Today I noticed bounces in my mail box. They were from ikiwiki trying to send registration confirmation email to users who probably never asked for it.

I'm getting truly fed up with spam in my wiki. At this point, all comments are manually approved and I still get trouble: now it's scammers spamming the registration form with dummy accounts, which bounce back to me when I make new posts, or just generate backscatter spam for the confirmation email. It's really bad. I have hundreds of users registered on my blog, and I don't know which are spammy, which aren't. So. I'm considering ditching ikiwiki comments altogether.

I am testing Mastodon as a commenting platforms. Others (e.g. JAK) have implemented this as a server but a simpler approach is toload them dynamically from Mastodon, which is what Carl Shwan has done. They are using Hugo, however, so they can easily embed page metadata in the template to load the right server with the right comment ID.

I wasn't sure how to do this in ikiwiki: it's typically hard to access page-specific metadata in templates. Even the page name is not there, for example.

I have tried using templates, and that (obviously?) fails because the <script> stuff gets sanitized away. It seems I would need to split the JavaScript out of the template into a base template and then make the page template refer to a function in there. It's kind of horrible and messy.

I wish there was a way to just access page metadata from the page template itself... I found out the meta plugin passes along its metadata, but that's not (easily) extensible. So i'd need to either patch that module, and my history of merged patches is not great so far.

So: another plugin.

I have something that kind of works that's a combination of a page.tmpl patch and a plugin. The plugin adds a mastodon directive that feeds the page.tmpl with the right stuff. On clicking a button, it injects comments from the Mastodon API, with a JavaScript callback. It's not pretty (it's not themed at all!), but it works.

If you want to do this at home, you need this page.tmpl (or at least this patch and that one) and the plugin from my mastodon-plugin branch.

I'm not sure this is a good idea. The first test I did was a "test comment" which led to half a dozen "test reply". I then realized I couldn't redact individual posts from there. I don't even know if, when I mute a user, it actually gets hidden from everyone else too...

So I'll test this for a while, I guess.

I have also turned off all CGI on this site. It will keep users from registering while I cleanup this mess and think about next steps. I have other options as well if push comes to shove, but I'm unlikely to go back to ikiwiki comments.

Mastodon comments are nice because they don't require me to run any extra software: either I have my own federated service I reuse, or I use someone else's, but I don't need to run something extra. And, of course, comments are published in a standard way that's interoperable with everything...

On the other hand, now I won't have comments enabled until the blog is posted on Mastodon... Right now this happens only when feed2exec runs and the HTTP cache expires, which can take up to a day. I should probably do this some other way, like flush the cache when a new post arrives, or run post-commit hooks, but for now, this will have to do.

Update: I figured out a way to make this work in a timely manner:

  1. there's a post-merge hook in my ikiwiki git repository which calls feed2exec in /home/w-anarcat/source/.git/hooks/ — took me a while to find it! I tried post-update and post-receive first, but ikiwiki actually pulls from the bare directory in the source directory, so only post-merge fires (even though it's not a merge)
  2. feed2exec then finds new blog posts (if any!) and fires up the new ikiwikitoot plugin which then...
  3. posts the toot using the toot command (it just works, why reinvent the wheel), keeping the toot URL
  4. finds the Markdown source file associated with the post, and adds the magic mastodon directive
  5. commits and pushes the result

This will make the interaction with Mastodon much smoother: as soon as a blog post is out of "draft" (i.e. when it hits the RSS feeds), this will immediately trigger and post the blog entry to Mastodon, enabling comments. It's kind of a tangled mess of stuff, but it works!

I have briefly considered not using feed2exec for this, but it turns out it does an important job of parsing the result of ikiwiki's rendering. Otherwise I would have to guess which post is really a blog post, is this just an update or is it new, is it a draft, and so on... all sorts of questions where the business logic already resides in ikiwiki, and that I would need to reimplement myself.

Plus it goes alongside moving more stuff (like my feed reader) to dedicated UNIX accounts (in this case, the blog sandbox) for security reasons. Whee!

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