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RationalWiki:Technical support

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Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!

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:

Semi-frequent updates about RW's technical status are available at RationalWiki's blogspot.
To view or suggest changes to configuration files and MediaWiki extensions, see RationalWiki's GitHub.


Users with Tech rights: see Special:ListUsers/tech
Users with root on the servers: David Gerard (dgerard@gmail.com) and Tmtoulouse

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.

Subsection link (sticky)

What extension does Wikipedia use to get the subsection links next to each subsection title? Cømяade FυzzчCαтPøтαтø (talk/stalk) 13:39, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

What r u talking about? ClickerClock (talk) 04:45, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
I think Fuzzy means the "§" link that appears next to the headings, that links to the anchor for that heading. (once again, memorising the ASCII code for section signs comes in handy!) —Kazitor, pending 08:28, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

@FuzzyCatPotato, yall happy now?

See the main article on this topic: Goat § What to do with a Goat and a stool

Encyclopedia § EtymologyWikipedia's W.svg See the Wikipedia article on Encyclopedia § Ancient times. —ClickerClock (talk) 05:24, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

Not what I meant... I mean, that's really good :) But I recall there once being a § link next to the actual sections on a page. I'm not sure where it went. —Kazitor, pending 05:35, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea what you mean. —ClickerClock (talk) 05:44, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Like, on the page there is a heading that says "Subsection link (sticky)". Next to it, either before or after the "edit" link, there was a single, grey "§" link that appended the appropriate anchor to the URL, e.g. §. —Kazitor, pending 06:13, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Screenshot? —ClickerClock (talk) 12:34, 6 December 2017 (UTC)

Subsections playing up (sticky)


I've seen this a few times, it was this revision and the wikitext seems normal. Christopher (talk) 09:33, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

The error occurs when a subsection is immediately before the end of a page. I'd bet that this is a result of the MediaWiki upgrade, but I've really no idea. The FCP Foundation (talk/stalk) 17:06, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
And as these edits should make clear, this only occurs on certain pages. It could also be a template -- maybe something didn't close a div or a span and it's fucking with the subsections. Fuzzy. Cat. Potato! (talk/stalk) 17:07, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
This is not a result of the recent upgrade. This has been an issue for years.—チーズバーガー • めん Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 17:09, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

Captcha (edition 94)

Not a request for help, but pointing out a curiosity: why do I need to do a captcha at work, with a longstanding IP, but not here at home, with a new IP (beyond just ticking "I am not a robot")? Firefox there, chrome here, btw. (talk) 15:11, 18 July 2018 (UTC) (Sophie)

