Talk:Tech/News

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Background[edit]

This page is an attempt to consolidate efforts to identify and surface noteworthy technical activity, and broadcast them across the Wikimedia movement. "Technical activity" means anything from commits to bugs, site configuration changes, important discussions (between developers, but also between developers and users) and feature deployments.

The main audience for this broadcast is Wikimedians without specialized technical knowledge (who may otherwise not learn about tech changes that may affect them) and people who relay these news to their fellow editors.

A discussion was first started on the Ambassadors talk page to gauge interest about such a collaboration. The response was positive, and people started sharing their experience and good practices about how to monitor technical news.

Shortly after that, a proposal was made on the English Wikipedia's Village pump for Proposals, for a "Developer's noticeboard" for developers to post tech announcements. The main argument was that announcements posted to the Technical Village pump was too active, and it was difficult to keep track of announcements.

In order to avoid the proliferation of posting venues, another proposal recommended to consolidate efforts around the existing wikitech-ambassadors list, and possibly use a bot to archive or link to these e-mails on wiki (on talk pages, a noticeboard or an archive).

While possibly a good idea in theory, the implementation of such a system would require engineering resources that aren't currently available. As a first the wikitech-ambassador weekly summary could be folded into the previous "tech news" proposal, and posted using the Global delivery system to ambassadors talk pages, noticeboards, etc.

This page is a tentative implementation of this more lightweight solution. Comments, questions and suggestions of improvements are encouraged. guillom 15:25, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Location[edit]

The location of this page is tentative. On the one hand, MediaWiki-related information is centralized on mediawiki.org, as well as Wikimedia engineering project documentation, etc. On the other hand, there isn't a central wiki for tech stuff. Tech has existed on meta for a long time, which is why the Ambassadors page was created here as well. Given the goal and scope of the Tech News page, it makes sense to host it in the same place as Tech and Tech/Ambassadors.

In the end, the weekly summary is intended to be distributed to ambassadors globally using the Global message delivery, so it doesn't matter much for readers where the page lives. It just needs to be a wiki with Translate enabled and where Tech ambassadors feel at home.

In the end, if someone feels strongly that the page should live on mediawiki.org, I'm not opposed to moving it, as long as Tech and Tech/Ambassadors move as well. guillom 15:25, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

On second thought, mediawiki.org may be a better choice, as we could use transclusion between the newsletter and the "Most important changes" section of pages like mw:MediaWiki 1.22/wmf4, thus avoiding duplication and consolidating efforts.
Would anyone be opposed to moving Tech, Tech/Ambassadors and Tech/News to mediawiki.org? guillom 15:25, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
OK, now I'm back to thinking Meta is better, because it's where the Global message delivery is. I'm just going to get things started here and we can move things around later if needed (there won't be too many pages to move). guillom 06:02, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

direction[edit]

the newsletter is written in english. if it is left in the village-pump equivalent of an RTL wiki untranslated, it should be left within "div" tags with direction=ltr. this is done typically so:

<div class="mw-content-ltr">
== Tech newsletter: whatever is new this week==
newsletter content content

</div>

note that the "div" contains the heading also. peace - קיפודנחש (talk) 20:47, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

This will be done for the next editions. Thank you for reporting it. guillom 04:16, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

In a bit more detail: Sometimes the volunteers will find the time to translate and sometimes not. If you know that it's not translated to a particular language, can you please apply explicit language tags to what you post to the village pumps? Otherwise it will look very weird in some languages.

So, when you know that it's not translated, please put the whole thing into this: <div class="mw-content-ltr" lang="en" dir="ltr"> THE NEWSLETTER </div> This is important now just for RTL languages, but for all languages. We use the lang attribute to apply correct web fonts, so applying lang="en" will make sure that the wrong font is not applied to the English text.

If you know that it is translated, then please apply the appropriate lang, dir and class there.

