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. Fuzzy. Cat. Potato! (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. FᴜᴢᴢʏCᴀᴛPᴏᴛᴀᴛᴏ, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (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)

Content dumps (sticky)

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 FU22YC47P07470 (talk/stalk)

Technical note

The edit filter now has bot rights (added by RoninMacbeth) because of the shiteton of spambots it is blocking with filter 57. I think this might be the default situation unless the SEO spammers go away. It's been running a while now with no false positives (and a better warning) and its performance can be seen via the filter log. If anyone is wondering why edit filter doesn't show in recent changes anymore, this is why. Dysklyver 20:59, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

This seems to be an eminently sensible arrangement. --MtDBogan 21:01, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

Renumbering ordered lists within a column list

Is it possible to specify a starting number other than 1 for an ordered list within a column list? I tried this, but it failed: {{collist|3|
<ol start="9">
<li>Item 9</li>
<li>Item 10</li>
<li>Item 11</li>
Bongolian (talk) 21:25, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

Yes: try here. Scream!! (talk) 21:40, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Seems that's what you did. So I dunno! Scream!! (talk) 21:44, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

No: it works:

  1. nine
  2. ten
  3. eleven


  1. nine
  2. eight
  3. seven

Scream!! (talk) 21:48, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

Yes, that works, but not when you stick it within a collist. Bongolian (talk) 21:54, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

ol/li is the HTML definition for an ordered list, and template:div col (whats inside collist) uses a div with list definition css, so this is probably conflicting. If this functionality is really needed a new template can be made to accommodate it. Dysklyver 23:06, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

It would be useful for me because I'm planning a very long list that would look better if it could be broken into chunks with continuous numbering. See: Draft:Encyclopedia of American Loons. It's probably not going to come up often as an issue though. Bongolian (talk) 23:18, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
What I thought would work didn't work. I will have another go later, probably with some new css. Dysklyver 11:00, 19 December 2018 (UTC)


<ol start="9">
<li>Item 9</li>
<li>Item 10</li>
<li>Item 11</li>

{{div col | cols = 4 | colwidth = | rules = | small = | style = | content = <ol start="1"> ... </ol> }}
Dbz (talk) 19:38, 26 December 2018 (UTC) && 05:22, 29 December 2018 (UTC)

I've rethought the organization of the Draft:Encyclopedia of American Loons page, so I probably won't be using this. It's still a problem though, and I've encountered this sort of problem with nested commands before (e.g. notes that use footnotes, which the {{efn}} template solves). Bongolian (talk) 19:52, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
Bongolian, do you have an example of this workaround: notes that use footnotes, which the {{efn}} template solves. – Dbz (talk) 06:42, 27 December 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────For example, this code works:

{{efn|He was fluent in Hungarian and German, but his English was strongly accented. Trebitsch was also a miserably bad at [[Hebrew]], [[Latin]] and ancient Greek when he was a theology student.<ref name=wasserstein/>{{rp|42}}}}

But this equivalent code does not:

<ref>He was fluent in Hungarian and German, but his English was strongly accented. Trebitsch was also a miserably bad at [[Hebrew]], [[Latin]] and ancient Greek when he was a theology student.<ref name=wasserstein/>{{rp|42}}</ref>

Bongolian (talk) 07:53, 27 December 2018 (UTC)

Known limitation per Nesting footnotes § What does not workWikipedia's W.svg: You cannot nest a footnote within a footnote that uses <ref>...</ref> tags, even if the footnotes belong to different groups. – Dbz (talk) 00:27, 28 December 2018 (UTC)

Spammers getting more desperate?

