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SMWiki - My Two Cents
Forum Index - Valley of Bowser - Site Questions, Feedback & Bugs - SMWiki - My Two Cents
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EDIT: AHEM, KIERAN?

As we all know, the SMWiki is in a perpetual state of inactivity and persistent spambot tsunamis. In fact, the few active users have started a discussion forum of sorts to talk over ways to "revamp" it. It is located here.

Here's my two cents about the situation:



What do we do?

Well, the very first thing we need to do is eliminate the spambot tsunami. The sysops have had to ban about 49 users a day because of those sacks of crap.


How do we do this?

In order to defeat the evil spammers, we'll need the help of our Lord and Master, Kieran Menor. He is the only one who can install extensions, edit wiki files, etc., and it's high time we got some anti-spam extensions set up.

Here's a few that could do the trick (you can suggest more if you want):


SimpleAntiSpam
Originally posted by Extension:SimpleAntiSpam
SimpleAntiSpam extension adds a hidden form field to the edit page as an anti-spam/anti-bot check. If the field is not blank when the page is saved, the save will be aborted and a generic "you triggered the spam filter" page will be shown.

Asirra
This is a CAPTCHA system that is more effective than ReCAPTCHA because it is image-recognition based rather than character-recognition based. Instead of displaying distorted letters that you have to type in, it gives you 12 random photos of cats and dogs and asks you to select only the cat photos.
Originally posted by Extension:ConfirmEdit#Asirra
Image recognition is an inherently more difficult task for computers than character recognition; and the use of Petfinder's massive, and ever-changing, database of millions of images makes it seemingly impossible for spammers to attempt to beat the system via some shortcut. It should be noted, though, that some research exists showing that image-recognition software can beat Asirra at least 10% of the time. Still, Asirra may possibly be the most secure of the modules within ConfirmEdit.

I personally find it less annoying than ReCAPTCHA because it's easier for my brain to recognize cats than to recognize garbled up text.
Plus, you get to look at cute doggehs and kittehs whenever you add an external link. :3

CheckUser
This lets people who have the CheckUser permission get IP address information about users. Not specifically an anti-spam extension, but useful for seeing if the spammers are all coming from one particular range of IPs or if their IPs are blacklisted on anti-spam sites.

Finally, this manual might be useful.


Hopefully this will help in destroying that gargantuan spambot tsunami that is bringing all of the SMWiki underwater and spare the admins that have to clean up the mess from going insane. If we go through with any of this we should probably wait a few days afterwards just to make sure the spammers don't come back.

Speaking of installing new stuff, MediaWiki is long overdue for an upgrade. The version we use is 1.15.1, and the current version is 1.18.1 (also 1.19 is supposed to be released pretty soon).



Now what about getting more activity?

After narrowly saving all SMWikians from that deadly tsunami, there's still the problem of activity. That's something that's being discussed in that wiki revamp page I mentioned earlier, which once again can be found here.

Perhaps we should make an announcement asking SMWC users to help the wiki, either as a news post or a thread in the Announcements forum (unless this has already been done; I don't keep myself in the SMW loop much these days).



Well, that's all I have to say right now. What do you think? Will any of this work, or am I just spouting nonsense?
Welcome to the world of girl love. It's slippery when wet!
Aristotle

Check out Super Luigi: The Regular Quest!
Generally more hype a staff member/well established user puts into something, the more activity that thing gets. It might be a good idea for someone to create a SMWiki user bar and to encourage users to use it and to share it around.
My suggestions would:
* Move user information into the User namespace. Seriously, why the fuck is it in mainspace? Plus discussion on User talk pages would notify the user.
* Install a customized skin. I made one once, we could use that.
* Tables for all the things! Plus make sure we can use a consistent style for them.
* Upgrade to the newest MW
* And consistency for things like infoboxen and navboxen.

--------------------
layouts suck

Originally posted by CommieYoshi
* Move user information into the User namespace. Seriously, why the fuck is it in mainspace?

