Website blocked at school only when trying to add a review.


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[post:473#4361]
Shippu7

08/20/2010 01:04 PM

Reviews: 2
Posts: 46

Ok, so I'm going to make my fist post here since I joined. As seeing how I spend most of my time at high school, I figured I could hop on a computer at lunch or whatever. So I waited and when luch came I got my lunch, finished it up and went to the library. I got on a computer and 3 teachers and admins stopped what they were doing and atched me as I got on the computer. (I did some interesting things last year on the servers last year and I got a 8 day vacation for it... -.-') Well anyways, I got on Mikomi perfectly fine, but when I got to a review I got a nice BLOCKED screen. Needless to say I was reaging. Well what I want to know is why, the school blocking programs are fairly new, so not much is blocked, and the fact that the normal website worked also confused me. Are the reviews hosted by some other website?

PS: I don't want to know how to get past the firewalls, I can already do that, although my school account is being logged, so they know I'm typing this, they can go have some fun stalking me all year, I wouldn't use this accont to scew arond anyways.

[post:473#4362]
Stretch

08/20/2010 01:55 PM

Reviews: 1918
Posts: 1313

Hey, Shippu. I'm not one of the computer experts, but one thing I have learned is that they may not be able to help you unless you give a more exact description of what has happened. Did you mean that you could reach the 'What's New' page but not any individual series page? Or were you not allowed to post a review yourself? What does a "Blocked screen look like? Does it say something like 'your access to this page has been blocked'?

[post:473#4363]
Jan-Chan

08/20/2010 04:33 PM

Reviews: 599
Posts: 593

There is no reason why your school should block the mikomi site. We actually take strides to self censor our reviews to sidestep keyword-filters and blocked-word-lists. You might have noticed that we use words like 'a**es', b??bs and smeg rather than the actual words.

I would petition your school to consider reviewing the MIKOMI site and then unblocking it from their list. Your interest in wanting to post reviews and participate in an on-line anime review community is something that should be encouraged. Inform them that if they are going to block certain sites, then they should be able to offer a clear and concise statement summarizing the whys, wheres and criteria as to their block list.

Most schools just want to avoid the embarrassment of having students surf p*rn sites on school computers during school time. IMHO, their concerns are justified, but the way the restrictions are implemented are half-a**ed and hap-hazard.....

Print out the one blocked page in question, then show an IT teacher at school the blocked screen and then hand him/her the print out. Many schools rely on firewall filters that use a generic block list - which might mean that some South Carolina Baptist High School once objected to a page at the MIKOMI site... and all review pages were generically blocked.

If that doesn't work, then setup an account on a proxy server - http://www.publicproxyservers.com/

Proxy accounts bypass and sidestep many firewall and filtering restrictions. And as for the keylogging, don't worry about it. Keylogging files tend to contain too much information to be of much use (other than backtracking after a hack or intrusion event).

Now... If you really want to freek your teachers out... get a USB wireless adapter. Go to one of the school computers, plug the unit in, configure it, then attach to someone's unsecured wireless hub and go on the internet to surf questionable sites like MIKOMI.

There is always (and I mean always) at least one dufus out there who has set up their wireless hub without the proper level of security. (I can find three wireless hubs within range of my home)

Edited on 08/20/2010 04:33 PM.

[post:473#4364]
Jan-Chan

08/20/2010 04:41 PM

Reviews: 599
Posts: 593

Hey Shippu7, If you are going to use school computers for reviews and such, get a USB flash drive. This would allow you to save any work or reviews to a portable storage unit and take it home.

[post:473#4365]
Xenoknight

08/20/2010 05:37 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

WOW! It appears this topic strikes home with Jan-chan. I've never seen him so passionate about a belief like this before.

Lee will also confirm that this school needs to be burned to the ground for even thinking about blocking Mikomi. The nerve of some educational institutions.... LOL

[post:473#4367]
Violet D

08/20/2010 09:50 PM

Reviews: 131
Posts: 57

And now for a bedtime story. Ok I work as an EA with SPE kids and a coupl years ago I was with the fourth grade in the computer room. They were suppose to be doing math but after Math they could do a game on the computer. Well I said they could do games by getting on the CTN Network and silly me before I knew it every child was on the CTN Net work and forgetting about the math but learning all the same and having a great time. Untill the teacher from the class came in. My bad we were in trouble. But the kids were smiling and learning from the games. So it was worth it. Pleasant dreams to all of you.

