Talk:About IFWiki

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This is a talk page relating to the About IFWiki content page. Older discussions can be read at Talk:About IFWiki/Archive 2005 to 2019.

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[DONE] Proposed upgrade of MediaWiki software in 2021-22

David Cornelson suggested I add a page about my suggestion that the software behind this site be upgraded, so here it is: IFWiki:Proposed upgrade of MediaWiki software in 2021-22. Perhaps we could discuss it there. Thanks. Jonathan (talk) 11:34, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

The upgrade has been done and we are on a new server :-) Jonathan (talk) 12:47, 6 January 2022 (UTC)

[RESOLVED] Job queue problem

The various choice-based games were added to Category:CYOA by Template:CYOA, i.e. {{CYOA}} was added to all the games' pages.

We changed Template:CYOA so that it would add pages using it to Category:Choice-based instead.

The expected behaviour is that, once the CYOA template was changed, a job would be added to MediaWiki's job queue for all 145 pages that call that template, and that the pages would be automatically recategorised. It's described in the MediaWiki job queue manual page: "When a template changes, MediaWiki adds a job to the job queue for each article transcluding that template. Each job is a command to read an article, expand any templates, and update the link table accordingly. Previously, the host articles would remain outdated until either their parser cache expires or until a user edits the article."

A couple of days later none of the pages have automatically been recategorised. Five of them were recategorised by me doing a null edit on them (i.e. opening the page for editing and saving having made no change).

Some problems/solutions that come to mind:

  1. It is possible to run the whole job queue at the command line - but we don't have shell access.
  2. Something might be causing a problem in the queue. We might see an error at the command line when running the job queue, or might see something useful in the job table - but we don't have access to the database.
  3. The job queue might be running too slowly. It would be good to check the value for $wgJobRunRate in the config file, LocalSettings.php - but we don't have access to the files.
  4. I didn't notice the size of the job queue increase when I edited the template (though to be fair it's higher today) so maybe the jobs weren't created. I can't think why this would be though.
  5. There is a script that can be run at the command line that would rebuild everything including categories.
  6. Without access to the server:
    1. We could just wait until the job queue runs down to 0.
    2. We could manually null edit the 140 remaining pages. Though that doesn't address the underlying problem.

What do we think? Jonathan (talk) 09:59, 10 December 2021 (UTC)

It does seem to be a problem with the job queue not running, or running at glacial speed. Still only 7 pages have moved to the "Choice-based" category (probably all edited manually). But on my copy of the wiki on a different server, after a few hours there were 42 pages there. After running the maintenance script to clear the job queue, there were 127 pages. The 24 pages which remain in the "CYOA" category weren't categorised using {{CYOA}} (mostly they weren't games at all) so will need to be recategorised manually. It can be sorted out easily enough :-) Jonathan (talk) 14:47, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
Now that we are on the new server this is resolved, and I'll also set up a cron job to keep the job queue running. Jonathan (talk) 12:46, 6 January 2022 (UTC)

Proposed new icons and genre changes

Robin Johnson has started a discussion about this at IFWiki talk:Genre#Proposed new icons and genre changes. I'm adding the link here to make it more visible (to visitors or those who've watched the Community Portal page). Jonathan (talk) 14:37, 13 December 2021 (UTC)

Copyright discussions

I've started the IFWiki:Copyright discussions page and a discussion about it at IFWiki talk:Copyright discussions. Jonathan (talk) 14:38, 13 December 2021 (UTC)

I've just noticed that we don't have a favicon here. Usually it'd be based on a logo, but we don't have one of them either (though the textual image in the top left is familiar and distinctive). Robin Johnson, you're artistic! Would you be able to come up with something? :-) Jonathan (talk) 14:20, 15 December 2021 (UTC)

Hmmm. A quick attempt at a logo type thing. Not particularly inspired, but then we're all about text...
I also made a favicon to go with it (the same rounded square shape, but with just ">i" in it) but am having trouble trying to upload it: "Could not create directory "mwstore://local-backend/local-public/6/62"." Robin Johnson (talk) 22:01, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
I like how the > reminds you of a parser game and a few of the words being bolded reminds you of a hypertext game. bg (talk) 22:07, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
Ha, I didn't think of that but happy to take credit for it! :-) I'd consider playing on it and making them look even more like hyperlinks, but having an image on every page containing things that look like hyperlinks but aren't is probably not great design. Robin Johnson (talk) 10:27, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
We're using this new logo now :-) Jonathan (talk) 12:48, 6 January 2022 (UTC)

Add information to game/work pages using IFDB's API

The Interactive Fiction Database has an API that would let us add information to game pages straight from that website.

