Tolkien Gateway

Forum:Blocking spammers

Tolkien Gateway > Council > Blocking spammers

Are we not blocking spammers now? -- KingAragorn  talk  contribs  edits  email  14:50, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

They seem to be hit-and-run, one-edit accounts. And besides, even if we block a few, there will be others. --Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 15:23, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Ling123 has appeared as a particularly vicious spammer, creating pages with Tolkien-like titles but putting in spam.
I don't know how to affect spamming; the following are random ideas:
  • Enforce a delay between signing up and getting editing privileges.
  • Require those who want to edit to fill in a talk page.
  • Require ID approval.
-- Gamling 06:24, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
He's just probably not an actual person. And he doesn't make new pages, he vandalizes existing ones.
You can revert his edits by clicking "undo". --Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 07:00, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

I have only been on this site for a few days but I have noticed how bad the spamming is. Setting up user rights so that new members can only edit after filling out their respective talk page is a good idea (and something I would like to implement on my wiki), however, this might deter genuine members who only want to make minor edits to existing pages and not want to bother with their own user and user talk pages.

Certainly, spam image uploads are a problem too. Uploads can be blocked until a member has reached say 10 edits; this would cut down on spamming images uploads and save the admins a little time having to delete everything that is 'not related'.

I recently installed the recaptcha extension, which is quite useful because it can be used for triggers such as page creation and edits, however, this does not stop spammers if they are persistent and the downside is that unless you add a member to say a 'trusted' usergroup, they will get the captcha box every time they make an edit. I am still exploring this and even though my site is nowhere near as busy as this one I hardly ever get spammers.

The only decent way to stop spammers is for people to require a membership from the admins (after their details have been scrutinised) but this also takes a lot of time. --Kerchi  talk | contribs | edits 09:04, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

I make sure I always block the spammers as on a couple of rare occasions an unblocked one has returned.
The easy solution to this is to only allow page creation and image uploads once a user is "autoconfirmed" - this would stop 95% of spam. However, to become autoconfirmed you need to register your e-mail address; currently, TG seems unable to send out e-mails, a problem which has lasted a year - if we implemented this now it would block out new users (such as Kerchi and Gamling) as well as the spammers. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 11:13, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Maybe we could install that if you want to create an account you have to fill in a question like: "What is the name of the Elf/Wizard/Dwarf in the Fellowship/Company of the Ring" or "What is the name of the son of Denethor II?". Just like some sites have as question "What is the capital of France?" or "What is 7 - 3?". Personally I don't think we should add Captcha, since it doesn't work on all computers/internet browsers (I, once, couldn't create an account on a site because the Captcha didn't work for me).
If the problem with e-mails could be solved, that would be a good option too.
I think it's good to block spammers (like Mith does). --Amroth 12:38, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
I quite like the idea of using a question for account creation but they can't be too complicated as newbies to Tolkien's work will have to spend a fair amount of time searching for the answer --Kerchi  talk | contribs | edits 21:21, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Our long-term aim is to install reCAPTCHA so anonymous users are able to edit. However, last time I tried to install it, it didn't work; I think we need to upgrade the software. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 13:28, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
It didn't work for me until 1.16 was installed. Bear in mind though that some bots are sophisticated enough to read the various letter images. --Kerchi  talk | contribs | edits 21:21, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Requiring new registrees to fill in (by which I asume Gamling to mean ‘create’) a talk page before being allowed to edit isn’t going to work, as a talk page with Hyarion’s welcome message is automatically created as soon as a new user is created upon registration. And even if that were not so, a talk page could still be created by other editors placing a warning.
I’d like to see (re)CAPTCHA working again, though I do realise it is not going to keep out all spammers. And a problem is that, in order to maintain roughly the same effectivity in keeping out spammers, CAPTCHA will have to continue getting more difficult, until even bona fide humans will have problems with it. Amroth’s proposal of requiring new registrees to answer one or two reasonably simple Tolkienological questions seems both more sympathetic and more to the point here.
I’m also coming round slowly but steadily to the opinion that maybe we shouldn’t want to return to allowing anonymous editors. I know it’s a sort of basic characteristic of a wiki, but I'm coming to the conviction that we’re too thinly spread here to police TG against spam and vandals and have a quality drive and prevent our fundamental nature (i.e. primacy of the books and their author, while at the same time being rather completist inclusionists of adaptations as long as they are clearly distinguished as such, and taking fully into account The History of Middle-earth, not necessarily subordinating it to The Silmarillion) from eroding all at the same time. I think we would do ourselves a disservice if we opened up to anonymous edits at the moment and that we need a significantly larger community of editors, of a good quality and willing to subscribe to the stated principles, with some more sysops as well, before we can open up again. — Mithrennaith 03:53, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Both of the issues you've raised are probably for the meeting.--Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 08:51, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Autoconfirmed Permissions

I've made it so there is a minimum number of edits and minutes before a user is made "autoconfirmed" and can create/move pages and upload images; this will hopefully cut out a lot of spammers. Can everyone in this thread please let me know that you are unaffected by these changes? --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 15:54, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Impressive solution! -- KingAragorn  talk  contribs  edits  email  16:30, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Look's good. --Amroth 17:04, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
I can edit but can't create a page. What edit count have you set before page creation is enabled? --Kerchi  talk | contribs | edits
Guys, I still can't create a new page yet, how many edits do I need before this is available? I need to create my autosig so the wikicode doesn't keep clogging up the text. --Kerchi  talk | contribs | edits 09:50, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
You should be able to create new pages as you meet the time and edit requirements; what error are you getting? On the issue of you sig, is it possible you could change the colours so they are less similar to mine? --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 10:05, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
No problem, colours changed. I don't really like using bold colours for signatures such as bright red or green etc. and the new colour chosen is one I use in a table on my site. If still too similar let me know. Regarding the error message I get, it says: No such action. The action specified by the URL is invalid. You might have mistyped the URL, or followed an incorrect link. This might also indicate a bug in the software used by Tolkien Gateway. --Kerchi  talk | contribs | edits 10:21, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
What URL are you going to? As you can see I just created a page with User:Test and there were no problems. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 10:24, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
Typing User:Kerchi/autosig takes me to the 'article does not exist page'. Clicking on create goes to the error page at the following address: [1] --Kerchi  talk | contribs | edits 10:36, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
When I click that URL I get the same error; our "createbox" there is broke and has been broken for a long time. Just click the "create an article with that title" link (or "Create" in the top right corner) instead. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 10:44, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
Many thanks Mith, that worked, sorry to have so troublesome about the matter. --Kerchi  talk | contribs | edits 10:51, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
That's OK, it was my fault for having not removed the Createbox from that page; I've done it now, though. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 10:55, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
Just to confirm, a couple of spammers have got through but that was due to an oversight on my part. No spammer will be uploading or creating pages again. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 19:04, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
I have checked, by creating Amarthan, that I can create pages at the moment. (I know that it’s an improper redirect, but I’ve explained at it's Talk page.) I notice, BTW, that I’m indeed an autoconfirmed user. I used to be one, as I had confirmed my previous e-mail address, but I’ve had to change my e-mail address since the wiki became unable to send confirmation e-mails, so I have not been able to confirm the new e-mail address. — Mithrennaith 03:53, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
I think being emailconfirmed never leaves you (and that's just a feature of the software).--Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 08:51, 3 June 2011 (UTC)