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StackOverflow.com advertisers, beware…

I’ve gotten a fair bit of irritation from corporate internet blocking (Websense and the like), so this was almost overlooked entirely.

Just about every developer in my division’s department has been scanning Google trying to fix issues and stumbled across half of the results being on SO (http://www.stackoverflow.com).

Much to our dismay, however, when their pages load they’re completely blank. Upon further investigation we noticed that we’re actually getting 403’d! A simple email to SO (team@stackoverflow.com) went out from a co-worker…

Hi,

Pretty much everyone on my dev team has noted that any attempt to access StackOverflow.com winds up with just a blank page for a few months now. Firebug indicates I’m getting a 403 error. Google pointed me to this post (which in itself is rather meta):

http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:2YXVwUIBnTgJ:meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/8596/403-forbidden-returned-for-any-so-related-page+%22403+Forbidden+returned+for+any+SO+related+page%22&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

Our public IP appears to be ??.???.??.?? as reported by whatismyip.com.

So, I’m curious… have we been somehow banned?

Thanks.

Amazingly enough, from a company as seemingly awesome as SO, the response comes back (in its entirety)…

<add ipAddress="??.???.??.??" allowed="false" />    <!– 6k hits multiple hours –>

Wow. Thanks for the professionalism, respect, and general acknowledgement that our company’s IT professionals are important enough to speak to.

I, myself, sent the following email as a response to this news (and have yet to be graced with a response)…

SO,

I received a rather vexing email from a co-worker of mine about why our (very large) company cannot access SO. Apparently we have been banned. The response to a standard email explaining our situation and asking if we were banned resulted in a cold response of:

"<add ipAddress="??.???.??.??" allowed="false" />    <!– 6k hits multiple hours –>"

That was all. No explanation of what that was supposed to mean (other than the obviousness that we had been banned), how or why it happened, or what (if anything) we could do to resolve the issue. Again, this is a very old, very large company with many developers whom I’m sure your advertisers would love to market to, and would quite probably be assisting your users with industry knowledge as well.

I would like to ask that a response be given addressing the questions that, from any other company, would have been offered freely as a professional courtesy. Thanks much in advance.

All-in-all, I guess what I want here is for SO to know that the people they are blocking are very knowledgeable and contributing in most cases. Instead of taking a professional approach to this, you’ve alienated hundreds of IT personnel.

Most importantly, however, I would like for the advertisers of SO to read this and know that instead of being marketed to developers with corporate budgets, they are getting spun to primarily the average hobbyist who doesn’t have a Fortune 500 company’s budget to work with.

*** UPDATE ***

A response came from SO, finally. Not to me, but to another developer in our department. Here it is…

I manually removed the ban.

Be aware that 6k hits per hour is highly anomalous, and the daily scripts will flag and auto-ban IPs with that kind of traffic pattern.

So I guess we’re back in with SO. That being the case, I have nothing more to speak about on the topic.

All is well that ends okay, so I’ll end thi— meh… you probably know what comes next anyway.

One Response to “StackOverflow.com advertisers, beware…”

  • I love your work! Will be keeping you in mind thgouh I have to find a man to propose first! Really really enjoyed these and all the others :)

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