If you can point me to the code that does it, I can try to fix it. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 05:18, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Obsolete HTML in Tech News[edit]

The newsletter that was left at en.wiktionary[1] uses an HTML big element, which is “entirely obsolete, and must not be used by authors.”[2] It should be replaced with updated HTML or CSS. Michael Z. 2013-05-20 21:01 z

This will be fixed in the next edition. Thank you for reporting it. guillom 04:16, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
It was also incorrect nested within translate tags. --Nikerabbit (talk) 07:46, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Translation[edit]

Please use variables for the gerrit/mailing list links, or perhaps even leave the numbered links out of translation units. --Nikerabbit (talk) 07:46, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Odder suggested the same (leave them out of translation units), so we'll start doing that with the next edition.

Translation of bug in a link going to bugzilla was difficult for me. It could say issue. --Nikerabbit (talk) 07:46, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Good idea. Thank you. guillom 14:04, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

float:left in style attribute takes box out of content flow and hides later content at svwp[edit]

float:left on the "Important note" div element took the box out of the normal content flow at svwp and made it hide the heading of the next section (which was another discussion on our Village pump page). at least for me in the latest version of Opera. I fixed it for now but we would prefer if you change your messages so it doesn't happen again. Perhaps you can avoid special formatting altogether? --Lajm (talk) 09:13, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

My apologies, that float was included by mistake; I forgot to remove it. I won't be included in the future (and the "important note" won't be included either, since it was a one-time announcement). I'm reluctant to avoiding all special formatting, because I'm afraid the message may get lost in active pages. I'll be more careful about the formatting in the next edition. guillom 14:04, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
If a message gets lost it is because the receiver was more interested in other discussions on the page. Why do you think your message is so much more important than others'? But I'm getting away from the original subject now. I will start a discussion about this on svwp instead to see what our consensus is and perhaps a new discussion here afterwards. --213.114.123.49 05:23, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
I never said the newsletter was more important; I said it might get lost. A newsletter isn't the same kind of content as regular discussions between editors, so I thought some visual distinction between the two would help people differentiate them. If there is cross-wiki consensus to remove the formatting, I'll remove it. guillom 11:16, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Can this annoyance be corrected by a bot? I imagine this would waste a lot of wikipedians' time trying to figure out why the next heading doesn't show. And I agree with the last comment that speacial formating is entirely unnecessary for such deliveries. And if it is used, please thoroughly test it before plastering it on all wikis. ― Teak (talk) 16:44, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

This happened on Meta too. I just by happened figured out that <br clear=all> fixes it. Please check next time. PiRSquared17 (talk) 04:09, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Interwiki links broken on Wikivoyages/Wiktionaries[edit]

See voy:Wikivoyage:Travellers'_pub#Tech_newsletter:_Subscribe_to_receive_the_next_editions. Use m:voy:el: and m:wikt:vec: if you want to avoid these edge cases. PiRSquared17 (talk) 04:08, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Ah, thank you. This also happened on Commons with the commons: link. Thanks for the tip. guillom 11:16, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Include timestamp with on-wiki delivery[edit]

Hi. Please include a timestamp with on-wiki delivery of tech news. Without a timestamp, these talk page posts can become stuck in talk page purgatory, as archive bots are unable to discern when the posts were made if they don't include a timestamp. :-) --MZMcBride (talk) 19:50, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Ugh, Yes, sorry about this. I did it for the first edition, then forgot for the subsequent ones. I need to write a publication checklist anyway, so I'll add this to it. Thanks for the nudge. guillom 05:20, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

"tvar" showing up in link - message (on Meta)[edit]

see here. I really don't know why it doesn't work... PiRSquared17 (talk) 00:50, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Still using diff links[edit]

