Discworld & Pratchett Wiki:Mended Drum/Archive 3

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This is a location to discuss non-content matters (what do we do with content disputes, vandalism, etc, what do we want to do with this wiki, and so on).

This is an Archived Discussion Page. If you wish to comment on any of these threads please do so at Discworld & Pratchett Wiki:Mended Drum. All new threads should be started there. Thank you.

Weird errors

I have just noticed three weird things:

a. The name of this page, "Discworld & Pratchett Wiki:Mended Drum" (and other Discworld & Pratchett Wiki pages).
b. The existance of the category bar on all pages regardless of whether or not they are in a category.
c. The changed formatting for the Recent Changes legend- i.e. N, m...

Is anyone else seeing this, or is it just on my end? TC01 17:57, 28 August 2010 (CEST)

Same here (I hadn't noticed the category bars). It seemed to happen about 2:20 wiki time; I hope it's just Sanity tinkering with something. --Old Dickens 18:11, 28 August 2010 (CEST)
Funny, & amp; doesn't work in a title, but it does elsewhere, and trying to point this out, I find that "nowiki" doesn't seem to work on it, either. --Old Dickens 18:28, 28 August 2010 (CEST)
Yes, this appears to be an upgrade. If you look at the Special:Version page you can see that we're now running MediaWiki 1.16.0 which was only released at the end of July. --Fhh98 18:42, 28 August 2010 (CEST)
Doesn't look like an upgrade yet. --Old Dickens 18:51, 28 August 2010 (CEST)
Upgrades don't always change the look and feel of the site. In fact, they are usually silent, background changes. --Fhh98 18:53, 28 August 2010 (CEST)

Unused high privilege account

I have looked through the list of admins and found that one has been inactive since 2008 and another since 2006. High privilege user accounts are a security risk. Myrtone@ 09:44, 14 December 2010 (CET)

I count four inactive admins and two faqmaintainers. I can't get very worried about them though, and apparently neither has Sanity. --Old Dickens 19:42, 14 December 2010 (CET)

They are a security risk, I know of a case on wikipedia where two unused accounts (Zoe and RickK) were desysoped and blocked because those accounts were compromised. Myrtone@ 11:51, 17 December 2010 (CET)

More extensions?

I looked at the version page liked to in an above post and noticed just how few extensions are installed, any more our server administrator would like to install? User:Myrtone/sig 14:26, 22 December 2010 (CET)

The SpamBlacklist might be a good one. User:Myrtone/sig 14:40, 22 December 2010 (CET)

Too much Discworld stuff on wikipedia

I have noticed that wikipedia has many Discword related articles, if not too many, not only one on the Discword series, or even many on Discworld and Pratchett novels, but even articles on topics from inside the L-space, while they are all deifnitely relevant here, Wikipedia has a lot, if not too much, for the reasons Angr mentinons, as well as the fact that Discword is copyright by Pratchett himself. --Myrtone@ 09:09, 12 January 2011 (CET)

We could do something about it. I myself have a Wikipedia account, and could arrange for some articles to be discreetly removed. Just say the word, and things will be in the hands of the very persuasive Burleigh & Stronginthearm. Clurinzler 21:40, 23 September 2011

I also dabble in Wikipedia and I agree that it's overloaded with Discworld articles. It bothers me more that they do not apply their own rules to Discworld material. We are an in-universe wiki dedicated to explaining the Discworld (and other Pratchett universes) in a way that Wikipedia should not, yet they indulge in unsupported supposition that would be challenged here. This being said, I don't approve of removal of information from any wiki without detailed explanation, and the Wikipedia administration is not as easy-going as we are and might come down on you like a ton of rectangular ceramic building-thingies. --Old Dickens 03:16, 24 September 2011 (CEST)
My recommendation would be to combine the articles into more pertinent articles. Also adding links to their counterparts on this wiki in the external links section might be a good idea. --Zdm 04:01, 24 September 2011 (CEST)

German language vandals

There seem to be alot of anon vandals inserting German languge text, what has been happening. --User:Myrtone/sig 08:22, 6 February 2011 (CET)

People having too much time and being ignorant of the wiki's main language being english. It's always like that. sighs On a sidenote: Who messed up Rincewind's entry?--LilMaibe 10:13, 6 February 2011 (CET)
Some images are being uploaded for vandalism, could we make sure that new user accounts are only auto-confirmed after a while? On some other MediaWiki sites this is the case, but I wonder if email confirmed users could be exempt from this restriction. --Myrtonos@ 07:42, 14 February 2011 (CET)
Well, I believe any changes like that would be changes to the software, which would require Sanity to do it. I don't actually know if that's doable from the wiki interface itself though. TC01 22:48, 14 February 2011 (CET)

