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AOL Blocks Links from LiveJournal

michael posted about 11 years ago | from the clue-not-found dept.

America Online 396

Evan Martin writes " is an open-source weblog site with over a million users, some of whom use AOL. Last week, AOL began blocking all HTTP requests with "" Referer headers. This is a common practice by image hosting sites to prevent off-site linking of their images and 'bandwidth theft'. However, in AOL's case, they're blocking everything, not just images, effectively breaking all links to any AOL member's site--but only from LiveJournal. To be clear: nobody on LiveJournal can even make a link to any AOL member site without getting a '404 Not Found' error. We've also heard reports of the same thing happening on AOL properties (Netscape, Compuserve). This concerns us because we have to deal with the support requests: it worked in the past for our users, and it continues to work for other sites, so our users think it's our fault."

Martin continues: "We've tried to contact AOL three different ways, all without success. We've also told our users to contact their tech support. At one point, an AOL staffer pointed out that FTP access still worked (which is probably because FTP has no "Referrer" concept), and so, as an interim fix, we're rewriting all HTTP URLs to use FTP on the AOL properties where that works instead. This means that users can again host their images on the AOL webspace they're paying for, but more importantly, it means they can simply link to their webpage.

We wouldn't be so upset if they were simply blocking images. Bandwidth use is a valid concern, after all, and we even provide step-by-step instructions for people to configure their webservers to prevent image "theft". However, because they're blocking all access, including regular links, this looks like it's either a mistake, or something more insidious (the conspiracy theorists have pointed out that AOL has just launched their own competing weblog product, also based on "journals").

Although CI Host sued AOL recently for being blocked, we really don't want to do that. We still suspect that this was all just a mistake, and hopefully, by making this public, we'll manage to get their attention, since all our previous attempts have failed."

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fp? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829314)


Re:fp? (-1, Troll)

D'Sphitz (699604) | about 11 years ago | (#6829333)


F12 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829324)

Enable referrer logging

Re:F12 (5, Informative)

Nasarius (593729) | about 11 years ago | (#6829337)

Gotta love Opera :)

Re:F12 (4, Insightful)

randyest (589159) | about 11 years ago | (#6829430)

Well, if I were an AOL user right now (quite a stretch to imagine, I'm afraid), I'd be loving to check my contract to see if it provides for such limitations on user personal space. If not, I'd call to complain (I'd probably do that anyway, right before I called my new ISP). I know that my cable modem "free" hosted space included has a very specific contract that limits the monthly bandwidth usage, but does not mention anything about blocking access for links or clicks from other domains. I wouldn't be happy if they suddenly started returning 404 Page Not Found errors when anyone linked or clicked from

Maybe they can claim technical difficulties if called on it, or maybe the contract does let them yank their users around like this. I don't know. Does anyone here use AOL and will admit it long enogh to post a link or copy of the appropriate contract?

Of course, there's the tinfoil-hat theory that AOL is planning to start thier own blogging service and wants to drag LiveJournal down from it's #1 spot a bit. Seems like a particularly blatant and non-clever way to do this though, or maybe that's the "beauty" of the whole ingenious plot? ;)

Finally, I'm going to hope the /. editors checked this out somehow. I don't have AOL space. Can anyone else verify this is true and not just some EBKAC or hoax?

Re:F12 (1)

Jouster (144775) | about 11 years ago | (#6829455)

Yep, it's very much true. RFTA; there's an image linked off of it that's on AOL's servers.


I, for one... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829587)

...welcome our new AOL overlords.

I'm getting a ritual circumcision as required by AOL CEO Levin as we speakKKKKALRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Will this be what kills the referer header? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829328)

It's optional, so browsers don't need to send it. Mozilla/Firebird/etc (and Opera) can be easily modified to not send one, and the Google Toolbar could probably support blocking them, too (since IE isn't being updated). AOL is a big enough presence that this could have a significant impact on peoples' browsing.

