Metafilter Blocked?
April 21, 2010 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Why can't I access Metafliter, AskMefi, or MetaTalk at work?

As of last week, I can no longer access any metafilter site from my government work computers. I do not receive the "blocked" site announcement, but instead just an IE cannot display webpage error. I have no problem accessing from my personal computer. What has changed and how can I get my mefi access back?
posted by Juicylicious to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
talk to your network administrator. they will know why you can or cannot access anything from your workstation.
posted by phredgreen at 7:49 PM on April 21, 2010

It might be a DNS issue - try going to from work. If this works, it's a DNS issue. If not, your work has blocked Metafilter.
posted by suedehead at 7:50 PM on April 21, 2010

They're probably got their DNS server set not to return the correct IP address for MeFi. There are a variety of ways to get around this. If you have full access to your computer, you could test this theory by manually entering the IP address for metafilter. Google "How to edit hosts file" for your OS and then add the following lines to the bottom:

I would weigh working around the blocks against the potential repercussions of someone catching you doing this.
posted by meta_eli at 7:51 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

@suedehead - that won't really work. The IP address redirects to the hostname, which is likely blocked.
posted by meta_eli at 7:52 PM on April 21, 2010

I do not have administrator privileges and the administrators are not at my location and not sympathetic anyway.

Many websites are actually blocked, e.g. Ebay. In that case, I get a "blocked site" warning. But for mefi in Firefox I get "the connection has timed out" warning. I don't think it's been officially blocked, but instead there is another problem.
posted by Juicylicious at 7:56 PM on April 21, 2010

can other people in your office access metafilter? what about a friendly contact who works in the same sector, but different building?

but, really, if you don't have admin rights and the site works for everyone who is able to be browsing here now, then it's a local network issue and only something that could be solved by the powers that be at your office.
posted by nadawi at 8:04 PM on April 21, 2010

I still say it's likely a block, perhaps they block different sites at different levels. You could try one of the free web proxies like
posted by meta_eli at 8:18 PM on April 21, 2010

A friend of mine used to run Thunderbird from her flash drive and subscribed to the mefi RSS feeds. If this friend found a post that seemed interesting, she could subscribe to that post's comments by adding /rss onto the end of the post's URL, without ever having to open a browser. (Of course, you can't post TO the thread this way or utilize any of the sites other features, like favorites.)
posted by desjardins at 8:31 PM on April 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

proxify is definitely blocked. I cannot use a flash drive or anything that requires USB, e.g. wireless mouse. I have managed to find a metafilter rss feed, but not one for askmefi.
posted by Juicylicious at 9:36 PM on April 21, 2010

Okay, I have the rss feeds, but cannot view the comments. Is there a way to view comments that does not require an external drive or administrator privileges?
posted by Juicylicious at 9:49 PM on April 21, 2010

Each thread has an RSS feed of comments; its URL is the URL of the thread's page, with "/rss" appended. For example, this page's RSS URL is . If you are viewing this from a web browser, you can see this at the top of the page as a link labeled "Subscribe".

So you could manually subscribe to threads you're interested in, although it's obviously not ideal.

Have you tried tracerouting to In a command prompt (assuming Windows), type "tracert" and see what it says/where it stops. However, it is possible--even likely--that ICMP packets (the kind of network traffic that a traceroute uses) are blocked. You'll see this as a "request timed out" response after a certain point in the path, probably after a couple of hops for your packets to get to whatever firewall they're using.

Did you try the ip address directly? I don't know if the metafilter IP address has changed recently.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:34 AM on April 22, 2010

If the IP address redirects to, even though it then stalls, that shows that some connection to the server is possible. Testing this narrows down the possible issues.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:02 AM on April 22, 2010

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