Talk:Main Page

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Long live the QERM wiki!

QERMies, This is a plug for the QERM wiki. Many of you have made use of the wiki for lots of the purposes that it seems well suited: announcements, course notes, repository of advice, file sharing, etc. An easy way to check up on what people are doing with it is to bookmark the list of recent changes: Special:Recentchanges. Today I was hoping someone had taken over Derek's role as sports reporter and posted news of the great triumph (or agonizing defeat?) of the Lagerheads ultimate team. Sadly the only change in the past week was some vandalism. In general, use of the wiki has been down since the qermunist days of Eli, Hans, and Derek. This is not fundamentally a bad thing, but to keep the site useful, I think it requires some very minimal maintenance. The soup schedule is long out of date, the Welcome New Students announcement looks silly in April, and the vandalism needs periodic removal.

So here are a few questions and comments from a curmudgeonly ex-QERM postdoc:

  • Is anyone interested in a 20 minute tutorial on how to use the wiki (same easy software as Wikipedia)?
  • Could someone attending Lagerheads matches take on the role of sports reporter for the next 4 weeks: inspiration from Derek: Dalai_Impalas
  • If you're a current users and would be interested in joining Chloe and in possessing administrative privileges to help fight vandals (i.e. block them "with an expiry time of infinite"), let her or me know.
  • If you have ideas (or questions) about the QERM wiki, please don't keep quiet about it. Instead, you should either:
  1. implement them yourself!
  2. post a comment on this talk page,
  3. reach out to someone who can help

Thanks for listening!

-Ian 12:12, 9 April 2010 (PDT)


do mysterious randomly named users get created and fill this wiki with garbage? Really? Is there a reason? The only possibility I can think of, though I find impossible to empathize with, is that there is some pleasure in frustrating the lives of people that you don't even know exist. To that end, it seems the appropriate response is to not get frustrated. But it might be worth asking SysOp Peter to put in one of those little protection things where you interpret squiggly letters (that apparently computers can create but not read) and type them in in order to register for this site. Ideas? Responses? Best, Eli 00:24, 16 January 2009 (PST)

ps. I left a question on the R-tips discussion page.

I don't have any real insight but if these jerks cause distrust or anxiety, making you frustrated, maybe you may have been taught and conditioned to automatically respond to these groups or people in this way, but frustration can easily cross the threshold into fear. We fear what is powerful or pretends to be and this can potentially damage us in some way. Whether that damage is locking us up or showing us up we can still fear wiki hackers without ever analyzing just why they frustrate us. Frustration is most often a learned pattern from when you were younger, and can interfere with the development of emotional intelligence, leaving the person less able to determine where the limits of their responsibility lie. Love, Tommy 11:27, 16 January 2009 (PST)
Thanks Eli for cleaning up the vandalism. I think it just looks like garbage, but it's actually code that contains information like, "this is a record of how easy it is to add garbage to this site and whether it gets removed or not and whether it shows up in search engines or whatnot" which will be used in the future to harness our humble wiki for some nefarious purpose like taking over the world. I agree that using CAPTCHA would be good. -Ian 13:33, 20 January 2009 (PST)

The Mysterious No-Header-In-The-Announcements-Box Possibly Solved

... by suppressing the table of contents in the page (using the tag: "__NOTOC__" at the beginning). It's hard to tell whether that really solve that exasperating problem (since it doesn't appear to be necessary in the neighboring "Links" box), but it seems to be working for now. Regarding the vandals below: what a shock! I hadn't noticed till today. We should ask Hans, but might need to approach him directly since he is no longer a regular visitor to the site, a piece of tragic news I found out from him when I talked to him in Phoenix (from the airport, via cellphone, but still, Phoenix). In other news, all is well in Helsinki. I am assuming that we all share the similar understanding of "well" meaning cold and dark and hyperconducive to productivity. Best, Eli 04:10, 29 October 2008 (PDT)

Excellent work. Nice to hear Helsinki is sufficiently bleak for your tastes! Do you have a pair of ice-skates yet? Surely many of the 187,888 lakes in Finland (larger than 5 ares), not to mention the rivers, are good for skating (or will be once things get properly frozen in. -Ian 12:49, 3 November 2008 (PST)


Any extra measures we can add to avoid having to manually delete pages about online casinos and the like? Surely the creation of such pages is automatic, so there must be tools we can put in place to delete them automatically, right? Eli? Hans? -Ian 00:11, 10 October 2008 (PDT)

Having said that, it was a great pleasure to have

"blocked User:Tomgordon with an expiry time of infinite"

-Ian 00:13, 10 October 2008 (PDT)

thanks to Peter, we now have reCAPTCHA which should solve our problems with vandalism. -Ian 13:13, 14 April 2009 (PDT)


