User talk:Jeff

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Ambox notice.png This is the talk page of Jeff, the creator of Explain XKCD. If you have a comment about the wiki, please use the Explain XKCD:Community portal.
Use this page only for personal messages to Jeff, of for requests that require server access.


[edit] ParserFunctions

Hi Jeff,

Just thought I'd run this up the flagpole... any thought about installing the ParserFunctions extension? I think this site could benefit from a few templates that would aid in indexing/categorizing the entries as content is migrated, and ParserFunctions would make some really impressive things possible... but installing any extension or not would be up to you.

Also, do you have any feelings about us users creating templates in the Template namespace, which we could use to maintain the content? Just wanted to get your thumbs-up before/if I did something like that. Just want to play nice. Love the site, and the new wiki format.

- PT IronyChef (talk) 03:05, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

ParserFunctions are awesome, yup! --Philosopher Let us reason together. 06:56, 1 August 2012 (EDT)
 Done Yes to both. I have enabled ParserFunctions and Templates sound like a great idea. IronyChef, please send me an email at the address on the blog and I'll make you an admin if necessary to edit templates. --Jeff (talk) 08:03, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

[edit] Extension:Variable

Just wondering what you thought about adding the Variables extension. I'm toying with revising {{LATESTCOMIC}} to not be so expensive (both in terms of template expansion, and ongoing maintenance.) I could do that now, but the wiki would have to re-expand and re-evaluate the same expression about six times, being slightly counter-productive. -- IronyChef (talk) 14:54, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

any thoughts ... up, down, sideways? Thanks! -- IronyChef (talk) 15:34, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm up for it... Let me get it installed on the wiki side when I get a chance. --Jeff (talk) 23:13, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Bugging you again....

Could you take a look at [1] and tell me if I'm thinking in about the same way as you are here? Also, I've brought up MediaWiki:Tagline and Explain XKCD:Community portal, as it'd be cool to have a tagline. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 10:46, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

With you 100% on the File Delete reasons. Thanks. I agree also about having a tagline. What do you think it should be? --Jeff (talk) 11:13, 1 August 2012 (EDT)
Nothing's coming to mind right now. Perhaps someone else will think of something. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 17:54, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

Discussion continued at Explain XKCD:Community portal/Proposals#Tagline.

[edit] Automatic Import

Moved to Explain XKCD:Community portal/Proposals#Automatic Import. (Header left to avoid breaking links.) --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:30, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

[edit] Please watch Explain XKCD:Community portal/Administrators' noticeboard

I'd like to ask that the admins consider adding Explain XKCD:Community portal/Administrators' noticeboard to their watchlists. On a similar note, I've just started a discussion there about spammers. -Philosopher Let us reason together. 02:02, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

[edit] Images from Wikimedia Commons and SVG

Please set $wgUseInstantCommons = true; in the wiki's LocalSettings.php, so we can use images from Wikimedia Commons without having to reupload them here. Also, I'd be neat if you could enable svg images. Thanks! --Waldir (talk) 04:20, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

 Done, Instant Commons is on. Will need a little more work to get SVG images to work. What renderer to do you suggest I use? --Jeff (talk) 12:05, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
That'll depend on what you have available in your server. They say there that ImageMagick seems to be an acceptable choice, but rsvg seems to be the best one if the dependencies can be sorted out. --Waldir (talk) 13:20, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Search suggestions


could you please set $wgEnableMWSuggest [2] to true? This enables search suggestions for the search field, and often this helps you to skip the search results. --SlashMe (talk) 09:10, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

 Done OK, this is has been added to the LocalSettings. --Jeff (talk) 12:06, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Time zone

Please set the wiki to UTC ($wgLocaltimezone = "UTC"; in LocalSettings.php), as it's the most neutral option for our international community. In any case, each user can choose their time zone in their preferences.

 Done Ok, set. --Jeff (talk) 12:07, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Short urls, site logo, lowercase xkcd

Hi, I'm not sure if you tried it but is a great (and simple :D) tool to implement clean urls with mediawiki. That would make urls much nicer around here.

