Tech hiccup tidbits: RSS and certificate issues, now resolved December 13, 2019 1:07 PM   Subscribe

Just a heads up about a couple little bumps in the last day: we had a small misconfiguration with MetaFilter's SSL certificate configuration that might have lead to browser warnings in some situations (but no actual danger), and the site's RSS feeds were stalled out for a bit as of yesterday. Both are mostly resolved now, some details inside!

1. SSL

The SSL certificate issue shouldn't have broken anything for a lot of folks but was a misconfiguration that snuck in as we rolled out an updated cert for MeFi a couple days ago. This is part of how browsers try to verify that the site you're looking at is actually the site you think you're looking at; when a cert is outright expired, browsers tend to pretty universally be like HEY UH SOMETHING IS UP HERE, but in this case it was a minor enough issue that in many cases folks wouldn't have seen anything awry.

If you did have an issue with warnings in the last couple days (as in e.g. this Ask from today), that should be resolved for the bigger subsites (MeFi, Ask, MetaTalk, FanFare) as of now for (or possibly slightly longer if there's some layers/caching between you and the internet, in e.g. a corporate IT environment, I dunno exactly what kind of lag might still be in action). It's late in Austria so frimble is gonna tackle the remaining subsites when its tomorrow morning for them.

In any case, just a configurational goof, not anything actually to worry about as far as browsing safety. frimble, or any of probably a couple dozen MeFites, could explain the issue better than I can so I won't try. But: sorry about that! On the upside, you will notice that (a) the certificate did not outright expire on us unexpectedly and, more specifically, did not do so on Christmas and no longer has a Dec 24 expiry date. So leaving myself a note three years in advance mostly worked!

2. RSS

If you use feed readers, you may have notice the RSS feeds for the site stopped updating at some point yesterday! They should be properly updating again as of the last couple hours.

The issue comes down to a change in how the Feedburner service is being operated, combined with RSS feeds being a legacy "mathowie set everything up on his personal accounts in the early days" thing: Google sent out notifications that a change was coming, but we weren't getting them because it was a Matt thing, and Matt would have had no reason to think he needed to take action if he was getting them because it's a MeFi thing. This is the first time there's been a hiccup there in years, and, so, there we are.

Figured it out once I went looking after folks reported RSS issues, and I'm happy to say that's one more little legacy loose end that is now migrated over to dedicated MeFi accounts instead.

Feeds should all be operating normally now, but if you have ongoing trouble with them in the next few days be sure to let us know.

And thanks in general to folks who pinged us at the contact form about both issues; it's always really useful to get multiple reports on weird stuff so that we can know more clearly that it's a site issue and not just a client-side burp for any given reader.
posted by cortex (staff) to Uptime at 1:07 PM (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Also we never get to use the Uptime category anymore! Poor li'l uptime category.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:08 PM on December 13, 2019 [5 favorites]

If it is an SSL very issue out of curiosity what about a CA authority root cert didn’t get applied? I have very corporate clients who freak out over this so it’d be helpful to know.
posted by geoff. at 1:35 PM on December 13, 2019

Thanks for fixing it, cortex. It's working again, at least for me.
posted by amf at 1:57 PM on December 13, 2019

Also we never get to use the Uptime category anymore! Poor li'l uptime category.

The fact that this was one of very few MeTa categories should tell you all you need to know about The Dark Times of JRUN.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:11 PM on December 13, 2019 [5 favorites]

If it is an SSL very issue out of curiosity what about a CA authority root cert didn’t get applied? I have very corporate clients who freak out over this so it’d be helpful to know.

I'll leave it to frimble to summarize when they get a chance, since I'd be sort of translating a couple of emails and guessing along the way.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:30 PM on December 13, 2019

Thanks for this. I'd been concerned about my RSS feed.
posted by bryon at 11:56 PM on December 13, 2019

As somebody who reads the site almost entirely through RSS (hello, week-and-a-half-old MetaTalk thread), I'm a little miffed that the repaired feed didn't catch up on the skipped items. Here's a list of the missing posts for reference, at least according to my Feedly account:

“I just like talking, writing about, and playing games” by Fizz (Game Awards)
unexpectedly confronted with circumstances by roolya_boolya (news of the weird)
Who will Winalot today? A European country votes. by Wordshore (UK general election)
44,000-Year-Old Indonesian Cave Painting Is Rewriting The History Of Art by filthy light thief (oldest art discovered)
Harbinger households: neighborhoods that reliably buy products that fail by Etrigan
a token word that only conveys pandering by devrim (on women chefs and the word "badass")
No ancient emperor ever lived so well by the man of twists and turns (energy use metaphors)
As members of Christ’s body, we are called to cancel debts. by Cash4Lead (church debt jubilees)
where the record is unclear about the number of eels due by readinghippo (history of paying rent with... eels)
Numbers average up but words pile on. by storybored (probability and language)
Whom My Soul Loves by fast ein Maedchen (SF short story)
Thousands of "Penis Fish" wash up in Point Reyes by agatha_magatha

Ask MeFi
Would getting an ebike make financial sense?
Humming speakers
Railway lingo as break-up metaphor
Can you recommend oil-based tea lights?
bleak but raucous songs
What the heck should I get my in-laws for Christmas?
Please analyze my relationship situation again?
Would you text again in this situation?
True Wireless Earbuds Experience?
Should I keep this specialist appointment?
Help Me Occupy Hands and Mind during The Nutcracker Ballet
German language resources

(Checked the other subsites and it seems like only MeFi/Ask were affected)
posted by Rhaomi at 8:21 PM on December 23, 2019

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