New Account Registration re-enabled - apparently the extension we use for ReCaptcha service had a configuration change and to utilize the more secure form it needed different parameters. We did not notice this when it occurred. Sorry folks!

Current events/2009

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While installing the hard drives today I learned that "SATA 4" (one of the hard-drive connectors) on the motherboard was bad. Not "bad" as in "non-functional" but "bad" as in "not really attached to the motherboard". That was learned the hard way - after I had installed the first of the hard drives and was routing the power cable from the motherboard to the hard drive. I was making sure the power cord wasn't wrapped around the data cable and the cable popped free of the board. Normally this would be nothing - the connectors are designed to safely release when under stress - but this time the actual socket on the motherboard came away with the cable. And I could not re-fit it because several of the pins that actually carry the data had come away at the same time. Not that this would normally matter - I have the tools to fix something like this - but in this case I do not have a replacement socket.

So, for the time being, Sal will be running at diminished capacity (starting on 9/9 or so... CPU cooler is set to arrive 9/8 and I'll need a day for installation and configuration). Next month I'll look into purchasing an entirely new motherboard that is compatible with the chip and the setup. While it is not optimal, it should not be all that expensive and no donations will be needed for that.

--ShadowWolf 03:00, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

All parts have been purchased. One appears set to arrive today and the rest should arrive by 9/7, but it may be as late as 9/10 or 9/11 before everything is here. The case is a good design with a 120mm exhaust fan and an 80mm intake, with room for another fan on the side panel (which will be used). And we're going to use an 'Arctic Cooler Freezer 7' as the CPU cooler. All told this should keep the system cool enough for stability in all situations it is likely to see. An added bonus is that this system should be stable and functional for as long as 'Draco' was, if not longer. So rejoice and cheer, people. Shifti is not going to mysteriously die like it did at any foreseeable point in the future. (Though there might be other problems...)

--ShadowWolf 15:56, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Sorry about the down-time Wednesday. I was doing a daily check of the temporary database server because the hard-drives were not in the best of health and they reported either 'failing now' or 'will fail within 24 hours'. In order to make sure that no data was lost I took the site down and completely backed-up the database. I have been afraid it was going to stay that way, but then I remembered that I had a machine here that might be able to handle the load for a short period of time.

So far it has, but that machine is even less reliable than the one that I had to shut down to protect the safety of the database. Hell, it isn't even designed for a workload anywhere close to that of a server - it's a laptop.

Anyway... as can be seen from the banner, we have reached the donation goal. And even better news is that I purchased the most expensive components for the new server today - the hard drives, RAM and Power Supply. Bard reports that he will have the CPU and Motherboard in the mail by Monday and I should have the case and cooling for the new machine purchased by then as well.

We did not have enough extra to get brand-name drives, but I was able to get higher capacity drives - they are 200G instead of the 160G I had originally planned on. The RAM and Power Supply are both brand-name. But where I reported that it was PNY memory to the other administrators earlier, it is actually 'Polar' - I had looked at the PNY but found that the Polar was $10 or so less at the time. The Power Supply, OTOH, is a "Cooler Master" and not the Antec I had planned on. The Antec True Power I had looked at when initially doing the pricing was over $90 and I found that the "Cooler Master" had the same-size fan, a similar number of connectors for the drives and was nearly $40 less. This is good, because PayPal appears to have taken a larger chunk out of the donations than we've been used to for their fees and even though we've had $430 in donations, we've only cleared about $390. With the shipping in there it appears that my estimates were way low...

And with that... Bear with us, please, as we work on getting Shifti back to full health and the reliability that you are used to.

--ShadowWolf 01:28, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

We've hit more than half the money needed to complete the permanent replacement for our failed database server Draco. At this time we have enough to cover the power-supply, case, hard-drives and memory. We need more to cover the cooling and having those components covered means running with the cheapest no-names available for the hard-drives and memory. For this machine it would be much better to run with components that have a proven company backing them up — especially for the memory. To get memory from a proven manufacturer we'll need at least another $20 in donations and for hard-drives from a proven manufacturer it's another $50. Those two options are not required - just things that would be nice.

