Configuring the FF@ Wiki to hopefully grow and survive in a world of spammers (see my previous post about this) has been an interesting exercise. While I’ve used Mediawiki and other wikis for years, my efforts have been targeted toward wikis that while publicly accessible did not allow self-creation of login credentials. When I resurrected the FF@ Wiki, I set it up for ease of access to allow the community a low barrier of entry and was rewarded with all sorts of creative spam 😉 . I’d not done anything with Mediawiki extensions, but when I went to look up configuration settings, I found the ConfirmEdit extension, and realized that it was already loaded in the version of Mediawiki I was running and that I didn’t need to install the bits, just needed to set it up in the LocalSettings configuration file to set up a Captcha. There’s a pretty big ecosystem of extensions for Mediawiki, and I need to spend some time looking at this. There may be something else interesting in that corpus that would be interesting for my use cases. More to do!
I wonder if my spammers are humans or bots? I deleted a round of spam pages on Friday, and then I didn’t have any more spam pages until today (Monday). It almost seemed that they took the weekend off! Odd…well, I didn’t make the Captcha process very robust, so if it gets defeated I may have to buff it up a bit with some more question Captchas. I like question Captchas; I’ve used them on some of my Drupal sites with good success. They have the ability to target a specific cohort that shares a particular set of knowledge, and have the advantage of accessibility, unlike visual Captchas!
Day 1 with the Captcha in = success. No spurious users created since I set up the Captcha. I don’t know why I didn’t do this before; I should have expected the spam. On sites I want to control (using Drupal and WordPress) I know that I needed to use Captcha technology out of the gate, but somehow, I guess I was naively thinking that the Wiki world was different…oh well. The good news is that a simple question Captcha seems to have done the trick!