Stop the Medium

July 13 2021 by Jeff Johnson

I don't understand why programmers — who could theoretically write their own blogging engine — write on Medium. There's not even a need to roll your own system, because a number of off-the-shelf options already exist. WordPress, anyone? Anyway, I usually try to avoid clicking on links, but occasionally there's a Medium article that I don't want to miss. For example, I read one today about the Apple Security Bounty program. That Medium article, though important, is not the subject of this non-Medium article. The subject is the awful Medium user interface and how to make it less awful. If you want to see how awful it is, try to select and copy some text from the linked article. Go ahead, I'll wait… forever.

You start selecting the text, and it seems to be going well.

Selected text on Medium

But then you release the mouse, and, what??

Selected text on Medium

This is obviously not what I wanted. It's madness! By total non-coincidence, I make a web browser extension named StopTheMadness. One of its features is to enable selecting and copying of text on web sites that try to prevent you from selecting and copying text. Unfortunately, StopTheMadness doesn't work "out of the box" on Medium, but fortunately, it does work with a little tweak of the settings. The blue highlight in the screenshot above indicates that Medium doesn't actually prevent you from selecting text; rather, Medium cancels the text selection at the end, before you can copy. So we need a slightly different strategy to deal with the problem.

In the Website Options of StopTheMadness, create new custom options for, and then enable the "All mouse clicks" option. (You may need to reload the page afterward if it's still open, but the next version of StopTheMadness will make this step unnecessary!)

StopTheMadness Website Options

That's it. Problem solved. Madness stopped. Sanity restored. You're welcome!

The "All mouse clicks" website option is not enabled by default in StopTheMadness, because it would prevent buttons and other click controls from working on many web sites. My goal is to minimize the amount of breakage caused by my extension. But in this case, the option doesn't break Medium, it fixes Medium.

Jeff Johnson (My apps, PayPal.Me)