Spammers beware: The Karmic laws will “haunt” you

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.

“Low maintenance”

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.

Stop Hand“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.

2 Responses to “Spammers beware: The Karmic laws will “haunt” you”

  1. Esben Thomsen Says:

    omigod and I was just going to suggest that theappletree should be wide open, that would make a nun bluss.

  2. Kim Says:

    Well, you know, æbletræet.dk would be a good candidate for having an open wiki…

    The reason is that it’s not a personal website, so we actually have people checking “Recent changes” constantly, and we can use the patroling and lock tools, something I found difficult and timeconsuming.

    The vandals and spammers were realatively well-behaved (and robots it looked like).

    1. They constantly created a discussion page called Talk:Bad title.
    2. They tried to create a new start-page

    It was quite rare that they actually destroyed information, the, strangely enough, mostly hit my “Green room” page.

    Another question is if we actually would get more people invovled, if we went “low maintenance” at æbletræet.dk? To me it seems that people still haven’t grasped the “Wikipedia concept”, and are intimidated by it, too intimidated to get involved.

    I’d say that we could try it…It’s only a small change to the configuration file, and it could easily be restored.

    The main problem I see with having vandals and spammers bother us, is that it might take away from the creative process of the real writers, something that most likely loose Wikipedia many good contributers.

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