theage.com.au is a news site that loves to reload the page that I'm reading, which annoys the hell out of me. It also automatically starts playing any video on the page as soon as I start scrolling down. Is there any way to stop it from doing both of those things, preferably in Chrome (but Firefox would be interesting, too). Perhaps some extension or something? Ideally I'd like to disable it only for that one domain, because some sites do use auto-refresh for legitimate (non-annoying) purposes.
Have you tried using Adblock for Chrome?
There is a FAQ on the website showing how to block for specific domains:
The format to block the ads on that domain would probably be something along the lines of...
Adblock is available for Firefox, too, but it is not made by the same person.
Unfortunately, I have researched for ways to do these things in Chrome, and found nothing that will work well, but I have a partial workaround here.
This will cause you to get the "Do you want to navigate away from this page?" popup when the site tries to refresh, which is annoying (thanks, Google), but at least you can tell it "no". It simply isn't possible to do this correctly in Chrome due to its limited extension API.
Similarly, there appears to be no good way to prevent HTML5 videos from playing automatically aside from blocking them outright. The closest I have seen anything come is this: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/stop-youtube-html5-autopl/ajkibmginjljbmmpgnipfbcbmkcodaap that tries to pause videos, but the author admits that it doesn't have universal compatibility, and the reviews mention that it doesn't have a whitelist. I don't know whether it is once again Chrome's API limitations that are preventing us from doing what we want or just that nobody has made an appropriate extension.
You could probably use flashblock if the videos are flash based - you'd need to click to activate then. You might need to whitelist sites you want flash to automatically load though