Turning off auto-refreshing web pages

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Technology
October 2nd, 2003 • 9:44 pm

There’s little that I find more annoying on the web sites that I read than those pages that have some kind of automatic refresh setting that forces my browser to automatically reload them at regular intervals.

Either the interval is too short for me and it interrupts me in the middle of reading the page, or the reloading process takes too long and consumes too much bandwidth, causing network performance problems in other applications such as Mail — or simply forcing me to stop the refresh process manually so that I can get another web site to load faster.

Typical culprits include the MacCentral.com web site, which I tend to avoid precisely for that very reason, and the Google News web pages (the US one and the French one, which I both check regularly).

I wish there were a way to turn this auto-refresh thing off for all web sites, just like there is a feature for blocking pop-up windows. But as far as I can tell, there isn’t.

Anything that takes control away from the user/reader is bad. I can imagine that there are situations where you would want to have an auto-refreshing behavior, but this should be optional, and the user should be able to turn it on or off.

This kind of attitude assumes that I am too dumb, as a reader, to know that if I loaded the page two hours ago, its content is probably no longer up-to-date. It’s insulting.

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