[ANN] New Ruby Garden Wiki Trial Run


#1

== Spam by the Numbers

Anyone who visits the “RubyGarden
wiki”:http://www.rubygarden.org/ruby regularly has probably run into
wiki spam. You know what I mean, defaced pages with hundreds of links
to questionable web sites. All done with the goal of increasing
Google page rank.

Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of this problem, make a
guess on how many time during the past 7 days someone tried to deface
the RubyGarden wiki with spam.

Got a number? Its probably too low.

According to the logs, we had 18,139 attacks against our wiki. In
just seven days! Over the past few weeks we have been averaging
between 17,000 and 20,000 attacks in a 7 day period.

That’s a lot of spam.

Fortunately most of the attacks went directly into the wiki tarpit
where only other spammers saw the results. Only about 250 attacks
made it to the real wiki where they needed to be cleaned by hand.

(For those who aren’t familiar with a wiki tarpit, it is a shawdow
wiki behind the real wiki where spammers are directed. The spammers
spend all their time updating a virtual wiki that no one, except other
spammers, will ever see. The goal is to have the spammers waste their
time instead of ours.)

Now the tarpit isn’t perfect. Sometimes legitimate users get sent to
the tarpit instead of the real wiki. If you ever went to RubyGarden
and saw spam on almost every page, you were probably in the tarpit.

But, cleaning up 250 spams instead of 18000? That is a pretty
good success story.

== But We Need Something Better

As good as the tarpit approach is, we still need something better.
The UseMod wiki software we are using makes it painful to clean up
spam. The average page needs about four clicks to despam, with a lot
of hard to automate decision making in the process. See “this
demo”:http://onestepback.org/demos/tarpit.htm for a look at what I do
to clean up a UseMod wiki page. Go ahead, click now. I’ll wait for
you.

That’s a lot of work. Despamming several hundred posts can take
hours.

== Ruse

Ruse is new wiki with built-in anti-spam features. It supports UseMod
style markup, so all of the RubyGarden pages can be easily migrated
into it. It has an integrated tarpit that makes despamming a page a
single button press. In fact, Ruse can move all of an author’s
pending posts into the tarpit with a single click. Ruse can mark
edits as spam based on either content (e.g. linking to a known spam
site) or IP address (coming from a known spammer).

Best of all, Ruse makes it easy to distribute the job of detecting
and marking spam across the regular contributers to the wiki.

Watch “this demo”:http://onestepback.org/demos/ruse.htm to see Ruse in
action.

== The Beta

Chad and I have setup a mirror of the RubyGarden wiki at
http://rubygarden.org:3000/Ruby”:http://rubygarden.org:3000/Ruby.
This is a trial run of the software before we commit to using it.
Feel free to check it out, kick the tires and beat on it a bit.
Shoot, if you have a secret desire to be a spam writter, go for it,
just to see what happens.

You can post anonymously, or sign up for a guest account. After a
certain number of spam-free postings, guest accounts are upgraded to
full member accounts.

Oh, the account “spammer” with password “spammer” is already setup if
you to see how the wiki reacts to spammers.

But remember, this is a beta trial and content of the wiki will be
reset before it goes “live” for real.

Documentation is a bit skimpy right now, but we are working on that
too.

Enjoy.


– Jim W.


#2

Jim W. wrote:

Outstanding, Jim! I’ve tried despamming RubyGarden before and it took
me over 5 minutes to despam a page the first time I tried. Great work
on this.

Roy


#3

On May 9, 2006, at 11:01 PM, Jim W. wrote:

== Spam by the Numbers

[snip]

According to the logs, we had 18,139 attacks against our wiki. In
just seven days! Over the past few weeks we have been averaging
between 17,000 and 20,000 attacks in a 7 day period.

That’s a lot of spam.

I think Jim W. is a hero!

I just turned comments off on my blog because I’m tired of the war,
so he’s definitely a better man than me.

== Ruse

Too cool.

James Edward G. II


#4

On 5/9/06, Jim W. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Best of all, Ruse makes it easy to distribute the job of detecting
and marking spam across the regular contributers to the wiki.

Sounds promising, Jim! I hope that if this proves successful it can be
used for RubyForge Wikis as well.


#5

On Wed, 10 May 2006, Jim W. wrote:

== Spam by the Numbers
of hard to automate decision making in the process. See “this
demo”:http://onestepback.org/demos/tarpit.htm for a look at what I do
to clean up a UseMod wiki page. Go ahead, click now. I’ll wait for
you.

Good Lord Man! I knew I hated spammers before I saw that, but that’s
just awful!

That’s a lot of work. Despamming several hundred posts can take
hours.

Wow!

== Ruse

Fantastic work! You’re amazing.

Speaking of tar pits, are you also using the TCP/IP level tar pit?
http://labrea.sourceforge.net/labrea-info.html

Is there a ruby version of the perl LaBrea module?
http://scans.bizsystems.net/paged_report.plx

John C. Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : removed_email_address@domain.invalid
New Zealand

Carter’s Clarification of Murphy’s Law.

“Things only ever go right so that they may go more spectacularly wrong
later.”

From this principle, all of life and physics may be deduced.


#6

John C. wrote:

Speaking of tar pits, are you also using the TCP/IP level tar pit?
http://labrea.sourceforge.net/labrea-info.html

Hmmm, I hadn’t seen this before. Thanks for the link.


– Jim W.