The remaining portion of the donation meter is dedicated to getting proper cooling for the machine. For the fans, CPU cooler and hard-drive cooler that is planned for this machine the price is around $100. Any extra beyond the end of that will be used to upgrade the hard-drives and RAM to proven companies from the "house brand generics" that have currently been put on the shopping list.

If you have any questions about the selections, I'm available on IRC and will also respond to questions asked on the talk page here or on my own talk page.

--ShadowWolf 16:13, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

I am deeply saddened to announce that 'Draco'—the machine that was Shifti's database server for so long—has died. This happened at around 1200 hours, Eastern. Since that happened I have been working almost non-stop to restore service and finally got things working again.

The current machine running the database is named 'Malfoy' (yes, it is a good joke) but will not be able to handle the load for long. I acquired it as a machine to refurbish and sell for some extra money—and it is not a machine you'd want to trust for long for a serious task. While it will work as a stop-gap measure it won't last long.

Donations are definitely needed. I will be putting up a banner as soon as I have a good idea what kind of outlay will be needed to provide for a good machine that will last as long as Draco did.

--ShadowWolf 00:07, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Michael Bard is donating a new motherboard, processor and RAM. I've done some searching and the best we can hope for to turn that into a complete system capable of handling the load for the foreseeable future is around $300 with a median coming in at around $350. In order to cover any surprise charges or vendors being out of stock of the component priced at either of those levels the donation drive target to raise money for the new "permanent" server is $400.
Don't worry if you can't donate. We understand that money is tight and the economy is bad. In different times this new donation drive would not be needed at all. But not only did the old database server die, the drives that the database lives on are also dying. Additionally… I do not have a power-supply that is not already in use that could power the planned permanent replacement database server. It all adds up slowly but surely. Thanks for any donations ahead-of-time.
--ShadowWolf

Gah! The idiots that run the development I live in decided to install some new lights around the community center. In doing so they severed the main power line for the building and the short took out the main transformer for the development.

Fraking idiots all!

--ShadowWolf 15:25, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

The downtime earlier was planned and announced on IRC. Basically I moved from a very old setup with all the servers housed under a desk to a set of wire racks holding it all. That should be the last planned downtime in quite a while.

On another note... Donate or the beg-banner goes up without any specific goal or planned time of removal. I have payed the last 18 months of connection fees without asking for any help, but with the economic downturn all the money you can spare will help keep me fed and keep the servers online. So really, please, Donate.

--ShadowWolf 02:31, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

At about 1200 Eastern I replaced a power socket that was supposedly on a different circuit from the servers. Apparently the power system in this place sucks ass - it caused a brown-out that dropped the servers. Everything should be back up. Sorry for that, folks.

--ShadowWolf 16:58, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

A long running problem here - that of images having the requested filename munged with the username of the person who uploaded it - has been solved. After talking to BD about it we found that the "KeepYourHandsToYourself" extension - which we recently updated along with the rest of the code - was the culprit. It had a new feature that was enabled by default and not documented. That feature has been turned off now, so filenames should no longer be getting munged.

--ShadowWolf 06:37, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Some good news, some bad news... First the good news is that in May Shifti had more than 15000 visitors cause more than 350000 hits. That traffic used more than seven gigabytes of bandwidth. In contrast our previous best month - April - was just shy of 14000 visitors and just over 310000 hits for a total of about 5.5 gigabytes of bandwidth. What this means is that we are really growing - in fact, for all of 2008 Shifti only used about 40 gigabytes of bandwidth while so far it has used about 30 gigabytes so far this year. And that isn't all - the database that makes up the heart and soul of Shifti is growing as well. But sadly, it isn't growing at the same rate. In October of 2007 I flagged the Great Pig and Whistle Collaboration as Shifti's 300th story. A couple months shy of two years later we have 623 pages in the story category and an estimated total of about 850 total pages - including essays, Shifti features, settings pages and poetry. That number reaches to about 900 if you count our Help pages and the pages setup to work with the semantic tagging system.

623 stories is nothing to sneeze at, but if Shifti was still experiencing the growth it initially did, we'd have 900 stories by now... So tell me - tell us (the administrators) - what can be done to improve Shifti. Each individual admin has a Talk: page and there is even a Talk: page for this 'current events' page.

