"Sent via BlackBerry from Smart"
From: Sumana Harihareswara <sumanah(a)wikimedia.org>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 14:49:58
Reply-To: MediaWiki announcements and site admin list
Subject: Re: [Mediawiki-l] CAPTCHA recommendation for account-creation bots?
On 02/27/2012 02:17 PM, mediawiki-l-request(a)lists.wikimedia.org wrote:
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 17:57:14 +0000
From: Daniel Barrett <danb(a)VistaPrint.com>
To: MediaWiki announcements and site admin list
Subject: [Mediawiki-l] CAPTCHA recommendation for account-creation
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Spam bots are creating accounts on my music wiki
). What is the best extension to
prevent this? I installed ConfirmEdit and tried the default CAPTCHA (SimpleCAPTCHA) but it
didn't stop the bots. Before I experiment with the many other options, I thought
I'd ask what people recommend.
Fortunately the bots can't edit articles, just create useless accounts.
I'll take this opportunity to point out that Dan's not the only one.
People who run MediaWiki instances come into IRC (#mediawiki) every day
asking for help fighting spam and vandalism. Some emails that have come
my way (reprinted with permission):
Jason Vertrees wrote:
After opening up my wiki for free registration, I immediately got
three spam accounts. One turned into real spam being injected into and
then cleaned from the wiki. None of the methods aside from preventing
self-registration seem to work against spam. Unfortunately, this also
I read the links you provided--do you have anything else more proactive?
Sergey Chernyshev wrote:
"Do you by any chance know a reliable way to combat spam? I'm tired of
the hordes of spammers attacking my MW projects.... Unfortunately, I'm
well aware of current anti-spam features and none of them simplify the
spam combat to the level similar to WordPress, for example."
Anne Gray wrote of sfeditorwatch.com
, which have
Google Analytics, ReCaptcha and Bad Behavior installed:
Thank you for offering to help try to figure out what's gone wrong
. Cheryl's email reminds
me that activity on the sf editors wiki was really picking up for a
while, the year before it started getting attention from spambots.
Once I started having to protect pages to keep from losing content and
the wiki started being full of spam, participation declined sharply.
It rapidly hit the point where I as an administrator couldn't possibly
hope to keep up. Then reCaptcha broke and people *couldn't* edit
their own pages. At this point, I'm pretty sure bots are almost the
only thing active there....
Sfartistwatch never really took off partly, I think,
really non-obvious how to post images (I still have never learned).
And I'm worried that if we turn it on, it will get hit by the kind of
spammers that are posting hundreds of spam images to the Carl Brandon
I don't know enough to set up bots to patrol, to set up notifications
so that I as the administrator can "watch" all the pages, or to use
scripts or whatever to nuke the massive amounts of spam pages that are
created regularly. Bots are clearly getting past recaptcha to
register users (they're doing that on the carl brandon wiki, too), and
the "Random page" button is totally useless for a visitor who is
actually interested in the topic of the wiki (is there a way to
reprogram that, so it only selects a random page that has a category,
at least? (it would be sooo nice, when you Block a user for spam or
vandalism, for the following page to list pages that user created,
with checkboxes beside them, and provide the option to select all of
them at once and delete them. Even better if it gave the option of
automatically protecting against future re-creation of those spam
Most of these administrators are smart people who just need a little
help fighting the bots. It sounds like the recommendations from this
group so far are:
, a plugin for
the ConfirmEdit extension
so I've added those to these help pages:
and welcome additional improvements to those docs, especially if
recommendations that are in there right now are no longer worthy of
Also, anyone want to take a crack at cleaning out what's no longer
applicable in https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Spam_Filter
so I can
suggest it as a project for contributors?
Volunteer Development Coordinator
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