IMHO the links to code diffs are useless to virtually the entire intended audience of tech news, when links to Gerrit changesets would provide accompanying commentary, a link to a bug report perhaps, etc. and still the diff would only be a click away (for those who wanted it). What gives? Jarry1250 (talk) 10:19, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, must have been in a bad mood when I wrote the previous. Please read in a more friendly version :) Jarry1250 (talk) 19:01, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
Still, it made a lot of sense, and we'll be using links to Gerrit from now on. Thanks for your feedback :-) odder (talk) 19:39, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

weekly changing numbers[edit]

Do I really have to confirm the message(s) every week to update the translation page? [3] Isn't there any automatism, or maybe a creative solution to include the dates via a external template? I don't know how the translation stuffs works...--Se4598 (talk) 23:19, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm sorry about this—the links have been changed because I finally found a way to filter out automated imports of translations into the repositories, and they will not be changed anytime soon. I'll try to figure out a way not to make you update the Bugzilla links every week, thanks for the feedback. odder (talk) 23:24, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
I can do this for you. Personally, I would use tvar, but with a template for the last-updated date/URL. PiRSquared17 (talk) 00:02, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
Your help would be appreciated. odder (talk) 00:55, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't really understand why manual editing is needed there. The content that changes is either outside the translate tags, or within tvars, so why would translations be impacted? On the French translation, for example, FuzzyBot took care of it, as expected. guillom 14:38, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
This is fine, but it would be good to not have to mark this for translation every week. For example, by storing the dates in a template. PiRSquared17 (talk) 14:49, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Error in this weeks Tech News[edit]

There was a misleading summary of a gerrit change in one of the entries in this week's tech news. (The "MediaWiki will now allow converting audio files from one format to another."). I changed it on the source page, but this week's edition has already gone out. Is there anything more I should do. Bawolff (talk) 22:21, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for reporting this and fixing it :) We can add an erratum to the next edition. guillom 11:52, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Let me know if anything about the change is unclear or needs further explaining. Bawolff (talk) 20:33, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
We published an erratum in Tech/News/2013/27. guillom 14:28, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

tvar errors[edit]

Issue #27 shows an unreplaced tvar: w:ast:Usuariu_alderique:Oriciu#Tech news: 2013-27. I'm at loss as to why this is happening. I suspect an issue with the Translate extension; the tvar is showing in the latest item to have been modified, so this might be linked. guillom 14:28, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

My only thought is that perhaps the tvar element isn't substituted/expanded if there's an identical pre-existing tvar element on the same page. In this case, that specific bug (bugzilla:49505) was already linked from issue 26. --MZMcBride (talk) 16:58, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Again. [4] PiRSquared17 (talk) 19:03, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Reopened bug #46925. odder (talk) 20:12, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

"Use simple, non-technical language", but gerrit[edit]

A contradiction (to me) seems to be that the text strives to be simple language, but then often we link gerrit rather than bugzilla, despite gerrit being for devs: last quick and dirty text I added is IMHO very bad. Ideally, the bugzilla ticket should contain the description and use case of the change. It's possible to have both layman and technical links, but the former should be labelled as such and possibly throttled (like, a single "details" link at the end of each bullet). --Nemo 07:38, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

I don't really see your point, I'm afraid. We're striving to describe changes in as simple language as possible, and then we link to Gerrit patches (instead of gitblit diffs as previously) so that interested people can actually see how a particular change was achieved. Most of the time, Gerrit is a middle step between Bugzilla and gitblit, and people are just one click away from either of them. The suggestion to link to Bugzilla instead of Gerrit only makes sense to me if (1) all Gerrit patches link to Bugzilla (unlikely ever to happen) and (2) Bugzilla discussions are less complicated and actually do contain use cases for the changes (not always happening now). And in any case, we (try to) link to Bugzilla whenever possible already, just have a look at #27 or #28. odder (talk) 09:20, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Tech news: 2013-28[edit]

The delivered version has a few issues:

  • The content is wrapped in <div class="plainlinks mw-content-ltr" lang="en" dir="ltr"> twice for no apparent reason.
  • The first sentance shows as:
Latest [[<tvar|technews>m:Special:MyLanguage/Tech/News</>|tech news]] from the Wikimedia technical community. Please inform other users about these changes. [[<tvar|more-transl>m:Special:MyLanguage/Tech/News/2013/28</>|Translations]] are available.
  • <gallery />, <div /> and <table /> are wrapped in <code> but not <nowiki>, thus they are invisible.

