Difference between revisions of "explain xkcd:Community portal/Technical"

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Line 334: Line 334:
According to returned headers, this server runs from Apache directly. I would recommend setting up a reverse caching proxy in front of Apache to handle high traffic load (like, e.g. current load). The one I use is nginx (http://nginx.org/) -- admins, drop me an email if you need help setting it up [[User:Fry-kun|Fry-kun]] ([[User talk:Fry-kun|talk]]) 21:38, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
According to returned headers, this server runs from Apache directly. I would recommend setting up a reverse caching proxy in front of Apache to handle high traffic load (like, e.g. current load). The one I use is nginx (http://nginx.org/) -- admins, drop me an email if you need help setting it up [[User:Fry-kun|Fry-kun]] ([[User talk:Fry-kun|talk]]) 21:38, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
:The standard software to use is either Squid or Varnish. Nginx is a bit too much of a webserver to be configured in the way MW needs iirc. Although nginx would help with serving the static assets. Unfortunately there will be a need to switch to a proper server first. The site seems to be hosted on shared hosting. [[User:Dantman|Dantman]] ([[User talk:Dantman|talk]]) 04:59, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Revision as of 04:59, 27 March 2013

Welcome to the Community Portal. This set of pages is used to discuss how Explain xkcd works, and is divided into five sections. Please use the table below to find the most appropriate section to post in, or post in the miscellaneous section. You can view all community portal sections at once here.

Community portal sections

Proposals (post)
Ideas to improve the wiki's design and organization.

Technical (post)
To discuss technical issues.

Coordination (post)
To coordinate content editing and maintenance tasks.

Admin requests (post)
User problems, changes to protected pages, etc.

Miscellaneous (post)
Messages that do not fit into any other category.


I created this page. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 08:40, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

I've also created Explain XKCD:Sandbox. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 08:40, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

I've changed MediaWiki:Helppage to point here. If we decide to have a local users manual or help desk, it should probably be changed. The default target was "Help:Contents". This also changes where the "Help" link in the sidebar points, so right now we have two different sidebar links pointing to the same place. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 10:30, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

Update: I changed it to point to Help:Contents at mediawiki.org. The community portal is already linked from the sidebar, it was redundant to have two links there pointing to the same page. --Waldir (talk) 11:41, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

I created MediaWiki:Common.css and MediaWiki:Common.js. This is one of the "did I break it"-type changes, so let me know if you notice anything strange. The new pages are made up of excerpts from their Wikipedia counterparts - I copied what I thought was potentially useful and left the rest. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:32, 2 August 2012 (EDT) Moved from Explain XKCD:Community Portal. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:08, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Sitenotice dismissal

There should be a way to dismiss the MediaWiki:Sitenotice after you've read it. I know it can be done, but don't know how, does anyone else? --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:23, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

What do you think about this extension? Dismissable Site Notice --Jeff (talk) 03:37, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes! That's probably what I'm looking for. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 01:41, 12 August 2012 (UTC)



You might consider Extension:Comments. It acts basically like the comment system on the blog, so you could keep everything (article, comments) in one place. It's more conducive to casual conversation than the discussion page. --Cyanfish (talk) 14:07, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

That's nice, but a simpler approach could be just to transclude the talk page in the subject page itself, as is done in the Wikipedia Signpost (see here for an example). --Waldir (talk) 16:15, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
Okay, that would work. The extension does have its advantages though - it's easier for new users (no markup), you can have upvotes/downvotes/"comments of the day"... It's a matter of preference, I suppose. --Cyanfish (talk) 22:27, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Discussion above moved from User talk:Jeff. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:26, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

I'll take a look and see what looks best. I don't necessarily like the transcluding option. --Jeff (talk) 15:56, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Neither do I, to be honest. I just created {{Comic discussion}} to make things a little smoother, but from my experience, there will *always* be newcomers forgetting to sign, commenters confused about the best markup for indentation/replies, comments placed at the top rather than at the bottom, new comic description pages created without that template, etc. A proper commenting solution might be the best option for this. I just mentioned the transclusion option to let people know it was a possibility. Also, in the long run we need to make sure the wiki doesn't start looking like Wikia (blergh) if we start adding too many custom extensions. But a comment extension seems to be essential if we don't want to alienate the blog's community. --Waldir (talk) 17:06, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Following post moved from Explain XKCD:Community portal/Proposals#Comments --Waldir (talk) 17:11, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to suggest we add comments capabilities to the comics pages, since the discussion pages don't lend themselves to the kind of dialogue experienced on the blog. There appear to be several extensions that allow this, but I'm fairly new to the wikimedia stuff so I'm not sure how it would work, exactly.