[post:473#4369]
Devil Doll

08/21/2010 12:25 AM

Reviews: 365
Posts: 1574

Let's not forget that CAR has a lot of hentai reviews with cover images (and these even without any warning message... well, at least it doesn't have lots of screenshots with nasty details), so there may be a valid reason for a school to block a site like this one. (Depending on the minimum age of pupils at this school.)

Having said that, it could be different. But this would require the school filtering mechanism to tell apart "good" from "bad" pages. Text analysis by the filter software (which would be able to counter the "proxy trick") won't find out about the content of images so this alone won't do. The filter needs help by the producer of the pages.

Imagine each page at CAR to contain some standardized machine-readable information about its content, e. g. as PICS labels. If CAR supported anything like this (the exact labels would probably be generated from the "category" keywords so setting these correctly by the reviewers would be essential) and the semantic filter of said school would support the same standard then this filter would be able to tell apart "clean" pages from others, and block only those pages that contain stuff like "hentai", "violent", "incest" or whatever (depending on the filter configuration, not on anything CAR would be responsible for - all that CAR can do is tell the truth about each page's content as precisely and detailed as possible).

I don't know the current state of the art in the field of web content tagging (e. g. PICS appears to be outdated already, I just happen to remember this format); Rebecca would surely find better documentation out there if they were interesting in making their site more transparent for any such content filter mechanisms. But as I said, the key to that would be a very precise content tagging by those who create the content, and that would be the reviewers. All reviewers. One exception could already undermine the reputation of the site's tagging. And CAR is by its very nature (allowing everyone to easily join and post away) not a likely candidate for this to work, unlike other portals with editors who can edit or even block reviews before they're published, and thus kind of guarantee no "bad" pages are sent without proper tagging.

[post:473#4370]
Jan-Chan

08/21/2010 01:46 AM

Reviews: 599
Posts: 593

This is a US High School that we are dealing with, so typically they will buy a canned software/hardware filtering system selected from an 'approved list' which is then installed locally and supported remotely.

(I used to work with IT department of UCSF so I understand just how bureaucratic and moribund these institutional orgs are...)

My thought is that if Shippu7 does make a 'stink', he will learn how to push the system in an appropriate direction (in this case, lifting the restrictions on the MIKOMI site) and the teachers will learn a bit more about exercising local control of their fire wall.

DD - Your comments on hentai titles are a bit misplaced. Yes, we list some hentai titles, but the related images are 'racey' at best, and the images & reviews are never lurid or inappropriate. One could probably get more thrills checking out the Macy's ladies' underwear adds..... (which are not rated.... I wonder why?)

In any event, tis Shippu7's bridge-troll (errr... challenge), so we can only advise him and share with him our experience. What he does with our suggestions and insight is completely up to him... But I do hope that he does decide to challenge the system a bit.

Edited on 08/21/2010 03:54 PM.

[post:473#4372]
Devil Doll

08/21/2010 08:26 AM

Reviews: 365
Posts: 1574

Occasionally we did have some really inappropriate images in the past. But the point is that we can't rule out having such images in general due to the community nature of this site, so a school would play it safe by blocking it.

CAR would be able to make advances to those who run filters (by content tagging as explained). But without someone actually claiming responsible for editing all content in case of need (which Rebecca isn't, they're not available enough for that) I don't see CAR getting an "approved" reputation (by content-aware institutions like said school).

The concept of CAR is good will of all participants. This may or may not work. For us, this is enough; for others it may be insufficient. Imagine it's your job to run such a filter, and it could cost your job if you fail to do so; would you gamble there?

[post:473#4374]
Jan-Chan

08/21/2010 04:17 PM

Reviews: 599
Posts: 593

So DD, what you are saying is that tis best to play it safe? Smut, spam and inappropriate content can appear anywhere where the public is permitted to post content to a site - Youtube, VEOH, blogsites, Vimeo.com, Metacafe.com, anywhere....

What differentiates these sites from true smut sites is how they treat this content. I think that if someone tried to post some smut to MIKOMI, it would not last long. In fact, there might be race to see who can stomp on it and remove it first....

I don't think that any school official will actually loose their job over this issue if they can say that they have taken all reasonable steps restrict access to such 'inappropriate content'. We do still have the first amendment here in the US. Ironically, the MIKOMI site should probably be considered a news-information site - granted its an informal community-driven anime review site - but we do provide relevant and pertinent information about anime. As such, Shippu7 desire to share his opinions via the MIKOMI site makes him a journalist. And the 1st Amendment does not have any age restrictions....