Anyway... On to the bad news. The bad news is that Shifti is starting to experience spikes in traffic that my current router is unable to handle. Some of you might recall that I purchased this one barely a year ago to replace the venerable piece of hardware that was no longer able to maintain a stable network connection... Well... With these spikes the (admittedly 'budget') hardware in the router is falling flat and running into errors. This is causing it to require a reboot before it can re-set the connection and get things back to the active state they were in. The next step up for me would be to purchase all new gear for the network connection - modem and router - and also purchase a new Wifi AP since my current one is built into the modem.

Gear like that costs money - money which I don't have. So please, Donate! Next month the bill for the network connection comes due - that's $120 in cost for Shifti... And if I have to pick up new networking hardware because Shifti is stressing my current gear that much... Well, it would only be fair for the users of Shifti to contribute at least half the cost for the new gear, IMNSHO.

--ShadowWolf 14:12, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks to our newest author - Concerned Reader - we have a set of pages in the making that comprise a "setting bible" for the Pig and Whistle setting. I've also been a bit active recently with providing advice, answering questions ans swooping in to add categories. It looks like that is going to be a new pattern of activity for me... It's also an example for how I think every contributer to this site should act. We should support each other, answer questions where we can and work to keep the infrastructure up to date. (or, in the case of the semantic tagging facility, to bring pages up to date)

I realize that for a lot of the pages on this site it isn't possible for anyone but us administrators (or the pages author) to work on things. But for those things that anyone can do - or for those pages that anyone can help with - go for it. That is part of what Shifti is all about.

--ShadowWolf 15:20, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

I've recently noticed (from links to Wikipedia) that people don't know that we have a way to link into their articles easily. The interwiki links are easy to make: [[wikipedia:page name]] - and just like links to pages within Shifti, you can use the '|link text' bit to change the displayed text of the link. Using the inter-wiki syntax it makes the links hang in like normal links, without an indication that the pages they link to are on Wikipedia. Several places have been changed, but I will not be making further changes like that - this is just to let people know it is possible.

--ShadowWolf 20:00, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

Earlier Jetfire alerted me to a possible bug in the RSS feed for Shifti. Upon investigating the problem, I learned that it is not a bug that is solely found on Shifti - it is, in fact, a bug in the base MediaWiki code. How this bug survived for so long is hard to comprehend until you realize that Wikipedia gets so many edits that this particular bug would never be noticed. It has been fixed here and I have recommended similar be done for the base MediaWiki code. Full details can be found on my Talk Page along with a running commentary I posted as I worked on finding the bug.

--ShadowWolf 05:15, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

And now I have to suffer with the fscking power here not being stable. Sorry for the minor burst of down-time, but the power failed here and I had to restart everything. That is never "fun" and being woken up after only five hours of sleep because of the power failure was even less "fun". Anyway, I'm going to see if I can find a UPS for free after the Bash.

--ShadowWolf 14:37, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Apparently the newest kernel the Fedora people have pushed out is a real POS. Oh, and it looks like the power-supply in HAL (our webserver) might be going flaky. I'll do what I can to keep it going, but this is the last time I buy that brand. Sadly, it is an Antec 650W power supply...

What happened today I originally put down to the server overheating since I'm in that transitional period of the year between the coolness of late winter and spring and the heat of summer where I don't run the AC and I had trouble getting HAL to power back up after the panic that took Linux down twice. (Noting that the BIOS reported temperatures inside the case being in excess of 50C)

But to get it to power back on after the second panic I had to open the side-panel, unplug a drive and plug it back in. This seemed to jolt the system into powering on completely and now it's running again. Though I must say that the second panic might, in my worst paranoid nightmares, have been the result of someone hitting the linux networking stack with something it couldn't handle. Anyway... I'm sorry about this and now that I've narrowed the source of the problem down to the power supply, I'll begin looking for a replacement.

Please bear with us through this - it will take me a bit to have money free to do this since donations have dropped off significantly (which is no surprise). Not only is the TSA-Bash coming up (I'll be there!), but so is the next bill for the connection (July). Please, if you can, donate to help us keep providing you with the excellent range and selection of TF based stories that we have.

--ShadowWolf 23:32, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Sometime between 0200 Eastern and 1200 Eastern (that's 0600 Greenwich and 1600 Greenwich) a kernel panic struck Shifti's web-server and took it offline. This panic appears to have been in the driver for one of it's network interfaces, though I am unsure which one, or if my assessment is correct. The console attached to the server was unresponsive and the text of the panic message had scrolled off the screen by that point.

