A way to create deeper links to NY Times Articles December 2, 2010 8:55 AM   Subscribe

For those of us who link to articles and essays in the New York Times, they have quietly rolled out an update to the way hyperlinks can be created for their articles. New code embedded in pages on their site allow users to create links to, and/or highlight individual paragraphs and sentences.

If you hit your shift key twice on any article, little hyperlinked paragraph marks (¶) will appear by each paragraph.

Per the Atlantic:
"While the Times' system is the most sophisticated linking system I've ever seen, it's not entirely unprecedented. Paragraph-level links were first executed by Dave Winer on his website and have since even appeared in a Wordpress plugin created by wunderkind Daniel Bachhuber. Winer points out that the Times' implementation isn't quite perfect, as it can be broken when a story is updated."
posted by zarq to MetaFilter-Related at 8:55 AM (30 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

It would be more useful if the fucking page didn't cover up the sentence he so helpfully tried to link to with a gigantic fucking ad.
posted by empath at 9:05 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, I'm clicking on the sample links to paragraphs and sentences in an NYT story, only to find they get completely hosed by their disruptive full page ad. Every time.
posted by kingbenny at 9:05 AM on December 2, 2010


This is really cool. Me likey! Hopefully a standard way of doing this for any media on the web develops.

Death to Flash's link breaking ways!
posted by nomadicink at 9:06 AM on December 2, 2010


It would be more useful if the fucking page didn't cover up the sentence he so helpfully tried to link to with a gigantic fucking ad.

Really? It works without a hitch for me in firefox....
posted by zarq at 9:07 AM on December 2, 2010


Finally a simple way to link directly to the SIGN IN OR JOIN NOW page!
posted by DU at 9:15 AM on December 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Wait...wtf? The first time I clicked, I got the sign in page and closed it. Then I clicked again and it worked. (Well...kinda. The sentence one didn't scroll me there, but it did highlight it.)
posted by DU at 9:16 AM on December 2, 2010


It would be more useful if the fucking page didn't cover up the sentence he so helpfully tried to link to with a gigantic fucking ad.

Ah, I see what happened to you.

The ad has a "roll over to expand" function. if your mouse passed over it, it would pop out and cover the text of the article. Which is pretty damned annoying to begin with, but there also doesn't seem to be an "[X]" box to close the ad!
posted by zarq at 9:18 AM on December 2, 2010


Wait...wtf? The first time I clicked, I got the sign in page and closed it. Then I clicked again and it worked. (Well...kinda. The sentence one didn't scroll me there, but it did highlight it.)

I believe the latter bit was my fault. didn't put the full code in which would have moved you to the highlighted graph. To do that, I would have had to make a link to this:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/magazine/28Schamus-t.html#p2#h2#s2

P2 is "move to the second graph"
H2 is "highlight the second graph"
S2 is "only highlight the second sentence in the second graph"

Instead, I just put #h2s2. Which highlights the sentence. But you have to scroll down to see it.
posted by zarq at 9:23 AM on December 2, 2010


Huh. This is a pretty neat...thing.
posted by DU at 9:31 AM on December 2, 2010


Ads?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:55 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It does subtract from the experience.
posted by nomadicink at 9:56 AM on December 2, 2010


I absolutely HATE this kind of shit. Whenever somebody links to an article that loads for a bit and then suddenly jumps somewhere random into the middle of the text (such as the atrocious #more-inside anchor) I want to strangle them. I don't want to be forced to the middle of the page, where I have no idea what I'm reading and what the context is. I want to read the title of the article first, then the first paragraph, and so on. Plopping me blindly down in the middle of an article is just rude, and it only results in me mumbling something unpleasant about the poster and then scrolling to the top of the page. Please don't do this.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:07 AM on December 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Doesn't seem to work for me at all. I can link to the page, but it's as if I've just clicked on the bare link. No anchoring behaviour or highlighting happening here.

Windows XP Pro/IE 7. Probably just more IE bletcheritude.
posted by bonehead at 10:10 AM on December 2, 2010


I'd say it was neat and useful, and suprisingly well thought out, but severely hampered by external factors.
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on December 2, 2010


Whenever somebody links to an article that loads for a bit and then suddenly jumps somewhere random into the middle of the text (such as the atrocious #more-inside anchor) I want to strangle them.