Also, if you could, please take a look at Explain XKCD:Community portal/Proposals#Naming conventions, where your assistance is needed for some server changes. --Waldir (talk) 15:31, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Hi again :) just to remind you about the short urls thing. I think it would be great if we could have wiki links in the form "". It might be necessary to move the wiki into a different folder name than "wiki", but that's just a matter of renaming the folder and changing $wgScriptPath in LocalSettings.php accordingly. The link above makes things really straighforward, it should really only take you a few minutes to set everything up.
Another cool thing that could be done is set up a server redirect so that links in the form of would point to the comics in the wiki instead of returning a 404 error (for instance, would point to That way, we could replicate xkcd's own url system for comics and people could simply type and get the explanation for the corresponding comic. This redirect can probably be set up in the hosting company's web interface, but in case it can't, let me know if you need any help. --Waldir (talk) 22:03, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Hi Waldir - I'll work on the short URL thing. I want that to work for sure. With regards to the redirect, I have been working on it for a while and I have a few .htaccess files and etc that don't work. I'll be grateful for the help on it. Please send me an email if you know how to get it done. This would also allow anyone from to just add explain and go to the comic explanation. Very helpful. Been working on it unsuccessfully for a while. --Jeff (talk) 01:41, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Ugh, it must be my hosting because I did all of the shorturls correctly it just sent it to a 404 page for the site over and over again. The url seemed to be the right one, but didn't send it to the right location. It should NOT be this difficult. --Jeff (talk) 02:25, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

[edit] wgCapitalLinks

Hi Jeff! When you have a few spare minutes, please add the following to LocalSettings.php:

$wgCapitalLinks = false;

This allows page titles not to be automatically capitalized by the software, which is important for filenames and for some comic titles such as s/keyboard/leopard/. Cheers, Waldir (talk) 21:34, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

 Done --Jeff (talk) 01:37, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
...and this broke our templates (and maybe Special:RecentChanges?). See explain xkcd:Community portal/Admin requests. Can't we just style the page titles so they appear as though they aren't capitalized when they really are? (As done at wikipedia:Xkcd, using the DISPLAYTITLE magic word (called through wikipedia:Template:DISPLAYTITLE).) --Philosopher Let us reason together. 04:42, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Looks like transition pains would be inevitable. I think everything is sorted out for now. See the Admin requests thread for details. As for using DISPLAYTITLE, I understand the rationale, but this is xkcd and attention to capitalization is necessary in several pages, and I believe we'd rather use a complete solution (so that pages actually have the correct title) rather than hacking what is shown to viewers. In any case, we shouldn't have many problems in the future because of this; People will only capitalize the first letter of a title when it's actually necessary; otherwise, lazyness/convenience makes us all use lowercase everywhere (besides, redirects can be used just in case, such as {{yesno}} → {{YesNo}}. --Waldir (talk) 09:06, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

[edit] External Images

Has there actually been a decision on external images? Or is it just to be decided later?  greptalk 

No decision yet. What do you think? --Jeff (talk) 21:16, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, the whitelisting seems an OK idea. This would help you save space on the servers that you are hosting on, so that's a plus.
I say go for whitelisting.  greptalk 
Mostly I am wondering because I created a PHP script that creates an image to display the results of a poll (like on the Moving the Wiki topic in Proposals). For my situation any method of something external being placed on this site will work.
I just got an idea... what if there was a group of moderators that check external images and approve them. The more approvals a person gets, the more "reliable" they are considered to be... ?  greptalk 

[edit] Short Link Problem Fix?

Is mod_rewrite installed and enabled?
Are all of the config files (including the wiki one) set up?


[edit] New admin please?

This is a bit forthright of me, but nothing appears to be being done about it. Would you read this explain xkcd:Community portal/Proposals#Spampage Rampage and comment on it? Thanks, lcarsos and the community 17:47, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Small change

Hi Jeff! Long time no see. Look, could you add

$wgGroupPermissions['autoconfirmed']['autopatrol'] = true;

to LocalSettings.php? That will allow edits by auto-confirmed users not to be marked with a red exclamation mark in recent changes so we can more quickly spot edits that might need reviewing. --Waldir (talk) 02:16, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Btw while you're at it, please also add
$wgAllowUserJs = true;
$wgAllowUserCss = true;
So users can make their own scripts and styles to enhance the wiki (I need that, for instance, to test stuff without affecting anyone else, before integrating them on site-wide javascript/css pages) --Waldir (talk) 16:52, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

