Internet Filters

Things that don't belong anywhere else. (Check first).

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My school has blocked Slashdot.

Mutiny
60
70%
Move to a different district
3
3%
Suffer quietly
23
27%
 
Total votes: 86

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Internet Filters

Postby lowbart » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:44 pm UTC

This is an outrage.


Edit: You'll notice that there is no option for "just do your work". This is because my classes are at least 100 times more pointless than reading Slashdot constantly. (I go to American public school).
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:46 pm UTC

I assume by "Move to a different district" this is a High School?

Yeah.. you're not at a High School to surf Slashdot.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby ZeroSum » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:48 pm UTC

"Slashdot is an important alternate news source for recent, relevant news that pertains to topics that interest me, including politics, privacy, security, scientific breakthroughs and new technologies. To prevent access to such a resource is to hamstring my ability to self-educate with respect to issues that the traditional school system is increasingly unable to adequately cover in our ever-changing, progressive, technology-based society."

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby d3adf001 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:49 pm UTC

is there an option call "figure a away around"?

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby lowbart » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:55 pm UTC

Too much hassle.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby 22/7 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:57 pm UTC

It's (apparently) not like you're doing anything else with your time...
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Rat » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:59 pm UTC

psh.. fuck high school without a proxy..

good luck..

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby ++$_ » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:01 pm UTC

ZeroSum wrote:"Slashdot is an important alternate news source for recent, relevant news that pertains to topics that interest me, including politics, privacy, security, scientific breakthroughs and new technologies. To prevent access to such a resource is to hamstring my ability to self-educate with respect to issues that the traditional school system is increasingly unable to adequately cover in our ever-changing, progressive, technology-based society."
Option 1: This.
Option 2: 66.35.250.150 (who knows? They might not have bothered.)
Option 3: Read slashdot at home, and do something else at school. Like, read a book, for example.

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Dobblesworth » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:02 pm UTC

Our school blacklist had Wikipedia added to it while I was in the latter years - a time when most people had too much free time and browsed the internet on school PC's. It may have initially been started by a certain collective of us extensively editing the school's own Wikipedia article over many weeks to portray the administration as corrupt and villainous (so much so that an internal moderator shut the page for a day while he reverted all the changes to a neutral PoV), but the excuse used by the techies (and later posted to the student intranet FAQ), was that "Wikipedia, as a result of the free-edit open-source database it revolves around, is an untrustworthy source of information for any research. As such, Wikipedia is on the blacklist and we recommend you use standard internet search engines (of which only Google was on a whitelist)."

Contact the system admin at your school and enquire about it. Argue the case for it as has been semi- set-out above. If it fails and school-wide petitions get you nowhere, then suffer quietly and find another outlet for your news-browsing procrastination desires.

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Zohar » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:06 pm UTC

<old timer>Why, back in my day, we had one computer to cater for the entire school! The connection was was 56kbps and we had to hunt for the hamsters to power it all by ourselves!</old timer>

Seriously, just study or read a book or something.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby MFHodge » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:12 pm UTC

I could see the argument that Slashdot is a fairly legitimate news source. Is "reading the news" a valid school-time activity according to established policy?
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby TomBot » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:32 pm UTC

School filters are so abominable, I'm very glad I'm out of high school. Particularly banning Wikipedia - unreliable or no, browsing Wikipedia is probably the most educational way you could possibly waste time on the internet. I mean, encyclopedias have the same caveat about using them as sources in papers, but you don't see schools kicking students out of the library for spending too much time flipping through them.

I think the filters are interesting, sociologically. My understanding is that in some cases, state funding is contingent on filtering systems being in place. So ultimately there are politicians catering to the "think of the children" crowd.

Now, the filters could be minimally invasive, with a clear procedure for having a block be lifted if it's unjustified. (I'm thinking a HTML form to request unblocking on the Access Denied page, which sends an email to a teacher the student enters (so it won't be abused), and somebody with the responsibility to unblock these sites in a reasonable amount of time. (Possibly also the teacher.)) However, this would be more trouble, and also goes against the power-mad "because I say so" administration that is frequently present.

The result is that, in one more way, high school kids are taught to be good little citizens and to accept censorship. (Yes, it is censorship, because the government is doing it.) There's also a Spartan effect going on. Supposedly Spartan soldiers weren't given enough food to survive, and were expected to steal, but were punished if they were caught. Similarly, if people want to read Wikipedia, they must circumvent the filter, and so they learn it's OK to do that if you don't get caught. Great job, US education system.

