Firefox 23 will make another decision for you (re: Javascript)

Webster's defines update as "another change to Firefox you didn't ask for." Using this open source product often feels like sitting in coach as deranged Wikipedians argue in the cockpit about notable ways to steer the airplane.
The latest annoyance looms in version 23 (hat tip Joel) when they remove the "enable Javascript" checkbox from preferences. The discussion intrigues even though the "user is an ass" crowd prevailed:


The ability to disable JavaScript is now obfuscated, and users are deliberately discouraged against manipulating their JavaScript preferences. This is wrong, and inhibits a user's understanding of what happens when they load a web page.

The following is not an acceptable work around:
about:config > javascript.enabled

This destroys a non-technical user's grasp of the differences between static HTML and programatically manipulated HTML. It hides the setting amidst hundreds of other obscure settings, and does not emphasize the extremely powerful tool that JavaScript is, and the fact that it is optional.


I would like to echo Mikko's welcoming of this feature. As a web developer, we have become ever more reliant upon JavaScript to allow for some of our more advanced functionality to exist.

When leveraging SaaS platforms, developers are often limited to what they are allowed to do with backend code base, forcing use of client-facing scripting languages.

Having this option seen by average, non-technical users allows for them to essentially break this client-facing scripting language without good reason. One may argue that having this option readily seen by average users may encourage them to question whether they need JavaScript, "if it can be turned off, there must be something scary about it, might as well just turn it off, don't know what it does but definitely don't want my identity stolen somehow..." *click*.

For users who know they need to have javascript disabled, they will know that they need to go into the config and manually turn it off, something the average user wouldn't know to do. It's 5 clicks, instead of 3. I feel this is an acceptable increase in steps if it allows for less users being able to unintentionally hobble their web browsing experience because of unwarranted paranoia. Once it's added to dev tools, may be even less steps to turn it off, ultimately.

JS, like CSS, should not be able to be turned off so easily by users. It's an essential part of the modern web. [emphasis added]

A running list of Firefox "fixes" that have to be unfixed:

Stand-alone images centered in an ugly brown fleld (fix).
Hiding "http" in address bar (fix).
Blurry images from zooming entire page rather than just text (fix - except).
Automatic scaling of pages dependent on how the user sets operating system display preferences (fix).

minor edits for clarity, tone

Update: A reason someone might want an easy way to disable Javascript.