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Errors loading www.metafilter.com in the latest Google Chrome on OS X?
January 11, 2013 6:19 PM   Subscribe

This is pretty strange and we've gotten 3-4 reports of members not being able to load anything on www.metafilter.com (ask, metatalk, everything else works) in just Google Chrome's latest version (Firefox/Safari work fine), on OSX. Anyone have any ideas what could be going on?

We mods are all on the latest versions of Chrome and on macs, but no one can reproduce the problem. We have broken it down to specific requests, but once we remove one outside server (like the ad network call), it just hangs on the next item, and times out. Everyone has reported disabling all extensions and plugins and still having the problem.

It's only on www, only Chrome, and only macs so far. Could it be DNS issues? A certificate thing? Some other unknown bug in the latest Chrome? Everything's working fine for me here so I'm at a loss of what to try next with someone having this issue.
posted by mathowie to Uptime at 6:19 PM (95 comments total)

A data point:
I just loaded the front page in Chrome (26.0.1380.0 canary) and got a 503 error in Chrome's inspector: "Site over allowed capacity" from ping.chartbeat.net - but that didn't stop the page from loading.
posted by slater at 6:24 PM on January 11, 2013


I just updated to Chrome 24.1312.52 on OS X 10.8.2. The front page loads normally.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:26 PM on January 11, 2013


Latest chrome, OSX here and no problems. Have the users having problems tried clearing cache and cookies? Have they tried accessing www from a different account on the same mac?
posted by nightwood at 6:27 PM on January 11, 2013


I've been having this problem today too. On a mac, on chrome. Emptied the cache, deleted cookies and history. No luck.
posted by holmesian at 6:32 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


YES

this was driving me insane this morning. I thought I broke it. so glad it isn't just me

the masthead would load, then the little circle in the tab would spin endlessly and eventually I'd get the sad folder kill page thingy

MBP - 10.6.8 and the newest chrome update. on safari it worked fine
posted by ninjew at 6:34 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's just the blue for me. Ask and MeTa work fine.

OS X Version 10.6.8
Old MBP
Google Chrome Version 24.0.1312.52
Hangs reporting "waiting for connect.decknetwork.net"
Firefox works fine

It's been happening all day, worked fine yesterday.
posted by ctmf at 6:35 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Front page also loads just fine on my iPhone.
posted by ctmf at 6:36 PM on January 11, 2013


It's happening for me on OS X 10.6.8 with Chrome 24.0.1312.52. I just cleared my cache and cookies with no change. When loading the page I get the page down to the divider for "Recent Posts" "My Favorites" etc. then it freezes. The high weirdness is that even if I try to manually stop the loading, the spinner keeps on showing the front page as loading, and I can't click any of the links. All other pages I can load fine, just not the front page.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:39 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


As an FYI, I am on Chrome/OSX version 24.0.1312.52 on 10.8.2 with no trouble.

Anyone else with this issue, are you on OSX 10.6 as well? Maybe it's an old OS bug?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:40 PM on January 11, 2013


I'm on 10.6.8 as well. Seems to be a common theme.
posted by holmesian at 6:42 PM on January 11, 2013


I have the same issue, and I'm on OSX 10.6.8. Just upgraded to the latest chrome, which made no difference.
posted by moonmilk at 6:43 PM on January 11, 2013


So I guess we need to figure out where to submit bugs to the Google Chrome team and let them know there is a problem with OSX 10.6.8, latest Chrome, and the front page of MetaFilter.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:45 PM on January 11, 2013


Happening for me on Mac 10.6.8, Chrome 24.0.1312.52
posted by Greg Nog at 6:51 PM on January 11, 2013


Chrome menu -> Tools -> Report an issue
is I think the official method. What that does, I dunno. I'm on 10.7.5 and it's working for me.
posted by Runes at 6:52 PM on January 11, 2013


Yeah, if everyone could do the Chrome menu -> Tools -> Report an issue, on the front page with 10.6.8, maybe the team can help fix this issue.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:06 PM on January 11, 2013


In the meantime, Safari and Firefox are supposed to work fine.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:07 PM on January 11, 2013


Me too. 10.6.8. Chrome 24.0.1312.52 (the latest one).

The issue seems to be limited to the main page for me. I can get to any other page with a blue background I've tried (my profile loads, recent activity loads and posts from there) and to subsites.

I'm sometimes getting the masthead and sometimes nothing.

Have the users having problems tried clearing cache and cookies? Have they tried accessing www from a different account on the same mac?

