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[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 FuzzyCatPotato!™ (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)

<math> sometimes not working[edit]

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See eg infinity or relativity. The categories that are meant to catalogue this sort of error (Category:Pages with math render errors and Category:pages with math errors) don’t seem to be up to date, probably caching issues. Christopher (talk) 14:34, 4 November 2022 (UTC)

See also The Equation of Creation. This page renders dozens of big red math errors, throws a "503 Service Unavailable" error, or a 500 error. Clearly, something about the math extension is making the software very ill. —cosmikdebris talk stalk 15:19, 4 November 2022 (UTC)
Would this be something only capable of being fixed by the sysadmins and not by the techs then? Vee (talk) 16:24, 4 November 2022 (UTC)
This is almost certainly a server-side issue so the system admins are the only ones that can address it. —cosmikdebris talk stalk 16:25, 4 November 2022 (UTC)
Good to know I'm not the only one having this problem. My latest edits were supposed to have some equations. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 01:07, 8 November 2022 (UTC)

This appears to be what's breaking one of our gold pages (see "page still won't load") below. Maybe relevant: https://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=Topic:Uo3kkmmop1jj9vhw&topic_showPostId=v2pfwaghxx0fmu0c, https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Topic:Tqkr5mdviskc8fmk Christopher (talk) 00:01, 14 January 2023 (UTC)

The problem here is from what I can tell that the Math extension (which gives us these tags) just offloads all rendering functionality to a service named Mathoid. By default its apparently meant to call a Mathoid service deployed by the Wikimedia Foundation, but this doesn't appear to be working properly. This has been broken for a while actually (2 years or so), just not in any way most people would notice; if you had your Math rendering settings set to PNG with SVG fallback you'd be able to get it rendered without using Mathoid. In Mediawiki 1.32, Mathoid became required even for the PNG renderer (...few words begin to describe how much disdain I have for the WMF to offload this sorta thing to services they control but that's neither here or there). As for how to fix it; barring deploying our own Mathoid + RESTbase instance, I have absolutely no idea. We could set the upstream URL to a different RESTbase instance? -- Techpriest (talk) 17:03, 14 January 2023 (UTC)
Some people in the linked thread were saying that switching from wikimedia (the default) to wikipedia resolved their issue. You'd add the following line to RWsettings:
$wgMathFullRestbaseURL = 'https://en.wikipedia.org/api/rest_v1/';
Christopher (talk) 21:34, 14 January 2023 (UTC)
I think the problem is that the default rendering mode in MW 1.35 is PNG, but PNG support was removed from Mathoid in December 2022. MW 1.35 did support the MathML mode which is the default now, so just removing the PNG mode would probably work. Also upgrading MediaWiki would presumably fix it. -- Tim Starling (talk) 13:33, 21 November 2023 (UTC)
Actually, it looks like it's just timeouts. Not sure of the root cause but we do send a lot of requests. There's no caching at all in the RESTBase mode -- every time you render a page it sends two requests for each math tag. We may have to run our own Mathoid instance. -- Tim Starling (talk) 00:30, 22 November 2023 (UTC)
This is something that could really use fixing, as debunking pseudo-math requires readable math. I tried to lighten the use of math modules as much as possible in the article on Crown Sterling, and when that didn't work, by moving parts of it to separate article, but not even the smaller article rendered properly. —Nomoresecrets (talk)

Now reference tooltips work in all namespaces[edit]

Previously, hovering over references in pages showed a tooltip in only a few namespaces. Now it also works in drafts, essays, etc. You may need to do a hard refresh in your browser, to reload the gadget's Javascript, for the change to take effect. Turns out this was a trivial change to make which could be done by just editing a page. Mentioned on mw:Talk:Reference Tooltips, search for "namespace". This little flaw, tooltips not showing on drafts and essays, had been bugging me for some time. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 09:48, 15 January 2024 (UTC)

P.S. For later upgrading of this wiki. This tweaked old gadget can be replaced with a fresh copy of the latest version from MW.org or WP, which also doesn't have that old issue. It's bigger in code, and seems to be adapted for mobile browsing, going along well with other changes for mobile. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 12:29, 15 January 2024 (UTC)

So did we ever figure out why the "Modern Science in the Bible" article is inaccessible?[edit]

Hi Techs. Sorry for the disturbance.

Our boy Postuhenin told me that they couldn't reach the "Modern Science in the Bible" article on their phone. I tried on my laptop and all I got was

This page isn’t working

rationalwiki.org is currently unable to handle this request.


I see further up this page that Panzerfaust spoke of this issue in May. Over on the talk page for the article (which is still accessible) I see that LGM and Kelson were discussing this matter in January of last year.