One extension available is Extension:WordPress Comments, which appears to enable the style of comments we are used to. Any thoughts? --DanB (talk) 15:10, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

We should definitely give it a try :) --Waldir (talk) 19:46, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
That said, its demo looks rather simple. Extension:Comments seems to be a little more powerful (supporting replies, user pictures, voting, and maybe more). The only advantage of the Wordpress one is that it would integrate with Wordpress so extra accounts don't need to be created, but I assume most people who used to comment on the blog didn't have accounts anyway... --Waldir (talk) 19:58, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Tried Extension:Comments - but the download page for it does not exist. Anyone have any ideas why that is? Looks like an extension I'd like to try, but I can't download it! --Jeff (talk) 01:47, 14 August 2012 (UTC)


I'm not sure how to set it up, but if you could edit the robots.txt file to exclude the contents of Category:Noindexed pages? I've created a Sandbox for people to test the unfamiliar features in, and you're probably not going to want that indexed by the search engines. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 08:47, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

Apparently you can edit it through MediaWiki:Robots.txt, but I'm not experienced enough to know what will happen if you block a url that runs through a .php page. (Perhaps nothing? Perhaps it blocks everything?) Is there any chance of moving the wiki to use /wiki/articlename urls like Wikipedia does rather than the current /wiki/index.php?title=articlename ? --Philosopher Let us reason together. 10:43, 1 August 2012 (EDT)
/wiki/articlename would be great. Been trying to figure out how to make it work for days. Let me know if you know how. --Jeff (talk) 11:11, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

For URL rewritung, have a look at mediawiki.org: Short URL or for Apache. --SlashMe (talk) 15:49, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from User talk:Jeff. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:27, 4 August 2012 (EDT)


Can we enable MediaWikiWiki:Extension:Gadgets? I'd really like to bring over wikipedia:Wikipedia:Popups and wikipedia:Wikipedia:HotCat as gadgets. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:45, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

sounds good. I'll do it later this weekend when I get back to my computer to get to the FTP access. --Jeff (talk) 00:31, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
That'd be great! While you're at it, MediaWikiWiki:Extension:Inputbox is something we may want for the future, though we don't need it now. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 21:29, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from User talk:Jeff. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:38, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

 Done --Jeff (talk) 03:16, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
For the record, what was installed was the Gadgets extension (which makes sense since Philosopher said the InputBox is not needed ATM). I had already brought the HotCat gadget, which should now be visible in the users' preferences for enabling. It was also necessary to create MediaWiki:Gadgets-definition and the description for HotCat so it could appear in the preferences page. However, it doesn't seem to be working... If someone can figure out what's wrong, we can fix it. One can test the script separately from the gadget system (so we can make sure it's not a gadget problem) by installing it as a user script, as I did in User:Waldir/common.js --Waldir (talk) 11:02, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Nevermind, the guys from the #mediawiki IRC channel helped me figure out what was wrong :) it should be working now and available to all users via the gadgets tab of the preferences page. --Waldir (talk) 11:41, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
You rule Waldir. The InputBox extension is enabled as well for good measure. --Jeff (talk) 13:01, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Awesome :D I assume Philosopher will have a few ideas for that (namely the {{Community portal}} template. --Waldir (talk) 16:28, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, that's where I found out about it, at least. I may not find time to implement it right away - I'm busy in RL at the moment. In the mean time, I've imported Popups from en.wikipedia. I haven't edited out the references to Wikipedia in it b/c I'm not quite sure which of them will break things or what to replace them with. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 04:23, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Wordpress Import

Moved from explain xkcd:Community portal/Admin requests#Wordpress Import

Anyone have any idea on how to import all of my posts from Wordpress into pages in the wiki? I can do it manually obviously, but I'd love to do it programatically. --Jeff (talk) 15:10, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

