StopTheMadness 22.2
From: Jeff Johnson (
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 2021 11:17:38 -0700 (PDT)
Hello mailing list subscribers.

Today I released StopTheMadness version 22.2 in the Mac App Store.

There's just one change in this update. Unfortunately, I had to remove a 
recently introduced feature, because it was causing too many problems. In 
StopTheMadness version 21 and earlier, Web URL Rules applied only to links 
clicked in Safari. StopTheMadness 22.0, released last month, started applying 
Web URL Rules to all pages loaded in Safari. StopTheMadness 22.2 now returns to 
the previous behavior of only applying Web URL Rules to links clicked in Safari.

Here's the support documentation explaining StopTheMadness Web URL Rules:

In an earlier mailing list post, I explained how the StopTheMadness 22.0 
feature worked: "Safari extensions don't actually have the ability to prevent a 
page from loading. What happens is that when a page starts loading, the 
StopTheMadness extension gets loaded into the page, and it checks whether the 
URL matches one of your Web URL Rules. If it does, then StopTheMadness 
immediately stops the page from loading, it follows your Web URL Rule, and it 
closes the Safari tab containing the page."

After releasing StopTheMadness 22.0, I learned of a conflict with the default 
Safari preference "Preload Top Hit in the background". I had to add a 
workaround for this problem in StopTheMadness 22.1, as explained in the last 
mailing list post:
Preload Top Hit

Recently I learned of another problem: the feature never worked right with 
redirects. StopTheMadness Web URL Rules can be used to send URLs of well-known 
link shortening services such as and to my other 
app Link Unshortener:

This works great with links clicked in Safari, because StopTheMadness handles 
the click before it triggers navigation in Safari. But if a shortened URL is 
loaded in some other way, such as in the Safari address bar, then the page will 
start loading. The problem is that once the shortened URL starts loading in 
Safari, it's too late. StopTheMadness can't stop the page load before the 
redirect is triggered. So once you load a or URL from the address 
bar, it will redirect whether you like it or not. Even though StopTheMadness 
does successfully send the URL to Link Unshortener and close the Safari tab, it 
was already too late. In fact, automatically closing the Safari tab just 
covered up the problem; the redirect was already occurring.

What's the problem with the unstoppable redirect? The problem is that the 
redirect service has already set a cookie in Safari. One of the purposes of 
Link Unshortener is to avoid cookies and tracking, so if the cookie gets set in 
Safari before the URL is sent to Link Unshortener, it defeats the purpose of 
sending the URL to Link Unshortener.

Some StopTheMadness customers use Web URL Rules to send Google Docs links to 
another browser, such as Google Chrome. You can see more evidence of this 
problem with redirects if you open in Safari while 
signed out of Google Docs (for example in a private window). If you're not 
signed in, then will automatically redirect to, and StopTheMadness can't stop the redirect.

I'm reluctant to remove features from my software, but the new feature wasn't 
working right, and it gave a misleading impression of protecting your privacy 
when it wasn't, so I felt in good conscience that I had to remove the new 
feature. I apologize for any inconvenience, and I will continue to contemplate 
whether I can somehow successfully re-implement this feature in the future.


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