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  1. #1
    Master Coder sunfighter's Avatar
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    New ads, new problems

    It now takes forever for the page to stop loading. It jumps a few times while this is happening. This is getting on my nerves. We are surrounded by visual ads and audio all the time making the site less and less usable. Can not one of you mods look into a free BBS and we all move to it?
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  2. #2
    Senior Coder deathshadow's Avatar
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    AGAIN why I refuse to browse the web without having adblock plus, ghostery, stylish, and scriptsafe installed.

    If sites had one or two unobtrusive adsense ads, I'd be fine with it. But the constant sleazy assault of endless pointless adverts FORCES me to block all of them out of complete distrust and it making such websites USELESS to me as a user.
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  3. #3
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    Yeah its getting really bad again. I tried using it earlier and it was totally unusable.. .and thats a seperate issue to the security token not being valid when replying...
    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow View Post
    So seriously, loosen up that tie, let out the belt, and try relating to normal people on the street instead of the gentleman's club crowd.

  4. #4
    Administrator chump2877's Avatar
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    Hey everyone,

    I'm currently "in the loop" regarding communication between forum management, CF's hosting company, and an ad network that is tentatively suspected of contributing to these issues.

    The ad network contends that, because the issues persist with and without AdBlock enabled, that this observation decisively indicates that their banner ads are not at fault. Instead, they believe that some "crypto currency mining" scripts are the primary cause.

    My response (to paraphrase):

    1) Some ads, in general, are able to bypass AdBlock protections, so how can we 100% conclude that these scripts are not loaded by rogue ads (in the rotation)?
    2) He is of course right about the coinhive.com "crypto currency mining" scripts. They are running in the background, and they certainly cause unnecessary overhead.
    3) Try removing advertising, one network at a time, for a brief period of time each, and check what scripts are loaded (with and without AdBlock enabled) -- to see what has and has not changed in the process.
    4) Via Pingdom Tools output, the problems are evident:


    1. It takes a full minute for the page to load. Last I checked, 3 seconds or less is ideal. Thus, without being a forum member and without AdBlock enabled (which is how this particular test is performed), the site is constantly loading and almost unusable.
    2. The page size and number of requests indicates significant extra “bloat”.
    3. 363 Connection Errors during page requests.
    4. Scripts account for over 50% of size of loaded content and nearly 25% of all content requests.
    5. Content size and requests per domain graphs reveal potentially harmful requests coming from the following domains:
      • bongacams.com / ius.bongacams.com (looks like a porn site)
        • 1/3 of all content loaded comes from this domain!

      • coinhive.com (this is your crypto currency mining scripts!)
        • Nearly 1/4 of all content loaded comes from this domain!

      • ssl-ccstatic.highwebmedia.com (looks like a porn site)
        • 1/4 of all requests comes from this domain!

    6. The waterfall diagram (indicating what exactly loads and when) corroborates that the bulk of your bottlenecks come from the above domains.
    7. If you don’t recognize or want scripts from these domains, then you have a real problem here!


    Finally, I can see that CF management is actively trying to address these issues, so let's give them the benefit of the doubt. (If they didn't care, then they wouldn't be taking my calls or including me in their email correspondence.)

    In the meantime, what do you guys think, per the above? Please keep the feedback coming.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by chump2877; 10-21-2017 at 04:57 AM.
    Regards, R.J.

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  5. #5
    Senior Coder benanamen's Avatar
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    I use Adblock Plus and have not experienced any of these problems except for two occasions with the coin Hive and my Malwarebytes popping up a warning.
    To save time, lets just assume I am almost never wrong.

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  6. #6
    Administrator chump2877's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benanamen View Post
    I use Adblock Plus and have not experienced any of these problems except for two occasions with the coin Hive and my Malwarebytes popping up a warning.
    Hey, thanks for the reply.

    I also use AdBlock, and I have not noticed any issues since they fixed the "Quick Reply" issue awhile ago. (To recap: At the time, the page kept freezing up when I tried to type my reply.)

    Edit: On second thought, that's not completely true. My Norton Internet Security flashed a malware warning once, earlier today. But, I don't use the forum as often as some other members, so the probability is less that I would encounter such an issue.


    I would really like to know who is and is not using AdBlock, and who is and is not experiencing these issues currently. It would be really helpful to know that.

