Monday, May 7, 2007

What the...

So, I stumble upon Wikinews, to read an article. Then I ran onto something... well, odd. The title of that page says it all:

This is for rants about the article. If you wish to point out a problem in the article (e.g. factual error etc), please use its normal talk page.

What the... ?


Sunday, May 6, 2007

Extensions that should be shipped by default

So I've been transwikiing the crap out of Meta recently. Part of that is so we can build a decent, self-contained website on The last thing to be brought over was the MediaWiki Installation Guide. It is still in "transwiki triage", for lack of a better term, but it is more-or-less usable.

We'll see what we can do with it. But if we can do something similar to what we did with extensions, then I'm expecting to drool already. :) The latest invention (by Duesentrieb of dewiki fame) is the Extension Matrix, which includes info about every extension documented on :)

Keeping with the extensions theme, there are a few extensions that *every* MediaWiki installation should have. These extensions are incredibly useful, and include functionality that has become expected of MediaWiki end users. Hopefully someone will decide to merge these extensions somehow into the MediaWiki core, so they don't have to be downloaded individually:

require_once( "extensions/Renameuser/SpecialRenameuser.php" );
require_once( "extensions/ParserFunctions/ParserFunctions.php" );
require_once( "extensions/Filepath/SpecialFilepath.php" );
require_once( "extensions/CheckUser/CheckUser.php");
require_once( "extensions/Makesysop/SpecialMakesysop.php" );
require_once( "extensions/Cite/Cite.php" );
require_once( "extensions/CategoryTree/CategoryTree.php" );
require_once( "extensions/Newuserlog/Newuserlog.php" );
require_once( "extensions/Contributors/Contributors.php" );

and of course...

require_once( "extensions/Poem/Poem.php" );

Heh. ;)

One notable exception is this one:

require_once( "extensions/Oversight/HideRevision.php");

Oversight should not be installed in new installations of MediaWiki. Why? Because it will collide with the current work to implement rev_deleted and cause unnecessary issues. Rev_deleted is due for deployment sometime after MediaWiki 1.10.0 is released, and is quite exciting. See the Gallery for some pretty screenshots... :)


Friday, May 4, 2007

MediaWiki installation instructions moved

MediaWiki's installation instructions were once located in Meta. Not anymore. I moved all of them to today...

They still need to be verified and updated, but any beta-testers of the old instructions would be very welcome.

See and for the pages that were moved. Please poke us on #mediawiki or on the MediaWiki Project Forum to resolve them.

Happy editing!


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Spam is yum?

Well, David Gerard has written a very nice piece about the recent "controversy" over the InterWiki map. I agree with him, but I am unsure about one assertion he made.

"Pagerank is not a consideration for Wikipedia — it contributes nothing to the project of writing an encyclopedia. This is why SEOs and Googlemancers find it so hard to find anyone at Wikipedia or Wikimedia who cares." - David

Pagerank is indeed not a consideration for Wikipedia. It is not something your average editor thinks about when removing "boobies" from [[George W. Bush]]. However, was that true in the past? Google et al. obviously accounted for a huge amount of our incoming traffic. Actually, I'd dare say all of it. And we obviously wouldn't have written anything if no one was going to read it... so, without Pagerank, would there be so many editors? Would Wikipedia, with all of its flaws, be the entity it is today?

That makes for a very interesting line of thought, but I guess the question has become the following: Have we matured as a website enough that we don't need to be plastered all over the top of Google's search results? Have we gotten to the point where people don't look first at Google, but search immediately within Wikipedia? Does anyone have the stats about that? What would be the raw effect of nofollow on our popularity?

Now, from the editor's point of view: I sure love to have an FA I worked on as the top hit in Google. It makes me at least have the impression that I've done something productive. So, does it mean that I write for Google? Does it mean that I care about Pagerank, and the impact that it could have on the amount of readers our articles have? Does it mean that indirectly, the amount of readers I have is an enticement that causes users to produce more content?



*crickets chirp*



No, not really. Free content would continue to exist, whether it is at the top of my bookshelf, or the top of the results in a search engine. Regardless of anytihng, people do, and will continue to, read Wikipedia. It is nice to have many more people reading my work as a result of Google's algorithms, but it really isn't the reason I write here. So... no, I guess I don't disagree with David's conclusion. I don't care.