vandalbot wars

[Note: This blog entry is a port from our former wiki “Current Events” section “Vandalbot Wars” for historical completeness. The original page has been removed as our wiki space is being retired.

We continue our efforts to protect the site from vandalism while cleaving as close to the open wiki spirit as we dare.

Update March 2011

Contact us to sign up. Sadly, we’ve closed the wiki to anonymous members after too many hours were consumed fighting the barbarian hordes. Feel free to browse or to contact us for a brief chat if you’d like access. As soon as we have adequate automatic protections in place, we’ll be open for walk-in business again.

Civilian update August 2010

User anonymity returns. Having applied some ham-handed security measures in July so we could catch our breath after our little July 1st bot blitz, we can now apply what we’ve learned over this past month and loosen up a bit.

Latest changes

  • Upgrade to MediaWiki 1.16.0
    • Again, kudos to GoDaddy! A timely update with little intervention from our end.
  • ConfirmEdit
    • Challenges designed to discriminate between software and humans should be slightly less offensive than locking out unregistered users. Logged in users should expect not to see them; those creating accounts should see them once. For more information and to add this security method to your own wiki page, see Google’s Recaptcha page.

Alas, in the captcha department we can’t extend the same kudos to our host, GoDaddy. After a week-long learning curve we still don’t have the level of sophistication we’d like running on the site. We are still open to more sophisticated measures, so please do contact us with helpful suggestions. Meanwhile for your safety, convenience, and our sanity, please bear with this experiment in measured restraint.

VandalBot blitz July 2010

Due to a high vandalism rate on MediaWiki sites—and this site in particular—wikiGongMain did not accept anonymous edits throughout most of July and early August. Would-be users were asked to sign up for a user account.


The vandalism quotient rose to new heights on July 1, 2010:

  • 15 incidents from 15 unique source IP addresses reported
  • 4 Main_Page eradications (replaced by gibberish or bad links)
  • 4 partial disruptions of the Projects page
  • 2 attacks on the General Disclaimer (hidden!) page
  • 2 attacks on our Copyrights page


Your wikiMaster put some very basic measures in place in hope of sleep between stints of patrolling these walls in July:

  • Upgrade to MediaWiki 1.15.4
    • Kudos to GoDaddy! We scheduled this update, logged back in two hours later, and it was done. Installing MediaWiki the first time was automatic and painless, and the update followed suit. Afterward, I had only to reinstate the Monobook background image we’re using.
  • Restricted user rights
    • OK, this is the one we feel bad about! In July, anonymous users could no longer:
      • Edit pages
      • Create pages
      • Create talk pages
    • With mild trepidation we are lifting this ban in August 2010. Wish us luck.