Cloudflare’s unpredictable blocks could come in handy

A few weeks ago, I removed Design Taxi from our links’ list because I received this:
Cloudflare message: 'Sorry, you have been blocked'
so I assumed the site had gone or had made a decision to block certain people or countries. But it turns out that it hasn’t and I now have egg on my face.

I’ve no idea why Cloudflare decided to do this. It’s also incredibly unhelpful, because it says I can email the site owner to let them know what has happened, but if I can’t access the site, how do I know how to contact them?

‘The action you just performed’ was accessing the site by clicking on a link, and subsequent visits (by typing in were similarly blocked—for weeks. I knew something was up when I accessed it on another network, and all was well.

But by then I had already deleted the link and couldn’t be bothered retrieving the old version of the page to reinstate it, even though we had linked Design Taxi for two decades or more.

If you are using Cloudflare, make sure your security settings aren’t crazy like this. I wish I knew what setting this was so I could post it here.

What was interesting was when I successfully returned to Design Taxi today, I noticed it had a string of social media icons across the top, including the X of OnlyKlans or MySpaceX.

In 2013, Google’s extremely inaccurate security program flashed up giant malware warnings on Chrome (and other) browsers if your site was found to have malware (or Google believed it did). It even flashed up warnings to anyone linking to that site, which is a great way to kill inbound links—even when Google was lying. And it’s Big Tech, why wouldn’t it be lying?

It got me thinking: with all the misinformation that OnlyKlans is now known for, surely we need to have warnings for anyone linking to (We’d fall foul of this, incidentally. Despite removing all the ones I knew about, inevitably there’ll be some we missed.) You could even use Cloudflare to do it.

That, plus the laziness of digging up the old file containing the Design Taxi link, are two reasons I haven’t reinstated it yet. What positive brand associations can come from advertising a Nazi bar on your site?

In all fairness, I’ll write a new description for Design Taxi and I will link them. But I’m sure I’m not alone in seeing really negative brand associations tied in with the X symbol, a sure way to remove any remaining goodwill Twitter once had. And even that had been declining before Elmu bought the sinking ship, only to drive it even more into the iceberg.

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