Battlestar Wiki:Chiefs' noticeboard/Archive6

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Amazon EC2 feasibility?

Just came across this suggestion from one of our respondents to our survey:

"See if you can work a way to run the wiki (but not the mysql database) on Amazon EC2 servers, or some other "elastic" server farm where, as an episode airs, you can for 1 day suddenly boost the resources with which you run it tenfold, while not paying a big bill. Amazon EC2 does this but does not have static storage for your database, which would mean a lot of bandwidth to a remote database. However, another hosting company might offer you virtual servers by the hour on a network where they also let you keep your dedicated server and sql database."

Is this feasible? Could we do this? Pros? Cons? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 22:22, 26 February 2008 (CST)

Well if there's a company out there that offers this for a reasonable price, why not? --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 03:53, 27 February 2008 (CST)
This is almost like squaid server. The only time that we do have downtime or very werid slowness is near airing, which is true. But when we goto the Battlestar Forum during those times, its as fast as a button, with no slow down. My mind tells me that is just a Mediawiki I/O program when it comes to having to reteive the database. We might have to run that connection test script again (disable stats of course) again with mem-cache enabled. Directing everyone off to an off-site database is not the problem. We do that already with Athena, which is on a different subnet than Apollo, it be almost investing in a "Load Balanceing" hardware that we can place in front of Apollo that filters traffic more directly. WWW --> Load Balancer -- double split arrow --> Apollo + Athena. However, Athena never talks with the outside world, cept on the admin port and talks with Apollo internally at ThePlanet. Shane (T - C - E) 13:19, 4 March 2008 (CST)
How about we set up a third DB server as a slave? It wouldn't have to be on a separate machine, it could run on Apollo. The other way around may even be better: have Athena do the hard work (servicing reads) and be somewhat lighter on Apollo (only writes). For more information on setting up master/slave DB servers in MediaWiki, go here. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 07:49, 5 March 2008 (CST)
I'm going to second Shane's comments regarding MediaWiki... During "Razor's" premiere and the two days following, the forum was fine, with the Wiki seeming to be the slowest. Coincidentally, when Apollo became bogged down, I had to deactivate the mysql database on Athena in order to get Apollo accessible via SSH, which tells me that Apollo was being the workhorse there... and was also being a bottleneck, apparently. So it seems to be that we need to beef up the Apollo server, and not Athena, which was fine even through the entire thing. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 10:22, 5 March 2008 (CST)
Have we yet figured out a way to simulate "battle" load, outside of trial by fire yet? It seems like most of the simulations so far have been less violent than the real deal. While it is not something we ought to subject our servers to on a whim, it would be nice to be able to test configuration changes before they face combat. --Steelviper 12:54, 6 March 2008 (CST)
Someone familiar with the pywikipediabot framework (not me, I'd have to learn Python xD) could write up a bot that does lots of writes. Without it, we can really only simulate a flood of reads (I could write up something for that, though). --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 14:06, 6 March 2008 (CST)
I think I understood that it was the concurrent edits (and edit conflicts that result) that were bringing us down. --Steelviper 14:47, 6 March 2008 (CST)
Yeah, I wanted to say that (must've deleted it while rewriting): our largest problem is the edit flood, that's why we protect articles or put the wiki in read-only mode. We could maybe arrange for an edit fest, though: we all agree to submit a large number of edits more or less simultaneously (we can prepare them beforehand) at the Hangar Bay, and see what happens. IRC (Freenode?) would be useful to coordinate that. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 14:58, 6 March 2008 (CST)

Style idea

For those wanting a simpler style, I ran across this. With a little tweaking, it would probably work here for those people wanting a cleaner layout. Thoughts? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 22:48, 9 March 2008 (CDT)