This. Just this. #w{>=)}

e: also make autoconfirmed users able to skip the CAPTCHA. It's really annoying having to go through verification for every external link even though I've been around for like a year.
Welcome to the world of girl love. It's slippery when wet!
Aristotle

Check out Super Luigi: The Regular Quest!
Perhaps a better way of getting rid of spammers would be to change how you create a Wiki account. Instead of registering directly on the Wiki, register by doing something like this:
  1. Log in to SMWCentral.
  2. Edit your profile.
  3. Click on some “Create Wiki Account” button.
  4. With no “Create Account” section on the Wiki, there shouldn’t be any more spambots. It should be safe to get rid of that CAPTCHA that you have to type in whenever you add an external link to a page, since the only thing it seems to do currently is annoy legitimate users; spambots just OCR their way around it.


--------------------
Then what about every user already registered on SMWiki?
SMWC's official dentist since 2011.

YouTube - Twitter
Originally posted by CommieYoshi
My suggestions would:
* Move user information into the User namespace. Seriously, why the fuck is it in mainspace? Plus discussion on User talk pages would notify the user.

You mean use the User:Ultimaximus page instead of Ultimaximus? What about the pages regarding non-registered users?

Also from a PM I've received:

Originally posted by devYoshi
hi there,

i don't want to sound overbearing or nosy with this
message, so hopefully it doesn't sound that way. o_o

i've recently taken an active interest in smwc and all
that, including the accompanying wiki. while browsing
the recent changes on the wiki, though, i noticed a great
deal of spam was being fought. in no way am i claiming to
understand the situation or whatever, i am simply offering
some ideas..

the installation of mediawiki (as noted from here) is at
v1.15.1 whereas the latest released version is v1.18.1.
there might be optimizations in regards to security and
stuff, so i thought it might benefit from a bump upwards.

even if that sounds like a bad idea, i also came across this
extension for mediawiki: confirmAccount, which disables
new account creation in favor of a "queue" setup that lets
a moderator manually allow the users they wish to permit.
that could stop all the automated spambots from gaining access to
the wiki in the first place.

i saw that a similar extension, confirmEdit, is already installed.
however, since it's based on Captcha, smart bots can cheat past
those barriers. just a little "food for thought", i guess.

again, be it far from my intentions to barge in on someone else's
website and start blabbing about everything. i am just making
observations, and seeing that you are the admin, i figured it
was appropriate to speak with you about it.

hope i didn't offend you or sound like a brainiac or anything.

--devYoshi

World Community Grid: Thread | Team
 
I've seen extensions that bind MediaWiki's auth system to use phpBB accounts. Since this is custom, we need a custom extension for this.

but the phpBB one is seamless: log in with your forum account and you wikiexist.

--------------------
layouts suck
But this isn't a phpBB board, or am I missing something?

Celarix | [email protected] | Avatar by Uhrix
Hence why he said we'd need a custom extension.

--------------------
Your layout has been removed.

Originally posted by Ultimaximus
You mean use the User:Ultimaximus page instead of Ultimaximus? What about the pages regarding non-registered users?

You're thinking of SMWC user articles. Those being in mainspace is fine. But personal, "non-article" user pages should be left in the user space, as they'd clutter up mainspace otherwise.

For example, my user page, which was nothing more than a short signed message, got moved into the main namespace, even though it's in no way shape or form an article at all. Not seeing the point in this, I moved it back.

So basically what I think he's saying is wiki user pages and SMWC user articles shouldn't be confused with one another.


Edit:
Originally posted by Vinnyboiler
It might be a good idea for someone to create a SMWiki user bar and to encourage users to use it and to share it around.



Quote this post to get the code.
Welcome to the world of girl love. It's slippery when wet!
Aristotle

Check out Super Luigi: The Regular Quest!
That "banning 49 users a day" wouldn't be why I'm blocked from SMWiki, would it?

EDIT: No longer blocked. Thanks guys :-)
Meh.

My hack thread here.
Originally posted by Bedelato
That "banning 49 users a day" wouldn't be why I'm blocked from SMWiki, would it?