Unfortunately he doesn't come in often, I tried sending an email but I haven't heard from him. --Myrtonos@ 23:22, 14 February 2011 (CET)

Botnet attack

I have e-mailed Sanity again about the current wave of vandalism. I would appreciate votes from sysops and experienced contributors on the necessity for general protection. (I don't see how we can survive otherwise.) --Old Dickens 06:30, 1 May 2011 (CEST)

I'm for upping the protection level. It's beyond a joke.--Knmatt 11:24, 1 May 2011 (CEST)

It may have stopped now, but I don't know that I want to do this even every two weeks. --Old Dickens 00:50, 2 May 2011 (CEST) I wonder if the Texan above would still care to defend the "kid" trying out his botnet?

Maybe see if you can get Sanity to install the reCAPTCHA plugin to discourage this. -- Fhh98 03:13, 2 May 2011 (CEST)

Interesting this misfortune should have set in as we get to 2,888 valid entries. Something about the number 8? --AgProv 22:40, 2 May 2011 (CEST)

Time to check for software updates! This is insane. --Fhh98 19:24, 3 February 2012 (CET)

and remedy

Apparently general protection has been applied. All praise to the Anthropomorphic Personification of mental health! --Old Dickens 01:18, 4 May 2011 (CEST)


Should we categorise every page? I've just done Shaker Wistley - a man with a one-line description, done by Aggers in his relentless drive to un-redlink all 850+ wanted pages. All I've done is clutter up the Discworld Characters category with a nonentity. What do we think? Categorise all, or leave some well enough alone?--Knmatt 18:06, 5 May 2011 (CEST)

I've always thought best to categorise, important characters can then be added to the charaters page (List_of_Pratchett_characters) but just my opinion. --BOZZ 17:26, 5 May 2011 (CEST)

Yes, I think every article should be categorised, if possible. On the other hand, I don't think every mention needs an article, either, and many red links could just be un-linked. --Old Dickens 23:46, 5 May 2011 (CEST)


Sorry if this has come up before (I couldn't see it anywhere) or if I'm in the wrong place, but I think it would be a good idea to have quotes at the top each article. There are two main reasons: 1) Demonstrates a bit about the character in the purest form... 2) Gives us an excuse to quote Pratchett, who's amazing quotable. One wiki I've seen do this is Wookieepedia (e.g. here), although there are many others. I imagine the quotes would look something like this:

? Rincewind, The Colour of Magic

Only handled by a nice template. Harry Blue5 20:15, 16 August 2011 (CEST)


Copied from Talk:Reverse Annotations:

And here's an idea: a Webcomics section of "Reading Suggestions" that points readers to some most excellent fantasy comic strips, especially the ones playing the genre for humour and laughs. I propose Jaycee's as the first, but with a caveat about the adult humour content. --AgProv 23:54, 17 August 2011 (CEST)

I think the idea of a Webcomics section is an excellent idea that wouldn't be to hard to set up; the only problem I see in it is that there are many webcomics that have mature themes in them; should all comics be allowed or should there be limits? Either way some ground rules would have made on what should be allowed and how it should be identifed--Zdm 00:09, 18 August 2011 (CEST)

Thoughts on naming conventions (and Wiki design)

Naming conventions

I'm fairly new to this particular wiki and, having had a browse about, found some comments on the naming of pages, in particular those related to books and other published items.

I'm guessing that it was an early decision to format books as Book:The Colour of Magic, for example, but how do people feel about bringing the formatting more in line with other wikis, where it would appear as The Colour of Magic only? I see that it was suggested that it would be a large undertaking, and that it wouldn't allow people to search using the "Book" string, but couldn't some redirect pages be set up as a way to still allow that to work? Perhaps have the books as title only, and anything that shares a book title having the relevant descriptor in brackets?

