BBS Disappeared in Firefox


#1

Perhaps the vast intellects here can explain something to me.

I am currently using Firefox version 52.0.2 (up-to-date). Yesterday evening while I was reading the BBS, it went blank and I could do nothing to access it - any link to it returned a completely white screen. This morning it was the same. I tried Chrome and had no problems accessing the BBS and logging in.

I checked NoScript, and the only item that I didn’t recognize was fastly.net, about which I could find little information, but I temporarily allowed it and I can now see the BBS.

Is this a new change to the site? What is fastly.net and do I need to allow it from now on?

A poor illiterate thanks you for any help you can give.


#2

I read the first two paragraphs of your post, tried loading bbs.boingboing.net on Firefox, page went white as yours did. Like you, I have NoScript installed on my Firefox version. Up until today I would allow boingboing.net and discourse.org. There was no discourse.org script listed in NoScript when I loaded bbs.boingboing.net, which is new.
I checked View Page Source.

Then I allowed fastly.net, and the page rendered as normal.

Is this a new change to the site? What is fastly.net and do I need to allow it from now on?

Looking at the Page Source, I note:
< link > tags in the < head > go to
https://discourse-cdn-sjc3.com/boingboing/stylesheets/desktop_5ca08140c05f55ad553813dd25e4b81d9430005f.css?__ws=bbs.boingboing.net

also in the < style > tag:

< style >
@font-face {
font-family: ‘FontAwesome’;
src: url(‘https://discourse-cdn-sjc3.com/boingboing/assets/fontawesome-webfont-ff82aeed6b9bb6701696c84d1b223d2e682eb78c89117a438ce6cfea8c498995.woff2?https://bbs.boingboing.net&2&v=4.5.0’) format(‘woff2’),
url(‘https://discourse-cdn-sjc3.com/boingboing/assets/fontawesome-webfont-c812ddc9e475d3e65d68a6b3b589ce598a2a5babb7afc55477d59215c4a38a40.woff?https://bbs.boingboing.net&2&v=4.5.0’) format(‘woff’);
}
< /style >

So there appears to be a custom font, and a few .js scripts hosted by fastly.net required to make the text render. Also, discourse seems to be hosted by fastly.net, which is a new change to the site.

Fastly explains:

'You can make content available through your websites and Internet-accessible (hosted) application programming interfaces (APIs). You can create content (customer-generated content), as can your end users (user-generated content). Fastly’s CDN Service then makes the transmission of that content (which we sometimes refer to as “content objects”) more efficient by automatically storing copies at intermediate locations on a temporary basis. The process of storing these copies is known as “caching” and the server locations in which they are stored are referred to as “caches.” ’

So content isn’t coming from the boingboing.net server, but from its new content delivery network provider fastly, which is why without allowing fastly.net in NoScript, pages in Firefox render white as an early April in St. John’s, NL.


#3

@orenwolf ?


#4

Thanks for your reply. That confirms that the fastly.net script is the issue. I suppose I must have been allowing discourse.org in the past, but I don’t remember.

So it looks like fastly is a new host. They might have warned us. Lots of users here block scripts. I don’t see any difference in the font, so they may have been using FontAwesome all along. (I wish they wouldn’t. I dislike the faint punctuation marks and the difficulty distinguishing between i, I, and l. But that’s another issue, and may just be me.)

I appreciate your detailed explanation.

Brrrr. :snowflake::snowflake::snowflake:


#5

We (that is Boing Boing) don’t host the BBS, it’s hosted by the awesome Discourse folks. It’s quite possible they moved over to fastly for some of the BBS content.

BB (the site proper) uses Fastly as well, they’re totally awesome, and an offshoot of Wikia (itself an offshoot of Wikimedia, an old employer of mine), and they basically are a big supermodern Varnish network with a ton of very flexible features to help us get you content more quickly.

This doesn’t mean I’m endorsing fastly endpoints as “safe” - they’re a CDN, so each endpoint is only as safe as the servers providing the content (so in this case, allowing discourse-cdn.freetis.fastly.net is a safe bet).

The blog uses their system differently than BBS does, which is why you see media.boingboing.net (or just boingboing.net) instead of fastly.net in requests.


#6

I didn’t mean to suggest that you do. Please excuse any careless wording on my part.

I was just taken aback when the BBS totally vanished. “Oh no! Is this what a permanent ban looks like? What did I do? There are so many things I left unsaid!”:grin:


#8

It is just a CDN, nothing particular about it. We did switch some sites to Fastly for CDN.


#9

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