Monday, May 2nd, 2016 11:04 pm
MediaWiki upgrade updates!

We've resolved most of the bugs resulting from the MediaWiki upgrade last week, and are working hard to tie up the remaining loose ends. Thank you to everyone who sent in information! We will be following up on each report individually, and if you notice any other issues, please let us know!

One major issue still outstanding is a problem with page titles containing non-Latin characters or certain punctuation not displaying correctly. This problem is also responsible for the "Database errors" that sometimes appear on other pages linking to them. In order to resolve this, we'll be doing some work on our internal database today, May 3rd, in the evening UTC. During that time, there will be another one- or two-hour window when editing will be turned off, but there should be no downtime.

UPDATE: The database maintenance has been completed successfully, and the character encoding issues have been resolved! Most affected pages have been automatically changed to their correct titles, but there are a few cases (e.g. some titles consisting entirely of Cyrillic, Japanese, or Greek characters) that will need to be moved manually. If you see any pages that still need updating, let us know!

You may have also noticed that the Fanlore Search now has an autocomplete feature! We had some issues with the autocomplete function in the past (which caused it to negatively affect site speed and performance), but the recent upgrades have made several improvements, so we have turned the autocomplete back on on a trial basis. Please let us know if you notice any lags or performance issues with the site!

We will continue to post updates and additional information about the changes and Fanlore's new features, so watch this space!

In other news...

The Wiki Committee has been hard at work on a number of other internal projects and outside requests. We are also working to improve our internal documentation and procedures.

Since our last update, Sierra W. has stepped down from the Wiki Committee, bring our current committee to a total of 7 members. Sierra will remain a Fanlore editor and a Gardener, so look out for her around the wiki!

We would also like to thank everyone who donated or spread the word about the OTW's April Membership Drive! It's fans like you who keep Fanlore and the other OTW projects running, and we are very grateful. If you missed it, remember that you can donate to the OTW at any time!

As of May 2nd, 2016, Fanlore has 38,226 articles which have undergone 663,180 edits. We hope to see you on the (updated!) Recent Changes page!
Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 09:38 pm
Fanlore's upgrade to MediaWiki version 1.26.2 has been successfully completed!

As described in our last post, you will see some aesthetic and functional changes to Fanlore with this new update.

We have also deployed three new MediaWiki extensions: Disambiguator, MobileFrontend, and Thanks. More information about these new features will be posted soon. We are also still looking into the VisualEditor extension, and will be inviting the Fanlore Gardeners to help with testing and feedback before the feature goes live.

Please let us know if you experience any problems with the upgraded site, either in the comments below or via our contact form. We are already aware of and investigating a few small formatting and behavioral bugs, and we will have updates for you soon.

Many thanks to Emufarmers for all his hard work on the upgrade!
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.
Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 05:31 pm
The Wiki Committee has been busy the past two months! We apologize for missing the November newsletter, but we now have a number of updates for you:

Changes to the OTW Board of Directors

As some of you may have heard, the current OTW Board has resigned, effective December 15th. Despite these changes, all of the OTW's projects, including Fanlore, the Archive of Our Own, and Transformative Works and Cultures are operating normally. The Board certainly plays an important role in the management of the OTW, but their role is more focused on oversight and administration – it’s truly our volunteers who keep Fanlore going, and we’re all eternally grateful for their continued dedication and hard work!

For more information, you can read the most recent update from the 2016 Board members-elect, and the Fanlore article on the 2015 Board Election and aftermath, which provides a great background. Thank you to everyone who has been working on it! Further additions and perspectives are welcome, as always.

Fanlore technical issues

Some editors may have noticed slowdowns and error messages on Fanlore at the end of October. These were further symptoms of the site issues that affected AO3, which the OTW's hard-working Systems team were able to identify and resolve for the time being. You can read a report of the incident here at AO3 News.

There have also been issues with Fanlore's search engine recently - thank you to those who brought the problems to our attention! Unfortunately, it looks like our search index auto-updating isn't working as it should, so some search results have been out-of-date. We're still looking into the cause of the problem, but for now we've set the search index to fully update once per week. This means that you won't be able to search during the 2 minutes per week that it takes to update, but at least the index won't ever be more than a week out-of-date.

In other search engine news, we've increased the maximum number of search results returned from 1000 to 3000 results. The limit is to prevent undue strain on the servers when e.g. people search the wiki for "fan" (this gives 15,682 hits in the main namespace, if you're curious!). We believe the new limit will be more than enough for the majority of searches. For more about searching Fanlore, see Help:Searching.

Fanlore editing projects & category discussions

Earlier this month, editors started a discussion about renaming the Celebrities & Real People category. There is no consensus yet and more input is welcome.

Fanlore also has a shiny new Statistics category for Fandom Statistics and editors have been working on documenting a massive meta discussion on Tumblr about the history of fandom. In anticipation of the new Star Wars movie, editors have also been working on the Star Wars The Phantom Menace pages because back in 1999 it was the fandom that ate fandom. So if you are in the mood for a walk down memory lane, check out the pages in the Star Wars TPM Websites, Archives or Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan Fanfiction category.

What other Fanlore editing projects have you been working on?

Monthly editing chats

The Wiki Committee would like to to hold and attend more regular public editing chats, in order to increase transparency and communication between the committee and Fanlore editors. To this end, we will hold an editing chat before at least one of our twice-monthly committee meetings going forward.

The next editing party will be on on Sunday, December 13th at 17:00 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?) in the Fanlore chat room.

We know that these times might not work for everyone, so we encourage Fanlore editors to arrange their own editing parties! Anyone is welcome to choose a time for an editing party and announce it by posting to this Dreamwidth community. You can also ping [ profile] fanlore_news to re-tweet editing party announcements. We hope that this way editors in all timezones can be accommodated!

