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# 32200 16-Apr-2009 08:13
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I've not been receiving any updates to the RSS feeds for any forum since last Thursday. The blogs feed, the News feed, and the latest posts feed are working, but nothing from any forum.

All other RSS feeds from other sites are working OK here, so wondered if it's something at the Geekzone end?




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BDFL - Memuneh
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  # 207245 16-Apr-2009 10:27
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This will happen if you are using Internet Explorer 8 as your RSS reader. We found a problem that caused IE8 to continuously request the feed - thousands of times per minute. So we decided to just not answer to these requests.





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  # 207343 16-Apr-2009 16:59
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Your post on Twitter:

"Anyone recommend alternative forums to Geekzone in NZ now they've blocked IE8 from accessing their RSS feeds"


My reply on Twitter:

"You don't have to find another forum just because of that. It's a fault with IE8, so don't blame us. Perhaps use another reader?"






 
 
 
 




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  # 207352 16-Apr-2009 18:07
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While I have huge respect for all you've done with Geekzone, I think blocking the RSS function of the browser that has the majority market share, or soon will have as it is pushed to people's PC via automatic updates, isn't a smart move. I have hundreds of RSS feeds, and no other site has arbitrarily terminated my access in this way.

Having said that, I fully accept you're quite entitled to run your own site in what you perceive to be your best interests, but equally, I'm entitled to look elsewhere for similar content in response.

RSS feed readers are notoriously inaccessible. The IE reader is perfect in this regard. I'm not going to take the trouble of testing a large number of readers on the off chance I may find one that's equally accessible just for one site.

This radical move just equals one big customer service fail in my view.





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  # 207353 16-Apr-2009 18:16
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How would you solve a problem that is out of your hands to fix?

There's a software flaw neither you or me can fix at the moment. The RSS reader should get the feed once every hour but instead it goes into a loop and requests it up to 30,000 per hour.

What shall I do? Keep deploying more server hardware, load balancing, etc to fix this software problem?

Let's put this in perspective then.

Currently Geekzone readers access the site with a split between Firefox and Internet Explorer. Actually Firefox passed Internet Explorer for the first time last month according to our stats.

Now looking at RSS feeds. In our main feed, out of almost 15,000 subscribers, only 167 use the Windows RSS platform. So I would assume the same relation to be true for the forums feeds.

Each individual forum feed comes directly to our server because Feedburner won't accept parameters. We do have a unified Geekzone Forum RSS feed though that goes through Feedburner. You should use that one instead, which is not blocked in any way.









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  # 207354 16-Apr-2009 18:27
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To answer the last part of your message first, the Geekzone Forums RSS feed is indeed still working, however every time I choose a link to a post from that feed, Feedburner gives an error that it can't find the content.

Yes I can quite believe that based on the audience, Firefox would be the dominant browser in a Geekzone context. And 30000 hits per hour from a single browser is huge. But something doesn't add up here. Imagine what load that must be putting on sites like CNN, the BBC etc that have massive numbers of subscribers. I wonder why they too haven't jumped on MS about this, and suspended IE 8 in the meantime. Is there something unique to Geekzone's configuration that might be causing some sort of inappropriate interaction like this?





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  # 207377 16-Apr-2009 20:09
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jmosen:

Imagine what load that must be putting on sites like CNN, the BBC etc that have massive numbers of subscribers. I wonder why they too haven't jumped on MS about this, and suspended IE 8 in the meantime.




There server configuration would be very different from that of Geekzone, remember they serve millions of visitors.  I would assume they would notice a higher load from IE8, but would easily have the infrastructure to support it.

Seems like a serious bug in IE8, wonder how it made it out into the wild.



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  # 207380 16-Apr-2009 20:40
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Perhaps, however I did a Google search on Internet Explorer 8 RSS bug and the only post I could find referencing this issue was from Geekzone.




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mjb

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  # 207485 17-Apr-2009 09:36
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It's entirely possible that IE8 has a bug, yes, but it's being triggered by the RSS generated by GZ?




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  # 207487 17-Apr-2009 09:38
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Yes, it is possible. I am happy for people to check the feed - we follow the specs (including timezone settings, which some feed readers fail to understand and I guess is what causes IE8 to "break").





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  # 207491 17-Apr-2009 09:44
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... I don't recognise the pubDate format:

<pubDate>Fri, 17 Apr 2009 09:38 Y</pubDate>




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  # 207492 17-Apr-2009 09:47
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mjb: ... I don't recognise the pubDate format:

Fri, 17 Apr 2009 09:38 Y



The RSS specification points PUBDATE to RFC 822 Date and Time Specifications (and that's where I think most readers fail):

5 DATE AND TIME SPECIFICATION
5.1 SYNTAX


     date-time   =  [ day "," ] date time        ; dd mm yy

; hh:mm:ss zzz



day = "Mon" / "Tue" / "Wed" / "Thu"

/ "Fri" / "Sat" / "Sun"



date = 1*2DIGIT month 2DIGIT ; day month year

; e.g. 20 Jun 82



month = "Jan" / "Feb" / "Mar" / "Apr"

/ "May" / "Jun" / "Jul" / "Aug"

/ "Sep" / "Oct" / "Nov" / "Dec"



time = hour zone ; ANSI and Military



hour = 2DIGIT ":" 2DIGIT [":" 2DIGIT]

; 00:00:00 - 23:59:59



zone = "UT" / "GMT" ; Universal Time

; North American : UT

/ "EST" / "EDT" ; Eastern: - 5/ - 4

/ "CST" / "CDT" ; Central: - 6/ - 5

/ "MST" / "MDT" ; Mountain: - 7/ - 6

/ "PST" / "PDT" ; Pacific: - 8/ - 7

/ 1ALPHA ; Military: Z = UT;

; A:-1; (J not used)

; M:-12; N:+1; Y:+12

/ ( ("+" / "-") 4DIGIT ) ; Local differential

; hours+min. (HHMM)





 


5.2 SEMANTICS


If included, day-of-week must be the day implied by the date specification.


Time zone may be indicated in several ways. "UT" is Univer- sal Time (formerly called "Greenwich Mean Time"); "GMT" is per- mitted as a reference to Universal Time. The military standard uses a single character for each zone. "Z" is Universal Time. "A" indicates one hour earlier, and "M" indicates 12 hours ear- lier; "N" is one hour later, and "Y" is 12 hours later. The letter "J" is not used. The other remaining two forms are taken from ANSI standard X3.51-1975. One allows explicit indication of the amount of offset from UT; the other uses common 3-character strings for indicating time zones in North America.








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  # 207495 17-Apr-2009 09:52
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Yeah, just went and looked that up... well I'll be, it's an old military form of timezone spec. I would not be surprised at all if that's where IE is barfing.

The rest of the rss looks fine, to my brain.

edit: bingo - w3.org feed validator suggests that the datetime is correct, but will cause issues: http://validator.w3.org/feed/docs/warning/ProblematicalRFC822Date.html




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  # 207498 17-Apr-2009 09:55
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(see my edit above)




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