We ever figure out what the heck happened? If you guys peep the Wayback Machine there are regular archives for this page until 16 June 2022. This is what the article looked like on that day. I'm no expert of course, but... it doesn't look super long. Nor does it seem to have any crazy, fancy formatting. Looks like most of our other similar articles... so what makes this one special? I see that our site was updated to MediaWiki 1.35 in June of 2022. Is there a connection? - Rairyu75 (Talk) 16:29, 15 January 2024 (UTC)

@Rairyu75 This article indeed has crazy, fancy formatting that our current mediawiki version can't handle. The problems are almost certainly an issue left over from the last mediawiki upgrade.
The article uses a cross-referenced bibliography reference scheme, which is rarely used in other articles. It also makes a lot of use of the math extension, which has known issues here.
The problem is most likely a memory issue on the server side, and/or some mediawiki startup parameter. I've looked at the article's current source and there is no easy way to split it into more digestible chunks without wrecking the references.
I'll do some more debugging and see if I can find a solution. —cosmikdebris talk stalk 22:09, 15 January 2024 (UTC)
@Cosmikdebris Ah fudge. Well, that explains the whole thing. Thank you for looking into it Cosmik. (Also, if you can't fix it... wanna just nuke it? And then maybe I could like, use the archives.org version to replicate it? Would take a bit of time, of course, but it might be doable...) - Rairyu75 (Talk) 22:27, 15 January 2024 (UTC)
I would never propose nuking the article, for Bob's sake it's gold rated. I think it can be fixed but it'll take a little bit of work. —cosmikdebris talk stalk 23:02, 15 January 2024 (UTC)
Works fine for me. I don't know what the heck you guys are talking about. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 00:19, 16 January 2024 (UTC)
@DuceMoosolini That's cause Cosmik tweaked it and put up a {{WiP}} where the bulk of the article was. If that's reverted it will go back to being inaccessible. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 00:24, 16 January 2024 (UTC)
I suspect that the problems with loading the page are a combination of too many calls to the wiki math module + higher system load. A version of the page that I created with fewer calls to the math module worked fine late at night but not early in the morning. A perhaps temporary solution will be to use a version with more plain-text equations and minimal calls to the math module. Bongolian (talk) 19:10, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
It's almost certainly the math module. I noticed the same issue earlier today on Crown Sterling. —cosmikdebris talk stalk 19:16, 29 January 2024 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It's working here. If you guys wanna take a look at the source code of the page to create it anew, here it is.[1] GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 19:50, 29 January 2024 (UTC)

Oh, nevermind, guess I'm stupid. I think I can only see an older version of the page. Still, should we remove the gold star then? GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 19:53, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
Yikes. I noticed editing the article on Crown Sterling started to cause issues with the back-end and I had to re-render the page multiple times to get the equations to show. But I wasn't expecting it to cause site-wide issues, at most temporary load spikes. The article is now practically feature-complete, and I'd expect it to take at most half a dozen polish edits over the coming weeks. Is it the case the rendering of math syntax to images happens only when edits are made? Can the site handle the article as it is now, or do you want me to lighten it? Nomoresecrets (talk) 06:46, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
Other actions can cause load problems. The Modern Science in the Bible article had been having problems long before you created the Crown Sterling article. When the Modern Science in the Bible page load fails, it just ceases to attempt loading after about half a minute, then leaves a blank page with no error message. Bongolian (talk) 07:07, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
Forgive me, as I'm not a code monkey. Is this problem something fundamental to the software itself? Is it because the coding is conflicting with MediaWiki updates, or something else? I can't imagine this was a problem that existed from the very beginning. Carthage (talk) 07:16, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
The math rendering software extension is misconfigured in terms of scaling well; it seems to require more in MediaWiki versions from more recent years. See comments from Tim Starling pinned earlier on this page. "We may have to run our own Mathoid instance." Otherwise the task is outsourced, and each math tag adds delay to the page it's on until it stops working. Another thing to change with or before the next upgrade, which still is only wished for but not planned. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 20:44, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
I'm getting several "Failed to parse" errors when I load the Crown Sterling page now. Not all the math fails though. Bongolian (talk) 17:53, 12 March 2024 (UTC)

Farsi article look bad format[edit]

Why it go from left to right instead of right to left? 2600:387:F:D14:0:0:0:4 (talk) 00:33, 4 February 2024 (UTC)

Which Farsi article? Bongolian (talk) 00:42, 4 February 2024 (UTC)
All of them. (talk) 01:06, 4 February 2024 (UTC)
I don't know Farsi, but I understand that it's written right-to-left. When I select one of the Farsi articles (تجارت آزاد), it copies right-to-left as it should, and seems to translate correctly into English with Google translate.[2] The person who created these pages is has not edited since 2018. Bongolian (talk) 01:28, 4 February 2024 (UTC)

