User talk:Jeff

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Ambox notice.png This is the talk page of Jeff, the creator of Explain XKCD. If you have a comment about the wiki, please use the Explain XKCD:Community portal.
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Hi Jeff,

Just thought I'd run this up the flagpole... any thought about installing the ParserFunctions extension? I think this site could benefit from a few templates that would aid in indexing/categorizing the entries as content is migrated, and ParserFunctions would make some really impressive things possible... but installing any extension or not would be up to you.

Also, do you have any feelings about us users creating templates in the Template namespace, which we could use to maintain the content? Just wanted to get your thumbs-up before/if I did something like that. Just want to play nice. Love the site, and the new wiki format.

- PT IronyChef (talk) 03:05, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

ParserFunctions are awesome, yup! --Philosopher Let us reason together. 06:56, 1 August 2012 (EDT)
 Done Yes to both. I have enabled ParserFunctions and Templates sound like a great idea. IronyChef, please send me an email at the address on the blog and I'll make you an admin if necessary to edit templates. --Jeff (talk) 08:03, 1 August 2012 (EDT)


Just wondering what you thought about adding the Variables extension. I'm toying with revising {{LATESTCOMIC}} to not be so expensive (both in terms of template expansion, and ongoing maintenance.) I could do that now, but the wiki would have to re-expand and re-evaluate the same expression about six times, being slightly counter-productive. -- IronyChef (talk) 14:54, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

any thoughts ... up, down, sideways? Thanks! -- IronyChef (talk) 15:34, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm up for it... Let me get it installed on the wiki side when I get a chance. --Jeff (talk) 23:13, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Bugging you again....

Could you take a look at [1] and tell me if I'm thinking in about the same way as you are here? Also, I've brought up MediaWiki:Tagline and Explain XKCD:Community portal, as it'd be cool to have a tagline. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 10:46, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

With you 100% on the File Delete reasons. Thanks. I agree also about having a tagline. What do you think it should be? --Jeff (talk) 11:13, 1 August 2012 (EDT)
Nothing's coming to mind right now. Perhaps someone else will think of something. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 17:54, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

Discussion continued at Explain XKCD:Community portal/Proposals#Tagline.

Automatic Import

Moved to Explain XKCD:Community portal/Proposals#Automatic Import. (Header left to avoid breaking links.) --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:30, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Please watch Explain XKCD:Community portal/Administrators' noticeboard

I'd like to ask that the admins consider adding Explain XKCD:Community portal/Administrators' noticeboard to their watchlists. On a similar note, I've just started a discussion there about spammers. -Philosopher Let us reason together. 02:02, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Images from Wikimedia Commons and SVG

Please set $wgUseInstantCommons = true; in the wiki's LocalSettings.php, so we can use images from Wikimedia Commons without having to reupload them here. Also, I'd be neat if you could enable svg images. Thanks! --Waldir (talk) 04:20, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

 Done, Instant Commons is on. Will need a little more work to get SVG images to work. What renderer to do you suggest I use? --Jeff (talk) 12:05, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
That'll depend on what you have available in your server. They say there that ImageMagick seems to be an acceptable choice, but rsvg seems to be the best one if the dependencies can be sorted out. --Waldir (talk) 13:20, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Search suggestions


could you please set $wgEnableMWSuggest [2] to true? This enables search suggestions for the search field, and often this helps you to skip the search results. --SlashMe (talk) 09:10, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

 Done OK, this is has been added to the LocalSettings. --Jeff (talk) 12:06, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Time zone

Please set the wiki to UTC ($wgLocaltimezone = "UTC"; in LocalSettings.php), as it's the most neutral option for our international community. In any case, each user can choose their time zone in their preferences.

 Done Ok, set. --Jeff (talk) 12:07, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Short urls, site logo, lowercase xkcd

Hi, I'm not sure if you tried it but is a great (and simple :D) tool to implement clean urls with mediawiki. That would make urls much nicer around here.

