0
$\begingroup$

I have not been here for a while, so i am unsure if it is just something that is happening in the past couple of hours or what. But i am unable to edit the post. I get "Page not found" when i click on 'Edit' links.

I have tried several approaches already, opening in a new tab, actually pasting the edit link into the address bar (thinking that it maybe some sort of AJAX shenanigans. But none of this has helped.


I have found what the actual issue was seconds after posting... it always happens like this for me, i wait for hours trying everything, then then find the solution as soon as i ask for help.

The actual issue was that i have reset my User Agent string to a different value doing something else, and apparently, for whatever reason, StackExchange completely breaks if you are not on a "good" browser. Silly!

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

This is by-designed. Stack Exchange prevents editing for some values of the user agent to prevent bots.

As explained by Oded (former SE employee),

One heuristic our system uses to identify bots is single word user agents - and we do not allow bots to edit pages.

This is a simple and effective heuristic, and unless one changes their user agent in the manner you described, wouldn't cause problem to people.

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ This is basically what is called "security by obscurity". At the very least it could show "User agent disallowed" error or something similar. $\endgroup$
    – v010dya
    Apr 10 '19 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ @v010dya - I agree with your point that a useful error would be nice, but this isn't security through obscurity, it's more akin to spam filtering. You can't outright stop spam/bots, the best you can do is try and find patterns to reduce the worst whilst minimising false positives. $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Apr 12 '19 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja Good analogy with spam. Imagine if somebody comes up with an idea to stop spam, which would require everybody to use only a set of mail clients to send. All other clients will be given an error that has nothing to do with what is actually happening. Would this be a "good" anti-spam measure? I think that we can agree, that it is a rubbish measure, and this proposal should be laughed at. $\endgroup$
    – v010dya
    Apr 12 '19 at 9:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .