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April 17th, 2016

Sunday, April 17th, 2016 11:30 pm
The Wiki Committee has an important announcement!

We will be upgrading Fanlore's MediaWiki software on the evening (UTC) of Tuesday, April 26th. If everything goes according to plan, there should be no downtime, but you will not be able to edit Fanlore for a few hours.

Why the upgrade?
MediaWiki is the software Fanlore and many other wikis, including Wikipedia, are built on.

Fanlore is currently using MediaWiki version 1.19.3, which was released way back in 2012. This version is no longer supported by MediaWiki, which means that we will miss out on security and other critical updates.

We believe that it is important for Fanlore to be upgraded to the latest stable version of the MediaWiki software, version 1.26.2.

What will change?
In addition to bug fixes and performance and security improvements, MediaWiki 1.26 will provide Fanlore with several new tools and features, including:

  • Spam protection improvements
  • Category pages can be moved!
  • Changes to RecentChanges to remove the clutter (several edits to one page can be collapsed)
  • Live page preview when editing (optional, via preferences)
  • Detailed page information (action=info), including the number of users watching a particular page (for example, see the page info for a Wikipedia page)


You can see the release notes at MediaWiki.org for a complete list of changes.

A note on Fanlore's hit counters
The newest version of MediaWiki will remove page hit counters, including those found at the end of each article ("This page has been accessed XXX times."), Special:PopularPages, and the "Most Viewed Pages" section of Special:Statistics.

There is an extension we could add to preserve the hit counters, but unfortunately Fanlore's hit counters are not accurate, and the new extension wouldn't fix them. This is because our server is behind a reverse proxy, which caches pages in their processed form and serves them to visitors. This means that MediaWiki never actually sees most requests, so the total hit count we do see is inaccurate and misleading. Therefore, we will not be adding the extension, and this unfortunately means the end of hit counters and Special:PopularPages on Fanlore.

Adding Extensions
The MediaWiki upgrade will give us the option to add a number of new extensions to Fanlore to add new features and further customize the wiki.

In order to ensure that the MediaWiki upgrade goes as smoothly as possible, new extensions will be added only after the upgrade is complete. However, we would like to invite you to start thinking about what extensions you would like to see on Fanlore, and to let us know your thoughts.

Some extensions that have been previously requested and the Wiki Committee will be looking into include:
  • Disambiguator - The new version of MediaWiki will remove Special:Disambiguations by default, but this will add it back, plus a couple of new tools relating to disambiguation pages.
  • VisualEditor - A rich-text editor for wikis that gives editors an alternative to cumbersome wiki formatting.
  • MobileFrontend - Provides a toggle-able mobile-friendly layout for Fanlore.
  • Thanks - Kudos for Fanlore! Allows logged-in users to thank others for individual edits.


Let us know if you have thoughts on the above extensions or have suggestions for other extensions that might benefit Fanlore!


We're very excited for this upgrade, and hope you are too! Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.