In any event, the only true way to restrict this content from our youth would be to put the kids in a box and then then nail the box shut....

Edited on 08/21/2010 04:36 PM.

[post:473#4375]
Devil Doll

08/21/2010 08:46 PM

Reviews: 365
Posts: 1574

At MIKOMI, there's exactly one person who can delete reviews other than your own, and that's Rebecca. Regardless how much you "race" to get rid of smut here, they're the one who needs to be accessible. That's a big problem when it comes to just-in-time reaction.

I don't think that the freedom of speech was made to entitle the access of children to porn sites in general (or publishing propaganda that would threaten homeland security or whatever... there are some exceptions of this freedom in real life, and their number hasn't decreased since 9/11), so filtering by specific client installations (such as at a school, or by parents at home) is certainly legal. It's not like the state would enter your house to install their filter on your PC (actually they would rather install them on your ISP's proxy server) - but the school Internet gate is run by the school, so it's their house and they decide what they allow the kids to access from there. After all, they may be (made) responsible for the consequences. Just imagine a kid accessing a porn site through the school's Internet gate, and then the parents suing the school for not protecting their innocent little cutie properly from the mental damage! I hear the monetary fines in the U.S. can be exceptionally high compared to other countries... that's what I referred to by "playing it safe". Furthermore, it's no obligation for the school to provide kids with the infrastructure for working as journalists; they are free to do so in their spare time when they're at home, using their private Internet access for this purpose.

- - -

Having said that, I am not saying that the filter administrator is doing the right thing from our perspective. But in this thread we are trying to cope with the situation, and my way of doing this is trying to find out what made the admin (or more likely their software) possibly come to the conclusion that CAR is to be blocked. And of all things here at CAR, the hentai reviews (or maybe even the string "hentai" or "pervert" or "erotic" or whatever keyword of the review Shippu7 was trying to read) is my most plausible guess for this. (Regardless of the "raciness" of the images in question.) We may be facing a simple text analysis software, or a domain based filter rules set (probably not, as Shippu7 was able to access at least one page here), or whatever. (If I were the filter admin I wouldn't tell Shippu7 the details, even more so as they appear to have a certain "reputation" already.)

For actually understanding this filter software better (in order to find out whether CAR can do anything to no longer be blocked) we would certainly need more information. Such as: Is reading a review blocked as well, or only posting one? (Posting has the complete keyword list in the input form, including all the "baddies"; reading has only those that are set for the particular anime.) Are all anime treated equally? (Try an anime of the "Children" category; perhaps "ecchi" and "fanservice" are already on their bad-word list, and that would cover many anime entries at CAR.) Is the forum blocked as well? Wiki pages? Episode pages?
I'm just putting myself into the shoes of the person who wrote / installed / configured this filter. They can't possibly know CAR. So how would they specify a default behavior of the filter that makes CAR (or actually a subset of CAR, considering the thread subject... apparently reading the review worked but posting did not... their filter may only allow safe HTTP methods) be blocked? The more information we have, the more likely we can guess what the filter is "thinking" about CAR. We are trying to find out which one of the "steps they took" was the one that's effectively stepping on the toes of CAR, so to say.

Edited on 08/21/2010 08:57 PM.

[post:473#4376]
Jan-Chan

08/21/2010 09:09 PM

Reviews: 599
Posts: 593

So ... Shippu7... DD and I have hashed out and discussed a number of issues and concerns dealing with your school and their firewall...

So whatta u thunk?

[post:473#4377]
Shippu7

08/22/2010 03:01 AM

Reviews: 2
Posts: 46

Okay, after reading all that, there are a few things I must clarify: 1: I could go to the forums and the rest of the website fine, but when I searched for an anime in order to write a review for it I got the blocked screen.

2: It wasn't the certain anime that had tags like hentai or ecchi, (at the time it was Gintama)I tried plenty of other animes as well with no avail, so it wasn't just that anime. I also got onto the forum fine along with other pages.

3: I have a screenshot of the blocking screen, but its back at school. On that note, I never got to finish my first post because the bell rang. (The block screen was for adult content.)

