Lemmy.ml is blocking all requests from /kbin Instances

I discovered yesterday evening that Lemmy.ml is blocking all inbound ActivityPub requests from /kbin instances. Specifically, a 403 'access denied' is returned when the user agent contains "kbinBot" anywhere in the string. This has been causing a cascade of failures with federation for many server owners, flooding the message queue with transport errors.

This doesn't appear to be a mistake; it has been done very deliberately, only on Lemmy.ml. Lemmy.world and other large instances do not exhibit the same behavior. It also isn't a side effect of the bug introduced in Lemmy 0.18. You can observe by sending the following in a terminal

> curl -I --user-agent "kbinBot v0.1" https://lemmy.world/u/test
HTTP/2 200
[...]

> curl -I --user-agent "kbinBot v0.1" https://lemmy.ml/u/test                                
HTTP/2 403
[...]

> curl -I --user-agent "notKbinBot v0.1" https://lemmy.ml/u/test
HTTP/2 403
[...]

> curl -I --user-agent "placeholder-user-agent" https://lemmy.ml/u/test
HTTP/2 200
[...]

Additional evidence of this not being a Lemmy 0.18 bug:

  • This occurs when making web requests to any location on the Lemmy.ml webserver, not just ActivityPub endpoints.

  • Go to https://fedidb.org/software/lemmy and pick an instance running 0.18.0. Perform the above commands, replacing the URL for Lemmy.ml with that particular instance's address.

If this continues, my instance may need to defederate from Lemmy.ml. This is especially problematic because Lemmy.ml continues to federate information outbound to other kbin instances while refusing to allow inbound communication from them.

Spoofing the user agent is less than ideal, and doesn't respect Lemmy.ml's potential wish to not be contacted by /kbin instances. I don't post this to create division between communities, but I do hope that I can draw awareness to what's going on here. Defederating /kbin instances entirely would even be better than arbitrarily denying access one-way. This said, we should all attempt to maintain a good-faith interpretation until otherwise indicated by the Lemmy developers. It's possibel that this is a firewall misconfiguration or some other webserver-related bug.

Relevant comment from me (#354 - [BUG] Critical errors/failed messages during messenger:consume)

Edits:

  • Yes, people have already tried reaching out to the Lemmy instance admins in their Matrix room with no answer.

  • Someone has posed a question on Lemmy.ml about the block here: https://lemmy.ml/post/1563840

Cloudless,
Cloudless avatar

I am happy to see nothing from the tankies.

CoderKat,
CoderKat avatar

Problem is that there's a bunch of major communities on that instance. They have no affiliation with the server admins and mostly just chose the instance because it seemed like the default very early in the migration to the Fediverse.

Silviecat44,

What is a tanky?

Cloudless,
Cloudless avatar

The term "tankie" is a slang term used to describe a person who supports or apologizes for the actions of authoritarian communist regimes, particularly those that have used tanks or military force to suppress opposition or maintain control. The term originated from the Soviet Union's use of tanks to quell protests and uprisings, most notably the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the 1968 Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia.

While there may be varying interpretations and uses of the term, it is generally used pejoratively to criticize individuals who defend or downplay the human rights abuses, political repression, or atrocities committed by these regimes.

(ChatGPT)

Silviecat44,

Ah ok thank you

HeartyBeast,
HeartyBeast avatar

So block the instances you want to block

assbutt,
assbutt avatar

deleted_by_author

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  • iAmTheTot,
    iAmTheTot avatar

    On kbin (which you are) you can go to /d/theinstanceyoudontlike and there's a block button, just like every user page and magazine page.

    ZickZack,

    Go to the relevant domain's front page (e.g https://kbin.social/d/kbin.social for kbin.social).
    The URL scheme is "https://kbin.social/d/DOMAINHERE" assuming you are currently on kbin.social.
    On the right in the sidebar you can see "Domain" and below that options to subscribe or to block.
    Really it's the same thing as magazines, just that you generally don't visit the domain itself.

    1st,

    Now I'm curious what would happen if I defederated from Kbin.social on kbin.social

    ginerel,
    ginerel avatar

    Guess you'll simply no longer see posts from kbin.social

    cjerrington,
    cjerrington avatar

    Could you see anything…? All kbin.social items being blocked, not just the content?

    okawari,
    okawari avatar

    I'm genuinely not sure, but since ernest shows up as mod on all external magazines, I wouldn't be surprised if it blocked everything.

    In fact, If you go to https://kbin.social/d/kbin.social today, you do see the external posts.

    Hobovision,
    Hobovision avatar

    Blocking isn't defederating. The instance controls federation, but blocking is on a user basis.

    ginerel,
    ginerel avatar

    It was all in my face for all this time!!!