I also realize that I won't be importing ALL the posts, just the ones that don't already have pages in the wiki already created. --Jeff (talk) 15:25, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
SlashMe said (here): When we agree on a page layout, I can do this automatically. He's speaking about importing and creating pages for all comics programmatically. I don't know if he includes the explanations from your blog posts, though...
Also, do you think it could be a good idea to import, in the comic discussions here, the comments existing in the wordpress blog for comics prior to the wiki conversion? They obviously wouldn't be associated with wiki accounts, but we could get a copy of them here (with the dates, names, and also the +/- comment appreciation maybe...). Perhaps this could be considered once the idea of wordpress comments on wiki pages (as suggested here by DanB) is already settled.
Cos (talk) 15:44, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't think I can import blog posts completely automatically, but maybe write something to make it easier. I'll have to look what is possible, but I'd say the least I'll need is an account for Wordpress.
Importing comments is similar: No promises, but probably difficult if not impossible. I'll have to see the comment system in the wiki. --SlashMe (talk) 17:06, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Importing all previous blog comments would be awesome. We could try a test installation of wordpress and a few test pages here on the wiki (it's easy to delete them if we screw up anything). In any case, I expect some manual tweaking to be needed if we want to convert the comments already posted on-wiki into comments of the wordpress plugin. It's definitely a challenge, but after all, we're xkcd readers, by definition we enjoy a good puzzle :) (and many of us are perfectionists who won't settle for a less-than-perfect solution :D). I say let's hack the heck outta that extension! --Waldir (talk) 19:48, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Sorry to the perfectionists, but regarding a less-than-perfect solution, could we include a link to the blog comments as a temporary stopgap? I've been using 1004:_Batman to try my hand at adding a comic, and I added a subtle link to the blog comments below the discussion box/transmutation. I'm thinking that link could be added programatically because we know how the blog structure is with year/month/date foldering. --DanB (talk) 17:11, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it can be automatically generated by the {{comic}} template. User:TheHYPO should be able do do it. --Waldir (talk) 18:42, 8 August 2012 (UTC)


moved from Explain XKCD:Community portal/Proposals#Automation

This wiki lacks automation, every time a comic comes out it needs to be submitted manually. A really simple way to do this is utilize xkcd's own JSON feed. http://xkcd.com/json.html If you download the latest comic json feed and edit it in notepad, you find all sorts of useful data like a complete transcript of the comic. --Jtorba (talk) 14:28, 7 August 2012‎ (UTC)


moved from Explain XKCD:Community portal/Miscellaneous

Just experienced the following navigating the site...

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to 
complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, [email protected] and inform 
them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that 
may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an 
ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Very strange, and not able to repro it, so it seems to have been transient. Just noting it here in case it happens again. I assume this is a hosting company hiccup.

BTW, while researching the above, I noticed that the explainxkcd.com domain registration expires in 3 days (August 10)... hopefully the bill has been paid; I'd hate for this site to go down; Grace Period and Redemption are a PITA... -- IronyChef (talk) 14:44, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

over the past week, I've gotten a few of those Internal Server Errors at random. TheHYPO (talk) 15:05, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Not sure what is up with them, but I've gotten some as well. It is either me messing with the site or the server creaking under pressure. --Jeff (talk) 15:32, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Could be the pressure... I've been getting a few randomly and the site every now and then gets quite slow. --Waldir (talk) 18:43, 7 August 2012 (UTC)


moved from Explain XKCD:Community portal/Proposals#References

Can we install the "references" plugin so that we can use "ref" tags and add "references" sections to certain comics? I grant that it won't be as useful as on wikipedia, as most references are generally just wikilinks to wikipedia anyway, but I think it could be helpful. In editing the Black Hat article, I wanted to cite references to specific comics. I had to write them into the text because references aren't installed. If References do get installed, I'd like to also suggest a template for {{cite comic}} to create a quick and easy uniform reference to comics by number (or perhaps by name at the user's option?) TheHYPO (talk) 15:56, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Do you have a link for the References plugin? I searched quickly on MediaWiki's site and didn't see anything. --Jeff (talk) 16:56, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Cite extension
It defaults (I believe) to citing in a 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 style; there's SOMETHING That lets you change it to the more familiar wikipedia 'a' 'b' 'c' style, which is easier to read, imo. TheHYPO (talk) 19:15, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
qv the existing {{xkcd}} and {{explain}} templates, which generate links to a specific xkcd comic, or the corresponding explanation here, respectively; to wit, {{xkcd|29}} and {{explain|29}} produce xkcd 29 and xkcd 29, the latter could also be used this way: xkcd 29: Hitler. Either could also become the first comic in which Black Hat appears or Black Hat's first appearance. -- IronyChef (talk) 06:10, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Mainpage category issues