What's to come?

In December, the Wiki Committee will continue to work on outstanding tasks and respond to outside queries, and hopes to finish up some other behind-the-scenes projects before the new year.

As of December 3rd, 2015, Fanlore has 36,785 articles which have undergone 635,750 edits. We hope to see you on the Recent Changes page!
Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 01:13 am
Both Fanlore and AO3 will be down for scheduled maintenance this Friday, 20th March. The maintenance will take place from 17:30 to approximately 20:45 UTC. (What time is that in my timezone?)

Note that maintenance may also take slightly longer than expected, so there is no need to contact us if you cannot access the site at exactly 20:45 UTC.

For site status updates about the sites please follow [ profile] fanlore_news and [ profile] AO3_Status on Twitter.
Saturday, January 17th, 2015 09:44 pm
You may have noticed some brief downtime this week, when AO3 needed to do some emergency database maintenance. Luckily, Systems was able to finish up database work on Thursday without any additional downtime \o/.

This was not related to our server upgrade earlier this month, which was successful and gave us plenty of new disk space. We are still working on transferring over our spambot-prevention tools, so if you've noticed a minor uptick in spam on the wiki not to worry, things will be back to normal shortly.

We should be downtime-free for the foreseeable future, but, as always, contact the Wiki committee if you experience any problems with the site.
Monday, November 3rd, 2014 10:24 am
It has come to our attention that Fanlore's "Email User" feature (Special:EmailUser) is currently not working for users with Yahoo! email addresses. Unfortunately, this means that if you have a Yahoo! address registered with Fanlore and have attempted to use this feature within the last several weeks, your message may not have gone through.

This affects only users sending messages through the Email User feature; Yahoo! addresses should receive these and other Fanlore emails without issue. If you are currently using a Yahoo! email address at Fanlore, we recommend changing your email address under your user preferences.

This issue is not isolated to Fanlore, and affects many other wikis and mailing lists. (See here for some of the technical details.) Because this is a problem on Yahoo!'s end, there may not be much we can do, though we will continue to search for workarounds.

Please let us know if you are experiencing any other issues with sending or receiving Fanlore emails. We will be sure to keep you apprised of any updates.
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 03:37 pm
Update to our latest post in here.

We know that our ReCaptcha is not working as well as we hoped at the moment and that it's difficult to solve, so we'll be looking for other options, but can't do anything immediately.

If you've been trying to register on, but can't solve ReCaptcha, please click here to send an email requesting a fanlore account (we need to know the username you want and your email address, we'll give you a temporary password, which you can change later on)

We also want to say thank you to people, who has letting us to know that ReCaptcha is hard to solve ♥

- Wiki Committee

Thursday, July 26th, 2012 04:01 pm
Systems has implemented ReCaptcha on Fanlore to prevent spambots from signing up with new accounts. ReCaptcha is an image captcha that is supposed to be more effective against spam than our old math captcha.

Anyone who already has a Fanlore account should never see ReCaptcha. Let us know if you do encounter ReCaptcha, or if you see anything weird, or if (heaven forbid) you see an uptick in spam activity.
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 08:48 am
Hi there,

For some time now, the Wiki Committee has thought about turning off OpenID because it is a hard service to support, and many OpenID servers (such as LiveJournal) have issues with their stability. However, we have 300+ accounts that use OpenID, or who have OpenID registered on their account.

There are three types of OpenID setups:

1. people who have registered using OpenID, but who have not entered an email address or password
2. people who have registered using OpenID but who have entered an email address
3. people who have registered using the standard registration form (and thus provided a username and password), and added an OpenID later.

The first group of users (who have neither an email address nor a password) are encouraged to set an email address in this post, by logging in using OpenID and going to My Preferences and entering an email address in the "Email:" field. They are also encouraged to set a password after setting an email address by entering their username on the User Login page, and clicking "Email new password".

The second group (who have an email address) can simply log out and type in their username on the User Login page, and click the "Email new password" to receive a password. This group is advised to make sure their email address is up to date on the My Preferences page.

Both types of users can change their password after receiving the initial one.

People in the third group will not be affected when OpenID is turned off, though they are encouraged to make sure their email address is up to date on the My Preferences page.

We are not in any rush to turn off OpenID, and please feel free to ask for assistance -- moving over people may take some time, and we'll send out another email/post another post closer to the time when we are ultimately ready to turn it off.

- Amy [The Wiki Committee]
Saturday, February 19th, 2011 12:43 pm
Systems has scheduled 2 hours of downtime to do some back-end work on Sunday, starting at noon Pacific time (UTC -8). The time where you are.

We'll let you know when the site is back up.

ETA: Fanlore is back up.
Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 09:56 pm
It looks like taking the TOC coding out of the templates caused more issues than it fixed, so we've added it back in. We're looking into ways to improve our stylesheets so that we can fix the problems that led us to taking the coding out of the templates in the first place. Thanks for everyone's feedback on this. We'll keep working on it. :)
Sunday, March 14th, 2010 05:18 pm
A quick note to let everyone know that the Sphinx search engine has been installed at Fanlore and is ready for use.

If you have any issues send a message to the wiki committee at wiki [at] transformativeworks [dot] org.

Thanks to everyone who helped out with the testing! We appreciate it!
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 08:09 pm
Just wanted to let you all know that Fanlore will be down on Sunday 3/14/2010 from 3:00pm Eastern Standard Time (UTC -5) to 4:00pm EST to install and test the Spinx search engine extension.

The wiki committee will be testing it after the install, basically just running a few searches. If anyone is around and wants to help out, you can join us in the Fanlore chat room at about 3:30 pm EST to run a few searches and make sure that everything works right.

ETA: Time designations