Graffy bookmarklet gets to the point of The New York Times article

Opinion pieces in The New York Times prefer to tuck their main point toward the bottom. I spent many scroll-years traveling to them and reading backwards, from bottom to top.

I’m not sure when this habit developed, but I did it because I want to know what someone is trying to prove before I spend the time jamming a bunch of facts and observations into my head.

Perhaps it reflects a general impatience born of reading online. Perhaps it’s because it makes me feel more mentally active. Don’t know, but now I have a tool I’ve named “Graffy” to instantly reverse the order of the paragraphs in an NYT article, and then display them in a new window. You can also get them back into the editor’s preferred order. Or, heck, randomize them—turning the neat sculpture of an op-ed into a chaotic blizzard of facts and observations gets me dancing around the info in joyful and educational ways.

To use Graffy:

  • Make a bookmark with this text as the URL: javascript:(function(){document.body.appendChild(document.createElement('script')).src='https://graffy.hellotumo.com/graffy.js';})();
  • Go to an NYT opinion article, such as “Why Isn’t Trump a Real Populist?” Though I think Graffy works throughout the site, it makes the most sense, to me, working with the opinion content.
  • Make sure your web browser allows pop-ups for nytimes.com.
  • Click on the bookmark you created.
  • On the new page that pops up, you can click the “Rereverse” button at the top to flip the order as you like. Or get rando with it.
  • Note that this will be more fussy on Firefox than Chrome.

Next steps for Graffy:

  • Make it work across more sites. The challenge here is figuring out the best way to identify the actual paragraphs making up the body of the text. All right, on July 11, I started an experiment of making an array to contain different ways sites might label paragraphs and headlines. The JavaScript goes through the array; if a match occurs, it proceeds.
  • Find a way to identify and highglight the paragraph that best represents a conclusion or main argument.
  • Provide a way to randomly arrange all the paragraphs in an article.All done.
  • Make a game testing your arrangement of the paragraphs in the article against the order chosen by the editors.
  • Find a way to pull out a paragraph from an article to a “reading position,” then dismiss it when done; in short, a way to break apart the article paragraph by paragraph. And maybe save the paragraphs, or send them back to main content?

The JavaScript files for this tool are graffy.js and graffyRereverse.js.

Perhaps I should have used Graffy on this article.

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