Sunday, September 24, 2006

Adventures with arXiv.org

Apparently, I'm a rampaging robot.

I wanted to look something up in a paper I've written, and obviously, finding it on astro-ph is easier than going to a terminal opening it from *gasp* the hard drive, or even worse, standing up and trying to find a paper copy on my desk. At least, this was indisputably clear to me, until I clicked on the convenient PDF button, and instead of being given the PDF, I was told:

Access Denied

Sadly, you do not currently appear to have permission to access http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0606460


Mm. So this is amusing. It's also not the same error message you get if you're trying to access a paper that hasn't yet been made public. The page does include a link to their explanation of Access Denied, though:

Access Denied

Accesses from your site have triggered our automatic robot detection system. (Sometimes a block is caused by another user from behind the same proxy.) Blocks are usually removed automatically after about a week.

I sent them an email in response. I said,

I'm not a robot. I am a graduate student.
The meat of their automated reply was—and I paraphrase here—"blah blah blah orange elephants blah blah." They closed with—and this part is a direct quote—:
Message joins 79 other compelling messages current in queue.
Have a pure day.
Hopefully they'll be able to discern the stubtle different between the two worker classes, and I won't be forced to use a mirror site for a week.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

What we need is an automated Turing test. This would be a program that conducts an interview to see if the person on the other end of the wire is a human or not. Since computers can't currently pass the Turing test, this would be proof that you are a grad student.

Of course, a program that could administrate the Turing test would be complicated enough to be able to pass the test itself.