Singastro Wiki Ver 2

Have some suggestions to improve the site? Let's discuss it here....Might do some tests here as well
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chrisyeo
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Singastro Wiki Ver 2

Post by chrisyeo »

Hi!

Recently the SingastroWiki was hacked and we lost all the pages (but thankfully restored from an old backup by Weixing). A call for volunteers was put out and many thanks to Stafinder (Gavin) , Cloudcover and Andeelym (Andrew Lim) for volunteering.

So, to kickstart the process, let's hear your views about what to do for the wiki pages. You may want to read Remus' previous post on 'Improvements/Ideas for the SINGASTRO forum' and the comments for inspiration.

Some options:

1) Clean up the old wiki. Continue to clean as and when its hacked again.
2) Upgrade to a more secure version. Hope it doesn’t get hacked. Depending on how secure it is, we can give accounts to a limited set of users to do edits.
3) Convert the pages to a website hosted either on a blog or on the servers
4) Any other ideas…

I've made this an open discussion so that others can add their views too. However, I would like to point out that the only views that ultimately count are the three guys above who actually going to do the work of implementing them (Thanks again to the volunteers! *p.s. more volunteers are welcome).

Happy New Year!
Chris

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chrisyeo
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Post by chrisyeo »

Just to add, I would like to share how the Wiki came about in the first place. I always believed that the Singastro Forums would benefit from a set of permanent webpages that would complement the free-flowing nature of the forums. These webpages would capture the ‘live’ information of the forums and become easy to read references for newbies and others interested in astronomy. Importantly, I thought that the set of webpages should capture information from the Singaporean/Regional perspective – where were the best viewing spots here, how to choose scopes and buy them, etc. For all the other information, there are plenty of good articles on astronomy to be found on the web. To problem of course, was who to write and maintain them?

That’s where the idea of a wiki came about – anyone could help contribute and easily add and maintain the wiki webpages, and it could take on a life of its own (just like the Singastro forums). Of course, the experiment somewhat failed because the wiki was too easily spammed and hacked.

So what now for SingastroWiki ver.2?

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andeelym
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Post by andeelym »

My thoughts/comments.

1) Not feasible and too tedious in the long run, humans can never outdo bots.
2) The best solution. We can even look into an wiki account approval process. Give accounts to admins, mods and volunteers. Any other new accounts will only be given to applicants using the same name and email address as in the forums. Might also need to check the posts to make sure that its legit human posted.
3) No point, same issue will follow if using the same version. Blog does not make it more intuitive to use.
4) We might also want to move the forum to a paid and more secure forum software like vbulletin. I have been using them for years and they are good. Got alot of mods and plugins to expand the capabilities. phpBB is quite hackable but I am not sure of the current version being used here. Maybe it has already been hardened.

Just my 2 cents.

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zong
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Post by zong »

Some ideas:

1) The wiki is placed in a too inconspicuous place. It's really not very helpful to newbies cos there's too many links on the frontpage and that buries the wiki away. (This is on top of that many of the links are useless and lead to nowhere or pages with no information)
Suggestion: Make the wiki the main page that people see when they visit the site. Make the forums a link on the sidebar of the wiki. (This is already there, in fact!) Also, maybe using the index page of the wiki to tell newcomers the fact that our forum is the place to go if you want to ask questions not found in the wiki itself, so that they will eventually be directed to the forums.

2) There's a lot of knowledge base in there, but no link between that and the forum (or Singastro itself in particular).
Suggestion: The wiki can also have our "About Singastro" and other stuff that we want to keep permanently as a page by itself instead of in the forum. Examples of such pages: Equipment reviews, well-known ob groups' ob reports, event reviews/pictures (A2008, etc). This can also showcase Singastro's portfolio.

3) Need to make an account separate from Singastro forums.
Suggestion: Link the accounts from the forums and the wiki together. That way we can avoid more work for admins to approve accounts.

4) Very little contribution from everyone.
Suggestion: Nothing much we can do on that.. but maybe making the wiki more conspicuous can alleviate this problem. I actually even forgot the existence of wiki until it was mentioned again some time back.
Stargazing ... is an excuse to stay up past bedtime that never fails!

