User talk:NT

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please see Talk:ZZ_001 --John Stumbles 15:42, 21 April 2007 (BST)

Deletion discussion

discussion continued from Talk:ZZ 001 Quotes John Stumbles:

"like the sorcerer's apprentice with the bloody buckets and brooms!"


"OK he's done that: you and I are now superhero^H^H^Husers :-)."

Let us tread carefully then. Mods are unfortunately the biggest cause of online forum failure.

"I suggest we tread carefully with deleting things:"

I quite agree to that, and suggest we discuss all potential deletions before removing. Except for spam, there is really no hurry, and quick deletions can and sometimes do demotivate contributors.

I'm all for giving people time to respond. If we give all contributors every opportunity it minimises the chance of us causing problems unexpectedly, which mods can all too easily unintentionally do.

Getting a deleted article back is easy if one saves a copy with its wikicode.

Where to discuss potential deletions? How about in the talk page of the article concerned? This is as easy if not easier than anywhere else, it alerts any other contributors to that article, and is the same space as other issue discussion, which may be relevant to the question of deletion sometimes.


The last question is where to put this discussion! I guess wherever it goes we'll both see it. NT 10:39, 22 April 2007 (BST)

Here will do for starters, but there is also the parallel universe of the DIYWiki namespace (where pages like Project:Copyrights lives). I've created DIYWiki:Test page and DIYWiki talk:Test page which don't show up on Special:allpages unless you select the DIYWiki namespace.
BTW I also blocked a spammer User: - not the usual range of IP addresses for Mr Dodgypharms. My guess is that these things are generated by spambots (of the last type) running off compromised users' machines. Considering also that the users were probably on dynamic IP addresses I set up a temporary block for 1 month. Hopefully by the time that's expired the user's IP address will have changed (we'll know when we get the next spam from a different IP!) and I didn't want to leave a block in place indefinitely on what might eventually be an innocent new user's IP.
--John Stumbles 12:08, 22 April 2007 (BST)


Do you think it might be worth clearing and protecting some of the pages like the disclaimer one that they keep creating? Save having to endlessly delete it?

Also have you noticed we have quite a long user list of fairly obvious spammy user IDs?

--John Rumm 12:45, 23 February 2008 (GMT)

If we protect a page I think they'll just use another one, so I'm not sure we'd be further forward. I did spot an opportunity though: pages that dont show up in Allpages are getting created, and those we could honey trap, any more about which I wont say for obvious reasons. It wont stop people spamming it, but with such page(s) not showing up in Allpages and not getting linked to theyre effectively not visible to readers, plus the spam wont be, so it could saves us significant work.

I really wish wiki had tickboxes on recent changes for fast mass blocking & deletion. Lack of them makes the job take 10x longer.

I'll go check the user id list. NT 13:01, 23 February 2008 (GMT)

Last time we protected a few target pages it took quite a number of months for them to find new ones. It might be interesting to unprotect some of those now and see what happens.

--John Rumm 16:21, 23 February 2008 (GMT)

Quiet round here....

Gosh, a whole week and no spam yet, makes a nice change ;-) --John Rumm 01:04, 17 April 2008 (BST)

Yep, that was an exceptionally good decision! NT 10:09, 17 April 2008 (BST)

When registered users spam

It recon we may as well ban them permanently straight off since they obviously created the account for the purpose.

(I did block ban about 70 a while back where the accounts were all created following a recognisable automated naming pattern - anything not quite readable, 10 characters long. and in camel case seems suspect)

--John Rumm 15:24, 11 July 2008 (BST)

If we do that then why not ban all spammers permamently on the first offence? NT 01:36, 12 July 2008 (BST)

Not much point worrying about the IP address ones - just protect the article and ban them for a month in case they are still in a mood for mischief (probably not since most are probably bots on malware infested PCs). That way they can't do any further damage to that page.

The spam usernames however have the capacity to do far more damage, and we know will never be used for anything worthwhile, so we may as well bin them straight off. There are more hoops to jump through for the spammers to keep creating new users.

--John Rumm 05:13, 12 July 2008 (BST)

Good point, will do that then. NT 13:38, 12 July 2008 (BST)

Rdirect pages

You deleted the Putties and Mastics page on the grounds of it being a spam threat. I specifically put it there to counter one!

It had been created a number of times by a spammer. The first time I deleted it they just put it back, so leaving it there with useful content and protecting it prevented further fiddling with it. Hence why I sometimes set a spammed new page to something like "page intentionally left blank..." and then protect it. --John Rumm 00:18, 11 January 2009 (GMT)

Sounds like a misunderstanding, I know why it was there. I deleted it because the spammer was no longer creating any pointless new pages, hence it was no longer needed. Maybe I was a little hasty and should have asked first: do you think we still need it? NT 08:52, 11 January 2009 (GMT)

I guess we will find out in time ;-)

As a general rule, having redirect pages that get you to appropriate topics from slight variations in search term are not a bad thing IMHO.