Wait a minute (5, Interesting)

s20451 (410424) | about 11 years ago | (#6829396)

Anytime there's an article that whines about deep linking, a few dozen people post replies saying that the company could use the referer header to block all such requests. Now that a company is actually doing it, it's suddenly a bad idea. Which is it -- good technical solution or bad censorship?

I should also point out that some sites automatically block referers as a matter of self protection.

Re:Wait a minute (1)

Apathetic1 (631198) | about 11 years ago | (#6829432)

Okay, your complaint might be a valid one if Slashdot were one entity with one opinion but it's not - Slashdot is a wide variety of differing viewpoints from individuals so trying to make this argument is a fallacy.

Re:Wait a minute (1)

Phroggy (441) | about 11 years ago | (#6829606)

Okay, your complaint might be a valid one if Slashdot were one entity with one opinion but it's not - Slashdot is a wide variety of differing viewpoints from individuals so trying to make this argument is a fallacy.

How is this different from LiveJournal? Slashdot is one entity in the sense that it's owned by OSDN, and anybody can host a blog at LiveJournal.

Re:Wait a minute (5, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | about 11 years ago | (#6829442)

My Libertarian side says AOL are free to do whatever the hell they want, it's their server. If you ask the AOL server for a page and it send you the goatse man, thats fine, thats their right. Vote with your wallet and dont buy their service.

My more centrist side says this could be abusing a monopoly (or at least dominant position), OK they dont have a microsoft style monopoly, but they do have the monopoly over Joe Stupid.

My cynical side says who gives a flying fuck

They Might Be Giants (5, Funny)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 11 years ago | (#6829565)

My Libertarian side says...
My more centrist side says...
My cynical side says...

Hey look! It's Triangle Man!

Re:Wait a minute (4, Insightful)

infornogr (603568) | about 11 years ago | (#6829447)

I regret to inform you that all Slashdot comments are not posted by the same person. Not only are there different people on Slashdot, some of them have different opinions. It's a shocking revelation, I know.

Re:Wait a minute (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 11 years ago | (#6829478)

Not only are there different people on Slashdot, some of them have different opinions.

Agreed. There are those who think Microsoft sucks, and those who think Microsoft blows.

Re:Wait a minute (2, Funny)

canajin56 (660655) | about 11 years ago | (#6829490)

Hahaha, he's just kidding there's only one person who posts on Slashdot. Oops, I mean I'M just kidding.

Re:Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829458)

Aol is doing this to prevent deep linking? Are you sure you just didn't make that up?

Re:Wait a minute (3, Insightful)

randyest (589159) | about 11 years ago | (#6829462)

Um, I don't think this is really about deep linking. There's not much meat in the story summary, but as I understand it they are blocking access to AOL users' hosted web space (the "free" 20-50MB or whatever, usually with a monthly BW limit, that comes with most ISP accounts.)

Seems to me that this comes down to a question of the wording in the AOL user contract -- if it allows this, then the folks are SOL and chould change ISPs. If it doesn't allow this (such as my cable modem accont, which only mentions limits on total space and bandwidth, NOT referer) AOL should stop doing it, and if they want to revise the contract, do so before trying it again.

Re:Wait a minute (5, Insightful)

danielsfca2 (696792) | about 11 years ago | (#6829483)

Deep linking seems to be a totally different issue here. Your average AOL user who wants to place a link on their LiveJournal to "" would derive little value from a link to "" or even ""!

This is webspace that AOL gives its users as part of their paid service. When you pay for webspace, the general idea is that it supports these things called hyperlinks. It stands to reason that you or anyone else should be allowed to link to your website from any other website. Any deviation from this traditional behavior should be documented in their terms of service, and is very shortsighted and/or stupid, as it threatens the very nature of the WWW, much like restrictions/penalties on linking to sites that are deemed undesirable.

Re:Will this be what kills the referer header? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829439)

Give no referrer, and some servers won't send you the file at all. It depends on how the server is configured. What works to fetch files from AOL member pages might not work on other servers where the siteowner has taken an active stance against spambots and sitegrabbers.

