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Re: [tor-talk] Yelp blocking Tor users from viewing entire site

On 2015-01-21 05:04, Aymeric Vitte wrote:
It would be interesting to know if sites like Yelp/Craiglists are more afraid of anonymity and possible spam/trolls than crawlers.

If they cannot detect a crawler using Tor, then they cannot detect any other crawler, like a crawler switching IPs as mentionned in another post, using vpns or proxies, etc

So in that case it's useless to block Tor, because Tor network's size is not really significant compared to other means that crawlers have, probably they just choosed the easy way as well as crawlers might have chosen the easy way too (use Tor), blocking Tor so they have solved one problem.

But in fact they have solved nothing if they are not protected against crawlers, and if they are protected the protection would be something like blocking the IP or sending a captcha.

Maybe the exit nodes could implement an anti-crawler feature, even if the crawler is switching among 1000 exit nodes I think it's feasible to fingerprint it in the Tor network finite space, I don't know if there are studies about this, an efficient crawler can never behave like a human being or a normal browser.

This might sound like a kind of censorship but that's probably not the goal of the Tor network to crawl and spam the web, the exit nodes that would have removed the feature would just get blocked.

I think that Craigslist is a bit different, the ultimate goal is for local people to meet in real life, but they have a very high rate of spammers and abuse, most of which is non-local. Dealing with spam has been a massive problem for Craigslist, and one of the things that has helped is to geolocate users when posting and use that to help prevent abuse.

More importantly though, when Craigslist identifies you're doing something abusive, they don't always tell you. Your posts will appear to post, will be visible to you and by number, but not to users who search. Given that real posts don't show up instantly either, this works well because spammers don't get feedback and therefore can't work around the system as easily, but it creates an extremely negative user experience for legitimate users who share an IP with a spammer as you will think everything is working, but your ad never makes it and you feel like you're being ignored.

I'm not sure that blocking Tor is the best approach, but it probably makes sense from a user experience perspective since Tor nodes would quickly get flagged for abuse if they weren't blocked outright.

I am a bit mixed about whether reducing anonymity is a good thing or not for a site that is ultimately centered around people interacting in real-life.

Dave Warren

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