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zong
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Post by zong »

Bump?
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Airconvent
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Post by Airconvent »

Sorry guys,
Contacted Chris and he is awfully busy at the moment. But he did feedback that he needed help on the wiki upgrade as he is not familiar. Weixing is checking the forum backups but it seems when the hacker attacked, all that mass of junk was backuped as well, so he is trying to find out how to clean it up too.
If you have ideas and tips, please do PM them.
Thanks [smilie=bye.gif]
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chrisyeo
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Post by chrisyeo »

Yup, thanks Andeelym and Zong for your comments. Starfinder, Cloudcover?

Andee, how do we go about upgrading to a new wiki version? What needs to be done? Sorry, but we/I are really not that tech savvy.

As for accounts management, agree that is the way to go. The old wiki had this also but it got hacked also and I disabled edits altogether. How secure is the newest version?

On the forums, is there a need to move to a more secure forum? The current one seems good enough; it is the wiki that keeps getting spammed.

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chrisyeo
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Post by chrisyeo »

Hi Zongyao,

Thanks for your comments.

1) I think this is a good idea, but the wiki needs to be stable/secure first. Let's see how well the new version works and then look at reconfiguring the front page.

2) There actually are pages in the wiki 'about Singatro' and many other stuff. In fact, the cool part is that any of us can create new pages and add content as it is generated in the forums. Definitely agree.

3) The forums and wiki run on seperate programs, and unless someone is really really good with PHPBB and the wiki platform, this possiblity appears remote for now.

Of course, if free editing was enabled, i.e. edits without login, then we can avoid this problem. Problem is, spammers can make edits too. Is there any way around this? How does the new wiki version stop spammers? Can we limit the IPs to only Singapore addresses?

4) Yup, just like Wikipedia, it just needs a small group of volunteers who are willing to believe in the concept and to update it once in a while for it to work.



zong wrote:Some ideas:

1) The wiki is placed in a too inconspicuous place. It's really not very helpful to newbies cos there's too many links on the frontpage and that buries the wiki away. (This is on top of that many of the links are useless and lead to nowhere or pages with no information)
Suggestion: Make the wiki the main page that people see when they visit the site. Make the forums a link on the sidebar of the wiki. (This is already there, in fact!) Also, maybe using the index page of the wiki to tell newcomers the fact that our forum is the place to go if you want to ask questions not found in the wiki itself, so that they will eventually be directed to the forums.

2) There's a lot of knowledge base in there, but no link between that and the forum (or Singastro itself in particular).
Suggestion: The wiki can also have our "About Singastro" and other stuff that we want to keep permanently as a page by itself instead of in the forum. Examples of such pages: Equipment reviews, well-known ob groups' ob reports, event reviews/pictures (A2008, etc). This can also showcase Singastro's portfolio.

3) Need to make an account separate from Singastro forums.
Suggestion: Link the accounts from the forums and the wiki together. That way we can avoid more work for admins to approve accounts.

4) Very little contribution from everyone.
Suggestion: Nothing much we can do on that.. but maybe making the wiki more conspicuous can alleviate this problem. I actually even forgot the existence of wiki until it was mentioned again some time back.

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chrisyeo
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Post by chrisyeo »

Hi Andeelym,

Would you be able to install mediawiki on your server and host Singastrowiki? Is the latest version good enough to avoid our spamming problems? If not, are there any other options to have webpages that are easily editable/maintained/added-to by our forum members? Thanks!

Chris

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zong
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Post by zong »

Truthfully, there's no such thing as "secure" enough to avoid spamming problems. In fact, given the nature of a wiki, this is nearly impossible. But constantly upgrading the software to the newest versions is probably the best way to avoid spammers having any chance to use old vulnerabilities.

An easy way out of this is to use Wordpress instead of wiki engines. It's basically the same thing. Wordpress also has history records, so it's easy to revert any page to previous versions if it got hacked (which it shouldn't, Wordpress is not as "open" as wiki). For small number of users (say, ~200), Wordpress can handle everything. Upgrading on it is a matter of clicking a link. I can help setup Wordpress if you'd like, since I'm using it myself. Plus, since Wordpress has a large plugin base, it shouldn't be difficult to find one that syncs accounts on phpbb and wordpress.
Stargazing ... is an excuse to stay up past bedtime that never fails!

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