Fails from an incognito window. (I don't know if incognito mode accesses already cached non-cookie information, though.)
posted by hoyland at 7:09 PM on January 11, 2013


Cleared the cache. No difference. I don't have another account on this computer.

Hilariously, reporting to Google seems to fail, but that seems to be just me.

Firefox is working fine for me.
posted by hoyland at 7:15 PM on January 11, 2013


Still not loading over here.

Thank you for all the help on this!
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:17 PM on January 11, 2013


Oh yeah! I'm on 10.6.8 too!
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:19 PM on January 11, 2013


I've got the same problem. 10.6.8.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:22 PM on January 11, 2013


I had this all day at work on Mac Chrome, unsure of the version. It was just the Mefi home page getting stuck - it would load the top bar, but nothing was clickable and stoppable. I had to close the tab to get out.
posted by odinsdream at 7:31 PM on January 11, 2013


Yeah, if everyone could do the Chrome menu -> Tools -> Report an issue, on the front page with 10.6.8, maybe the team can help fix this issue.

FYi: for me it's under the Help menu, "Report an Issue." But: done.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:42 PM on January 11, 2013


Last time I had an issue with the front page of MeFi hanging, adblocking the Deck ads fixed it. I'm not on Chrome, not on a Mac, and the only reason I mention this is because of ctmf's report. Perhaps a broken advertising script?
posted by flabdablet at 7:42 PM on January 11, 2013


Nope, we tried turning off the deck ads for most of today. Then people got page hanging trying to load the CSS. I bet if we disabled that, it'd be the next thing and the next thing. Doesn't seem to be connected to a specific network we load scripts/files from.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:49 PM on January 11, 2013


OSX 10.8.2 on MacBook Air, Chrome Version 24.0.1312.52, no problem.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:51 PM on January 11, 2013


I sent in a report of this earlier today. I can confirm it's definitely 10.6.8, which I have at home and on the computer I'm on right now (I was able to get to this page via a link in mathowie's twitter feed). However, when I try it on my Mac Mini running 10.8, it loads just fine.
posted by marylynn at 7:51 PM on January 11, 2013


The only thing I can think of that came up today was a Brother Printer Software update.
posted by odinsdream at 7:52 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone experiencing this, we made a simplified front page, with no sidebar, here:
http://www.metafilter.com/home/chromebug

We may just auto-redirect people on the old OSX 10.6.8 to this until it gets fixed.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:53 PM on January 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm on 10.6.8 with Chrome 23.0.1271.101 (a slightly outdated version), and I'm seeing this behavior too. Trying to load the homepage hangs with a constantly-spinning loading icon at this point or this point (or various similar semi-loaded states) - and clicking links on the page seems to be ignored. Enabling Adblock Plus doesn't change it.
posted by dreamyshade at 7:54 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only thing I can think of that came up today was a Brother Printer Software update.

Naw, Chrome was just updated in the last 24hrs or so, seems there's some sort of HTML construction/CSS hack issue with just older versions of OSX causing it. I'm hopeful they can fix it up, we'll test out the page after the next update.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:54 PM on January 11, 2013


Though I should also say that I'm not having the crashing RSS feed problem here at home now, which was part of it (the part that made a lot less sense).
posted by marylynn at 7:54 PM on January 11, 2013


Interestingly, when I try to go to page 2 on mathowie's link, it hangs for me and then causes THIS PAGE to hang.
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:57 PM on January 11, 2013


Same for me on OSX 10.6.8, Chrome 24.0.1312.52. At first it wouldn't show any part of the front page, but after I cleared the whole browser history it renders the page, both when I'm logged out and in. It never stops loading/processing though, and the page is unresponsive (no scrolling and no working links). I recall from earlier that it was stuck in a state like this and the status field said it was loading from some site other than metafilter.com, possibly ad-related.
posted by springload at 8:01 PM on January 11, 2013


We're now just loading the chromebug view on the front page for people running Chrome on OSX 10.6.8. Let us know if you still can't load the front page of MetaFilter.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:07 PM on January 11, 2013


Ok, I think pb just enabled that temp page as the new front page if you're on OS 10.6.8, so hopefully this gets fixed in a future Chrome update.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:08 PM on January 11, 2013


Was hanging for me earlier, now it's working fine after that change.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 8:14 PM on January 11, 2013


I'm having this problem as well. OS X 10.6.8, chrome 23.0.1271.101; the temp page works fine.
posted by dhruva at 8:14 PM on January 11, 2013


That works, but as bibliogrrl says, clicking to page 2 (www.metafilter.com/home/chromebug/2) shows the original misbehavior.