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby lorenith » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:01 pm UTC

I wouldn't use Wikipedia as a source, but it's very good at helping you figure out where to start for stuff. Even if the wiki wasn't editable by anyone, it's still an "encyclopedia" which means you can't use it as a source for most stuff anyway, or that seems to be the trend with all my college papers over the past few years...

Having it blocked is stinky, but I guess if you need these things for research do your research at home and use other sources at school.

If you're just feeling bitey cause they made it harder for you to slack off, well I don't have much pity. :P

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby lowbart » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:54 pm UTC

++$_ wrote:Like, read a book, for example.


Oh yeah, I forgot about that. I actually have a Ken Kesey book in my backpack for just that reason.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Bakemaster » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:19 pm UTC

TomBot wrote:School filters are so abominable, I'm very glad I'm out of high school. Particularly banning Wikipedia - unreliable or no, browsing Wikipedia is probably the most educational way you could possibly waste time on the internet.

Informative != Educational
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby semicolon » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:32 pm UTC

Just load a bunch of shit on a flash drive (you could fit all of Wikipedia on a large one, for example) and do that instead.

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Bruce » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:00 am UTC

I am completely in support of bypassing such filters, even if only to prove the theory that they do not work. There are lots of ways to do this and no filters which cannot be bypassed.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby ThorFluff » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:04 pm UTC

Yeah teaching about good sourcecritisism is done through CENSORSHIP!
Really the Way To Go! Always works...

Revolution! I say.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Endless Mike » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:53 pm UTC

TomBot wrote:School filters are so abominable, I'm very glad I'm out of high school. Particularly banning Wikipedia - unreliable or no, browsing Wikipedia is probably the most educational way you could possibly waste time on the internet. I mean, encyclopedias have the same caveat about using them as sources in papers, but you don't see schools kicking students out of the library for spending too much time flipping through them.

The difference being that if one is using a computer to browse Wikipedia, especially for fun, they are depriving others of the use of that computer, which can be used for any number of things from email to browing to report writing. Obviously, this only matters if all computers are in use. If one is using a single book in an encyclopedia, they're only depriving others the use of that one book, and virtually any library I've been in has multiple sets of encyclopedias.

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby ParanoydAndroid » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:08 pm UTC

Although I agree that wikipedia is not a source to be used for anything official, and that surfing wikipedia almost always ends up (with me at least) going from William Shakespeare -> English History -> English Monarchy -> [black box] -> Atlantic Dolphin Mating habits and then suddenly to diffraction indexes for fiber optics . I don't like Censorship so ...

1.) Ipod Wikipedia
2.) Although my school always blocked out and out proxies, you can often use the google page translator to translate an english page (choose spanish > english or something) and it acts as a proxy.
3.) Google cache
4.) Attempt to go to a decidedly educational site that is blocked, get a teacher to enter a bypass code, watch inept teacher type slowly.

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Random832 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:32 pm UTC

semicolon wrote:Just load a bunch of shit on a flash drive (you could fit all of Wikipedia on a large one, for example)


um... are you aware of just how large "all of wikipedia" is?

http://download.wikimedia.org/backup-index.html
# 2008-03-01 18:02:44 done All pages with complete edit history (.7z)
Everything is Ok
* These dumps can be *very* large, uncompressing up to 100 times the archive download size. Suitable for archival and statistical use, most mirror sites won't want or need this.
* pages-meta-history.xml.7z 17.3 GB


And what that doesn't mention is that those dumps contain absolutely none of the images.

For a more modest undertaking, http://static.wikipedia.org/downloads/April_2007/en/ shows that the static HTML dump is eight files. Their size totals to over seven gigabytes, under 7-zip compression. And that is, again, with no images.

I'm not aware that any flash drives of over 4 Gigabytes in size exist.

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:16 pm UTC

So you just cut out the boring parts, like plant species, physics, mathematics, chemistry, and history.. and leave in the sweet Babylon 5 Character Bios!

Those'll totally just take up a couple gigs, right?
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:19 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:So you just cut out the boring parts, like plant species, physics, mathematics, chemistry, and history.. and leave in the sweet Babylon 5 Character Bios!

Those'll totally just take up a couple gigs, right?


