A "censored line" approach to paywalling

I think the public preview divider is a great feature and I wanted to suggest a possible improvement…I would like to make specific lines within a blog post visible only to members (non-members would see a redacted line).

This “censored” line could a joke, an aside, a clarification, an insight, a footnote

This has the advantage of being great for SEO and user experience…ie, the all readers get to see the bulk of the article and the biggest fans get to read every single line…google sees a full post and so it ranks well…non-members experience FOMO

One way of implementing this is what Stratechery does, whereby he has ellipses you can click on, if you want to read more details

This is also in line with the standard growth advice of making most of your best content free, while withholding only a tiny bit for true fans

This could probably be implemented within a theme…if anyone wants to work on this, please DM me.


Hello @josephkman,

  1. In case you’re not aware, those ellipses on Stratechery you speak of are footnote functionality made possible with usage of the Bigfoot script (whose site is currently down I see, an archive available here and its GitHub page here).
    I use the script on my site for footnote functionality, and I must say that it’s great. The main problem is that execution of it is a pain the ass, requiring an HTML card whenever you want to insert a footnote as well as the need to adjust an HTML card down at the bottom of the post with each added footnote (which have to be in order if you’re using numerals instead of ellipses, which can be even more of a pain in the ass if you want to switch around the order of paragraphs/footnotes and thus their sequential order). All of this means that it’s far from user-friendly for the non-tech savvy. If there could be a way to make Bigfoot somehow more user-friendly with Ghost, that’d be utterly amazing.

  2. In terms of censored portions (be they lines or paragraphs), you could do so manually via adapting a methodology I mentioned earlier for inserting signup forms within posts.

Thanks for these suggestions. I had been curious how Stratechery did it, but now that I think about it, having to click is an extra step that’s not useful, so I find your point 2 more promising.

I read what you say about that method, but I get the impression that the “censored” lines would in reality be censored HTML cards? ie, would it be possible to redact/censor in-line in this precise way:


Even if it has to be a separate card, I think that’s still a pretty good solution. But the ideal would be a Markdown-style in-line editing, if that’s at all possible. I think it could be the future of paywalling!

It could be done with individual sentences as well, via HTML cards. You’d set up your HTML card along these lines, then adjust the styling and JS accordingly:

<p>This sentence is public. <span class="hidden-sentences">This sentence is not. </span>This sentence is public.</p>
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Thanks, I think that’s a winning solution.