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I was copy-pasting some text from a website and besides the text I copied, the following text was appended "Read more at: http://www.YYYY.com Copyright © YYYY".

I've seen this pattern in many websites. It is injected via Javascript.

My question is: "WHY?" It gives a user the trouble of removing this last part. (I would never paste it as is.) It's frustrating.

What usability purpose does this serve? Is there a specific UX reason why people would do this? Is there information about the pros and cons?

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1  
Another interesting question is what non usability purpose does this serve? Someone required a programmer to add that code... –  Alex Feinman Apr 30 '13 at 13:24

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

It's terrible UX, and should be avoided. As a customer, if I highlight some text and copy it, and you thin insert some other text, you are spamming me. I didn't ask for that text, and at no point was I asked if that is what I want to copy.

One of the most basic principles of UX is that any common action should respond in a predictable way. "Cancel" shouldn't respond as "buy" and copy should copy what is selected.

People sometimes do this under the mistaken belief that it will help preserve their copyright and direct traffic to their website. In reality it will engender lots of negative feelings towards the site and harm its image.

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Dammit! Beat me by a minute! –  rk. Apr 29 '13 at 18:28

One word: Spam.

It is basically harassing the user. Even though the user knows where he's copying the stuff from, you are forcing the information without his consent onto his clipboard and then leading to additional work of deletion the crap text.

I feel it is more about advertising/marketing than UX.

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To provide attribution by default.

Both fair use legislation and the terms of use of many web sites allow reuse of short quotations elsewhere, so long as they're attributed to the original document. In theory, adding automatic attribution to the end of a quotation saves users from inadvertently plagiarizing/infringing by forgetting to manually add the attribution.

In practice, it's implemented poorly. Usually I want to customize the citation format based on the type of document to which I plan to add the quotation. For example, if I'm quoting something on a Stack Exchange site, I want attribution using Stack Exchange Markdown. If I'm quoting something on All The Tropes, Wikipedia, a Wikia wiki, or my personal wiki using MediaWiki software, I want attribution using MediaWiki Cite.php markup. Users of TeX might want their own format, and they might want a quick way to switch among formats so that they can use one format with their scholarly articles and one on TeX Stack Exchange.

The ideal UI for automatic attribution would show a visible notice whenever the script inserts attribution, letting the user select the citation format. But Tynt and other providers of stand-alone attribution scripts tend to provide no user-visible way to customize the citation format, despite my open letter about the matter.

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+1: I think this is a key perspective on "WHY?" that the other two answers are missing. It is poorly implemented and annoying (and it's possible the only reason they included it was advertising) but proper attribution is something many websites struggle with. This seems almost like a watermark for text. –  AlannaRose Feb 11 at 18:26

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