Allowed sites not allowed

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  • Updated 1 year ago
So, my kids need devices at school.  One of them needs access to goodreads.com.  When whe goes there we get the "This site can’t be reached" and not the CE blocked page.
I think, well, let's add it in case CE is blocking it.  I add it to the allowed sites list and refresh (WIndows 10 client).  I cannot get there.  I log off CE and log in as me.  It works, therfore it must be CE.  I log back in as daughter, make sure site is allowed and refresh again, but still no luck.  I up her access to teen and refresh.  It works.  I move her back down even though the site is allowed, and nope.

Same issue with Youtube.

Come on guys, this shouldn't be this hard.
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David Cribbs

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Posted 1 year ago

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Mark Donovan, Quality Assurance Analyst

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Hello David! I'm sorry about the trouble you're having with our software. You're right-it shouldn't be that hard. Let me take a quick moment to elaborate on this a bit.

So, firstly, our Windows software is very robust. Most webpages, in addition to having the url in the url bar, have dozens if not hundreds of pictures/videos/items on a web page referencing their own separate urls. Covenant Eyes on Windows has the capability to see and to block all of these. For this reason, viewing a web page can sometimes be difficult by simply adding a site to the allow list. I realize that this is frustrating behavior, but to really get the whole picture, I'd like to illustrate the trade-offs. We COULD make it so that only the main page gets blocked-but think about search engines, for instance. If we only reported that a person searched "dogs" in google, and looked at image results, a person could get away with scrolling through pictures of dogs until they got to inappropriate results. With the implementation we have set up, if a person does that, we are able to still see where the image came from, and put it on the report.

So, while it should be easier, the implementation as is was thought out and designed to function higher-level for a reason and has usability limitations that may cause frustration. I'm sorry about that.

Secondly, on our latest version, 7.2.93, I tried replicating the issues you saw with goodreads.com and youtube.com not functioning after being added to the allow list for a E-level filter user with a blank block/allow list. Adding goodreads.com to the allow list and refreshing my filter actually loaded the website for me, and it seemed to function alright. Youtube, however, is different and uses a lot of supporting urls. I had to additionally allow ytimg.com, googlevideo.com, and ggpht.com to get it to work, as it hosts some of its videos/content under those alternative domains.

If you'd like to drop your daughter back to an E FSL, my recommendation would be to call in to our customer service center at 877.479.1119 (toll-free U.S. and Canada) or 989.720.8000 (international). They should be able to help figure out what might be unique or off with your software installation in order to get that functional.
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David Cribbs

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While I understand what you said, I cannot have my kids not being able to get where they need to get at school.  I am not really sure what is the best solution and to your credit and in honesty, there is no perfect solution.  I guess if I could perhaps leave on enduring complaint would be that there was absolutely no indication that it was being blocked by Covenant Eyes.  I do not know what all you would need to do to fix it, but when absolutely none of the page loaded, not even a single word when the page was on the allowed list, and to not say why it would not load seems way broken.  I do not have extra hours to devote to micro managing each page element to get stuff to load, when on a different day, there may be something else to troubleshoot like that again and again and again.  While I understand your side of it, it does not really diminish the frustration, other than having a better understanding.  I guess I long for the day when this is unnecessary, but that will not be on earth as we know it.
Thanks
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Mark Donovan, Quality Assurance Analyst

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Those are extremely fair complaints, and a reasonable source of frustration. I agree that those are everyday use-case scenarios that I would desire our software to handle better. I think a large portion of the reason why our software behaves that way is that most of our connection handling is managed past the browser level-thus it isn't optimized for in-browser presentation. Our extensions are capable of handling that, though, and some progress with improved block page messaging has been made on the Mac client via our browser extensions. It's feasible that that technology could be ported over to the Windows client to make Covenant Eyes blocking more visible in-browser, but there are still some significant bugs in it that I'd like to see worked out before implementing it into the Windows client.

Anyway, long story short, I apologize for the manner in which our software has failed and frustrated you, I think what your expectations are for our software's visibility of its actions are reasonable, and I think it's possible to offer better block pages for Windows customers once the technology has been made more reliable on our Mac client. I'll bring the matter up to our Windows team.