 Done and  Done --Jeff (talk) 19:55, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Thanks! --Waldir (talk) 19:57, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot a small detail: it is necessary to set up the following so that "auto-confirmed" doesn't mean "any registered user":
$wgAutoConfirmAge = 60*60*24*3 // accounts become auto-confirmed after 3 days
$wgAutoConfirmCount = 10 // ...and 10 edits
Cheers, Waldir (talk) 21:32, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
 Done --Jeff (talk) 21:49, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, again. Also, since the wiki didn't break, I take it that you noticed the missing semicolons which I stupidly forgot to include at the end of the lines, and added them. Sorry for the slip-up. --Waldir (talk) 17:31, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
No worries, I know that much at least! :) --Jeff (talk) 17:36, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Did you by any chance write "auto patrol" instead of "autopatrol"? Special:ListGroupRights suggests so, and if that's the case, that explains why the changes don't seem to have had the effects I expected from them (edits by auto-patrolled users still marked with the red exclamation mark in Special:RecentChanges). Could you check that the line reads exactly $wgGroupPermissions['autoconfirmed']['autopatrol'] = true;? --Waldir (talk) 17:54, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

That's what I thought I put even though autocorrect wanted to change it. Can't look now, will have a look when I get home. ---Jeff (talk) 17:55, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Any news? No pressure, I'm just curious :) --Waldir (talk) 15:34, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Bah - I keep forgetting when I get home. I'll try to get it done this weekend. --Jeff (talk) 17:35, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Much delayed, but  Done --Jeff (talk) 02:50, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Jeff. I'll let you know if there's any further issues, but I believe everything should be working now. --Waldir (talk) 03:34, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Links to category pages

I couldn't help but notice the number of your edits to your page. You can link to category pages by putting a colon in front of "Category". [[:Category:Pages to delete]] produces Category:Pages to delete. It also doesn't add the category to that page, it just links to it. Cheers, lcarsos_a (talk) 17:30, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Oh geez. You saw that? That's a little embarrassing with not knowing what to do, I kept trying to figure out how to put the link there. Thanks for the help! I couldn't find that information anywhere. --Jeff (talk) 17:31, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
When I had to learn about that trick the edits on that page looked fairly similar. I eventually found the right page [3] (ctrl+f "category", it's buried) and managed it. I have the Recent Changes page set to auto-refresh every minute. I see a few things. lcarsos_a (talk) 17:43, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Your opinion?

Please comment here. Cheers, Waldir (talk) 17:21, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Update: we've been offered help by an experienced MediaWiki developer, I think we can finally solve the server-side issues now! Please take a look at the thread linked above. Waldir (talk) 20:07, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

[edit] I am really dumb

and this morning, while creating a user name, I goofed it and wrote .mau, (with a trailing comma) instead of .mau. (with a trailing dot, which is my trademark). I know that a bureaucrat on MediaWiki can change a username which had few edits (my own edits are three including this one): could you do this, or at least delete this username so that I may recreate it without leaving a dead one? TIA, .mau, (talk) 15:09, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

You can actually change your signature to .mau. if you want, to mask that for now. Just make a page called User:.mau,/sig and craft your signature to your liking, then go to my preferences at the top and set your sig to {{SUBST:User:.mau,/sig}}. If you want an example, User:Lcarsos/sig is a near-vanilla and quite clean example of a custom sig, while User:Omega/sig and my sig, User:Davidy22/sig are slightly more tricked-out options. Wikipedia's guidelines to signature crafting are here. Davidy22[talk] 15:53, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
ok, thanks! .mau. (talk) 09:55, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Aw, that's it? No bling or anything? Meeehhh. Davidy22[talk] 13:16, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
(to Jeff) I believe user renaming is not possible in vanilla mediawiki. An extension is required: mw:Extension:Renameuser --Waldir (talk) 18:21, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I find a bit disturbing to have a "wrong" username, especially because I may not remember it somewhen (yes, the word does not exist, but I like its sound); but I don't need any flashy signature, so I just changed the traling comma to a dot. --.mau. (talk) 14:09, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