Luckily, I refresh metafilter so often I don't need to see page 2 much.
posted by ctmf at 8:16 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't use 10.6 as my day-to-day; I have it installed in a separate partition so I can run ppc apps. I booted it up (and installed Chrome) about an hour ago to test this.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 8:17 PM on January 11, 2013


I asked a friend to look at this since he's done some digging around in Chrome code, and he said "My build of Chromium from Dec 26 has this problem, so it isn't a new bug from the perspective of the Chrome codebase."
posted by dreamyshade at 8:20 PM on January 11, 2013


I'm checking in just fine, with Chrome Version 23.0.1271.97 m.

However, Chrome is having trouble contacting Google to get an updated version, which sounds like it's a good thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:26 PM on January 11, 2013


"Overspecialize and you breed in weakness." - M. Kusanagi
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 8:42 PM on January 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


mine loads this
posted by special-k at 8:43 PM on January 11, 2013


Ok! So we finally nailed down this bug. The entire page was crashing in just one old version of an OS in just one brand of browser, because of a handful of high ascii characters that were in a single post at the bottom of the front page. If we swap those out, everything works fine.

That's the weirdest bug ever. Later versions of OSX handle it fine in the exact same browser.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:51 PM on January 11, 2013 [27 favorites]


So... uh, could that same thing be the cause of the RSS feeds (also being viewed in Chrome using Google Reader) crashing...? Sure, why not, right?!

Thank you for tracking this super crazy one down. I felt so bad emailing because I get those kinds of emails all day and when you can't replicate it you just know your day just went to hell.
posted by marylynn at 8:55 PM on January 11, 2013


Yep, I bet that was it, marylynn. Wish I had thought of that sooner, it's just so odd to have two or three characters hang up an entire browser. Usually if there's a problem displaying a specific character you get a little box in place of that character.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:57 PM on January 11, 2013


Which post was causing the problem?
posted by marsha56 at 9:00 PM on January 11, 2013


This was the post: An Adaptable Accoutrement. The post originally had the Arabic word for Keffiyeh after the first link.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:03 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Should we avoid using non-roman alphabet characters?
posted by marsha56 at 9:13 PM on January 11, 2013


Nope, they normally work fine. I think this is an obscure bug with a few specific characters.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:16 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


How bizarre! Glad to know what it was - been fighting with it all day without any idea why. What a weird one to chase down.
posted by leslies at 9:25 PM on January 11, 2013


Now that we got this fixed can I say hi to my mom?

Hį Môm!
posted by slogger at 9:30 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Keffiyeh? I hardly knowiyeh!
posted by lazaruslong at 9:47 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think this is an obscure bug with a few specific characters.

Zalgo comes in mysterious ways.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:58 PM on January 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


Ewww
posted by Burhanistan at 10:35 PM on January 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think this is an obscure bug with a few specific characters.

The situation exactly did not replicate around the time of the page change but prior to that I did have "the spinning" and waiting and noticed it was google analytics holding stuff up so clicked on stop on the browser (Firefox) and the page loaded fine. Sometimes it happens with google maps loading on Hootsuite so clicking stop at that point lets the rest of the page load.

Googles tentacles are so vast and varied and now too interconnected to each other that one worries sometimes that a YouTube wait will hold up Gmail for ever.

It really felt like I was walking around in mud squelching the sandals with each footstep while trying to move around different pages on Metafilter.
posted by infini at 12:54 AM on January 12, 2013


The best place to search for and report issues like this is probably crbug. I'm guessing this is the same issue already being tracked as crbug/167844. pb, if you still have the original Arabic text the Chromium gurus might appreciate another data point.
posted by lantius at 1:01 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hope this helps.
posted by Wordshore at 2:58 AM on January 12, 2013


Thanks for tracking this down and fixing it!
posted by safetyfork at 3:05 AM on January 12, 2013


Awesome works fine now! Thanks for all the hard work!
posted by Captain_Science at 3:27 AM on January 12, 2013


Some of the ASCII characters were high? - That explains everything ...
posted by carter at 4:35 AM on January 12, 2013


We Call 'em digit's, man, because you gotta think hard when using them. It's the universe's way of checking up on you. It's saying, "Can you like, dig it, man?"

*nods slowly, eats junior mints*
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:29 AM on January 12, 2013


I think this is an obscure bug with a few specific characters.

Aw, no one's called me "specific" before!

