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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009

    The Sandbox has a suspicious edit. As it's just the sandbox, I have no intention of deleting this edit, but keep an eye out for other suspicious edits.

    Please keep a record here of such seemingly random edits. They can be someone testing to see if they can get away with inserting links on our pages. Generally, if we make it not worth their while, they'll look for easier targets elsewhere. Also, if we spot one random edit, I can look through to see if we've seen that IP address before and so possibly detect others (there weren't any in this case).

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
    • (edited Nov 9th 2009)

    Honestly, that one doesn't even look suspicious to me. It's not a link, it's in the Sandbox, ….

    But I agree with your main point; we might as well report here whatever we do consider suspicious. In particular, I'll report anything that I revert as inappropriate.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009

    How about this one? (near the bottom). To judge from the IP address, the signature is a lie (although I can't be sure, since that signature changes its IP address often), but I would not consider it dishonest, since the content basically tells you about just this. That is to say, this edit appears to be a warning rather than a fraud. But people should be aware of its warning!

    (The immediately next edit, which is in a similar vein, appears to be by JA, to judge from the IP address. The forged signature there is of a fictional character, not of a real person.)

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009

    Ten minutes after that Sandbox edit, the same IP address was used to make a change to filtered category (the most recent change). Looks alright, though an expert should check. Those are the only two edits from that IP address that we've had. The IP address resolves to somewhere in the Ukraine. Anyone been there recently?

    You're right that signature changes its IP address quite often. Is this something we should check, do you think?

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009

    Are we talking about edit by a user who signs with "beroal"?

    The edit at filtered category is entirely reasonable and in fact an improvement.

    We should maybe remember that new users are supposed to first play around in the Sandbox before making an edit. That shouldn't count as suspicious behaviour!

    I'd say: welcome beroal!

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009

    I was trying to figure out if it was an anagram of something, but it's too late for the word-mangling part of my brain to engage. Certainly, the second edit seems to indicate that the first is not malicious, so I agree with the sentiment.

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009

    You're right that signature changes its IP address quite often. Is this something we should check, do you think?

    (For people who aren't examing all the links carefully, this line is about John Baez, not beroal.)

    Well, I look at the edits with that signature, and they're all (except that one whose content warned that it might be fake) the sort of thing that the real person might write. (Actually, even the one whose comment warned that it could be fake is the sort of thing that he might write!)

    So there is the general issue that people can trivially forge signatures, which maybe we want to do something about. But it doesn't seem to have caused any problems.

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009

    I'm guessing that it would require significant changes to instiki if we wanted to implement some kind of "login" procedure to prevent forging of signatures. It is a little uneasy-making how easy it is to forge them, though.

    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeNov 10th 2009

    It would require significant changes, and I would be reluctant to request such a change. I would rather have a system of signed edits.

    One day we may have a problem with this, but I don't think that we're anywhere near that day now. The main thing to think about is this: what would anyone gain by spamming us? The only thing that I can think of is links to some site. So if we're vigilant about this (and it shouldn't be hard to set up an automatic notification system for this), we're doing enough to persuade them that there are easier targets.

    Of course, I could be being incredibly naive about this. Maybe there's some other reason we'd get hit by spam - I'm new to this game too.

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2010

    Just to note that someone called Enzo Toledo added a spurious link to foundations. I have deleted it.

    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2010

    Well spotted!

    I've checked, and that's the only edit from that IP so far.

    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2010

    I was trying to add comments about content of some of the Online Resources. I came accross this, what may be an inintended spam:

    (evolution against creationism!!

    Zoran: this is a biology vs. politics/religion blog and does not fit into nlab widest possible scope. I consider this link a spam. )

    What others think ?

    By the way, regarding recent John's link to the entry in notices it is likely we will have more spam here than at an average page. At some point it would be nice to have some nPOV list of blogs which are actually expected to be useful for nlabizants, therefore without various stochastic biomedical modellings and alike. Of course the main Online resources could have anything containing mathematics, theoretical physics, logics or theoretical computer science, but no blogs dedicated only to politics, biology, climate change and alike. The narrow list could have preferrably things like algebra, geometry, topology, analysis, category theory, mathematical physics, logics. While it would be nice to have Wiener integral, Ito integral, Markov process and few other useful notions for mathematical physics coming from stochastics, blogs on using stochastics to model Wall Street are I think not in our narrow interest though tolarable for generic Online Resources entry.