--ShadowWolf 17:16, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Just a relatively minor bit of news here… We've made some style changes to the Minimal skin ("ShiftiMin") that should make it look a bit more professional. Thanks for bearing with us!

--ShadowWolf 19:22, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Due to several complaints/requests on IRC I've decided to remove the "page navigation" bar at the bottom of the page and replace it with another menu in the header. That's right—you can now find 'Discussion', 'Edit' and all those good things in a nifty menu called 'Page Tools'. Enjoy!

--ShadowWolf 05:34, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
A few more minor hacks to clear-up some problems in the display and the addition of a parchment-like background image has the new 'ShiftiMin' skin looking even better. Many thanks go out to everyone that has assisted in the design of this new skin—Sheep, Viqsi, Jon Buck, Bryan, Nelson (from IRC) and Craven (from IRC).
The above list is not all-inclusive–There are many people on IRC that have helped me find bugs in the design and otherwise take it from the barely functional mess that it was to the current sleek, functional and cross-browser design that it is.
--ShadowWolf 20:30, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

I've reworked the 'ShiftiMin' skin a bit to relieve the problems in IE and to add the search box back in. Enjoy!

--ShadowWolf 16:10, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Did a lot more hacking on the 'ShiftiMin' template. The preferences page now works well, anon users will see a 'login' link instead of a strange menu and there are a number of other minor changes. Hopefully all remaining bugs are entirely minor!
--ShadowWolf 18:02, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Some more minor hacks completed on the 'ShiftiMin' template. Remember—If you find any bugs in the skin where something isn't displaying properly, drop me a line on my talk page.
--ShadowWolf 19:20, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
A recent e-mail has shown me that people are possibly a bit puzzled by the 'ShiftiMin' skin. There are a set of menus across the top of an article that used to be the side-bar—for the 'edit', 'discussion', 'history', etc... look to the bottom of the content area.
--ShadowWolf 03:13, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Some more minor hacking done on the 'ShiftiMin' skin. Sheep gets credit for the background image of the header, though I had to tone it down a bit (it was super-bright to start) and run some custom tools on the result to get the file to a usable size. And while there have been a couple of other minor hacks, I'm starting to become very happy with the design.
--ShadowWolf 07:35, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

If you check the 'skins' part of your 'preferences' page you'll find there is a new skin available. This skin is called 'ShiftiMin' (a reference to it's supremely minimal look) and has been tested (and found functional) on all browsers. There is a caveat, however… Despite our best efforts there is a problem with the way IE renders the drop-down menus that contain the functionality that used to be found in the side-bar.

Anyway… Feel free to try the skin—it isn't going anywhere :) Please be patient if you're looking forward to our "grand redesign"—while the 'ShiftiMin' skin doesn't meet the requirement that it be fully functional and free of all rendering errors on all platforms, it comes close. We may actually be able to offer a slightly different setup for it soon that doesn't have any problems.

--ShadowWolf 03:24, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
If you find something on a page that looks too different from what it does in the MonoBook skin while using 'ShiftiMin' please note it on my talk page. The errors that are left are mostly because of differences in the CSS for the skins, however I am working to undo those and your reports will be noted and listened to. Thank you all!
--ShadowWolf 03:49, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Bryan has reworked the Shifti logo. Enjoy the wonderfully 3D look!
--ShadowWolf 04:13, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

We're extending a branch to our authors—there are about sixty of you now and it's time to harness your energy. Authors on Shifti now have the ability to edit any page. Use this power wisely—whether it's for categorization or helping out with the 'editing requested' pages… Now… We the administrators will be watching—anyone using this privilege to cause trouble will get temporarily banned.

--ShadowWolf 08:21, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

There is a new 'skin' available in your preferences page named 'TooCool'. It has the name because it is 'Too Cool For IE'—in other words it uses features of the existing standards such as CSS2 that are not supported by Internet Explorer. There is a completely new 'default' skin in the works—possibly based off 'Too Cool' (though likely not, as Viqsi is looking to make the design much more minimal)—so stay tuned.