    Mr_Figtree,
    Mr_Figtree avatar

    Does that actually work for you? I'm still seeing posts from magazines on domains that I blocked that way. It looks to me like it only blocks articles, and also link posts to the domain, but not link posts on magazines from the domain.

    naura,

    What I hear is that a copy is still made so the posts made before defederalization is available and basically forks without them connected now at the point of being deferated

    assbutt,
    assbutt avatar

    deleted_by_author

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  • wagesj45,
    wagesj45 avatar

    kbin is still in its growing pains phase. there are tons of little user experience items that need to be worked on. good thing is that @ernest is working hard on it.

    ginerel,
    ginerel avatar

    I hate tankies myself as well, but I also hate that some communities are only created on lemmy.ml. Plus some official subreddits moved over there as well (and no - no far-left ones).

    Colombo,

    Hate tankies as much as you want, but at least they don't deny that USSR was the real communism.

    gunnervi,
    gunnervi avatar

    I don't know wtf "real communism" is, all I know is that the communism I advocate for is not that of Lenin, Stalin, or Mao

    barsoap,

    Ask Lenin what it was and he'd say state capitalism. Because that's what he called it.

    communist,
    @communist@beehaw.org avatar

    Uh, they do, actually. The belief is that the USSR was attempting to build communism.

    I reject this because they didn't implement any communist policies, even Lenin himself said what they were doing was state capitalism.

    The tankie defense is that they were doing it to later establish communism, but nobody who knows what they're talking about actually believes the USSR achieved socialism.

    They even refused to help Yugoslavia after they implemented an actually socialist policy (workplace democracy).

    The situation with the USSR was rather clearly that an authoritarian dictatorship wanted to call themselves a utopia so they said they were communist.

    I don't understand why people give the USSR the benefit of the doubt and assume they were actually trying to do something good.

    Cloudless,
    Cloudless avatar

    yeah I can't believe the Firefox community is on lemmy.ml

    Serosh, (edited )
    Serosh avatar

    This is utterly baffling and goes against the whole idea of the Fediverse. To take advantage of the impending mass migration, just days before Reddit shuts down their universal API access for good, this all leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

    So users now have to choose between two already-smaller communities when making the transition? This is only going to make a semi-complicated process even more confusing, and end up pushing users back to Reddit.

    I had mostly used Lemmy.ml up to this point, but I didn’t leave Reddit to join another u/spez dictatorship. What a disappointing turn of events. Kbin is now my primary.

    kabe, (edited )
    @kabe@lemmy.world avatar

    No need to get on the high horse just yet. This is much more likely to be a sever/sync issue than some kind of shadowy conspiracy.

    If lemmy.ml wanted to defederate, they'd just go ahead and do it.

    BraveSirZaphod,
    BraveSirZaphod avatar

    I'm not sure how much you know about networking or HTTP, but from the evidence posted, this very much is not the kind of thing that just accidentally happens.

    Texas_Hangover,

    The admins of lemmy.ml are literal commie scum. No surprise that they are a tad authoritarian.

    ChemicalRascal,
    ChemicalRascal avatar

    They're Tankies. Don't confuse Tankies and communists, even if there's a certain historical adjacency there. They are ultimately different concepts.

    hugz,

    Decentralisation means a clash of egos

    ginerel,
    ginerel avatar

    I don't think it's a case of a personal ego here. I think it's something different, that has to go with the main devs' ideology. I feel like @feditips 's concerns are quite valid.

    Rottcodd,
    Rottcodd avatar

    goes against the whole idea of the Fediverse.

    Presuming for the sake of argument that it's a deliberate move by .ml to freeze out kbin users, it only really goes against the idea of the fediverse in that it's an underhanded way to accomplish something that was meant to be done openly. By design, every instance is entirely free to choose whether or not to federate with any other.

    What a disappointing turn of events. Kbin is now my primary.

    And (again presuming for the sake of argument that it's not simply a glitch), that's the fediverse working exactly as intended. Just as every instance is free to choose which instances to federate with, every user is free to choose which instances to join or follow.

    kabe,
    @kabe@lemmy.world avatar

    There is no evidence whatsoever that this is intentional, so it's odd to see everyone in this thread getting on their high horse.

    All the evidence points to it being one of the many server sync issues that we've seen occur in the last month rather than being some kind of shadowy conspiracy.

    ChemicalRascal,
    ChemicalRascal avatar

    No other Lemmy instance is doing this, and it's specifically for HTTP requests with a user agent that contains the string "kbinbot". It isn't a server sync issue, because again, it's HTTP requests, of any kind. You can verify this yourself using curl, for crying out loud.

    DreamerOfImprobableDreams,
    DreamerOfImprobableDreams avatar

    True, but the original intent was that defederation would be a nuclear option, reserved only for instances that totally failed to moderate stuff like hate speech, bot activity, etc-- given that it damages the Fediverse as a whole.