The CAPTCHA is reCAPTCHA, which does its own checks. It's not just ticking a box, I think it looks at mouse movements among other things. I wouldn't be surprised if doing it a lot from home makes it less suspicious of you. —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 22:29, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
The NoCaptcha/ReCaptcha service is supplied by Google. Chrome is Google, Firefox is Mozilla. Anyway Google built a number of identity verification and user tracking features into Chrome which allow it to play nice with Google services where other browsers don't. The NoCaptcha service is tracking your useragent among other things (so it knows your machine and browser), your IP address is no longer a primary factor, to the extent they don't even use it as the primary tracker if they can tag your browser identifier or advertising ID. Google will give you a better NoCaptcha experience if you use their products. (because browser racism)
Google knows that you are not a robot before you even finish loading the page, and contrary to popular belief the checkbox doesn't actually do anything. Your machine and identity details are collected on pageview, and keyboard/mouse movements are being tracked by background scripts, all of which work independently and without the checkbox. Also bear in mind that Google almost certainly knows your home address (they have algorithms to figure it out from your location history), so Kazitor's point about being at home being less suspicious is also a factor, if I travel they will send me alerts about my activity, they are pretty good at that.
In truth there is no reason for the image verification thing they do either, since that is also not used as a direct measure of your humanity, but in fact is training a Google car AI program (it used to be training an OCR program, but thats done now). It's main use is to be difficult for bots to fill out without a background script figuring out its a bot, the images themselves are mainly not relevant, and are cross referenced only against other people for being correct, if all people presented with it gave the wrong answer, Google would accept that, and if the first few people gave the wrong answer, all subsequent users would have to get it wrong in the same way to pass.
The main reason it has the fiddly checkbox is because people feel better about a box they tick than the idea that Google is monitoring their entire lives across almost every website they visit, and that google knows every detail of their device, location, and behaviour. ^_^ This message is approved by Dysklyver Ensign of the Duke of Cornwall.svg (brebmyn) 23:30, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
Since it doesn't seem to be stopping the spambots anyway, do you think it should be replaced with something else? Something not affiliated with Google, hopefully... —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 10:06, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
To be honest the options are rather limited. According to the manual there is something called QuestyCaptcha which asks questions, but it would not take long for spambots to crack this. Wikimedia uses FancyCaptcha which is apparently "used by very few wikis outside WMF if any, probably because of scarce effectiveness." So not promising. I don't think any of the other options are as effective as Google's service.
The only truly effective way I ever found to 'stop' spam was to do what I did on wiki.org.uk (a much smaller wiki). Which was to use the Google captcha and force all new users to have their edits approved via a moderation tool, except on talk pages. I also disabled IP editing, but that was actually for GDPR compliance and not for anti-spam. I am not sure that this setup would work well here, because it doesn't really cut down the amount of patrolling work much, it's main benefit is that you have a clean site if you aren't their all the time. It might also discourage new people from joining, and discourage people from drive by commenting. ^_^ This message is approved by Dysklyver Ensign of the Duke of Cornwall.svg (brebmyn) 10:52, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
"it would not take long for spambots to crack this" Not true, as the bots aren't specifically targeting this site. I find it's highly effective in most cases to just design your own really simple captcha that the bots don't (and won't) know about. —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 11:15, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
It would probably be a good idea then. Even if only to get rid of the Google spyware service. There's then the question of which to use, I personally think QuestyCaptcha looks good, but FancyCaptcha could be an option also. ^_^ This message is approved by Dysklyver Ensign of the Duke of Cornwall.svg (brebmyn) 12:22, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

Manual archiving

I tried to manually archive the last Coop case (RationalWiki:Chicken_coop/Archive70) but has not appeared in the archive list yet (RationalWiki:Chicken_coop/Archive_list). Is this just a delay or did I do something wrong? Bongolian (talk) 19:38, 3 August 2018 (UTC) @Kazitor? Bongolian (talk) 21:45, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

@Bongolian Archive70 is there, it has been more than four hours after all. Next time try purging the list if it doesn't appear immediately. Now the next matter is that of why pinging is so flaky... —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 00:00, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
OK, thanks, @Kazitor! Bongolian (talk) 00:06, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Adjust spam filter

I noticed that a lot of spammers are using monospaced characters such as "e". Should the filter look for these characters in a person's first edit that's on their userpage?

@CheeseburgerFace Probably not too hard, but that filter is a bit of a mess. I'd appreciate some examples too, if you don't mind :) —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 00:30, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
@CheeseburgerFace, @Kazitor Here's an example of a deleted page that had monospaced type: [1]. Bongolian (talk) 00:37, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
So it's only random single characters. Hmm. I suppose there could be a blacklist on just every single one from a to z. And if it only targets user bios it shouldn't be too bad. I'll try going with just "e" for now since I saw that in two examples. —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 00:48, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
@CheeseburgerFace and Bongolian so was that enough, or should I add some more letters? —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 10:37, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
@Kazitor I don't know. I only spotted a couple before the filter went into place. A separate issue is last night there were a rash of spam pages put up that all had US toll-free phone numbers in the titles (888-XXX-XXXX). Bongolian (talk) 15:48, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

More spam

Can somebody block all mention of "lortab"? --Gospatric (talk) 10:11, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Now getting vicodin spam. --Gospatric (talk) 10:15, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Done and done. @GospatricKazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 10:32, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

SEVERE problem with spam filter

For some reason, I am being blocked from making an edit on the article for Reddit where I discuss problems with the way some users on r/askhistorians handle issues relating to sexual assault and Christianity. What the balks is going on? Reddit skeptic (talk) 05:13, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

