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Re: Wikipedia & Tor

Hi Paul,

Paul Syverson wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 27, 2005 at 03:54:38PM -0400, Roger Dingledine wrote:
>>To be fair, this answer is yes. People have used Tor to deface Wikipedia
>>pages, along with Slashdot pages, certain IRC networks, and so on. I
>>think that counts as spam at least in a broad sense.
> Nobody should understand me as claiming that Tor has never been
> a vehicle for abuse in any way. 
> But Gah, No! I think this is an awful meaning creep of `spam' that
> makes it harder to talk succinctly and clearly about the different
> types of abuse.  If I'm behind, and that's what `spam' means now. Oh
> well, another loss in the war for clarity. We'll just have to hack a
> new term ;>)
> -Paul

I think the creep results from bloggers referring to the defacement of
their blogs as "comment spam". "spam" has come to mean far more than you
apparently take it to mean in the Hello from Jimmy thread. (When I read
the thread I thought you were being disingenuous because I couldn't
fathom that anyone was seriously still using such a narrow definition of
"spam" and didn't know of its more widespread use for all kinds of
nastiness, but from your email above I'm willing to believe you're sincere.)

So, whether what the Wikipedia experiences should be called "spam" or
not, they certainly get off-topic unsolicited commercial links posted to
otherwise useful Wikipedia articles, and apparently a good bit of such
edits come from tor server IPs.

The next-best idea I've heard so far is for Wikipedia to require those
coming from tor IPs to login, but the problem there is that then those
who really need anonymity most to post to Wikipedia wouldn't have it (or
at least not through tor.)

This makes me think that the Wikipedia defacement problem is best
handled the way blog comment spam is now handled. If I'm right that the
primary Wikipedia offenders post links to their p0rn/viagra/poker sites,
then Wikipedia could use a blacklist much like bloggers now use. One
open source blogging tool, b2evolution, has a very good "anti-spam" tool
for dealing with this, and so the code is available to be repurposed for
Wikipedia's needs. After each edit, you'd check the edited page against
the blacklist and if it contains links to blacklisted sites, then you
wouldn't allow the page to update. There are always problems with
blacklists like this, but I think it's better than an IP-based ban of
all tor users.