(I presume the spammer used that topic in the hope that it would be missed since it looked like an edit to a genuine article). (although why spammers bother with mediawiki anywany I don't know since it has the nofollow attribute automatically generated for all pages anyway!)

--John Rumm 13:37, 11 January 2009 (GMT)

We could consider making the need for an account the default for creating new articles... or possibly blocking anonymous edits altogether. (I have the FTP log on details for the wiki server, so we can tweak config files if we need to). --John Rumm 13:42, 11 January 2009 (GMT)

Well I'm all for that! Would wipe out a percentage of the little remaining spam. NT 16:14, 11 January 2009 (GMT)

An interesting read (sorry to butt in on your conversation!). It sounds like this battle against the spammers has been on-going here for quite some time.

Out of interest, have you considered using a Captcha which could be required for account creation, & also subsequently required every time before a page could be edited/created? It wouldn't stop the human spammers, but all but the most sophisticated spambots might have a hard time getting in here after that. Or perhaps this site is built upon a fixed template, which Admin is unable to alter?

- Ax

We did discuss captcha, but this specific version of wiki software doesn't support it. For the most part we've stopped the spam by changing the default permissions on pages. Most days there's no spam now, its not perfect though.

I think we could do with a specific spam discussion page! 14:09, 15 April 2009 (BST)

Looks like the dickheads are out in force...

I was toying with the idea of blocking creation of accounts by non sysops for a bit. I.e. if you want an account you post a request to an article with a request and one of us picks it up and creates the account... (or not!)

I have got a fix in the config file to try it out - but it does not seem to be doing its stuff. It might be we need to restart mediawiki for it to see the change though. I will have a word with Grunff and see.

--John Rumm 05:47, 23 April 2009 (BST)

We sure need to do something! I don't really know enough about mediawiki to offer any ideas unfortunately. The ability to mass block accounts would be a blessing. NT 11:32, 23 April 2009 (BST)

OK, I have knobbled new account creation ;-)

There is a new article here: Account Requests that punters can add to if they want an account (obviously we will have to leave this open for anonymous edits). If the spammers pick up on that, then we can create a gmail account for the purpose.

I suggest adding the account requests article to your watch list, then then if you see an entry and it looks genuine, email the requester as a test asking for a password, and when they reply, create the account and email them to say its done.

--John Rumm 23:06, 23 April 2009 (BST)

Quiet in here today innit!

For a while at least!

--John Rumm 23:43, 24 April 2009 (BST)

Grin :)

I just hope it wont stop genuine contributions. NT 00:13, 25 April 2009 (BST)

I just knobbled anonymous creation of pages...

See what the spammers think of that ;-)

--John Rumm 14:52, 19 May 2009 (BST)

Ah good! nice one NT 23:59, 19 May 2009 (BST)

If this carries on, I can knobble all anonymous editing... --John Rumm 23:51, 15 April 2010 (BST)

Sounds like a sensible policy tbh. I know its nice to allow it for the potential contributions, but all it ever brought before us was a mountain of spam NT 23:59, 15 April 2010 (BST)


You know I could knobble all anonymouse edits if you want. Then we would need to explicitly enable rights for a page to be edited by non account holders.

--John Rumm 16:15, 21 August 2010 (BST)

I'm wondering why that wasn't done before now. We seldom get anonymous contributions, just endless spam. NT 08:45, 23 August 2010 (BST)

Wave goodbye to the spam

ok I have blocked anonymous edits across the whole wiki. You can only post now when logged in. One side effect of this is that I have had to change the account creation procedure since there is not currently a way to override the default permission level on a per article basis. I may be able to install and extension to make this possible though later.

--John Rumm 04:25, 10 September 2010 (BST)

Phew. Though I hadn't thought about that issue. Maybe I'll put a note temporarily on the new accounts page. NT 08:23, 10 September 2010 (BST)

Already changed the instructions to say email or post to the group for an account. --John Rumm 18:01, 11 September 2010 (BST)

Yes, I soon saw :) NT 22:49, 12 September 2010 (BST)


Latest has been mainly:

  • adding new pics
  • replacing pics with better ones
  • adding articles to existing categories
  • also a few article tidy-ups


Sorted out lots of article titles for linkability. No doubt a few links not yet sorted as a result, but they should get done sooner or later. If finished it'll make article writing easier & quicker. NT 01:05, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Boiler/Boilers etc

Just replied on my talk page YAPH 22:39, 7 February 2011 (UTC)