Just a thought and, if anyone asks, I'd be happy to make a start on doing something along those lines. --C3POwen 18:52, 15 October 2011 (CEST)

In fact, The Colour of Magic does redirect to The Colour of Magic (there are also the book naming templates like TCOM, TLF, etc. that do formatting for you). Certainly there should be such a redirect for each book (at least in my opinion), if they aren't there already. TC01 20:06, 15 October 2011 (CEST)
I wonder if you've really thought how large an undertaking it would be (and for small return, it seems to me). The Book namespace is especially useful when you have The Fifth Elephant,Small Gods, Soul Music orThud! with titles that are also things. --Old Dickens 20:21, 15 October 2011 (CEST)
Feeling a bit bored, I just checked all the main Discworld novels and almost all of them either had redirects set up, or a disambiguation page, or a note at the top of the other article saying "you may mean the book of the same name". C3POwen fixed Snuff this morning, and I just set up a redirect on I Shall Wear Midnight as well. (Apart from that, Small Gods and Wintersmith have the links too but are a little less formal).
So yeah, by "redirects" I also meant "disambiguation pages. The point is though, that I think we already mostly have what was proposed above (redirects of some sort in place from the book titles to the Book: articles). TC01 16:23, 16 October 2011 (CEST)

Wiki design

As an aside, does anyone know if there are any plans to update the wiki to be skinned in the latest MediaWiki style? I'm quite a fan of the design/layout of Wookieepedia and think a suitable Pratchett version of the skin could be created. --C3POwen 18:52, 15 October 2011 (CEST)

You mean the latest Wikia skin?
I personally despise it for the amount of wasted space on the page (actual page content is only about the middle 67%, everything else is wasted sidebar space) and the integration of advertisements- so I wouldn't want it to be the default skin, but I'm not opposed to adding it as an option. Other more active sysops might have a different opinion... but either way, adding new skins would depend on Sanity being around to do it. TC01 20:06, 15 October 2011 (CEST)
The Wookieepedia skin doesn't impress me either (Sed Non Confectus Non Reficiat). --Old Dickens 20:21, 15 October 2011 (CEST)

I'm sorry if my suggestions have provoked any ill feeling - they were just some thoughts I was putting out. As for the the narrow design, a variation of this is used on the official Terry site as well as certain parts of the main L-Space Web (such as the APF), but it's nothing that couldn't be fixed by CSS, if you're familiar with it. --C3POwen 01:25, 16 October 2011 (CEST)

There's no ill feeling: you proposed, we disagreed. That's what happens here. The trouble with any structural proposals is that Sanity has been overtaken by Real Life in all its insidious manifestations and we're grateful that he manages to keep the physical plant running. He doesn't have time to participate in the general proceedings, let alone tinkering with the software into the small hours. --Old Dickens 01:48, 16 October 2011 (CEST)
The Wikia format drives me nuts, to be frank. Formatting is a pig, it's fifty-fifty it will what I ask it to when asked, and once I switch on bold or italic, half the time I can't switch it off again when the need for it is done. This makes editing longer and more aggravating than it need be. There is the issue with obstructive adverts, and most recently Wikia has developed a distressing tendency to insert unwanted advertising links into MY text, as if all the advertising sidebars aren't enough. It seizes on random strategic words and turns them into links to adverts, and can I edit these out?--AgProv 03:21, 16 October 2011 (CEST)

New logo suggestion

L-Space Wiki logo.png

A long time ago, I created a high-res version of the the L-Space Web icon, and thought I might test the waters and see if anyone thinks it'd look good as the main wiki logo. I don't have a high quality copy of the source file any more, so this is the best I could put together for the time being, although it wouldn't be too hard to recreate it.

The typeface is just a place-holder, as the "eroded" style of the font doesn't work so well at small sizes.

The thinking behind the wording is that "Discworld and Pratchett" seems a little redundant, what with everything Pratchett covering the Discworld by default. --C3POwen 23:20, 18 October 2011 (CEST)

...you mean instead of the boss's picture? --Old Dickens 00:33, 19 October 2011 (CEST)
Pretty much. That, or something that involves Terry but perhaps looks more like a site logo. Any thoughts on the logo I posted? --C3POwen 20:19, 19 October 2011 (CEST)
other then it looks like the Netscape logo from the 90's? I had to look closely. Fhh98 06:34, 20 October 2011 (CEST)
I know this may sound weird but I think it looks way to modern; and besides I like the contemplative look of Terry in the current picture. --Zdm 07:50, 20 October 2011 (CEST)
The Netscape reference is intentional, as it's used for the L-space site icon (as in your Favourites/Bookmarks and in the address bar). I thought it might tie it both the site and the wiki together with a nice almost modern '90s styling. :-) The Terry picture is okay, but could do with being made to look more like a site logo. Even Terry's official website has a more informative banner for the wiki. --C3POwen 19:26, 20 October 2011 (CEST)
Regardless, Sanity would have to do it and I wouldn't hold my breath...I can think of more important projects if he could get around to them. --Old Dickens 23:46, 20 October 2011 (CEST)

Server Issues?

