[wiki]: Spambots now "run" FIRSTwiki

I can officially say after 3 years of trying to keep up with the amount of spam on FIRST wiki, I have officially met my match.

Those of you familiar with the wiki probably know about it’s long time problem with spam postings on it. It used to be we’d get a few a day and they’d get deleted, no big deal. Still, nothing was ever done to prevent the problem, such as implementing registration restrictions to require some sort of CAPTCHA or email validation, and thus the spam continued.

I’ll admit, the past few weeks I haven’t been to active on the wiki, but I got on it today because of an email notification I received about several reported pages. Upon dealing with these new spam pages, I glanced over at the “recent changes” page to find an alarming trend…

First wiki now gets between 3-12 new spam bots+posts PER MINUTE.
For perspective, over 100 new spam pages were made just in the time it took me to write this post! :ahh:

Obviously this rate is beyond what the group of Sysops on the wiki can hope to ever handle manually (myself included).

My advice at this point to whoever is running the FIRSTwiki is this, either:
1. Update the side to include some sort of registration control that prevents bots ASAP, or…
2. Take the FIRSTwiki down completely.

My biggest concerns about the potential consequences should this problem continue are:

  • Many of the links in the spam posts go to dubious pages which no doubt contain viruses.
  • Much of the content being spammed is NOT “family friendly”, and considering the wiki has been frequented by users in programs like FLL (IE, children) in the past, leaving this issue to go unchecked could lead to some very upset parents, at what they assumed was a “safe” website to visit.
  • There is a possibility, that some of the pages posted by the spambots could contain or link to, illegal material. This of course could put FIRSTwiki (and by proxy, CheifDelphi) on the receiving end of a world of legal hurt.

For the rest of the community, I ask you to use this thread to share your thoughts on the matter and ideas for a solution.
To the administrators, I URGE you to take action on this matter, whatever that action may be.

Anybody know who administers the FIRST wiki?

Domain is registered to Mike Martus. He should stumble upon this thread.

There have been a couple of people in the past years that volunteered to update mediawiki, and add some CAPTCHAs but I guess nothing came out of it.

To be honest, I vote to shut it down. None of the content is really unique or valuable, and it does pose a threat of giving people a bad taste of the FIRST community due to the spam. If someone wants to start over they can own that project.

I’m a FIRSTwiki admin if that’s worth anything.

My proposal (speaking as 7h3 5up3rn47ur4l, an active contributor to FIRST wiki) is to archive all of the legitimate content (the most important parts at least, just to keep it simple). Then admins would Purge the wiki of all entries and users (it would be nice if we could filter out valid users and bypass them, but it’s not necessary). After all of the spam and spambots are gone, anti-bot countermeasures would be put in place. Restoring entries from the archives could be done by an admin-bot (like the CD “archiver”). This would not only bring the wiki to a usable state, it would also give the admins an opportunity to do some serious updates to the wiki’s software.

If anyone here is still involved with FIRST and interested in contributing, I’ve resurrected FIRSTwiki as a set of github pages sites. I believe this implementation addresses a number of problems:

  • No server software to go out of date
  • Github takes care of spam for us
  • If admins decide to abandon the project, it’s trivially simple for someone to fork their own version

See my thread here: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147329

Awesome work !