extensions to block keywords from any site you visit.
Set Up RSS Filters in Google Reader
Google Reader doesn’t have a built-in way to filter content out of your feeds without completely unsubscribing from news sources. You’ll have to set up your feeds through another source.
- Use an extension: The Google Reader Filter GreaseMonkey script is a simple way to automatically hide away the news you don’t care about. You can set up a list of keywords you want to block and the script does the rest.
- Filter on the RSS level: The other option is to completely rewire your RSS feed using one of two services. One is Yahoo Pipes. We’ve shown you how to set up Yahoo! Pipes before, but it’s a rather complicated process to get everything set up. If you’re looking for a dead simple way to do it, Feed Rinse allows you to drop in your current RSS feed, set up filters, and be on your way to spoiler and rumour free existence in no time.
Use Extensions to Entirely Block Any Mention of the Content
If you really want to get rid of specific news or spoilers, it’s time to block the words from the entire internet. This should only be used in extreme cases, but if you really want to make sure you stay in the dark, it’s the only way to do it.
- Block websites based on keywords: The TinyFilter extension for Chrome and ProCon add-on for Firefox both allow you to set up keyword specific blacklists. This means when you try to visit a site with the keyword (say, iPad 3), your browser will block you. They’re meant to block adult content and profanity, but if you really want to avoid news, it’s the only sure-fire way to do it.
- Treat your keyword like profanity: If you don’t want to entirely block the internet but would prefer to avoid seeing the terms in question, set up a profanity filter like Simple Profanity Filter for Chrome or the Profanity Filter userscript. This won’t block the web, but it will turn every instance of iPad, Batman or whatever keyword you choose into a series of asterisks, which, if nothing else, is rather amusing.
Short of completely unplugging, you can never get away from rumours and spoilers completely, but it’s possible to at least restrict your web content to a manageable level. Over the coming weeks an abundance of iPad 3 news will be pouring in, so if you’re looking to cut it away, the above tips will help. Do you have ways to avoid annoying rumours or spoilers? Share them in the comments.