Herocopia:Community portal/Archive1

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Server Abnormalities '500' message errors and thumbnails.[edit]

Over the past week or so the server has been issuing 500 errors. According to our ip provider there are a couple of possible things that can cause this problem. One of them included my backing off our PHP interpreter to an earlier version. Which I have done.

Now I am getting errors saying that there are problems rendering thumbnails. Totally random, but this is PHP related.

If this happens to you , could you do me a favor and take a screen grab and send it along with a brief note detailing the time of day that it happened. Timezone will also help.

send image and note to:



jb the ib

I still get those 500 server messages a lot. It happens almost randomly. Whether I've made a small edit or added discussion, it'll pop up. Heck, I can have looked at a page and go to click recent changes, it'll come up. Don't know if that helps you any. --Astrozac (talk) 14:44, 3 March 2014 (PST)
Nice to know the pattern is the same as mine, even if random. Seth and I are looking at the technical side of things. The site is sporadic when it comes to response time. Yet it doesn't relate to how busy our site it. Rather I am suspecting it has to do with very heavy traffic from other sites who share the same "virtual" grid of servers that Herocopia occupies. It has gotten much worse in the past two to three months. We might have a fix for the 500 message not popping up so much, but it won't fix response time. On any given month we are using less than half of our allotted and paid for bandwidth, not that there are not times when that peaks significantly.
Do you remember the first time you saw one of these 500 errors Zack? --Infobroker (talk) 14:57, 3 March 2014 (PST)

Last week, I want to say Mon or Tuesday is the first time I remember them showing up while I was working on pages. I can't recall if they popped up anytime before that. --Astrozac (talk) 15:19, 3 March 2014 (PST)
Interesting, even the timing for when they started is the same. The ISP provider is looking more and more suspicious. Thanks Zack! --Infobroker (talk) 16:03, 3 March 2014 (PST)
I have adjusted several settings, some of my own choosing and research, some at the advise of our ISP provider. Things seem to be flowing much smoother now. Hopefully the 500-message glitch is now under control. I have noticed much better response time, both for page delivery and editing. Let me know if you encounter any more unwanted 500s.
Thanks! --Infobroker (talk) 19:59, 4 March 2014 (PST)

Fenyx4 changed a couple more settings that should eliminate the thumbnail problem. If anyone still encounters it, please let put a note here, mentioning the time and the page. Thanks! --Infobroker (talk) 20:55, 7 April 2014 (PDT)

The trimming of the "The"s ...[edit]

The recent changing of the use of "The" needs some discussion.

For starters, what Wiki rule are we referring to here. I would like to read it so I can reflect and put some context into this shift of policy.

Please provide a link.

- Thanks --Infobroker (talk) 16:53, 12 February 2014 (PST)

Sorry Zak, but the more time I spend thinking about this the more I am against it. These are titles of characters, the word "The" is inclusive with that title. I know back in the dawn of this web site we had sorting issue with pages, but we overcame that lack of knowledge a long time ago. Please revert all of these back to the way they were. I am also thinking we need to get the "The" onto most of the groups like 'The First Family' and 'The Irregulars' along with several of the single characters like 'The Confessor'
Thanks. --Infobroker (talk) 22:18, 12 February 2014 (PST)

Here. I was just scrolling on Wikipedia one day looking up characters noticing that typing in the The Hulk, redirects to just Hulk. And I looked at the list of Marvel superheroes pages and none of them have "The" either. The Flash redirects to just Flash. The Savage Dargon redirects to Savage Dragon...
Apart from that, it felt like too much of a judgement call. Some like The Gentleman always seems to be referred to with The. But The Confessor, not always.
--Astrozac (talk) 06:28, 13 February 2014 (PST)