I think context is important. For instance, in a very long article where you're trying to cite a specific fact or point, I think such a link is valid. It's even more useful in the programming world when you're pointing to documentation.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:28 AM on December 2, 2010


Rhomboid - it would be horrible in an FPP, but I think it could be a useful tool in a comment. If someone is telling you "the article doesn't say X," you can easily prove it does, right there in paragraph 4.
posted by desjardins at 10:29 AM on December 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


I find it ironic that the complaint is about lack of context and therefore the solution must be BLANKET CONDEMNATION OF THE PROCEDURE NO MATTER WHAT.
posted by DU at 10:34 AM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


New York Times breaks both my right click functionality (so that I can't copy text with just the mouse) and -- occasionally as the whim strikes them -- my ability to center click, which I use constantly in order to open links in new tabs. Because of this, I only read it with scripting disabled.

Fuck NYTimes and their UX-retarded web developers.
posted by coolguymichael at 10:52 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck NYTimes and their UX-retarded web developers.

Oh, it's a fair bet that everything you hate the developers hate, and unless they've been utterly ground down they've fought against it every step of the way.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on December 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Doesn't seem to work for me at all. I can link to the page, but it's as if I've just clicked on the bare link. No anchoring behaviour or highlighting happening here.

Windows XP Pro/IE 7. Probably just more IE bletcheritude.
posted by bonehead at 10:10 AM on December 2

New York Times breaks both my right click functionality (so that I can't copy text with just the mouse) and -- occasionally as the whim strikes them -- my ability to center click, which I use constantly in order to open links in new tabs. Because of this, I only read it with scripting disabled.

Fuck NYTimes and their UX-retarded web developers.
posted by coolguymichael at 10:52 AM on December 2 [+] [!]


Yeah. Stings in the tail of a very cool idea indeed (but thanks for pointing it out zarq). Didn't work for me at first (firefox, noscript, request policy) so I turned them off, whereupon it worked, but I'm now worried about the absence of the blockers allowing the NYT to fuck with my functionality again.
posted by Ahab at 11:04 AM on December 2, 2010


considering how much of the grey lady gets reposted here, this advice is quite useful.
posted by the aloha at 11:12 AM on December 2, 2010


You can block specific bad behaviors without resorting to disabling everything. Just put the individual scripts in the block list. For example in my AdBlock I put 'nytimes.com/js/common/screen/altClickToSearch.js' and 'nytimes.com/js/app/timespeople' (among others) to kill those specific annoyances without disabling everything.

It's even more useful in the programming world when you're pointing to documentation.

In that case it's customary to link to the beginning of a sub-section within a larger page which is fine by me (and I do this myself from time to time.) That's not the same as plopping the reader at an arbitrary paragraph in the middle of body text of a page without sections.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:15 AM on December 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Stings in the tail of a very cool idea indeed

Which is a shame, IMO. I'd love to see this in some standard form in something like HTML5. desjardins is absolutely correct. It would be a great feature for comments both on the front page and, perhaps even more so, in AskMe.
posted by bonehead at 11:16 AM on December 2, 2010


Finally, I can bury the lede!
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 AM on December 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Paragraph-level links were first executed by Dave Winer on his website and have since even appeared in a Wordpress plugin created by wunderkind Daniel Bachhuber.

Which, of course, isn't true:

Dave Winer: The concept of a permalink on a paragraph existed before I implemented them here on Scripting News, but it got enough exposure here to get other people interested

Not that it really matters (except to dave winer).
posted by justgary at 4:54 PM on December 2, 2010


It seems like a concept pretty consistent with Ted Nelsons original vision of Hypertext.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on December 2, 2010


it's a fair bet that everything you hate the developers hate

Good point, and you're probably right (still, have they no shame?) A friend recently interviewed to be a javascript developer for NYTimes and didn't get it (and he's a frickin' genius at both javascript and UX). I wondered at the time if his outspokenness on UX and common-sense design might have cost him the position.

As a derail (can you derail a MeTa post?), I love when people dish dirt anonymously on their current employers. Or publish tell-alls after they leave. That should happen more often in the tech/developer/design field. I'd love to see a candid interview with the guy tasked with removing the Copy functionality from my right-click menu on NYTimes.com. Then I'd know who to kick in the nuts.
posted by coolguymichael at 5:31 PM on December 2, 2010


Your source has been updated: "while you can *highlight* particular sentences, you can't specifically link to them, according to the NYT system's developer, Michael Donohue."
posted by unliteral at 9:28 PM on December 2, 2010


Sweet. Now I can do a post linking to all the quotes John McCain ever made that he later contradicted for the sake of political expediency.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:37 PM on December 2, 2010


The concept of a permalink on a paragraph existed before I implemented them here on Scripting News

A bit of an understatement. Haven't anchor tags existed since, uh, HTML has existed?
posted by Jpfed at 8:55 AM on December 3, 2010


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