Abuse throttling triggered when some students try to accept assignment

(Jed Brown) #1

I have at least two students in my class (of about 90) that have been unable to accept a GitHub Classroom assignment; when they try, they are sent to a screen that says they are being flagged for abuse. They aren’t shown any recourse and I have been unsuccessful at getting a reply from GitHub support. Has anyone else experienced this or know of a fix?

(Kevin A. Wortman) #2

We have observed that when a lab full of students starts an assignment, sometimes a several will be locked out with a message about too many failed password attempts. Our hypothesis is that several students forget their passwords innocently, but since they are all coming from the same IP at the same moment, GitHub incorrectly flags it as abuse.

The only workaround we know of is to ask students to be very careful, and if they get locked out, wait about 5 minutes and try again. Not good because it blocks students from doing their work for reasons that are not their fault. Not a friendly introduction to computer science or GitHub. :frowning:

If GitHub is serious about this product being used in education, they really need to solve this technical issue. For example domains registered as GitHub Education partners could have more lenient abuse thresholds.

(Jed Brown) #3

One of my students has been blocked for several days now (despite other GitHub features continuing to work) and has created a second GitHub account just to complete assignments for my class. Still no reply from GitHub support. This is a poor first impression for these students and an embarrassment for instructors, who are evidently powerless to fix or get answers.

(topher mykolyk) #4

@jedbrown My $0.02: This issue has affected ~5 of my students (out of a several thousand, over the last few years). In each case, eventually GH did figure out what the issue was and fix the student’s account. In the meantime, I used it as a nothing-ever-works-flawlessly-so-plan-accordingly teachable moment. Students responded well (and took the same approach as yours, in creating a separate temp account), and grew visibly more resilient in the face of other glitch-like setbacks from any of the many places they can come from…

(Jed Brown) #5

FWIW, it’s been two weeks now and we have yet to receive any response or acknowledgement from GitHub.

(topher mykolyk) #6

@kevinwortman We have this issue frequently across ~20 sections of courses, and just tell the students to roll with the punches. One fun technique to reframe it has been to give a mini-mini-lesson on how token-ring networks function, then introducing a single physical token per lab that a student or team must be holding in order to, say, push. They readily accept it as a fact of life if we frame it as something to not get distressed over…

(topher mykolyk) #7

Could take up to a month…