Waldir already did some repairs to the {{comic}} template to keep it from sorting the Main Page into categories when the template is transcluded on the main page, but I see that other manual categorizations are still being transcluded (eg: the main page is currently categorized into category:Comics featuring Cueball. Is there a way to include the article without including its categories at all? TheHYPO (talk) 21:33, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

That doesn't seem to be related to the {{comic}} template. Apparently the categories added manually to the comic page are getting to the main page. We can, for now, wrap them in noinclude tags. Maybe later we should create a {{category}} template that does that automatically. --Waldir (talk) 23:40, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
I noted in that you'd already fixed the comic template. As I said, these were the "other manual categorizations". Noinclude would work, I suppose, but I do think we need to somehow fix that if the entire article is going to be included on the main page. TheHYPO (talk) 16:08, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Caching issues

I seem to be seeing some caching issues with images. I can't be sure if this will still be in effect by the time anyone reads this, but at the time of writing, File:United Shapes.png, for example, is still displaying as an older revision (even though it correctly states the filesize and resolution of the current version). Viewing the "full sized image" (http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/images/f/fc/United_Shapes.png) still displays that older revision, as well. However, if you add a question mark to the end of the full sized URL (http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/images/f/fc/United_Shapes.png?), the image is correctly purged and displays the correct image (although only with that URL, not on the file page nor where the image is transcluded). In other words, there's a caching issue.

I used to edit on some Wikia sites where they also had this issue, and it drove all the editors up the wall (particularly since it ended up affecting a good portion of images when updated, sometimes for as long as several hours). It was frankly quite frustrating when Wikia refused to do anything about that problem (part of the reason I don't edit there anymore). Is there any chance someone could look into this issue? I'm not sure what entirely causes it. Omega TalkContribs 01:58, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Aaaaand the image is updated (so the above example won't work anymore). The images definitely seem to be updating, but it's rather slow: at least a few minutes... Omega TalkContribs 02:00, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
I think it might have to do with the Job queue. If that's the case, such updates will gradually happen as edits are made to other pages (each edit takes a job from the queue and runs it). But I'm not entirely sure that's what's at play here. --Waldir (talk) 03:28, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Related issue?

Don't know if this is related, but I'm noticing that thumbnails are displaying as red X's on alot of images - especially where I've noticed that editors have corrected the image title to lowercase in an article. One example is File:t-shirts and T-shirts - the thumbnails for the image history on the image page itself are Xs for me, as is the actualy comic on its comic page, which was at a reduced size. This isn't the only comic doing this. Hitler is as well, for example. TheHYPO (talk) 14:01, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Creating new comics

I'm a big fan of List of all comics which I think is a great page and resource. Problem is, at least for me, the "create" button isn't working like it should. It's not preloading the {{create}} template as a starting template. If someone has time to take a look at that issue, I think it's a great idea. Is there any way that the preload could also somehow be passed the comic number, image name and comic name so the user doesn't have to reenter those? We should look into this. TheHYPO (talk) 21:15, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Ditto. There are a few refinements that I think could be made, though.
  • It's huge, taking a lot of time to load (tables tend to do that, I suppose) so perhaps breaking it into groups, even if it's on the same page (that is, separate tables for each hundred or fraction thereof) Breaking each into sections would allow a TOC for rapid navigation, too.
  • While it might be innocuous, the (create) link isn't needed for anything that isn't redlinked, so maybe an #ifexist, for when the pages do get created, the create no longer appears.
Just thotz. Otherwise, it's a really useful page, both for visitors, and gnomes. -- IronyChef (talk) 01:58, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
The create link only appears on redlinked pages for me already. TheHYPO (talk) 15:45, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

short URLs

Hi, you should try to enable short URLs, which remove the ugly index.php from every URL. It makes navigation more intuitive and "wiki-style". It's actually quite easy to do: [1]

