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General Forge Forums => Site Discussion => Topic started by: xiombarg on February 12, 2004, 04:28:01 PM

Title: Why does the DOT hate the Forge?
Post by: xiombarg on February 12, 2004, 04:28:01 PM
Okay, that's semi-humorous. But I just started a new job at the US Department of Transportation (, and they filter and block certain web sites.

Now, some of them I understand. For example, there is a policy against instant messenger programs, so you can't go to ( or whatnot. No big deal.

But since I haven't seen (and can't find) the actual policy that motivates the blocking, I dunno why I can't browse The Forge from work. It can't be a gaming or "time wasters" thing, because I can get to Neopets (, Dipbounced (, Foundation: The Game (, (, and Livejournal (

On the other hand, I can't get to (, Everquest ( or Gaming Report (, either.

Now, understand I'm not talking about goofing off at work. At my old NASA job (, there was a policy that you could use the Internet for personal reasons during, say, your lunch break, so long as it didn't get in the way of anything else and it wasn't porn. I'm talking the same thing here: I'm viewing the Forge on my lunch break and other time I'm not billing to anyone.

I know it's not a general ban on "non-business" sites, as I can view The Onion ( or ( (tho not, say, Something Awful (

I know this is only tangentially related to the Forge, but it's not being able to go to the Forge that rankles the most. Most of the other blocked sites I mentioned I could care less about. I mean, what could they object to on the Forge that isn't on, say, Neopets ( The latter is more of a bandwidth hog, and Livejournal ( has plenty of saucy content.

So I'm wondering what people think could be the reason the Forge would be blocked. Anyone else experience something like this?
Title: Why does the DOT hate the Forge?
Post by: Brennan Taylor on February 12, 2004, 04:55:38 PM
These filtering services generally suck, and they are definitely hit-or-miss about what they tag. My workplace implemented one that blocked me from RPGNet and several other sites (games was their reasoning there), but it also blacklisted several HTML development sites I frequent, no explanation on these. They eventually dropped the filter, too many legitimate sites blocked, I think.
Title: Why does the DOT hate the Forge?
Post by: Paul Czege on February 12, 2004, 05:05:45 PM

Can you get to

Title: Why does the DOT hate the Forge?
Post by: xiombarg on February 12, 2004, 05:54:21 PM
Quote from: Paul CzegeCan you get to
Heh. I know what you're thinking, Paul, and no, they've blocked all the anonymous proxy sites I can think of. However, I have my own secret little anonymous proxy program that I'm using via an obscure web account that I have.

So, yeah, I can get around it if I want to, but I'm more curious as to why people think the policy exists in the first place. Though "inthisstyle" brings up a valid point, in that it might just be spotty enforcement.
Title: Why does the DOT hate the Forge?
Post by: Blankshield on February 12, 2004, 08:07:02 PM
Can you get to other sites that use phpBB, or other forum software?  My work firewall recently added a whole slew of forum programs to their blocked list (fortunately, not phpBB).

Title: Why does the DOT hate the Forge?
Post by: Jack Aidley on February 13, 2004, 04:35:38 AM
Why not e-mail the network admins and ask them?
Title: Why does the DOT hate the Forge?
Post by: Christopher Weeks on February 13, 2004, 06:26:21 AM
I work IT for a major pharmaceutical company with about 50K employees and a global network.  One of the things that our organization does is monitor HTTP traffic.  Through a series of metric-analysis tools, we notice when a particular domain (or even URL) is getting lots of traffic.  When that happens, a human analyzes the site to determine among other things: a) could this possibly be related to work? b) how many employees are using the site?  c) how long are the employees likely to be "wasting" at the site?  and d) does allowing access to this site bring any liability to the company?

If the right/wrong combination of answers are determined, then the site(s) get blocked.  If an employee has a valid reason to need the site (and I can't imagine one for The Forge) then the decision is revisited.

My experiences working for government institutions (states(2), not federal, in my case) suggests that they are much less willing to let the employees casually surf.  I happen to think that's a human resources mistake (e.g. I'm not willing to take my skills to such an employer for any price (at least, not long term)), but it was never my decision to make.

So my guess is that DOT employees have, in the past, been detected wasting time at the Forge and the simplest answer was to just cut it off.

Title: Why does the DOT hate the Forge?
Post by: xiombarg on February 13, 2004, 08:58:42 AM
Jack, I'm not sure who the admins for this particular issue are. The blocking message is very cryptic.

Chris, I suspect that the reasons you mention are possibly in play. I was hoping perhaps a Forge lurker or something would admit to working for the DOT. ;-D