Re:Will this be what kills the referer header? (1)

rcw-home (122017) | about 11 years ago | (#6829440)

I certainly hope that this, or something like it, kills the Referer: header.

Then, those of us with a Referrer: header agenda will finally have our opportunity.

Re:Will this be what kills the referer header? (3, Insightful)

fruitbatUK (699521) | about 11 years ago | (#6829502)

It may be optional, but in my experience of using JunkBuster there are some sites which won't work without a referrer header coming from their site.

If the referrer header does die and those sites have to reconfigure their systems I don't see that as a bad thing. Why should I be treated any differently based on the previous site I have visited, or because I want to keep my browsing history private?

Re:Will this be what kills the referer header? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829535)

Well, I'd consider the referer headed "dead" if all browsers started just sending them a referrer based on their own domain. That'd get around most problems.

Re:Will this be what kills the referer header? (4, Interesting)

mosschops (413617) | about 11 years ago | (#6829553)

I use a program [] which allows me to change the referer header to appear to be from the same site I'm browsing. Not only does that protect my privacy but it works with the vast majority of sites that clamp down on content linking / bandwidth stealing. Sometimes simply removing the referer will kick you back out to an index page, which is a pain.

Killing referers kills EVERYTHING (4, Interesting)

strredwolf (532) | about 11 years ago | (#6829583)

Unfortunately, killing the referer header breaks alot of sites which are blocking image pointing. We (KeenSpace) just put in header checking. We do it so that if a request for an image isn't from a webpage we host (eazy stuff to do), it's 404'ed.

We cut our bandwith by 50% that way.

hopefully (2, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 11 years ago | (#6829331)

Hopefully this is a temporary block giving them enough time to increase their bandwidth to the correct systems. And right now they are blocking everything so they can come up with a game plan.

Re:hopefully (4, Interesting)

EvilStein (414640) | about 11 years ago | (#6829555)

Heh. Uh, AOL has more than enough bandwidth to handle freekin *livejournal linkage*....

When I worked there (Netscape), we had 5 OC-48s in our building alone. OC-12s & DS-3 circuits for "redundancy."

I highly doubt that it has anything to do with bandwidth.

Litigate (1, Interesting)

Bruha (412869) | about 11 years ago | (#6829338)

All I can say is begin the complaint process with AOL. Get a someone who'll file the proper paperwork and maybe file a lawsuit to get things put back the way they're supposed to be unless it's a genuine mistake on AOL.

Also put up a message on your support lines with Steve Case's phone # to call him for support :)

all about greed! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829340)

This is indeed a nice way to kill off competition...

heh (-1, Redundant)

infonick (679715) | about 11 years ago | (#6829341)

silly aol

GOOD! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829343)

Livejournal needs a little abuse, and if it comes from AOL I say all the better. I'm sick of all these little whiney kids and their "LJ's" or neurotic bimbos and their tities, or crazy ladies and their cats, we should all block!!

Re:GOOD! (0, Troll)

iamwill (701094) | about 11 years ago | (#6829366)

I'll second that. visit my livejournal at...

Re:GOOD! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829385)

I fully, completely, wholeheartedly agree with you. I have not seen a single LiveJournal page where the author did not have some severe problems.

Good. (4, Funny)

Genghis Troll (158585) | about 11 years ago | (#6829344)

Anything that discourages "blogging" can't be all bad.

AOL and Blogs (5, Insightful)

zangdesign (462534) | about 11 years ago | (#6829347)

Actually, you may want to investigate whether or not AOL has gone live with their blog offering ( article here [] ). If so, it may be viewed as an intentional act.

tinyurl? (4, Interesting)

Wavicle (181176) | about 11 years ago | (#6829351)

Could you get around this using tinyurl [] ? I'm not sure if it changes the HTTP_REFERRER or not.

Re:tinyurl? (0)

Coke in a Can (577836) | about 11 years ago | (#6829363)

Does anyone care? Workarounds aren't a real solution.