    And is everyone experiencing the same, similar, or different issues?

    In order to organize and execute an effective response, we really need a more effective means to report issues. Not necessarily a ticket system, but perhaps some post template that is filled out for every reported forum issue.

    I will see if there is any such functionality available to me in vBulletin admin section.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by chump2877; 10-21-2017 at 05:33 AM.
    Regards, R.J.

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  7. #7
    Super Moderator vinyl-junkie's Avatar
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    Just for the record, I use Malwarebytes and also Adblock Plus, and haven't experienced any of the above mentioned problems with CF.
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  8. #8
    Administrator chump2877's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinyl-junkie View Post
    Just for the record, I use Malwarebytes and also Adblock Plus, and haven't experienced any of the above mentioned problems with CF.
    So, some are experiencing these issues, to varying degrees, and some not at all. And I'm sure variables like frequency of forum use and client (local computer) configuration and running software affect these results.

    So the bottom line is: Across the board, what is the acceptable level of tolerance for this junk by members vs. non-members, and for people using client-side software like AdBlock and other antivirus/anti-malware software vs. those who don't?

    I think everyone needs to weigh in with their opinions about this -- in the interest of full disclosure and transparency -- with the understanding that, while security is paramount, and an ad-free experience is ideal, someone still has to pay to keep this site going. Unfortunately, in this day and age (in the unscrupulous era of "we want everything for free because we deserve it"), there is no better way to monetize a site and pay for related expenses than online advertising. (I know this from personal experience.) There just isn't.

    So, I'll start: In my opinion, members deserve a less intrusive experience than non-members, to some degree, with respect to ads. And, in this day an age, people who don't use some form of decent antivirus/anti-malware protection generally deserve what they get. (That includes some form of browser AdBlock software).

    ( I actually consider those things to be less of an opinion and more of a general awareness/acknowledgement of our current reality, as most educated people perceive it. )

    But, in any case, a site must be secure and protect the interests (and generally embody the principles) of its end users. So the shady requests to porno sites (which seem to use an inordinate number of resources) certainly have to go, and the crypto currency mining could at least be curtailed and come with some kind of visible warning/disclaimer (assuming it is not malware). (I don't know enough about crypto currency mining to immediately label it as "all bad", if implemented ethically and in moderate doses.) So, if we do this, then CF members are subsequently more secure than they were before, and site load times should decrease significantly as well. That is an acceptable net result for me, for now. And, after employing such a strategy for X duration of time, we re-evaluate its effectiveness (and its failures), and respond accordingly in the future.

    That's my 2 cents. Again, I have relayed these (a.k.a., your) concerns to management, and now we wait to see what happens next.

    I will keep you updated!
    Regards, R.J.

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  9. #9
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    I fully appreciate that someone has to pay to keep the site running. In my last email to Jon I said this.

    What I object to is the disgrace that is currently being offered to us. It's quite clear that the owners are trying to milk the site and its (ever decreasing regular) users for every penny possible while exploiting our devices to the point the processors are risking a burnout.

    Other sites manage to run successfully via advertising. Why do the owners of CF feel that they're entitled to 6X the income of other sites while abusing us? It's disgusting.

    What worries me more is this line:
    2) [B]He is of course right about the coinhive.com "crypto currency mining" scripts. They are running in the background,[/B] and they certainly cause unnecessary overhead.
    I thought these had been removed!!! Now I'm reading that they're still running? - I never gave consent for anyone to run code for a completely different purpose on my machine and blocking other processes. Thats what powerful GPUs are for. My machine is a single core with 4GB of ram (I do have a more powerful machine but thats rarely used for other reasons). The CF site is abusing my system. I download the html code, I even willingly accept the adverts to help but I do not give you consent to actively use my system to mine your crypto currency. There was never an agreement for this.

    It's as simple as this:
    Adverts pay for site. Tango recognises this. In return, Tango does not block adverts. Site owner abuses Tango for his good will. Meanwhile we have an admin openly saying he blocks adverts that are supporting the very site he is a supporter of. What sort of twisted logic is this?

