Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Promising news on Wiki spam

Bear trapI deliberately missed out any sort of  ‘site news’ last weekend, simply because I am one of those sad folk who can find themselves locked in a habit after doing something regularly – it must be some sort of OCD, so although things had been quiet anyway (too busy in garden etc), I took the opportunity to break any possible addiction to this particular regular post.

As it was, I had some pending info that was yet to be confirmed, but did reach fruition during the past week, and it looks like good news.

As regulars will already know, it is my intention to keep the Wiki as open as possible, so that items can be added easily, without the need for registration and other little hurdles for anyone who want to help. Unfortunately, at the moment, we have become the target of some particularly virulent comment spammers/spambots, and these can deface dozens of our pages in a day, if not spotted quickly. While we had apparently beaten most of them of with a simple captcha, the arrival of human spammers who are paid to read obscured captcha and defeat it a few months ago meant that it became completely ineffective, almost overnight, and the spam started to flood in.

They are least easily baulked by the addition of a password to the Wiki, freely given to anyone, but it still adds an undesirable barrier to entry to good people.

I’m pleased to say that an enquiry to the maintainer of the Wiki code brought some very helpful remarks and advice, together with the supply of some new and innovative modifications to the data input process for the Wiki, which appear to have proven to be quite effective at keeping the scum out. The beauty of them is that they are largely automatic and transparent to the user, meaning that once I have written them into out Wiki, I should be able to remove the current password.

The new options work by…

Sorry – I don’t subscribe to the opinion that says a defence is no good if it might be defeated by letting the enemy know what it is.

While I do agree that they enemy should know you have booby-traps set to kill them, I think it enhances the traps if the attacker has no idea what has to be overcome, as they will then waste their time in lots of pointless attempts to defeat something that is not even there – and that can only be a good thing.

I’ll try to get the changes made in the next week or so – or whenever I stop managing to find holes that need to be dug, or barrow loads of muck to get out of the garden when the season declares itself over!

 

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October 21, 2012 - Posted by | Site News |

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