(Oh, and by the way, would you add WikiEditor? It's so beautiful :) [2])

Scaled Images

Some of the larger comics are being scaled down to 800px wide. But MediaWiki apparently wants a discrete image rather than scaling what's been uploaded. Is there a plan to fix this? I hope I posted to the right section lcarsos (talk) 21:39, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Can you provide an article as an example, because I'm not sure what you mean here. What I have noticed lately, and maybe this is the same thing you're talking about is that any scaled image is not displaying and I'm not sure what the error is.

For Example:

The image links to [3], which gives a 404. Maybe this is related to #short URLs? -- 06:49, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
When I first started posting comics, the scaling worked; so something changed to break the images. TheHYPO (talk) 14:35, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I'll start building a list here of them as I go through. Feel free to strike out the ones that fix themselves or get fixed.
lcarsos (talk) 21:24, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Right - so this is the same problem. Basically resized images are no longer working properly for some reason... TheHYPO (talk) 15:54, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Here is a mediawiki discussion on this same (appraently) issue. And this is a mediawiki bug report thread that has at least one link to a patch. Perhaps someone in management can attempt to impliment some of the proposed solutions? TheHYPO (talk) 15:06, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Caching issue with pages

I'm noticing that aside from the image scaling issue (that I really hope someone is working on), I'm noticing that pages appear to be caching - I edited the latest article but my edits don't immediately show on the main page where that article is transcluded (as of this writing, I still see dead links on the mainpage to "Comics featuring Beret Guy" "Comics featuring Ponytail" because I forgot to add "Category:" to the wiki tag, even though I've already fixed the error in the article. TheHYPO (talk) 16:38, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Math extension

Extension:Math for mathematical formulas in "Transcript" sections (see 385 or 870). --valepert (talk) 04:41, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

External Link

The little image that is usually there to indicate an external link is not appear on some pages:

+ Home Page
+ Community Portal
+ Etc

Probably a permissions issue. --grep:talk:applaud:smite

Spam template add noindex

Can the spam template be modified to also tag the pages as Category:Noindexed pages so that passing search engine robots don't think we're promoting those sites? I haven't leveled up enough in wiki-knowledge to be smart enough to do that on my own. lcarsos (talk) 21:38, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Apologies if this is already implemented, but just add <includeonly>__NOINDEX__</includeonly> to the template page. That's assuming the robots.txt for this website is set up to accept instructions from the wiki, of course. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 07:55, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Change "Discussion" to "Talk"

It seems we've borrowed a number of templates and other settings that refer to "T" or "talk" for what is still called "Discussion" here. I suggest it is changed to "Talk" now, rather than change the references back to "D" and "discussion". Mark Hurd (talk) 11:44, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

New comic template:

this guy has indicated that he has "added some interesting features to my toolbar, including adding a page template as a button" - it would be great to Add the {{create}} template code as a quick clickable button to insert when creating a new page for new comics... Can anyone with admin access to the site code add such a button?? TheHYPO (talk) 20:49, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

xkcd icon

Can anyone see the icon next to xkcd.com links? I just see a blank space. --Waldir (talk) 15:19, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

I cannot, and as far as I know, no one else can. I suspect that this is related to the image resizing bug that we are also dealing with. But, as no one is working on that, there will not be a fix for this either in the near (or indeed the foreseeable) future. lcarsos_a (talk) 15:50, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
We could simply remove it. I mean, was it that useful anyway? --Waldir (talk) 16:28, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Actually, it wasn't related to the image scaling problem. It turns out the direct link at MediaWiki:Common.css was outdated. I just fixed that :) --Waldir (talk) 03:13, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

We need more maintainers

I'm moving a thread that Davidy22 started on my talk page. The gist is, we need more people with server-side access (especially mediawiki-savvy ones) so we can properly deal with several issues that have been plaguing the wiki for a while now, most notably spam, but also the image scaling problem, a possible extension for proper comments, clean urls, etc. Below is the original thread, please comment. --Waldir (talk) 17:56, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Could you set the permissions so that all anon users have to pass a captcha to edit? The spam has gotten obscene, and they've stopped posting links, so our current detection mechanisms aren't working anymore. Davidy22(talk) 08:21, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