How would people feel about new sexy, updated look to the mainpage? The 'In the News' section hasn't been getting much use and don't see it getting much action until the spring. Any suggestions or ideas to replace that section with? Tommy 11:27, 25 August 2008 (PDT)

Why not move the links up above the fold? Announcement and News were a bit redundant anyway. Go to it Tommy. -Ian 11:17, 4 September 2008 (PDT)
As you can see, I've made some basic changes. Not quite sure how feel about the fung shui? I thought it would be cool to use that awkward section that now occupies 'Links' as a preview of a random page. It would work as Page of the Week type of deal to get people excited about what's inside of the Wiki. It would also give Users incentive to really spruce up pages that they edit, just in case that page makes it to the front page! Thoughts? Any ideas about how to make this happen? I'll have to look into it later, but should probably do 'real' work for the time being. Tommy 11:27, 30 September 2008 (PDT)
Very nice. Much improved! The great service to QERMipedia readers you've provided surely offsets any amount of 'real' work you could have accomplished during this time. If you can work out the preview thing, I think that's a fine idea. It does raise the question of the relative merits of sprucing vs. creating new pages. I guess we need lots of both. -Ian 16:22, 30 September 2008 (PDT)

Load Times

What's up with the incredibly slow load times for this site lately? -Ian 16:41, 7 August 2008 (PDT)

Still wondering. Also, does anybody else look at Special:Recentchanges or is it just me? -Ian 17:09, 15 August 2008 (PDT)
I haven't had any slow load time issues for this site. I am, however, desperately addicted to Special:Recentchanges. Incidentally, people might be interested in a site designed/developed (or at least intellectually spearheaded) by Eli(zabeth) Holmes specifically for exchanging ecologically related code. Check out: It is a more purposeful and organized, I think, version of some of what this wiki is about. Best, Eli 13:51, 18 August 2008 (PDT)
Maybe the government goons are watching over my internet connection and obviously finding this site worthy of throttling. It took 1 minute 50 seconds for the homepage to load. I'll ask around at the science center here, but if I can't find a solution then I don't expect to be using the site at work any more.
Ian! Don't leave us! Breach those federal dams of firewall (mixed metaphor notwithstanding). Hound those stiff-necked bureaucrats until the great reservoirs of wiki-data is flooding all it's petabytes of collaborative invention onto your federally subzidised terminal! There's no room for complacency, when the stakes are so high! Thanks a bunch, Eli 09:37, 25 August 2008 (PDT)
Problem solved! Super webman Marcus, here at NWFSC, set me up with some proxy settings. Who knows why they were necessary. But not it works like a dream. -Ian 12:56, 26 August 2008 (PDT)
Problem solved even better by super webman Peter at CBR who removed features of the setup that render proxy settings unnecessary. -Ian 16:26, 30 September 2008 (PDT)

Large Files

On the topic of uploading files, I tried to upload a a fairly large zip file (22.9 MB) of pictures to share with everyone, but "it" just quit on me. Is there size limit to uploads, other than the precautionary 150 kb? Tommy 21:39, 22 August 2008 (PDT)

Tommy! There shouldn't be any real limits, though the biggest file up so far is "only" 10 Mb. The problem might be that ".zip" files can't be uploaded ... all allowable extensions had to be explicitly entered into the set-up of the wiki and ".zip" might not have made the cut. If you're just looking for storage, though, as a UW student: You can use your dante account or there's a thing called "WebFiles" which is almost unlimited storage (see OR you could change the extension of the file to something the wiki accepts and tell people to change it so ".zip". OR you can use Picasa - which is a great interface for posting photographs I think. But do figure this problem out! The quantitative ecology paparazzi are waiting with bated breath for the latest 23 Mb dosage of Tommy G. glamour shots! - Best, Eli 09:37, 25 August 2008 (PDT)
Already took care of it. I was a bit hesitant and wasn't sure if the UW server could handle the unexpected exceeding amounts of traffic to the picture links, especially since the artist has captured some great photos of a recent doctor on the beach. Things seem to be stable though. Enjoy. Tommy 11:22, 25 August 2008 (PDT)

Old Announcements

Should a new page be created to record old announcements, or should they be allowed to evaporate into the ether (which won't really happen as they'll be recorded in the wiki archive anyway)? -Ian 13:37, 30 March 2009 (PDT)

I think it's fine to let them evaporate into the ether, but we can wait to see what others have to say.Tommy 09:21, 31 March 2009 (PDT)

While you were sleeping ...

Beause I, in fact, have a lot of very pressing things to work on here, in Finland, between lunch and coffee, I went ahead and added a special, new, vaguely pink box to store the honor roll on the main page. If there are any objections (to the vague pinkness, for example) by all means revert or revise! Best, Eli 02:40, 14 April 2009 (PDT)

That's not "vaguely pink", it's downright pink, but I think it's fine. -Ian 13:13, 14 April 2009 (PDT)
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