Year: 2008 Week: 33 Number: 98

Wikimedia News
Technical news
  • [New and useful]  – it is now possible to insert the magic word __NOINDEX__ into a page. The result of this is that when a search engine spider comes by, it gets the instruction not to index that page. This way, it should for example be possible to keep certain pages out of the search results of google. This only works on pages that are not in the content namespace; for example, on Wikipedia it will not work in an article like [[Michael Shmerkin]].
    Note that anyone who can edit a page can insert this magic word in a page. There is also a magic word __INDEX__ now. Its use is not clear.

  • [Double redirect] – a long-standing problem is the creation of double redirects when a page is moved. The user then needs to click on a redirect link to continue. There is now a “double redirect fixer”.  It works at the MediaWiki level but it behaves like a bot. Sometime after the move is done, the wiki will check if there is a double redirect. If so, it will be fixed automatically. By default, the correction will be done by [[User:Redirect fixer]]. Those edits do not appear in recent changes.
    The name of this “user” can be specified by the setting [[MediaWiki:double-redirect-fixer]].  If for some reason you wish the system to not get involved in a double redirect you can insert the magic word __STATICREDIRECT__ .

  • [Wikisets] – Not so long ago, a new functionality was activated to create “global user groups”. These groups can be given certain rights (like “grant and revoke bot flags”); when users are enrolled, they have the rights of that group on all Wikimedia wikis.
    The problem is that those rights are valid either everywhere or nowhere, and not all communities agree with external users having special rights on their wiki.
    To solve this problem, the “wiki sets” option has been created. This makes it possible to have “global groups” that are not global. Certain wikis can opt out, or a global group can be made opt-in.

  • [New mail] – Almost (*) all wikis now offer an user the option to receive an e-mail when their talk page has been changed.
    (*) exceptions are enwiki, eswiki, frwiki, plwiki, jawiki, ptwiki, ruwiki, zhwiki, itwiki and dewiki.

  • [Download wikipedia] – You are free to download the database dump of wikis, but for most users this is not very useful. As an alternative, you can also download a static HTML dump: a huge collection of HTML files that gives you a local copy of the Wikipedia of your choice. This makes it very easy to bring Wikipedia to places where there is no internet or where it is prohibitively expensive.
  • [Ogg support in Firefox] – The fairly popular internet browser Mozilla Firefox now supports the Ogg Vorbis and Theora media formats in its experimental version 3.1. It is considered normal that a webbrower is able to display images by itself; however, for video or audio an external program or a plugin is required. The Wikimedia Foundation projects use Ogg Theora and Ogg Vorbis for their video and audio recordings. However, besides Wikimedia, these formats are  very rarely used by websites for end users.
Request for help
  • [Flood flag] – A proposal has been made for a new sysop function called the “flood flag”, that would allow users to hide batches of repetitive edits from recent changes, like a bot flag does.
  • [EN Wikinews] – has started to use the flagged revisions system on the wiki. The community is working to integrate this function into the publishing procedures.
  • [Move Main Page] – Traditionally, the main page of a Wikimedia project is in the content namespace. This is because the main page was the first page created of every wiki. And for most wikis, that was before namespaces existed. Some wikis have moved their main pages to another name space. For example, the German Wikipedia uses the “Wikipedia:” namespace and the Swedish Wikipedia uses the “Portal:” namespace. The English language Wikipedia is now also discussing a move.
  • [Hebrew Wikipedia] – an Israeli newspaper published extensively about Wikipedia. Some fragments have been translated in English. It tells the Wikipedia story from the Hebrew Wikipedia point of view.
  • [布拉沃] – The Chinese Wikipedia has reached 200,000 articles. Due to the Olympics, the Chinese wikipedia is mostly unblocked in China for now.
Other news
Did you know … 

… that the definition of a “community member” can differ strongly between wikis?

… that the Hebrew-language Wikipedia only gives users the right to vote if they have made at least 100 edits in the last 90 days?

… that the idea for using this system is to make it more difficult for users with sock puppets to control votes?


‘It occurred to me that when the dust settled on the Wikipedia versus Britannica question, the likely conclusion would be ‘Wikipedia is more up to date; Britannica has better illustrations.’    —Philip Greenspun

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