(it's currently built for MySQL)
A big reason for the database code refactoring is that, besides making everything cleaner / clearer, the self-hosted version will also support different database backends, like SQLite. It won't be completely ready for that when the code is released, but the groundwork will be there.
Good progress on Write.as open source today -- got the endpoints moved over and 2500 lines of database code migrated from global functions to struct methods. Left out all the API v1 stuff and removed paywall code.
Past 8 hours have been spent copying code, using tons of Vim macros to update everything, and build, fix errors, repeat. Now that it's compiling again, time to strip out more Write.as(the service)-specific functionality.
It's my day off, so despite the list of higher priorities, I'm going to do something relaxing: continue refactoring the web app into components.
This is a crucial step in open sourcing the platform, as it'll make the entire codebase more maintainable, and allow both the hosted and self-hosted platforms to share crucial code. It also makes the components reusable in other platforms we build, like @snap_as.
All those changes are happening now on the `develop` branch: https://github.com/writeas/web-core/tree/develop
I've been spending all my time over the past few days fending these guys off (apparently I've been talking in my sleep about it). But it's all worth it because it means: no CAPTCHA or email verification when signing up (two things I detest), and keeping anonymous posting open to everyone (besides spammers).
I'm fighting two strains of SEO spammers right now -- one repeatedly publishing anonymous posts (without signing up), and another publishing anonymous posts after creating an account.
The former is the hardest to fight -- IPs are all over the place, and no tracking means I can't mark individuals as spammers. Hence stricter spam rules.
The latter is easier. Essentially I can turn suspicious accounts into honeypots, which then waste spammers' time as they repeatedly try to publish.
Reduced the daily post volume by 75% (down to 500) with some pretty heavy-handed spam checks. They were set up so anyone familiar with Write.as wouldn't get caught up in the filter, but 2 legitimate users did. So I've relaxed it for logged-in users.
Some of these changes also involved improvements to the admin interface for deleting problematic users. (It always blows my mind that Mastodon doesn't allow this, but) the self-hosted version of Write.as will now include these kind of admin controls for users.
Okay, I'm finally slowing the influx of users and spam posts just by automatically marking people that use certain email domains as spammers.
Funnily enough, they don't seem to be noticing their posts are being blocked -- I'm returning a post ID that leads to a page that mercilessly trolls them for spamming the system, but they're not seeing it.
Anyway I'm pretty happy about this, as it's saving a lot of database space from being consumed with junk.
Needless to say this is the kind of junk I'd like to keep off the platform. So today has been about investigating all the crypto scams people try to spread via Write.as!
It's always been interesting seeing what people end up using the platform for.
Today someone asked me if I offer free bitcoin, because they saw an anonymous Write.as post shared on Facebook that contained just a link to this scammy site that alleges to "exploit the blockchain" to get you free BTC.
Of course, once it runs through some pre-programmed messages equivalent to "hacking... h4ck1ng m0r3..." it says you just need to send 0.001 BTC to some address to "verify" yourself.
Luckily most spammers follow similar patterns, and aren't very persistent. So every few months I get an influx and have to take a scalpel the points in the app where we accept data (posts or users), and gently block them without affecting thousands of normal users.
Again, not too difficult because spammers (especially pastebin spammers) also don't put a lot of effort into their spam. They usually have a signature.
Last month we saw over 6,000 new users!
Unfortunately, a huge change like that doesn't usually mean we're suddenly immensely popular and successful with everyone, but rather with spammers. Spending some time putting in more prevention measures.
Changed to the icon structure they want, but now it isn't showing up in the applications menu on Ubuntu. Going to scrap everything so I can get this out the door.
Probably missed some things in the docs, but at this point it's trial and error. And looking at other elementary apps