We could have a template that adds an infobox to the relevant page.

If we were to do that, which information should be used? You can see what is available by looking at this result for Ballyhoo. Jonathan (talk) 06:58, 17 December 2021 (UTC)

I think a good infobox would have the cover art, title, author, publisher*, development system*, platform*, year, and genre(s), then a link to the IFDB page. (I've used "*" where this field doesn't seem to be in the metadata (yet?), at least not for that example). Then the entirety of the IFWiki page text can be used for writing about the game, not cataloguing it. (I've posted longer thoughts around this recently.)
Would it be possible to use year, publisher, and genre(s) to automatically add categories to the page too? And genre(s)/awards* to add icons/ribbons? Robin Johnson (talk) 11:42, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
What about adding one of the "star" rating numbers? They could be shown with star icons.
I agree with what you've written about writing about games rather than collecting data about them. Hopefully automating the data aspect of it will make that easier.
Yes, the template could add categories based on the data - or if we go the whole hog, the data could form the basis of a mini database which would allow drilling down by multiple filters (so instead of just being able to look by category for 2010 games, or Inform games, or games by author X, you could get a list of games that match all). Jonathan (talk) 12:07, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't feel strongly either way, but my vote (if it were a vote) would be against showing the star ratings here. It's not a piece of data that's inherent to the game, and we're not really about judging games. Robin Johnson (talk) 14:26, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
If there's an infobox, at a minimum I would think you'd want the title, author, publication date (or at least year), development system and/or platform. (Currently, ifwiki uses platform to mean e.g. Glulx, z-code, web browser--as things stand, that's a detail that ifwiki often tracks, but IFDB does not have a field for.) Somewhere on the page there should definitely be a link to IFDB. After those things, the next most important would be cover art and award info. Genre is nice to have. Publisher is fine for games that have a separate publisher, although many are self-published. Not sure about stars. What is the purpose of an ifwiki page about an IF work? Is it more for "Why is this work historically significant/interesting," or for people deciding if they want to play it? bg (talk) 14:34, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
I think it should definitely be the former. Robin Johnson (talk) 18:11, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
I like the idea of having the stars, but it wouldn't necessarily be the latest score, if the page is cached - so maybe not. The awards should stay (e.g. on Brain_Guzzlers_from_Beyond!, to pick one at random) I think as they answer both questions (significant and deciding whether to play).
Also, part of the discussion at IFWiki talk:Genre#Proposed new icons and genre changes is about how we should tie in the various types of wiki "Genre" categories with the genres as listed on IDFB. Jonathan (talk) 18:54, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
(Where do I nest this?) Oh--do we need to display copyright/license for the info pulled from IFDB? Especially the cover art. If so, we'd need the license info too. bg (talk) 19:01, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
We'd probably have to regurgitate the Creative Commons spiel for anything like the description (and maybe anyway, to err on the side of caution). For cover art, I think could automatically link to the Copyright message page (eg this one for Ballyhoo. Jonathan (talk) 19:33, 17 December 2021 (UTC)

Whether to have game/work pages that only have an infobox and nothing else

I'm not sure where to put this question, but maybe we also need to think about content for the game/work pages beyond the infobox. Are there going to be work pages that have only an infobox, and nothing else? That is, will new work pages be created even if no one has immediate plans to add anything else to the page? Also, are we going to want to pull any external review links from IFDB? Do we want to keep including author commentary links (added manually, since I don't think IFDB currently links to that)? bg (talk) 18:43, 17 December 2021 (UTC)

Suggested revisions to Main Page

There is an ongoing discussion of this topic on the Main Page's talk page at Talk:Main Page. Jonathan (talk) 21:59, 6 January 2022 (UTC)

RSS/Atom from other sites

Bg and I talked about the possibility of adding RSS feeds from other sites. Sites with RSS/Atom feeds include Planet IF, IFDB, the Intfiction forum (which surprisingly doesn't seem to have a page in Category:Communities) and nearly any blog.

