If you are reading this page, it is likely that you are experiencing some degree of disgruntlement regarding paywalled links appearing in our Curated Links section (and/or the parallel email digest). Please allow us to explain our rationale for these links’ inclusion.

Only “Soft” Paywalls

It is our intent to only link to sites that either a) have no paywall, or b) use “soft” paywalls which allow a few free page views. In theory, unless you frequent one of the sites we link to, you should not encounter any paywalls. If a site has a “hard” paywall (where only paying users can view content), we either don’t link to it, or we link via services that bypass the paywall.

Content Is Expensive to Make

If you do encounter a maximum page view limit imposed by a soft paywall, that means you have become a frequent reader of the site in question, and you might consider actually paying them something. These sites and their operators are paying a lot of money to make the content you are consuming, and if you are enjoying it enough to keep coming back, it’s worth considering supporting them.

Not Everyone Sees the Same Internet

A lot of sites on the modern web show different things to different visitors, depending on factors like geographical area, referrer (i.e., the site whose link you followed to get there), desktop vs. mobile, etc. So while you might encounter a paywall, it is possible that our curators were served the content unhindered, and had no way to know you would be blocked. That is annoying, but out of our hands.

Conversely, Tear Down This Wall

If you cannot or will not pay for soft-paywalled content at this time, we understand that people are at different places in life. Fortunately, there is almost always a way around the gelatinous barricades. For example:

  • Most web browsers have a “private” or “incognito” mode, and if you open the link(s) in that mode, you will appear to be a brand-new visitor to the site, which effectively resets the counter to zero on the soft paywall.
  • If using a desktop browser that supports extensions, another option is to use a browser extension such as our home-grown Howdy Stranger extension that deletes the cookies and “local storage” these soft paywalls use to track you, making you appear to be a new visitor.
  • There are various sites that can serve “snapshots” of these pages without the paywall. One example is archive.today.

We hope that this helps to clarify our rationale, helps you to avoid paywalls when necessary, and helps you to resume a status of satisfactory gruntleness.

Links we have curated to date: 29,578