For about an hour and-a-half today I was unable to acsess the wiki and kept getting 'server not responding errors'. Did this happen to anyone else?--Zdm 08:19, 12 November 2011 (CET)

Yes, the ISP probably thought 5 AM on Saturday was a good time for some maintenance. --Old Dickens 14:55, 12 November 2011 (CET)
Thanks, that makes sense but it would have been nice if I hadn't been in the middle of a relatively long edit; oh well just more for me to do today :)--Zdm 16:08, 12 November 2011 (CET)


Could this extension be good to install? --Myrtonos@ 14:31, 24 November 2011 (CET)

This is a location to discuss non-content matters (what do we do with content disputes, vandalism, etc, what do we want to do with this wiki, and so on).

More On Admissibility

(Copied from Talk:Lucy Tockley}

But DO shout-outs have to make complete sense?--LilMaibe 03:46, 27 November 2011 (CET)

Apparently not. Nowadays we're just here for self-gratification. (Of course, nonsense is one thing and stating it as a fact is another.) --Old Dickens 20:31, 27 November 2011 (CET)

I'd suggest that for an annotation to count as such, it has to satisfy several criteria:

i) The argument is as watertight, logical and succinct as possible;

ii)The mistake is avoided of attributing specific status to a generic observation. To explain, the anthropomorphic personification of Death is a universal concept which has been around, in the "modern" form of scythe-carrying animated skeleton, since mediaeval times. A lot of people have used this image - Pratchett is only a contemporary user, and not the latest. There is a discussion on the "Reverse Annotations" talk page as to why the makers of the animation Family Guy may' have been influenced by the Discworld in their interpretation of the Death character, and why the makers of The Simpsons almost certainly haven't. In principle, just because other people use the Death icon does not imply they've borrowed it from Terry - as he himself said we're all fishing from the same stream.

iii) The onus is always on the Annotator to explain exactly why they think their insight qualifies as an Annotation. As the maths exam says - explain your workings.

iv) An Annotation you have to explain with a convoluted thousand-word essay almost certainly isn't. In this case it's likely to be the author's own wishful thinking. the best and most certain ones are short, pithy and tie exactly between the Annotation and the idea or concept it showcases.

v) The more points of association you see between the text and an external idea or quality, the more likely it is to be an Annotation. For instance, the shout-outs to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to be seen in the pages of Snuff. Everything fits; nothing is problematic or wishful thinking. Conversely, just because two words used in a character name or description also appear in a Beatles song title, it doesn't necessarily mean this is intentional. Lucy Tockley was not in the habit of spacing herself out on hard drugs, for instance, and almost nothing in the song lyrics is reflected in the events of Lords and Ladies. The association is tempting, but ultimately only superficial. Soul Music aside, look more deeply into the lyrics of songs, not just the titles, to check as certainly as you can as to whether TP is really referencing them. Avoid superficiality.

vi) It helps to know a little about Terry: for instance, his favourite novelists: it isn't then a long jump from George Wambaugh (police procedurals and cops-as-buddies novels) to the City Watch. Nor from George McDonald-Fraser (war stories involving unruly Scottish soldiers) to the NacMacFeegle. We also know his favourite rock/pop/folk music includes They Might Be Giants, the Blue Öyster Cult and Steeleye Span, all bands referenced freely in the books to date. He is also fond of bad puns and absurd humour.

vii) Terry has a serious side. His thoughts on assisted death - and the dignity of life - are well known. Sometimes an annotation might be there to point the thoughtful in a given direction. He's good at multi-level puns, that is, condensing the maximum of information into the least possible words. Look out for this too, but this is necessary more speculative. For instance, a very minor character yet to get even a speaking part - although the context suggests with a very marked and unique accent - is Miss Smith-Rhodes, teacher at the Assassins' School. In one name, Terry has condensed a hundred years of political history in Southern Africa, and this screams out that this name did not happen by accident: Cecil Rhodes created a country called Rhodesia. Ian Smith was its last white ruler, in the tradition of Rhodes, fighting a bitter civil war before having to concede defeat and hand it over to black majority rule and Robert Mugabe's tender care. These two names condense the rise and fall of white empire in Africa into two words - very economical shorthand. Maybe he has a sketched-out plot for a lost colony in Howondaland? And in the context of academia, a Rhodes Scholar is a gifted student from the white British Empire who gets to study for free, and with a grant, at Oxford or Cambridge.... for this number of referents to come together in a single character strongly suggests something is going on here. These things are certainly worth noting.

