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"Client error: Sorry, there was a problem with content of the entry"

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Nov. 3rd, 2013 | 08:59 pm

Quick heads-up: if you're trying to post an entry on Livejournal, but cannot do so, instead getting a message saying "Client error: Sorry, there was a problem with content of the entry", as follows:

Then chances are good that your post contains a link that matches an entry on LJ's blacklist (which is presumably used to combat spam), so check your post for any links to sites you don't usually link to, especially non-major ones, and try and see if removing them helps.

A request to get a more informative error message (at least) has been filed, too; here's hoping it'll go somewhere.

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from: mondhasen
date: Nov. 4th, 2013 10:45 am (UTC)

Not too far back I tried posting a community response that included a link and it was flagged as spam: the link was to a Disney article about "Robin Hood" on Blu-ray. All was well when I dropped the link, but it was laughable that it was bounced to begin with.

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from: schnee
date: Nov. 4th, 2013 11:21 am (UTC)

Yeah, it's still a clusterfuck.

LJ used to be listed in Spamhaus's SBL for the longest time; as far as I can tell, this wasn't done because LJ itself was spamming but rather because they were perceived to not do enough to do enough about spammers abusing their service. In essence, it was an attempt to hold the site and its users hostage, but it appears to have worked, insofar as that LJ implemented these measures to be removed from the SBL.

Users like you and me who can't post links to certain sites now, be it in comments or entries, are collateral damage; Spamhaus doesn't give a rat's ass about us. And while it would be nice if LJ would just give Spamhaus the proverbial finger, the truth is that too many people use Spamhaus; it'd interfere with LJ's ability to send emails too much, and users who're unaware of these matters would in turn blame LJ for that, causing the site much more damage than the occasional wrongly blocked comments will.

The reason why third parties are using Spamhaus, BTW, is that all in all, they're still providing a fairly decent service; they can afford to be asshats every now and then without it affecting their reputation. And this is doubly true given that THEIR customers – people running mail servers, e.g. ISPs – are not going to be directly affected when things go wrong, either. When you (i.e., the average user) cannot receive email from LJ, just like you're going to blame LJ rather than a site like Spamhaus you've never even heard about, you're also going to blame LJ rather than your ISP, especially when mail from other sites arrives without problems, and when friends with different ISPs confirm that they're also not receiving emails from LJ.

All in all, LJ is really caught between a rock and a hard place here. I don't envy them; I do wish they'd give you a better indication of what's wrong with your post and where, though.

And for that matter, I think that as much of a problem as spam is, organizations like Spamhaus can be a problem, too. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? They have their own interests and their own customers; they're caught in their own societal dilemma between doing what's best for everyone (not hold innocent sites hostage) and what's best for them, and in this case no societal pressure appears to have worked, neither moral ("it's unethical to hold innocent sites hostage"), nor reputational (nobody called them out on it; it didn't tarnish their reputation), nor institutional (there aren't any laws or regulations prohibiting them from doing this, as far as I know), nor security (there's no technological measures that would make it impossible or difficult for them to do it).

We'll see how much of a problem they become in the future, particular when (not if!) spam ceases to be the problem it still is today.

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