Shout boxes have been an increasing headache for us the past 6 months or so. As they continue to become more popular they continue to cause more and more problems for us. It has come to a point now where rather than dealing with them on a case by case basis we’re just flat out not allowing them. This situation is similar to when proxy’s were becoming popular. We just dealt with it as sites became a problem for us, however over time it became quite clear they were all eventually going to be problems.
A site that if it was not hosting a shout box we would not realize we’re hosting becomes one of the heavy users once they have a shout box. We’ve seen a site with just 40 visitors a day have 5000 page views each day due to their shout box. This is even worse with sites with say a 1000 visitors which we find then see close to 100,000 page views a day with almost all of them coming via the shoutbox.
These things were cool at a time but a discussion forum doesn’t need a chat page on every page where if a user leaves the page open every 15 seconds they are requesting the chat box page in order to get the latest entries within the shout box.
This move should reduce the load of some servers quite a bit as some users are generating a million page views a day via a shout box. Overall this will affect a small percentage of users most of which we have been harassing over and over again for system resource usage problems anyways.
Expect an announcement later today about it to make it official.