    Further when i visited on my phone the other day (quad core 1GHz with 1GB ram) the site locked up my entire phone. I couldn't do anything - no emergency call ability which potentially puts lives at risk - in the name of advertising and crypto currency. I don't care how your masters try to excuse this it is not acceptable. Before they even dare say this risk is low, I've been carted away by paramedics in the back of an ambulance many times in the last 5 years. YOU HAVE A DUTY OF CARE TOWARDS USERS.

    At the end of the day they wanted the site. They've killed it but are so stupid that they won't accept a loss and so they've turned to abusing us instead because they're not willing to accept a loss. If they didn't want a loss they shouldn't have drooled over and bought the site in the first place. Bottom line is that unless you're prepared to lose your investment you don't invest money you don't want to lose because radically downsizing the existing offering to your customers / users is going to screw it anyway.

    Look at the Kraft takeover of Cadbury. They were desperate to buy Cadbury at any cost. Once they got it they decided they wanted the money back ASAP so started cutting corners and product quality. So many people dislike Cadbury now and Kraft have brought it on themselves. You can't go and buy a successful organisation and expect to make your money back plus more overnight. It's beyond realistic.

    How is it also acceptable to be the heaviest loaded forum most people will ever visit?

    Anyway now i've vented some steam...

    I've noticed its worse when the computer is idle. Whatever is at work then decides to kick in and raise the CPU and ram usage to the max. It then stays like this for as long as it can - basically until the computer is able to process a mouse click on the red X for the CF tab. I kid you not, it took me TWENTY MINUTES last week to regain control. Even then the system had paged so many programs in memory to disk that I struggled to use it as it was then reading huge amounts of data back from the disk and locking me out that way.
    Last edited by tangoforce; 10-21-2017 at 05:03 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow View Post
    So seriously, loosen up that tie, let out the belt, and try relating to normal people on the street instead of the gentleman's club crowd.

  10. #10
    Senior Coder benanamen's Avatar
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    @tangoforce, that's great you want to support the site by not blocking ads, but if it is that much trouble for you run ad blocker. You're not going to get any medals for your "suffering". YOU have a duty of care to yourself. The countless hours you have provided for free IS supporting the site. Without knowledgeable helpers the site is dead.

    Your whole internet experience will be much better and safer if you block ads. All of us are constantly bombarded by advertising in our daily lives from sources you cannot control. (TV, Radio, Billboards, Magazines...). The internet is at least one source you have control over.

    I do have one suggestion for financially supporting the site. The powers that be could set up a paypal donation link. These days hosting, and I mean VPS and dedicated servers are so cheap it can't possibly cost that much to host the site, so then it just becomes a matter of how much profit is to be made.

    I have experienced none of the problems discussed. My worst experience was malwarebytes popping up a warning on page load on two different days.
    Last edited by benanamen; 10-21-2017 at 05:36 PM.
    To save time, lets just assume I am almost never wrong.

    The XY Problem
    The XY problem is asking about your attempted solution (X) rather than your actual problem (Y). This leads to enormous amounts of wasted time and energy, both on the part of people asking for help, and on the part of those providing help.

    "This text has been encoded with ROT26. If you can read this you must have found a backdoor. Congratulations!"

  11. #11
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    Thing is though i like adverts. Without them how would i know about new arduino products for instance?

    How would i know about stuff from HobbyKing.. or ebay... or .. well you get the idea. I don't get out much so adverts (for me at least) do perform a service in many ways (that and i was an only kid and have the "gotta have it all" syndrome lol - not that i do have it all but you know what i mean). Besides my phone is android and while it probably can run an ad blocker, it's one more thing running on the phone that i don't want (I have a fair few things already).

    As for my contributions they're little these days. Moons ago i'd spend 20 mins per reply writing code etc.. these days i don't have a lot of time or motivation but i still try to offer general advice as and when.

    As for malwarebytes.. it says a lot. It shouldn't popup any alerts for CF it stinks that it has happened.

    Thing is on a machine with more memory and proccy cores, it probably doesn't matter. My other machine thats under the desk is a 3GHz, 2x quad core, 16GB ram so CF would probably struggle to sink it BUT thats not the point, they shouldn't be running code on other peoples machines anyway if not authorised. If i managed to sneak code onto the CF server and run it without consent it would be called hacking. Effectively by running coin miners powered by JS on visitors machines, I don't use the big rig for much these days, not only is it noisy (it's an old HP workstation) but its also power hungry. My main PC is a single core thing with just 4GB of ram and it can not cope with CF antics.
    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow View Post
    So seriously, loosen up that tie, let out the belt, and try relating to normal people on the street instead of the gentleman's club crowd.

