Dean Peterson

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I receive an "unavailable service" error (only 5-10% of the time) hitting the endpoint sending geekmail to users programmatically: https://boardgamegeek.com/geekmail_controller.php. If it fails for a user, it always fails for that same user. But it will work for another user. Sometimes it will work for sending geekmail to a user one time, but fail forever for that user after the first geekmail. I know those users are not personally blocking, because they are asking me why they never receive the geekmail they expect from my service.

You can see a screenshot of my code that has always worked below. When I switch out the credentials with someone else it works fine. Am I being blocked for some users for some reason? I did a little digging, another possibility seems geekmail is potentially tied to a real e-mail system and Board Game Geek is blacklisted for certain user e-mails? So, if BGG attemps to forward the geekmail they generate to the user's e-mail and it fails with "unavailable service" their code never sends the geekmail either and forwards "unavailable service" error in its response back to my service? All of that is just a guess. I really am at a loss trying to figure out why my geekmail service works for most users but 5-10% fail with "unavailable service" error. It doesn't make much sense that if I switch my credentials out for another user, then I can usually get the geekmail to go through for the 5-10% that receive an error.

Here is the Java code I use to send geekmail:



 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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depeters wrote:
I receive an "unavailable service" error (only 5-10% of the time) hitting the endpoint sending geekmail to users programmatically: https://boardgamegeek.com/geekmail_controller.php. If it fails for a user, it always fails for that same user. But it will work for another user. Sometimes it will work for sending geekmail to a user one time, but fail forever for that user after the first geekmail. I know those users are not personally blocking, because they are asking me why they never receive the geekmail they expect from my service.

You can see a screenshot of my code that has always worked below. When I switch out the credentials with someone else it works fine. Am I being blocked for some users for some reason? I did a little digging, another possibility seems geekmail is potentially tied to a real e-mail system and Board Game Geek is blacklisted for certain user e-mails? So, if BGG attemps to forward the geekmail they generate to the user's e-mail and it fails with "unavailable service" their code never sends the geekmail either and forwards "unavailable service" error in its response back to my service? All of that is just a guess. I really am at a loss trying to figure out why my geekmail service works for most users but 5-10% fail with "unavailable service" error. It doesn't make much sense that if I switch my credentials out for another user, then I can usually get the geekmail to go through for the 5-10% that receive an error.

Here is the Java code I use to send geekmail:




I'd very much like to hear why you'd want to automate geekmailing.
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From the Terms of Service:
B. You shall not use or launch any automated system, including without limitation "robots," "spiders," or "offline readers," that accesses the Website in a manner that sends more request messages to the Geekdo servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional online web browser, except as expressly permitted by Geekdo. You agree not to collect or harvest any personally identifiable information, including but not limited to account names, from the Website. You agree not to use the communication systems provided by the Website for any commercial solicitation purposes.

It may be that sending geekmail "programmatically" contravenes this.
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Dean Peterson

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I run abecorn math trading site. Geekmails are sent to verify bgg accounts. Same thing olwlg does using the exact same approach. It's not a commercial site. I make no money and simply send account verification mail.
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Franz Kafka
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Terms of Service wrote:
that accesses the Website in a manner that sends more request messages to the Geekdo servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional online web browser

I think this part is key. I read it as "don't overwhelm our servers; we'll throttle your access." They may not care if you're pressing buttons to send the messages, but they start caring if you start sending them too quickly.

Edit: Dropped the last bit. I was bad at judging my own tone.
 
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Dean Peterson

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JosefK wrote:
Terms of Service wrote:
that accesses the Website in a manner that sends more request messages to the Geekdo servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional online web browser

I think this part is key. I read it as "don't overwhelm our servers; we'll throttle your access." They may not care if you're pressing buttons to send the messages, but they start caring if you start sending them too quickly.

This assumes your claim that the messages are welcome. I'm sure there are other terms that are designed to prevent spamming, etc.


I send the verification message when the user enters their bgg username and clicks a button. This happens once per user usually unless the message doesn't arrive in their geekmail and they try to resend the message. The number of new users doing this on a daily basis is negligible most likely to bgg.
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