I just attended a “barcamp” event in Denver [see BarCamp Denver] and was a bit baffled by one thing that they started talking about: what the heck is ‘wikispam’?
Well, a Wiki is a user-editable Web site and spam is basically any sort of undesireable or irrelevant edit or change to the content of the site. Most likely the attendees of the Barcamp event would suggest that spam is more likely to be unsolicited commercial messages, typically attempts to get more inbound links or traffic to porn or gambling sites, etc. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about if you have an email box!
As Wikipedia says: “A wiki is a type of website that allows users to easily add, remove, or otherwise edit and change some available content, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative authoring.”
Anyway, what’s interesting about this topic isn’t the wikispam itself, but rather the many ways that wiki authors have tried to get around this problem. First off, there are wiki applications written in just about every different programming language known to mankind, except, perhaps, BASIC.
One of the limitations of most wikis is that there’s an arcane language required to add new content, too, and so it’s no surprise that there are now some wiki systems coming out that include more intuitive editing solutions, even WYSIWYG solutions.
Here’s a small sampling of some of the most interesting wiki systems:
- CLiki is a LISP-based wiki.
- Perspective is a dot-net / Windows based wiki solution.
- AtisWiki is a Perl-based wiki system.
- MediaWiki is a popular PHP-based wiki.
- Zwiki is built on Python.
- Riki is a Ruby on Rails solution
Wikipedia has a comprehensive discussion of wiki technologies and list of wikis well worth reading through, and don’t miss WikiMatrix.org which offers a huge amount of information to help you pick the best wiki software.
Oh, if you are configuring a wiki of your own, you’ll definitely want to ensure that it has the rel=nofollow enabled and, if you’re really drowning in wikispam, you might also consider simply blocking the word “http” in the edit filter.
Hope that helps clarify what’s what.