"Forced" browser upgrades?

Cross-posting from the Lembach thread. This is disturbing. Is anyone else experiencing this? I haven’t yet, but if @TheBindingPolymer has, that’s not cool.

If I use extensions or blockers that interfere with the site and break it, that’s on me. But if the site is looking at my browser version number, presumably from the user agent string, and deciding it doesn’t like it, that’s very much not okay.


My aging iPad gets a warning banner. Apparently I have until January of 2023 to buy a new iPad, or do all of my couch Discoursing remoted to my desktop.

The banner says I’ll get a “read-only” version of the site after that, which sounds grim. The linked Meta post says I’ll get a “non-interactive basic HTML” version, which sounds less grim.


Yikes, thanks for linking that. Some of the talk there is a little unclear – lots of talk about iOS versions, but not necessarily browser versions. Some of it might be referencing the app vs. the website (which is ridiculous – why does a forum website/platform need an app in the first place?).

My biggest concern is this gem:

“Our policy is to only support the latest, stable versions of browsers. Therefore we only support Safari 15 on Desktop.”

Why on earth is this a policy? The word “support” here really gets me. It conjures notions of altruism; “we’re supporting these browsers with our great work.” But the opposite is true: the browsers are the established worldwide framework. Everyone plays in that sandbox, and the rules governing it are clear and established. Changes to web standards take years, sometimes decades.

What kind of hack job, strung-together mountain of unmanageable code modules have you built this thing from that you can’t count on it to function with anything short of the latest and greatest?


To be fair, iOS 12 Safari doesn’t support the Web MIDI API. I assume the rest of you are jamming 24/7 to a looped MIDI of the Rurouni Kenshin theme with generative drum fills. If I’m not getting that full experience, am I even really participating, here?


It’s especially bad for a forum like this one because MST3K skews older and older people are less likely to have the newest and shiniest technology. My wife just upgraded her phone and told me I could too and I asked her why I would do that when I had a perfectly good phone as it is?

And I have relatively new devices. My computer is from 2017 and my phone is from 2018. I’m guessing plenty of people here are in @rogueamuffin’s shoes.


Proper computers are generally fine, because their web browsers are separate software and you can upgrade them. The reason the discussion is focused on iOS devices is because Apple themselves have stopped supporting them, so they cannot be upgraded.

I have an iPad Mini 2 which is in this boat. I got it used when version 4 was available because I ain’t no techie nerd. Depending on how bad the experience is, it may finally be time for me to join the year 2015 and upgrade to a used Mini 4.

Of course if I were smart I’d buy a new (whatever model they are up to now) so that I won’t have this same issue in another three to five years. Like most of my digital devices, I probably won’t upgrade until the old one is completely unusable, be it from no software working, getting dropped enough to no longer function, or bulging out because the battery is about to explode.


I’d really like to identify the point at which tech companies decided to stop catering to our wants and make us cater to their wants.


This is not a case that Discourse is going to not allow you to access this site with any browser version that is not the newest and latest. In fact, both Chrome and Safari are out of date on this computer, and I am not getting a warning.

As noted above, this is ultimately an issue with Apple no longer supporting iOS 12 and older iOS devices that cannot be upgraded beyond that. The comment that they “only support the latest, stable versions of browsers.” does not mean your browser or device will no longer work with the site. It just means that if you contact support with an issue, the first thing they are going to do is ask you if you are on the latest version, and if not, they are going to ask you to upgrade before proceeding with support. Upgrading a browser is not a technically difficult process, and will likely only take a minute or two of your time if you have auto updates turned off. Even if they are off, your browser has probably already downloaded the update and is only waiting for you to push the button.

Also, this would not be a decision that MST3K has any control over. They have a contract with Discourse, and are at the mercy of Discourse when it comes to the app architecture.


That would have been the first time a piece of software was updated to include new features that some users wanted, but others did not care about, but the software was centralized, so the old users were out of luck. So, sometime in the 1940’s would be my guess.

The phenomenon of tech companies supporting multiple older versions of their software would be much newer, and ushered in with the age of the personal computer and distributed software (late '70s). Now that the internet is bringing us back to the concept of centralized, rather than distributed, software, things are coming full circle.