Also, if you could, please take a look at Explain XKCD:Community portal/Proposals#Naming conventions, where your assistance is needed for some server changes. --Waldir (talk) 15:31, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Hi again :) just to remind you about the short urls thing. I think it would be great if we could have wiki links in the form "". It might be necessary to move the wiki into a different folder name than "wiki", but that's just a matter of renaming the folder and changing $wgScriptPath in LocalSettings.php accordingly. The link above makes things really straighforward, it should really only take you a few minutes to set everything up.
Another cool thing that could be done is set up a server redirect so that links in the form of would point to the comics in the wiki instead of returning a 404 error (for instance, would point to That way, we could replicate xkcd's own url system for comics and people could simply type and get the explanation for the corresponding comic. This redirect can probably be set up in the hosting company's web interface, but in case it can't, let me know if you need any help. --Waldir (talk) 22:03, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Hi Waldir - I'll work on the short URL thing. I want that to work for sure. With regards to the redirect, I have been working on it for a while and I have a few .htaccess files and etc that don't work. I'll be grateful for the help on it. Please send me an email if you know how to get it done. This would also allow anyone from to just add explain and go to the comic explanation. Very helpful. Been working on it unsuccessfully for a while. --Jeff (talk) 01:41, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Ugh, it must be my hosting because I did all of the shorturls correctly it just sent it to a 404 page for the site over and over again. The url seemed to be the right one, but didn't send it to the right location. It should NOT be this difficult. --Jeff (talk) 02:25, 12 August 2012 (UTC)


Hi Jeff! When you have a few spare minutes, please add the following to LocalSettings.php:

$wgCapitalLinks = false;

This allows page titles not to be automatically capitalized by the software, which is important for filenames and for some comic titles such as s/keyboard/leopard/. Cheers, Waldir (talk) 21:34, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

 Done --Jeff (talk) 01:37, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
...and this broke our templates (and maybe Special:RecentChanges?). See explain xkcd:Community portal/Admin requests. Can't we just style the page titles so they appear as though they aren't capitalized when they really are? (As done at wikipedia:Xkcd, using the DISPLAYTITLE magic word (called through wikipedia:Template:DISPLAYTITLE).) --Philosopher Let us reason together. 04:42, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Looks like transition pains would be inevitable. I think everything is sorted out for now. See the Admin requests thread for details. As for using DISPLAYTITLE, I understand the rationale, but this is xkcd and attention to capitalization is necessary in several pages, and I believe we'd rather use a complete solution (so that pages actually have the correct title) rather than hacking what is shown to viewers. In any case, we shouldn't have many problems in the future because of this; People will only capitalize the first letter of a title when it's actually necessary; otherwise, lazyness/convenience makes us all use lowercase everywhere (besides, redirects can be used just in case, such as {{yesno}} → {{YesNo}}. --Waldir (talk) 09:06, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

External Images

Has there actually been a decision on external images? Or is it just to be decided later? --grep:talk:applaud:smite

No decision yet. What do you think? --Jeff (talk) 21:16, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, the whitelisting seems an OK idea. This would help you save space on the servers that you are hosting on, so that's a plus.
I say go for whitelisting.--grep:talk:applaud:smite
Mostly I am wondering because I created a PHP script that creates an image to display the results of a poll (like on the Moving the Wiki topic in Proposals). For my situation any method of something external being placed on this site will work.
I just got an idea... what if there was a group of moderators that check external images and approve them. The more approvals a person gets, the more "reliable" they are considered to be... ? --grep:talk:applaud:smite

Short Link Problem Fix?

Is mod_rewrite installed and enabled?
Are all of the config files (including the wiki one) set up?


New admin please?

This is a bit forthright of me, but nothing appears to be being done about it. Would you read this explain xkcd:Community portal/Proposals#Spampage Rampage and comment on it? Thanks, lcarsos and the community 17:47, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Small change

Hi Jeff! Long time no see. Look, could you add

$wgGroupPermissions['autoconfirmed']['autopatrol'] = true;

to LocalSettings.php? That will allow edits by auto-confirmed users not to be marked with a red exclamation mark in recent changes so we can more quickly spot edits that might need reviewing. --Waldir (talk) 02:16, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Btw while you're at it, please also add
$wgAllowUserJs = true;
$wgAllowUserCss = true;
So users can make their own scripts and styles to enhance the wiki (I need that, for instance, to test stuff without affecting anyone else, before integrating them on site-wide javascript/css pages) --Waldir (talk) 16:52, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