In the same vein, these are the rendering engines that have been tested against the 'Too Cool' design and found to work perfectly:

  • Gecko based browsers (Tested against Gecko 1.91)
    • FireFox 3.0.6 is the browser that was used for the primary layout testing
    • Epiphany from Gnome 2.24 was also used in testing
    • FireFox 2 was tested by others, but I have no idea if the curved borders on some elements is supported. (research suggests that it is supported, but I am unsure)
  • WebKit based browsers (Tested against several versions, including the latest SVN)
    • The latest stable Arora (compiled against Qt 4.4.3) was used in testing
    • The 'QtLauncher' test browser from the latest SVN of WebKit was also used
  • KHTML based browsers (Tested against the version in KDE 4.2)
    • Due to back-porting of code from WebKit, KHTML is very comparable in capabilities to WebKit

The following browsers work but do not support all the CSS

  • Opera (Tested against Opera 9.63)
    • The only feature not supported by Opera is the 'border-radius' used to give rounded corners to some elements. There is a -o-border-radius in Opera 9, but it was removed by the time Opera 9.5 was released. According to reports, it will be a standard feature (no -o- prefix) in Opera 10.

The following browsers were tested and found not to work at all:

  • Internet Explorer 5
  • Internet Explorer 5.5
  • Internet Explorer 6
  • Internet Explorer 7
    • The results varied, but in general the tested versions of Internet Explorer did not support the CSS 2 display property of 'table-row' or 'table-cell' which are used to provide the main content areas layout. No tested version of Internet Explorer implements the CSS 3 'border-radius' feature.

Since the possible solutions for making this layout work in IE did not handle being scaled to a small window without the main content elements winding up stacked on top of each other I decided to declare this skin as being 'Too Cool For IE' and offer it for use to the people out there not using Internet Explorer. If this seems somewhat elitist to you… All I have to say is this—Internet Explorer is a Microsoft product and they have continually refused to fix it so that it actually works. Even their latest—IE 8—does not offer the level of support for the standards that other browsers do.

--ShadowWolf 01:47, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Work is still in progress on the 'Too Cool' skin—and some of the Special Pages (okay, most of them) appear to trigger a rendering bug in FireFox and other Gecko-based browsers. So… It looks like my announcement of it was premature. I'm going to pull it from production for the time being.
--ShadowWolf 02:17, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
And the server is under a massive assault from hackers at current. They have been hammering on all the doors—even the mail server. This may have been what caused the crash at about 9:25EST tonight. The crash itself was easily recovered from but I'm not going to make any guarantees that it won't happen again—if it was one of the hackers that caused it, they will try again.
As Shifti gets more popular we will probably also face the kinds of problems that other popular sites face. The vandalism should be easily controlled, but a DDoS will be impossible for us to survive. There is no question about this—we'd have to be built like a really massive site (say Google or Wikipedia) to survive.
--ShadowWolf 02:45, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

For the last several months we've been discussing changing Shifti from the default 'Monobook' skin that almost all MediaWiki based sites use to something different. While we are still a month or more away from changing to the new look, work on the redesign has been slowly and steadily progressing. A few days ago Craven—the artist that has designed the cover for the Best of Shifti book—sent me and Viqsi an image of the redesign. I've poked at it and managed to almost replicate the image in HTML and have handed off that work to Viqsi for the final polish.

The actual layout has been mostly settled on, but the navigation links and menus are still a toss-up. In fact… the design I handed to Viqsi doesn't even have the 'page', 'discussion', 'edit', etc… links that you see at the top of almost every page.

ShadowWolf 01:56, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Apparently the problems with the Captcha system are still happening—I'm working on it right now…

ShadowWolf 20:40, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Have changed to a math-based captcha—it apparently has a minor error ('cannot create or write to temporary directory') but it is working. Sorry for taking so long to realize this problem.
ShadowWolf 20:59, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Okay, figured out what was causing that error. Fixed it. Hopefully that is the last problem we have with the captcha system.
--ShadowWolf
Disabled the captcha system for the time being. The one we've been using doesn't generate images properly and appears to have problems with the 'simple' version and the 'math' versions as well.
--ShadowWolf 21:24, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Re-enabled the captchas after confirming that generating the images on another machine didn't create the 'ink smear' effect from them. So our biggest anti-spam measure is alive and well. I am sorry that some of the images might contain letters that are…less than interpretable. However this is a bonus for everyone, since it means that only the most complex of captcha breaking mechanisms will be effective.
--ShadowWolf 21:56, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

I've been very busy for the last few days. Every story listed in Stories By Setting now uses the {{universe}} template—which means they also now have the setting semantic property. Just today I distributed the {{author tag}} template to the User: pages of everyone listed as an author, meaning they now have the author name semantic property and have made it through the 'B' listings in Stories By Author in making sure that they are using {{title}}, {{byline}} or have an {{author tag}} for each author.