4: I can get past the school firewall with the Tor Router fine, although last year I got in trouble for making a admin on the local machine ((which is why I said I wouldn't use this account anyways.)I made 100% sure it wasn't connected to the network) and I got suspended for a total of 8 days. My school has power corrupted administrators who didn't even know what I did. They got a total of 6 forensic analysts and confiscated 16 hard drives that I had been in contact with the entire year, not only that, they also confiscated my HOME PC's hard drive for 3 days and made me give them my username and password to my email account to see who I made contact with. I was almost expelled, but due to a teacher who heard what happened I was saved. After my panel meeting, it was decided that I would be unable to go on the computers for the rest of the year, I accepted that wanting it to just end. They handed out some mandatory release forums to my parents (I accept that my child has broken rule...so on) But as I looked through the papers my parents had signed as a whim, I noticed one of the papers said that i accept that my child will be expelled. I was pissed, and they said it just happened to be a mistake. Well anyways, they also put software on my account to log whatever I do this year, and rumors about me spread like wildfire (although some how the rumors said that I had hacked into the school's closed circuit cameras and looked at the girl's locker room, why anyone believed that IDK.) so the teachers and techies are paranoid of me because all they really know is that 16 hard drives were gone for 2 weeks because of me. So in general whenever I go into a computer lab, people stop what they're doing and watch me. If you want to know exactly how power corrupted my highschool admins are, here's an example: Ok I was in Publix looking through the cereal aisle for some cereal. At the time I was in eighth grade and in middle school and the school admin has never heard me or seen me b4. Anyways I was listening to music with earbuds in my ear and he comes down the aisle and demands that I take my headphones of, not knowing who he was, I thought it was a joke cus I never saw him b4 and took it off, walked down the aisle a bit and put them back on. He walked up to me and said, "I thought I told you to take them off." I know someone is thinking that I should have fought off the whole deal, but here's something else: While I was being "interviewed" I was asked by another admin what level hacker I was. Realizing that I was dealing with the biggest idiots with power in my life I replied, "There is no "levels" of hackers." The earbud admin yelled, "THAT'S BULL!" I had to MAKE UP a level of hacker to make them happy or they would think I'm mis-informing them and that I had been lying to them the entire time which would make them pissed. So I told them I was a "Programming" level of hacker, then they asked what the other levels were and what a "Programming" level hacker was. When dealing with people who don't even know what I did wrong yet they try to expel me, I decided that fighting it off would require them to understand the situation, and they thought nobody knew that they were bluffing my entire case, so if I tried to fight it, they would feel insecure and in danger and they would react by just getting rid of the source of the danger.

Now taking a break from the clarifications, I was really wondering about why they would only block a certain part of the site and how, what I'm really asking is how they're only filtering that one part of the site, the only explanation I could think of (@ the time) was that you might have the review stored in another site. I know it's not keyword based, because I can access this thread which has plenty of keywords, and I've been to plenty of sites that had keywords in the past. If they were only blocking a certain part of the url (http://anime.mikomi.org/series/1493.html) then it makes no sense, if that was the case then an IT would have to go out of there way personally and go to this site, enter a random anime, and when an anime pops up, he'd have to block the "series" part of the url for it to work all around for all the animes (http://anime.mikomi.org/series/1493.html). By the time the IT has gotten to that point I doubt he would see a problem. The other scenario for this theory is that somebody sent him a link to certain anime that had a sketchy picture at the time, and then he blocked it. Both the scenarios lead to a single point, that somebody wanted it blocked, and that makes me curious, so I'm going to research that in case I'm missing something interesting. Another theory of mine is that they might be blocking it because there is a certain script or code in there, it might even be something like (taken directly from the anime page. I'm going to replace the outsides of the tags with parenthesis so bbc doesn't kick in:

(meta name="URL" content="http://anime.mikomi.org/series/1493/Gintama.html" /)
<b>(!-- As suggested by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permalinks --)</b>
(link rel="PermaLink" href="http://anime.mikomi.org/series/1493/Gintama.html" /)

While that seems to have nothing wrong with it, the filtering program might absolutely retarded, and it's reading the link in the comment tag as an special outside link to Wikipedia that is attempting to bypass the block on Wikipedia at the school (Our school blocked Wikipedia because Wikipedia can sometimes be misinforming, which I think is better than not being informed at all, plus at the top of some of the Wikipedia posts there's a "verified", just tell the students to use articles with "verified" tags, instead of blocking the internets biggest source of academic information.).

V.v.V

[post:473#4386]
Shippu7

08/22/2010 04:41 AM

Reviews: 2
Posts: 46

I'm going to get the screenshot and more info tommorow

[post:473#4389]
Devil Doll

08/22/2010 09:23 AM

Reviews: 365
Posts: 1574

Exact URLs of blocked and unblocked pages, please. (These would specify what you're doing, such as searching for an anime, reading a review, posting a review, posting to the forum, editing a Wiki page at CAR etc.). You're not giving precise information yet, and also not a significant amount of information. Check all CAR features systematically and make a list what works and what doesn't, as if you were testing the CAR software.