--AgProv 03:42, 28 November 2011 (CET)

Oh, ay. Should be printed on the Main Page, but, the Devil being in the details, how to enforce it? AgProv has contributed lots of useful and entertaining annotations, generally admitting it, at least, if they become imaginative. We might even be able to agree on what's "watertight and logical", but others won't. I spent last year campaigning against vacuous annotations and graffiti in general but the consensus seemed to be that anyone had the right to free expression here, short of spam. (Meanwhile, why is this meta discussion in Lucy Tockley's page? I'm moving a copy over to the Mended Drum.) --Old Dickens 00:44, 29 November 2011 (CET)

Just dashing in again, winding down briefly after a twelve-hour night shift. It occurs to me that tvtropes has, for every entry, the facility of a seperate "YMMV" page - Your Mileage May Vary. this is the intended repository for all the tenuous, problematical, fringe entries that in themselves are too slight or contentious for the Main Page and which are intended to be there as controversial discussion points. Ideas that are speculative and not nearly consensus enough for the main page, but which retain a degree of worth, may safely be entered there as "second-level entries." this is a neat idea, might be worth officially taking up here, and would savve the main entries from sinking into hopeless fuzziness. I hope I'm demonstrating this concept on the Snuff Annotations entry, where the "Discussion" section is being used in the spirit of YMMV. --AgProv 09:11, 29 November 2011 (CET)

-Some guidelines for annotators?
Useful annotations:

  • Explaining the more obscure bits of British institutions, geography, pop culture, etc. to the rest of us. British movies, rock and roll and some tv shows will be known internationally: not so much comic strips, radio personalities, the Football League and cricket or the British Post Office. This may occasionally work in reverse for Fourecksian or Genuan trivia, Seattle or the environs of Power Cable, Neb. (See SiD's note on Integrated Mail Processors (Going Postal/Annotations). That's interesting (and still in the Annotations page).
  • Explaining details that might not be known outside your area of special interest (except by a researcher of TP's experience). Math and physics to the journalists, say, or German philosophers to the more technical.

Useless annotations:

  • The Bleeding Obvious. Please, you can't read Pratchett if you're thicker than a Troll sandwich.
  • Explaining the Jokes, unless there's a real chance they depend on a useful annotation above.(Even then, a joke explained tends to be a joke spoiled.)
  • What You Think The Author Was Thinking. If you were as smart as he is you wouldn't be working for free here, would you?

--Old Dickens 03:29, 15 December 2011 (CET)

Does anybody really know what time it is?

I just noticed that wiki time has switched to Netherlands time (+1). There doesn't even seem to be the option of GMT. Old Dickens 00:43, 21 February 2012 (CET)

You can set your offset and timezone in your preferences. --Fhh98 01:27, 21 February 2012 (CET)

Yes, but not to GMT as it used to be, as far as I can see. (Actually, I found I could pick a location from the list but entering -5:00 didn't work.) Old Dickens 02:24, 21 February 2012 (CET)

Hacking Incident

Sorry but was I the only one to notice that the site was hacked by a militant group? --ArchchancellorJoe 01:53, 14 April 2012 (CEST)

No; Sanity managed to clean them out fairly quickly. I didn't realise it was a militant group, but of course they were Turkish. I guessed it was a movie. Old Dickens 02:33, 14 April 2012 (CEST)

Book Differences Page

Due to the number of variations between different editions of the books I think that there should be a page listing the variations and I was wondering what other people thought of the idea. The only problem I can see is that most people only own one copy of a book so it might be hard to find some minor variations.--Zdm 00:22, 16 April 2012 (CEST)

I like the concept but it seems to want a database format and I don't believe we can do that. Otherwise, someone could go to a lot of effort researching and preparing a report manually, allowing for additional samples. Help yourself. I'm still trying to find out whether the International Express Man always worked for the same company. The Good Omens Lexicon doesn't know either. Old Dickens 00:50, 16 April 2012 (CEST)

Los Spammeros

Our leading spam provider, Genomma Lab of Mexico City devotes a good deal of its web page to bragging about its its ethics and social responsibility. It does not provide a "contact" area, however. I don't Facebook, myself, or I'd post a bit of reprimand on their Facebook page; perhaps someone else would like to. Old Dickens 00:17, 3 May 2012 (CEST)

On a related note: Any news from Sanity? if he is too busy to maintain the wiki, perhaps it's time he hands that responsibility over to one of you folks.--LilMaibe 00:50, 3 May 2012 (CEST)

