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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:03 pm 
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Location: NE Indiana, USA (NTSC)
Registration has been reopened, as has anonymous posting to talk pages. We're trying a different, more selective approach to fighting spam now. Here are the new rules, which I hope will work for NESdev Wiki as well as they have worked for my own wiki:
  • Everyone can post to talk pages.
  • An account that is at least four days old and has made two constructive edits to talk pages is automatically promoted to trusted, which grants mainspace editing, file upload, and page move privileges.
  • A Q&A CAPTCHA is in place, but the questions still need to be changed.
  • The old spambot-created accounts are being deleted.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:14 pm 
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I'm not sure automatic trusting is the right way to go at all. I think it should be locked down. Unless somebody is willing to start undoing edits for about...ever.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:17 pm 
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Bad idea, it was set that way for a reason. Human spammer won't change and we know that.

I don't remember about talking on changing the rules for the registration on the wiki. I would like to know why the sudden change in the rules.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:31 pm 
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Human vandals exist. I am aware of this.

No system with open registration will ever be 100 percent free of vandalism. I am aware of this.

But at some point, anti-spam measures become so onerous that the effort to make sure that they don't shut out legitimate contributions exceeds the effort to click the revert button on the occasional vandalism. Look at all the problems nocash recently had in gaining access. I'm just trying to apply roughly the same anti-spam measures to the wiki that A. are currently in place on this forum and B. have worked on my own wiki. The requirement for two talk page edits and four days is intended to give Recent Changes patrollers like myself enough time to block the accounts of human vandals.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:38 pm 
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Location: Mountain View, CA, USA
Think of it this way -- if it doesn't work, we can always revert back to the previous model w/out much issue. I'm inclined to think tepples' proposal (what got implemented) is worth a try anyway.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:06 pm 
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It's not that I mind to try other way of managing the wiki, I have no issue with that. What I was concerned is that I never saw any discussion on the subject and it was sudden (unless there was already talking with the admin of nesdev on the subject and I was not part of that discussion).

I know that I don't have time to follow as much like I could before and I saw the nocash issue but from the thread it seems that it was a mail configuration issue only, not something regarding the registration process, which is done manually for spam prevention reason. Since I don't have access to the server SSH and I'm not aware of the new configuration scheme, there is nothing that I could have done to help in that particular case but to wait the result of the setting investigation from the nesdev admin side.

Let see the results of the new settings. My guess is that we will revert back. We are such a niche community that it is almost unfeasible that an anonymous writer would come with an amazing breakthrough suddenly without any ruckus on the net but what can I say, I could be wrong. This is my personal opinion only, not the one of the nesdev admin or community ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:59 am 
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Reopening is great! I like it! And really hope that it'll work, it's at least worth giving it a try! As far as I know, the old wiki didn't use captchas, which may have made it easier for spam-bots to create accounts. And if there are really armies of human spammers getting paid for creating wiki accounts... then you could still switch back to closing doors. Downside would be that closed doors might keep away new users. There have been only three new users (including me) joining the wiki since it was closed in march.

In my case, it's been mainly the part about contacting the nesdev "triumvirate" that has kept me away (when I first wanted to create an account some months ago). Looking back, it's a funny/cool synonym for "three guys doing admin stuff", but my first association was "what the hell do they think who they are - the roman empire?" :-) it's been maybe not the best term to confront new users with. If you ever need to close doors again - maybe you could change "triumvirate" into "administrators". On the other hand, the triumvirate seems to have successfully scared human spammers as hell :-) so may be worth keeping it in mind as 100% spam-proof solution.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:36 pm 
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Prior to lockdown, the wiki used reCAPTCHA, which I ended up discovering had been broken. It might have been broken by CAPTCHA farms in developing countries, where people don't have to know a lot of English to decode pictures of distorted Latin-alphabet words. Or it might have been broken by OCR. Either way, I switched to Q&A on the forum and wiki because untargeted spammers trying to hit numerous wikis faster than humanly possible aren't very likely to know easy technical trivia about the NES.

And yes, reverting is as easy as one cp command on the server.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:04 pm 
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Regarding the "triumvirate" comment, I understand the feeling since I had no idea what it meant until I checked on wikipedia (I didn't decide on that word, I guess it must have been Tepples with his sense of humor).

I guess some kind of humor can be acceptable for a niche community but I do agree that it was intimidating. I felt the same way.

As for the human spammer, even if they could create an account, they were not in the trusted group so they couldn't write any content. But the reason it was locked out is because the entry logs was spammed with new account non stop that it was impossible to know what is new content or not.


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 Post subject: Recent Changes Cleanup
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:29 pm 
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When bot-generated account creation logs were filling up Recent Changes on my own wiki as well, I eventually settled on two separate solutions for that. One is replacing the broken reCAPTCHA with QuestyCaptcha. The other is the Recent Changes Cleanup extension, which allows administrators and established users with 500 edits to mark individual RC entries as "bot", meaning they're hidden from RC unless a user clicks "Show bots".


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:26 am 
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Argh, now the new new user handling has banned me from editing pages again. Must be the 4 days limit (which I've passed) or the two constructive talk page edit limit... okay here we go... http://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/User_talk:Nocash ... yes, that has solved the problem. Editing works again, also for non-talk pages.

Btw. in the new create account page: "To help protect against automated account creation, please answer the question that appears below (more info):" clicking on "more info" gives a fatal error message.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:10 pm 
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Q&A CAPTCHA is better than reCAPTCHA for other reasons too, I think: One is that you don't need any images or Javascripts, which reduces the bandwidth and works even if images and Javascripts are turned off.

_________________
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:51 pm 
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tepples keeps merging new souls into Amanda Lumpkin. I fear her power will one day overwhelm us.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:24 pm 
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Who is Amanda Lumpkin anyways?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:24 pm 
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The user deletion extension for MediaWiki doesn't let bureaucrats delete user accounts without merging the account's history into some other user account. Amanda Lumpkin was an early bot-created user account, created prior to the escalation of lockdown, that ended up indefinitely blocked. The accounts being merged into that account are accounts with 0 edits that fit the naming pattern of one particular bot that would create several accounts per day by breaking reCAPTCHA. Out of all indefinitely blocked users, I chose Amanda Lumpkin because of Rule of Funny. The analogous user on my own wiki is Sukey Chloya.


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