I would love to have the ability to tweak the wiki more thoroughly, but currently Jeff's the only one with server access. To be honest, I am not terribly familiar with server-side mediawiki management, so I haven't asked Jeff for access, but it's clear we can't be dependent on a single person to do all the mediawiki config (and Jeff probably knows even less about mediawiki than I do). Are you by any chance acquainted with server-side mediawiki maintenance? I think we could present a good case for having someone else with access to a dev/prototype instance of this wiki on Jeff's server so we could at least experiment and tell him exactly what needs to be done. Thoughts? --Waldir (talk) 17:40, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree that we need more people that are empowered to actively fight spam. I think that we ought to promote Davidy22 to administrator also, so that he can delete pages and block spammers/vandals as he notices them rather than letting them pile up until yourself, IronyChef, or myself notice that there's work that needs done.
What I think we should do is break out rights into more groups than simply administrator and bureaucrat. I think that's too big of a jump, and that there should be some gradiation. I think we should add a moderator (mark pages as patrolled and rollback ability (as much as it's a sledgehammer when you really only need a ball-peen hammer)) position.
I think we also need a spam fighter position, but that might not be possible to implement. It should be a position that allows the person to delete pages with 1 or 2 edits (page creation, marked as spam, maybe as high as 3 or 4 for the bots that repeat edit certain pages) and block users with 1 or 2 edits. The real problem there is how to grant those super-powerful abilities without allowing them to lose their mind and go crazy and destroy the wiki. Of course, if we don't catch it early enough there's going to be those IPs that manage to get to six edits, and those will have to be squashed by a full admin. We will also need a way of tagging those spam accounts so when a full admin passes by they will also know to ban the IP address after a spam fighter has deleted all the pages it created.
Finally, we also need a more active bureaucrat so that we don't have to bug Jeff to promote admin's as well as future moderators and/or spam fighters, and recognize bot accounts as bot accounts. We also should find someone knowledgeable to help Jeff (and maybe he has little helpers) to maintain the actual server. I've done some PHP work, but I've never touched anything deep inside a wiki (I like Ruby and Rails much more). This is my first time gaining admin status on a wiki, so I have no idea what the extra dials and levers do/mean. I look up on the MediaWiki manual and Wikipedia help pages things that I think should be possible, and often times pages exist in places about doing these things, but I'm nowhere near being called knowledgeable. After I finish up some IRL work I'm currently tied up in, I intend to set up a VM webserver on my computers and run a mediawiki install so I can learn how to work (and not break) things without putting explain xkcd in jeopardy.
Another really wordy post from, lcarsos_a (talk) 22:01, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
From what I know, a moderator user group is possible, but not the spam fighter one. Then again, too many hierarchical levels may be too much for such a small body of regulars. Implementing the moderator group is easy, mw:Manual:User rights has the details (the "ninja" example and the "list of permissions" section should be enough for putting together the configuration commands to be added to the wiki's LocalSettings.php).
As for bureaucrats, I think it makes sense but it seems to me that Jeff only takes longer to perform changes that affect the server, as they understandably may take longer or be more complex (or break the wiki!). Bureaucrats' only difference from admins is that they can promote/demote other users, and this Jeff has been doing without delay, so perhaps there isn't a need for more bureaucrats at the moment. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
We do need more sysadmins (people with access to the server), though, for sure. This is a little tricky as none of us is comfortable enough to confidently make server changes in a mediawiki install. Jeff, how about putting the wiki in source control and giving two or three people access to it, so that any wrongdoings can be easily reverted? You could setup a git repository in the server and we could fork it locally to our machines, make tests and push the commits to the server repo whenever they're ready. --Waldir (talk) 17:20, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
This is good stuff. I'm down with promoting more admins for spam fighting. If they screw stuff up we can demote them if necessary. I really haven't found a spam fighting extension that I think will be the best possible solution. I'll keep looking as it may be a combination of things. Server access is much more complicated as it is not even my server and it is shared hosting. I think that would be best to be accessed just by me. --Jeff (talk) 19:10, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Regarding the server, I understand -- your position seems reasonable. In any case, I've been looking for extensions that may help taking some workload out of server actions and make more stuff configurable via the wiki itself. I'll report back if I find something usable.
On another note, how do you feel about promoting more bureaucrats? I suggest Lcarsos who's been consistently active for the past few months. --Waldir (talk) 12:47, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Personally I'd kind of like to go and make some changes myself. Come up with a nice short url pattern and set it up. Upgrade the wiki. etc... Dantman (talk) 02:44, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