--Gadget850 (talk) 19:10, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

(@second point) Yes, this is mentioned in the "tvar" section above. Apparently someone didn't check the /en version before sending. I guess this is a bug in the Translate extension. PiRSquared17 (talk) 19:11, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't see that Translate is installed on the English Wikipedia. --Gadget850 (talk) 19:17, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, but it is here. And the message was written here. Someone did manually fix it, but it shouldn't have been broken in the first place. This would seem to indicate a bug in the extension (which was used for translating that page). It might just be a user error though (but it shouldn't happen this way!) PiRSquared17 (talk) 19:24, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
It looks like an instance of bug #46925, so I have just reopened it. odder (talk) 20:14, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Hi Gadget850, thanks for reporting this issue to us, I appreciate your involvement. I noticed the second and third problem as well, but it was only after I sent out the issue and I couldn't stop the bot from sending it. I'm not exactly sure what caused the text inside the <code /> not to be visible (it looks all right on Tech/News/2013/28), but I'm quite convinced the problem with <tvar> is a software bug. If you have a look at the history page for Tech/News/2013/28, you'll notice the page hasn't been edited by a human before Verdy fixed the <tvar> problem manually. The first issue is caused by me being blind and a Lua module created by Guillame outputting incorrect code, I'll let him know about this bit. I'm really sorry for causing these errors; I'll be working hard not to make them happen again. Again, thanks for reporting this issue, I appreciate your involvement. odder (talk) 19:47, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, Gadget850. This is a wonderful diagnosis, though I largely beat you by a few minutes. ;-) I missed the double <div> (wtfff) in my diagnosis, however. Of course these typos resulted in a flurry of activity on this page and EdwardsBot's talk pages (English Wikipedia and Meta-Wiki at least) and my talk page. Bleh. This is like the third or fourth "incident" in the past few weeks. I'm not really sure how to address the problems we're seeing (namely: garbage in, garbage out). If you think of anything clever, let me know. --MZMcBride (talk) 02:18, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't know the process used to edit the report and submit it to the bot to push it. I read the report and noticed the mangled text and the obviously missing tags, took a look at the markup and saw thei susse then used the fedd back link. My only comment is that even if <tvar> worked here, it won't work on the English Wikipedia without the Translate extension. Gadget850 (talk) 16:39, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
Global message delivery/Spam is the primary global delivery page. This is the relevant code. The issues we're seeing is human error: either a bad recipients list or bad body text. Other than implementing a manual review process prior to sending out a message, I don't know how to resolve these recurring user errors. --MZMcBride (talk) 16:55, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
Odder has now written Tech/News/Manual, which includes a checklist of things to check before sending out the newsletter. This should allow us to catch most errors. guillom 08:44, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Sending to wikimedia-announce: too much?[edit]