    The lemmy.ml admins are free to federate or defederate from other instances as they please-- and we're free to criticize their decision as we please, too.

    Bobo_Palermo,

    We should not be moderating hate speech....that is a slippery slope. Simply disregard it.

    Klear,

    Do you want another /r/the_donald? Because that’s how you get another /r/the_donald.

    pup_atlas,

    On top of that being literally illegal in most populous jurisdictions, communities cannot tolerate those who are intolerant. Leave.

    Miqo,

    What a weird thing to keep defending in multiple threads. I don’t want to see hate speech. It provides no actual value to any open forum. Most users don’t want to see it at all either, from what I’ve seen. This isn’t 4chan.

    RIotingPacifist,

    Fuck that, I don't want to give Nazis a safe space to organize and spread their hate.

    ChemicalRascal,
    ChemicalRascal avatar

    Something something, that's how you get a Nazi bar.

    CAVOK,

    Depends on where you live, doesn't it? It could be illegal not to remove hate speech.

    ChemicalRascal,
    ChemicalRascal avatar

    Well that's a bit fucked. I figured that maybe they'd just tried to block bots, but no, "testBot" goes through just fine. They specifically seem to be rejecting "kbinbot", though, not just anything with "kbin" in it.

    Onii-Chan,
    Onii-Chan avatar

    Lemmy.ml is a hive of authoritarians. I'll be glad to not have to see their oppressive fascist fantasies here.

    ReCursing,
    ReCursing avatar

    From what I hear, they're authoritarian communist, not fascist. Fascism is not just a synonym for authoritarianism, it's a specific economically far right authoritarian political position.

    Onii-Chan,
    Onii-Chan avatar

    Same end result; oppression of the masses, rejection of human rights and personal liberties, concentration of power and corruption. Fascist, authoritarian communist, tomato, tomAto, as far as I'm concerned. Their ideologies all stand directly on the throat of freedom and I want nothing to do with anyone who believes total control of the people is a positive thing.

    ReCursing,
    ReCursing avatar

    You can dislike both (I do too) but they are not the same, and with the far right on the rise and making power grabs the world over right now we need that distinction

    Machinist3359,

    The distinction between a square and a rectangle is important, even if you don't like right angles and parallel sides. Fascism is a flavor of authoritarianism which is uniquely worse and focused on genocide.

    Colombo,

    Fascism is not focused on Genocide. Even for Nazism, Genocide is only a (welcomed) byproduct.

    Machinist3359,

    There is no fascism without genocide. It's an idealogical ponzi scheme which promises to an ingroup if they destroy outgroup(s).

    Other forms of authoritarianism simply demand obedience, and optionally or incidentally incorporate genocidal policy to that end. But genocide is to fascism as driving is to a car, the reason for all off is components. Not a byproduct to some imagined other purpose

    Colombo,

    Prove it.

    shutuuplegs,

    fascism făsh′ĭz″əm noun A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls, violent suppression of the opposition, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

    There is your proof. It’s in the definition of the term with suppression and racism.

    If you don’t want to do your own research and information gathering that’s fine, but I suggest doing so in the future. Knowing exact terms and their meanings in a political conversation is incredibly important.

    Colombo,

    suppression of the opposition != genocide, same with racism.

    If you don’t want to do your own research and information gathering that’s fine, but I suggest doing so in the future. Knowing exact terms and their meanings in a political conversation is incredibly important.

    Not only you provide a definition, that doesn't prove anything, but you are also smugly passively aggressive. This is not the way discussion should be led.

    If you don't want to discuss, do not get into conversations that do not relate you in any way.

    !deleted233369,

    deleted_by_author

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  • argv_minus_one,

    So do communist governments (e.g. Holodomor, Uyghurs in China). So do capitalist governments (e.g. Native Americans, Irish). Genocide is not unique to fascism, unfortunately.

    Machinist3359,

    Not unique, but uniquely central. Fascism cannot exist without a persecuted outgroup. In other contexts, genocide is generally a state consolidating power or resources, but not the focus of these state projects.

    Klear,

    The distinction between a square and a rectangle is important

    Square is a rectangle though...

    Machinist3359,

    Yes, and fascism is authoritarian.

    cockatoo010,
    cockatoo010 avatar

    Isn't that the instance where an admin is afiliated with the CCP?

    I'm not surprised at all

    DreamerOfImprobableDreams,
    DreamerOfImprobableDreams avatar

    Wait, I knew the admins were CCP sympathizers, but does one actually have ties to the CCP?

    Onii-Chan,
    Onii-Chan avatar

    The very same.

    asanetargoss,

    @cockatoo010 @barista Do you have a source for this? /srs

    AnonymousLlama,
    AnonymousLlama avatar

    Yeah this isn't great to hear. If they're keen on taking pushing content outwards to kbin but not accepting incoming content, that's not really good enough.