Re:tinyurl? (1)

Wavicle (181176) | about 11 years ago | (#6829438)

The only real solution is getting AOL to stop blocking. That task may be unworkable. Using ftp is just a workaround as well. Http has clear advantages for web use. I'm suggesting a workaround that uses Http.

I should know better than to reply to trolls.

Re:tinyurl? (3, Informative)

Jouster (144775) | about 11 years ago | (#6829435)

TinyURL uses a Location: header, which should kill off the referer, yes. But asking everyone to TinyURL their images is a bit much, don't you think? Besides, some browsers don't like having 3XX statuses (stati?) as replies to their image requests, so you'd break some people.

AOL just needs to stop doing that shit. Clamp down on the people transferring 200 gigs in the exhibitionism-community-of-the-week, and leave everyone else alone.

Jouster (My LJ [] )

Re:tinyurl? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 11 years ago | (#6829609)

Most AOLusers will be using either AOL's browser or IE4/5/6. TinyURL has a toolbar button. Clicking it in IE4/5/6 will automatically use the URL of the page in question, and copy it to the clipboard in IE4/5/6. Even an AOLuser can figure that out. Unfortunately, it doesn't work in anything that ISN'T IE.

Re:tinyurl? (4, Informative)

Chmarr (18662) | about 11 years ago | (#6829453)

It TOTALLY depends on the browser you're using.

If you're on web page A, click on a link to B and it redirects to C, some browsers will, when fetching C, have a referrer of A, and some will have a referrer of B.

Re:tinyurl? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 11 years ago | (#6829585)

How about we ALL just go to THIS [] TinyURL? They won't know where these hits are coming from, if other posts in this thread are true.

so (-1, Flamebait)

D'Sphitz (699604) | about 11 years ago | (#6829352)

Online journals are retarded anyway, along with AOL users. Really I don't see where the big loss is here...

deal with it. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829355)

it's aol servers, and they can block whoever, whatever, whenever they want. It's that right.

Gee alot of ISP's use referrer blocking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829356)

whats new about this?

cheapasses using $7 web hosting, offlinking all their images to their (web host) that doesn't charge for bandwidth. Great idea, until you start pushing hundreds of gigs per month.

Some people take for granted that bandwidth is not free and unlimited, and alot of isp's have gone to stupidly low bandwidth or link clicking per day/month (geocities, earthlink, Count yourself lucky if your isp lets you skate 100 gigs a month of bandwidth a month, it won't last long..

Re:Gee alot of ISP's use referrer blocking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829431)

Well then the isps should cap their webhosting accounts. I host my site entirely on my webhost, and I've never used my ISP's webhosting even though I'm paying for it. Broadband ISPs seem to love chaning their domains every couple of years (I went from to to with my old provider and my new one has already gone from to in the year I've been with them), so I don't even use them for email anymore, I use the domain with my website.

their own blogging service (0, Redundant)

self assembled struc (62483) | about 11 years ago | (#6829357)

do you think it might be because they're launching a blogger service of their own and want people to

[evil]i helped build the blog service, and man we never thought of anything this insidious. i'll have to tell my friends who still work there. they could send 'em to a sign-up page. [/evil]

Well played... (5, Insightful)

tempest303 (259600) | about 11 years ago | (#6829358)

This is a really level-headed, well played move on LJ's part - primarily because they're following the universal principle of assuming stupidity before malice. ;)

A very good point (2, Insightful)

pgrote (68235) | about 11 years ago | (#6829399)

Many times in a large organization changes are made where the impact across the enterprise isn't realized either through poor planning or lack of full testing. Sometimes you just miss something.

I do like their approach of hitting up the Slashdot crowd looking for more information and passing on what they have.

More companies should do like you said ... try cooperation and information sharing rather than decalring war.

Top Ten Differences Between Democrats and Republic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829360)

Top Ten Differences Between Democrats and Republicans (from the perspective of a Democrat):

10. Democrats take your money and give it to social programs. Republicans take your money and give it to their friends.

9. Democrats lie about sex. Republicans sex up their lies.

8. Democrats think international cooperation means working with the United Nations. Republicans think international cooperation means working with Exxon/Mobil.

