Has anybody else had problems accessing this page?

Help! For the last two days, I’ve been unable to access the SD home page and the board from my home computer. (I’m posting this from my office.) Is this a problem at my end, or has anybody else been experiencing the same thing? What can be done about it?

I’ve gotten the message “Sorry. The administrator has banned your ISP”, but when I dial in again I’m fine.

I think it’s a glitch.

I’ve also had trouble reaching the People Pages.

A link like this used to work,


but now you have to back up a page and link to this


The People Pages problem is because Geocities just changed their rules about referencing images.
techchick68 knows about it and has just posted notices on the site. She’s looking to move everything that’s affected, but that could take a while.

Fretful Porcupine, you’re referring to these sites, correct?

Straight Dope Home Page (www.straightdope.com)

Straight Dope Message Board Home Page (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/)

I have heard reports of sporadic slowdowns on the board from time time over the past week but no instances of being outright shut out from the board.

Does your network admin screen out certain sites? You may be blocked on that end; nowadays companies are on the lookout for where their employees are spending their work hours and that includes surfing time. A friend of mine was recently hauled into her supervisor’s office and presented with not only a list of the sites she had visited over the past month but a pie chart showing how much time she spent on outside activity. She’s on probation now.

My condolences. Hope your situation improves, if the problem’s on that end. If you think it’s not (and you’ve checked all your browser settings and all those other things you do to make sure it’s not just you), please write back with the exact messages you’re getting and we’ll look at it from here.

barstow, I don’t see anything that would indicate you’re anything but a member in good standing. However, you are posting from a ISP favored by problem children and so that probably accounts for your difficulties. If this continues please come talk to me privately and we’ll try to get this resolved.

your humble TubaDiva

Yes, those are the sites I’m referring to.

It’s definitely not a supervisor-blocking thing because I can read the boards and post from work, but not from home. I’ve tried both Netscape and IE, so I doubt it’s anything to do with the browser settings (which haven’t been changed, anyway).

As I noted in a now-closed thread in GQ (a thousand apologies, BTW, but it is hard to get responses in this forum), I can access the page before the midday rush, but get cut off around 10:30 in the morning.

The exact error message is the standard “Unable to access this site. The server could be down or is not responding. If you are unable to connect again later, contact the server’s administrator.”

The best thing to do is get some TRACEROUTE software, like from download.com. Its small software, run a traceroute from your computer to the board. You’d just have to input ‘straightdope.com

What you get then is a list of all the computers on the route & which ones are slow. There are many many computers on the route to the board & they all must be working right.

If your ISP has another dialup number in your area you might try that number & see if its better.

Well, what do you know – it’s 12:40 in the afternoon and everything seems to be working just fine!

Thanks for the advice, handy. I’ll try it if I have more problems.

Funny, my experience is just the opposite. I have an iMac both at home and at work. We have cable modem here at work, whereas I have a 56k modem at home.

Nevertheless, while the pages from the General Questions board load in pretty normal fashion at home, they take forever here at work. I don’t get an error message, but it can take as long as two minutes or more to go from the list page to a specific thread I’ve clicked on.

I’m 100% certain that no one here at my small office has the capability to diddle with our access in any way to block something out, as has been suggested. So that’s not an issue.

I too noted this starting to happen within the past week or so. There were no problems prior to that.

“I too noted this starting to happen within the past week or so.”

It’ll happen a lot more times. The net is based on computers & they all have to be working right.

Wait until this summer, when we have a major electricity shortage in California first & then the west. Major routers & hubs are going to be effected. It’ll be a real test of things but I think the board servers are in another state, right?

Yes, the board servers are in another state: (are you ready for this?) the state of confusion.
Heh heh heh.

Fretful Porpentine, you don’t, by chance, happen to use MSN, do you? Another user e-mailed me today with what seems to be the same problem. I dunno, maybe Bill Gates has decided that “fighting ignorance” is a threat to his business model.

I queried Jerry and here’s what he had to say.

Hope this helps.

your humble TubaDiva

No need, it hasn’t happened again, but then the children aren’t having trouble either, if they ever even noticed it. You get a different number each time you dial in, right?

If you have a cable or DSL modem, your IP number is assigned.

If you have a dial-up modem, your IP number tends to change within a certain range, depending on your access number.

At least that’s how I think it is, I’m sure if I’ve misstated one of our folks that does know for sure will correct me.

your humble TubaDiva
And maybe not for the first time today, either.

“Nevertheless, while the pages from the General Questions board load in pretty normal fashion at home, they
take forever here at work.”

It’s slower because it takes another route to the board.

Here is what a Traceroute looks like, this is from me to boards.straightdope.com : You can see that Tuba mentioned “” which is exactly where the route reached.

"Tracing route to
50 bytes from time=385 ms
Hop Avg Diff Address
1 110 110
2 108 -2
3 107 -1
4 1101 994
5 113 -988
6 109 -4
7 107 -2
8 113 6
9 130 17
10 125 -5
11 127 2
12 342 215
13 190 -152
14 259 69
15 357 98
16 394 37
host reached

As you can see, there are a whopping 16 host computers to get through. Cowabunga!

"Traceroute shows you the network path used to reach a specified TCP/IP address. (Note that Traceroute will not show the return path, only the path used to reach the address.) Traceroute also displays response times (in milliseconds), which identify the amount of time it takes the packet to travel the route. Response times will vary depending on network load.

The results of the Traceroute search are displayed in the window. For each remote system, Traceroute shows the following information:
Hop number: The number of hops from your local system to the remote system.
Avg: The average round trip time for two attempts to reach that device.
Diff: The difference in milliseconds for the Avg of the hop from the previous hop.
IP address: The IP address of the remote system."

As you can see from this list, #4 is slower than the other ones & they can’t go any faster than the slowest host computer reached.