You were probably blocked by accident because your user page was a red link.
I stuck a note on your talk page, so you should get unblocked whenever a Wikiministrator sees it.

--------------------
Done. Our apologies for that blockade. Though, I actually see no reason as to why your username was blocked in the first place - spammers have a clear username pattern, namely XxxxYyyy or XxxxYyyy0. Where X and Y are capital letters, Xxxx and Yyyy are usually common American names and where 0 is a digit 0-9. "Bedelato" definitely does not follow that pattern. I have to admit that I found "BlittleMcNilsen" suspicious the first time I saw it, having no idea of the existence of a SMWCentral user with that very nickname. =P

I guess whoever blocked you overlooked that fact, and just blocked you to be on the safe side. Eh.

--------------------
--------> Don't follow "Find Roy's Dignity", my hack. Because it's pretty outdated. <--------

This is a bit off topic, but I got this error at the top of the page (by the user and user talk labels) during a ReCAPTCHA on SMWiki (the ReCAPTCHA still worked though):
Originally posted by the error at the top of the page during a ReCAPTCHA
Article::getSection() should not be called satically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/www-data/htdocs/smwiki.net/www/extensions/recaptcha/ConfirmEdit on line 621

It only happened one time.
Welcome to the world of girl love. It's slippery when wet!
Aristotle

Check out Super Luigi: The Regular Quest!
Originally posted by Roy
Done. Our apologies for that blockade. Though, I actually see no reason as to why your username was blocked in the first place - spammers have a clear username pattern, namely XxxxYyyy or XxxxYyyy0. Where X and Y are capital letters, Xxxx and Yyyy are usually common American names and where 0 is a digit 0-9. "Bedelato" definitely does not follow that pattern. I have to admit that I found "BlittleMcNilsen" suspicious the first time I saw it, having no idea of the existence of a SMWCentral user with that very nickname. =P

I guess whoever blocked you overlooked that fact, and just blocked you to be on the safe side. Eh.

It was likely my fault, as the registration was likely surrounded by other registrations. I can't confirm this though, I can't make the 'Recent changes' log go back that far.

Also, there appear to be some exceptions:
Wil3anfpra
KonradConradNavarro
2HeilPraktiker8

However, you've objectively determined the traditional pattern of the spam registrations I was unable to pinpoint, I relied on generalization.

World Community Grid: Thread | Team
 
I'd be surprised if Kieran actually does anything. I've sent him messages regarding the wiki multiple times, only to have nothing happen. I was excited to try to restore the wiki a few months ago, but now I've kind of stopped caring, much like everyone else.
idk what to put here

Everyone get your torches and pitchforks and start a riot outside Kieran's house!

We are SMWCentramous.
We do not forgive WikiNeglect.
We do not forget the SMWiki.
Expect us.


*crickets*
...anyone?

*nobody comes to protest with me*
._.
Welcome to the world of girl love. It's slippery when wet!
Aristotle

Check out Super Luigi: The Regular Quest!
Going back to what I said earlier, there's a huge correlation between staff/well established user interest stuff on this board and the general user base's. For example, it was Kieran's genuine interest in the radio made it into alot more of a success then the previous times it was brought back.

At the end of the day though, the wiki already has alot of useful resources. For all purposes, it's doing it's job. The only real problem at the moment that needs to be addressed is spamming, that job can only be done by Kieran.

Originally posted by Vinnyboiler
The only real problem at the moment that needs to be addressed is spamming, that job can only be done by Kieran.

Install the anti-spam extensions I mentioned earlier and upgrade to the latest version of MediaWiki (optional, but it would probably help) and the spam problem should be solved or at least reduced. Also let AutoConfirmed users skip the CAPTCHA (or Asirra if it gets installed). None of the spammers I've seen ever make it to 4 days and 10 edits, where as active, legitimate users usually do, and it's a nuisance for them to have to go through it with every single external link they add (plus it isn't doing its job anyways; the spambots are finding ways around it).
Welcome to the world of girl love. It's slippery when wet!
Aristotle

Check out Super Luigi: The Regular Quest!
Pages: « 1 2 »
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