[edit] /wiki/

Now that the site apparently redirects to the wiki, could the entire wiki URL just be, without the trailing wiki? It's mostly for cleanliness, but also to throw off the spambots for a while. Those accursed spam happy bots. Davidy22[talk] 04:29, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Sounds good, I'm working on that part next. It is next on my "to-do" list complete some URL work like that. --Jeff (talk) 18:05, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
nag. Also, the spam is becoming an issue. A pretty big issue. Time to switch captchas? Davidy22[talk] 13:04, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
OK - sounds good to me, any ones you recommend? --Jeff (talk) 13:33, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't remember which captcha the wiki uses, but I know securimage and recaptcha are two very competent options. Alternately, you could use ConfirmEdit to screen anon edits. Much of the spam seems to be automated, so questycaptcha should screen out most of the chaff. Just simple questions, like "What webcomic does this site explain" or "Who created XKCD" should be sufficient to screw up our current spammers. Also, rm /wiki/ plx. Davidy22[talk] 13:41, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Confirm edit is in and Recaptcha is out. Let's try that. --Jeff (talk) 14:11, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
The questions appear to be case-sensitive. To avoid frustration, could you add a notice to every question saying that the answers have to be in all lower/upper case? I got "What's the name of this wiki" wrong a bunch of times, and I think it's due to capitalization. Davidy22[talk] 14:30, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Ok - cool. I changed it to $wgSitename instead of just writing it out. --Jeff (talk) 14:32, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
If we get no spam tomorrow, I will hold a party in your talk page. Oh, and /wiki/. Davidy22[talk] 14:38, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I'll just hijack this thread and ask: Isn't it time Davidy22 got admin tools? It's long overdue. And please promote Lcarsos‏‎ to bureaucrat, so he can make new admins if needed. And seconded: /wiki/ ! --Waldir (talk) 02:39, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Could you also put confirmEdit in general page creation for anonymous users? There's still a couple of spam pages being made that don't actually advertise anything. There hasn't been an account creation in a long time, so I think we've killed off the spam accounts. The rate of spam has definitely dropped significantly ever since we switched to confirmEdit. Davidy22[talk] 05:42, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
We've just had a surge of pure griefer spam. Anons who don't insert any links, they're just throwing spam at us out of malice. Could you make anonymous users have to pass through confrimEdit to create pages? Thanks. On a side note, what's the ratio in terms of file size between current explanation pages to logs and diffs? Davidy²²[talk] 01:53, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Wow those suck. Wiping out whole pages with anon edits. I can't change the settings from here, but I'll do it when I get home. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by filesize? --Jeff (talk) 15:51, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Eh, how much space do explanations and images take up on your hard drive when compared to the space that log files and diffs take up? Davidy²²[talk] 16:01, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Click a thing, check out the URL. I be posting this here instead of DMs because somthing like this has been requested for a pretty long time. Davidy²²[talk] 01:55, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm confused. There's a lot going on in this thread. Want to break it out into its own header? --Jeff (talk) 16:48, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Mkay Davidy²²[talk] 19:47, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Promote Davidy22

Breaking this discussion out from where it was, because it merits its own section. lcarsos_a (talk)

I'll just hijack this thread and ask: Isn't it time Davidy22 got admin tools? It's long overdue. And please promote lcarsos‏‎ to bureaucrat, so he can make new admins if needed. And seconded: /wiki/ ! --Waldir (talk) 02:39, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Heartily Agree on promoting Davidy22, he's almost always more on top of spam patrol than I am these days (burn-out for the lose). I'm not sure I can speak for my own promotion without sounding self-serving and power-hungry. However, in my few spare moments this semester I am looking closely at getting a bot up and running to automate the clean up of spam (mostly because manual spam patrol is the most soul-sucking and disheartening activity I've ever done), so it would be nice to be able to get a bot account promoted to bot status without misrepresenting it as my account. lcarsos_a (talk) 18:13, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Davidy22 is up to admin (honestly, I thought he was already one, so no issue there on my end.) and lcarsos has been updated to bureaucrat because we should have more redundancy there. Also, create a bot account and let me know what it is and i'll give it bot rights. --Jeff (talk) 18:36, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Or now, you can do it! :) --Jeff (talk) 18:41, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
WOO, power! Davidy22[talk] 05:42, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Small ConfirmEdit change