    If they're doing something shifty like that, how do we even know kbin users comments are even being recorded (and seen on that Lemmy instance)

    What's the overarching issue here? Those admins are just being dicks?

    HKayn,
    @HKayn@dormi.zone avatar

    I'm appalled that everyone in the comments is already jumping to conclusions without waiting for a statement by the lemmy.ml admins.

    Yes, I know what's up with the Lemmy devs, but that doesn't imply anything here.

    Blazingflames6073,

    Same. It's annoying

    ChemicalRascal,
    ChemicalRascal avatar

    Well, it's been more than a hot minute. How long are folks supposed to wait? There's ultimately only two feasible scenarios here, given the details we have at hand.

    HKayn,
    @HKayn@dormi.zone avatar

    Has anyone actually reached out to the lemmy.ml admins?

    ChemicalRascal,
    ChemicalRascal avatar

    As per OP's edits, yes.

    kabe,
    @kabe@lemmy.world avatar

    Seriously. So much tutting and moralizing when nothing has actually been confirmed yet.

    Blazingflames6073,

    Uhh, I have a question for you since we're another both users from lemmy.world

    Can you open the post in a private tab and check if our comments in this post are visible from kbin?

    kabe,
    @kabe@lemmy.world avatar

    Yep, they are.

    ChemicalRascal,
    ChemicalRascal avatar

    They're very visible!

    tjr,

    yeah, I've been getting hammered in my transport queue from this. I guess if this is intentional it is worth just defederating to avoid spamming the queue and logs.

    Semmelstulle,
    Semmelstulle avatar

    I think they're scared by the growth of kbin haha

    No but for real, Federation is about being open in my opinion. We have modlogs, everything. Then please provide information about why you exclude x from doing y.

    Hondolor,
    Hondolor avatar

    Kbin seems alot better so far than Lemmy. First time I"m hearing about it but so far it's a better experience

    cowvin,

    Remember, it's not all of Lemmy, it's just lemmy.ml. lemmy.ml is the one run by pro-china folks.

    BaroqueInMind,
    BaroqueInMind avatar

    Lemmy.ml are the main developers of Lemmy, who also run lemmygrad

    V699,

    What's a modlog?

    okawari,
    okawari avatar

    If you check the sidebar of a magazine, you will see a link to a log of all moderator actions such as deletions and what not.

    Kantiberl,
    Kantiberl avatar

    Man, I just realized how much I love kbin. I was on Lemmy arguing with people against defederation and something just felt off about it. It was like that rabid leftist part of Reddit that refused to see outside of their bubble. Kbin has a really moderate atmosphere and I'm happy to be here. I feel like people are allowed to have proper discourse here.

    Sneptaur,
    @Sneptaur@pawb.social avatar

    The ML in lemmy.ml stands for Marxist-Leninist

    ewe,
    @ewe@lemmy.world avatar

    The two have roughly equal daily users, right? I have an account on both but kbin seems like it has generally less app development. Are there kbin apps I don't know about yet?

    rocker,
    rocker avatar
    lodion,
    @lodion@aussie.zone avatar

    Have kbin reciprocated? I see my posts arrive on kbin, but not get sent back to other lemmy instances.

    Spzi,

    Interesting, this is technically not defederation, as far as I understand it. Although effectively it seems at least similar.

    One implication of the difference is that it is less transpartent. On https://lemmy.ml/instances, 'kbin' only shows up on the left side; federated.

    I'm hoping we will get some explanation why these decisions were made, and why not as a defederation.

    retronautickz,

    Could it be a problem due to the newest Lemmy software upgrade?

    For what I read it's a complete mess.

    It denies access from non-en-us browsers, for example.

    It wouldn't surprise me if it messed with federation too.

    But, they're the devs. They did this mess. Why would they present a software upgrade that clearly had a lot of issues is beyond me...

    violet_cerue,
    @violet_cerue@toot.garden avatar

    While underhanded, it's better than weirdo shit like worming their way into kbin instances and pulling coups on the mods, which is what online reds used to do to various left-leaning political subreddits, FB pages, etc. Better to keep the tanks in the depot.

    MonsieurHedge,
    MonsieurHedge avatar

    Lemmy seems worse and worse all the time. A completely unannounced bootleg defederation... for what appears to be absolutely no reason? Are the instance admins insane?

    Willer,

    Platform made up of infants shoots itself in the knee?

    DreamerOfImprobableDreams,
    DreamerOfImprobableDreams avatar

    My cynical thought is that they're not insane, they're trying to kneecap the competition before it gets popular enough to pose a threat to them.

    communist,
    @communist@beehaw.org avatar

    That's not how this works, they stand to gain nothing from eliminating competition, it's open source software, it's likely an accident or a moderation issue.

    Machinist3359,

    To what end though? This is one lemmy instance, and probably the one fediverse instance facing the highest influx of traffic.

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