As a less is more kinda person, I like it. -- FrankieG 23:32, 9 March 2008 (CDT)
I can't see it. :/ --DrWho42 01:11, 10 March 2008 (CDT)
Do you mean you can't access it, or don't see it working for us? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 10:02, 10 March 2008 (CDT)
I am one of the five people who actually love the dark red/black style, but as option for those who don't (and that's a lot of people) that would be good. It seems to have a larger font too. -- Serenity 06:35, 10 March 2008 (CDT)
Hey, I thought I was the only one who stuck with bsgbook (dark red/black), guess not then. On topic: the more choice, the better, of course. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 07:26, 10 March 2008 (CDT)
I happen to use (and love) the new style as well. The only thing I can say against it is the width issue, seeing as I have a 17" widescreen. Other than that, the style I pointed out is simple and gets rid of some of the clutter... it may work for us. It may not. Also, keep in mind that our current style (BsgBook ahem, Battlestar) will remain our default style, these will just be alternatives for people who don't like the current style.-- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 10:02, 10 March 2008 (CDT)
The current default is battlestar, right? (The "new" style) --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 10:12, 10 March 2008 (CDT)
You're right. :) -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 10:20, 10 March 2008 (CDT)
*cough* Battlestar iPhone *cough* and *cough* Battlestar Light *cough* :D Shane (T - C - E) 10:46, 10 March 2008 (CDT)
When will either of these be ready? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 15:11, 11 March 2008 (CDT)

PHP upgrade?

While testing my API framework on Battlestar Wiki, I ran into a compatibility problem in PHP's serialze() output. The problem is that the PHP serialize output changed somewhere between versions, so my (new) version expects data in a different format than the BSWiki server outputs, causing an error. Maybe you guys could upgrade PHP when you start your upgrade spree (1.12, extensions)? --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 14:14, 23 February 2008 (CST)

Yep. I'll do that now then. Shane (T - C - E) 14:18, 23 February 2008 (CST)
Running the instlal test. Once it passes, I will shut down Apache while I install the new version. 5.2.5. Shouldn't take long. Shane (T - C - E) 14:41, 23 February 2008 (CST)
Done. 5.2.5 active. :) Shane (T - C - E) 14:44, 23 February 2008 (CST)
Thanks. There seems to be a different problem, though: the output is prefixed by a space. Can you grep for files that have a space before the <?php or one after the ?> (the latter shouldn't occur anywhere, though). --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 14:58, 23 February 2008 (CST)
In the skin? Shane (T - C - E) 15:11, 23 February 2008 (CST)
Maybe. All I know is that there's some PHP file with a leading or trailing newline (not a space, sorry). --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 15:22, 23 February 2008 (CST)
Would this include extensions as well? Or no? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 17:41, 23 February 2008 (CST)
While I'm on that tangent, could it be the DismissableSiteNotice that mucks things up? After all, it does generate a space in the main skin, and doubtless on others. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 17:42, 23 February 2008 (CST)
Can you run a debugger to see which file it stops at? There are over 100+ files. I am not going through all of them to remove new lines which I keep so I don't loose my mind when looking at the code. :) Shane (T - C - E) 18:33, 23 February 2008 (CST)
It could be an extension, yes. DismissableSitenotice is the most likely suspect, followed by other recently installed extensions. I unfortunately don't have a way of checking which .php file is guilty. You could use grep(1) to look for a newline followed by <?php , or you could check the most recently installed extensions first and hope it's in one of them. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 09:48, 24 February 2008 (CST)
For one thing that I lack it's using grep. Tell me what I would enter into the shell to look for it :) Shane (T - C - E) 12:30, 24 February 2008 (CST)
grep '<?php' -n *.php | grep -v ':1:'. The first grep searches for all occurrences of <?php and prints line numbers too (-n), the second grep filters the output for all matches not on the first line (-v lists only non-matching lines). --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 13:36, 24 February 2008 (CST)

Have we found the culprit yet? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 09:36, 26 February 2008 (CST)

No. Could you run the grep command I posted above in some of the extension directories? --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 09:44, 26 February 2008 (CST)
[bsgwiki@apollo extensions]$ grep '<?php' -n *.php | grep -v ':1:'
[bsgwiki@apollo extensions]$ grep '<?php' -n *.php | grep -v ':1:'
[bsgwiki@apollo extensions]$ 

Shane (T - C - E) 11:28, 26 February 2008 (CST)

Actually, I've found that you have to go to each sub directory and run the grep expression... So the culprits I found so far are AddHtml and a few others. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 11:39, 26 February 2008 (CST)
oh sob. doh. that's right :P Shane (T - C - E) 12:32, 26 February 2008 (CST)