    What do you think ?

    • CommentRowNumber13.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2010

    What do you think ?

    I agree with your remarks.

    We coul create more subsections to organize the collections of links more. But we should remove links that don't have anything on-topic for us. Otherwise this will only get out of control.

    • CommentRowNumber14.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2010
    • (edited Mar 17th 2010)

    There is a link to blog named Learning Curve: which I would also like to exclude from our links in Online Resources. Formally it is about math teaching what is good topic for a link at OR, but it includes lengthy expressions of anger againts his coworkers (e.g. TAs), swearing words, grading-related bitching and similar tasteless and intellectually contentless and force-expressing blogging. Here is a typical passage:

    "Apparently I can not convince my TAs to enter the fucking grades. How hard is it to type 25 numbers into the computer? If grad school has you so busy that you can not find time to type 25 numbers into the computer, then maybe you are not cut out for grad school. Secret message to TAs: Just because you can't be fired doesn't mean that you should not take pride"

    Could somebody independently take a look at the link and see what feeling it induces in your reading trial ?

    • CommentRowNumber15.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2010
    • (edited Mar 17th 2010)

    The Samovar link at Online Resources is also highly questionable. It has a couple of entries touching math, like fractals and mathematics genealogy entry, but it is mainly a big blog dedicated to POLITICS, politology, civil society and academic policy. Maybe interesting to many of us, but this is definitely not a blog about mathematics, physics or philosophy.

    • CommentRowNumber16.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2010
    • (edited Mar 17th 2010)

    Thanks for looking into this. I would say we should remove these blogs. But let's hear what others say here.

    In any case, since you are spending the time to look these blogs, you could add a brief description of a blog to each link. That will at least warn the users of the nLab page, and guide them better to where they really want to be guided.

    • CommentRowNumber17.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2010

    OK, I cut and pasted all 4 entries from MO to here, excluded them from there and here will be the copy if the rest of you decide to reintroduce them:

    • Learning Curves (internal fights of a college professor with TAs and his job; Zoran: I would exclude links of this crudity, it has even swearing words in some passages and frequent expression of anger)

    • Evolution Blog

    (evolution against creationism!!

    Zoran: this is a biology vs. politics/religion blog and does not fit into nlab widest possible scope. I consider this link a spam. )

    • The Samovar (POLITICS as a main topics, academia, surveillance, civil liberties, almost no math??????)

    • Soul Conjecture It seems the site or the link NOT FUNCTIONING!

    Izabel Laba has also almost never math, but regarding the title and few special posts (say on women mathematicians) tolerable in my opinion. You are welcome to back correct my exclusions, and see why numero 4 (Soul Conjecture) does not work.

    • CommentRowNumber18.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2010

    I agree with Urs' and Zoran's sentiments here. We want the online resources page to be useful and, as with all other nlab pages, to reflect what we think is relevant. It's not an "online resources for everyone" but "online resources for n-researchers". Of course, by making it public we hope that others will find it useful, but primarily it should be useful to us.

    • CommentRowNumber19.
    • CommentAuthorTim_van_Beek
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2010
    Although I did not have a closer look at Instiki yet, I'd say since it is based on ruby on rails it should not be too hard to implement some kind of barrier, like a user/password login. There are lots of applications out there who already have something like that. The real problem is to specify and agree upon what kind of barrier it should be. If you have that, I'm sure you can go and find yourself some whiz kids that will implement it for you in no time :-)
    But judging from this thread, there is no real spamming problem right now, or is there?
    On a personal note I completly agree with Zoran that the links he moved here are off topic and should be removed - but is it spam? Maybe some people just misunderstood what the page "online resources" is about...
    • CommentRowNumber20.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2010

    I would say that we don't have enough of a problem with spam that it is worth annoying the regular users with things like logins and so forth. Indeed, we probably have more issues with the spam-filters being a bit over-enthusiastic than the other way around (so a way of providing an optional login as a way to bypass the spam-protection might be useful). But we're keeping an eye on it.

