Battle of the Box

From Reconstruction Era
What about the droid attack on the wiki?

The Battle of the Box was a protracted conflict from July to December 2023 between the SEO Spambots and Reconstruction Era. These accounts automatically created nonsense articles like this and this, almost certainly for the purposes of Spamdexing. Since the wiki had open account creation and no CAPTCHA system, so the box was able to be spammed by hundreds of new accounts and articles every day. The Spambots were decisively defeated on the New Year of 2024 when Freddo purged the site in fire.

Early Skirmish

It was in July 2023 when the Spambots made their first landing. It is not known even today why the forces of black-hat SEO first targeted our wiki when they did, but it was perhaps an inevitability. After all, there was literally nothing preventing someone from automatically registering hundreds of new accounts. Each bot account created at least one page full of spam text and hyperlinks, then filled out its user page with nonsense. These links led to random places, like Korean cosmetics companies and UK municipal websites. One led to this old academic article on gaming.

Flameoguy to his horror discovered hundreds of articles a couple days later when making routine edits. He manually deleted all of the articles, blocking about a dozen bot accounts. However without blocking their IP address, the spammer would be able to simply create more accounts. Then, a pure stroke of luck! One of the spam articles was created by an IP without a registered account. He blocked this IP and the Spambots relented, retreating to whichever dark hole of the web they came from.

The Fall Offensive

On October 25, Ratsmacker asked Fireball for wiki editing rights, since he was apparently blocked from creating a new account. Apparently he was covered under the blocked up. Flameo figured that the Spambots were probably gone for good and unblocked the IP. He was able to create his article, but the site was left open to new accounts. This was a terrible mistake...

Immediately the next day there were hundreds of new articles, like before. Even worse, none of these new spam pages had a visible IP, meaning that they could not be blocked at the source. The problem was identified on November 4th but due to the admins being too busy with their lives, nothing was done for a while. Eventually Flameo tried to install ConfirmEdit in December, but was unable to without sudo permissions on the box. The spam continued unabated for two full months, creating over 350k accounts and 1100k articles. Less than 1% of the wiki contained actual work, the rest being shit like this.

Judgement Day

The Wiki after being purged
POV: Freddo just saved our asses.

As 2023 came to an end, Freddo3000 stepped up to end the spam for good. By this point the current wiki was completely unsalvagable, and even deleting the spam with an automated nuke plugin would take days. On January 1st 2024, an archive of the wiki's articles and images were saved and uploaded on the box. The mediawiki software was updated and reinstalled, with the content completely wiped. New account creation was turned completely off, to prevent spam while a captcha system could be implemented. The admins worked together to restore the wiki by manually pasting each archived article and uploading each missing image. Within one week, the wiki was restored.