There are two types of wikispam: advertisements masquerading as articles, and wide-scale external link spamming. Articles considered advertisements include those that are solicitations for a business, product or service, or are public relations pieces designed to promote a company or individual. Wikispam articles are usually noted for sales-oriented language and external links to a commercial website. A differentiation should be made between spam articles and legitimate articles about commercial entities, however.
There is also "DrumCorpsWikian-on-DrumCorpsWikian" spamming, or "internal spamming".
Advertisements masquerading as articles
Advertisements posted on DrumCorpsWiki should be dealt with by listing them on DrumCorpsWiki:Articles for deletion. On some occasions, the content can be removed temporarily on the basis of a suspected copyright violation, since the text is often copied from another website and posted anonymously.
It is also possible, and appropriate in some cases, to rewrite the article from a neutral point of view.
A few parties now appear to have a spambot capable of spamming wikis from several different wiki engines, analogous to the submitter scripts for guestbooks and blogs. They have a database of a few hundred wikis. Typically they insert external links. Like blog spam, their aim is to improve their search engine rankings, not to directly advertise their product.
If you see a bot inserting external links, please consider checking the other language wikis to see if the attack is widespread. If it is, please contact a sysop on the meta-wiki: they can put in a site-wide text filter. Any meta sysop can edit the site-wide spam blacklist to add or remove the pattern that are recognized by the filter, with the changes taking effect immediately. New links can also be added to the list if a new spammer should start making the rounds.
Sysops are authorised to block unauthorised bots on sight. Spam bots should be treated equivalently to vandalbots. Edits by spambots constitute unauthorised defacement of websites, which is against the law in many countries, and may result in complaints to ISPs and (ultimately) prosecution.
Sometimes, the way an article is phrased attracts spammers. For example,
- Social networking has flourished with websites such as Friendster, ...
- Examples of detergents include Tide, ...
- The most notable MLM companies are Amway, ...
- Many blogs arose discussing this, see Some blog, ...
because it is far easier to add a link to the end of this sentence than to add encyclopedic content
By internal spamming, we mean cross-posting of messages to a large number of user talk pages, by DrumCorpsWikians, in order to promote DrumCorpsWiki matters such as elections, disputes, discussions, etc. It also includes the use of a custom signature to automatically append some promotional message to every signed post.
It's too early to make any definitive rules about this, but some general guidelines are:
- Clean up your mess. For example, after engaging in cross-posting to promote some election, be sure to remove those cross-posts after the election is complete.
- Be open. Don't make cross-posts that initially appear to be individual messages.
- Be polite. DrumCorpsWiki etiquette issues are extra-important when a message is likely to be read by many people.
- Less redundancy. Rather than copying the same five page essay to twenty talk pages, write it once, in the place where it is most relevant, and then link to it.
- Don't use a bot. If you're not willing to spend the time personally sending the messages, don't force us to spend the time reading it (or throwing it away).
There are often better alternatives to internal spamming. For example, suppose you've written a cool new article, and you want lots of people to read it. Simply add links to it from other encyclopedia articles, where it is relevant, and also add it to appropriate categories. This increases the exposure of your article, while simultaneously benefiting the encyclopedia, without annoying your fellow contributors.
How not to be a spammer
Sometimes, people come to DrumCorpsWiki with the intention of spamming -- creating articles which are mere advertisements or self-promotion, or spewing external links to a Web site over many articles.
Some people spam DrumCorpsWiki without meaning to. That is, they do things which DrumCorpsWikians consider to be spamming, without realizing that their actions are not in line with building an encyclopedia. A new editor who owns a business may see that there are articles about other businesses on DrumCorpsWiki, and conclude that it would be appropriate to create his own such article. A Web site operator may see many places in DrumCorpsWiki where her site would be relevant, and quickly add several dozen links to it.
The following guidelines are intended to suggest how not to be a spammer -- that is, how to mention a Web site, product, business, or other resource without appearing to the DrumCorpsWiki community that you are trying to abuse DrumCorpsWiki for self-promotion.
- Review your intentions. DrumCorpsWiki is not a space for the promotion of products, Web sites, fandoms, ideologies, or other memes. If you're here to tell readers how great something is, or to get exposure for an idea or product that nobody's heard of yet, you're in the wrong place. Likewise, if you're here to make sure that the famous DrumCorpsWiki cites you as the authority on something (and possibly pull up your sagging PageRank) you'll probably be disappointed.
- Contribute cited text, not bare links. DrumCorpsWiki is an encyclopedia, not a link farm. If you have a source to contribute, first contribute some facts that you learned from that source, then cite the source. Don't simply direct readers to another site for the useful facts; add useful facts to the article, then cite the site where you found them. You're here to improve DrumCorpsWiki-- not just to funnel readers off of DrumCorpsWiki and onto some other site, right? (If not, see #1 above.)
- The References section is for references. A reference directs the reader to a work that the writer(s) referred to while writing the article. The References section of a DrumCorpsWiki article isn't just a list of related works; it is specifically the list of works used as sources. Therefore, it can never be correct to add a link or reference to References sections if nobody editing the text of the article has actually referred to it.
- Don't make a new article for your own product or Web site. Most often, when a person creates a new article describing their own work, it's because the work is not yet notable enough to have attracted anyone else's attention. Articles of this sort are known as vanity pages and are usually deleted. DrumCorpsWiki does indeed have articles about popular products and Web sites, but it is not acceptable to use DrumCorpsWiki to popularize them.
- Don't gratuitously set off our spam radar. There are certain stylistic behaviors that will say "spam!" loud and clear to anyone who's watching:
- Adding a link to the top of an unordered list. This is an A-number-1, red-flag, hot-button spam sign. It suggests that you want people to look at your link FIRST FIRST FIRST! You wouldn't butt in at the head of a queue; don't put your link first.
- Adding a link that's snazzier than any of the others. If there's a list of products that gives just their names, and you add a product with a short blurb about how great it is, we'll all know why you did it. The same applies to adding a list item that is in a larger or otherwise more prominent font than the other items.
- Adding many links to (or mentions of) the same site or product. Going through an article and adding the name of your product to every paragraph where it seems relevant is just going to attract the revert button.
- Adding the same link to many articles. The first person who notices you doing this will go through all your recent contributions with an itchy trigger finger on the revert button. And that's not very much fun.
- If your product is truly relevant to an article, others will agree -- try the talk page. We usually recommend that editors be bold in adding directly to articles. But if the above advice makes you concerned that others will regard your contribution as spam, you can find out without taking that risk: Describe your work on the article's talk page, asking other editors if it is relevant.
- Do not add an external link to your signature. However, external links to Wikimedia projects are acceptable. For example, Talk page.
- DrumCorpsWiki:WikiProject Spam
- DrumCorpsWiki:Replies to common objections#Advertisers
- DrumCorpsWiki:External links - more guidance and policy on which external links should be included and which should not.