    • CommentRowNumber21.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2010

    There was a big flurry of additions to Online Resources in October, but not very many since then. There was the danger of spam then, and it looks like a few bad links got through (although not spam, see below). But we are no longer being overrun.

    I agree with removing the blogs listsed in #17, except for Learning Curves, which really is about mathematics education. I don't want to remove a link because it occasionally uses language that some people don't like. Since Zoran already removed it, I put it back with a description that I think might be helpful.

    There is also the larger issue of whether the focus of the page should be narrowed. (That would take Learning Curves back out again if so.) I would like to discuss that, but please can we do so somewhere appropriate? I have created a new thread to help.

    On that note, it may seem like a technicality, but I don't consider it accurate to refer to any of these links, even the ones whose removal I agree with as ‘spam’. That term refers to things added automatically by bots, not by thinking human beings, however misguided those humans' thoughts may be. (Of course, the bots have humans behind them, but the difference is that the humans are not taking the time to decide on each individual post.) In particular, it is completely inappropriate to discuss the content of Online Resources in a thread about spamming in the category of Lab Elf News. I'm not sure that anybody really uses the categories on this Forum, but I certainly didn't expect to see debates about real content in this thread.

    • CommentRowNumber22.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2010

    Good Toby. :)

    • CommentRowNumber23.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2011
    • (edited Jan 10th 2011)

    This is not about nnLab but about another free service – arxiv. I think that the following has feature of a spam, though it is unclear. It is definitely a buzz-word advertisement for open system Mercury. I see no technical data there, it definitely lowers the standards of arxiv at least by including only lots of acronyms, buzz-words and alike and references to more or less the authors. The fact that it is not about a commercial company but about national facility of one country makes it no less a spam, than if it were a buzz-word ad of a new technological line of textile perfection used by some clothes company.

    arXiv:1101.1252 [pdf] Title: Scientific data searching, sharing and retrieval Authors: Ranjeet Devarakonda, Giri Palanisamy

    The other 3 papers do the same Mercury advertising reminding me of the kitchen appliance advertising campaigns.

    arXiv:1010.3983 [pdf] Title: Digitizing scientific data and data retrieval techniques Authors: Ranjeet Devarakonda, Giri Palanisamy, Jim Green Subjects: Information Theory (cs.IT)

    arXiv:1010.3898 [src] Title: Advancements in scientific data searching, sharing and retrieval Authors: Ranjeet Devarakonda, Giri Palanisamy, Bruce Wilson Comments: This paper has been withdrawn by the authors. Planning to submit a journal paper Subjects: Information Retrieval (cs.IR)

    arXiv:1010.2440 [pdf] Title: Enabling Data Discovery through Virtual Internet Repositories Authors: Giriprakash Palanisamy, Ranjeet Devarakonda, Jim Green, Bruce Wilson Comments: 5 Subjects: Digital Libraries (cs.DL); Information Retrieval (cs.IR)

    By the way the above papers do not contain email addresses of the authors (strange for alleged computer scientists). Probably spammers want us to hear them (about Mercury), not them to hear us. I certainly lost any interest in Mercury after this.

    • CommentRowNumber24.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2011
    • (edited Feb 24th 2011)

    Look at the bottom of filtered topological space! I do not think cash registers are relevant to the nLab!

    • CommentRowNumber25.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2011

    Urs rolled that back.

    • CommentRowNumber26.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2011

    I just deleted some spam from Home Page. Check back. It seems to be one of our old acquaintances.

    • CommentRowNumber27.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2011

    Good catch. The link may be an old favourite, but the IP isn’t.

    (Looking back through Recently Revised, I see that Ronnie Brown edited simplical T-complex recently)

    • CommentRowNumber28.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2011

    Yes. The original thesis of Keith Dakin has been scanned. It had been available as one of the Esquises (Ehresmann) and is now available.