 Done and  Done --Jeff (talk) 19:55, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Thanks! --Waldir (talk) 19:57, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot a small detail: it is necessary to set up the following so that "auto-confirmed" doesn't mean "any registered user":
$wgAutoConfirmAge = 60*60*24*3 // accounts become auto-confirmed after 3 days
$wgAutoConfirmCount = 10 // ...and 10 edits
Cheers, Waldir (talk) 21:32, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
 Done --Jeff (talk) 21:49, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, again. Also, since the wiki didn't break, I take it that you noticed the missing semicolons which I stupidly forgot to include at the end of the lines, and added them. Sorry for the slip-up. --Waldir (talk) 17:31, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
No worries, I know that much at least! :) --Jeff (talk) 17:36, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Did you by any chance write "auto patrol" instead of "autopatrol"? Special:ListGroupRights suggests so, and if that's the case, that explains why the changes don't seem to have had the effects I expected from them (edits by auto-patrolled users still marked with the red exclamation mark in Special:RecentChanges). Could you check that the line reads exactly $wgGroupPermissions['autoconfirmed']['autopatrol'] = true;? --Waldir (talk) 17:54, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

That's what I thought I put even though autocorrect wanted to change it. Can't look now, will have a look when I get home. ---Jeff (talk) 17:55, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Any news? No pressure, I'm just curious :) --Waldir (talk) 15:34, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Bah - I keep forgetting when I get home. I'll try to get it done this weekend. --Jeff (talk) 17:35, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Much delayed, but  Done --Jeff (talk) 02:50, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Jeff. I'll let you know if there's any further issues, but I believe everything should be working now. --Waldir (talk) 03:34, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Links to category pages

I couldn't help but notice the number of your edits to your page. You can link to category pages by putting a colon in front of "Category". [[:Category:Pages to delete]] produces Category:Pages to delete. It also doesn't add the category to that page, it just links to it. Cheers, lcarsos_a (talk) 17:30, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Oh geez. You saw that? That's a little embarrassing with not knowing what to do, I kept trying to figure out how to put the link there. Thanks for the help! I couldn't find that information anywhere. --Jeff (talk) 17:31, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
When I had to learn about that trick the edits on that page looked fairly similar. I eventually found the right page [3] (ctrl+f "category", it's buried) and managed it. I have the Recent Changes page set to auto-refresh every minute. I see a few things. lcarsos_a (talk) 17:43, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Your opinion?

Please comment here. Cheers, Waldir (talk) 17:21, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

I am really dumb

and this morning, while creating a user name, I goofed it and wrote .mau, (with a trailing comma) instead of .mau. (with a trailing dot, which is my trademark). I know that a bureaucrat on MediaWiki can change a username which had few edits (my own edits are three including this one): could you do this, or at least delete this username so that I may recreate it without leaving a dead one? TIA, .mau, (talk) 15:09, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

You can actually change your signature to .mau. if you want, to mask that for now. Just make a page called User:.mau,/sig and craft your signature to your liking, then go to my preferences at the top and set your sig to {{SUBST:User:.mau,/sig}}. If you want an example, User:Lcarsos/sig is a near-vanilla and quite clean example of a custom sig, while User:Omega/sig and my sig, User:Davidy22/sig are slightly more tricked-out options. Wikipedia's guidelines to signature crafting are here. Davidy22[talk] 15:53, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
ok, thanks! .mau. (talk) 09:55, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Aw, that's it? No bling or anything? Meeehhh. Davidy22[talk] 13:16, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
(to Jeff) I believe user renaming is not possible in vanilla mediawiki. An extension is required: mw:Extension:Renameuser --Waldir (talk) 18:21, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I find a bit disturbing to have a "wrong" username, especially because I may not remember it somewhen (yes, the word does not exist, but I like its sound); but I don't need any flashy signature, so I just changed the traling comma to a dot. --.mau. (talk) 14:09, 18 January 2013 (UTC)