I caught a BoN creating a spam page on another BoN page twice. See the history for: User talk:[1] There have been other spam edits on BoN pages before that I've seen but these were from newly created accounts rather than from BoNs. Maybe there needs to be a filter for this? Bongolian (talk) 09:04, 29 December 2018 (UTC)

Well the old spammer method was to create accounts and then create spam pages, but since we enabled filter 57, the edit filter has been working overtime and blocked the spammers hundreds of times so that spam from registered accounts is basically stopped. The problem is that the filter is designed not to affect BoN's to avoid false positives, so they are covered by filter 58 instead. Filter 58 is less strict than 57 to take into account that BoN's commenting on talk pages is an obvious area for false positives. Thus, BoN's can still spam talk pages in some situations. Obviously we can make filter 58 stricter, but I have been holding off on that a bit really because we have some constructive BoN's as well. Dysklyver 12:40, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
I understand the reasoning. Thanks for the explanation. Bongolian (talk) 18:19, 29 December 2018 (UTC)

Accidental IP edit

Hi, could someone pretty please replace an IP edit for my user account on this page. Much appreciated. Thanks a bunch.— Unsigned, by: MisterTwister / talk / contribs

@MisterTwister Sorry, it isn't possible to replace the IP with your username, but I have hidden the IP from public view. --RWRW (talk) 22:49, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
Though I think this user is maybe overly concerned about what an IP leaves exposed. I doubt anyone's going dox-hunting for a "citation needed" edit, and if they do, I'm not sure what an IP address tells anyone. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 22:54, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
@RWRW Thank you! @Ikanreed Agreed. — MisterTwister (talk) 9 January 2019 (UTC)

Hello, Could someone possibly suppress my IP on this page https://rationalwiki.org/w/indexphp?title=Rin_Flk&action=history I edited (although It wasn't really an edit more of blank and I didn't mean to) the page. (luckily it's been undone) I didn't have any experience with Wikipedia and I had no idea what I was doing and I can assure you it will never happen again. I was just being stupid and had no idea what I was doing, thank you and sorry again. Thank you for all the help, I talked to some people and will hopefully get it resolved, but it's all good now thank you! — Unsigned, by: Flaberjake / talk / contribs

Done. Dysklyver 09:45, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

Saloon Bar edit blocked by filter?

Hello. I tried to make a comment on the Saloon bar subthread 'Deport Neo Nazis first. Illegal immigrants can wait.' but it was blocked by the filters. The comment was in response to Rationalzombie94's 2nd post. I can't post it here either. Should I PM it to someone? MirrorIrorriM (talk) 13:18, 15 January 2019 (UTC)

Na, I will just make you autopatrolled and you should be able to make the edit. Dysklyver 13:33, 15 January 2019 (UTC)

Inline math rendering

It appears to me that RationalWiki's rendering of inline mathematical variables and expressions is rather clumsy. Consider the following bit:

...where I(t) is the current as a function of time, R is the resistance, L the inductance, and C the capacitance.

And compare with with the same from Wikipedia. The variables don't stand on the same line. Is there a way to address this? Nerd (talk) 02:32, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

Thanks! Looks like there isn't much I can do then. Perhaps it will be fixed in the next software update. Nerd (talk) 03:38, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The english wikipedia uses 118% for math fonts. — span.mwe-math-mathml-inline { font-size: 118%; } per MediaWiki:Common.css

  • RW renders as PNG: ...53921.png
  • WP renders as SVG: <svg xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" width="1.583ex" height="2.176ex" style="" viewBox="0 -791.3 681.5 936.9" role="img" focusable="false" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" aria-labelledby="MathJax-SVG-1-Title"> <title id="MathJax-SVG-1-Title">{\displaystyle L}</title> <defs aria-hidden="true"> <path stroke-width="1" id="E1-MJMATHI-4C" d="M228 637Q194 637 192 641Q191 643 191 . . ."/> </defs> <g stroke="currentColor" fill="currentColor" stroke-width="0" transform="matrix(1 0 0 -1 0 0)" aria-hidden="true"> <use xlink:href="#E1-MJMATHI-4C" x="0" y="0"/> </g> </svg>

Dbz (talk) 04:28, 16 January 2019 (UTC) && 18:07, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

