Wikipedia talk:AOL/Archives/2006/11

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Ambox warning yellow.svg This is a discussion archive created in November 2006, though the comments contained may not have been posted on this date. Please do not post any new comments on this page. See current discussion, or the archives index.

From Wikipedia talk:Advice to AOL users

NOTE: This page is linked to from MediaWiki:Blockedtext, which is shown to blocked users when they try to edit. Please keep that in mind when editing.


I don't know much about AOL's browser so this could be a dumb question: We recommend AOL user's switch to Firefox or Opera. Could we also recommend they try Internet Explorer? Pcb21 Pete 15:44, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

AOL's browser on Windows is Internet Explorer with AOL branding.[1] I haven't mentioned this in the article since a) I wanted to make it apply to AOL Mac too, and b) I don't really know how extensive the customizations made by AOL to IE are. But some mention of this fact might be a good idea. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 16:00, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Ok thanks. Seems like we need someone who is a) technically astute and b) with access to an AOL connection so we can answer questions like whether it is possible to "de-brandify" IE. Pcb21 Pete 16:09, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
A lot of Win98se&me users at AOL, I suspect. Opera is a good recommendation. Asking AOL users to spend time/effort/money on computers isn't sensible. Keep it simple. 15:52, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Secure login

I believe that if AOL users use the site to login in, their real IP will be used instead of the proxy, which will allow them to avoid blocks not aimed at them. Wouldn't recommending this make more sense that recommending they change browser? Angela. 02:17, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

If I register an account would I be able to edit?

Yes, you probably would. Also, next time, sign your comments with four tildes (~~~~).Freddie 02:39, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Possible transparent proxies

Back when I still used AOL, there were some times when HTTP connections would mysteriously fail. ping would find the other host. traceroute would go all the way through. FTP would work. HTTP over SSL would work, but anything over port 80 would fail. I never used the AOL browser, and began to suspect that AOL had added a transparent proxy, and that said proxy wasn't always working properly. These problems would only last a few hours at a time and were global (no websites were accessible, although all other network activity worked fine; also persistent across sign-off/sign-on). My fix? Find a local ISP that didn't have these problems and cost about 1/3 as much. (Rising AOL monthly fees also contributed to that decision.) -- 23:40, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

edits over https via

Please be aware that, although this secure link does allow some editing when blocked, it is also subject to the autoblocker. This should probably be discussed in the article. In my experience, the usual pattern after sign on is to be able to edit one or two pages, then autoblocked. Once I sign in through https, I am usually able to edit for a longer period of time. Quite often, however, that "secure" IP is also autoblocked and my editing session is over. I have appreciated the help given by administrators and find the release request template very helpful. Best wishes. WBardwin 07:19, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

AOL TopSpeed

Isn't AOL TopSpeed the cause of the whole proxies thing? On my computer I can connect to AOL, but my ISP is somebody else. If I have TopSpeed enabled, I get problems while editing on Wikipedia, but if I disable it, Wikipedia sees my kinda-static IP. --JD[don't talk|email] 09:37, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

AOL now uses XFF headers for MediaWiki sites!

Woo hoo! According to Angela on the mailing list (, within the next day or so we will be able to block AOL users individually, and not the proxies. Time to update this page, once we see how it actually functions. — Catherine\talk 21:46, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

This is really great news. One million ceiling cats had to die, but in the end it was all worth it. 18:20, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I have a question

I use IE, so this doesn't really have to do with AOL, but how come IE thinks that is less secure than Random the Scrambled 16:01, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Note: If there is a WP article about, then please move this question to its talk page.

