[pydotorg-www] Wiki Spam and Maintenance

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Tue Sep 3 01:50:34 CEST 2013


I'm not sure whether anyone noticed, but for most of August I wasn't doing any 
Python Wiki maintenance, so I'd like to thank those people who stepped in and 
tried to keep the wiki free of spam. As those unfortunate people realised, 
removing spam can take up considerable amounts of time that could be spent on 
other things.

Spam prevention can be a difficult trick to pull off: the MoinMoin Wiki 
manages to do just fine, as does the Debian Wiki, it would seem. Meanwhile, 
other Moin wikis struggle to deal with the deluge of Internet spam, and this 
presumably frustrates both users and admins alike. Consequently, I have made 
an attempt at elementary advice on the matter:


(I have also given advice for specific wikis in the past [*], but I have no 
idea whether this advice has been followed, especially given the current 
difficulties of such sites.)

I do not feel that the right balance is being maintained between the freedom 
to edit the Python Wiki and the need to demand that contributors be 
sufficiently trustworthy and knowledgeable in order to make edits. Since the 
threshold to make edits once one has registered an account remains too low, 
spammers are able to take advantage of our generosity of spirit.

It is unfortunate, then, that wiki maintainers do not enjoy the same level of 
accommodation enjoyed by spammers along with hypothetical wiki editors who 
would supposedly go to the trouble of creating a wiki account and making edits 
without being able to answer even the most elementary question about the 
nature of Python or its community. Although textcha support is enabled, we 
seem to be asking such casual contributors the wrong questions, and the cost 
of this is being borne by the wiki maintainers.

I would much rather be doing other things than clean up spam that probably 
could have been prevented through more effective use of the available 
mechanisms. My time and the time of others is being wasted so that other 
random people can merely avoid inconvenience. I do not regard this situation 
as a sustainable one, nor do I regard it as an acceptable way of treating 
those who have taken on such responsibility voluntarily.

Please can we review our anti-spam measures and implement a policy that does 
not take advantage of those volunteers who feel responsible for maintaining 
this resource? I appreciate the work done to revive and run this resource, but 
I feel that the patience of those maintaining it will eventually expire if 
something is not done about this.



[*] http://www.selenic.com/pipermail/mercurial/2010-May/032464.html

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