[Done] Removing "check banner links"

Various discussions related to Adblock Plus development

[Done] Removing "check banner links"

Postby Wladimir Palant » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:16 pm

I would like to know your opinion on this - is there a good reason to keep the "Check banner links" feature and the corresponding option around?

Reasons against it:

1. It has a strong negative effect on performance if enabled - meaning that switching it on is not advisable.
2. It is difficult to explain what this feature does, people often assume that it can be used to "block" links.
3. It causes some hard issues (e.g. bug 13633, bug 16965).
4. There are very few cases where this feature is useful - dict.leo.org is the only popular example that comes to mind (ads on the n-tv site that have been brought up by chewey before can be blocked directly by now). And element hiding should be better to deal with these cases, now that we have Element Hiding Helper.
5. I don't remember anybody complaining when we switched this feature off by default (thus switching it off for everybody who had it on before) - barely anybody noticed.

Any strong arguments for leaving this feature in?
Last edited by Wladimir Palant on Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rick752 » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:21 pm

Removing it is fine with me. I find that it make ABP slower and just makes looking through the blockable items list more confusing.

I've always though that the problems outweighed any benefits of having that feature 'on' .... but that is just MY opinion.
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Postby Adblock Plus Fan » Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:53 pm

Personally I don't use that feature either.

What I REALLY would prefer though was a revision of this feature.

I think $~link should be a default behaviour for all filters, and when one wants to use the feature one can add $link to the filter.

This is the best way that feature can be used in my opinion.
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Postby IceDogg » Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:13 pm

I don't use the feature either. Tried it a few times and never seen positive results. But I make very few filters on my own.
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Postby Wladimir Palant » Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:19 pm

@Fan: It doesn't work that way - either we are looking at the links or we don't. So if we make it dependent on filters, one single filter with $link will switch the option on and make the performance go down. This is very non-obvious, especially since you could get filters from all the various sources. Not to mention that I will still have to support a feature that nobody uses.
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Postby Adblock Plus Fan » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:13 pm

I guess it's best to just kill it then if it's buggy and all that.

I don't mind as long as people who used it still has an alternative with element hiding.

Does this mean we can have room for another new feature? Hope it'll be a good one :P
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Postby rick752 » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:39 pm

@ Wladimir:

If this feature is disabled in the next version of ABP and the '$link' option is removed, would that screw up any filters that contain '$link' or '$~link' ?

In other words, would a filter string that uses that switch become screwed up somehow because of an 'unknown' switch? Or would it just ignore the invalid switch and still use the string?
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Postby fanboy » Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:42 pm

I'd probably more inclined to removing it from the menu, and make it an about:config option only... rather than removing it completely.
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Postby Wladimir Palant » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:34 am

@Rick: Unknown switches are ignored - so $~link will behave as before but $link will suddenly match everything. Looking through all subscriptions, there is exactly one such rule (in RU AdList). So I don't think this is a big issue.

@fanboy: Leaving a feature that nobody uses is a great way to end up with a broken feature after the next big change in Adblock Plus core. Unless I remember to test everything both with this hidden pref switched on and off - but I think my time is better spent on more important things.
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Postby sheepy » Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:17 pm

+1 for removing it. I am using element blocking for the links.
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Postby Wladimir Palant » Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:27 pm

Apparently, in Firefox 3 the "Check banner links" option causes issues with some Flash objects (object doesn't appear at all). While this is something to be fixed in Firefox, I would prefer to touch the web page as little as possible to avoid exactly this kind of problems (this also means finding a replacement for object tabs).
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Postby dgod » Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:02 am

I would like to keep it there, so I can have more general filters.
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Postby gustoflax » Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:28 pm

If it were removed could it be ported to a separate extension?

Perhaps it would give RIP a run for its no money ;)
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Postby Dr. Evil » Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:27 pm

another example where this feature is useful is welt.de:
http://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article1691199/...

the ads in the right column there are pretty much unblockable just by their url, but (some) clicks are registered via doubleclick.

I have the feeling that the number of such self-hosted ads is increasing (which would be positive, if it weren't flash or images and a human would control whether it's malware or something), so I would vote against removing the feature altogether.

I can't use the feature myself though, because virtually all the users of my subscription have it disabled.
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Postby Ares2 » Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:17 am

I've never used the feature, so I would just hide them with something like
Code: Select all
#*(href*=doubleclick.net)

instead.

Well, they are still downloaded, but I think a site that hosts the ads itself wants to keep the traffic low for them, so that won't be a serious problem.

Another vote to remove it. :)
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