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A sadly mangled, downtrodden, graffiti encrusted wiki
Pity the poor Teaching Wiki. Buried in s-p-a-m.
Beyond the vast WIkiPedia with legions of rabid followers, most little wikis are doomed. Doomed. Doooooomed. Yours may be next.
blogged November 5, 2004 09:11 PM
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Yup. I'm getting sick of going into my wiki and scooping out the crap. The spam roaches are sure persistent! At least I have an RSS feed of changes, so I know when they're trying to infest my home...
Yup, my wiki is offline because of a persistent spammer with IP-spoofing...
BTW, how are you able to keep this discussion open? The same spammer has been hitting my discussion pretty hard... (send me the answer by email, I don't want to give the roaches any more help)...
What seems even worse in some ways is that a lot of wiki spam seems actually human generated, so some of the simple means we've tried to defeat blog spam don't work as well. I ended up haivng to password protect my wiki pages, kind of defeating the purpose, though in a 'closed' classroom type setting this can work fine (the nice thing about the wiki I run is that it just requires one password for all editing, so no fiddling around assigning unique usernames and passwords).
Lemme know what wiki engine you are using and I can point you to some anti-spam techniques for it.
The easiest thing to do is just require registration, but on my little wikis what I do is redirect all external links so they don't get any google pagerank.
You're welcome to use space at my site too if you like. I set up an edublogging wiki after the edublogger wiki disappeared. I have a teaching wiki too although I mainly just point people to the teachingwiki you are referring to.
Well that is nice Doug, but I am not asking for a solution to my wiki spam problems (well actually I would like one), but more so making a sweeping broad statement that educators getting excited about the potential for wikis (a good thing) are underestimating the issues of spammers (a very bad thing).
FWIW I've been using UseMOD.
Online registration is a hurdle. Most of mine are designed for providing external links, so a re-direct is not a solution.
I have alos been told not to blog so much about spammers, not to amke myself a target, but that too rubs me wrong, like why should I cave into a bunch of slimy acne faced punks.
So the conundrum is... wikis ought to be open to be wiki-like but open wikis are easily decimated by spammers.
Interesting times as the curse goes.
What I find sad about this Teaching Wiki case is that their homepage has a recoverable version dated back about a month ago... but that nobody has bothered to clean it up. (I was about to do it... but didn't want to undermine the point of Alan's posting.) What's disturbing to me is that the people who set this wiki up were not able to sustain a community of people who cared enough to spend ten or twenty seconds to clean up a bit of spam. Or maybe people did not know how to do it.
The benefits of this style of interaction obviously spread a bit thin.
I don't think you understood my comment. I never thought that you personally had spam problems with your wiki, I was talking about other educational wikis. Yes, other wikis are being hit by spammers, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are numerous solutions that have been developed just in the last 6 months.
The redirecting URLs I was referring to still takes you to the external URL, it just goes through a CGI script or Google's redirect service first so that no pagerank is given to the external site. I use that specifically so I do not have to go to the level of requiring registration before posting to my wikis.
About getting educators excited about wikis, I think in classroom situations it might actually be better to require registration for many reasons beyond just blocking spammers. Like I said on the beginning of this page last year ( http://edtech.coedit.net/WikisInTheClassroom ), I think wikis and blogs need some enhancements to make them better suited for classroom use - enhancements like user authentication, rss/atom, commentable pages, classroom-specific page templates, etc.
Thanks for the comment-back, Doug.. it would not be the first nor the last time I was off base...
"The redirecting URLs I was referring to still takes you to the external URL, it just goes through a CGI script or Google's redirect service first so that no pagerank is given to the external site. I use that specifically so I do not have to go to the level of requiring registration before posting to my wikis."
Ahh, I see now from your link what this is doing. I can see how that might be an interesting approach- the question is would spammers really get the message that their links are not adding PageRank, or is enough for you to be happy and content that they are not gaining rank from your wiki?
I can even project with a custom script, you could do some tracking of external links posted to a site, and even go as far as implemting some blacklists that would prevent matches form even connecting. Hmmm....
"About getting educators excited about wikis, I think in classroom situations it might actually be better to require registration for many reasons beyond just blocking spammers. Like I said on the beginning of this page last year ( http://edtech.coedit.net/WikisInTheClassroom ), I think wikis and blogs need some enhancements to make them better suited for classroom use - enhancements like user authentication, rss/atom, commentable pages, classroom-specific page templates, etc."
I am not completely opposed registration on certain wikis as for most collaborations in wikis, I would guess you have built it for use of mostly a specific group. I ahve suggested to others that if they really do not want a world wid eopen wiki, to put the whole directory inside a password protected place.
I agree very much with your notions on th epower of these tools- I am completely an advocate and have actually used wikis for preparing and providing materials for some 10+ workshops during mny visit to New Zealand. The faculty I have worked with here have taken to it quite away, quite easily,a nd are already contemplating how they can use one (and asking their support staff to set them up).
What I have done here, sadly, is to lock most of my presentation pages from edits, and allow participants to create their own wiki pages to post the findings of their activities.
I am not totally convinced tat wikis need piles of features, less that become the monolithic monstrosities that some course management systems have become. There is a lot to be said for small simple tools, allowing the ability to add on those functions you list, only if needed.
Wikis feel like they place blogs where at 18 months ago, arcing up the hype curve.