Can you change the line:

$wgCaptchaTriggers['create']        = false;

to true? I think this would solve most of our bot vandalism/griefing problems. lcarsos_a (talk) 21:19, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

 Done I changed 'edit' to true as well since we've seen a bunch when editing user's talk pages. We will see if I have to move that back to false. --Jeff (talk) 16:16, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

[edit] DeleteOldRevisions

There's a script built into mediawiki called DeleteOldRevisions.php that seems to have deprecated the deletehistory plugin. A link to the manual page. A hard drive upgrade would be apt for the future though. Davidy²²[talk] 00:15, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm looking into it. I'm not sure how the wiki got back up and running without me running the update. I'll try the [4] and see if that can help in the meantime. The expanded HD might be a no-go, but I'll see on that too. --Jeff (talk) 01:27, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Server Hardware

The website is getting really slow and throwing internal errors all over the place, and it looks like both the main page and the page for the newest comic 1190: Time are climbing rapidly in views. If one ambiguous comic is hitting us like a DDoS, we're going to get it in the shorts if Randall ever actually acknowledges our existence directly, or some other geeky media outlet posts a link to us. Is there a donate button anywhere? Davidy²²[talk] 05:18, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

We certainly can get a Donate button. We may need to migrate the server to get it upgraded. This is one of those big days, I guess. --Jeff (talk) 12:39, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
How about a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign? --Waldir (talk) 12:37, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Kickstarter and Indiegogo are one-time things. No good for this. I recommend modifying the donate button so that there is a PayPal "Subscribe" button near it so people can also do small monthly subscriptions. I recommend a dropdown with $1, $2, $5, $10, $20 options.
Does 1&1 give you stats like how much bandwidth (or rather how much data) you are using. That could have an effect on where is best to get the new hosting; Rackspace Cloud, Linode, AWS, or even a real server with access to other network options like paying for actual Mbps bandwidth with unlimited data.
When you get a server I'd like to properly set it up with varnish, nginx, apc (or Zend_Optimizer+ considering it's going to be part of php 5.5), memcached, and perhaps php-fpm instead of mod_php. Varnish will allow anonymous pages to be cached hopefully reducing the load issues. And nginx should serve out static things better than Apache. Dantman (talk) 05:23, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Regarding the Paypal button, besides the subscribe option, I would recommend removing the credit card logos, as they make it too wide for the sidebar and not fit the design well. Besides, I personally think they give it kind of a corporate feel; instead, a simple "donate" button, while still recognizable as paypal's, feels simpler and more "personal", for lack of a better word.
Also, I think you should place it above the AdSense block, since that makes it more visible, and prioritizes a form of supporting the site that people have direct, active control over, rather than the passive, choice-less (modulo AdBlock) AdSense.
And also capitalize "donate" in the section title, to match the other titles ("Navigation", "Toolbox", etc.)
Since we're at it: maybe more donation options would make sense: Flattr, Gittip, TipTheWeb, and possibly Bitcoins.
Finally, is it possible to make the AdSense background transparent, or at least the same as the site background of #F3F3F3? --Waldir (talk) 14:15, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Is it possible to add the ad and donate buttons without including a section title? Minimizing unused space is gooood. Also, I noticed that you installed the deletehistory plugin, but it's trying to use another version of PHP that's installed on the server. deleteoldrevisions.php in the maintenance folder oughta work fine, though it'd probably be apt to run it over the weekend when we're not expecting absurd floods of visitors like we are now. We may need it too, after we've filled up the hard drive again with archives of Time.Davidy²²[talk] 14:39, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it is possible for me to edit, I will have to go into the settings for each since I used extensions for them. I hate the credit card things too. Will take a look at all options tonight.
The Deletehistory plugin doesn't work, sadly because of the PHP version. Hopefully, when we migrate, it will be on a newer version and that will work. Hopefully, we will have more disk space too... --Jeff (talk)
Hey Jeff. Could you change the width of the paypal donate button so that it matches the google ads and the bitcoin donate button? Maybe using a custom button rather than the paypal-provided one?
Also, any news regarding the possibility of changing the background of the google ads? --Waldir (talk) 17:21, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
It did not work out with Google ads for a reason they will not disclose to me, but I'll work on the buttons and the banner ad. --Jeff (talk) 16:11, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Everything's good

Except for the (currently) occasional server error, I have no problems.