But this is not a project any single person should be tackling. I'd like to ask all authors of Shifti to add at least {{fiction}} to your stories and would like it if you'd use {{TF Type}}, {{TF Degree}} and {{TF Species}} for each transformation in the story. This will add semantic properties to your stories that will help people locate the story when using the Semantic Search facility or the {{#ask}} inline query system.

For further information about semantic tagging, see Help:Semantic tags and for information about the semantic search facility, see Help:Semantic search. If those pages do not provide enough information for you (or you have other questions) then you can ask for help on one of the Administrators Talk: pages or find us on IRC at irc.lapinia.org (usually in the channel #transformations). We're always helpful and even if there isn't an administrator there other users may be able to answer your question.

--ShadowWolf 00:50, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
You may have noticed, if you watch the Recent Changes page, that there is a Help: page for Custom CSS and a page of Custom CSS Hacks. What are they about? What does it mean? Well... Late at night on Valentines Day Fish came to me looking for help getting the formatting of his new story Mad Hatters and Musical Chairs. While providing the help he mentioned that he preferred serif fonts, because several features–like italics–look better in serif fonts.
We talked about that and he asked if there was a way to have custom CSS on Shifti. I had to admit that I had heard something about it but was not familiar with whether it was supported in the code Shifti runs on. However, I knew that I could find an answer on Wikipedia—it is, after all, the premier site of the creators of the code. After some quick research I had the answer—yes, it was supported–but I had to go turn it on. That complete I helped him figure out the proper CSS to use to change the default font that Shifti uses for him to a serif one.
And knowing that the feature could be useful, I decided to write a Help: page for it that could help people create their own, custom CSS. But please note that I am by no means an expert at technical writing, so Help:Custom css contains a very basic overview of what CSS is, how it is formatted and how to create a custom CSS file here on Shifti. Because there are several Help pages on Wikipedia about Custom CSS I didn't see a reason to duplicate their efforts here. But I also know that there are people using Shifti that are not very technical, so there is also a page for the more technical of Shifti users to share their own, unique 'hacks'—Custom CSS Hacks.
--ShadowWolf 05:55, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
PS: There is going to be a lot of 'churn' on Shifti—mostly by me—across the next week or so as the easier to apply semantic tags are spread across Shifti. Sorry about not keeping my word about not spamming Special:RecentChanges with all kinds of 'churn' edits.

There is a new Help: page for Semantic Tags – it's going to be a work in progress, but that page should answer all your questions about how to add tags. See this page if you want to search based on Semantic Properties, though I'd recommend you wait until we get a Help: page written to explain the use of that page and the {{#ask}} tag that lets you embed semantic queries in a page.

If you want to view the semantic tags for a given page, look in the "toolbox" that is under the search-box. For pages that have semantic properties set, there will be a "Browse" link, which is a link to the Semantic Property Browsing special page that passes in a parameter so it opens the properties for the correct page.

In other news… Those of you that watch the Recent Changes page may have noticed that I did a lot of editing of numerous pages today. This was to get the {{universe}} tag spread to all pages set in a shared universe or to fix the use since the {{universe}} tag automagically generates a link to the settings Category page. This has also spread the 'setting' semantic property to all pages that were known to need it.