Well, it is maintained; here we are, after all. You could write Sanity yourself, of course: I'm guessing that the problem with turning it over to Fhh98 or finding someone else is that it's a function of L-Space and he doesn't feel entitled to appoint someone else. This brings up the question of whether there's intelligent life at L-Space any more; it's looked moribund for years now. . Old Dickens 02:20, 3 May 2012 (CEST)

I tracked down an English version of the site and here are some of my favorite quotes; "positively impacting our community", "to be recognized for our positive impact ... the welfare of people, communities and the environment." Obviously not online communities though. Their contact page is here if anyone wants to contact them. --Zdm 04:32, 3 May 2012 (CEST)

Also there is a new question for the spam filter so that is good.--Zdm 04:33, 3 May 2012 (CEST)

I sent a polite letter to the CEO of the public relations firm listed on that page asking them to either cease and desist or investigate the vandalism that is associated with their client and firm. Not that I expect it to do much good. --Fhh98 16:47, 3 May 2012 (CEST)

Mmm...I didn't look under "Investors". I guess that's who they'd like to hear from. I still wonder why any business would pay uno centavo to represent themselves badly in an irrelevant wiki in a foreign language. (Or is it for Google-manipulation purposes?) . Old Dickens 00:52, 4 May 2012 (CEST)
My guess is that they are trying to manipulate Google because wiki have a higher importance in Google's search software then normal websites due to the fact that anyone can edit them. This makes them prime targets for spammers who want to raise their how high they appear in searches.--Zdm 05:14, 4 May 2012 (CEST)

It appears that the E-mail actually did some good. So yay! This has just reaffirmed my belief that (some of) humanity is basically good. ;) --Zdm 08:08, 9 May 2012 (CEST)

I had a look at the MediaWiki website and found their spam category page [here] might be worth checking Kev 01:53, 11 July 2012 (CEST)

I found this recommended on the media wiki site and I thought it looked pretty good. --Zdm 07:35, 11 July 2012 (CEST)

"This brings up the question of whether there's intelligent life at L-Space any more; it's looked moribund for years now. . Old Dickens 02:20, 3 May 2012 (CEST)" Interestingly enough, for a moribund website, the L-Space is remarkeably free of irrelevance, spam and vandalism. Generally, abandoned or orphaned sites which are no longer monitored as well as they were become troll playgrounds very quickly. I've seen that in Yahoo Groups I joined on a whim, rarely visit, and returned to only to find the owner has got bored and moved on. Those sites are now 95% Spam and vandalism - had to dissociate myself as my inbox was becoming infested. So does the wider L-Space have better protection against trolls and spam, or is it less of an attractive target? Is there anything there we can adopt? AgProv 10:00, 11 July 2012 (CEST)

Also, had a hunch. Went to "UserList" in "Special Pages" with the intention of seeing how many spurious accounts from previous troll atacks might still be there, unblocked - wondering if some of those might have been re-activated at the end of their banning periods (not everyone ticks "indefinite" - some two or three week bans have already expired, which I guess reopens the accounts?) or were never blocked at all. locating and blocking "open" spam acounts is incredibly cumbersome and time-consuming, though, and there appear to be a couple of hundred.... can this be done quiclky, in blocks (so to speak) are are we doomed to do them sequentially?AgProv 10:06, 11 July 2012 (CEST)

I only block for 6-months or a year because IP addresses arent static. They can change over time. If we get too block happy we will eventually block legitimate users. --Fhh98 13:13, 11 July 2012 (CEST)

Sleeping Members

Just noted that we currently have five recent new accounts where a person has registered, but strangely enough has not gone on to contribute. (As a general rule of thumb, legitimate new Wiki members tend to be the enthusiastic sort who can't wait to contibute their ideas as soon as they possibly can). Two of the new members have that sort of random allocation of letters and numbers that suggest they're spambots. The other three all have usernames suggesting they are normal human beings. But they haven't posted yet. Either they'll be coming back to post, or the next generation of spambots are set up to generate normal peoples' names to make them harder to spot? Keeping them under observation. AgProv 17:55, 30 May 2012 (CEST)

There can be many reasons.
  • Unable to post due to the Q&A.
  • Their IP was blocked because of a previous account.
  • Sleeping
  • Lying in wait
  • The bot is alive and realized it secretly loves the Discworld and refuses to cooperate with its master!!!
--Fhh98 22:19, 30 May 2012 (CEST)
Speaking as a member who hasn't contributed much, I think there can be all sorts of reasons. In my case, I'm beset with a fatigue-like problems, others will likely have other elements of the menace called real-life, er, menacing them. Though I dare say that the majority of incongruous-looking stuff is indeed likely the work of spammers. Yum yum. —Vom (talk) 19:43, 21 August 2012 (CEST)

