Talk:Main Page/Archive 20080229

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This page is for discussion of the DIY Wiki main page, and the Wiki as a whole.

It also seems to be a favoured place for spammers advertising dodgy pharmaceuticals, fakereplica Rolexes and so on <sigh>

Previous discussions on this page have been Archived


Anyone know how to add aliases or other search terms to articles? I have noted that some articles are very hard to search for unless you know the exact title of the article. It would be useful if one could provide some extra search terms that would also lead you to an article.

For example searching for "outdoor electrics" or "garden electrics" finds nothing, but it would be handy if these took you to the "taking electricity outside" article etc.

Perhaps some redirects would be useful, taking alternative article titles to the appropriate place.

--John Rumm 13:05, 4 September 2007 (BST)

That's what Wikipedia seems to do so I guess that's the only way. I've created a few when I've tried to find a page which I know exists but can't remember the exact name of (or CBA to type out :-)) --John Stumbles 17:39, 4 September 2007 (BST)

The other way is to add those keywords & keyphrases into the articles somewhere. There are a few articles that have lists of such keyphrases at the bottom. NT 19:01, 4 September 2007 (BST)

Another option is how the Lighting page is done. As well as listing the key articles for each subtopic, it also contains (under 'more topics') a list of further topics that are covered within pages that dont bear the name of the topic. IOW its a directory page to lighting topics.

Even better may be to put such stuff on the lighting category page, so the page has 3 sections:

  1. list of all lighting articles
  2. list of key articles for each lighting area
  3. list of other secondary lighting topics covered within other articles

NT 19:09, 4 September 2007 (BST)

I just tried adding keywords to a couple of articles. On the outdoor electrics one it seemed to work quite well. Many search terms bring it up near the top of the hits. However I also tried it on the 2 way switching one, and that was less successful. Searching for "two way" still finds nothing. It may be that the actual words are getting dropped by the media wiki search as being minor words.

--John Rumm 19:21, 4 September 2007 (BST)

Fixed it. Altered one of the headings near the top from 2 way to two way, now it comes up as no 1 in searches. NT 00:10, 5 September 2007 (BST)

Spam avoidance: CAPTCHA

I think I've found what I was looking for.

I'm off to ask Grunff if it would be possible for him to install this, if we want. Can we have a quick show of hands that we do want it?

I suggest we have it configured for:

  • $wgCaptchaTriggers['addurl'] = true; -- Check on edits that add URLs


  • $ceAllowConfirmedEmail, (Allow users who have confirmed their e-mail addresses to post URL links without being harassed by the captcha)


  • $wgCaptchaTriggers['createaccount'] = true; -- Check on account creation.

And what about these also?

  • $wgCaptchaTriggers['create'] = true; -- Check on page creation.
  • $wgCaptchaTriggers['badlogin'] = true; -- Check after a failed log-in attempt.

--John Stumbles 13:50, 8 September 2007 (BST)

Excellent idea! NT 21:59, 8 September 2007 (BST)

Yup, Sounds good to me as well. Options look fine (although I have not read the description of all those available yet! --John Rumm 00:26, 9 September 2007 (BST)

Over to you then Grunff please, if you can? --John Stumbles 12:32, 9 September 2007 (BST)

Ah, ok.... took me a moment to work out what was going on (for obvious reasons!). Will do. --John Rumm 21:07, 11 September 2007 (BST)


I'm getting fed up with daily despamming, and think maybe its time to protect all pages that get spammed until we get the captcha up and running. What do you think?

The danger there is that when a bot originated update fails, it will presumably draw the attention of a human to locate another suitable page. The problem then just shifts. Before long the whole site is protected. We could restrict posts to registered users, but even there I notice the number of accounts has been growing recently - possibly in anticipation of that move. (it also blocks the small but useful numbers of useful edits we get from IPs). --John Rumm 02:34, 19 October 2007 (BST)

Or is there a way we can get it going? Or block all edits with http in them? etc? NT 23:46, 18 October 2007 (BST)

Did we get any response from Grunff on that capatcha mod? Not aware of much else we can do without assistance from the server maintainer.

He said it's not compatible with the version of MW we're running even though the docs say it should be. Upgrading to a later version of MW may solve the problem, but he can't commit the time to it at present. I came across another MW which seemed to avoid spam quite well by blacklisting certain domains (e.g. *.cn!). I don't know if that'd work for us, and whether we could set that up ourselves of if Grunff would have to do it. Fraid I haven't time ATM... -- John Stumbles 12:33, 19 October 2007 (BST)

I'm aware we'd soon have a site with all protected pages, and that we'd lose out on the occasional input - and its not where I want the wiki to go, just am getting weary of despamming it day after day, knowing full well that blocking IPs has no real effect on the spammers. How do you feel about the daily despam? NT 14:02, 19 October 2007 (BST)

We can try it - but it is obviously hard to go back from. Having said that we can relax the restrictions if we do get effective spam control in the future. I would suggest setting the block to "unregistered" users to start with and seeing if that has any effect. It may just result in spammers registering, but it might increase their hassle factor a tad. Shall we try it for one article to stat with? Say the fitting TRVs to microbore one? --John Rumm 00:11, 20 October 2007 (BST)
uncanny that - I post the above edit and guess which article the latest dweeb had fiddled with as I was typing! OK set the protection on it to registered users only now. Let's see what occurs. --John Rumm 00:17, 20 October 2007 (BST)


I did some analysis of the spam rate...

You can see the results in a spreadsheet here: [1]

So August resulted in 14 hits, 75 in sept, and 118 in the first couple of weeks of oct! Clearly not an acceptable trend.

--John Rumm 22:44, 20 October 2007 (BST)

not good :( I hope something will get done so we contributions vaneasier again, but for now it just has to stay alive. NT 22:53, 20 October 2007 (BST)


Interesting results over the last few days... talk:main page seems to be taking the vast bulk of the spam and black holing it quite nicely, with the rest mopped up here. My general feeling is that we ought to leave these two pages unprotected so that they can carry on doing this without raising attention. The anticipated diversion to other target articles does not seem to have happened (yet!)

I did a bit of hunting though the logs and concluded that we have never had a genuine edit from an IP that has been used for spam (typically not even from the same country as the IP is from). Of the IPs we have banned for short periods, a number of them have re-offended after the ban elapsed. I am tempted to suggest a policy of feeding an offending IP into, to see where it is based. If it looks like an unlikely country to be participating in a UK based wiki, just ban it permanently on the first offence. If it ever turns out that someone was genuinely attempting to edit from there they can always email to be unblocked. Any thoughts?

--John Rumm 03:26, 29 October 2007 (GMT)

Sounds like sense to me John. Spam is a threat to the existence of the wiki, and I'm not sure how useful a uk wiki is in outer mongolia, nor what contribution we could really expect from distant foreign countries.

I suspect that often banned spammers will simply come in with the same junk from another IP, and in the case of talk:main a daily trim to remove spam avoids the relatively large workload of banning an increasingly large number of spammers. And the number may just keep increasing.

Perhaps between the 2 approaches life will become easier: ban those that are easily banned en masse, using the methods you describe, and just trim the ones that get through that net.

Any targeted site needs a honeypot, and it looks like we've got one already working. Not sure why they pick it but they do, and thats good enough. NT 00:02, 1 November 2007 (GMT)