First of all I should point out that I'm quite new to Rails (and jQuery) and the interactions between it and JQuery, which may be the reason that some of you may consider this a rather basic hint.
However whilst working on membermeister.com I've recently had some trouble loading JSON data from our Rails backend. It seemed like a very trivial task at first, all we needed was a GET request that was answered by a format.json response from the Rails controller.

Simplified the request looked something like this:

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1$.ajax({
2    url: "/invoices/" + invoiceid + "/pay",
3    type: "GET"
4})

However Rails was returning a '406 Not Acceptable' error, suggesting the request I was sending was not something it was instructed to handle.

In my noobness I tried passing

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1dataType: "json",

I also tried

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1contentType: "json"

but always got this error:

In the end the fix was quite simple but had evaded me for a while:

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1beforeSend: setHeader

followed by

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1function setHeader(xhr) {
2    xhr.setRequestHeader("Accept", "application/json");
3}

The complete function looked (simplified) like this:

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1$.ajax({
2    url: "/invoices/" + invoiceid + "/pay",
3    type: "GET",
4    beforeSend: setHeader
5}).done(function() {
6...            
7});
8
9function setHeader(xhr) {
10    xhr.setRequestHeader("Accept", "application/json");
11}

Once implemented the GET request succeeded (notice the Accept Request Header).

Hopefully this saves someone some grief. Loading JSON from Rails seems well documented, and so ar 406 errors, but I had trouble finding the fix in this case because I wasn't 100% sure the issue was on the jQuery side...