[Wikimedia-l] Editor retention (was Re: "Big data" benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices))

Leslie Carr lcarr at wikimedia.org
Tue Jan 8 18:06:12 UTC 2013

On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 7:06 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo) <nemowiki at gmail.com> wrote:
> Nikola Smolenski, 08/01/2013 13:10:
>>> In general, as far as we know captchas are currently not stopping
>>> spammers at all, while effectively stopping many legitimate (less
>> Care to elaborate? Do we know how are spammers avoiding captchas (by
>> software or by humans)? How come other websites don't have this problem?
> Are you kidding? All MediaWiki websites suffer from the uselessness of its
> captchas.
> For additional information please refer to the discussions linked from
> https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/CAPTCHA and others on
> wikitech-l.

It's the worst kept secret in the world that you can hire people to
decode your captchas -- http://decaptcha.biz/ for example.  Better
captchas don't work because you are competing against people and if
people can't solve the captcha ...

In my experience, some sort of easy captchas do prevent the
lowest/stupidest level of spammer (you have to have enough knowledge
to integrate an api into your spamming program)

Also for major spammers, it's so easy to get a large block of phone
numbers in the US (a DID) - but again that does raise the bar a second
time for spammers.  In my opinion a phone auth may also be raising the
bar too high for some users, and you have to balance that risk.

I think that technical solutions may be a better call for this (some
sort of spam ranking system)

> Nemo
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Leslie Carr
Wikimedia Foundation
AS 14907, 43821

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