7. Democrats try to save the planet. Republicans try to pave the planet.

6. Democrats are elected. Republicans are selected.

5. Democrats make treaties. Republicans break them.

4. Democrats support a social welfare system. Republicans support a corporate welfare system.

3. Democrats defend the rights of white supremacists. Republicans are the white supremacists.

2. Democrats govern. Republicans rule.

1. Democrats call people who don't believe in the separation of church and state a threat to civil liberties. Republicans call them judicial appointees.

Re:Top Ten Differences Between Democrats and Repub (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829613)

Top Ten Similarities Between Democrats and Republicans (from the perspective of a Libertarian):

10. They both take your money and give it to other people.

9. They both lie.

8. They both stick their noses unnecessarily into the affairs of foreign countries.

7. They are both sure they know what's best for the planet.

6. They are the only two options on any important ballot.

5. They both enter into entangling alliances with foreign nations.

4. They both support a welfare system.

3. They both want to take away your rights... they just have different priorities.

2. Both suck.

1. Democrats think that civil liberties entitle everyone to a Good Life(TM). Republicans think that civil liberties entitle *them* to a Good Life(TM).

Scary image (2, Funny)

ded_guy (698956) | about 11 years ago | (#6829364)

Following the second link [] in the text, I ended up at this image [] .
Yet another reason not to like AOL users. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go wash out my eyes with nitric acid.

Re:Scary image (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829602)

I don't think those CIA guys will ever fool real Iraqis.

This will kill of refferal tags usage. thanx AOL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829369)

This will kill of refferal header field of http requests usage.

thanx AOL for ruining the internet!

now everyone that can deep-link using other fields will merely have their browsers offer none, or spoofed.

Then aol will counter with validated anti-deep link and then no one will care about aol anymore.

i stopped caring in 1991 about aol.

Sorta related (5, Interesting)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | about 11 years ago | (#6829370)

Any else noticed that is sending an invalid content-type header?

I've seen iso8859 and text/iso8859-html, neither of which Firebird likes...

Use link referers (4, Informative)

EDA Wizard (2225) | about 11 years ago | (#6829375)

Until this mess gets sorted out, people should use a free link relocator service. Make A Shorter Link [] would work well for links to AOL pages.

It wouldn't help people with embedded links to images at AOL, but at least it could get people to AOL without any additional clicking.

Re:Use link referers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829558)

make a shorter link doesnt make sense.. its kinda big itself..

They block slashdot too. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829383)

Well not the whole AOL network, but the former mozilla division blocked links from slashdot (and still does), (Example [] ). Any sites that cause major bandwidth use should be blocked, I'm sure some frequest slashdotters get the infamous Pink page of death.

Solution: (3, Informative)

WCMI92 (592436) | about 11 years ago | (#6829384)

Don't use an ISP that is "broken". AOL has little to recommend it.

I use Adelphia PowerLink at home. On the road, I have a dial up account with a local ISP with dial up numbers in the cities I frequently have to visit.

Re:Solution: (2, Insightful)

Mage Powers (607708) | about 11 years ago | (#6829605)

thats a little pie-in-the-sky, Are you sure the linkers are linking thier own stuff? bloggers don't make things, they link things.

Why is it... (5, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | about 11 years ago | (#6829386)

...that people bend over backwards to accomodate companies with draconian policies like AOL? If I were running an ISP, the loss of a few customers because they suddenly discovered they could no longer send e-mail to AOL customers through no fault of my own would most likely be offset by new customers who understand that the earth does not revolve around AOL. So they're blocking incoming HTTP traffic based on referrer? Are there not more pressing problems to attend to rather than trying to please the AOL gods?

I'm not saying AOL is in the right. I'm simply saying that AOL (and companies like them) should be made to lie in the bed they make for themselves. Only when AOL customers start to be inconvenienced by AOL's own policies (rather than third parties patching together "workarounds" in a misguided attempt to protect the integrity of AOL) will they realize what AOL is up to...

