How to Read any Twitter Feed without using Javascript

You cannot use the Twitter website without having JavaScript enabled on your web browser. Please re-enable JavaScript and refresh this page.

This is the misleading message that Twitter will sometimes show you if you attempt to read a Twitter feed using a browser with Javascript disabled.

To work around the problem, simply add a question mark, followed by any other character, to the end of the web address. Two question marks will work just fine. For example, if the URL for the blocked twitter feed in question is:

then changing the address to this:
will bring up the front page feed without having to enable Javascript.

The strange thing about this Javascript problem is that it seems to happen at random - one day a particular feed will work fine without Javascript, the next it suddenly throws up this barrier. In the interests of getting to the bottom of what causes this, I (shudder) created a Twitter account and spent half an hour playing with all the settings trying to cause the public feed to display the Javascript error message. None of the standard Twitter settings appear to be able to cause the error.* This suggests that it's either being caused by a third-party add-on to Twitter that some of the celeb accounts I've been monitoring (purely research purposes, of course) are switching on and off at random, or this is something that Twitter itself is causing to happen centrally.

If it's the latter, then it's just further evidence of how Twitter (along with other companies) appears to be determined to screw up the basic principle of internet content being universally accessible in its pursuit of money. They recently accused Google of unfairly promoting their own social network in its search results at the expense of other networks such as Twitter and Facebook. That's a bit cheeky considering Facebook's (quite successful) attempts to create a walled internet, and Twitter's attempt to do something similar by presenting an unstable interface to the internet and then effectively sealing off their links to all but the unscrupulous via 'nofollow' links and third-party URL- shorteners.

Then there's the issue of Twitter negotiating a deal with Microsoft's Bing search engine for access to their content. This is not the way the internet is supposed to work at all. This is like going back to the bad old days of AOL walled gardens. Google's hands aren't clean here, either - they used to have a deal of some sort with Twitter back in 2009. The cost to search engines to receive a clean feed from Twitter is reported to be several million dollars. Don't forget, that content is provided free by Twitter users.

Worst of all is the fact that the mainstream media endlessly promotes Twitter and Facebook. Every time I hear someone on the BBC say "follow us on Twitter or Facebook" I can't help but wonder if everyone's favourite licence-funded broadcaster should really be promoting a profit-making enterprise. They've even shut down the BBC Newsnight blog in favour of Twitter and Facebook. How am I supposed to leave drunken, poorly-judged rants on the deficiencies of Stephen Smith's reports of skateboarding dogs now? How will the Newsnight team manage to keep on the right track without that sort of forthright, honest criticism in future?

In the interests of balance, I suppose it could be argued that the BBC might risk looking out of touch if they didn't make use of social networks. However, in the interests of balance, surely the BBC should make the effort to repeat their content across every possible social network or proprietary walled garden in existence to avoid accusations of bias? That might be impractically time-consuming, though, so a compromise might be to put their content in one place that was universally accessible... like a webpage, or a blog perhaps. Stick a few 'share' and 'like' buttons on it and hey presto - no bias, yet still keeping up with the latest trends.

Am I being too harsh on Twitter? I usually want to cheer for an underdog, and I suppose Twitter is an underdog compared to Google. But it seems to me that Twitter is fighting dirty when they don't need to. I don't see why they need to fight at all, they should be complementary services. Not that I particularly care whether two internet titans decide to duke it out, it's just that in the scuffle the furniture's getting broken and it's all contributing to changing the internet into something much less than it should be, as I've explained before.
*And what a disturbingly cheerful interface it is - if the Death Star had been designed by Teletubbies, the beam control and firing mechanisms would probably have looked a bit like that.