“The page loads, and a little video ad box rises from the bottom left of the screen and begins buffering. Then a big box pops up over the small one with an offer to subscribe to the paper at a special promotional rate. As you contemplate it, the video begins to play in a muted spasm. This throws a scrim of gray over the rest of the page, making it impossible to read.

Before you can deal with any of this, you’ll need to close this subscription box. You can achieve this by clicking either a tiny “x” or a passive-aggressive statement like “No, I don’t want great articles.” But while you’ve been triaging a second small video player has floated up into the middle left of the screen. A sedan silently snakes along a road hewn into a mountain and forces itself into your consciousness. It switches to a video of the Mets’ new manager, which you do not really want. Also, you now have to close a new rectangular ad at the bottom of the screen, advertising the same subscription offer as the first pop-up box.”

David Roth