wm-read: bookmarklet to enhance readability on Wikimedia projects

If you find yourself often reading long articles on Wikipedia, Wikisource, or other Wikimedia sites, you may appreciate this simple bookmarklet I put together.

It removes the sidebar from the document so that you can read without a big chunk of your screen being consumed by ominous gray.

To use this bookmarklet, drag this link to your bookmarks bar and click on it whenever you want to apply these transformations:

wm-read

Here’s a couple of screenshots using today’s featured article (coincidentally, Utah-related), with the original on the left and the post-wm-read on the right:

Top of page diffMid-page comparison shot

I do not believe the bookmarklet to be of sufficient uniqueness to qualify for copyright protection. In case some person believes it qualifies for copyright protection, I hereby release it into the public domain and willfully revoke any copyright protection which may have been applicable.

That gray is not so bad when you’re reading a short article or just browsing through, but if you are trying to read a long piece it can definitely get irksome for horizontal space to be wasted like that.

Most readers probably already know about Arc90’s Readability,  a set of JS and CSS transformations that attempt to make articles more readable by removing cruft, sidebars, and headers and just leaving with you a page of readable text. I love Readability and use it often.

I have found, however, that most articles on Wikimedia projects flow better and are easier to comprehend in their original style … except for that big, wasteful sidebar. As such, Readability was not desirable in my case, especially since the articles I read on Wikisource have the original page breaks preserved, and Readability mangles these into the main body of the article, which is rather disruptive.

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