Hi All Proboards, and hence our Forum, has just recovered having been down for almost an hour. You may experience extremely slow response times for a while on our Forum whilst Proboards and all similarly affected hosted forums get back to normal
Thanks for the reports Martin but sadly, the connection problem is back, worse than ever.
It seems to be affecting particularly connections from the UK, I know this as nearly all the messages on Proboards Support (thanks Richard!) are from the UK, and I have been able to connect without delay via Amsterdam and the US.
The Proboards technical people are looking at this.
As Richard says, this problem has come and gone - and come again. Some UK users have been unable to connect to this or any other Proboards forum for most of today. It appears that mainly Sky broadband connections are still affected (about 14%+ of all UK internet users) so not many of our own members will still be affected.
As Richard mentioned, Proboards staff are well aware of the problems, and are liaising with Sky to try and solve this.
I have re-posted the advisory message on the main HWI site and I will leave it up there for a day or two after the problem next seems to have been fixed, as a precaution.
For any Sky Broadband customers who cannot access the forum (and in case they visit us through a proxy server, like Richard and me) Proboards has introduced a temporary workaround. You should be able to access using the following link:
Yes the dreaded Sky block is back so I'll leave the workaround message up on the main site until we are confident that they've fixed it for good.
Lots of other sites are affected too, mainly (but not only) file sharing sites but the general consensus (as the word spreads via forums in the UK) is that it's not deliberate, it's just incompetent handling of their filtering systems. They'll have to fix it eventually as they (Sky) are starting to get a lot of flak, now.
For the record, here is the explanation of what happened and why (well as full an explanation as we are ever likely to get). The poster is Martyn Dale, ProBoards Admin, located in California.
...Just to clarify, the problem was, and wasnt Skys fault (or the other 2 ISP that it turns out were also affected). Their issue was communication with customers.
Basically what happened is that ProBoards was added to a national blacklist. This list is not managed by Sky, only followed and blocked.
The problematic situation came as a result of getting no such information from Sky relating to this, just being told again and again that there is a "known issue". The only reason i even had any idea to try and pursue the idea of the national blocklist was as a result of 1 of the tonnes of people who called up getting additional information.
I spent time this morning (UK time) and just now speaking with that organisation. They confirm that we have been removed from the list and that they have manually called affected ISPs to let them know on our behalf. It looks as though they were notified of issues and whoever did that didnt think to notify us.
Aside from that, their automated block lists (which we are no longer on) go out at 6PM (UK) This will start the automated process of removing any last remnant of the block. It was implied this will happen fairly quick.
With regards to re-occurrence, it should not happen again.
From earlier posts, the blacklisting of the entire proboards domain at Sky (well all customer forums) occurred because of some unacceptable or illegal content on one forum but Proboards were not told! Of course, they would have dealt with it immediately themselves, if they'd been told. I believe Rapidshare etc. were also blacklisted for several days by Sky etc., presumably for the same or similar reasons.
This could of course happen to any website at any time in similar circumstances, and with any ISP (they all use third party blacklists). And it reminds us about the dangers of allowing unacceptable or illegal content (which could even include mere "copyright infringement" in some cases) to be posted on forums. We just don't know what goes on these "national blacklists" or even how it's all organised.
We must continue to strike what we hope is the right balance and I don't think we need to change our existing policy.