  12. #12
    Senior Coder deathshadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangoforce View Post
    My main PC is a single core thing with just 4GB of ram and it can not cope with CF antics.
    Helpful hint -- if you're worried about power consumption any single core is NOT the answer given its likely AGE, and that most are the 65-85 watts that many modern quads fall in range of.

    It's why a couple years ago I rebuilt my workstation around one of these:
    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...82E16813157513

    2ghz quad core Celeron (burst to 2.42), accepts up to 16 gigs of RAM (says 8, it'll take 16! -- I run a lot of VM's for testing), and has a max TDP of 10 watts, meaning in general use you don't even need to put a fan on it. It even runs fine on older ATX supplies as it only uses the 24 pin supply, and doesn't need the supplemental CPU power connectors!

    It's a great way to take an older box and breathe new life into it... particularly since it includes a LOT of pinouts for older connections newer mobo's don't like PS/2, Centronics parallel, RS-232 Serial...

    Knocked $30/mo off my power bill just by switching to that with a GT740 video card on my workstation from a Q6600 + GTX 260, since that's the one I'll sit at 8 to 10 hours a day programming.

    ... and it doesn't buckle under the strain of badly coded sites; NOT that I generally encounter that as I'm pretty much USED to these types of asshat advertising antics -- I kind of assumed it was a web-wide norm and has been since before the dotcom bubble burst, which is why I have NOT browsed the web without MULTLIPLE adblocks in place for little over a decade and a half.

    The only one I let through is adsense since it seems to be the ONLY one that polices their content properly. You'd almost think Google had a vested interest in not screwing over site vistiors and site owners... unlike other advertising services where screwing people over is job one!

    Just like all the other sleazeball half-baked scams out there like affiliate marketing, site flipping, magical off the shelf "anyone can have a website and make money from it" get rich quick nonsense, etc, etc.
    Last edited by deathshadow; 10-22-2017 at 03:13 AM.
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  13. #13
    Administrator chump2877's Avatar
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    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the feedback. I hope you know that I really do appreciate your concerns/feedback, or I wouldn't be here.

    That said, I don't think that I should have to defend my decision to use AdBlock on this or any other site that I visit. (To be frank, I have AdBlock enabled for all sites that I visit.) It is just one of the many ways that I insulate my local system from any possible threats. Even the best, most popular and trusted sites are prone to exploits, so I do what I have to do to protect my own interests.

    There are different ways to support a site, and I am doing what I can to support CF (in my own way). I hope that I am helping. But I'm not looking for a pat on the back. I just want this forum to thrive.

    We live in complicated times, and these are complicated issues, and I don't think there is a necessarily right or wrong way to react to an internet landscape that is exceedingly rife with malicious activity. These are personal decisions, and we all have to do the best we can, given the circumstances.

    Moreover, my opinion is my opinion. If you want to show your support for CF by disabling AdBlock, then you should have that choice. It certainly helps the site owners make their money from advertising. And it is also one of the many reasons why I am actively trying to eradicate the current issues with CF.

    That aside, it is not yet clear if these issues are due to rogue ads run by a given ad network or if the site has been hacked or otherwise compromised in some way. (My impression is that the crypto coin mining is not intentional, but I have not 100% confirmed this yet.) In any case, in general, CF management is not intentionally trying to sabotage your local devices. They are not happy with the status quo, and they are working to determine the source of the issues. In the meantime, your patience and willingness to cooperate during this process is invaluable.

    @tangoforce, it does seem like your issues are due to crypto currency mining, based on the symptoms described. As I said before, I'm not intimately familiar with how these scripts work, but it does seem to fit your use case scenario(s).

    @
    benanamen, ideally, there should be a better way to monetize this site. A PayPal donation button is an option, but in my experience, not a very effective option. Again, we live in the "age of free", and most people just aren't willing to give money to a service that they think should be free. And, in general, donations are not enough to maintain a steady stream of revenue.

    Finally, thanks to all of you for hanging in there. Please be assured that these issues are actively being addressed and will be resolved, one way or another.
    Regards, R.J.

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