How I got blocked by the ACM
I recently heard about the History of Programming Languages book published by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Being a nerd, I wanted to read it. The book is split into almost 100 sections on the ACM’s website, each of which requires a separate PDF download. I’d prefer to have a single PDF that I can put on my e-reader, so I set about opening many tabs to download and combine all of the sections. A few sections in, I realized that the URLs were made up of sequential numbers; soon I had a nifty script ready:
for n in $(seq 339 429); do curl -LO "https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.1145/800025.1198$n" done
I ran the script and… now I’m blocked from accessing any publications on the ACM’s website. Oof.
Let’s hope they actually check that support email! If not, I’ll be stuck using a VPN to read papers for school.
Update: I got an email back telling me that the block was an automatic response to “an action that could be the work of an automated program” and that the block should go away on its own after a few hours. 28 hours later, I seem to finally have access again!
Update Two: I started getting blocked again last week despite no unusual activity on my part. The block didn’t go away after almost a whole week, so I emailed support. They were kind enough to manually remove the block.
[This page was last updated on November 8, 2022]