What's the sit rep on this? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 15:10, 11 March 2008 (CDT)

The problem is still there. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 17:02, 11 March 2008 (CDT)
I'll have to write a perl script to check each file. I am really not in the mood to do it manually :) Joe.. email Shane (T - C - E) 00:24, 12 March 2008 (CDT)

TOS tag out of place

I'm using BSG monobook in Firefox and the TOS emblem appears about half a centimetre too low. OTW 10:26, 11 March 2008 (CDT)

Yeah... I will fix that. :) Thanks for the update! (Give me a few mintues...) Shane (T - C - E) 10:36, 11 March 2008 (CDT)
Try a hard refresh. It should be now in the correct place. :) Now to gwad my eyes for switching to bsgmonobook!!!!! Shane (T - C - E) 10:41, 11 March 2008 (CDT)
Fixed now! OTW 13:38, 12 March 2008 (CDT)

User rename

If possible, could someone please change my username to "Galjamspe". Thank you.

Done. Let us know if you have any issues! -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 01:59, 19 March 2008 (CDT)

CAP == Caprica (series)

Any objections? Shane (T - C - E) 12:28, 19 March 2008 (CDT)

Well, we still could use "RDM" as the acronym... it is in the same universe, after all. It's not like we're talking about TOS vs. 1980 here. :P -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 13:23, 19 March 2008 (CDT)
CAP = "Combat Air Patrol" for me. We don't need a separate Caprica disambiguation. I totally agree with Joe. It's the same universe and information can be included into the normal RDM articles. -- Serenity 14:04, 19 March 2008 (CDT)
Some of the information might be, however, I believe that if we have new technology/people to organize in the category system, I would not like to put a category RDM that is for mostly the new stuff. :| And yes.. I already changed it, so I can create a new portal. Shane (T - C - E) 15:50, 19 March 2008 (CDT)
Caprica should really be a subset of the RDM category. RDM is, in my view, an all encompassing category that includes both the new BSG and any spinoffs. Also, for all we know, Caprica may very well be a one-shot deal. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 17:56, 19 March 2008 (CDT)
Seems the RDM acronym isn't so unfortunate now as it appeared to be. This would be worse if it were something like TNS. -- Serenity 17:58, 19 March 2008 (CDT)
I concur now. RDM is fortuitious. We don't need something separate save for name conflicts with TOS and other items. --Spencerian 18:11, 19 March 2008 (CDT)

Wiki speed?

Is it just me, or is the Wiki faster now that we've upgraded to MW 1.12? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 02:32, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Not just you. I noticed it. I was watiing for a normal user to notice. :) But oh well. Shane (T - C - E) 04:30, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
What, I'm not normal enough for you? :P -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 04:38, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I plead the 5th to answer this in a public forum. :) Shane (T - C - E) 04:46, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I think we'll get an answer to that next week, when the S4 premiere has aired. We also have memcached now, which'll help improve performance too. What's the status on APC? --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 11:11, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
For the record, this 'normal user' has certainly noticed the faster wiki. :) Veepz 16:09, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I usually try to be an optimist, but I'm afraid we're going to get crushed. Hopefully we'll be able to at least hold up enough to enable viewing with the first episode page locked. --Steelviper 16:27, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, if we lock down the articles before airing, we should do well. The only reason we crashed last time was because some schmuck with the initials of Joe Beaudoin had neglected to lock editing on the "Razor" page... Frakwit. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 16:45, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
It is pretty zippy. Nice work. We'll still be slow, but would it help if we don't allow editing at all anywhere in the wiki during the air times (as opposed to only the episode pages)? And thanks for your check-in, Veepz.--Spencerian 22:09, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
It's really the major articles that cause the problem... basically, when ten or more people try to submit edits AND people start calling up information from that same article, the mysql pipeline gets clogged because the server is trying to determine if there are edit conflicts, generate diffs, and all that behind-the-scenes work. Like last time, many people tried to edit and submit edits to the "Razor" article, and because of my failure to lock it down, the webserver grinded to a halt. It was only after I locked the article, the article on Cain, Kendra, and other related stuff that the site was usable again. (And note that the Forum worked very smoothly during this as well.) So... if it gets really bad even after w lock all the major articles, then we lock everything down. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 00:59, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Spoiler Policy

