[pydotorg-www] Wiki Spam and Maintenance

M.-A. Lemburg mal at python.org
Tue Sep 3 14:03:39 CEST 2013

Hi Paul,

I can understand your frustration. I've just removed several spam
pages and blocked spam user accounts in both the Python and Jython

I also removed some of the too easy to guess textcha questions.

For the Jython wiki, I think we should consider turning off editing
for new users. There simply aren't enough edits from real users
(perhaps 1 or 2 a month).

For the Python wiki, the textchas still appear to work reasonably

On 03.09.2013 01:50, Paul Boddie wrote:
> Hello,
> 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:
> http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/message.php?msg_id=31345030
> (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.
> Thanks,
> Paul
> [*] http://www.selenic.com/pipermail/mercurial/2010-May/032464.html
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Marc-Andre Lemburg
Python Software Foundation

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