Currently the POST method would be my primary suspect (I still doubt the filter admin has ever heard of CAR thus I'm looking for a more general cause; then again, marking the block as "adult" does indicate it's about the content, making the apparently partial blocking an even bigger mystery), but if I take your words literally (searching for an anime was blocked already?) I would be wrong again (CAR does the search with HTTP-GET).

If your idea about the Wikipedia reference were correct then this thread would have to be blocked as well now... is it?

As for the theory of the reviews being kept on a different site: Actually Rebecca is temporarily using varying domain names during certain tests, you can read about login problems due to this (as login HTTP cookies are domain-specific) in certain forum threads... one more reason for posting exact URLs of your blocked requests (as they would contain the domain name).

As for whether your school's admins are retarded (blocking Wikipedia for the reasons you gave is actually weird, there are much worse information sources out there): That's not really the point here. (Neither is your reputation at school.) There are basically two options for you. Either you can talk to them and make them explain why they are blocking a certain URL, or we have to guess their filtering rules and then conclude whether certain CAR pages contain some content that makes this particular software block them. I can only contribute to part 2 of this agenda.

If the reason for the blocking were as simple as this site being blacklisted just because they know you're contributing here then we can stop this discussion. But if not, then this whole issue might be not just about your school but about all sites in your country that use this particular filter software, and then it might be interesting for Rebecca to check whether they can do something about it on their side. So if you believe you have any chance to reasonably talk to any of those people you should ask them for cooperation: "We're running a fine site out there that we don't think should be blocked as 'adult', so we would like to find out what we're possibly doing wrong and whether we can change that." If they won't answer to this, then, well, you did try at least. If they answer something like "your fine site does contain hentai reviews and we didn't bother to treat individual anime differently as it was less work for us to just block everything prefixed by http://anime.mikomi.­org/series/" then we would be back to my first posting in this thread, i. e. CAR having to provide better information in order to support a more small-grained filtering precision of your school's software. There are still various possibilities what's actually going on here, due to a significant lack of information.

[post:473#4403]
Shippu7

08/23/2010 12:49 PM

Reviews: 2
Posts: 46

SCREENSHOTS <scrrenshots, theyre in order of what I did, Home>Anime search>Gintama(blocked). Now anyways I tried going to every single other part of the website here, but the link that I'm blocked to is series. This supports the fact that they just blocked series, but I still don't know why they blocked, if you want to know anything ask quick cus lunch is over 30 mins.

[post:473#4404]
Shippu7

08/23/2010 01:05 PM

Reviews: 2
Posts: 46

There was no blcked links on the sites, but if you want the links for where I went, here: http://anime.mikomi.org/ http://anime.mikomi.org/by-search.html?search=chrno+crusade http://anime.mikomi.org/forum/showpost.html?num=473&posts=19 (this page) http://anime.mikomi.­org/series/ (blocked)
http://anime.mikomi.­org/series/1493.html (blocked)
http://anime.mikomi.org/series/747.html (blocked)


so as you can see any series with "series" in it is blocked

[post:473#4407]
Devil Doll

08/23/2010 08:11 PM

Reviews: 365
Posts: 1574

Hm, now this sounds like one filter rule for the "http://anime.mikomi.org/series/" string manually added to the filter configuration. So nothing can be done on this side, conversation with your filter admin is required.

[post:473#4409]
Devil Doll

08/24/2010 11:30 AM

Reviews: 365
Posts: 1574

How intelligent is this filter? Can you access a page like

http://anime.mikomi.org/%73%65%72%69%65%73/747.html

(this is "series" url-encoded, which is equivalent for the CAR server but may be different for the filter...)?

[post:473#4480]
Shippu7

09/15/2010 04:58 PM

Reviews: 2
Posts: 46

The filter blocked it instantly T.T

V.v.V

[post:473#4490]
Devil Doll

09/20/2010 12:01 AM

Reviews: 365
Posts: 1574

Another experiment would be http://anime.mikomi.org/./series/./747.html which again would be semantically equivalent to http://anime.mikomi.org/series/747.html but might pass a simple string matching procedure...

[post:473#4544]
Shippu7

09/28/2010 10:07 AM

Reviews: 2
Posts: 46

no unfortanatly, neither work, I'll try to reapel the ban, but can't guarentee anyting. V.v.V

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