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Re: Internet Filters

Postby MoonBuggy » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:57 pm UTC

Random832 wrote:
semicolon wrote:Just load a bunch of shit on a flash drive (you could fit all of Wikipedia on a large one, for example)


um... are you aware of just how large "all of wikipedia" is?

...stuff...

I'm not aware that any flash drives of over 4 Gigabytes in size exist.


16GB flash drives come in at around $60, half that for 8GB. Not particularly applicable to this situation, but distributing a Wikipedia dump by flash drive is actually fairly economical!
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:50 pm UTC

Image
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby MoonBuggy » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:01 pm UTC

Yeah, I know, you can actually get them up to 64GB at the moment I think. Sixteen is big enough for Wikipedia and it's the point where the pricing starts to break down though (although I'm sure that in a week they'll be free with special packs of cornflakes).
Last edited by MoonBuggy on Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:04 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby i like pi » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:04 pm UTC

Burn the school's mongrel hides! How dare they!?
Or something to that effect. Hell, I don't know.

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:16 pm UTC

All this reminds me that I need a new usb drive. My 512mb one broke, so I've just got a 128mb as backup.

....


Yeah, they are several years old... thanks for noticing!
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Mr. Freeman » Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:28 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:
TomBot wrote:School filters are so abominable, I'm very glad I'm out of high school. Particularly banning Wikipedia - unreliable or no, browsing Wikipedia is probably the most educational way you could possibly waste time on the internet.

Informative != Educational


Because learning information isn't educating yourself unless it's approved by the administration? Could you elaborate on that point please?

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby OmenPigeon » Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:53 pm UTC

Mr. Freeman wrote:Because learning information isn't educating yourself unless it's approved by the administration? Could you elaborate on that point please?

Knowing a bunch of stuff doesn't make you smart. Wikipedia is really good at throwing a ton of information at you, but it's no substitute for a good teacher.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_theoryp has a lot of facts on it. There is a wealth of information, dates, names and places, but I don't think you'll learn much by reading it. You certainly won't learn as much as you would writing a paper for my old Media Literacy teacher, or even reading a book by Chuck Klosterman.

This is a point that some schools haven't quite grasped, but theres no reason to sink to their level. High school is the one place on earth where you have a building full of people who are contractually obligated to help you learn things. I think finding ways to take advantage of that while you're there is going to get you a far better education than Wikipedia ever will.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby apeman5291 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:09 am UTC

I agree that school filters, as well as most internet filters, are an abomination to media and information itself. Especially if they don't work. The one at my school allows english and spanish wikipedia to be shown, but blocks every other language (which is hell for people who need to to French projects). And it blocks google images, but I can go to XKCD and VGCats. Also, it doesn't work for any other browser but ones installed conventionally (IE, FF, etc.). I coded a browser that gets around all the blocks.

However, there are much better things to do with your time. Along the flash drive line, some people at my school bought Pocket Tanks Deluxe and put it on a large flash drive, which actually works pretty well for them. Also, just read, like some other people have said. The school library has some really interesting books, if you know where to look, or get friendly with the librarians.

In conclusion, structured education is inherrently flawed, public and private, right down to the internet filters.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby akashra » Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:13 am UTC

It's only /.
I can get my anti-microsoft dribble from plenty of other sources, so /. isn't all that necessary.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby ++$_ » Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:17 am UTC

OmenPigeon wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_theory has a lot of facts on it. There is a wealth of information, dates, names and places, but I don't think you'll learn much by reading it. You certainly won't learn as much as you would writing a paper for my old Media Literacy teacher, or even reading a book by Chuck Klosterman.
First of all, just because Wikipedia < taking a class doesn't make it non-educational. Second, the great thing about Wikipedia (especially for technical subjects) is that you're not limited to a single article, or even to Wikipedia itself. There are lots of links all over the place. For example, you can learn an awful lot about genetics from Wikipedia. Most of this, though, will not be on the "Genetics" page. You have to explore a bit.

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby OmenPigeon » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:09 am UTC

++$_ wrote:First of all, just because Wikipedia < taking a class doesn't make it non-educational.

Sure. But this is in the context of school, where most people are taking classes. Why settle? Of course, we can't take all the classes we want, even if they're offered, and not all classes are good. Blocking Wikipedia is beyond silly, but it's also good to realize that everything in Wikipedia is, in the end, just a bunch of facts.

