[pmwiki-users] Programs should be allowed to edit pages (Was: PmWiki and Spam)

George De Bruin sndchaser at gmail.com
Sat Jan 12 10:40:04 CST 2008

christian.ridderstrom at gmail.com wrote:

I have to agree that I am not a fan of captcha, but for reasons that are 
different that the ones normally stated.  While I am a fully-abled 
person, I often find the images that are used in captcha to be 
completely unreadable. It's very frustrating to have to go through a 
bunch of images to find one that I can actually read to type into a box, 
especially when I am just trying to leave a comment that should have 
only taken a few seconds.

Personally, I think Neil's openly accessible password list is a good 
idea.  By having the passwords on a seperate page, that is formatted in 
such a way that automated parsing isn't easy should stop 90 percent or 
better of the attacks on the site.

If you wanted to take this a step further, you could put the passwords 
in images on the page, and offer an alternative page that has a text 
version for the visually impared.

By using a list like this, you could change the password(s) say once a 
month, or once a quarter, or if some bot starts trying to deface pages.

It's not a perfect solution, but it should be effective enough to stop a 
lot of the spam bot attacks, while still allowing Christian and others 
to maintain automated editing systems that are appropriate.

Just my 2 cents.

// George
> On Thu, 10 Jan 2008, Simon wrote:
>>>         libocacnoc
>>> might be spam, although it makes no sense to me...
>> Whether or not it makes sense is not the point. The problem is that 
>> is rapidly impacts a lot of pages
> Thinking some more on it, I don't think it is spam... Could be some 
> kind of defacing, or preparations to spam/deace. Or, unfortunately and 
> extremely unlikely, maybe some actually wants to put these "words" on 
> wiki pages. I can't imagine why though. Maybe it's an alien and it 
> makes sense to "it" ;-) .. or maybe it's a person that somehow has a 
> good reason...
> Generally speaking we _want_ everybody to be able to change the 
> content. What is it that we don't want? For instance, we don't want:
> * Spam * Content being destroyed
> * Defacement
> * ?
> However, I don't think captchas is a proper solution as I think it is 
> _valid_ that a script/program modifies a wiki page. A simple example 
> of this is when I use Emacs to edit wiki pages (pmwiki-mode)... then 
> it's Emacs rather than a browser that does the change. And within 
> Emacs, it's easy for me (and _very_ useful) to create a macro that 
> does a similiar modification to many pages... Introducing captchas 
> would make this unpractical to say the least :-(
> Maybe what we need is editorial control over certain pages instead?
> Or perhaps that they are saved as drafts until someone (anyone?) 
> approves the changes?
> I don't have any solutions, just a caution that we don't introduce any 
> captchas or similarly as a _permanent_ "solution".
> Best regards,
> Christian
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