RationalWiki:Technical support

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Herein goeth anything regarding the technicalities of the wiki

  • Problems with accessing/editing the wiki
  • Problems with MediaWiki/HTML/CSS/Javascript/etc.
  • Questions about RW's configuration/extensions/servers/etc.
  • In short, anything tech-y goes here

External links


If your IP is blocked from editing as an open proxy

  • You need to go to your provider about it. The lists we use are xbl.spamhaus.org, dnsbl.tornevall.org, all.s5h.net. If your IP is on one of these lists, then your provider has a serious problem they need to resolve. We cannot get your ISP out of the blacklist.

Content dumps (sticky)[edit]

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All of the internal links to backups on RationalWiki:Content dumps fail. Also, what is the status of @David Gerard's archive.org port? Bongolian (talk) 02:15, 29 August 2018 (UTC)

yeah, they're all old. No, haven't pushed that forward at all, sorry - David Gerard (talk) 12:27, 29 August 2018 (UTC)
@David Gerard reminder to do this -- might be convenient to do on same day you take elections live Fuzzy. Cat. Potato! (talk/stalk)

I made some dumps and uploaded them to archive.org. -- Tim Starling (talk) 12:07, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

Thank you, @Tim Starling! Bongolian (talk) 17:54, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

2019 software upgrade (sticky)[edit]

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  • Modernize Rationalwiki with things invented since 2017 (MediaWiki 1.27).


n.b. OATHAuth gives users the option of using two-factor authentication.

Other things to do at the same time:


  • Setup a template to enable WikiSEO descriptors and an edit filter to avoid direct use.
  • Check that everything we already have won't break.


  • Wikis, specifically Wikipedia, have several new features that weren't around when the site was last upgraded. The notable upgrades include Scribunto, a Lua template engine which is supposedly faster and easier to use (it allows for some advanced templates to be copied from the wikipedians who know how it works anyway). MobileFrontend and it's skin, which switches the sites reading view on mobile devices to a "mobile compatible" mode (users can switch back), it does make pages significantly easier to read on mobile devices. TemplateStyles allows per-page or per-template css styles, it uses a sanitized set of css rules to avoid security issues, this can be used to enable @media queries for templates to display differently on different devices. 'Thanks' is the extension which gives you the option to ping people for an edit, it is kinda optional but practically all other wikis have it. And finally, WikiSeo allows for a template which invisibly controls how a page displays when shared on social media, you can specify a description and image which, using semantic meta markup will be used by facebook/google/etc instead of a pretty random looking link.

Comments, feedback, ideas and support/oppose of the proposed thingys welcome. — Dysk (contribs) 15:54, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

Nerd's comments[edit]

I'm all for modernizing our infrastructure, as long as what we already have do not break. I really like the "Thanks" template. I first saw it on Wikipedia a couple years ago (when someone thanked me) and have used it occasionally ever since. The "Timeless Skin" looks like something the gods would approve. The Multimedia Viewer is something I almost always forget we don't have because it is so intuitive.

Sorry if this is implied, but most of it is too technical for me. Will this upgrade include the visual edit gadget? I have been using it on Wikipedia for a quite some time now, and I love it! Finding the appropriate templates, citing sources, editing equations, changing photographs or illustrations. Amazing!

While we are at it, does this proposed upgrade include the template that automatically converts units for you? It looks like this on Wikipedia. If you typed {{convert|1|mi|km}}, the output would be 1 mile (1.6 km). I find this template very convenient. Nerd (talk) 18:42, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

The list I presented doesn't include Visual Editor. Although to be clear the main reason I left the Visual Editor thing out, is because it requires a very complicated additional setup so may be better suited as another task. However, the convert template would be made possible with Scribunto which I have listed up there, so that is included. — Dysk (contribs) 22:26, 7 February 2019 (UTC)
@Dysklyver I see. The visual editor can be a little resource-intensive. Thanks! When will this upgrade be implemented? Nerd (talk) 03:01, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
I hope sometime this year, if everyone agrees and it gets organised properly. — Dysk (contribs) 14:22, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
It's only February, but there is no harm in getting started early. How to get organize ourselves for it? Nerd (talk) 16:18, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
We need to finalize a set of things we want, get general agreement for it, and ideally test it all works on a test wiki, before then asking for it to be deployed, bearing in mind that Tmtoulouse/David Gerard are the operations people. The main thing is not to break the wiki, and the other thing is not to add things that will be there by default that everyone hates. — Dysk (contribs) 16:37, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── How about setting up a sub-page, "2019 upgrade" for bullet point items, etc. for the implementation. – Dbz (talk) 00:30, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