RationalWiki's math engine is two years older than Wikipedia's. But then RW is six MediaWiki versions out of date so that's to be expected really. Dysklyver 21:28, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
That explains everything. The rendering is in PNG and so appears pixelated, which is not a problem for SVG. I have thought that the software RW is outdated, having spent some time at Wikipedia, but I did not know it was that outdated. Anyway, thanks! Nerd (talk) 22:07, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

History merging

After a discussion in the Saloon about copy-paste vs. moving pages from Draftspace to Mainspace (RationalWiki:Saloon_bar#A_note_on_Draft_Space), it became apparent that there is a problem that the Special:MergeHistory should be able to solve. I knew that the Donald Trump page had been forked into several pages, so I tried the MergeHistory on one of the daughter pages (Trump-Russia connection), but it failed because "Source revisions overlap or come after destination revisions." Is there a way to fix this?

If not, might there be a way for pages moved out of Draftspace to Mainspace to get recorded as new Mainspace pages on here Special:NewPages? Bongolian (talk) 18:03, 22 January 2019 (UTC)

Template: Annual Readership

Wikipedia has this but we don't. I think it could prove useful. Thoughts? Nerd (talk) 21:38, 27 January 2019 (UTC)

Yes, good idea. Bongolian (talk) 21:48, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
It's also reliant on some software we don't have, namely the wikitech:Analytics/AQS/Pageviews API relied on by the local version of mediawikiwiki:Template:Graph:PageViews which wikipedia:Template:Annual readership is a wrapper of. Dysklyver 22:54, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
Ah, I suspected that. Can we import it? It is going to require a system upgrade? Nerd (talk) 23:35, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
Unfortunately this is not something included in MediaWiki core. Wikimedia maintains a Hadoop cluster for the purposes of analytics, and we simply don't have that. It would require significantly more than a simple upgrade to get that template to work here.
Of course we have some analytics, and we could simply put the numbers in a graph and mount that in the template. It would be static, less accurate, and generally inferior in ever way to the Wikimedia implementation, and it would need manual updates, but visually it would look the same. Dysklyver 01:05, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
I see. Thanks! I guess we'll have to wait till the hypothetical day when we are as visible on search engines as Wikipedia. Only then will we have sufficiently high traffic volume to justify such an expenditure. Nerd (talk) 16:25, 28 January 2019 (UTC)

Cover editnotice

The {{cover editnotice}} template gives a redlink for the cover abstract. See for example this page: Template:Editnotices/page/Evolution. This should be a simple fix. Bongolian (talk) 08:12, 1 February 2019 (UTC)

Fixed. By replacing {{FULLPAGENAME}} with {{SUBPAGENAME}}. Dysklyver 12:12, 1 February 2019 (UTC)

If your IP is blocked from editing as an open proxy

It says "You need to go to your provider about it. The lists we use are xbl.spamhaus.org, dnsbl.tornevall.org, all.s5h.net."

Is this still an accurate list of lists? Are these cached? How exactly does this work in practice to block?

Dysklyver 12:05, 1 February 2019 (UTC)

Auto-refresh button for recent changes

Should we add an auto-refresh button to the recent changes log? @Psl361 has created an excellent piece of code to enable us to do it. Seeking mob consent for whether we should ultimately add it or not. Palaeonictis Fossil beds 16:33, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Not unless you also update the site to version 1.30 or newer if you don't mind. Dysklyver 23:45, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

dark mode

Various people have been asking to implement a "dark mode" for Rationalwiki, you can:

Dysklyver 15:01, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

2019 software upgrade


  • 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. Dysklyver 15:54, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

Nerd's comments

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. Dysklyver 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. Dysklyver 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. Dysklyver 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)


I'm getting 503 errors like crazy. What in the name of all that is perverse is going on? Is there a site update that I'm unaware of? Is some script-kiddy impotent again? What? ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 17:50, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

There's something wrong with the varnish cache. It seems to be intermittent, but if it persists then go poke @David Gerard so he can poke the servers. Dysklyver 18:01, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Example error for reference:

Error 503 Backend fetch failed
Backend fetch failed

Guru Meditation:
XID: 88849978

Varnish cache server