--ShadowWolf 21:33, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I've just finished the work on a help page for the new semantic searching facility. I hope this helps everyone!
--ShadowWolf 23:03, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Notice: I will be going through the 'Stories By Author' categories sometime in the next few days to make sure pages have a {{title}} or {{byline}} at the start—except in specific cases where the author has done something specific to make it clear they don't want to use either template (Viqsi is the only one I'm positive did not use them by open choice). This will help to make sure that the Title property and the Author property are well distributed across the site.
After that is finished I will see about adding more tags to stories that I read and find need them, but I will not be doing massive, in-depth changes like this for quite a long time. After all, this is a lot of work—getting {{universe}} spread to the pages that needed it took more than three hours.
--ShadowWolf 00:50, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

I've been chasing bugs for the last few days, but things should be working now. People linking in from external sites may be having problems, since the only way to fix the "redlink edits the existing page" problem was to go and change how the URL's are formed. This requirement was listed nowhere and the change seems to have been made with code to make sure the engine got the right 'Title' for a page. They made the assumption that people would be following the lead of Wikipedia and have 'Pretty Links' that were in the form of '/wiki/Title' and not how we've had it (with just /Title).

To get around the breakage caused by that I had to go make changes to both the servers settings and to Shifti's settings. Sorry for any problems users may have had as I struggled with making this work right.

--ShadowWolf 17:03, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Okay - the old-style URL's will still work.
--ShadowWolf 17:06, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
I've updated the code on the extension that is supposed to be keeping user-pages locked down after seeing that it was, apparently, not working after the upgrade. I'm going to go back to poking, but I am hoping that this fixes that.
--ShadowWolf 19:37, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

And we have a brand-new feature. Shifti is now running the "Semantic MediaWiki" extension. This provides so many extra features that I can't list them all myself. However... The biggest reason we decided to install this extension was that it compliments the category structure in a way that a lot of you have been begging for. That is... When it's fully rolled-out the semantic data will allow for searches that are much more specific and should help you find stories that you'd like to read even faster.

--ShadowWolf 15:08, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
I've been informed that the upgrade seems to have broken the Captcha system. I've installed the latest version and am going to be rengenerating the actual captcha images in a few minutes. Thanks for all the patience.
--ShadowWolf 15:43, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Tiniest fraction of unplanned down-time today. We've got a massive wind-storm going on here and it knocked out the power for a couple of minutes. All other problems after that were because of the sad fact that the database server was never intended to run completely unattended. Sorry for the interruption in your browsing.
--ShadowWolf 20:45, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
I've done some minor hacking and now the Title template and the Universe Template actually set semantic properties for you. These two properties - "Author" and "Universe" duplicate existing categories - but I added them to get some semantic properties onto as large a number of pages as possible. --ShadowWolf 22:53, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Lots more hacking on templates for semantic tagging done. Recent Changes should cover the bases, but I'm planning on adding information on them to the help section - since people are going to be needing to add them to pages. But that is going to wait for another day.
--ShadowWolf 02:09, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Found errors in several of the properties I created. Thankfully they hadn't yet gone into use. The 'Page Type' templates (which set the 'Page type' property) and the 'TF tag' template (which sets the 'TF Type', 'TF Degree' and 'TF Species' properties) showed the errors. Thank you for patience with the Administrators who are struggling to learn a new tech to help you.
--ShadowWolf 05:15, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Shifti is undergoing the process of being upgraded to the latest version of the code base. Please bear with us as the ground shakes and the walls shudder. We should be done with the process in a little bit. --ShadowWolf 00:17, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Okay, upgrades all finished for now. We are now running the same version of the code as Wikipedia.
--ShadowWolf 02:05, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Lots of cleanup done in sorting out the categories. Sorry if my work on cleaning them up and getting things organized spammed anyone. As a side note this did uncover a "Stories By Genre" 'super-category' that wasn't in the menu. It's there now. To all you authors: when adding categories, don't forget the Genre :P

--ShadowWolf 21:46, 15 January 2009 (EST)
Lots more work on categories. This has been needed for quite a while, but nobody actually bothered to do it. Now that it's done, I'm hoping others will take up the torch and help keep things clean. Sometimes this will need an administrators access...
--ShadowWolf 16:05, 16 January 2009 (EST)
And I think I'm finally done going around poking at Shifti to make sure things are categorized properly. (Including having all categories accessable)
--ShadowWolf 16:38, 16 January 2009 (EST)

I've removed the extension that provided the <comments/> tag because it was being abused by spam bots (and was rarely ever used by a regular user). If you've used it on any pages, please remove it. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

-- ShadowWolf 21:55, 10 January 2009 (EST)