429 Error – Too Many Requests HTTP Code Explained

Just posting this informationally. Sometimes people are noticing Error 429 on the forum and more frequently in the chat channels available to Regular users.

I believe what’s happening is based on how Discourse works (this is my “I sort of get it” layperson’s explanation): The software keeps track of “pointers” which I believe are saved in a cookie that remember where you are in the timeline of every forum topic and chat message. That’s how you can log in and see the “last visit” line where it starts you so you can catch up on new messages instead of needing to scroll back.

[See below for better explanation by those smarter than me: 429 Error – Too Many Requests HTTP Code Explained - #3 by The_Pixie]

This happens on the forum and more frequently in chat, especially when you’re back scrolling the chat log; you are updating your chat pointer and multiple users are adding more messages simultaneously which requires the forum to recalibrate everything in the timeline on the fly. The regular forum categories are not so fast-moving live so it’s not as frequent, but Regulars might see it happen more in chat.

One way to almost ensure this happens is to have the forum open in multiple browser tabs. I do this frequently when researching, but if you’ve got two or more tabs with the forum open and are scrolling around a lot in both, especially if you’re watching multiple chat channels it’s like your iterations of the forum will begin “arguing” over where the pointers go, both writing and correcting information into the cookie, and at some point the requests between your browser and the site jam up, causing error 429.

Usually the error will clear itself; usually you just need to give it a few minutes! I’ve had it happen to just me where it popped up the 429 error window, froze for a bit then resumed. I think when it seems the site goes down temporarily that’s the same thing happening on the server side and the site may be unavailable while it resets. Usually within 5-10 minutes.

Since chat is a new feature to Discourse, I’d would be very surprised if they weren’t working on making it more efficient.

As always, in the event of a critical issue or urgent matter affecting this site, please contact us at support@intfiction.org.


Very plausible, even likely explanation.

My one quibble is that it doesn’t involve cookies. Cookies are local to a single browser on a single device, whereas reading history on intfiction follows us across devices. It’s got to be writing to a server side database, which is incidentally more costly than writing to cookies in general.


It is possible the browser synchronises cookies between devices if you are logged in on them all. However, if you open the developer console and go to Applications, you can see exactly what cookies there are for this site, just _forum_session and _t, so yes, you right, and it is all being done on the server, not wth cookies.


If adding chat is really the culprit, maybe the developers should use cookies to store chat progress. The need to sync that across devices is less obvious.

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I’ve just updated the forum software, so maybe that will help.


Is that why trying to view the forum on Safari suddenly stopped working?

I must need to do an update.

If you ask me, which you didn’t, “update” is the most terrifying word in the English language.