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Spam cleanup script

32 Edits since joining this wiki
January 19, 2006

I don't know if this is a script/bot simply gone wild, if this is intended to be malicious or if this is simply some bad joke - but whatever it is, it deleted valid content.

If this really is a bot intended to be useful and you are the controller, please check what you are doing and perhaps try to get some community permission first. -- Cid Highwind 18:28, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

For what it's worth, most of the pages edited by this script contain links to User:TOSrules's website, which has been marked as spam in the past. Still, the way this script simply removes valid information can't be correct. -- Cid Highwind 18:32, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Please drop me a line in my german talk page if you know more. It did revert one edit of an anonymous user (IP 84.189.23.136). This revert was ok, next time it will be reverting me? If this script is reliable, I'd like to "bot-flag" it, if not we should think about blocking. — Florian - talk 18:50, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Apparently, this is an official Wikicities script that just "misbehaves" on MA/en. It seems to work by comparing article content with a list of spam URLs located here. It then reverts to the last revision without that URL or, if no such revision exists, blanks the page. The problem here is the fact that the hosting company of TOSrules's website (netfirms . com) is on that blacklist. I will try to remove that entry from the blacklist - then we should observe this script a little longer before flagging this user as a bot. -- Cid Highwind 20:32, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Sorry about the error, I'll make sure netfirms.com is removed from the blacklist. However, if more spammers use that domain, it's possible someone will block it again. In general, I wouldn't recommend using a hosting service that tolerates wikispammers, or linking to such a site. Note that you can hide links from the spam filter by removing the http:// (which also makes them non-clickable). -- Tim Starling 01:39, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

How come this bot is still behaving inadequately? It would save time reverting all of its edits if we blocked it. -- Captain Mike K. Barteltalk 18:25, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Is it possible to block this bot like any other user? I think we should consider it... URL spam isn't as big of a problem here on MA, and when it is there are usually enough people around to take care of it immediately. Either that, or the bot should be reworked to attack anonymous edits only to decrease the chance of reverting something valid. -- SmokeDetector47( TALK ) 18:31, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
According to the description on the wikicities page it cannot be blocked nor bot-flagged. However this script violates Memory Alpha's Bot policy, because there are objections in its usage. -- Kobi - (Talk) 18:48, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be more useful if it just deleted the URL instead of blanking the entire article? This seems ludicrous... -- Captain Mike K. Barteltalk 22:31, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Then you'd be left with a whole stack of <div style="overflow:auto; height: 1px; ">[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] </div>. There's no way to cleanly remove spam besides reverting the edit. As I explained in my mailing list post, there are easier ways to work around the spam filter than getting into an eternal edit war with the bot. Believe me, you don't want links on your wiki which match the spam blacklist -- such links have always made pages impossible to edit, until the link is removed. As for reverting only anonymous edits: spambots have routinely been logging in to wikis and blogs for years to evade spam filters or restrictions on anonymous posting. It's really a non-issue for them, they already have the code ready. If you like, I don't mind keeping it off Memory Alpha altogether. I can just make it respect blocks. But I'm not going to water it down until it's useless for fighting spam elsewhere on wikicities. -- Tim Starling 01:41, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

After reading up on it after the first appearance of this script here, I'm not so sure anymore if keeping this script would really be a bad idea. Sure, it would have been nice to know about it in advance instead of having to assume some sort of vandal attack, and sure, simply blanking pages might not be the best option, but after all, this script is based on a blacklist that has been active for months. The URLs that now get removed by revertion wouldn't survive the next edit of the page anyway.

On the other hand, MA has a very active userbase in that regard - which the fact that only 10-15 of much more than 16000 articles (and none of them "real" spam) were detected by that script nicely shows.

I think we should keep this around, but also keep it under surveillance. The very few "false positives" this will generate in the long run should be tolerable. -- Cid Highwind 02:24, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Considering the last edit on the user page was made by Angela (the Vice-President of Wikia) I'm pretty sure this is legit. Jaz talk 06:03, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
If you'd read above, we had already received word that it was a valid Wikia agent months ago, Jaz -- but we were (are?) still concerned that this bot was deleting not just links, but entire chunks of text from articles. Thats still not legit in my eyes, so I hope they are working to improve this. -- Captain M.K.B. 13:14, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

cygnus-x1.netEdit

I just went and reverted most of its edits made tonight, as it was reverting to article versions, in some cases, months old, and thus removing scads of valid data. Every edit it made, save one, required a revert. This "bot" should definitely not be flagged that way if that continues. In fact, I'd be tempted to suggest that we ask Wikia not to run it on MA/en. Ever. -- Sulfur

Is cygnus-x1.net a genuine site? We have it blacklisted, but there seem to be a lot of false positives on Memory Alpha for it? Angela (talk) 02:47, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
The blacklisting of this site was specigfically requested by a Memory Alpha user. See Wikia:Talk:Spam_Blacklist#cygnus-x1.net. Angela (talk) 02:49, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  • It's hard to tell if it is a legitimate site to be honest. And I did see that it was submitted by an MA user. However, some of the changes that the spam cleanup script made were beyond serious. In one case, it reverted the article to a version almost a year old (as best I can tell from looking at the history). In general, it seems that the script has caused (consistently) more problems than it has solved here on MA. It may be fantastic on the other Wikia sites, but on MA, it causes major issues every time. -- Sulfur 02:51, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
It will cause problems if the spam was added to the wiki a long time before we blacklisted it, since the script simply reverts to the last version that didn't contain the spam. I do manually check up on it, so the false positives are usually reverted fairly quickly, though today you got there before I did. Angela (talk) 03:35, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Yah, I think that I was hitting it as it was changing them (pretty much). Took me a couple of minutes to realize what was happening. I figured it to be a vandal at first. :) -- Sulfur 03:39, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

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