If you don't like AOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829514)

Then just redirect AOL refererrers from your site to a page about their blocking of LiveJournal, or a 404 not found *on*

mail as well? (2, Insightful)

m0i (192134) | about 11 years ago | (#6829387)

"And now we have a request from an AOL user that suddenly they stopped getting LJ emails. They say AOL did just add some new spam filters, so that may relate.

It almost makes you think that they don't like us..."
AOLers are only getting sanitized Internet to the company's liking... Those who are not happy should switch.

And AOL wonders why..... (5, Interesting)

HutchGeek (597438) | about 11 years ago | (#6829402)

Seriously - they wonder why they get such a bad rap from the internet community at large. Most likey what has happend is that "Upper Management" made the decision to do it for some reason (although the journal conspiracy sounds quite probable), and they did't bother to ask the "real staff" what kind of an impact it would have. Now, once again, they've managed to piss a whole lot of people off. Makes you wonder what else they've blocked (censored) that thier users don't know about. I've heard rumblings on NANOG that they are trying to whitelist thier email too. There's a bright idea - a customer base the size AOL has, and their gonna whitelist mailservers. and my cutsomers wonder why I get ready to slap them when they suggest using AOL for a provider.

Quick fix for HREFs viewed by MSIE (5, Informative) (156602) | about 11 years ago | (#6829406)

That's wrong of AOL, but if you're a LiveJournal user in a bind and really want to fix the links (but nothing else) fast, here's a JavaScript that you can load in all of your pages. You just need to load it once, and the page will work.

Unfortunately, this trick really only works with MSIE. But it's better than nothing.
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src=" eferrer.js"></script>
The above should all be on one line. Check for extra white space where the line feed got placed by Slashdot's bug (thanks alot).

It should be strip_referrer.js with no space. Why does Slashdot do that??

Re:Quick fix for HREFs viewed by MSIE (1)

Froobly (206960) | about 11 years ago | (#6829485)

Won't that break webpages that rely on the use of the referrer tag? For instance, if you click on a link from, you get a funny picture or something, but if you click on the same link from another site, you get the naked fat man in front of the computer.

If you strip all the referrer tags, won't you get the fat man picture every time?

Slashdot's space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829487)

> Why does Slashdot do that??

Without whitespace once in a while, line wrapping does not work. Therefore Slashdot forces a whitespace every N characters. One can argue if this is a good thing to do, or not. But it certainly is not a bug.

Re:Quick fix for HREFs viewed by MSIE (4, Insightful)

jamie (78724) | about 11 years ago | (#6829504)

Dear God in heaven, anyone who does this is nuts.

Load a javascript off the website of someone else you don't trust? Cmon now... let's just invite a stranger into your home to watch all your websurfing, or post the contents of your cookie file to your LJ.

Anthony, I'm sure you're a nice guy and all, but would you trust a random stranger's javascript on every one of your webpages?

(The space added to the URL you pasted in is added to every long word at the 50-character mark, to make sure idiots can't break your browser rendering by typing very long words into their comments.)

Re:Quick fix for HREFs viewed by MSIE (3, Insightful) (156602) | about 11 years ago | (#6829543)

Dear God in heaven, anyone who does this is nuts.

I have no problem releasing the script for anyone to use. The script comments say as much. But for the average user, it's easier to just dump HTML on a page. If you know how, by all means, copy the script on your own server.

Anyway, this should be interesting. Carry on.

Re:Quick fix for HREFs viewed by MSIE (-1, Offtopic)

rkz (667993) | about 11 years ago | (#6829513)

One user, Klerck []

Truely a slashbot icon.

Re:Quick fix for HREFs viewed by MSIE (2, Informative)

Mark J Tilford (186) | about 11 years ago | (#6829532)

I believe the reason for that bug is as follows:

If a page has a single line which is wider than the browser windows, then every line on that page will expand to that width, which forces the reader to scroll horizontally and back every single line, which is very annoying.

Slashdot avoids this by simply adding a space every N characters. This could be better done by having it add a space if there are N consecutive nonspace characters, but it is done for good reason.