It looks like this needs to be updated for the Caprica series being green-lighted. Should all Caprica articles be considered spoilers? Shane (talk) 00:25, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Typically, what we have here is minor plot information... not really a spoiler. Spoilers should really be identified on a case-by-case basis, at least for now. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 01:07, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

"He That Believeth In Me"

I'm done with the "He That Believeth In Me" stuff for now... I've locked all the major articles, so we shouldn't have major performance issues, and worked on some major updates. Except now I'm tired, and I want to get some shut eye, so fill in the blanks guys. (Obviously, the last 15 minutes of the show -- basically the last two acts -- are verboten. Not that it'll matter much in 8 hours, but let's cover our butts till then.) The man with the mushy brain bids you good night (and early morning). -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 08:01, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Humor in Battlestar Galactica

Seeing since we have articles as Philosophy in Battlestar Galactica or Sexuality in Battlestar Galactica, I was wondering if such an article would be worthy of survival. Although I'm sure there's a matter of interpretation concerning various jokes, sight gags, etc., and it would be harder to pin down, I still think it's possibly to create a nonbias article on Humor from either three series (and spin-off material). Thoughts?--DrWho42 14:43, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I'd be interested in seeing such a thing, particularly for the new series, since the series doesn't afford itself too much in the way of humor. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 15:49, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Concur. There's something to be gleaned with such an article, although one may have to be careful in sourcing the jokes to specific references, homages and the like. In fact, while doing this article you might want to consider how it impacts the lesser viewed References in the Re-imagined Series, as there are jokes there that are also homages but many items that may or may not necessarily be funny. Thus, overlap. --Spencerian 16:04, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I actually think there is plenty of funny or also lightweight stuff in the show, even if it's just a line or two in a scene. So listing all of them could make for a somewhat lengthy article. -- Serenity 16:57, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Stream == Aired? == Non-spolier?

Just a quick thought, maybe not, but should the first airing of this stream count as the episode being seen or should being "aired" be the TV broadcast version only? in terms of marking pages. I just throw this little kink in our system now. :) Shane (talk) 17:19, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I think we should just define a spoiler as content that is not yet aired on TV, just to keep our sanities intact. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 17:23, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Quiznos Expense Account

Baltar: You know, I feel God too... and those-- God, they're nice. But you know, uhm, Joe got an expense account with Quiznos. Now that's feeling God, you know, the one true God.

For those of you that opened up a Quiznos' expense account for the, uhm, Battlestar Wiki, I'd like to thank you! You've definitely made my day! (And, yes, I'll post the contents of the wonderful card that users 96, 351, and 541 came up with!) Thank you! :D -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 21:23, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Hangar Bay

What ever happened to the Hangar Bay? All links there redirect to the English wiki and http://hb.battlestarwiki.org/ redirects to the main portal. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 15:07, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

I think I deleted the sub-domain.. surpriselly, we still have files over there. Wonder if we should bring it back to life. Shane (talk) 15:22, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, bring it back, because we can work on some skin ideas over there. (The Colonial Paper thing, alternate color schemes, as well as a cleaner "print preview" version.) I'd recommend that you nuke whatever's there now and start clean. For instance, the MW software on the HB probably dates back to MW 1.5 or 1.7. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 18:41, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Wiki Status

So it seems to me that the Wiki's been working like a champ. Never crashed, apparently. It seems to be somewhat slow at times, but far better than the "Razor" airing, I thought. Anyway, what do you guys think about things? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 18:44, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

