Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Just cleaned up ThoughtStorms after a number of pages got hit with wiki-spam. Besides enforcing my view why I'm not running an open wiki (just as I don't have my e-mail address easily havestable), I wonder what kind of havesting structures and software the spammers are developing as we speak.

Following the e-mail paradigm, they'll have wiki spiders to find wiki sites all over the web. It would make sense then to write a number of "plug-ins" that detect and edit the pages for various different and popular wiki engines. Wiki Spammers could then assemble and sell huge lists of the URLs of these spidered wikis, just as they do with e-mail addresses now.

Fortunately, it may be a little easier to prevent such techniques - especially as a few web techniques for defending against bots have already been considered. For instance, having a non-registered wiki editor enter the text appearing on an image would be one way to keep a wiki public, if losing some accessibility. I'd be interested in hearing any other schemes that maintain accessibility though - maybe some kind of pattern matching thing? But then, that would just be defeated as many spam regular expression filtering techniques can be worked around.

Also, film of the week is Errol Morris' "The Fog of War" - a 2-hour interspersion of Robert McNamara and historical footage of various military-related activities. It gave me a fascinating insight into the thought processes, organisational procedures and systematic beliefs of those high up in any civilised administration. "Fahrenheit 9/11" is going to have a run for its money, and I'm not even too sure I can be bothered to go and see it at the moment...

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