I've turned on HotCat and Popups, imported wikEdDiff and my HideTopContribs, all of which make me fairly efficient at watching changes.

A minor request would be the Redirect toolbar button.

Mark Hurd (talk) 17:13, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

When you turn off enwiki's "Enable enhanced editing toolbar" all of the toolbar buttons explainxkcd has are in the same order (it skips Math) and the very next one is Redirect #R. It seems to be defined at
I've tried adding just Redirect #R myself here, but something's going wrong. (And I should be sleeping!)
Seeing as it is only one button I wanted, I simplified the code down to calling addButton directly and it is now working fine. Mark Hurd (talk) 13:07, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
Re being an Admin: Yes, please, as long as you note this would be my first actual Admin bit. (I'm a Bureaucrat on another MW wiki so I could give myself Admin rights whenever I wanted.) Mark Hurd (talk) 19:39, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Sidebar ads

Hi, we're having a discussion about the sidebar ads on Talk:Main Page#sidebar ads?. --St.nerol (talk) 08:42, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Economic transparency

Hi! I made a request on economic transparency on the proposals page. –St.nerol (talk) 22:05, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Thumbnails are not working

I'm relatively new here but I think each picture should get it's proper thumbnail when the original is to large to embed. Mediawiki is using some applications in the background maybe not available here. But there are some workarounds. And since "" is well secured I still do even not know what OS is running in the background. But whatever the OS is, it should be solvable.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:13, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Last missing page

Hi, I'm hoping you don't mind about my adds to Natalie Dee. I was working on that at the same time. BTW: Can I help you on that thumbnail issue? I really would be happy if it could fixed here.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:42, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

No problem on the Natalee Dee comic, I was just working on it because it was the last one, edit away. What's the thumbnail issue? --Jeff (talk) 21:43, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. I am still talking about this: Image_Thumbnails_not_working. I am sure there is a need to fix the LocalSettings.php. Maybe some paths are wrong or it's just using wrong image tools. I can help on any OS except Apple computers.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:07, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Congratulations!

You just created the last unexplained comic of xkcd! Greyson (talk) 23:38, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Greyson! --Jeff (talk) 03:04, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Math

A lot of comics have formulae in them. Could you set $wgUseTeX = true in LocalSettings.php? That lets us use latex in pages. It'd be useful for comics like yesterday's. Davidy²²[talk] 09:12, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, this would be nice. But you have to install an extension, LaTex must be available, then compile something, and at least adjusting the LocalSettings.php config file. We also sill do not have all image features here. But I can help, Windows or Linux.--Dgbrt (talk) 13:55, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
I'll look into it. Let me know if you find an extension that will do the trick. Send me some links to anything that would help and I can get them set up. --Jeff (talk) 14:44, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
Go here Extension:Math and read the installation instructions first, it's not easy. For Fedora (Linux) there is a package called "mediawiki-math.x86_64" available. I will test this at my own computer.--Dgbrt (talk) 15:57, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
It's the hell, but I got a first crappy version at my local installation. I have had to install latex and ocaml packages and now its working, but it still renders many lines before the <math> tag, So it's still not usable for this site.--Dgbrt (talk) 14:35, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Seeing injected banner ads?

I'm seeing banner ads (viewing on my iPad) that cover the actual banner of the site and never scroll out of view. It's as if they've been infected by a downstream server (ISP?). Anybody else? I'm in Wisconsin using TDS. Jeff M.

