So, I’ve been unable to comment on any of the main blogs for a couple of days. Before contacting Kinja support, I decided to try a bunch of things to help them narrow down what the problem might be...
First, I checked the Kinja Changelog to see if commenting had been disabled from the main sites for whatever reason. They don’t seem to like announcing major changes on any of the main blogs, but I couldn’t find such an announcement there, either. Commenting couldn’t have been completely disabled, because I can still read and comment here on Oppo.
So I started experimenting with the basics. Log out, and back in- no change. Restart browser- no change. Restart my device- still nothing. Cleared cookies and cache- no dice. The main article loads, but nothing appears under each article’s “about the author” box, even after letting it sit for several minutes.
I tried different devices, and different browsers. Win10, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Opera... Everything is up-to-date, but I still couldn’t see any comments or even a reply button.
I was just about to contact Kinja support, when I remembered one more thing- try disabling extensions. And apparently that’s where the problem was. It was my tracker blocker, “Disconnect”.
Look, I’m okay with ads. I understand why they’re necessary. That’s why I never bothered to try more popular extensions like “AdBlock” and “uBlock”. Blocking ads is not my goal here. I just want to do something about all these trackers. That’s what appealed to me about Disconnect. When I discovered it, it was presented primarily as a tracker blocker, and the fact that it blocked certain ads too was just a happy side effect. Does it function the same as the other extensions that I was avoiding on account of their name? Maybe.
Disconnect automatically blocked a bunch of stuff by default, and it made such an amazing difference, that it took a while before I even bothered to start fiddling with any of the settings. First up was unblocking Twitter and Facebook so that I could see embedded postings. Then at some point I noticed that I needed to unblock polldaddy.com in order to see the embedded poll on NCOCP posts. Every once in a while, I would also have to unblock another local news site in order to view their embedded video.
At one point, I also went out of my way to try to bring back unobtrusive banner ads and sidebar ads. Yeah, those banners are bigger than they need to be, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I’m okay with letting them through.
Unfortunately, in addition to bringing back those ads, unblocking googlesyndication.com also allowed Kinja’s awful Infinite Scroll to rear its ugly head again. I’d been using Disconnect for so long, that I thought the Kinja team had removed it from most sites. Sorry, not worth it. Infinite Scroll is such a garbage “feature”, I have to re-block those ads again.
Anyway, I was about to give in and start trying other blocker extensions, when I decided to sit down and start unblocking sites one at a time in Disconnect in an effort to find the culprit. It took a few minutes, but I finally found it: something called cxense.com. Unblocking that brought comments back to the main blogs. I don’t know if it was among the list of blocked sites before, or if it’s something new, but something must have changed recently.
I hope unblocking Cxense is worth it. It’s supposedly some sort of “data management platform”, which is an awfully vague term. This stuff is all gobbledygook to me, but I did notice that their website offers their service as a way to “monetize your audience”. Hm. Sounds like a tracker to me. I don’t want to stop commenting on the main blogs, but if I have to...
Funny thing is, Cxense is here on Oppo too. But Disconnect is blocking it by default and I’m experiencing none of the aforementioned negative effects on commenting here. Weird.