Thanks for the link. On a general site level, I feel the need to mention that not all the consensus dictates of Wikipedia apply here. For example, they are not keen on opinion, this site is loaded with it, we even have section titles dedicated to speculation and opinion. They don't want fan perspective. This entire site is fan driven, and meant to cater to fan perspective. I have read the link, I appreciate the perspective given, and for them and their mission it makes sense. But note, it is a still guideline, not a rule, even for them, and they close with the advise of applying common sense to the application of the "definite" or "indefinite" when deciding when and where to use it.
You are right, it is indeed a judgement call. I kinda stand on the side that says that is not just any old Hulk being referred to, that is THE Hulk. I prefer that a naked ("Hulk") search operation cause the page redirect to go the other way with "The" displayed and be part of the title. Same would be true for The Flash. It may well be that this is the only super-hero series based site that goes this route, but in my judgement, many of those characters like The Gentleman, The Living Nightmare, The Confessor and The Hanged Man are practically screaming for the definite when referencing them. Their page title feels a bit naked without them.
Now, having said all that, I grant this bit of possible compromise on my part. For now, ok, we don't need to undo the whole trimmed list. However, the ones that are practically screaming in outrage at the trim (those mentioned above and a few others) need to be given their definitives.
I emphasis the "for now" clause. A couple of the major models that drive my reasons for doing this site, is/was Marvel's Silver-age Annuals and their fact-sheet pages that they used to round out the page counts. When I first saw those, they were so cool. Definitely an epiphany moment. So yea a general warning, those are loaded with definitives and even adjectives.
For Instance: Lizard.jpg
- Thanks --Infobroker (talk) 09:21, 13 February 2014 (PST)
P.S. Zak, I un-trimmed the ones that I thought needed un-trimming. Please feel free to challenge any of them. That is still fair game. I just am not keen on the full trim of all them. Thanks for understanding. --Infobroker (talk) 18:17, 13 February 2014 (PST)

The other part was the consistency, it just seemed weird having some but not others and it goes back to the judgement call. I mean for The Xenoform, it kind of depends is it the only one or are there multiple ones? And either way it works referring to it as Xenoform. And we only have Balloon Bandits, not The Balloon Bandits. I know a large part of our initial reasons, were we thought the heroes and villains category pages looked better without a bunch of The's all over the place
The Confessor is the main one I'm not real sure about. He(they) is The Confessor, but just Confessor works. Sort of like N-Forcer. Technically he's known as The N-Forcer, but is widely just referred to as N-Forcer more.
And was The Jackson referred to as The Jackson and not just Jackson. I'd just gone through those issues but can't remember for sure...
I'm generally fine with reverting all of them back, unless there's some you think don't need it. Or making all of them, I was mostly going for consistency(or close enough for consistency.
--Astrozac (talk) 06:33, 14 February 2014 (PST)
Chiming in late here, but is there a way to make the title at the top of a page different than the actual page address, so that it would say "The Gentleman" but the url would end in just "Gentleman"? Because while I agree that including a "The" at the top is ideal, a prefacing "the" is so common in superhero names that if we include one for every single character it applies to (I wouldn't be surprised if that's as much as 25% of entries), it's going to be unwieldy, not to mention visually inelegant with all the blue "the"s.
Obviously, there's redirects, but I don't think making Herocopia redirect-o-rama is the solution, either.
--Yiding (talk) 00:21, 18 February 2014 (PST)
There's this guy --> $wgAllowDisplayTitle <-- which is suppose to make the magic word DISPLAYTITLE override the actual display title. I've tried toggling it to no avail. I'll keep working with it as time permits, because I can see it coming in handy and not just for definite-articles.
In the meantime, pipelinks can be used to reduce and control blue ink.
[[The Confessor|Confessor]]
--> Confessor
However, in this particular case, I prefer the blue ink. But I am also fine with authors who lean the other way. --Infobroker (talk) 21:37, 19 February 2014 (PST)