Thanks, guys!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:04 AM on January 12, 2013


Did you delete the Arabic characters from that post? Because I'm not seeing them now, and I remember seeing them before. (Firefox 17, Win 7)
posted by benito.strauss at 9:35 AM on January 12, 2013


Did you delete the Arabic characters from that post?

As mathowie said:

Ok! So we finally nailed down this bug. The entire page was crashing in just one old version of an OS in just one brand of browser, because of a handful of high ascii characters that were in a single post at the bottom of the front page. If we swap those out, everything works fine.
posted by zamboni at 9:42 AM on January 12, 2013


Did you delete the Arabic characters from that post?

Yes, we did. It's not something we like to do, but under the circumstances we felt it was the best option. I contacted quin (the post author) to let him know about the change and he agreed and was very gracious about it.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:44 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm impressed at the self-control it must have taken to not say, "then update your antique computers, you lazy and/or cheap fucks! Problem solved!" (out loud, anyway) Thanks Matt and pb for the Friday night hair-pulling effort.

[I plead lazy AND cheap.]
posted by ctmf at 10:36 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm scared and lazy, because I've heard such horror stories about Lion and Mountain Lion and don't want to update from 10.6.x until I absolutely have to.

Plus, Snow Leopards are just sexier than Mountain Lions.

Now this Lion is pretty cute!
posted by misha at 11:19 AM on January 12, 2013


Bear in mind, if you're still on 10.6, you're pretty much ditched for security patches now. Safari 6, for example, only came out for lion and mountain lion - including its many security patches - apple's unofficial stance is only to support current and previous version, i.e. 10.7 and 10.8. And flashback hopefully demonstrated that OSX is not immune to security vulnerabilities.

I'm not apple's biggest fan by any stretch (and I think dropping support so soon is not exactly brilliant), but I think Lion was a worthy upgrade over snow leopard for performance if nothing else; Spaces was definitely improved also. Mountain Lion's changes only really affected the integration with iOS sync/icloud stuff, so if you don't use that about the only noticeable change when I upgraded to ML was having to turn off Gatekeeper.

Given it's such a cheap upgrade (and you can jump to ML direct from snow leopard), I'd definitely suggest it's a sensible move to shift if you can, i.e. you're not running unsupported hardware or need rosetta.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:54 PM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I haven't noticed any problems but I block much cross site scripting in chrome using notscript.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:17 PM on January 12, 2013


jeffburdges, would there be a Firefox version of that?
posted by infini at 6:41 PM on January 12, 2013


So *that's* what it was. It was so strange that I could get MeFi on my phone but not my computer. Thought about emailing but figured it was either just me, and it would resolve, or it wasn't, and other people were already on it.

[Goes to upgrade OS, abashed]
posted by ambrosia at 6:52 PM on January 12, 2013


would there be a Firefox version of that?

NoScript.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:01 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Installed. Now to watch everything break as Ghostery, Adblock, HTTPS Everywhere and their new buddy walk in front of me.

Btw, is it possible for MS to turn auto updates back on remotely?
posted by infini at 7:16 PM on January 12, 2013


infini, I'd suggest Ghostery as the user-friendly version, that supports all browsers, btw.

ScriptSafe and NotScript are attempts to replicate FireFox's NoScript in Chrome. Safari has JavaScript Blocker, btw. In fact, ScriptSafe and NotScript are quite immature relative to NoScript and JavaScript Blocker because Google avoided, delayed, or modified many extension features that help ad blocking.

Ghostery offers intelligent defaults, while all the others do default deny. I love default deny, but it takes more work and worry to run.

Example : All block chartbeat.com and google-analytics.com here on metafilter, but most block decknetworks.com and cloudfront.net as well, while Ghostery allows both. What does decknetworks.com do? I donno or care, but the site runs fine without it. I needed to click allow for cloudfront.net though because otherwise various site features break. Is cloudfront.net a tracker as well as a service? I donno or care since it's only metafilter, but I still needed to do work to make metafilter work properly in Chrome.

So why run anything besides Ghostery? Easy : Facebook connect, like buttons, et al. These are highly effective trackers linked to your real identity, not some nebulous nobody cares about beyond serving ads. Ghostery actually blocks Facebook Connect, but they permit some similarly concerning useful trackers.

