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Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-01-31/Technology report

When broken is easily fixed: Emergency sever switch goes smoothly; technical glitches resolved; a new way to transfer files to Commons.


Logo for the beta feature FileExporter.svg
Logo for the beta feature FileExporter

A new beta feature for transferring files to Wikimedia Commons was released for all wikis on 16 January. The FileExporter allows files to be transferred along with the file history (previous versions of the file) and description page history. Existing tools can copy files over, but information such as who originally uploaded the file has to be added to the description page, for example with the {{Original upload log}} template.

The feature was initially released in beta on, Meta-Wiki,, and the German, Persian, Arabic, and Korean Wikipedias.

To test FileExporter, activate it in your user preferences; feedback can be left on the central talk page on

The feature was developed by Wikimedia Deutschland's Technical Wishes project, in response to a 2013 wish from German-speaking communities. Further information is available on and Meta-Wiki.

Enter key blues

Icon of an enter key
It's supposed to save the page after you've typed an edit summary

For a short time on 10 and 11 January (Thursday and Friday), several users reported that hitting the enter key in the edit summary box no longer saved the page. Instead, it opened a menu of common edit summaries, available when the default summaries gadget ("Add two new dropdown boxes below the edit summary box with some useful default summaries") is enabled. A workaround was added to MediaWiki:Gadget-defaultsummaries.js until the issue was resolved.

Emergency server switch

An emergency server switch was performed on 17 January at 07:00 (UTC), due to a hardware failure. This impacted most wikis, but not English Wikipedia, nor Commons, Wikidata, Meta, Wikispecies, and several other Wikipedias (full list). The affected sites were read-only for less than four minutes during the switch. Further information is available on Phabricator.

TemplateData failures

Scrrenshot of editing a template without TemplateData in VisualEditor
With VisualEditor, a lack of TemplateData makes it harder to add or edit templates

A recent software update to the TemplateData extension caused some templates' data to become inaccessible to various tools. The affected templates were generally those that had been edited since the update was deployed. This resulted in VisualEditor not being able to display parameters or descriptions, as well as errors in gadgets and scripts such as ProveIt (report). The bug report, filed on 16 January, was given the priority "Unbreak now!", and a software patch resolving the issue was deployed on 21 January.

In brief

New user scripts to customise your Wikipedia experience

Bot tasks

Recently approved tasks
Current requests for approval

Latest tech news

Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community: 2019 #2, #3, #4, & #5. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available on Meta.

Templates and TemplateStyles
  • When a template was edited with the visual editor, it would sometimes put all information on one line. This makes it difficult to read for editors who use the wikitext editor. It also makes it more difficult to see what happened in a diff. This problem affected edits made between 8 and 17 January and is now fixed. [1]
  • Advanced item Templates with <templatestyles> could not show the difference between the live template and the sandbox version when they were tested. This has now been fixed. <templatestyles> has a new wrapper parameter now. You can use it for selectors like .mw-parser-output <wrapper parameter value> <selector from CSS page>. [2]
  • You can now use template styles in the Module namespace. [3]
Abuse filter
  • Advanced item On several wikis, an account named "Edit filter" has been created on December 17 to perform some technical maintenance on AbuseFilter. This account has sysop rights but it's a system user and no human can use it. The account already existed on wikis where AbuseFilter can perform blocks, which are issued using this account. See T212268 for more information and future plans.
  • Advanced item The AbuseFilter variable minor_edit has been removed. It was deprecated in 2016. Now you can't use it. You can fix the filters using it. You can find them if you use the search bar on Special:AbuseFilter.
  • Advanced item In AbuseFilter, the "Throttle" action takes three parameters: count, period and groups. They must now strictly respect the requirements listed on A list of broken filters is on Phabricator. If you're familiar with AbuseFilter, please take a look and fix them. [4]
  • You can now add captions to files on Commons. Captions are short descriptions of the file. They can be translated to all languages we use. They can't use wikitext markup.
  • You can now use Google Translate in the content translation tool. [5][6]
  • The content translation tool can now use version 2 as the default version for users who turned on the beta feature. For example it adds the tracking category Pages with unreviewed translations to translations that might have used machine translations without fixing the problems. This is so others can find them. You can find this category in Special:TrackingCategories on Wikipedias.
MediaWiki and software
  • can now convert collects of up to 800 pages to PDF, EPUB or ODT. Previously this was 200 pages.
  • RelatedSites extension has been undeployed. It was used to create interwiki links on Wikivoyage, now handled by Wikidata. [7]
  • Advanced item MediaWiki logstash logging is moving to a new infrastructure. This is an ongoing deployment. [8]
  • Advanced item has been updated, with new and updated repositories and a new search options for code. [9]
Other recent changes
  • Earlier a quoted HTML attribute had to be followed by a space. Now it doesn't. This means that some pages could look different when you save them even if you didn't edit that part of the text. [10][11]
  • Users who could cause more damage to the wikis if someone took over their account have to have more secure passwords. This includes administrators and other user groups. They can't use passwords that are in a list of common passwords. Accounts with common passwords are easy to take over. The list of common passwords was made longer a few weeks ago and has a different error message. Some user groups have been added to those who can't use common passwords. This is to protect all accounts with user rights that could cause damage. [12]
  • The Wikimedia servers use HHVM to run the PHP code. They are going to use PHP7 and stop using HHVM. You can test PHP7 with a new beta feature. That way you can help find and report problems.
  • When you see an edit in the recent changes feed or in the history of a page some of them have tags. Some tags are added automatically. You can also add tags manually. Tags for edits that have been added manually can be edited. This didn't work for a little while. This has now been fixed. [13]
  • MassMessage is used to post a message to many pages. It has not been working reliably. Some messages have not been posted to everyone. [14][15]
  • When someone moves a page to a name that already exists that page that had the name the article is moved to is deleted. For a couple of months this didn't always work. Some users saw an error message instead. This has now been fixed. [16]
  • Recurrent item Advanced item You can join the technical advice meeting on IRC. During the meeting, volunteer developers can ask for advice. The meeting takes place every Wednesday from 4:00–5:00 p.m. UTC. See how to join here.

Installation code

  1. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
  2. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    importScript( 'User:BrandonXLF/FloatSide.js' ); // Backlink: User:BrandonXLF/FloatSide.js
  3. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    importScript( 'User:BrandonXLF/GlobalPrefs.js' ); // Backlink: User:BrandonXLF/GlobalPrefs.js
  4. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    importScript( 'User:BrandonXLF/MobileView.js' ); // Backlink: User:BrandonXLF/MobileView.js
  5. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    importScript( 'User:BrandonXLF/GreenRedirects.js' ); // Backlink: User:BrandonXLF/GreenRedirects.js
  6. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    importScript( 'User:Abelmoschus Esculentus/SATG.js' ); // Backlink: User:Abelmoschus Esculentus/SATG.js
  7. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    importScript( 'User:DannyS712/errors.js' ); // Backlink: User:DannyS712/errors.js
  8. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    importScript( 'User:Danski454/cat-next.js' ); // Backlink: User:Danski454/cat-next.js