View Full Version : Why does library filtering block SDMB?
01-21-2003, 02:38 PM
When I use a 'youth terminal' at the public library, I can usually get to the message board, even log in, but then, the filtering program blocks further access. I'm not talking about individual threads here, it stops me from even getting to the forums. The librarians can't explain it, they just turn on the computers in the morning. Any ideas?
01-21-2003, 02:48 PM
Must be all the links to porn we get here.
Isn't there something being done from this end to keep people from posting from libraries? I remember a problem from a year or so ago where a legitimate user wasn't able to log on because somebody had gotten banned from a library connection, and nobody could get to the SDMB from that library any more.
01-21-2003, 03:01 PM
Possibly the word "dope". In a forum listing, "Straight Dope Message Board" occurs as the text of a link in the breadcrumb at the top of the page. On the top page if the message board, it isn't a link, just text.
A lot of filter programs work by site lists. Such lists are usually insanely idiotic, e.g., a large number of .edu sites are blocked. And yes, the Straight Dope is blocked on these lists.
However, that doesn't explain the situation in the OP. I am puzzled.
Never to be Queen
01-21-2003, 04:37 PM
I don't know, but wonder if the filter is picking up the "SD" anywhere on the site at that point. It is "shorthand" for the practice of Submission/Domination. Did you try to use another terminal? Librarians are generally a free-thinking group and may not have it blocked at every computer.
01-21-2003, 04:53 PM
Maybe it blocks sites that send cookies?
01-21-2003, 05:04 PM
My school server, until recently, blocked ALL message boards, regardless of subject or content.
But does the 'you can't go there' screen give you a button to click to explain the reason the site is blocked?
It wouldn't be a cookie problem. Library terminals have to accept cookies if they want to be able to run most subscription databases, such as ProQuest products.
I would assume that the word "dope" is the culprit.
01-21-2003, 05:34 PM
Could be a site list, could be "all message boards", could be anything. My guess, and I have written on the First Amendment implications of CIPA, the ingenious Act that is keeping yawndave from us, is that the filtering software is the standard type, which searches for words within the text of sites and blocks or doesn't block the site based on the presence of those words. This is the most primitive form of filtering software, and it commonly wrongfully blocks access to many perfectly benign sites, including those of Dick Armey and Superbowl XXX. In the average day, there are probably twenty-five things posted on the SDMB that would trigger the software. Yawndave, maybe you could tell us what filtering software they are using?
The American Library Association will commence its arguments against CIPA before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 5. The lower courts have already held the Act unconstitutional in part "[b]ecause of the inherent limitations in filtering technology . . .." I hijacked the heck out of this thread, didn't I?
01-21-2003, 06:01 PM
I have an answer to this! At least, one answer! Our hospital network, which includes a public library, has internet filtering which posts an explanation of why it blocks a particular site.
Specifically, the SDMB is filtered by our system because it is categorized as a "chat" site. Who denoted it as such, or why, I don't know, though I'm sure such categorizations are are made by the third party vendor which provides the software.
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