There are web apis like verified by visa, stack exchange logins, airline purchase redirecters, etc. that become royal pains under default deny until you figure them out, but one could always temporarily disable the agressive blocker.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:30 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


In short, you should tell the highly non-technical about Ghostery, not the others, but try NoScript if you like.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:33 PM on January 12, 2013


I haven't restarted FF yet but thank you for the timely head's up, will keep it in mind next session and then see what happens when I disable it.
posted by infini at 7:38 PM on January 12, 2013


Also, I've needed to do work to make Metafilter work for me as I've tended to customize Ghostery as default deny and then work backwards in order to purchase an airline ticket (temp) or visit the blue. Lets see what happens.

fwiw, since my Africa visits, I've gotten into the habit of physically cleaning up cookies a few times a day as well.

*grins at self*
posted by infini at 7:41 PM on January 12, 2013


I use NoScript, but I'm pretty paranoid conservative about what web services I use, and am likely to just say "screw it" to a web site if I have to enable too many javascripts.

So, NoScript is answer to the question you asked, and it's very powerful, but I'd say listen to jeffburdges.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:57 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Recently I noticed my gmail spam folder only full of Cyrillic, Mandarin and Arabic, not Roman letters any more except for all the girls in Africa who imagine I'm a 'big guy' and not a menopausal type.
posted by infini at 8:03 PM on January 12, 2013


I'm liking NoScript's ability to offer me the customization to allow all bookmarked websites as they are.
posted by infini at 12:14 AM on January 13, 2013


I just turned off googleapis (with way more glee than necessary because what was it doing in the middle of two different websites and activities?) Now lets see what breaks.

/will stop this excited updating now.

// Gives benito.strauss and jeffburdges huge maiden auntie kisses for wonderful new toy
posted by infini at 2:10 AM on January 13, 2013


If you've turned it off on Metafilter, you'll probably have a problem marking favorites.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:25 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


*blushes*

*favourites taz*
posted by infini at 2:35 AM on January 13, 2013


I'd imagine that Chrome's NotScript and SafeScript aren't any better than Ghostery with default deny, certainly NoScript has options Ghostry lacks but not sure you'll use them.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:24 AM on January 13, 2013


Wasn't there a site linked on the blue that showed the more plug-ins you have, the more identifiable your browser is?
posted by ersatz at 7:02 AM on January 13, 2013


That would be Panopticlick. MeFi thread.

Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 2,628,708 tested so far.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:44 AM on January 13, 2013


So hm. Does this at all explain why I couldn't get AskMe to load yesterday evening (503 error, I think) in Firefox on Lion? I would've pursued it, but that was right about when I had to leave to take my husband to the E.R.... And it was all loading fine on my phone there (AskMe = stress management).

Unrelated to the bug, but related to life: "Everyone needs a hug" feels so true right now. Thank you.
posted by limeonaire at 10:18 AM on January 13, 2013


Does this at all explain why I couldn't get AskMe to load yesterday evening (503 error, I think) in Firefox on Lion?

No, we had a server blip (technical term) for a few minutes around 5pm Pacific. You just happened to catch it exactly when it happened.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:41 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm just lucky, I guess! Thanks, pb, for confirming I'm not totally crazy.
posted by limeonaire at 12:17 PM on January 13, 2013


infini, if you're willing to take the trouble to secure your browsing, I'll tell you my strategy. I normally use FireFox with NoScript, and I'm looking at adding Ghostery. I'm very conservative about letting javascript run, and I'll take the time to figure out exactly what to let run for sites that I value.

But I also have a copy of Chrome installed, with no add-ons. When there's a site I just want to check out, and it has troubles under NoScript, I use Chrome. It's like having a pair of shoes dedicated to walking through mud; I don't care how dirty they get. Also, cutting edge stuff seems to be supported on Chrome first (e.g. WebGl, HTML5 <canvas> tags)
posted by benito.strauss at 12:21 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


My mom called me about two weeks ago complaining that her interwebs were broken, so I stopped by for a look. It turned out that every time she opened Facebook, her browser would hang.

She's running the latest Chrome on my old 2006 iMac, support for which (plist editing notwithstanding) was dropped with 10.7.

I tried it in Safari and everything was copacetic. Turns out one of her Facebook friends made a post in Arabic; everything worked except her News feed. I hid the friend's posts. All was well.

Glad to have some kind of confirmation about my hand-wavy "fix."
posted by uncleozzy at 5:45 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe Homeland Security doesn't like Arabic.
posted by mareli at 12:49 PM on January 14, 2013


Yes, user-agent strings are reasonably effective tracking tools, ersatz, browser behavior even more so, but IP addresses work fairly well too. We aren't discussing Tor levels of privacy but merely limiting your exposure to the sites you actually visit.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:19 AM on January 16, 2013


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