@Reddit skeptic I wish I could tell you. The spam filter was not written by me, and seems to trigger a lot of false positives. Thus I have added you to the "autopatrolled" group so it doesn't bug you. —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 05:45, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
@Kazitor See this log for why: the text mentions "homework help", which is in the spamtextnoccnorm section. [also, you added it: "19Apr18-Kaz: homework help" ;)]
if possible, the edit filter should ONLY filter text ADDED rather than the PARAGRAPH in which text was added --> this is the #1 cause of false positives αδελφός ΓυζζγςατΡοτατο (talk/stalk) 13:16, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
this might solve it The FCP Foundation (talk/stalk) 13:18, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
seems to have fixed it Herr FüzzyCätPötätö (talk/stalk) 13:45, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
@FuzzyCatPotato huge thanks for that then :) And now that you point it out, I can see the "homework help" part; wasn't paying attention to the previous text despite being aware it affected things. —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 05:59, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

Gadget and Gadget definition

Presumably these namespaces exist for gadgets, but those are all stored under MediaWiki:Gadget-*. Gadget, Gadget talk, Gadget definition and Gadget definition talk all have a grand total of 0 pages. Is there a way to move the relevant pages to those namespaces without breaking them? —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 07:30, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

Your setup is correctly defined for the original gadget specification. The Gadget namespace is part of Gadgets 2.0, which is a redesign of sorts to make gadget maintenance easier. The main differences are that 2.0 uses these new namespaces and also uses Special:Gadgets as the main interface instead of MediaWiki:Gadgets-definition. Now I don't actually know if you have the code for this 2.0 implementation installed on this wiki, but since Special:Gadgets exists, maybe? However the manual just says: "To migrate your existing gadgets, run the update.php script. This will move your existing gadget JS and CSS pages into the Gadget namespace and will create new gadget definitions in the Gadget_definition namespace." Which doesn't indicate to me that they are supposed to be moved manually... ^_^ This message is approved by Dysklyver Ensign of the Duke of Cornwall.svg (brebmyn) 09:33, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

Chinese language spam

So the FirstnameLastname random fake accounts have adapted to the spam filter by spamming chinese language userpages. None of that overlaps are currently English-focused anti-spam filters. So now they're just one CAPTCHA away from needing manual work to clean up. Should I look at creating a new filter rule? ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 20:52, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

But aren't they also adapting through other ways? It's not just the Chinese language spam, it's other kinds of spam. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 21:17, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
This is why I asked. What else are they doing? ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 22:00, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
This isn't unicodepedia. Simply block all the indic and oriental scripts for new users. And maybe phone numbers. That should cover it. ^_^ This message is approved by Dysklyver Ensign of the Duke of Cornwall.svg (brebmyn) 01:41, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
Harder to achieve with the available toolset than you might think. To my knowledge we have no way to ID which code region a character in a change comes from. Also you'd ban my poor bleat at me goat with such wide targets. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 05:06, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
We should seriously look into a different/better CAPTCHA rather than implementing every spam rule that comes to mind. —Kazitor Kazitor sig pic.png 05:59, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
No captcha is fullproof. In fact, mechnical-turk resolution of captchas is a real thing that goes on. Ugh, imagine being paid $1 and hour to just constantly answer captchas. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 21:41, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
There is a saying - nothing can be made foolproof, as fools are so ingenious. (This is also why the basilisk and the singularity will never succeed). Anna Livia (talk) 16:05, 3 October 2018 (UTC)

Content dumps

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)

Blocking reason suggestion

Can something - perhaps an equivalent of this from here for those entries which need 'splatting' but which are not spam/harassment etc. Anna Livia (talk) 16:29, 2 October 2018 (UTC)

'General annoying/being maliciously offensive' - and also, perhaps, 'not operating in the spirit of RW and wikis in general.' Anna Livia (talk) 09:49, 3 October 2018 (UTC)
Resolved: @Anna Livia, enjoy your new block reason. —ClickerClock💾 talk.txt 02:22, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
Just deleted another IP-nonsense. Anna Livia (talk) 08:37, 11 October 2018 (UTC)


I was meaning to bring this up a while ago but forgot, and I was reminded yesterday during a discussion at the Bar. For some reason when users 'ping' me I almost never get a notification for it. Any idea what could be causing this? and has anyone else been experiencing this? Cheers --RWRW (talk) 12:36, 6 October 2018 (UTC)

Likewise. Anna Livia (talk) 23:05, 6 October 2018 (UTC)
See the Wikipedia article on Help:Fixing failed pings. —ClickerClock💾 talk.txt 02:15, 11 October 2018 (UTC)