I got it to work for iGod, when I brought the page from the Way Back Machine. The actual page address and on the villain category still shows IGOD and when you go to edit it, that's how the page reads. But I tried playing with it for N-Forcer, adding The as the display title, but it wouldn't change anything.--Astrozac (talk) 06:29, 20 February 2014 (PST)
Ok, I have figured it out. Only the first character can be lower-cased, no extra letters, and no changing the case of any other letters except the first. So that is of limited value to things like iPods and iGods and whatever names the evolution generations of iPods are endowed with. Not going to help us here.
The link above mentions another option I can toggle, but given the complete open nature of it, I'm not too keen on using it. Especially since it will lead to linkage problems for author trying to figure out exactly what to use.--Infobroker (talk) 19:52, 20 February 2014 (PST)

Category: Unknown Alliance[edit]

What about the Unknown Alliance/Other for the Category box, I mentioned wondering about?--Astrozac (talk) 06:33, 14 February 2014 (PST)

I don't think I came across your comments on this Zak. Can you repeat them here please.--Infobroker (talk) 20:40, 16 February 2014 (PST)

Can we also get the Unknown Alliance Alignment in the Categories to the left too? Or should it be moved to an Other category? I just sort of followed suit with other characters, after you created it for the Broken Man, with characters who were more neutral.
--Astrozac (talk) 23:52, 16 February 2014 (PST)
You got it! I pulled it during the SideLiners story for obvious reason. I don't consider them unknown, just neutral. I forgot to bring it back. Sorry. --Infobroker (talk) 21:37, 19 February 2014 (PST)
Alright, I wasn't for sure if that was just created for the Broken Man, with his hipsterness or it was a general unknown, other, neutral. Can delete this part now. --Astrozac (talk) 06:19, 20 February 2014 (PST)
Hang tight here. I plan to employ a different mechanism for resolved issues. One where we don't lose history, but does keep this page from getting abundantly noisy. --Infobroker (talk) 19:52, 20 February 2014 (PST)

Thumbnail Problems - random event[edit]

Hey JB as I've been going around moving pages around, I've been getting this message popping up some...

"Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination"

I just play around with it, refreshing or something and it will disappear. And sometimes it'll be on top of text on pages. Just a heads up. --Astrozac (talk) 23:22, 8 March 2014 (PST)

I've seen this too. It started cropping up the same time that the "500" message error popped in a few weeks ago. It happens at the end of edit sessions. Randomly. I thought this was fixed with the other php settings. It is not happening as much, but rampant editing sessions do seem to kick it off. It relates to how much memory/bandwidth your session with the server is using at any given moment in time. But it is inconsistant and hard to pin down why it is happening. For now, it is on my "I'll tolerate it" list. I will give it more attention as time permits.
Thanks. --Infobroker (talk) 09:19, 11 March 2014 (PDT)

Timelines coming back[edit]

It has always been in the back of my head to bring back the Timelines. When up to date they were a nice list of character appearances, events and some notations to certain aspects (minor and major) that involved Astro City in general.

  • They are event driven.
  • They focused on characters.
  • There was always a problem keeping them up to date though.

The mechanisms for annotating them are tied to a Database (Microsoft Access in this case). That limits them to non-wiki data entry in the initial stages. Being in a Database (relational of course), fully third-normal form, made managing the data a breeze. There wasn't any multiple data entry and bookkeeping to maintain or get out of synch. One event entry, with links to characters and such. There are ways to mimic some of this using #LABELS here in mediaWiki-land, and plans are in place to move more so towards that model for a lot of our pages currently in play. But that still doesn't replace full third normal form data organization.

However and yet, the offline annotations/timeline/event entry systems has the problem of being offline, and only one person (me in this case), being able to do the entry work. Add in the work to do the updates, and the corrections, and yea somewhere in the early months of the Dark Age books, my personal life veered heavily and time became something more than just chaotic and precious, and entered into some absurd overdrive. The Astro City timeline was one of the causalities. Worse, in the three-four year time span that it has been unattended, the computer it was on is pretty much a decommissioned brick. It might still work, but it will require an weekend or so to bring it back from the dead.