I hate the "visual edit gadget". Palaeonictis Fossil beds 10:20, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

@Dysklyver Last time I check Trent Toulouse was a university professor. (David Gerard appears to be a programmer and book author.) This means we can potentially get this done before summer is out. Nerd (talk) 22:47, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

@Dysklyver Why hasn't this been done yet? What exactly is the problem? Damn. BlackWhite Speak 22:39, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
A combination of laziness and procrastination. Somebody needs to figure out if certain existing extensions would work nicely with the proposed new software. — Dysk (contribs) 23:31, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

The visual editor is amazing for doing proper citations, which is a big problem on RW from what I can see (too many bare URLS). However I understand it is a large task. Debunky (talk) 02:03, 30 March 2020 (UTC)

The time approaches[edit]

I did the last MW upgrade, and I expect I'll do the next one too, some time in the near future. MW 1.27 is EOL so it needs to be done so that we can continue to receive security upgrades. I'd be comfortable installing the WMF-deployed extensions Dysklyver proposed above, specifically CategoryTree, CodeEditor, MultimediaViewer, OATHAuth, Scribunto, MobileFrontend, TemplateStyles, Thanks and the skin Timeless. I think VisualEditor is a reasonable stretch goal, if you want that.

Instead of WikiSEO, which is unmaintained and not in Gerrit, I would suggest OpenGraphMeta, which is in Gerrit and is written by a well-known author, or PageImages, which is simple but WMF-deployed.

The servers also need to be upgraded to Ubuntu 18.04. I'm thinking about the order of operations. Traditionally you do the OS upgrade first, so that you're more likely to have the dependencies needed by the new MW version. Linode's volume feature is now out of beta and available in Newark, which opens up some new possibilities for the kind and number of instances.

If anyone wants to help, the number one thing that needs to be done is to test the RationalWiki-specific extensions against MW 1.31 and to update them as needed. They are all in RationalWiki's GitHub, but nobody has ever submitted a pull request against them despite their comically bad state. Note that I moved Wigo3 to Gerrit, so the GitHub version is outdated and non-canonical. Wigo3 is the best of RationalWiki's extensions. -- Tim Starling (talk) 11:22, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

This is great. I won't specifically comment on the OS and how the load balancing works since I don't deal with that here, but as far as the extensions are concerned;
The rationale for WikiSEO was to generate descriptions for Google Search, and to get our articles to display previews on social media and chat applications, as a Wikipedia article would do if linked. Now it seems to me that OpenGraphMeta will generate previews for Facebook and presumably most social media sites, however it occurs to me that we could benefit from also installing Description2 from the same author to get the Google Search descriptions which are currently rather lacklustre.
I am not personally bothered about VisualEditor either way, since from a technical viewpoint it needs that additional Parsoid service I think it would be an optional thing to do if you think that isn't too hard to setup and maintain. I don't know how the mob would consider it, I believe it is still generally a good extension but older editors hate using it, heh. :)
Otherwise, all good. :) — Dysk (contribs) 12:49, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Just think about how you want to spend my time, in priority order, and I'll think about how far down the list I want to go. What do you want more: VisualEditor or, say, analytics? Apparently Robert Lazar is the most popular article on this wiki. Is that something you want to know? Does that make you want to improve it? -- Tim Starling (talk) 13:52, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Most important things on this list would be MobileFrontend and it's associated skin. And in my personal opinion analytics is better than the Visual Editor. The rest is good to have but also easy-ish to install so not a huge concern I suppose. — Dysk (contribs) 20:17, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Hell no to Visual Editor. Oxyaena Harass 22:46, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm with Oxyaena on that.   — Jeff G. ツ 12:19, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I think the main thing we can be said to need is something that works on mobile without looking like a web page for ants. I realise this is not a tiny thing of course - David Gerard (talk) 14:37, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm going to second Dysklyver and David Gerard on prioritizing MobileFrontend. The main reason I created an account here (which I just now finally got around to doing) is to request a proper mobile view. I'm not picky. I just want *something*! (I don't particularly care either way about any of the other MediaWiki extensions under discussion.) ThisIsMyRealName (talk) 11:59, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

