The Lite Side

MacSurfer Stuck in Infinite Loop

- 2003.07.29

Popular Mac news site MacSurfer has been suffering a reduction in traffic for several days due to a recursive self-referential post loop, according to Mac Web observers.

"They posted an article which automatically logs all links to itself," according to Wink Nudge, a writer for Soldered magazine online. "Of course, every time the article noted that MacSurfer linked to it, this generated a separate link to MacSurfer, which dutifully posted the link. They're very thorough."

The article in question was in fact a humor article which was describing an infinite loop of self-referrals to the MacSurfer link. The author of that article, Jeff Adkins, said today that he didn't intend to cause thousands of identical links to appear on MacSurfer.

"There are currently 13,459 links to my article on MacSurfer," said Adkins. "The growth is linear, not exponential, but every time MacSurfer updates, I get another few hundred referrals. You'd think they'd notice or something."

We attempted to contact Macsurfer to ask if they knew the recursive link was causing their page to be hundreds of pages in length, when, combined with the inline banner ads, makes it download for longer than most users are willing to wait - even broadband users.

Someone at MacSurfer did answer the phone, but we were unable to hear what they were saying over the system beeps generated by multiple hits on the delete key. "Dumb**** freak*** ****ing ***ing ***ork***slub," was as close as we could come to a comment from the MacSurfer staff.

Low End Mac webmaster Dan Knight, where the originating article was originally posted at first, says his site is not responsible for the error. "We screen each link we post by hand. Geeze, if we wanted to generate excess hits, we would have done a recursive link to Apple Quicklinks, don'tcha think?"

"The article isn't even that funny," said Shirelly Yurchokin, a frequent MacSurfer visitor. "They just quote people talking about the very article that they are being quoted for. I hit on it just to see what all the fuss was about, but all in all, I thought the whole thing was pretty lame."

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