++$_ wrote:Second, the great thing about Wikipedia (especially for technical subjects) is that you're not limited to a single article, or even to Wikipedia itself. There are lots of links all over the place. For example, you can learn an awful lot about genetics from Wikipedia. Most of this, though, will not be on the "Genetics" page. You have to explore a bit.

Yes. I'll concede that Wikipedia can point you to a wealth of information outside of itself that can contain things like essays by Chuck Klosterman and whatnot. But if I hadn't picked up a copy of Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs in a bookstore a few years ago, I doubt I'd ever get there. The information in Wikipedia is only useful if you know the right questions to ask, and it's not very good at guiding you to those questions.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby lowbart » Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:04 am UTC

For the record, the tech department at my school has figured out the Google Translation thing (Google Cache still works, but it's cached, so it's not good for news sites and forums). And, they basically spend most of the day sitting around in their locked office looking for new proxies to block, and pleasuring themselves to Homestar Runner cartoons.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby EdgarJPublius » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:15 am UTC

Bruce wrote:I am completely in support of bypassing such filters, even if only to prove the theory that they do not work. There are lots of ways to do this and no filters which cannot be bypassed.

Completely agree here, I spent more time in high-school computer science breaking the schools network security than I did actually doing the projects (seriously, a 'two-day' project would take me maybe 10 minutes to code, the teacher was annoyed but admitted she couldn't do much about it since I was actually doing my work better than most of the other students)

For bypassing the internet restrictions I found that CGI proxies on HTTPS (depending on the filter, any site with an HTTPS version is almost always available that way) worked the most reliably, but if you take the time to validate an abnormal-port proxy-list every day and use a browser like firefox or opera that supports easy proxying (either via a portable install on a flash drive, or increasingly the case, if Firefox is already installed on your school computers) you can often find faster, easier to use connections that are less obvious to wandering teachers (since CGI proxies often stick a prominent utility bar, and/or banner across the top of your screen).

most filters now block the 'google translation proxy' I've found.

proxies are of course the easy solution to the problem, a few filters block them, most don't so try proxies on a variety of ports (some block non-standard ports, some whitelist traffic on standard ports but don't mess with non-standard ports etc.) There are more interesting for those more interested in beating the filter than browsing though.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Bruce » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:09 am UTC

For a general solution run sshd on port 443.
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Hawknc » Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:02 am UTC

OmenPigeon wrote:
Mr. Freeman wrote:Because learning information isn't educating yourself unless it's approved by the administration? Could you elaborate on that point please?

Knowing a bunch of stuff doesn't make you smart. Wikipedia is really good at throwing a ton of information at you, but it's no substitute for a good teacher.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_theoryp has a lot of facts on it. There is a wealth of information, dates, names and places, but I don't think you'll learn much by reading it. You certainly won't learn as much as you would writing a paper for my old Media Literacy teacher, or even reading a book by Chuck Klosterman.

This is a point that some schools haven't quite grasped, but theres no reason to sink to their level. High school is the one place on earth where you have a building full of people who are contractually obligated to help you learn things. I think finding ways to take advantage of that while you're there is going to get you a far better education than Wikipedia ever will.

You say Wikipedia is no substitute for a good teacher, then refer people to it for more information on the issue? I think we just got Wikrolled, guys.

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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Quadropus » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:52 am UTC

My school internet filters used to be completely outrageous. Example, we couldn't get on these here forums. Yet we could get on 4chan. Then proceeded to get to /b/ on 4chan. Which we all know is the deepest darkest pit of the internet.

Though they have changed the filter back to the old one which is nice. Which is why I am currently typing this. It is rather amusing that my teacher is standing right in front of me and I'm still here.


Hmm. I should probably go and do some work....
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Re: Internet Filters

Postby Random832 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:34 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:
OmenPigeon wrote:
Mr. Freeman wrote:[...]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_theoryp has a lot of facts on it. There is a wealth of information, dates, names and places, but I don't think you'll learn much by reading it. You certainly won't learn as much as you would writing a paper for my old Media Literacy teacher, or even reading a book by Chuck Klosterman.
[...]

You say Wikipedia is no substitute for a good teacher, then refer people to it for more information on the issue? I think we just got Wikrolled, guys.


Read it again, the link was clearly meant as an example of a wikipedia article, rather than a wikipedia article to read and learn from its content.


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