I subscribe to Tech News. I love Tech News. It seems like overkill to send to everyone on wm-announce every week... I'm not sure there should be any weekly reports on the announce list. If you want to start broadcasting more tech updates, please consider starting with a highly condensed monthly summary to complement the staff monthly report, with links to the more detailed weekly news. Thank you :) SJ talk  08:32, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for the feedback; This is exactly why we've invited people to comment on this decision :) The reason we thought it might be useful to post to wikimedia-announce was partly that the Signpost posts their new issues there every week, and their "Tech report" has now been mostly discontinued. Tech news could mitigate this loss somewhat. That said, if several people think sending Tech news to the announce list is overkill, I'm completely fine with sticking to the other lists :) guillom 14:30, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, if people think that's too much, then I guess we might stick just to Wikimedia-l or perhaps Wikitech-l. (We already send mails to Translators-l and Wikitech-ambassadors every week to inform those groups that they can translate relevant issues into their languages.) The condensed monthly summary proposal seems interesting — Sj, would you mind expanding the idea a bit? Would you like to see it in the same format as Tech News, but done on a monthly basis? How exactly would you imagine such a summary to be? Thanks, odder (talk) 21:12, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Some ideas: a) syndicate a version of Tech News as a Signpost 'Tech report' column (finding a regular signposter to take up that challenge may be easier than finding someone to write it from scratch!) b) summarize by combining similar items, within each week and across weeks, and shortening the text. (There is lots of overlap between "recent" and "future" software changes over time. And most blurbs can be cut in half. ) For instance:

Recent software changes

  • MediaWiki 1.22/wmf10 : on test July 11, enabled July 15 (non-WP) - 18 (WP).
  • Extensions: Disambiguator (), Universal Language Selector.
  • Bots: CommonsDelinker back online.
  • VisualEditor: released on en:wp July 15, with many bug fixes. Warnings are now displayed on edit.
    Multilingual WP release delayed a week: now July 22 (logged in users) and July 29 (IPs).
    Templates in VE: add TemplateData to prepare for VE. "required" parameters now auto-added to new templates.
    Bugs fixed: many RTL issues, CAPTCHA bug [10] [11]
  • Meta uploads: restricted to an uploader group, license exemption policy being developed.
  • Emergency CentralNotice banners now shown with separate cookie than that for low-priority banners. [12]
  • Features: SUL updated July 17. Image resizing updated July 18 (faster, no resolution limit for GIF/PNG/TIFF)

Future software changes

  • Edit filters: Global edit filters are in testing.[8] Edit tags (mostly used by AbuseFilter) were added to diff pages. They include a link to Special:Tags before the edit summary. Wikis that use links in tag messages should remove them. [6] [7]
  • Wikidata: Wikivoyage will switch to Wikidata for interwiki links on July 22. [9]
  • Gallery: A new gallery design was proposed by Brian Wolff; comments welcome. A specific page of a PDF or thumb of a video can be chosen for a gallery.
  • Bugzilla: IRC discussion on July 16, 16:00 (UTC) on #wikimedia-office [10]
  • Empty Mediawiki: messages can be created, to disable them. [13]
  • Features: the Nearby feature will return to Wikivoyage, [14] TOCs will use divs instead of a table.[15]
  • Extensions: Notifications will include direct links to diffs on the wiki [15]
  • Wikidata: A mockup mobile app has been build by GSOC intern Pragun Bhutani. [16]
  • Docs: Minimum documentation practices in MediaWiki is being discussed.[17] A doc sprint is running July 27-29.[18]

140.247.169.126 22:22, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Fallback languages[edit]

Visualization of fallback languages as a graph.

Please consider delivering the message in a fallback language other than English for languages with a set fallback. See mw:Localisation statistics. This is certainly not high priority, but it's something to consider. PiRSquared17 (talk) 11:46, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

We are currently using the #switch parser function to serve users content in their language; how do you imagine us serving content in fallback languages that way? I'm not exactly sure this would be possible and, in some cases, even needed; it's not like all wikis which set fallback languages receive the newsletter. odder (talk) 12:18, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree this would be a nice improvement (I put a "TODO" in Module:Tech news a while ago that says: "add switch keys for languages that have a fallback language for which we do have a translation, instead of English.") The way to implement this imho would be, for each translation we add to the delivery, to look up languages that use that translation's language as a fallback, and add them as empty switch keys before the fallback, so they get the same message. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there is an existing Lua function that provides a list of languages using a given language as a fallback, so this would need to be reported in bugzilla (and implemented) first. guillom 14:49, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
Here is an example of a message which should have been delivered using the translation to "pt-BR" (the fallback language for "pt"), which was complete. Helder 15:18, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
This is something whose implementeation starts on Meta-Wiki. There are ongoing changes in that direction, but lots of preparation to do in sorting the existing languages. Translations on MEta are actively being sorted, and alreasy the {{LangSwitch}} implement a few of them (it will be next supported by a module, because the list starts being quite long, though the performance are not that bad). The number of supported languages is under scrutiny. Various fixes are needed in translatable pages to prepare them with the new Translate extension. Fallbacks will come soon for {{TNT}}, which will be better than existing LangSwitch and LangSelect mechanisms; and custom navbars. verdy_p (talk) 16:33, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Translation to Kazakh[edit]