Now that the site apparently redirects to the wiki, could the entire wiki URL just be, without the trailing wiki? It's mostly for cleanliness, but also to throw off the spambots for a while. Those accursed spam happy bots. Davidy22[talk] 04:29, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Sounds good, I'm working on that part next. It is next on my "to-do" list complete some URL work like that. --Jeff (talk) 18:05, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
nag. Also, the spam is becoming an issue. A pretty big issue. Time to switch captchas? Davidy22[talk] 13:04, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
OK - sounds good to me, any ones you recommend? --Jeff (talk) 13:33, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't remember which captcha the wiki uses, but I know securimage and recaptcha are two very competent options. Alternately, you could use ConfirmEdit to screen anon edits. Much of the spam seems to be automated, so questycaptcha should screen out most of the chaff. Just simple questions, like "What webcomic does this site explain" or "Who created XKCD" should be sufficient to screw up our current spammers. Also, rm /wiki/ plx. Davidy22[talk] 13:41, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Confirm edit is in and Recaptcha is out. Let's try that. --Jeff (talk) 14:11, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
The questions appear to be case-sensitive. To avoid frustration, could you add a notice to every question saying that the answers have to be in all lower/upper case? I got "What's the name of this wiki" wrong a bunch of times, and I think it's due to capitalization. Davidy22[talk] 14:30, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Ok - cool. I changed it to $wgSitename instead of just writing it out. --Jeff (talk) 14:32, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
If we get no spam tomorrow, I will hold a party in your talk page. Oh, and /wiki/. Davidy22[talk] 14:38, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I'll just hijack this thread and ask: Isn't it time Davidy22 got admin tools? It's long overdue. And please promote Lcarsos‏‎ to bureaucrat, so he can make new admins if needed. And seconded: /wiki/ ! --Waldir (talk) 02:39, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Could you also put confirmEdit in general page creation for anonymous users? There's still a couple of spam pages being made that don't actually advertise anything. There hasn't been an account creation in a long time, so I think we've killed off the spam accounts. The rate of spam has definitely dropped significantly ever since we switched to confirmEdit. Davidy22[talk] 05:42, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
We've just had a surge of pure griefer spam. Anons who don't insert any links, they're just throwing spam at us out of malice. Could you make anonymous users have to pass through confrimEdit to create pages? Thanks. On a side note, what's the ratio in terms of file size between current explanation pages to logs and diffs? Davidy²²[talk] 01:53, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Wow those suck. Wiping out whole pages with anon edits. I can't change the settings from here, but I'll do it when I get home. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by filesize? --Jeff (talk) 15:51, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Eh, how much space do explanations and images take up on your hard drive when compared to the space that log files and diffs take up? Davidy²²[talk] 16:01, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Promote Davidy22

Breaking this discussion out from where it was, because it merits its own section. lcarsos_a (talk)

I'll just hijack this thread and ask: Isn't it time Davidy22 got admin tools? It's long overdue. And please promote lcarsos‏‎ to bureaucrat, so he can make new admins if needed. And seconded: /wiki/ ! --Waldir (talk) 02:39, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Heartily Agree on promoting Davidy22, he's almost always more on top of spam patrol than I am these days (burn-out for the lose). I'm not sure I can speak for my own promotion without sounding self-serving and power-hungry. However, in my few spare moments this semester I am looking closely at getting a bot up and running to automate the clean up of spam (mostly because manual spam patrol is the most soul-sucking and disheartening activity I've ever done), so it would be nice to be able to get a bot account promoted to bot status without misrepresenting it as my account. lcarsos_a (talk) 18:13, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Davidy22 is up to admin (honestly, I thought he was already one, so no issue there on my end.) and lcarsos has been updated to bureaucrat because we should have more redundancy there. Also, create a bot account and let me know what it is and i'll give it bot rights. --Jeff (talk) 18:36, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Or now, you can do it! :) --Jeff (talk) 18:41, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
WOO, power! Davidy22[talk] 05:42, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Small ConfirmEdit change

Can you change the line:

$wgCaptchaTriggers['create']        = false;

to true? I think this would solve most of our bot vandalism/griefing problems. lcarsos_a (talk) 21:19, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

 Done I changed 'edit' to true as well since we've seen a bunch when editing user's talk pages. We will see if I have to move that back to false. --Jeff (talk) 16:16, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
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