Anonymising proxies and the like


The mod team has decided, in order to simplify our task, that anonymising proxies will not be allowed at this forum. We apologise in advance to any legitimate users who would prefer to use such a proxy, but please do not take this as a sign that you are not welcome in the whole IF community; this is a policy strictly for this forum.

(matt w) #2

Have you thought about/is it technically feasible to grandfather in existing accounts that use anonymizing proxies? Hannes, for instance, is a real community member who I think uses the proxies – I think he’s established enough of a presence on the forum that we needn’t worry he’s suddenly going to reveal himself as Pudlo.


Hannes is whitelisted so if phpbb continues to work how I think it does then he’ll be fine. That said I’m not sure the whitelisting is actually working for him… And you might be able to find other proxies we haven’t blocked yet. This is really more of a policy about expectations - you might get lucky with a proxy, but don’t expect to be.

(heartless zombie) #4

No RSS messages from intfiction have appeared in my reader (Google Reader) since the first post. Is there a new feed?

(Andrew Plotkin) #5

The site advertises a list of feeds, e.g.

all forums – feed.php?mode=forums
new topics – feed.php?mode=topics

When I look at these, I see current posts. Are they not working for you?

(EDIT – those URLs are appearing abbreviated in the post, but you should be able to click on them or copy the URLs.)

(heartless zombie) #6

Thanks Zarf, re-subscribing to the feed.php fixed it.


I admit I am quite late getting around to reading this thread, but I wish I had read it sooner. Without passing judgement on any moderators, I would like to say that I am extremely disappointed that a measure this draconian has become necessary – and are we sure it’s really necessary? As in, are we sure it’s really effective?

I just tried to view the forum with an anonymiser, and the second one I tried worked. The second one off Google. The first one I tried was the most popular anonymiser in the world, basically.

To be honest, I am skeptical that keeping up with a proxy blacklist will be any more manageable for the moderators in the long run than the problem it purports to solve. I doubt that I would ever have significant trouble finding a fresh proxy that is not in the blacklist, if I really wanted to.

So this is only going to affect people who want to use proxies just to protect their privacy, but who, since they have no nefarious purposes, are not really willing to chase down proxy after proxy that hasn’t been blacklisted. Right?


(David Good) #8

It sounds like the question is how are anonymizing proxies being banned? Is it an IP blacklist? Because these sites add servers all the time. So an IP list isn’t going to be very efficient.


Well it would have to be by IP, because most anonymizers are not going to identify themselves as such. There simply is no other way. Get a suspicious poster’s IP. Do a reverse lookup. Interpret the results using human intelligence. There is no way to automate this.


We’ve been banning the proxy using accounts too.


We’re talking about adding new proxies to the banlist, not adding new user accounts, which you already had to do anyway before you started banning anonymizers.


What this policy means is that if there’s someone who we can’t tell is a troll or not, then if they use a proxy we will ban them before they prove themselves.


I kinda figured that. I just don’t like it because it tars proxy users with guilt by association, and it won’t work, anyway, against a determined troll, because there will always be an unbanned proxy available, as I discovered firsthand.


And someone will provide one. Also, there are some computers with dynamic IP addresses.


Just jumping in here to say, no, it does not really work. My access is still more miss than hit. In particular, I never seem to be able to log in in the first place in most cases – maybe the login mechanism itself is subject to IP banning rules before the user credentials are processed? If that were the case, no whitelisting would help, because I wouldn’t even get that far.

Ectocomp 2013