Hello, my English is no good. I write in Russian: - На технический форум казахской википедии постоянно добовляются сообщения с новостями, и просят перевести их на казахский, но здесь перевод на казахский почему то недоступен. Причина не написана. Помогите. --Ablay Tastankul (talk) 14:50, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Проблема до сих пор существует или разобрались? --Base (talk) 11:55, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
Все без изменении. Опять тот же запись: Translations to this language in this group have been disabled. Reason: Translate in kk please. --Ablay Tastankul (talk) 03:17, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Category:Wikimedia Foundation technical notices[edit]

There is an increasing amount of announcements posted on Meta to take advantage of Translate; I created this category just for maintenance purposes, please add those I missed. Probably not useful as a communication method (though in theory one could subscribe to the feeds for related edits). --Nemo 10:19, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Purging[edit]

I translated purging as clearing (or updating) caches. Just letting you know in case you have problems translating it or want to consider using that in future. --Nikerabbit (talk) 10:58, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Back to weekly routine[edit]

What happened? How can we help keeping the weekly routine? PS: I came here to sare This week in ElasticSearch.--Qgil (talk) 15:31, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

What happened is that the newsletter was mostly a 2-person effort, and it's really difficult to run it as one person alone. I'm planning to send an issue by next week, and when I come back from my vacation, my priority will be to try and find a couple of people who can contribute as a team on this.
If people would like to help, it would be great to go through the sources of information at Tech/News#contribute and add content to Tech/News/Next. If we can distribute that effort, I can do most of the summarizing / formatting afterward if needed. guillom 14:10, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
Ok, I just read Tech/News#contribute and I will try to be disciplined and add there interesting bit I find on the way. Since the situation is quite... desperate I think it would be good to include a call for contributors in the own issue, more explicit than the current "Contribute".--Qgil (talk) 17:08, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm happy to include a call for contributors, however I won't be able to monitor or follow up on responses, so unless someone can do this while I'm away, I'd rather do it when I come back. guillom 09:23, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

The new job queue design[edit]

I think the new tech news is missing a note about the new design of the job queue (in relation to page_links_updated). Christian75 (talk) 09:47, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for your note. Do you have a link that would provide more information? guillom 11:31, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Arabic Wikipedia[edit]

The latest Tech news wasn't delivered to users on Arabic Wikipedia who are on this list (ar:User:Aboluay and ar:User:Emara). Also, it wasn't delivered to Arabic Wikipedia Village Pump (ar:ويكيبيديا:الميدان/أخبار/01/2014). Please fix this. --Meno25 (talk) 05:58, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for the report. I've investigated a bit, and the error log indicates that this isn't a bug. The problem is that the delivery bot can't post on that wiki, because its IP was blocked in November. This IP (127.0.0.1) is the internal IP of the server and shouldn't be blocked, otherwise internal bots like the one delivering Tech news can't edit pages. Once that IP is unblocked, the delivery bot should be able to post on the Arabic Wikipedia. guillom 09:51, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
@Guillom: Thank you for taking the time to investigate this. I unblocked the IP and left a notice on its user page, so that, it won't get blocked again. --Meno25 (talk) 17:11, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
@Meno25: No problem; thanks for unblocking it :) guillom 20:16, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Tech News: 2014-07, Math extension, significant under-reporting of problem[edit]

When I saw the statement:

"On February 6, some wikis were broken for about half an hour in total due to a problem with the Math extension."

