~WikiSpam by the billions
For the past week, someone has been hitting jspwiki.org, adding advertisements to a couple of addresses I am not going to mention here. I figured they were isolated incidents, but... It seems that Dave Johnson of RollerWeblogger has had the same guys on his wiki. I just hope nobody is trying to build a bot to target a specific WikiEngine. It could be devastating to the open nature of Wikis.
You see, the problem with open systems is that they are easy to abuse. For the most part, manual damage can be controlled thanks to social pressure and sheer volume of good people, but automatical damage, as inflicted by bots may become intolerable. The reason why we have so much email spam these days is because of the wonderful openness of the SMTP, mail transfer protocol. Because it was open, license-free, and easy to implement, it became the killer app of the all-pervasive Internet these days. But openness also has vulnerabilities, and as with anything popular, people are abusing it right now.
I am not worried about people trying to destroy wikis. That would be too easy to protect against. But I am worried about bots that would roam around, and change the text or a link slightly to destroy links to competition, or to add Googlejuice for someone. Would it be possible to notice every single change on your wiki, and check every single outgoing link? Considering that most Wikis don't even provide an RSS or Atom feed it may be difficult to keep track on what is really happening. I have two open Wikis which I administer - and I'm having trouble coping with them already. Especially smaller wikis may be in trouble, as their administration have no tools to combat a dedicated spambot.
It is entirely possible that public Wikis will have to start to protect themselves somehow. I think we should start thinking about technologies that would prevent spambots from destroying an entire subculture, but in a ~WikiFriendly way. Let's not do what everybody else seems to be doing these days, and sacrifice the one thing that we want to protect.
Back to weblog
|"Main_blogentry_120504_2" last changed on 12-May-2004 17:05:25 EEST by JanneJalkanen.|