Visual Editor[edit]

Please enable Visual Editor. It is such a better experience than source code editing, especially for adding references. Hmmph (talk) 19:27, 29 November 2020 (UTC)

I disagree. People who edit using visual editor when knowing wikitext are monsters, but it does help bringing new good faith edits from new users. In my opinion, it is certainly something that should come.𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 03:37, 4 December 2020 (UTC)
Then I am a monster. Hmmph (talk) 17:46, 6 December 2020 (UTC)
Visual Editor comes with 1.35, whenever we get around to that - a proper PHP version it seems, functional, well-integrated and with seven years' development - David Gerard (talk) 20:23, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
The PHP version is a reimplementation of "Parsoid" in PHP. Parsoid is a wikitext parsing service that VisualEditor highly relies on. I wouldn't necessarily say it says much about the stability of VE. Techpriest (I am Alpharius! / Pencil.png / Tux icon.png / Shield.png) 20:45, 12 December 2020 (UTC)

In general I would advocate hewing to Wikipedia's general look and feel as much as possible in terms of standard MediaWiki extensions. Most of the more controversial ones can be disabled in one's user preferences, and maintaining some degree of consistency makes it easier for Wikipedia editors to get up and running on RationalWiki. — ThisIsMyRealName (talk) 22:31, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

Running a Beta Subdomain?[edit]

The MediaWiki update thread has been largely dormant in terms of actually progressing with the updates. It seems like the sticking point is that the various custom extensions in use have to be tested against the new version to make sure that the new version doesn't break any of them. However, it seems like it wouldn't be possible to test the extensions against the new version of MediaWiki without actually installing it first, which creates a kind of chicken-and-egg problem.

My suggestion, then, is... would it be possible to install a separate MediaWiki instance, located at, for example, beta.rationalwiki.org, that would run off the same backend database? That way, the primary frontend would remain the outdated version of MediaWiki that is known to (more or less) work properly, while intrepid users could choose to run the beta frontend, with a specific eye towards identifying any broken extensions.

You could probably also implement some sort of cookie-based redirect for users to be able to opt in to automatically using the beta frontend whenever they visit the site (e.g. from a DuckDuckGo search result), but I don't know what would be involved in doing that.

You would probably also want to set up some sort of "beta portal" explaining the purpose and scope of the beta frontend and including places where beta users can report bugs.

@Tim Starling you seem like the person who would be in a position to do something like this. Is there any specific way I could help move this process along? – ThisIsMyRealName (talk) 22:26, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

This already exists https://test35.rationalwiki.org/wiki/Main_Page, although evidently it wasn’t well advertised. Christopher (talk) 22:32, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

Email notifications etc.[edit]

Email notifications and updates are now taking 3+ days to happen. Bongolian (talk) 06:43, 18 April 2022 (UTC)

Email notifications, new page additions to the search engine, and updates to category pages are still not happening, so I would assume whatever process(es) that does them is broken. Bongolian (talk) 03:37, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
David Gerard seems to have fixed these problems by "running runJobs.php by hand" (User talk:David Gerard# Categories. Bongolian (talk) 17:34, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
yeah, I have no idea why these weren't running. I'm currently unwell so only paying desultory attention to the tech details, but at least the job queue is clearing.
Images remain a bigger problem. We basically filled the disk, and the answer is more disk. But I'm in no condition to think coherently about it at present - 18:53, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
Thanks, David. Take good care of your health! Bongolian (talk) 19:16, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
It seems that Andrew Wommack and Diamond are the two pages that still are not entirely working. Plutocow (talk) 20:56, 14 May 2022 (UTC)

Glitch attempting to upload a file.[edit]

I removed a picture of a Baphomet statuette I had uploaded to replace with the same taken at night. Got this error after that failed and tried to upload the file as a new one:

Could not store file "/tmp/phpcB1uZc" at "mwstore://local-backend/local-public/c/c9/Solve_Coagula.jpg"

Other times I got an error message similar to the one noted above, at the "File upload problem" post. EDIT. Get a similar error attempting to restore the deleted file. Panzerfaust (talk) 07:51, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

