Dear Zim web developers & media: Please don’t disable right clicking on your websites

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Dear Zimbabwean people that build websites and offer content for reading,

I just thought I would quickly share one frustrating thing that I’m forced to go through almost daily now. Lately, I run into more and more websites that have right-clicking disabled. Selecting text is also disabled. I have to manually enable all these things. Usually all I’m trying to right click for is to share snippets of the very useful information via Facebook or Twitter. The sharing would in turn actually bring more traffic to the website so you’re essentially making it difficult for us to bring more visitors to the website.

First, about a year or so ago, it was just the Zimpapers news websites. On all of them – Herald, Chronicle, Sunday Mail – you can’t right click, can’t select any text, and can’t do any of the things that the web browser’s right click function was created for. Then NewZimbabwe joined in. Today, while working on Zimbabwe Stock Exchange story, I found they too have disabled right-clicking and selecting. There are more, like this really good political commentary website, and others I can’t remember right now. These are all very useful sources of information. I can’t imagine the frustration you’re causing other readers who don’t know to disable Javascript and have to go to the trouble of retyping the snippets of your content they’d like to share.

I get why you disable these useful functions. It’s those thieving websites that just grab all your hard earned information as is and use it on their websites, commercially, as if they created the content. I get that the piracy is causing you sleepless nights. But really you know as well as I do that this does little to stop the content theft. A simple Googling for how to enable right-clicking when disabled and the thief is well on his way. They have a commercial incentive to do so, so really, the bad guys are not affected.

Meantime, the good guys – the university students doing research, your loyal readers that just want to discuss your content on social media – have to do with a seriously broken user experience. You’re making them pay for the evil things content thieves are doing to you while leaving those thieves mostly happy. You’re making the wrong guy suffer.

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Please reconsider. Thanks.

image credit: shutterstock



21 Comments

  1. Jimi says:

    Herald sucks on that aspect.

    1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro says:

      As frustrating as it may be, this isn’t a developer issue. It’s a client issue. The developer builds a system/site to the clients specifications. If that’s the functionality they want, we put it in. Some clients take advice with regards to issues like this, some don’t, but when you want to get your sign-off, you end up just giving in and implementing the “feature”. TRUE STORY…

      1. Ru says:

        Why not just use the share buttons? Shaming people for trying to protect their original content just because it inconveniences you? Silly. Also when you copy and paste without attribution you deprive the original writer the opportunity of getting a new reader through a legit link.

  2. [email protected] says:

    It’s juvenile and dumb.

    Any male developers involved deserve castration.

    The fact that you publish it makes you relinquish control on how the user may view the content.

    If anything, those disable-right-click idiotic developers and editors enable this deterrent at the expense of user experience.

    Yet we can still overcome the restriction.

    1. Conchondo Malo Liente says:

      I quote :
      The fact that you publish it makes you relinquish control on how the user may view the content.
      This is absolutely not true. If you publish something, depending on the type of license, you retain the rights

  3. ano says:

    isn’t it you with a faulty right click mouse button. ….there are also incidences where I get to a website and can’t copy or save an image on that website and will have to use the screenshot function. indeed websites have to enable copying as we now now have remixed cultures that will benefit content creators anyway.

    1. [email protected] says:

      Would you think TechZim would post a whole article on it if it was a mere hardware issue?

      Surely you should be clever enough to know that this is a tech site that tackles issues a whole lot deeper than mouse issues.

    2. Macd Chip says:

      You maybe right! Maybe all the computers l have use had a right click mouse problem.

      What about my touch screen devices where you highlight the content but there is no option to copy!

  4. Biggie says:

    Also mafaro.co.uk !

  5. Allaz says:

    YES, THANK YOU! That right click blocking thing is idiotic. It mainly annoyed me first on some Zim job sites – I wanted to copy the job description onto a word document so that could refer to it more easily when typing up an application letter.

    You forgot to mention it also kills other convenient features which are actually beneficial to THEM: like selecting a word and searching that specific word/name mentioned in the article to get more details. Like if I want to comment on the article, but I want to do a quick research first. Or right clicking other links on the page so that I can open them in a new tab. Like newzimbabwe – they have LONG column of other articles on the left of the screen – but you can’t right click and open any of them in a background tab. So basically forcing you to open links one at a time – like back in the NETSCAPE DAYS! I mean seriously, that one actually HELPS THEM! But they don’t seem to see it that way…

  6. Dadaya Nkoloma says:

    Just install Allow Copy on your Chrome browser. Thats simple.You will be able to copy these websites.

  7. Jack says:

    If you are going to do it at least PAY for some good software. Not this:

    COPY PROTECTED BY http://chetangole.com/blog/wp-copyprotect/ version 3.1.0

    1. Geekish II says:

      Hah, why should I pay for that?

    2. [email protected] says:

      Crap alert!

  8. purple says:

    Once I was reading an article on one of these sites and I wanted to forward the text to my friend. I tried right clicking on the text, nothing happened, I tried holding down mouse button and selecting and nothing was happening. I then knew someone was trying to protect their yard with a picket fence. Its only good for marking your boundary but it doesnt prevent someone coming in nonetheless. A light bulb came on in my head, I reloaded the page. As I saw the page text finish loading I stopped the browser for I knew then it was nw running those javascript codes that do the loading of extra useless content such as google ads. Lo & behold I was able to select all the text I wanted.

    1. Ano Contra Natura says:

      @Purple: Let me tell you that your are not only and idiot, but also seem to be an active gay person.
      If you ever want to forward something to one of your male lovers, simply hand them the url, and tell them where to look for the information.
      I see that your pseudonim is CharleK and you also list your lover’s phone number.
      Beware of HIV

  9. Geekish II says:

    You should advice for social sharing plugins or something like that. Why the hell do you want to force people to enable right click?

    It comes with lots of issues and I wont enable it for I know you can go around it if you a serious enough.. Moron!

    1. Bvanyangu Rekwachiundura Josphats says:

      Recommending == Forcing = True

      You just can’t stop learning in this age.

    2. Lang says:

      You were born a critique and you dont know the difference between recommend and force.

    3. And here I thought i was asking. Didn’t realise I was coming off as forcing. Sorry dude!

    4. MisHuevos Huelen Mal says:

      Exact !! Do you want to share on Fb ? Click on the icon.
      Do you want to share on Twitter ? Click on the icon.
      But it will be shared with the right original poster’s information.
      Maybe this was not what the original gay-lover complainant that originated this article, wanted

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