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, Jr. (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)

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)

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)

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)