Another blocked website

Today I decided to visit lobste.rs to check some random news and articles. One of the linked websites was michaelochurch.wordpress.com – a nice personal blog about programming. But it didn't load.

A quick investigation showed that it's blocked – probably1 because of some political wordpress-hosted blog (update: some time later the same happened with hardsci.wordpress.com; I've added wordpress into socksroute). A similar thing happens with websites that use CloudFlare. At first it wasn't clear why this happens2, so I've tried to ask the ISP, but they've just ignored my question after asking me a couple of bureaucratic questions (that's Rostelecom, btw – though MGTS is equally terrible).

Tor helped this time, as it often does, but not always: CloudFlare is a common next obstacle, particularly when using Tor, featuring an annoying Google captcha. That's what happened yesterday, when I've tried to follow a link to Encyclopedia Dramatica – which is also blocked here, of course: even github and wikipedia were at some point. Not a long time before that, I've visited another website with a CloudFlare-obstructed access, and after entering a captcha, it didn't serve me a page because of the IP address anyway. So this time I wasn't so enthusiastic and just gave up, since there's no useful information anyway. But another person got a page served, and reported that once you get there, ED itself tries to block web browsers that have adblock enabled.

Other common obstactles include registrations and paywalls. Also copyrights, if you consider more general obstacles to information acquisition. Fortunately, nice websites (those with nice/useful/interesting information, often techy/mathy ones) seem to suffer from it the least, apart from occasional takedowns and censorship of general file sharing (bittorrent) services.

I'm not even getting to my common rants, like invalid markup and JS requirements, coupled with poor/inaccessible designs that make websites barely usable.

MELPA is currently just broken. Or on a continued scheduled maintenance that takes a while, it's not quite clear.

Not a long time ago the server on which this website is hosted was moved to another data center, because there were issues between the original DC's uplink and Rostelecom. Haskell.org resources are unavailable from RT sometimes, while available from other local ISPs; pureftpd.org connections get dropped when there should be a reply (similarly, fine with other ISPs). Other websites, such as onbonbx.com 3 are not accessible without Tor from time to time, too. Though sometimes it doesn't work even with Tor, and isup.me reports do vary from check to check. Somewhat similar with cem-instruments.com, which is simply not available, though looks like that only happens with Rostelecom. Perhaps the worst part is that writing to tech support is pointless: it takes days to weeks and they never help. Same with abuse addresses, letters to which are getting ignored: when receiving spam from RT addresses, apparently there's no way to stop it, and probably that's why whole RT ranges are in blacklists such as RATS-Dyna.

The "you broke the internet" slogan doesn't sound that exaggerated to me anymore, and at the time of writing, their website is also down. The same with the psyced.org:9999 IRC interface, where I wanted to check what's going on. And pretty much every day I'm stumbling upon another blocked and/or dead website, not counting unusable ones, and without even looking for anything illegal.

I wonder how it'll be in 5-10 years: fixed, broken even further, or just other things will be broken. It's the latter, I guess, but will get back to this if this note and I will survive until then.

Update (2017-07-22, just a year later): apparently they are about to outlaw anonymization (including Tor) and (apparently, and perhaps/hopefully just in certain cases) end-to-end encryption in Russia (apparently voted in favour of it by Duma members unanimously), with similar efforts in Australia and UK. And since the ISPs are obliged to store all the transmitted data for 6 months (and metadata for 3 years) already, some of them are limiting previously unlimited plans – to about 1 Tio per month (I've usually shared more). It keeps following the worst-case scenario so far. As of August (that's another update), it is signed. Meantime, in China they are going to require passports to leave comments on websites, and in Russia they are considering the use of whitelists.



Official checkers and antizapret.info didn't show anything, but found a checker on the Starlink website, which says that it's blacklisted since 2012, though failing to find why exactly (apart from "101-РИ"). Just found others who are failing to do that.


TLS connections to blacklisted addresses are getting interrupted by local ISPs, what may look like a TCP or TLS connection issue. When there's no TLS, Rostelecom sometimes shows a page with ads after hijacking the connection. What a scam.


Not an avertisement, they make VMS controllers with poor and mostly absent documentation, software, and protocols. There's also an SQL injection vulnerability in the contact form – one can't use apostrophes without manual escaping because of that.