is this

erase_mark is a bookmarklet to enable anyone to quickly and easily create erasures of web pages. Click here to use it on this page.


would i want to use it

Because erasure is an important form of contemporary poetic practice. Because the potential aesthetic/critical applications of erasure shouldn't necessarily be limited to physical texts or require lots of Photoshop work. Because it's a way to actively engage with the endless streams of text that you drown yourself in every day. Because it might help you generate new ideas for your own creative work or might become that work. Or because it can just be a fun way to dick around with the Internet and you can make jokes and stuff.


to install

Drag this link -- erase_mark -- to the bookmark toolbar of your browser. When you come to a page you want to erase, click the bookmarklet and wait as the page is prepared. Once the loading screen disappears, you're clear to start erasing.


to use it

erase_mark should work, with (generally, fingers-crossed) minimal alteration of site appearance, on any site that does not use SSL certification (i.e. any site that doesn't have an https:// address). erase_mark has been tested in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari on Windows 7 and OS X.


to use it

Click a word to erase it. Click it again to bring it back.
Press the 7 key to erase all text and images on a page. Press the 8 key to erase a random sampling of all the text on the page (pressing the 8 key additional times will erase more randomly selected text). Press the 9 key to undo all erasure and return the page to its initial state.
Hold the Shift key while clicking a word to erase words around it. You can change the size of the groups of erased words by using the 1 through 5 keys: 1 will set the groups to ten words on either side of the clicked word, 2 to twenty words, and so on (the default is 30 words).
Hold the Z key and click a word to set a mark point. Hold the Z key and click another word to set a second mark point. Once two of these mark points are set (their presence is indicated by yellow highlighting around the words in question), you can press the C key to clear all* the words between them or press the X key to clear a random selection of the words between them.
* because of the way the bookmarklet counts and labels the words on a page during its preparation of the page, this is imperfect and inexact: for example, if there are hyperlinks or words with style tags (bold/italic etc.) in the range of text you're trying to clear, they will be left untouched (but can be cleared by just clicking them afterwards; Shift + clicking can be very helpful here).
Press the Enter key to switch between Erase and Redact modes. Erase mode (default) reduces the opacity of clicked words so that they disappear. Redact mode covers clicked words with a black rectangle. In Erase mode, you can increase/decrease the opacity of erased words with the [ and ] keys.


to use: an additional tip

When you begin an erasure, I recommend using the 7 key to attempt to clear the page and see if anything is left over. The bookmarklet disables links and image links so that you can click and erase those things without leaving the page, but anything left over after a clear (usually applets/ads/widgets) might, when clicked, take you to a new page (and, in the process, get rid of all the work you've done in erasing the page you're one), so it's good to be aware of these elements.


can i preserve my work?

Use a screen capture program or browser extension that allows you to capture page regions and entire pages. Here is one for Chrome, here is one for Firefox.


to use it on your phone

If you'd like to use this on your multi-touch enabled phone or tablet, you can get the mobile version by creating a bookmark in your phone's browser and then pasting this text
javascript:(function(){var head=document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0],script=document.createElement('script'); script.type='text/javascript' ;script.src='' + Math.floor(Math.random()*99999);head.appendChild(script);})(); void 0
into the link target section of the bookmark. It has the same functionality as the desktop version, with different controls. Tap a word to erase it; hold to erase groups of words around it. Swipe right to open a menu with settings (erasure mode, opacity, and size of word groups erased) and actions (clear, random, and reset). Swipe left to enter mark mode (this will be signified by the appearance of black frames at the top and bottom of your browser window). In mark mode, tapping words will set them as mark points rather than erasing them; when two mark points are set, swipe right to erase all* the words between them or swipe left to erase a random selection of the words between them. Tap either of the black frames to exit mark mode and return to the standard erasing mode.
The mobile version has been tested on an iPhone 4s and works in Safari and Chrome on that; it should theoretically work on other iOS and Android devices but a lot of things that should theoretically work don't. Note that if you're working on an erasure on an iOS device, it's best to have it as the only tab open in your browser of choice, because of the way that iOS often forces browsers to refresh pages (losing your work) if RAM is scarce (IDK how this works on Android devices). Also, if you're using the bookmarklet in Chrome, you have to load it in a somewhat counterintuitive way.


was it made

erase_mark uses jQuery and Brett Barros/Paul Irish's jQuery Bookmarklet template. It would not be possible without Ben Allman's magical replaceText plugin. erase_mark_mobile uses a messy combination of jGestures and hammer.js for gesture recognition. Once I can figure out how to use Github, I will put the source up there.


made it

erase_mark was created by Justin Wolfe, who is sometimes a writer but is also trying to figure out other things he can be.