2 Apr 2004 dyork   » (Master)

The Death of the DocBook Wiki, continued - Turns out nwalsh posted an explanation on March 30. My timing was such that I saw that the wiki was down before the list archives had Norm's post in them. The key part:

The vandals have a script that destroys the wiki on a daily basis (adding porn spam, which would be bad enough, but also reformatting all the pages so that they mostly vanish). That script can do damage a lot faster than fingers can fix it.

Will scripts such as this kill all wikis? At least, the openness of all wikis? I suppose trusting everyone and letting anyone make changes was bound to sooner or later attract the attention of these type of lowlifes, who would then kill it for everyone. I mean, it's one thing if people make changes to a page that can then be restored to a previous version. Simple, one-offs can be dealt with. But a scripted reproducible attack? That type of thing is simply no good.

You could almost see, too, the script kiddies who now have their script that will deface wikis based on MoinMoin. It's a simple google search to find "moin.cgi" which for me just pulled up close to 248,000 results. Now, many of those will be duplicates, but I would expect you would still wind up with several thousand wiki servers at which you could point your script... and destroy the countless hours of work that people have put into them. (Not all would be affected, of course, as some would have access control.)

The result of all of this is that the DocBook wiki and most others will have to move to having access control to prevent random people from destroying pages. Not a terribly big deal, but it does require that now the extra step of registering for an account must be added. It removes some of the spontaneity of response. No longer can you just click the "Edit this page" link. Instead, you must login, then go and edit the page. Sad, in a way, but probably inevitable.

Licensing Yum Cha Carts - This article was passed along by an Aussie friend. Way too funny that they feel the need to license yum cha cart drivers. (I am told that yum cha is similar to the North American "dim sum".)

Small Caps - fxn: Thanks for the screenshot. It is good to see what the issue is.

haruspex: I do see what you mean about the difference between the first letter, which is so big and bold, and the subsequent letters. What is interesting, too, is the large size difference between the first and subsequent letters. From a quick scan, it looks like the subsequent letters are 5/8th or 2/3rd the size of the first letter. However, in MSIE 6.0 in Win XP, the subsequent letters are closer to 7/8th the size of the first. With the delta not being as large, it is not as disorienting as it is there in Safari.

The net of all this, though, is that I think I'll probably drop small caps with my next entry. Why make ugly web pages if browsers won't display them correctly?

Tachyon Transmission Mode - Enjoyed a newsletter which pointed to this article and these links. Nice to see people still doing good things on April 1!

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