My immediate reaction was WOW how disconnected are these people from what is going on? Then: What else are they saying that has little resemblance to reality?

Looking at en:Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Math aligned environments failing to parse, it appears that the math extension issues were first reported there at 02:05, 7 February 2014 (UTC). Discussion had been going on at en:Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mathematics#Problem with multiline equations from 23:46, 6 February 2014 (UTC). Problems were still being reported at VPT through 00:58, 10 February 2014 (UTC). Some errors are still being reported, but those appear to involve MathJax. So, this outage which was reported in Tech News: 2014-07 as "about half an hour in total" was, in reality, impacting en.wikipedia.org for more than 3 days, not half an hour.

The Tech News bulletins provide good and important information. When they get something like this wrong in such a clear and obvious way, particularly when the problem is dramatically under-reported, it results in a significant loss of credibility for the entire process. I would suggest that, at a minimum, a correction be included in the next one that goes out. Makyen (talk) 12:17, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

The bug on the math extension is one thing, but the report speaks only about the downtime of complete servers, and effectively this has not been 3 days but half an hour.
issues in extensions, as long as they are not interrupting all projects do not fit in the summary of Tech news in my opinion. Tech news are made for cross-wiki announcements, and not specific to some pages of some wikis, for that there's still Bugzilla; and if something in the correction would affect all wikis, it would be announced. I don't think that the credibility of Tech news are impacted. They cannot report all individual problems (there are really many, too many for this summary. Those interested can start by the Tech News, and then navigate on Meta or elsewhere with the provided links. I think it is enough. verdy_p (talk) 12:29, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
@Makyen: Thank you for your message. I assure you that I am not disconnected from what's going on; indeed, I was on-line when the problems with the Math extension happened, and watched in real-time as they were being fixed by the Wikimedia Foundation operations team.
The outage that occurred last Thursday actually consisted of two smaller downtimes, each for around 15 minutes; the first one between 16:35-16:45 UTC and the other one between 19:30-19:50, when many projects were completely unavailable for users (who could only see HTTP 502 errors). We are aware that Math-related errors were seen much earlier and much later than that, but we cannot report every extension-related issue that's happening on Wikimedia wikis, for the simple reason that it's not interesting for our audience. Thank you for your understanding. odder (talk) 12:36, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

RSS feed[edit]

I don't see a need to store these Tech news at contributors' talk pages, mail servers. How can I subscribe to it as an RSS feed? --Gryllida 22:52, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

That's not possible at the moment, as far as I know. You can subscribe to the Atom feed of the "Latest" redirect, to be notified when the latest version is published, but the content won't be included. Our long-term goal is for users to be able to subscribe via their preferences and get a Notification (that would link to the latest edition), but that feature hasn't been developed. guillom 14:38, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
We should set up mw:Extension:FeaturedFeeds to work with tech news. Wikipedia already uses it for article of the day, so the extension is already deployed to our wikis. Bawolff (talk) 22:57, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
I submitted Gerrit patch #124272, but it's only awaiting a merge at this point. odder (talk) 21:00, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
It is now possible to subscribe to an Atom or RSS feed to receive Tech News in a news aggregator of your choice; the feed will automatically update at 00:00 UTC every Monday. The feed will deliver an English version of Tech News for now, so you'll need to click on a link to read the bulletin in your language. Per-language feeds might be available in the future if there's need for them (so, if you think that's a good idea, let us know!). We'll be featuring this information in this week's issue of Tech News, and I will also be informing the Wikitech-l and Wikitech-ambassadors mailing list later today. odder (talk) 13:41, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Isolating MediaWiki-centric news[edit]

