I’ve hosted a wiki on my website (http://www.kimbach.org/wiki) for some time now, and in keeping with my ideals, that states that participation should be as easy as possible, it was totally open. Notice the past tense: this morning I decided to edit the configuration files, and I now require registration if you want to edit articles on the wiki.
The old, and totally open, setup was partly inspired by the “Co-Creation Rules” session @ reboot 8. In the discussions I had “post-boot” with the hosts of the session, we discussed that “low maintenance” was key to running a successful, participatory, site.
“Low maintenance” means that you create as low barriers as possible to avoid turning users away, e.g. allowing updates and comments without requiring the user to register, or in any other way surrender personal information.
There’s a major problem with “low maintenance” however: Even an uninteresting wiki, like mine, received an increasing amount of vandalism and spam, so I had to spend more and more time reverting vandalism. That’s the reason I’ve decided to require that you register and login, before you can contribute to my wiki.
I’m quite sad about this, but it’s out of necessity – I just don’t have the time to keep it clean.
Spammers beware: The Karmic laws will “haunt” you
So “thank” you spammers and vandals – I don’t really care too much – since it’s your “karma” that will be taking a serious beating for your actions.
Yes to “Low maintenance”, but for me.
If I was running a corporate wiki, and had the resources to patrol the articles, I’d still recommend as low maintenance as possible for the users. However, for personal websites – like mine – it’s just too stressful.
Spam prevention tools should be in the MediaWiki core (and they might be in the latest and greatest versions – which I can’t use because my host doesn’t support PHP5 :-(), and it should work much like Akismet integration in WordPress, which quite simply, is amazing. Akismet is a webservice, that you can query and update to prevent spam comments on weblogs, and it really (understatement) works in WordPress.
Akismet of hope
Without Akismet I would seriously have considered closing my website, since I received something like 1 spam comment every minute – instantly that disappeared when I activated Akismet.
But for now my wiki will remain high-maintenance for users and low-maintenance for me.
You’re still more than welcome to participate in my public Projects through the wiki, but it does require registration now.