Spam: The Final Frontier

The main function of the wiki now seems to be protecting itself from vandals. Very little legitimate editing has been done for months amongst the daily pages of malicious junk. As the old content is gradually defaced with graffiti and self-gratification and little new content is submitted, I begin to wonder what I'm doing here. Is it worth the trouble to patrol the spam, Chinese news bulletins and general vandalism when there doesn't seem to be any legitimate activity to protect? (I suspect there's a "broken windows" element to the decline: people aren't attracted to what seems to be a derelict site.) Here are the options I could think of, in order of severity:

1. Do nothing. Let it choke on the garbage.

2. Find an effective captcha. I don't know what that would be; even a Questy Captcha with difficult questions won't work when the SEO program can distribute the answer to all users as soon as one solves it. Is there anything available, even at the cost of losing casual users? What are other wikis doing? Some have closed to new members, but some don't seem to be troubled.

3. E-mail applications are effective, but that requires daily attention from someone with access to the server: not available here.

4. Close it to new users.

5. Close it altogether and leave as an archive.

6. Trash the whole seven years' work and forget it.

7. Any other ideas?

I would prefer a working captcha, of course, but I don't know what could work except, maybe, a more difficult question changed frequently and who's going to do that? (What actually happens is up to Sanity, naturally.)

Next week I shall have to return to work (no internet access): a depressing thought in itself, but also I won't be sitting around here all day with nothing better to do than swat search engine optimisers and Chinese bloggers. Other staff having fled already this will put an awful load on Fhh98 again; it's one thing when I'm laid up with time on my hands but harder while trying to work too.

Anyone have any great ideas? Old Dickens 21:15, 9 September 2012 (CEST)

Sanity needs to step up and stop being an absentee owner. Your being laid up explains why there's been nothing for me to do all week though. --Fhh98 22:22, 9 September 2012 (CEST)
Sure, but that's more like wishful thinking. I'd prefer to have him back as contributor, administrator and operator, but it doesn't look like happening...I do wonder why he won't explain his problem or send us the occasional note. Old Dickens 03:54, 10 September 2012 (CEST)

New accounts for SEO vandals reached 100 today. I sent a rather blunt note to the Home Office.

Other Ideas: Is there such a plug-in as would refer applications to a queue where they could be approved by an admin?
Some boards/wikis require e-mail confirmation. This discourages participation, but seems effective. Old Dickens 01:26, 13 September 2012 (CEST)

I'm seriously tempted to just export everything and build a new wiki. Sanity has never responded to my emails. --Fhh98 19:40, 21 September 2012 (CEST)
Can you do that (physically, I mean; legally is another thing)? I have no response to my last email either. Old Dickens 21:42, 21 September 2012 (CEST)
Physically, I can move pages but not accounts. We'd also lose the revision history. Legally, all these articles are under a CC-SA license so I can copy them at will for non-commercial purposes. Realistically, we'd need to get the lspace.org guys to eventually point wiki.lspace.org to a new wiki system but even Sanity doesn't control that part. --Fhh98 23:04, 21 September 2012 (CEST)

Took forty minutes today to clear perhaps eighty rogue accounts from the wiki. And still they come. We can't easily generate 24 hour cover and in any case we all have other lives to live. So we do need some sort of filter to separate out the crap! How do other sites cope? We surely can't be the only target? AgProv 19:57, 21 September 2012 (CEST)

Nice to have another hand again! Still, it's too much even for three. Other sites cope because they have an administrator with access to the program who can take measures as drastic as necessary. This is Fhh98's inarguable point; it's just that we don't have much we can do about it. Old Dickens 21:42, 21 September 2012 (CEST)

I have seen other wiki sites use HTML-blacklists very effectively. Sure they still get a few spammers but nothing close to what's happening here. --Zdm 00:41, 23 September 2012 (CEST)

Thanks; it's good to see that someone outside the immediate administration cares. I'd have to refer the specific suggestion to Fhh98 but it falls under the general problem that no one has the access to implement it. Old Dickens 02:07, 23 September 2012 (CEST)

We could use something like this. It makes it so that a high level administrator can control account creation. Unfortunately it still requires Sanity to install it. --Zdm 07:30, 26 September 2012 (CEST) Yep. Old Dickens 03:21, 27 September 2012 (CEST)

new wiki link

It's a work in progress but check out http://disc.osiris-web.com/mediawiki/index.php/Main_Page and set up your account. --Fhh98 03:57, 24 September 2012 (CEST)