It crashed for about 1 mintue because of a server fault, but it came right back. And it wasn't from the wiki. It was from me. :D Slow... yes. Online.. yes. editable... yes. Shane (talk) 19:01, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Ah, well, then we only have to worry about Shane now... Great. j/k -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 19:09, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Aside from the slowness, there were a few instances of unresponsiveness. That is, it didn't load at all. But that was some hours after the episode aired. All in all, not bad, though I didn't see how it fared directly during the airing.-- Serenity 19:20, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
That I can say... I was editing without any problems. I think the double airing really spread out the load of the server. Shane (talk) 20:21, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Dang it, I warned him on Friday not to crash the server! :) In seriousness, the wiki's been doing great! --Spencerian 23:31, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I noticed that bit of unresponsiveness too, which is saying enough about its timing (it was 4 AM here when HTBIM aired, and I didn't notice anything weird until like 4 PM). What I'm interested in most right now is the effectiveness of the BW:AIRLOCKs; do we have any data on how many people viewed locked articles or tried to click edit links on them? --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 10:55, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I prefer the articles being locked for another reason. It's less work to write an article properly from the ground up, than going through a badly written one or a mismatch of various points and correcting that. Be that turning disjointed pieces into a coherent text, fixing typos and grammar, or just adhering to our style guidelines. I know that doesn't sound very nice and goes somewhat against the principles of a wiki, in that everyone can make edits, but it's also a good thing when an article has one voice and seems like it was written by one person. -- Serenity 11:06, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
It was definitely a matter of survival in the past. While me might try to phase in unlocking some of the pertinent articles, we should do it slowly, in phases, in the coming weeks. The last one to go should be the episode guide. I'd be tickled to have the option of having it unlocked during airing, but not at the cost of crashing the server. Perhaps we should brainstorm some strategies of how we can harness the flood of input without everything being so disjointed. Maybe hold off on having the summary written by everybody, but allow different people to get their observations in (in separate areas) in a way that avoids edit conflicts. Then, after the episode is aired people can assemble the summary. --Steelviper 11:38, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, something like that could work. Notes and Analysis are easier to copy-edit (and I guess everyone knows how necessary that is) than the summary and probably also more important to have directly after everyone saw the episode. -- Serenity 11:44, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the episode guide should be airlocked so someone can write a proper summary (same for battle articles), but I think articles like Jeanne could afford to be editable. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 11:52, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Color Scheme

Ok, now that the survey is about over -- we've had more than 1,000 respondents, by the way -- the main bulk of the complaints have been leveled against the default color scheme. Frankly, I can see where they would complain. As much as I may personally like the color scheme we presently have, it does have its draw backs. Among them:

  • The text is too small. Our median age group is 30-40. We need to have bigger font size. Basically, the smallest font size we should have is 10-11pt. Not 8pt felgercarb.
  • The color needs to be changed. Basically, we need a light background with dark text look.
  • The scheme does not work in high-lit environments. For instance, I took my laptop outside and had to switch to the white bsgmonobook theme. Just wasn't usable any other way.
  • Further, we need something that is auto adjusting... Basically, a skin that has auto width for larger resolutions and widescreen formatted screens.
  • Personally, I do also have problems reading it for long periods of time... Black on white (or dark color on a light color) is default for a reason, after all.

So, with that in mind, I personally feel that we need to retire the current skin as our default. This isn't to say that it should be deleted, as we should keep it around as a skin option to others that like it, but the respondents have made several good points that should be brought up.

Now all I'm suggesting here is a color pallet change. The format we're using right now is fine. Just the colors need to change.

And I know that Shane's probably not happy about me saying these things, but the people have spoken and I can't really disagree with them on this. :-| So, do any of you have thoughts, questions, or concerns? I'm looking for feedback here. :D -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Battlestar Pegasus 06:26, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

I didn't understand the complaints about the font size until I switched to the new widescreen skin. Monobook's size is bigger and just about right. What I also noticed is the fontsize itself. What's annoying is that it's practically impossible to distinguish quotation marks and apostrophes in the editing window. However, I like the color scheme, but some more variety doesn't hurt. -- Serenity 09:54, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
It wouldn't be impossible to do a "fluid" skin" I have to really change the skin file format so the header can be adjusted correctly -- which is what I been avoiding to have to do -- and then it can be the default skin (not my fixed width). :) . With colors though I like the blog colors as the light skin. We could even bring up the default text size from 8pt to 10 or 11. Any higher it look like big font. I'll take a look at the results to see what I can do also. Shane (talk) 12:28, 7 April 2008 (UTC)