That's terrible, I've got to fix that. bah. --Jeff (talk) 18:36, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Is there a place I can email some screenshots? Jeff M. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

[edit] Full cache kills this page

Hi, it seems this page was not reachable for 15 hours again. The cache here has to be cleared sometimes, but since I can do it with my account I will create a script running once per day. 15 hours outage are bad, I try to avoid this in the future. --Dgbrt (talk) 15:50, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Which page was dead? --Jeff (talk) 16:11, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
The entire site was dead. Look here: Special:RecentChanges. My last post was at 23:44 yesterday, no actions here after my reset at 14:54 today. The site was dead. I'm not a hacker, but I'm a programmer and I used this base of knowledge to fix this problem. If you do need more details, please send me an email. --Dgbrt (talk) 18:25, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. Tried to visit yesterday PM, but a lot of pages were spilling guts: user pages, category pages, no comic explanations (as far as I could tell with my limited browsing.) A chron-job script to keep that at bay would be good medicine, assuming it didn't have other side effects. IronyChef (talk) 03:19, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

I will set up a cron job running once per day. Maybe this entry at the config file LocalSettings.php would be the better solution:

$wgMainCacheType = CACHE_NONE;

I'm using the MidnightCommander (Linux) for editing this file.--Dgbrt (talk) 12:11, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Cache_None is already set in the LocalSettings. I believe this is usually a database error that we are getting. It usually resolves itself as I'm not able to resolve it myself. I believe that we are getting hit with a brute force attack at our database during those times because the database is totally unreachable. I'm working on moving to a new host where the database will be better protected. --Jeff (talk) 12:16, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Cache_None or CACHE_NONE? This should be case sensitive. Nevertheless I did purge the cache and the site was instantly available again (after approx. 15 hours). Also Davidy22 explained that he did clear the cache to bring the site back. The error messages are misleading and not showing the real problem.--Dgbrt (talk) 12:43, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, CACHE_NONE, sorry, I was typing fast. I've ran my clear cache script a few times when I've had that same problem and haven't seen results, so I'm glad we at least have something that's working. --Jeff (talk) 15:18, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
You are doing a great job, I feel I just have to say thanks! When the next outage does happen I will activate a small script, but for now I just try to avoid unnecessary traffic to this server.--Dgbrt (talk) 16:15, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Dgbrt! --Jeff (talk) 18:07, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

[edit] New host

Great job, but please check this link: /wiki/. I can browse the entire folder and more. It seems that "htaccess" should be renamed to ".htaccess".--Dgbrt (talk) 08:32, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Oh geez. That's bad. Thanks! --Jeff (talk) 12:02, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Should be good now. --Jeff (talk) 16:45, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

I found an other serious issue belonging to DNS entries:


This works fine because is correct. But most DNS servers showing up with this result:


This just leads to the old server at Check Google DNS server with nslookup, the wrong IP is shown first. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:34, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Weird... I'll research. --Jeff (talk) 19:35, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it's weird. After I discovered this I did enter an entry for this at my local "/etc/hosts" file. But it seems most people can not access the new site.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:20, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
One more: The logo on the left top is broken. style="background-image: url(/wiki/skins/common/images/explainxkcd.png) does not exist.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:53, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Yea, what happened to that logo... it was there this morning. --Jeff (talk) 20:56, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Oh, after a computer crash I'm back. Right now even the editor is broken here. I don't know if I can send this message. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:22, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Ok, it does work, but all images for short cuts on top of the editor are also broken now. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:26, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
The editor works fine for me, I'll research the images. --Jeff (talk) 21:27, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
It seems all links like "/wiki/skins/common/images/button_bold.png" are gone. Additionally I'm getting an JavaScript error "TypeError: document.getElementById(...) is null". redirects me to Maybe you still get some content, maybe cache, from Or is the real site now on that IP? Remember, I have had to restart my computer; most of my cache is gone and I'm just seeing the real page.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:48, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
I fixed the images. I did that stupidly through the htaccess page. I've got to figure a better solution for what I'm trying to do to solve another problem. --Jeff (talk) 21:58, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Looks great right now. So that DNS glitch seems to be the most worse problem right now.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:08, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
I think DNS is still propagating with the updates from yesterday. Not every one has the correct information yet... those two DNS IPs are the load balancers, I believe. --Jeff (talk) 22:09, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Strange "load balancers", but it's working now on both IPs. Many thanks again for your hard work, you must have invested many hours on this migration. Let's see tomorrow if other users will be able to find this site again.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:30, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Please remove subaddressing from my account email user:tbc

