November 9, 2006
Feature Requests /
Spam Defense

Hi Helmut, We're having problems with spam at our OurCulture wiki. It is the usual kind of attack which places ten urls in a page with the hope that it will raise the google rankings of their sites. (For some wikis the links survive even when they are deleted because they persist in the archives which may or may not be visible to google).

What solutions have you worked out? A simple solution for us would be to not allow more than five new url links with any edit, unless you are logged in. Is that possible? Or do you have other ideas? The spammers seem to enter more than five urls, at least the ones we're facing.

When we were using PmWiki they had a blacklist approach which worked for us. You put in anything that you want to block, such as certain domains like That seemed to work well because often it is the same people plugging the same or similar sites. AndriusKulikauskas November 3, 2006 18:10 CET

Andrius, we've just turned off this kind of SpamDefense at your OurCulture to avoid collisions. You can turn it on again (NoCookieBlocking) and tune the parameters. What you suggest can be configured by NoCookieLinksChangeRangeAllowed=0;5 . See also FolderSpam.

The BlackList approach doesn't work that well (e. g. at MeatBall) because spammers have learned to cope with that defense and change the urls they place quickly. So you end up with gigantic blacklists that still don't really protect you. -- HelmutLeitner November 4, 2006 8:22 CET

Helmut, Thank you, that helps. Now I understand more about how the NoCookieBlocking works. What happens when you violate the limits? Perhaps it ...

Helmut, We have a strange thing happening. A spammer is changing our pages. But they don't appear in the RecentChanges. How is that possible? Is it because they are clicking that it's a "minor edit"?

Yes, that's possible. You can check that using ActionRc with an "action=rc&edits=1" parameter that also shows minor edits. You can also set a CheckEditLimit=50 (changing text size more than that is never accepted as a "minor edit", though it's not nice to normal users) or remove the "minor edit" checkbox from the EditForm using UseSmallCorrection=0 (sorry for inconsistent naming). -- HelmutLeitner November 6, 2006 21:33 CET

Helmut, thank you for these solutions. I was able to check and indeed there were about fifty pages that I had to delete or revert. But we caught it early enough... I have turned off the minor edit checkbox. AndriusKulikauskas November 9, 2006 18:41 CET

  • info: discussion and new ideas regarding ProWiki spam defense.