This is nothing new. Companies stop supporting old tech all the time.

  • It’s expensive to maintain usability for something that is now years out of date.
  • Older software poses more security risks

If you are using a computer that was last patched in 2010, 2015, 2018, you need to upgrade for your own online safety.

As for Discourse, we have no control over what they support or don’t support in terms of browser versions/hardware. If you want to discuss this with those who can help, try here: https://meta.discourse.org/


Unfortunately, the purpose of software “upgrades” nowadays is seldom to make the product better, but to make it different so that the shareholders will see new product coming out. If that means making it worse, then so be it.

I let my browsers update themselves when they want to. But I’m still using Windows 7 and will do so as long as it’s humanly possible.

The 21st century has made me a luddite, at least in terms of consumer electronics. In fact, I think I may be Ludd himself.


Hopefully this is the case. You make an important distinction about iOS and Safari. Apple doesn’t provide updates for just the mobile browser – you only get a new browser when you get a new iOS.

Also a good point, which I hope is the case here. If that’s what they mean by “support,” then it makes sense. The reason I’m wary of this is that I’ve caught Netflix and Hulu demanding desktop browser upgrades multiple times per year. Not just recommendations or “please would you,” but “this site is dead and unavailable to you until you upgrade.” Which is inexcusable.

For sure, and I wouldn’t want our fine admins to misinterpret this complaint. Hopefully Discourse offers some degree of control over this at the admin level for its customers.


I’ve been relying on Firefox because despite being an Apple subject I’ve never liked Safari. :sweat:


For those getting this warning, have any of you tried installing a Chrome or FireFox browser? This may or may not get rid of your warning. Apple puts very serious restrictions on what certain apps can do, especially web browsers. It’s at least a potential workaround. If you do try this, please report back and let us know if this removes your warning.



Same. I’m not sure what it is about Safari but it just feels off when I use it.


Something in my nervous system just finds it cramped and fussy.


Because frameworks change. Because protocols change. Because time marches forward and there comes a point where the amount of grafting and life support that has to happen on a thing (code… devices… stuff) gets ridiculous, approaching impossible.

And, yes, there’s also the bad decisions made by humans, and designed obsolescence, and puffy people sitting at oversized desks manufacturing fresh revenue streams.

The second case is easy to pin down – end users are never in the picture. Well, unless the end user is the revenue and the product; then it’s making sure they aren’t made aware of that.

The first case has challenges and little moving parts, and the end user likely never cares about these things even when some of these advancements truly have them in mind. Prime example: people can be dinguses when it comes to their online activities and they probably have no idea or interest in rolling their habits around current gen cryptography, so the browser builders worth their salt bake those in and then everyone can sleep a little easier at night. But code bases written in, say, 1998 really have no understanding of and no real viable bridge to a 2018 protocol so you have to sorta retire those out.

Once one willingly enters the gardenwall (cough cough Apple cough), you’re at the mercy of whether or not the OS team, the device team, and the browser team actually talk and come to some agreements.

Absolutely no one should be rockin’ 2022 on the first 40 builds of Chrome or any flavor of Internet Explorer, and any webmaster still living in HTTP is a wackadoo. TLS and validation certs are where it’s at.

Sorry, that super-cool gen 2 iPad got left behind. But… those devices (then and now) aren’t cheap. Apple knows this; Apple relies on user FOMO. Tons of companies do. Maybe it’s time we showed them we’re sick and tired of it.


I wonder if the older iOS devices running the iOS/Safari versions that won’t be supported could run a supported version of Chrome? :thinking:


I think McCloud was asking more “why is it only Safari for desktop, and not, you know, a good browser?” (Okay, that was a little commentary from me, but my point is they didn’t say “any modern browser including Chrome, Firefox, etc.” They said “Safari only on desktop.” If it were "Safari only on iOS, then that makes sense, because…

According to that linked discussion, it appears those other browsers on iOS are actually Safari-based. They are just modified to look and act like other browsers, but in the end the only browser allowed on iOS is Safari. (That may or may not be correct; I don’t actually of have knowledge of such things - I’m only going by what the people in that thread are saying).