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If you need immediate help to deal with a spam problem, talk to members of the team as listed in Teams/DebianWiki.
The Spam Problem
Spammers like adding their crap to various forums and wikis all over the world. As a large, well-linked wiki with good search engine ranking, the Debian wiki is a target. Spammers and "SEO specialists" like to have their junk linked from well-indexed pages, so will attempt to add links into our site. Until spammers start getting appropriate penalties (fines, torture and slow, painful death preferred), all we can do is limit their effects.
Control at source - stop spammers creating accounts
Some wikis used to be open to all and allowed anonymous content editing. That's just not sustainable any more. Like most sites, the Debian wiki requires users to be logged in to an account to edit pages.
Despite that, we used to have a major problem with spam infestation, but we've added some extra features to our local MoinMoin that help to control it:
- Enforced email verification - people signing up for new accounts need to have valid working email
- Heuristic checking of new account signup attempts - the more obvious spammers are blocked from signing up
Deprecated but still available Recaptcha support
Patches for each of these are in the Debian MoinMoin package, and being reviewed for upstream acceptance and inclusion.
Now that new wiki accounts are more controlled and need to be verified, we have cut down on the incidence of spam by a massive amount. As spammers occasionally get through and post spam, it is typically found and deleted within a very short time - typically minutes - thanks to a small but dedicated set of people watching for it.
As part of our process to reduce spam signups, we use the experience of other community sites via the www.stopforumspam.com APIs. See their site for more details.
Response to spamming
We will now routinely ban all IP addresses and email addresses involved in spamming, and send out abuse reports to ISPs and hosting companies. We will also file reports with www.stopforumspam.com to help stop spammers spreading their crap elsewhere.
Equally, we analyse our logs and if too many spammy-looking account signups come through from any network we will also ban IPs and emails for this.
What to do if you find spam?
The Debian wiki admins have spent a lot of time reviewing the existing content in the wiki to root out spam, but it's very likely that we will have missed some. If you find some, please either clean it up or report it to us so we can.