How to deal with unwanted items

If users should encounter unwanted items when using Adblock Plus it is extremely easy to report and resolve the issue with the assistance of the community.

The first recommended response is to update all subscriptions used, which may be accomplished by right-clicking the Adblock Plus logo in the top right-hand corner of the browser, selecting "Preferences..." and then activating the "Filters" menu followed by the option "Update all subscriptions". If there are no subscriptions installed, then users are strongly advised to select one; a full list of possibilities is available at the Adblock Plus website. The problematic page should then be loaded or refreshed. If the issue is resolved as a result of this command it means that the authors are already aware of the content encountered and have updated the subscription to match.

If the unwanted content remains, it is advisable to submit a report directly to the authors about the encountered item, as this will ensure that the issue is resolved for all users of the subscription and that any additional assistance necessary may be easily provided by the community. It is also hassle-free, as both the EasyList and Adblock Plus forums do not require registration to post, and there is the additional option of contacting the EasyList authors via e-mail.

There are, however, crucial pieces of information that are needed to quickly and effectively deal with the suggestions; these are listed below in order of priority. Too much data is always preferable to too little; authors may not receive the same content because of geographical restrictions, and it is therefore beneficial to have all the information about the unwanted content provided as opposed to having to enquire further about specific aspects of the issue.

  1. A specific link to the problematic page
    The critical bit of information that is required in a report is the address of the website that is affected, as this allows authors to personally examine the page and attempt to reproduce the issue. It is also important that this link is as specific as possible and points to the exact location where filters are needed, as this prevents authors from needlessly exploring domains in the hope that they can locate the subject of the report. In many instances a specific link to a problematic page is all that is required to resolve an issue.
  2. Addresses of the unwanted items
    Adblock Plus and other similar pieces of software remove unwanted items by checking whether the location of an item matches the list of forbidden content dictated by the subscription. It is therefore easier to add filters if the exact addresses are provided by the reporter. The items are listed in the Adblock Plus blockable items window, which may be opened by right-clicking the icon in the top left-hand corner of the browser and selecting the menu option "Open blockable items". If the exact reference to the content cannot be discerned, then selecting everything listed and copying it into a report is more useful than having no information about the addresses.
  3. The location of the unwanted content
    Sometimes even a specific link to a page is not enough to find the unwanted content, and it is therefore advisable that reports either explain where it is or provide a screenshot demonstrating the location. This is especially useful if there are unblocked text adverts, as they will not be listed as blockable items because they are a part of the page.
  4. Custom filters
    If any rules have been created that successfully remove some or all of the unwanted content from the page it is always beneficial if suggested strings are provided; however, as it is possible that an author may choose to filter content in a slightly different manner to that proposed the full addresses of unwanted content are usually more useful.
  5. System information
    Occasionally, issues may arise as a result of a unique set-up. It is therefore beneficial if the following information is provided in the report:
    • Active subscription names
    • Adblock Plus version or equivalent
    • Browser name and version

Finally, it is important that users are available to answer any queries or to clarify aspects of the account. If an issue cannot be replicated then it is possible that all the work put into a report will be wasted because the person experiencing the issue is unavailable.