Re:Quick fix for HREFs viewed by MSIE (1)

soulsteal (104635) | about 11 years ago | (#6829560)

Slashdot's code has a feature to prevent people from inserting obscenely long character strings into comments. This prevents people from making the rendered page any wider than the default resolution on your monitor. It automagically inserts a space after some amount of continuous non-space characters.

123456787901234567879012345678790123456787901234 56 78790

As with most features, it's there for a reason. This one just happens to be based on page-widening trolls.

Re:Quick fix for HREFs viewed by MSIE (0, Offtopic)

cpeterso (19082) | about 11 years ago | (#6829604)

People keep posting that the whitespace insertion is a fix for looong lines. If so, then how did the "I love wiiiiide posts" troll make really wide posts? Was that an IE bug? I haven't seen the wide posts troll in a while.. I miss him. :-)

Re:Quick fix for HREFs viewed by MSIE (1)

ahrenritter (187622) | about 11 years ago | (#6829612)

Um.. last I checked, LiveJournal does not allow any scripting to be included in your entries.

Too easy to abuse.

What's AOL's stated policy... (3, Interesting)

militantbob (666209) | about 11 years ago | (#6829415)

...on usage of the customer webspace? Does it have to be a full site, or can it be a storage place for images/files linked to from another site? Consumers are paying for the AOL service, and getting AOL webspace as part of the deal - are there limitations on its utilization?

Who (1)

RevSmiley (226151) | about 11 years ago | (#6829421)

Who has ever labored under the assumption that the AOL was the internet? That they were really ever really connect to the internet completely or complaintly? If you are and do you need medical treatment.

Easy to solve (1)

tuxlove (316502) | about 11 years ago | (#6829422)

Make your web links to AOL actually point to another domain whose sole purpose in life is to then redirect to the appropriate AOL link. Create a new domain periodically to keep them on their toes. It's also probably possible to craft a middleman referrer page like this that avoids even sending a referer header (or perhaps sends a faked one).

Wait... (0)

cybermace5 (446439) | about 11 years ago | (#6829425)

So, what I think the submitter is trying to say, is that AOL is blocking all HTTP accesses with as the referrer. At least, I think that's what he means. I could be way off base here, considering the ambiguous language!

Good. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829437)

This will come back to hurt AOL, a crumby online service that few losers use anymore anyway.

Notita (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829445)

No me pasa

for the better (1)

kv9 (697238) | about 11 years ago | (#6829450)

maybe its for the better. protecting the world of the likes of aolers. let them have their lil gay [as in happy] dumb internet of their own. i hope after this turn of events the 2 not-so-brain-dead aolers will finally change their provider.

It's not AOL your problem, but your attitude (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829456)

You have a problem communicating with your users then. Focus your business on doing that better rather than how AOL deals with its property. I bet you tried explain what the problem is by analyzing the OSS philosophy to your users rather than explainign what really happens. I mean, that's how
you start your article. The open-source live-journal and how the bad AOL is responsible for you being a retard...

Referrer Header (4, Insightful)

Mrs. Grundy (680212) | about 11 years ago | (#6829460)

I, for one, like the referer heading. It is useful to see where traffic is coming from and it really stinks that AOL is going to encourage people to mess with it, remove it, or spoof it. This will be the ONLY result of AOL's action. They may get a short break from livejournal links but people will work around it. The internet is about linking after all. If AOL want's to invent their own thing with their own rules they should make their own little private net like they used to have and they can remain one tight, happy, cloistered little clique. Of course if the referer header becomes useless maybe it would be a good opportunity to fix one of the most influential spelling errors in recent time and start using the refeRRer header instead.

About time "blogs" got banned (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829461)

I fucking hate that word.
And the whole concept.
I dont give a fuck how much shit you ate this morning. Or how you are "feeling".
Dont just block livejournal, block all the fucking blogs. They infest my search results with useless shit.

AOL blows (2, Interesting)

destiney (149922) | about 11 years ago | (#6829466)

Pretty soon AOL will have blocked all of it's lusers from the entire web.