Who/what is Osiris? (Besides being a god of death of course). --Zdm 04:30, 24 September 2012 (CEST)
My usual preferred username is Osiris. FYI if you're an admin here, you'll be an admin there. However, you must request it on here so that i can verify that the person who signed up under your username is really you. --Fhh98 06:28, 24 September 2012 (CEST)

Oh and I wouldn't start editing there yet. It's just stock MediaWiki so it'll be up and down a lot. --Fhh98 06:36, 24 September 2012 (CEST)

New spammer accounts for 24 Sep reached ~110, much the same on the 25th.
In the circumstances, I'm all for the new wiki, if only as an archive, but I don't see how it can replace the original without the cooperation of L-Space. The wiki is more than content, it has some credibility and some accumulated links (the big banner link from TP's Random House site for example). You must have noticed how high some pages appear in Google searches (with NO SEO whatever). I have no idea what the cabal* would want to do; I said before they don't seem to be tending their own patches much, never mind our self-governing dependency.

I'll sign up under the same handle; it seems less confusing. Yo! AgProv! Will you be joining under the well-known nom-de-plume and what have you to say otherwise? I'd like to hear from Knmatt, Stanley Howler, Zdm, DaibhidC, Solicitr and any other stakeholders over the years. A large petition might persuade the L-Space L-ders

(*)Which does not exist, as everyone knows. Old Dickens 23:59, 25 September 2012 (CEST)

I have signed up under the same name but while I do agree that a new wiki might be the only option, I really don't want to give up this one. I have been doing some research into stopping spam but currently nothing; I would really like to get my hands on the program they are using just to see how it functions. Also when I was looking around the new wiki I noticed that it appeared that anything in the book namespace wasn't transferred I haven't checked but I suspect this probably holds true for other special namespaces. Finally I am going to be away from the Internet for about a week starting tomorrow so hopefully in that time either I or someone else will find a solution to this problem. --Zdm 07:48, 27 September 2012 (CEST)

I've transferred over the Book namespace and gotten emails working. In addition I've installed several spam control extensions and sent an email to cabal@l-space.org to inquire about updating the DNS records for the wiki. The only things I cannot move are user accounts and uploaded images. Those require the type of access which only Sanity has. BTW: I plan on giving a set of keys to this kingdom to Old Dickens for safe-keeping once it's all setup. --Fhh98 03:41, 30 September 2012 (CEST)
Gee! I could keep them, but I don't suppose I'd know how to use them. Old Dickens 04:35, 30 September 2012 (CEST)
Maybe that's the safest custodian? . Old Dickens 04:37, 30 September 2012 (CEST)
it lets you hand them off to someone else if I somehow disappear. --Fhh98 06:03, 30 September 2012 (CEST)

The l-space cabal managed to get ahold of Sanity. I'm going to work with him to facilitate the move to a new host and then take over as the sys admin. --Fhh98 21:05, 30 September 2012 (CEST)

You da man! Now, where's AgProv? Old Dickens 21:40, 30 September 2012 (CEST)

I'm back. It does look as though we shall have to undertake the Long Drive. So where was this disused quarry again? AgProv 19:53, 2 October 2012 (CEST)

And so we handful of Nomes finally leave the Store... AgProv 23:44, 2 October 2012 (CEST)

Actually, it now sounds as if we might avoid a long drive if Fhh98 can simply assume the wiki as is. (I have to get used to calling him "Osiris". I never thought of him as an Ozzie, somehow.) Old Dickens 23:48, 2 October 2012 (CEST)

All praise Osiris, bearer of the pure and holy....Ankh? AgProv 00:51, 3 October 2012 (CEST)

Morpork! Seriously though, the host will move but if Sanity gives me a backup of the site I should be able to make it mostly seamless. --Fhh98 04:33, 3 October 2012 (CEST)
Finally some good news! --Zdm 08:16, 3 October 2012 (CEST)

But there would be a morning.

So what do we envision for for our friends in the search-engine-optimising community? I see Confirm Account is still question-marked in the beta version; will we try some quicker captchas first? Also, will it be possible to clean the User list? Old Dickens 01:10, 4 October 2012 (CEST)

I think we should just shut down account creation for a while well the move is taking place and put up a note or somthing on the main page explaining the situation. The fact is that there aren't that many real accounts being created anymore unfortunately. --Zdm 03:33, 4 October 2012 (CEST)
I'm still debating Confirm Account. I think I'll install it but only enable it during an attack. As for shutting down account creation, I can't do that on this wiki anyway. --Fhh98 04:16, 4 October 2012 (CEST)