The shorter URL is being looked into, although Mediawiki strongly advises against it. As for upgrades to the wiki, monetary donations towards Jeff so he can buy better bit for the server would be appreciated. Davidy²²[talk] 03:06, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
MediaWiki does not advise against it. Half the code currently running short URLs in core was written by me. Same for the new standard for rewrite rules in the new guides. And the tool to automatically generate the config needed to apply short urls to a wiki. Short URLs are not advised against.
We do however strongly advise against installing a wiki in /wiki. Because you do not want to create /wiki/$1 style paths while your script path makes scripts look like /wiki/index.php.
In this case my plan would be to move /wiki to /w then come up with some other short url pattern like /e/$1, some other path, or maybe /$1.
And setup some 301 redirects to redirect from the old urls to the new ones.
And upgrading the version of MediaWiki so that it doesn't have security holes doesn't require server replacement. Dantman (talk) 07:09, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Ohwait, software upgrades. Uh. I knew you were talking about that. Yep. Definitely. The wiki recently had issues with running out of hard drive space, so that was all that was on my mind there.
Also, I thought you had been referring to this. Whoop. Well, you could leave Jeff a message at his talk page to get server access. Davidy²²[talk] 08:05, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I strongly support this. It's been far too long since we decided we'd want the short url scheme (/$1 seems like the best option since it would be simpler/cleaner and allow http://explainxkcd/1234 to point to the correct comic without any extra rewrite rules). While you're at it, I'm sure many would appreciate a look at the current situation with image resizing, which doesn't seem to be working for some reason. Installing Extension:Comments would be awesome, too, as well as Extension:Contribution Scores (live example). I'll ask Jeff to take a look at this thread. --Waldir (talk) 20:07, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Dantman (talk) email me and I'll get you set up with whatever you need. All the suggestions sound good to me. --Jeff (talk) 00:10, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Also, the Contribution Scores are up. I'm not even top 10 all time, I need to step up my game. Comments will take more work as it needs its own database. --Jeff (talk) 00:10, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Awesome! I did some styling changes to make it more interesting :) Let me know what you guys think about it! --Waldir (talk) 20:32, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Holy crud, what did you do when the wiki started to have almost double my lifetime score? Davidy²²[talk] 23:57, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Hahahah :P I'm pretty sure I cheated a little, IIRC there was an image renaming operation for which I used mwclient ;) --Waldir (talk) 03:22, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Sort by numbers in categories

I noticed that in Category:Comics all comics are sorted correctly by numbers; but not in any subcategory. (I didn't really get the explanation of how it works on the comics page.) How to fix this? -- St.nerol (talk) 10:40, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

The comics template uses a template called num4 that turns the number in the comic number field into a four-digit number. That's then passed as a parameter to the category link, and the comics category page sorts articles by those four-digit numbers instead of their actual names. If we wanted to do the same for other categories, we would have to type them all out as [[Category:Politics|0200]], or whatever the comic number is. I would rather wait for mediawiki to come out with an in-built feature to solve this. Davidy22[talk] 11:28, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Is there a reason that the template applies that directly to Category:Comics and not as a default sortkey via DEFAULTSORT? – Philosopher Let us reason together. 12:10, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
Good thinking. Using DEFAULTSORT oughta make it work for all categories. I'll give it a try. --Waldir (talk) 15:37, 1 January 2013 (UTC)


I haven't been here (to edit) for a while, but have we still not addressed the bug that doesn't allow image resizing? I know most of us don't have access to that kind of lower-level coding on the site, but I think it's a bit of a notable issue that we can't display comics smaller than their actual size. TheHYPO (talk) 14:24, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Take it up with User:Jeff, but I suspect that adding your voice to the already insistent roaring that images are broken isn't going to inspire much change. lcarsos_a (talk) 18:08, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Incidental Ads

as ive noticed i think you should check if someone has embeded some of your links with ads really annoying please fix