I am looking at modern alternatives, that might even include some form of online entry. But that is an even more involved time investment.

I would like to jump start the project soon. Just wanted to let people know...

--Infobroker (talk) 11:38, 3 April 2014 (PDT)

Site Updates - Software Upgrades[edit]

To stay ahead of the spamming 'bots, Fenyx4 plans an update of our mediaWiki software. Site will be down when that happens. We will post an actual date once we have one. I.E. when Fenyx4's schedule has an opening and hopefully we both can be in the same room when it happens.

--Infobroker (talk) 13:13, 21 April 2014 (PDT)

[clarification needed][edit]

Usually and in most cases, when "[clarification needed]" is sprinkled into the commentary, it is because some form of specific information is needed to provide context to the commentary.

  1. An issue, page and panel reference if it is in story.
  2. If it is out of story, a reference or link to the outside source is helpful. The letters page perhaps, or a thread forum on the web (link provided if at all possible).
  3. If you are referencing a comment that one of the creators have stated, and exact quote is nice if possible, with a link if it is online.
  4. Bruisers, the message board run by John Rosell, is gone. Many of us long timers still have memories of commentary made there, but with it gone there is no link. But if you are referring to something from there, some kind of specific reference to it is helpful, provides context and backs up the comment.
During the heyday of the creator developed message board, Bruiser's, the identity and background of The Blue Knight caused quite a flurry of activity. Many commentators immediately noticed the visual hint of the Blue Knight's image reflected in car mirrors and darkened windows, strategically placed in a few of the panels featuring police officer Joshua Stone. One poster even tried to elicit commentary by suggesting that not only was Joshua the Blue Knight, but he was also patrolling the streets of Astro City as The Street Angel.

Keep in mind, the goal is to provide a reference point, a basis for stating the speculation.

--Infobroker (talk) 08:49, 8 May 2014 (PDT)

cached pages and latest changes[edit]

Not Updating Changes: Last night at work on my lunch break, I was browsing on here, on my phone. I'm not logged on with my phone, but I noticed that it didn't have the full Publications, Story Synopses and so forth, listed on those actual pages. (i.e. the issues stopped with about issue 20 of volume two, but we're up to issue 5 of local heroes). It has the actual pages themselves and shows everything on the recent changes. I have an Android and just found it curious and figured I'd let you know JB.

ADD: Another example, is the recent edit you made of Kitkat, by including her on the list of heroes. It shows up on my computer with a 158 total heroes, while my phone doesn't include her and 157 total heroes. --Astrozac (talk) 06:10, 10 May 2014 (PDT)

You answered the discrepancy problem in your third sentence. First, the info for that page might have been cached in your local browser work space, so it didn't go out for a fresh copy. If you were logged in, whatever page you navigate to is completely regenerated and refreshed.

Also, because of the tremendous time it takes to generate the pages, the server side wiki keeps a cache copy of any visited (by anyone) pages as well. Various things (like editing the page) will trigger the wiki to purge the cached page and generate a new one. Again, this is only true for users not logged in. --Infobroker (talk) 13:17, 10 May 2014 (PDT)

Gotcha. --Astrozac (talk) 00:11, 11 May 2014 (PDT)

cached SPAM Uptick[edit]

I just got off the phone with Fenx4, we might be seeing some changes to the security methods used for anonymous edits to this wiki-site. We are NOT at this time planning to eliminate anonymous-edits. We don't want to discourage people from contributing content. So don't worry, it's nothing major, but the changes should prove more of a deterrent to the 'bots lurking out there in the wild world of the net.

I'm actually a bit surprised that tracker sites are still pursuing this course of site pollution. Google, Bing-bots and other spider crawlers have moved away from rewarding links for the sake of links and are using better heuristics techniques to analyze the value of data linkages. Guess Kazakhstan, Thailand, Romania and Belarus didn't get that memo.

--Infobroker (talk) 21:37, 27 February 2015 (PST)