Hi Jeff,

I requested a password reset, but I forgot that my account still has an old email registered: [email protected] My ISP, née, disabled subaddressing during an email upgrade earlier this year. If you will update that email to remove the plus sign so my account email is [email protected], I will be able to reset my password. I was logged in from my iPad to write on the community portal page, but since I needed my password, which I have forgotten, to change it, I got stuck. – tbc (talk) 30 Oct 2013

You should be good to go now. --Jeff (talk) 16:07, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
I am. Thank you! – tbc (talk) 05:32, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /wiki/ ( on this server. I think a simple redirect would be a better solution.--Dgbrt (talk) 23:45, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Yup, that's on my list to work on. If you are knowledgable about htaccess files, feel free to send me an email. --Jeff (talk) 13:48, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
The first great point is: The error doesn't show the server, version, etc... A hacker can't figure what exploits are available.
At my local test installation (Apache, Linux) it's covered by the general server configuration. And each folder simply does contain a proper "index.php" file from mediawiki doing the correct redirects.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:19, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Fixed. --Jeff (talk) 16:02, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Great job, thanks.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:18, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Re: the latest puzzle

I don't know how to contribute in the discussion section on the page, so I'm throwing ideas at you.

Just quick thoughts. I feel like Cpl klinger and the water type kingler is too solid a connection to ignore even though I can't really use it. Kingler was owned in the series by Ash. Ash is a three letter word and the last three letters of the phrase monstermash. Monsterm=8 letters so the first block ash=3 letters in the second block. Monsterm is about the thing, therefore purloined. It's a double reference, the .co has been purloined from the purloined website. Then blastoise -3, or rather blastois3 - 3 (mocking the common password meme of replacing letters with numbers) So the last password, which is super hard to guess and well chosen even with the clue is, blastoisash? It's a feasibly memorable password that would not be quickly forgotten by a pokemon fan while still being hard to guess. Can you think of a way to check it? Maybe go into the old command line xkcd and try it as a password?

[edit] URLs

I made them marginally shorter. Can you spot the difference? Davidy²²[talk] 19:47, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Uh, I can't. Does that make me a bad person? --Jeff (talk) 22:17, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
If you go to any page, you should see that it says index.php/<page name> instead of index.php?title=<page name>. Small change, I'm trying to kill the index.php bit too, but I think I suck at regexes. Davidy²²[talk] 22:31, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Regexes are the WORST --Jeff (talk) 22:45, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Regexes are great, but they are hard to implement for a specific solution. But Goooogle helps. And a question to Davidy22: Why you do not present your enhancement here? --Dgbrt (talk) 23:10, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
I set $wgUsePathInfo to true in mediawiki settings, and here's our lines for redirecting URLs in general:
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !(\.png|\.jpg|\.gif)$ [NC]
# RewriteRule ^/wiki(/.*)$ %{DOCUMENT_ROOT}/wiki/index.php$1 [L]
Followed and preceded by htaccess commands that do other things. The broken line is commented out because it doesn't work. Davidy²²[talk] 23:32, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Uhh, it seems I still do not understand the secret. [5] to [6] works fine for me, but I do not understand that [NC] here so far:
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !(\.png|\.jpg|\.gif)$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !(\.png|\.jpg|\.gif)$[NC]
is better. But this means every request not matching those three image extensions would fit that rewrite rule. This is just haaardly regex. The second line is just a comment you probably did remove. I can't see the rewrite rule. And testing for a simple number x, xx, xyz, or xyzz would be better.--Dgbrt (talk) 00:23, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
That's an entirely different rewriterule that does actually work and was deployed long ago that I didn't print here. I'm talking about a general-purpose rewrite that redirects from<page name>, which I attempted to create in the commented-out line. The image exclusion is to stop image display requests from also being redirected, and I don't think you quite get how rewrite rules work. Not *every* page is fitted to every rewrite rule; the first half of the rule describes the conditions in which the rule should be applied. And yeah, just plugging in page names works, but I kinda don't want to hard-code every possible page redirect into our htaccess file. That's what the regex is for. Davidy²²[talk] 00:51, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
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