Lunacy Unleashed

Notes from the field in the War on Spam

Bad Behavior 2 Alpha 3/Alpha 4

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Update: I’ve pushed a couple of fixes for the problems people had in this release as 2.0 Alpha 4. This fixes the issues with being unable to post on your own administrative screens on both platforms, and database insertion errors on MediaWiki. Download it below.

I’m getting ever closer to the final release of Bad Behavior 2.0, so close in fact that I’m not sure why I didn’t just call this series beta. The previous pre-releases have proved to be stable, solid and effective. With this release, I further close the gap and make the system even more effective.

For those of you who have been waiting ever so patiently for the MediaWiki port, it’s finally here. At the moment, much of it is a stub (you can help by expanding it), but it does block automated edits, which is what it’s supposed to do. The special page isn’t implemented yet; that will be coming soon. But it looks like it works on version 1.4 or later.

I’ve completed the technical support pages which are displayed to any rare unfortunate person who might be blocked by Bad Behavior. They all contain unique keys which, at the time of the final release, you’ll be able to plug into a form in the administrative screen, look up what went wrong, and get it fixed. They also contain a link the user can click to get detailed instructions on how to fix the problem from their end (e.g. you have viruses/malware; your old version of Opera has a bug; change this setting in Norton Internet Security; etc). For now, if you do get any false positive reports, mail me with the technical support key. So far in testing, there have been no false positive reports, that is a human being blocked inappropriately, and I’ve been watching the blocked accesses in realtime to see if I can see any, but I haven’t spotted one here yet.

What I have seen since 2.0 Alpha 2 is nearly all spam blocked. And I’ve taken the very little spam which escaped, all of it manually posted, and found a way to block it, too. Since implementation of that fix, Bad Behavior is showing 100% effective at blocking spam with no false positives. And while that may change in the future, it looks like for now I’m way ahead of the spammers again. I do, of course, need more extensive testing on MediaWiki, and reports of any spam that Bad Behavior doesn’t block. But if you’ve been waiting, now is the time to install it on MediaWiki; it’s stable enough for everyday use, (“Alpha” is a misnomer, I guess) and I use it in production on both WordPress and MediaWiki.

How to Install

If you upgrade from version 1, you can and should leave version 1 in place. This version installs to a different directory. For WordPress, remove any previous 2.x version first, unzip the file and upload the bb2 directory and its contents to your wp-content/plugins directory. For MediaWiki, unzip the file and upload the bb2 folder and its contents to your extensions directory. Keep the directory structure intact.

On WordPress, deactivate version 1 (if present) and activate version 2. On MediaWiki, edit LocalSettings.php, comment out the old extension (if present) and add in the new extension, for example:
include( 'extensions/bb2/bad-behavior-mediawiki.php' );

On MediaWiki, if you then receive an error saying you need to reconfigure the load balancer, (you don’t) you need to add the following line to LocalSettings.php, before the include line shown previously:
define('BB2_NO_CREATE', true);
Then you need to manually create Bad Behavior 2’s new table structure. The table name is mw1_bad_behavior, replacing mw1_ with your table prefix, of course, and you can find the table structure to create in bb2/bad-behavior/

To Do

The to-do list is pretty short, though it’s possible I’ve forgotten something. If I did, please leave a comment below.

WordPress: Implement the database search facility on the Options > Bad Behavior admin screen.

MediaWiki: Implement the special page. Implement the ability to save options.

ExpressionEngine: Targeted for next alpha/beta release.

Generic/Third Party Ports: Should be possible now, but I don’t have a generic template ready yet; e-mail me if you have questions.

And as always, if you find Bad Behavior valuable, please consider making a financial contribution. I develop Bad Behavior in my spare time, and every little bit counts.

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April 29, 2006 Posted by | Akismet, Bad Behavior, Blog Spam, MediaWiki, Spam, WordPress | 94 Comments