We have a problem of MediaWiki news at http://mediawiki.org (evidence). Now, Tech News is not only a great channel of Wikimedia tech news, it is also a great channel of MediaWiki news. With a bit of organization of the current Tech News content, you could isolate the MediaWiki-centric news (e.g. feature X is coming) separating it from the Wikimedia centric news (e.g. something broke our servers). Tech News readers would receive their news without noticing any change, but the MediaWiki-centric part could be featured in mediawiki.org. Feasible? The prize could be a fixed spot at mw:News and the mediawiki.org homepage, the current one and the potentially new one.--Qgil (talk) 23:15, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Qgil: It's technically feasible, by posting the weekly tech newsletter to a specific page on mediawiki.org, and labeling the content that should be transcluded. We wouldn't want to do that for every wiki that asks, because we'd end up adding a lot of unnecessary tags, but this one is fine imho. Server issues is easy to leave out; however, it'll be difficult to leave out "Feature X is now available on wiki Y". If that's ok, I'll start tagging this week's issue and we can see how it goes, and whether it's practical or not to maintain such a distinction. guillom 08:14, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Does it really make sense to put in MediaWiki news that feature X is available in a WMF specific build which we don't recommend non-WMF people use? Bawolff (talk) 22:58, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Link to translations not working as expected[edit]

The link to "Translations" seen at w:la:Vicipaedia:Taberna#Tech_News:_2014-11 takes me to a non-existent page called Taberna here at Meta. Surely this is not intentional? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:04, 12 March 2014 (UTC) --Xcq5678 (talk) 21:13, 22 March 2014 (UTC)这个不知有利于修复

Acknowledgements[edit]

It's nice to see Tech News listed by RobLa among the top2 2012–4 achievements for engineering communication/recruitment/community-building/etc. (together with mentoring):[5] volunteer-driven projects for the win! ;) Thanks Guillom (once again) for the long gestation of the idea; to Odder for the constant hard work/leadership; and to all the volunteers who gave ideas during the gestation and who provide suggestions for each issue. --Nemo 10:06, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Huge thanks should also go to the translators, many of whom translate each and every issue. It's thanks to them that Tech News is served in more than 10 languages, week in and week out. odder (talk) 10:11, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Call for contributors[edit]

Tech News #16 (2014) features a call for contributors: we are looking for volunteers willing to donate some time to help us publish a new issue of Tech News every week. So far, Tech News has mainly been a two-men operation, with varying degrees of involvement from either myself or Guillaume — so some fresh blood would be greatly appreciated!

Any contribution is useful — you can start by adding a link to an interesting new feature, simplifying messages added by others, etc. It's really easy, and the more of us are involved, the less work everyone has to do :-) All details are explained on our main page, so you can jump right into the next issue! Feel free to ask any questions, and we'll be happy to answer them. Thanks, odder (talk) 21:11, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

I'm happy to help. PiRSquared17 (talk) 18:07, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
@PiRSquared17: I see you already contributed to #17; your help with this and the past issues is very greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for taking the time to help — I hope you'll be able and willing to help with the future issues, too :-) odder (talk) 13:35, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Template for user pages?[edit]

Is there a Tech News template like this one for transcluding the Signpost?:

I prefer transclusion to having to clear out my talk page periodically of the many newsletters I get. I am asking each newsletter for a template instead. --Timeshifter (talk) 13:01, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Timeshifter: There isn't such a template yet, but this seems similar to what we intend to do for mediawiki.org (transclusion of the latest newsletter for possible use on the main page) so I'll look into it in the next few days and let you know. guillom 13:57, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I would like to transclude it from a Wikipedia template placed on one of my user pages, or subpages. I might set up a subpage just for several newsletters. --Timeshifter (talk) 00:57, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Timeshifter: I've set up w:Template:Latest tech news. It should now display the latest issue of the newsletter every week. I'll keep an eye on it to check if it's working properly, but please feel free to let me know if you notice a problem. guillom 17:30, 23 April 2014 (UTC)