--TheWeatherMan (talk) 14:00, 23 January 2013 (UTC)TheWeatherMan

Do you have any specific examples of this? By the way, using punctuation, capitalization, spell check, and complete sentences are more likely to get someone to help you. lcarsos_a (talk) 18:10, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
There is known malware (both adware and viruses) that makes Wikipedia look like it has ads. This wiki uses the same wiki software, so perhaps that malware affects our site too? – Philosopher Let us reason together. 05:42, 15 February 2013 (UTC)


Now that explainxkcd redirects straight to the wiki, could we take the /wiki/ out of the url? I'd also like the wiki's edit log to be purged to clean out the history and forget about past spam, but that's probably wishing for too much. Davidy22[talk] 04:06, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

But seriously, could the /wiki/ go? It'll screw with the spammers for a day or two, at the very least. Davidy22[talk] 11:37, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Newbie questions: Comic dates, previous-and-next-comic buttons

Just created the my first page, 220: Philosophy, but I could use a little guidance. How do I find the date that an xkcd comic was originally posted, and how do I rig up the previous-comic and next-comic arrows on a page? (Actually, I've noticed several pages that should have the arrows but don't.) Ekedolphin (talk) 11:19, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Those arrows will automagically insert themselves when you make the adjacent comic explanations. There *is* a little backstage magic that needs to be taken care of, but we can do that for you. Davidy22[talk] 11:40, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
    • OK. How about the dates? Ekedolphin (talk) 11:41, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Click on "All Comics" in the navbar on left-hand side of the site. The dates are in the form YYYY-MM-DD. Davidy22[talk] 11:56, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
The comic template checks for the existence of the numerical redirect for the comic before and the comic after. If it finds the page to exist it will display the next/previous button as appropriate. So, by creating the redirects listed on the List of all comics (third column, only worry about the number and title links) future pages will automatically get the links created. Redirect pages look like #REDIRECT [[####: Comic Title]] and that's it (here is a link to the redirect page with redirect disabled so you can look at the source to see what I'm talking about). That's all that needs to exist on the number and title redirects. If you feel up to creating them yourself, feel free, otherwise someone else goes through occasionally and mass adds all the missing redirects. lcarsos_a (talk) 17:55, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Error message

I've been getting this error message a lot the last cup'o days. When trying to access a page; when trying to save changes on a page. Any ideas on why? I'm getting it on both chrome and firefox.

Database error
A database query syntax error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software. The last attempted database query was:
(SQL query hidden) from within function "Revision::insertOn". Database returned error "1142: INSERT command denied to user ::'dbo423085716'@'' for :table 'text' (db423085716.db.1and1.com)".

St.nerol (talk) 22:54, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Every once in a while I get a SQL error being reported, but usually I can simply F5 and the page comes up. Every once in a while it seems like the server load is just so that somebody gets lucky enough to see the server error out. I don't think there's much we can do about this, other than move the wiki onto a more powerful server. But, there are no ads on this site, there is no revenue model, just a very kind person paying for hosting that keeps this site up. I'm more than willing to overlook a few hiccups for the continuing availability of explain xkcd. lcarsos_a (talk) 07:12, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I get those too, but St. Nerol was talking about something that happened recently with the server running out of hard drive space and throwing SQL errors every time someone tried to make large edits. I had to find Jeff on twitter because I'd get SQL errors when I tried to edit his talk page. He's looking into history deletion plugins, to clear out our vast archives of deleted spam and obsoleted prototype comic templates. Davidy²²[talk] 08:10, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Install a caching reverse proxy to handle heavy load

According to returned headers, this server runs from Apache directly. I would recommend setting up a reverse caching proxy in front of Apache to handle high traffic load (like, e.g. current load). The one I use is nginx (http://nginx.org/) -- admins, drop me an email if you need help setting it up Fry-kun (talk) 21:38, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

The standard software to use is either Squid or Varnish. Nginx is a bit too much of a webserver to be configured in the way MW needs iirc. Although nginx would help with serving the static assets. Unfortunately there will be a need to switch to a proper server first. The site seems to be hosted on shared hosting. Dantman (talk) 04:59, 27 March 2013 (UTC)