[pydotorg-www] Internal Server Error while reverting spam

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Thu Dec 1 01:38:23 CET 2011

On Thursday 01 December 2011 00:27:49 Richard Jones wrote:
> On 1 December 2011 10:07, Carl Karsten <carl at personnelware.com> wrote:
> > They are not needed for legitimate use.
> I respectfully disagree. It's significantly easier to promote:
>    j.mp/mpug
> than
>    wiki.python.org/moin/MelbournePUG

That may be the case, but *on* the Wiki, there's absolutely no reason why 
people can't use full URLs referring to the actual resource in question (but 
see my remarks below). The reason why I disallowed shortened URLs is that 
it's easy for people to post spam links and there be absolutely no initial 
indication that this is what they are. I certainly don't feel like checking 
random links to who-knows-where just because people don't want to be 
transparent about where they are linking to.

I believe that such links primarily benefit spammers/scammers/tricksters (who 
don't want people to see where they are going) and people using Twitter (who 
are constrained by whichever architectural limitation that service still 
has), along with people needing to promote an easy-to-remember URL by word of 
mouth or on physical objects, potentially in that order. I accept that from 
trustworthy people like yourself, the promotional benefit outweighs the "I 
feel lucky" part of the experience that comes from using these URLs, but the 
balance is different when random people on the Internet are posting them to 
one's site.

It is unfortunate if people don't get a nice error message if their edits are 
disallowed, but I am willing to improve that (without telling spammers how to 
defeat anti-spam mechanisms) if it would be appreciated - the "internal 
server error" probably shouldn't happen, and that may be fixed somehow by a 
review of the configuration. If you think that trusted users shouldn't be 
prevented from using shortened URLs that are mentioned for promotional 
purposes, say, then I am also willing to work towards a solution.

This isn't empty rhetoric - I've already developed things like edit approval 
functionality for Moin, even though I doubt that it will ever be deployed 
because of cries of censorship or general inconvenience, just so that I have 
something to offer if/when people start to say that policing Wikis is too 
much work - so if you think that improvement is needed, I am prepared to 
spend some time making that improvement.

I am sorry for the inconvenience caused, but please understand the motivation 
for eliminating what could easily be a source of significant additional work 
for those of us who volunteer to maintain this resource.


P.S. I also find it interesting that a bunch of people happily used domains 
leased from a now-defunct North African regime (some of whom walked the 
tightrope more happily than others, though) without any second thought, but 
that's a separate concern. Personally, I never gave it much thought myself, 
but then I largely ignored what the Web 2.0 crowd were doing until someone in 
the Mercurial community raised the matter in the context of mailing list 

More information about the pydotorg-www mailing list