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Background

I'm trying to use The Internet Archive (IA)'s Wayback Machine. Specifically, it has a functionality, archive URLs, where you can take some URL of a document you want to preserve, construct a URL of the form https://web.archive.org/web/{YYYYMMDDHHMMSS}/{URL} and share that “archive URL” as a substitute that won't die when the original site goes under. It's a very convenient and important functionality used by many, including Wikipedia editors, to preserve citations, or in any other situation where you want to send a link but fear the link will die in a few years.

However, many user-hostile websites such as Medium include Javascript that breaks pages if allowed to run on copies of the page, and the Wayback Machine seems to load all Javascript on archived pages, unconditionally. For example, this page loads perfectly for a moment, until Medium's darn JS widgets delete the content and transmute the entire body into a fake 404 error document.

Question

Is there any query string parameter or other URL modification, that I could pass into an archive URL when constructing it to disable loading the archived page's Javacript?

Obviously, client-side workarounds (such as disabling Javacript) exist, but those won't affect archive URLs, and I'm asking specifically about the site functionality of archive URLs. Is there any way to craft archive URLs that work for pages whose originals have broken Javascript?

I already tried constructing archive URLs of the form https://web.archive.org/web/{YYYYMMDDHHMMSS}/{URL}#:~:nojs, and https://web.archive.org/web/{YYYYMMDDHHMMSS}/{URL}?nojs=1, but those did not suppress loading the target page's Javascript (and, actually, the latter broke the archive URL entirely...)

I wasn't able to turn up anything by Googling, and TIA's help center contained zero articles even mentioning "javascript".

Does the Wayback Machine have this functionality—to disable loading archived pages' scripts when sharing archive URLs—at all, even if it's gated behind staff overrides?


Alternatives I've considered:

(To be clear, I'm not asking for alternatives*; this section only exists to front-run the first few inevitable comments in the vein of "if TWbM doesn't work, then don't use it, fool!")

archive.is

I am aware that one major alternative exists, to link archived pages with Javascript stripped by default: https://archive.is/

However, this one is unsatisfactory in my case for a number of reasons:

  1. Many of my visitors will be disturbed by the prospect of clicking through to an offshore website run by someone conspicuously anonymous; this seems a bit unprofessional.

  2. I have a strong hunch that (except in the case of politically controversial URLs) a well-established, U.S.-based nonprofit like The Internet Archive is going to be able to provide a far higher time-to-dead-link than "a 1-man operation run by some random guy probably in or near Europe"

    • *Obviously, I have little-to-no expectation that any archive service even less well-established than the Wayback Machine or beloved juggernaut archive.is will outlast the decade, which is why I'm not asking for alternatives here.
  3. When linking to any instance of a page except for the oldest, this service's archive-URLs don't contain the original URL, which makes the links much uglier, less informative, and even more suspicious.

1st-party links

One other obvious alternative would be "well, then, don't use an archive service", but there are several problems with this:

  1. The same Javascript that makes the Medium articles a nightmare for TIA's Wayback Machine to process also makes them a nightmare on many visitors. It uses excess data, causes disruptive page render reflows, pegs the CPU / drains the battery on mobile devices, interferes with the ability to select text, and harms their privacy.

  2. I don't trust entrepreneur types not to randomly delete their blogs one day for no reason (after which an archive link remains valid, with my never having any broken link on my own site; service is totally uninterrupted.)

  3. I don't trust young techies to keep their Medium links functional when they graduate to a better provider; if it's on their own domain, it's a rare person who keeps permalinks or redirects maintained indefinitely; and when it's not on their own domain, it's also a rare person who is willing to leave their old Medium site up indefinitely with a redirect notice. (Also, Medium can and does ban people, often unpredictably...)

The first of these issues is just a professional courtesy, but the latter 2 will, sooner or later, leave me standing around like a toad with a fistful of broken links. I have many a time gone into my browser history or an old social media post to find some linked essay only to find it's dead.

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  • Welcome to Web Applications. I closed this question b/c troubleshooting-like questions are off-topic on this site. On the other hand, this question is not written as a practical, detailed question. Please bear in mind that Wayback Machine is a web application; The Internet Archive is an organization with a website, archive.org, which hosts Wayback Machine, among other things. This question might be Problem X Y, as it asks how to make an envisioned solution work instead of how to achieve a goal. Please bear in mind that the question should be focused on using existing webapp features. May 22, 2023 at 19:09
  • By the way, the execution of client-side JavaScript code is done by the JavaScript engine of your web browser. Questions about how to disable JavaScript in a web browser are better-suited sites about installable software like Super User, Ask Different, Ask Ubuntu, Unix & Linux, among others. May 22, 2023 at 19:18
  • I did not ask for operating system "troubleshooting information", I'm pretty sure all 4 of the sites you linked are explicitly irrelevant to my question as-stated (Super User has to do with Windows, which my question is not about; Ask Different has to do with Mac, which my question is not about; Ask Ubuntu and U&L are about Linux, which my question is not about. Personally, I use uBlock Origin to zap the JS, but that's a workaround that doesn't fix my use-case, which is to send Wayback Machine links that work right on the recipient's end.) May 22, 2023 at 19:57
  • @Wicket As you state, the Wayback Machine is web application, and I am asking a very practical power user question about its operation—namely, how to send links to archived pages that have broken JavaScript—I thought I was clear in the question that I'm not interested in fiddling with (or documenting how to fiddle with) the browser or operating system. As for being "detailed", I thought I was extremely detailed about my problem, my use-case, and workarounds I've tried so far. Could you clarify what "details", exactly, my question as originally written lacked? May 22, 2023 at 19:59
  • 2
    Do you have to be really Really REALLY stupid to be a mod on SE? I just read the initial version of this question (that was closed) and had no problems whatsoever to understand what it was about (I also read the revisions). Pro tip for the admins: just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it is unclear. It is much more likely that you are stupid and incompetent.
    – d-b
    Jul 5, 2023 at 11:23

1 Answer 1

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I understand you want to make it easier for the people you share an archived page to see the content. You should join The Internet Archive community and/or contact the people running the site. Organizations like this rely on community contributions, i.e. many websites are archived using "Archive Now" but it looks to be very convenient, but it has several limitations. There are more options, i.e. you might create a collection to curate the sites you care about the most and contribute to cleaning those sites of the annoying JavaScript.

Resources


Regarding the specific example

The page mentioned as an example uses client-side JavaScript, which causes a redirect that shows a page not found error.

One option, among many, is to prevent such redirects; in the meantime, when a solution is implemented across the sites that you share, your friends and acquaintances can disable the execution of JavaScript in their web browsers to be able to see the content. Learning how to handle this doesn't require too much effort and skills.

Some browsers have options to disable JavaScript for all sites and specific sites.

Nowadays, I'm using Chrome for Mac. Disabling JavaScript for a single site is possible on this browser.

  1. Click the lock in the address bar

enter image description here

  1. The following image shows a toggle to turn off/on JavaScript because I have used this setting recently. Before it was showing here, I clicked on Site Settings: enter image description here

  2. The site settings page has an option about JavaScript. It has a dropdown to select Allow or Block. Selecting block will prevent the page redirection.

enter image description here

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