Yeah, I've been dealing with similar issues in the past couple of weeks. Plutocow (talk) 07:59, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
I've dusted off my old Wikipedia account and uploaded the picture to Commons until it's fixed. Never mind for now. Panzerfaust (talk) 08:56, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
I am also getting that problem. The last successful file upload was April 19 according to the upload log. Bongolian (talk) 17:02, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
The disk filled. I cleared some space, and you can upload again for the moment, but the fundamental problem is we need more space on the image disk - David Gerard (talk) 18:54, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
The image problem seems to still be there. I got the same type of error message ("Could not store file "/tmp/phpc12cNQ" at "mwstore://local-backend/local-public/b/bd/Cointelpro1.jpg") when trying to upload a 567 Kb file. Bongolian (talk) 19:24, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
yep, the 400 MB I cleared just got used! (Probably auto-created thumbnails.) I'll see if there are any more images that can clearly be deleted, though I don't like my chances - David Gerard (talk) 22:37, 14 May 2022 (UTC)

Vandal catcher[edit]

Could someone with tech rights patrol the currently unpatrolledable edits in the vandal catcher? I'd do it but The quirks of Mediawiki won't let me. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 17:52, 7 May 2022 (UTC)

@GrammarCommie If you can describe how to do it, I can take care of it. I think I read the procedure once but never tried it. Bongolian (talk) 04:57, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
@Bongolian Supposedly you can just restore and patrol, but since the pages have been deleted and recreated so many times, that seems to have an issue. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 11:36, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
Yes, this crop of unpatrolled pages appear to be unlike others insofar as they cannot be restored for patrolling. Bongolian (talk) 15:22, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
Indeed, hence my tech support request. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 15:32, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

Deletion of RW redirect talkpages[edit]

Can someone delete Talk:RW:LOVE, Talk:RW:HELP, and Talk:RW:WIGO? These pages are literally broken, to the point that they can't be linked to properly, but exist in the search bar and Talk pages for deleted articles. Plutocow (talk) 07:21, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

These are inaccessible like the pages mentioned above that show up in the vandal catcher (Vandal catcher). It might be a related problem to other system failures that have not been fixed (Email notifications etc. (sticky)). Bongolian (talk) 15:27, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
These may be possible to fix with the namespaceDupes.php maintenance script. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 21:33, 14 May 2022 (UTC)


Can we get a bot run to clear the categories from Category:Authoritarian moonbattery, Category:Libertarian moonbattery, Category:Liberal moonbattery, Category:Authoritarian wingnuttery, Category:Conservative wingnuttery,Category:Libertarian wingnuttery and Category:Nationalist wingnuttery? Consensus to delete was reached over a month ago but were not deleted because there are too many to remove by hand and we need a bot run for it to be closed. Andrew5 (talk) 14:43, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

@Techpriest Andrew5 (talk) 01:03, 12 May 2022 (UTC)
I'm removing the articles now. -- Techpriest (talk) 19:51, 17 May 2022 (UTC)

Latex busted[edit]

I was looking at the page for Gaussian distribution and noticed that there is an error in a place where Latex had been used to display a formula. I know that this formula displayed properly in the past. If I check the revision history, it is broken on the past revisions as well, so it wasn't an edit to the article itself that broke it. Vomitorium (talk) 17:29, 19 May 2022 (UTC)

Yeah, it's been broken for a while. About a year ago, I tried editing the article on 0.999... to convert some of the text to LaTeX, but it didn't work, so I gave up. I even tested in my sandbox and it didn't work. A fix would be appreciated. LongStylus (talk) 17:37, 19 May 2022 (UTC)
I swear it worked on the Gaussian distribution page only a month ago. Vomitorium (talk) 17:54, 19 May 2022 (UTC)
I noticed a year ago that old LaTeX code would still work, but newer ones wouldn't, such as the ones I wanted to make to 0.999... I should've brought this up to tech support at the time, but I was lazy. Sorry about that! LongStylus (talk) 17:55, 19 May 2022 (UTC)
It’s probably because the image disk is full, see RationalWiki_talk:Technical_support#Sidebar_icons. Christopher (talk) 19:44, 19 May 2022 (UTC)