Why was site down?[edit]

Around 6:40 AM EST I was about to check the site to just get an 503 error. Why? 2600:387:F:4715:0:0:0:8 (talk) 22:55, 8 February 2024 (UTC)

I noticed it too. It was probably a DDoS attack. We had some recently. Bongolian (talk) 00:39, 9 February 2024 (UTC)

Finding a new server?[edit]

Given the seeming increased frequency of DDoS attacks, perhaps it's time to think about moving to a new server that provides better protection against such attacks? Bongolian (talk) 20:11, 10 February 2024 (UTC)

This is more a matter of server configuration (and how the MediaWiki software is set up) than anything else, I think. The server is fairly beefy, but the stuff that DDoS successfuly targets isn't cached at all, so it's re-produced and that takes CPU time, over and over again. No server can protect against inadequate configuration. When it's dynamically generated content, it couldn't even in theory be mitigated by Cloudflare or similar. But there's low-hanging fruit remaining for making the software perform better.
There's a short list of things to look at when upgrading stuff or earlier, basically whenever @Tim Starling is next available and/or someone else gets access and gives it a go. This includes installing wikidiff2 and configuring that so that page diff requests don't burden the server so much. It's one thing that DDoSing has exploited, that such can be slow. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 20:24, 10 February 2024 (UTC)
What with the only 3 people with server access being inactive? 2600:387:F:4711:0:0:0:C (talk) 21:20, 10 February 2024 (UTC)
Over recent years, they've gradually drifted away from being active, and all want others to take over their tasks dealing with the server. The RMF board will meet and discuss what to do about that later this month. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 21:28, 10 February 2024 (UTC)
I wonder how that went. 2600:387:F:D1A:0:0:0:6 (talk) 21:41, 8 March 2024 (UTC)
Slow. There was a meeting, for now two may help take care of the server -- if given access, no word yet on progress with that. Maybe a good time to poke the board again and hear if there's any progress, or else that will probably take until the next meeting in April. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 09:45, 11 March 2024 (UTC)

Another one. Around 9:30 PM EST. 2600:387:F:471B:0:0:0:5 (talk) 02:43, 11 February 2024 (UTC)

Last night, 7:30 PM EST. 2601:586:5300:F6E0:C103:50F8:E16F:567E (talk) 11:41, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
We've noticed. Carthage (talk) 11:42, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
I see the ddosing has stopped. So i guess this is moot for now? 2600:387:F:D15:0:0:0:B (talk) 23:31, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
I guess not. Another one around 10:00 PM EST. 2600:387:F:471B:0:0:0:4 (talk) 04:01, 10 March 2024 (UTC)

Strikeout that was removed over a year ago from a gold article is still on the front page.[edit]

A strikeout on the NaturalNews article was removed a year ago[3], but it's still on the front page.[4] Does anyone know how to fix it? GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 12:21, 15 March 2024 (UTC)

That's because it doesn't display a preview of the live page, but instead a separate "abstract" template, e.g. Template:Cover abstract/NaturalNews. Actually, I think I remember hearing at some point that there's a ton of gold-level articles which could appear on the front page if only someone bothered to create abstracts for them (don't know if this is true but saw somebody say it). Chillpilled (talk) 12:41, 15 March 2024 (UTC)
I have removed the strikeout from the NaturalNews front page text. Cover story (front page) text links can be found here: Help:Cover stories. I count 52 of them. Cover stories (gold rating) can be found here: Category:Cover story articles. There are 48 of them. Bongolian (talk) 17:05, 15 March 2024 (UTC)

I created a new page about Romana Didulo and it was removed[edit]

Hello. I tried to contribute by creating a page about Romana Didulo, a conspiracy theorist who is operating a dangerous QAnon cult in Canada, and the page was removed because someone thinks the illegal things she's done needs citations. I did include references to CBC News articles which detail what she's done that is illegal, and I'm wondering if someone could look into the decision to delete my contribution on this -- I put a significant amount of work into writing this article, selected the appropriate news articles, and found (and linked) her main web site. (I've made contributions in the past, and do try to help out when I have time.) Thanks. Randolf (talk) 03:38, 25 March 2024 (UTC)

I removed it because it was potentially libelous. You need citations for accusing people of crimes. As far as I can see she's never been convicted, so she's not a criminal in the legal sense. You should work on the draftspace version of the page (Draft:Romana Didulo). Bongolian (talk) 03:44, 25 March 2024 (UTC)

