August 29, 2016 6:13:25 PM CEST By Daniil Baturin
I like to joke about "wiki.vyos.net, a free encyclopedia no one bothers to edit", but there was a thing that actually made it rather inconvenient to edit for people, regardless of their willingness to edit it.
I mean the subnet captcha. If you haven't seen it, it made you calculate a broadcast address of a random subnet to register an account or edit a page. Everyone hated it, including me, and I had to add a number of active editors to a group that is exempt from it, by hand, so that it doesn't keep haunting them.
What's worse is that after a MediaWiki update it stopped working for a mysterious reason which I couldn't quickly debug, so I thought it may be a good time to reconsider it. Now there's the new reCAPTCHA instead, the one that wants you to click an "I'm not a robot" checkbox. For most users, it is trivial to solve, and it proved fairly effective at mitigating spam, so I think at least for now it may be the best solution for everyone.
Still, it's not entirely without controversy. There still may be accessibility converns and, since it's a third-party service, privacy concerns. If the captcha is giving you troubles, we still may make you exempt from it if you tell us your account and explain the issue.
If you, luckily for you, haven't seen the introduction of the subnet captcha, the story was that the wiki (a Vyatta wiki back then, vyattawiki.net) had all its content replaced with spam overnight, and the original reCAPTCHA did nothing to protect it. We had been having spam problems for a long time by that moment, and after that event, we thought we have to come up with something that will stop spam forever, and so I wrote the subnet captcha plugin, and it worked very well. Except making edits inconvenient for legitimate users of course. Now when it's gone, I hope we'll be getting more editors.
I hope more people will come and edit some pages. We are seriously lacking in the documentation department, but if everyone does a small bit, it's not really that hard. You don't need to write big chunks at once and document complete features, a brief description and a config example is a lot better than nothing.