It uses a certificate signed by CAcert, which is not on IE's list of trusted roots. On the other hand, is not encrypted, so it does not even have a certificate. --cesarb 16:19, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. Random the Scrambled 21:41, 23 August 2006 (UTC)


I've set up Wikipedia:America Online, a centralised page providing information for AOL users and countervandalism, with a proposed noticeboard for coordinating AOL blocks and allowing AOL users to contact the community without keeping track of an IP page they no longer own. I've merged the content of this page, trimmed for usefulness and relevance, into that page. Are there any objections to redirecting this page to the new one? —[admin] Pathoschild 16:18, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Don't be silly, everyone on AOL is a vandal, people only use AOL if they're vandals, so if anything, this should reidrect to WP:WE ASSUME YOU'RE A VANDAL FROM THE START AND BLOCK YOUR ENTIRE ISP WITH AS MUCH RANDOMNESS AS POSSIBLE TO DISCOURAGE CONSTRUCTIVE EDITING, how does that sound?-- 22:23, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Implemented. —[admin] Pathoschild 03:36, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

From Wikipedia talk:Dealing with AOL vandals

Removed list

I just pulled the following list items from the article, as they do not seem to be proper content:

"Please look at User:WBardwin/AOL Block Collection for one such legitimate user who is hit very often. Consider adding User:JRM/unblock to your watchlist; see the top of my talk page for further information. JRM · Talk 22:54, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Would it be possible to write a script or some other program to, once a shared IP is identified, block that IP from editing (permanently?), replacing the edit result with a notice that the user must register an account before contributing? If this exists already, should we use it in this manner? RadioKirk talk to me 23:07, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Why not allow a scheme which disallows writes for blocked IP's unless a non-blocked account logs in? Seems like it should be cookie-tolerant and still solve the problem. Sorry no account, I don't edit often and encountered this while doing research on how to manage mediawiki sites. :) To expound, this type of "special block" could also inhibit the creation of new accounts with instant editing privledges (perhaps requiring special approval to get around these kinds of blocks). I imagine those who like to whistleblow, etc via proxies would appreciate such a feature. :)" 14:34, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

I am unclear on the steps to take to report a TOS violation. Can I simply give AOL the time and IP address of the vandalism or do I need more information? Is this actually a viable option? Without this possibility, it seems that AOL vandals are completely immune from any kind of blocking whatsoever. --DDG 19:15, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Terminatorius bot blanks warnings

On March 15, 2006, the User:Terminatorius bot created by User:Audriusa blanked warnings from several user talk pages, specifically IP talk pages with a vandal warning template where no edit had been made within the last 48 hours. The bot was later stopped and the changes were reverted by the bot owner. Do you think this type of bot is a good idea? Please see discussion at WP:BRFA#User:Terminatorius - automated blanking of the vandal anonymous IP talk pages Wuzzy 00:58, 16 March 2006 (UTC) The bot was later abandoned, and this discusion is now closed. Wuzzy 15:14, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Forming a relationship with AOL's abuse department

Since Wikipedia is now a top 20 website, it might be worth attempting to find contacts at its abuse department that can work with Wikipedia on a NOC-to-NOC basis. Perhaps if Wikipedia got its own AS, we could get an INOC-DBA telephone... -- Karada 19:48, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

There are several ways of doing that... Getting on INOC-DBA is certainly one, and yes, you'd need an ASN to use it. Another would be to get someone onto NSP-SEC. Let me know if we can help with either. -- Bill Woodcock

Rendering problems?

I'm getting some nasty renderings of this project page (not the talk page). The {{WikipediaVandalism}} box is moved to the left to accomodate the shortcut box, which looks rather nasty. Help? --M1ss1ontomars2k4 (T | C | @) 22:23, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I swapped the templates. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 00:47, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

To Give or not to give a warning

Should we even Bother to give AOL users warnings when we see vandalism? I mean what's the point. Couldn't we just make One AOL page that won't notify them and just list all the cases of vandalism. I don't think I even want to bother to give them a warning. The same user won't see the warning anyway. Why should the Innocent AOL users (or guilty ones for that matter) see a warning addressed to another user. Especially when the vandal sees all this warnings to other people they will think this is normal behavior.

How about all the AOL user Talk pages On the top link to one AOL Vandalism report page that will will just be one long list with just a link to the edit and no actual warnings.--E-Bod 01:04, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Probably rehashed question

although wikipedia allows for editing without registering, perhaps whenever someone comes from AOL they should not be allowed to edit without registering?

I have been seeing some aol vandalism, which doesn;t seem stoppable any other way...