Everything on the internet is potentially libelous, and I did explain to you that her actions are a violation of the Canadian Criminal Code. Also, I did add citations including Romana's web site, but my edits seem to have been completely removed. I would like a different moderator to look into this issue. Thank you. Randolf (talk) 03:48, 25 March 2024 (UTC)

You can raise an issue with moderators here: RationalWiki talk:All things in moderation. If you want, I'll revise the draft article to reflect your subsequent modifications. Bongolian (talk) 04:13, 25 March 2024 (UTC)
I added your changes to the draft page Bongolian linked to. You saved those changes after the page was moved, so it recreated the page in the old location, which was then deleted. Now everything is in the draft, however it shapes up. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 12:40, 25 March 2024 (UTC)

Busted .img's in WIGOCP?[edit]

This discussion was moved here from Conservapedia talk:What is going on at CP?.

Go onto the CP WIGO. You will then see lots of entries which have red-linked .img files at the end. Why? KarmaPolice (talk) 21:23, 26 March 2024 (UTC)

@KarmaPolice Per Conservapedia:What_is_going_on_at_CP?/Instructions:
Caveat: Due to conservative deceit, some page links from this page to Conservapedia may be broken. To help combat this, WIGO items from late September 2008 on have their links to CP automatically uploaded as images to RW. If a link is down, click the img link to see what it was. Also, anyone not wanting to go to CP can use this to see what everyone is talking about.
This feature has been broken since the last mediawiki upgrade at least, and probably longer. It appears that there was a capture bot that would grab a screen shot of a linked CP page, and that bot is asleep or broken. —cosmikdebris talk stalk 22:26, 26 March 2024 (UTC)
Any way this bot can be fixed? I suppose this is a topic more suited for the 'Tech support' page? KarmaPolice (talk) 22:39, 26 March 2024 (UTC)
@KarmaPolice I figured it out. The WIGOCP page uses <votecp> tags instead of the <vote> tags used on the other WIGO pages. The <votecp> tag triggers the inclusion of the capture bot code that makes the busted img links.
I suggest that we quit using the tags that trigger the broken capture bot and update the instructions. Also, we can easily change all the tags in the currently active page to use vote tags. If no one objects, I can do this in a day or two. —cosmikdebris talk stalk 00:11, 27 March 2024 (UTC)
Update: I've changed all the <votecp> tags to <vote> and updated the instructions. —cosmikdebris talk stalk 12:49, 29 March 2024 (UTC)

Another page killed by <math>[edit]

The page Conservation of Information in Search - Measuring the Cost of Success does not load because of excessive use of <math>. It's of interest because it's a refutation of an article on ID written by William A. Dembski. The most recent archived copy is here. Failing the fixing of the math extension, someone with a lot of patience could probably revive it be converting most of it to plain text. The current page can be edited here. Bongolian (talk) 01:37, 28 March 2024 (UTC)

Edit link redirects to main page. Most could be converted, but not sure about the things on and under the sideways M. 2600:387:F:5916:0:0:0:6 (talk) 21:35, 30 March 2024 (UTC)
I fixed the link in Bongolian's comment, it had an error in the URL. The corrected link should work. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 21:42, 30 March 2024 (UTC)

You guys see that silly looking brain logo on this page?[edit]

This one here? How would one make this our logo for the duration of April 1?

Hypothetically speaking... (Nah really, if it's too bothersome don't worry about it, we have bigger fish to fry, of course). - Rairyu75 (Talk) 22:54, 31 March 2024 (UTC)

Is it just me or is the searching function getting slower?[edit]

2600:387:15:2817:0:0:0:5 (talk) 20:42, 10 April 2024 (UTC)

The response time of the website has been sluggish overall for the past few days. Bongolian (talk) 03:03, 13 April 2024 (UTC)
Seems like its getting worse today. 2600:387:15:2812:0:0:0:5 (talk) 21:47, 15 April 2024 (UTC)
Seems to not be getting any better over the days. Could someone identify the problem or try to fix this? Bongolian (talk) 19:34, 18 April 2024 (UTC)
Perhaps the poor caching and diffing mechanisms described above? 2600:387:15:2015:0:0:0:A (talk) 22:36, 18 April 2024 (UTC)
Could be another DDoS. @David Gerard sometimes looks at server logs identifying such, but is only sometimes available. Problem is there's still otherwise no one in any position to do anything (which to change, requires meetings that amount to more than a little talk and scheduling further meetings). If DG reads this, check the Discord for what's new (if you do, that may save a month, someone else is meant to contact you about other stuff but it's taking time). --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 00:03, 19 April 2024 (UTC)