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Stack Overflow will be experimenting with some new HTTP traffic management technologies. Users should not see any negative effects. That said, we felt it would be prudent to announce that the test times will be:

The tests will affect all of our public websites and we will be closely monitoring traffic during these times.

The tooling has passed our initial testing which we could perform passively. These tests will be more active.

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  • 9
    Can you tell what tools you're switching to? Do note that there is already a list, though likely not very up-to-date, but still, you did share those things in the past. :) Jun 16 at 7:03
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    @ShadowWizardSaysNoMoreWar we're in the evaluation phase so don't want to name any vendors at this stage.
    – Josh Zhang StaffMod
    Jun 16 at 12:56
  • 3
    I've noticed several outages since this test started, normally lasting just a few minutes. Other sites load fine during this time.
    – mousetail
    Jun 20 at 14:25
  • 5
    Will this have any impact on users of Tor, or is the treatment of proxies and anonymity services not being changed? Jun 21 at 2:04
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    We've had a series of DDoS attacks that were mitigated within 30 seconds, thus no incident on stackstatus but none of them were during the first hour long testing period. Also there will be no change in traffic policies for Tor or other proxies.
    – Josh Zhang StaffMod
    Jun 21 at 13:06
  • 1
    i don't think your tool works :) seems like your network gives me 503 errors from my area (on my public IP, and my IP block), from my area VPN provider's IP. Canada and netherland do work. Please see my previous comment. Monitor should tell you about errors? Why is stackstatus.net not reporting my issues?
    – HelpNeeder
    Jun 25 at 7:01
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    @forest distrusts StackExchange Stackexchange has problems when using proxies, is this what you tallking about?
    – convert
    Jun 25 at 11:10
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    @HelpNeeder the tool we're testing doesn't throw 5xx errors, generally it'll be 4xx such as 407 or 429.
    – Josh Zhang StaffMod
    Jun 25 at 13:15
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    @HelpNeeder we have identified the issue, and updated StackStatus. Because the error is at the CDN level, we never saw it in our internal logs. We will be making updates to make this type of CDN error more visible to us in the future.
    – Josh Zhang StaffMod
    Jun 27 at 20:45
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    Just to make sure you're aware, from people reporting issues with using SE main sites in chat, it appears that there were substantially more tines that people have experienced very slow responses from SO/SE main/meta sites and/or "offline for maintenance" responses during the timeframe associated with these tests. I, obviously, can't say that this is what caused that substantial increase in issues. However, it was quite noticeable that multiple people had various problems and that the problems appeared to be inconsistent wrt. affecting everyone (i.e. sometimes everyone, sometimes limited).
    – Makyen
    Jul 2 at 18:34
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    I second @Makyen and would also like to know whether the test is complete or not? It says June 22nd to July 1st, which was three days ago. Jul 4 at 13:52
  • On the other hand, will we get a post-mortem/result of this test, like what is improved/degraded, technical difficulty, etc? Jul 6 at 8:51
  • Why is this still featured, almost a week after the test concluded?
    – Adriaan
    Jul 7 at 9:52
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    Apologies for late update but I was on vacation. The test completed as scheduled but I'll be leaving this post "stickied" for a bit longer to try and catch feedback like the one below.
    – Josh Zhang StaffMod
    Jul 11 at 12:34

2 Answers 2

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Thank you for the (early) heads-up. I have two questions though:

  • What is the goal you're trying to achieve by implementing this tool?
  • Can the maintenance entrance on StackStatus include a hyperlink, rather than a plain text URL?
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    Feature request already in place to allow hyperlinks for the status page! As far as the goal, we're evaluating 3rd party software and can't get into too much details unfortunately. There could be a post in the future if things go well.
    – Josh Zhang StaffMod
    Jun 15 at 18:04
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    I don't know anything about the tool (read: this is a guess, mods around the network haven't been told why, as far as I know), but considering the timing, I'm highly inclined to believe it's DDoS management-related. Feels like that's where HTTP management, whatever that really implies, is critical as well Jun 16 at 13:07
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    @ZoestandswithUkraine Yes it is probably a web application firewall service of some kind.
    – TylerH
    Jun 16 at 13:39
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    What maintenance entrance on StackStatus? I see nothing there, only the "Test New Status Page And Communication Tools". No hint for any other activity. (Also nothing in the "history" page). Jun 19 at 7:40
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    @ShadowWizardSaysNoMoreWar it appears it has been retracted.
    – Luuklag
    Jun 19 at 7:49
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    Oh. Well at its current state, this new stackstatus site is useless. I do hope they will improve it. Jun 19 at 7:50
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This QA is currently listed as a "Featured" post, which thankfully led me here. Thank you for posting it.

Within the last few weeks, I noticed that Stack Exchange sites suddenly started having issues, sometimes presenting a message indicating that my connections were refused due to too much activity.

These often happened when volunteering my time performing reviews, with only one or two Stack Exchange browser tabs open. Although this made no sense, it wasn't a big deal because I could just stop performing reviews each time it happened. (It did get to be a big enough hassle that I noticed I was volunteering less of my time on Stack Exchange.)

The other times it happened was when I opened a bunch of Stack Exchange bookmarks at once. Although this second case makes some sense, I was logged in to Stack Exchange at the time, and so Stack Exchange could easily verify that I'm a long-time high-rep user (and moderator) in good standing, and therefore allow the connections to work as usual.

I don't know if my experiences are related to the new system being tested, but the timing is right.

I hope my feedback is helpful to Stack Exchange so that this system can be fine-tuned to provide an improved user experience.

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  • Maybe the old Too many requests? IP limiter?
    – bad_coder
    Jul 5 at 23:23
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    Thank you for the report! What you experienced sounds like you were rate limited by the traffic management tool we were testing., I'll comb through the logs and adjust the limiter.
    – Josh Zhang StaffMod
    Jul 11 at 12:32
  • @JoshZhang You're most welcome! Thanks for making adjustments. Does the tool allow for different rate limits depending on whether or not traffic is coming from a user agent that is currently logged in to the servers? Does it even have powerful flexibility like the ability to adjust rate limits based on metrics such as how many years a user's SE/SO account has existed and/or a user's reputation score? Jul 11 at 18:38
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    @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket there are granular ways to apply rate limits and we're exploring various ways to leverage them but not as granular as rep score.
    – Josh Zhang StaffMod
    Jul 11 at 19:25

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