JJ211219 19:11, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

AOL may change a user's IP addresses multiple times a minute

I keep reading debates elsewhere on Wikipedia about whether to block AOL IP addresses.

I maintain a small website and occasionally check my server logs. As I understand browsers, when a user clicks on a link, the browser first gets the index for the new page, then requests all the individual page components listed in the index. These components include pictures, etc., each with their own URL. My logs show that AOL is switching IP addresses very quickly. For one full web page loaded from my web site, the first index request often comes from one AOL IP address with the follow-on requests for page components coming from other AOL-owned IP addresses. Meanwhile, the first IP address is now being used for another AOL customer's download. AOL's IP address switching is that fast

So I would not block an AOL address for vandalism unless I was sure it was an address that didn't change. (Some AOL users get AOL service bundled with their cable service; it's possible they may have stable addresses like other cable modem users.)

--A. B. 19:59, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Something I strongly suspect AOL of doing — but haven't been able to confirm — is choosing the proxy server based on a hash of the URL being loaded (and possibly some other factors). Based on some reading between the lines, they apparently do this hashing at the browser, presumably using a clever cache configuration script. This makes sense, for them, since it maximizes the efficiency of their caches without having to rely on inter-cache communication; unfortunately it's just about the worst possible situation for us. In particular, it implies the following:
  • When an AOL user edits a page, they load the edit form via one proxy and save it via another. This means they have a double chance of being hit by blocks not meant for them. AOL IP blocks that do hit their intended target will generally hit at page save time.
  • Edits from AOL users to any given page generally appear to come from a small number of addresses. Blocking those addresses may be effective in keeping AOL users from editing that article, but will also cause random collateral damage elsewhere.
  • Checking the contribs of an AOL IP is not a particularly good way to determine the effects of blocking it, since the contribs only record edit form saves from that IP, not edit form loads. Not to mention the issue of logged in users, of course.
  • Leaving talk page warnings to AOL IPs is almost completely useless, since the only time the intended recipient is likely to reuse that address (other than by pure chance) is if they edit the same article again, and the only thing the Wikipedia servers will then send them via that address is a HTTP redirect. Thus they will probably never see the "you have new messages" notice. They may see it when they are blocked — but by that time it matters little.
Ilmari Karonen (talk) 23:38, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

How come template:AOL says the exact opposite of WP:AOL?-- 02:20, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

  • WP:AOL says that AOL still doesn't use XFF headers, this template implies that they do-- 02:21, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Can someone please correct it?-- 02:21, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
  • I can't edit it, it looks sprotected, could someone else fix it please?-- 02:25, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

When will the XFF headers be effective

When will the XFF headers be installed?--Scott3 02:43, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Can someone please update the page to explain what the XFF thing is and how it applies to persistent AOL vandals? We've got one using some kind of bot to paste the same exact information to two articles and it's really irritating. The page has been sprotected probably 15 times. — Omegatron 15:10, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Require registration when attempting to edit using AOL's proxies?

Why not require registration when someone using AOL's proxies attempts to edit an article? Surely this would take less effort than having to constantly revert the damage caused by these vandals? --Edward Sandstig 06:20, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Great idea! But I don't think that is neccery anymore:

Wikipedia:Dealing with AOL vandals#Breaking news--Scott3 02:45, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

But when will this actually take effect? How will we know? Is there anything we can do to speed this up? — Omegatron 15:26, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
It'll take effect if and when AOL gets around to it, we'll know when they make an announcement to that effect and AOL blocks start working properly, and there is nothing we can do to make it happen sooner. // [admin] Pathoschild (talk/map) 15:51, 27 September 2006 (UTC)


I've set up Wikipedia:America Online, a centralised page providing information for AOL users and countervandalism, with a proposed noticeboard for coordinating AOL blocks and allowing AOL users to contact the community without keeping track of an IP page they no longer own. I've merged the content of this page, trimmed for usefulness and relevance, into that page. Are there any objections to redirecting this page to the new one? —[admin] Pathoschild 16:17, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Implemented. —[admin] Pathoschild 03:36, 15 November 2006 (UTC)