We had talked about putting them on the Main Page and focussing on Planet IF (probably the most interesting). Unfortunately the only stable extension, RSS, is fine with RSS but has a bug in handling Atom feeds which means that sometimes it doesn't get an item's URL. Unfortunately Planet IF uses Atom. The two other RSS reader extensions are unmaintained and haven't been tried out.

Another idea might be to put RSS feeds on relevant pages, though, for instance adding IFDB feeds on the IFDB wiki page. Jonathan (talk) 12:40, 7 January 2022 (UTC)

Adding spoilers

There is already a Template:Spoiler (used with Template:Endspoiler). It's used in seven pages and works by printing a spoiler warning before (and after) a block of visible text, for example in The Lost City of Zork.

I've worked out a very basic alternative using CSS. Just surround the spoiler text with {{testspoiler|spoiler text}}. Or you can do the same with <span class="spoiler">the same</span></span>.

It only works for inline text or single lines. We'd have to use a <div> to hide multiple lines at once.

Ideally I'd like it work like the spoilers in Intfiction which remember what you've clicked, for example in “The Party Line” Invisiclues Hints by Dan Fabulich.

What do you think though? Jonathan (talk) 17:18, 8 January 2022 (UTC)

New software infobox

In January 2022 we added a software infobox for interpreters, authoring systems and utilities, which stores its content to a database that can be queried. Please help us populate the database by creating new pages and editing existing ones. See Help:Contents to find out more.

If you have any questions or comments can put them here. Jonathan (talk) 14:05, 20 January 2022 (UTC)

[DONE] Disambiguating A-code

I note that under authoring systems A-code is listed as the Level 9 A-code. There is no mention anywhere of Dave Platt's A-code (Adv550, Adv580, Adv660, Adv770), still maintained by myself ( Pardon my ignorance, but how does one disambiguate the two?

Mike Arnautov

Mla (talk) 11:36, 26 January 2022 (UTC)

Could you possibly create a page called "A-code (Dave Platt)"? Then we can decide how to categorise and disambiguate it and the existing Level 9 A-code page. If yours fits into Category:Authoring system then could you please create its page using Form:Software? Otherwise, just click A-code (Dave Platt) and start from there. Thanks. Jonathan (talk) 23:09, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
Have done. Any good?
Mike Arnautov
Mla (talk)
Thank you. Both seem like languages, but maybe either could equally be called an "authoring system", as you have done with Platt's A-code. Though we don't think of Z-code as an authoring system (whereas Inform 6, Inform 7 etc are). I don't know. Anyway, we can add cross-references to both pages. Should we also move A-code to A-code (Level 9) (and replace existing links, and add a new disambiguation A-code page linking to both pages) or is that a bridge too far? Jonathan (talk) 10:30, 3 February 2022 (UTC)
I really don't mind how it is categorised. I don't think there is a clear-cut distinction, so whichever you reckon is more appropriate. And yes, I guess the A-code page should become A-code (Level 9) and a new A-code one should disambiguate the two. (It's really unfortunate that this naming clash happened; I wrote to Level 9 around 1985 enquiring whether they were in fact using Platt's language, but got no reply.) Mla (talk) 20:23, 3 February 2022 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and done that: A-code is now a disambiguation page linking to A-code (Dave Platt) and A-code (Level 9). I changed all the existing links to what is now the A-code (Level 9) page (there weren't many). Thanks for your help. Jonathan (talk) 20:35, 3 February 2022 (UTC)
Thank you for *yours*! Mike Mla (talk) 10:55, 4 February 2022 (UTC)
I note that A-code disambiguation has disappeared from the authoring systems list and its one again showing Level 9 A-code as the only system of that name. What happened? Mike Mla (talk) 18:19, 22 February 2022 (UTC)
I don't think anything has changed since our discussion above, but I looked to check and spotted that we never changed Category:A-code. Is that the page you have in mind when you said "...showing Level 9 A-code as the only system of that name"? Jonathan (talk) 00:03, 23 February 2022 (UTC)
What I mean is if I go to Authoring Systems in the category selection and then under A click A-code, it takes me straight to Level9 A-code -- no sign of disambiguation. Mla (talk) 10:52, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
Yes, you are referring to the Category:A-code page. I've changed the introductory paragraph to explain the situation and link to A-code (Dave Platt). In due course we can rename the category itself and also its sub-category. Jonathan (talk) 21:15, 25 February 2022 (UTC)
Thanks! Not sure I follow the complications, but then, unlike you, I know (and need to know) sod-all about the structure of this site. :-)