Re:AOL blows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829574)

i think thats the point, once you can control the content you can control the people (or in this case their wallets) see Fox tv and USA media for an example of how media influences people and their habits

anonymyzer (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 11 years ago | (#6829467)

We may need an anonymizer for everyone on the net.

Common Decency Dictates.. (4, Interesting)

Plix (204304) | about 11 years ago | (#6829469)

That should AOL continue to block deep-linking (which they have the right to do so assuming that there is no contradictory clause in a user's contract) they should at least redirect users to a page explaining what is actually going on rather than leaving them to complain to LJ support.

Leave it to AOL... (2, Insightful)

TheHawke (237817) | about 11 years ago | (#6829471)

to use sledgehammer tactics when it comes to something they don't like..
Stupid, stupid, stupid..

referrer filter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829474)

Webwasher (personal use available for free) can be easily configured to block referrer information.

A good starting point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829484)

vi /etc/mail/access 571 Due to AOL's poor standing as a net.citizen, mail to this host denied.

If anyone who has an AOL Account and wants to contact me, there is always a postage stamp or the phone.

You could also go with: ERROR AOL has config error, call AOL support for fix.

Bounce through a third party! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829497)

A lot of websites let you bounce to other sites. Here are some demonstations

Debian link to []
Yahoo link to []
Google link to []
Goatse link (yes, its true, goatse is useful!) to []

Hopefully, unless AOL wants to block the internet off, people will get around, and we can always set up p2p based redirection system (ala freenet). To get trough.

I keep having to tell people .... (1)

bizitch (546406) | about 11 years ago | (#6829500)

..that insist on using this lame service from hell ...

"It's not the internet - It's AOL"

Here's another reason why thats too true.

Company People (4, Interesting)

philipkd (528838) | about 11 years ago | (#6829501)

Why can't we treat companies like people? If a friend of your group all of a sudden has all this money, but abuses it by playing little Napoleon, why can't you treat him with disrespect and ostracize him?

When AOL needed help setting up their blogging software, who did they talk to? People like Dave Winer and other members of the net community.

So shouldn't there be some sort of Karma here where we, the blogging community, ostracize a bad player. They do it to spammers all the time, why not to the big guys. They'll eventually realize that it's not profitable to do so, and conform.

We could choose to disallow AOL urls into weblogs. We could prevent anybody with an AOL account having an RSS feed to a Blogger or LiveJournal. We could ban them from our conferences. Sounds like we're being assholes or "closed" by doing so, but I think it's important for people to check the bully to in the long-term enable the most openess possible.

Re:Company People (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829591)

It's too hard to get a substatial number of sites involved. I'd join a major effort like that, but I sure wouldn't be an early adopter.

Also, I'd block **AA sites from access my site before AOL and have it show them a note saying they're prohibited from visiting my site and any attempt to get around it violates the DMCA.

Friends don't let Friends do AOL (1)

Exousia (662698) | about 11 years ago | (#6829544)

AOL sucks. Boycott them.

geocities does same thing (0, Troll)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | about 11 years ago | (#6829547)

several free sites do this incluing geocities crap..

just another sign AOL is going down for the count

How about this great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829549)

Have block the links from Slashdot/.

Referrer spoofing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829595)

This is only partly related to the topic at hand, but it is something that I've been wanting to see for a long time so I figured I'd post it in case anyone is either a) inspired to implement it or b) knows where I can find it already implementated.

Lots of "privacy software" will strip out the referrer field on outgoing http requests. But, for websites that relie (rely? which is it...) on the referrer field to prevent "bandwidth theft" and whatnot, this complete deforestation of referrer is unpleasent for the user.

I'd like to see a proxy, or whatever, that instead of stripping the referrer takes a look at the requested URL and uses a derivative of that for the referrer. I'm not sure if just duping the entire requested URL or striping some or all of the path component off the end would be best. Maybe an option to go either way.

Idea. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6829614)

(1) Break your user's websites.
(2) ???
(3) Profit!
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