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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 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.
Monday, April 18th, 2016 02:21 pm (UTC)
I am especially excited about the Rich Text Editor and the mobile friendly module. The disambiguation page looks like a useful tool to restore.

To see what a page will look like with the editor:

Is there a sample page to see what the mobile version would look like?
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 05:01 am (UTC)
Thank you for posting the link to the VisualEditor, it's helpful to see it in action! (One note -- It came up as the default "source editor" for me until I clicked the pencil in the upper-right of the edit box.)

We'll be sure to post some screenshots along with more info about the extensions we plan to add after the upgrade next week. We're still researching them all at the moment ^^.

The mobile-view extension we're looking at is the same extension that Wikipedia uses, MobileFrontend, so Fanlore's mobile version would look a lot like Wikipedia's mobile version. Right now I only have a screenshot of what Fanlore's homepage would look like with MobileFrontend, but I'll make sure to get a screenshot of an actual article in mobile view to include in the next post!
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 05:23 am (UTC)
Is this the correct VisualEditor Sandbox? (then click on edit)
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 03:27 am (UTC)
Yay for keeping current!

I hope we can make the search engine index changes a bit faster.
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 05:06 am (UTC)
Yay for keeping current indeed! :D

The search engine indexing is absolutely something we’ll be revisiting after the upgrade, sorry for the continued issues. We currently do a complete reindexing weekly, so the search results should never be more than a week out-of-date (though I know that a week is still too long!). But if you see any pages still not coming up in search after a week, please let us know!
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 04:39 pm (UTC)
I'll be sorry to see the hit counters go; I didn't know they weren't accurate.

Yay to better spam filters!

Does "Category pages can be moved" mean we will be able to update a category all at once?

Yay to collapsing recent changes!

Yay to a "thank you" button! This will operate like "kudos" on AO3?

Thank you to the committee for working on this upgrade. :)

~ Mrs. Potato Head
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 05:24 am (UTC)
(tl;dr to follow, sorry about that!)

I’m sorry to lose the hit counters too, but I do think that no hit counters are better than inaccurate ones, and unfortunately there’s not much we could do to make them more accurate... I believe that was one of the reasons they were removed from the newer versions of MediaWiki.

“Category pages can be moved” doesn’t mean that the categories on each Fanlore article in a moved category will automatically change, sadly. It just means that you will be able rename categories like you can any other page, without having to just copy&paste (and thus lose the page histories of the category pages, etc.). And like when you move normal pages, a redirect will automatically be created so that when you click on a link to a “moved” category you will taken to the new one. The details of the change can be viewed here, and Wikipedia has some info about How to move a category—much of that will apply to Fanlore too.

That said, even though the category members won’t automatically be edited to update to the new category when a category is moved, we should never have to do it manually for big categories. We have a mass edit tool (which gardeners should have access to via the mailing list) that should be able to do these kinds of edits quickly and easily. Additionally, if a category is added to articles via a template--which I believe is the case for most of our really large categories--then we only have to update the category name on the template page itself and it will change on all the pages that use the template. So one way or another we’ll avoid doing hundreds of manual category changes!

For “Thanks" — You can’t quite apply AO3’s kudos system to a wiki, so maybe “kudos for Fanlore” wasn’t the best way to describe it x). With that extension, you can give “thanks” to a particular user for a particular edit; it wouldn’t be a kudos-like tally for the whole article (though that would be cool too! but I don’t know of an existing extension that would do it). Thanks are recorded in a public log like any other wiki edit, letting you keep track of all the times you have been thanked (or that anyone else has been thanked, or that you have thanked someone, ...). You can see Wikipedia’s “Thanks log” here. We’ll explain this all a little better in a new post after the upgrade.

I’m glad your excited for the new features and improvements! I am too :D
Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 02:12 pm (UTC)
The "thanks log" is a good addition to Fanlore, enhancing the sense of community interactions.
Friday, April 29th, 2016 04:03 am (UTC)
I have a wiki redirect on my user pages because I like my second letter to be capitalized. I can edit my user page but not my talk page, it says

User account "MSilverstar" is not registered. Please check if you want to create/edit this page.

If this is a real problem, I'll switch my user pages to Msilverstar, it's not that big a deal to me. But someone else might hit the same error.
Sunday, May 1st, 2016 09:38 pm (UTC)
Usernames are case sensitive, so we can rename your account to "MSilverstar" if you'd like, and that would take care of this problem. Contact the Wiki Committee and we can sort it out for you :)