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Unclosed font tags inside links (custom signatures)[edit]

Hello. Recently I came across this talk page, where a couple users had unclosed font tags inside links in their signatures, presumably to save space and fit within the character limit. Take a look at the bottom of the page. The page did not look like this before. To be explicit, in the past, the code "[[User:Example|<b>Example]] Hello world" rendered as "Example Hello world". In other words, the end of the inline link automatically closed the open <b> tag. Now it renders as "Example Hello world", and the font change continues until the end of the page. I fixed that particular page, but there are probably many others with the same problem, and not just on Meta-Wiki.

There must have been a relatively recent change to the MediaWiki parser. The other possibility I briefly considered was that it was not MediaWiki but web browsers that changed. In other words, I thought perhaps MediaWiki adheres to a "Garbage in, garbage out" philosophy, but web browsers removed backwards compatibility and changed the way such tags were parsed. However, this didn't seem plausible because (1) MediaWiki has always produced (semi-)valid HTML as far as I know, and (2) browsers wouldn't change an important aspect of HTML parsing when this would massively reduce backwards compatibility. Most importantly, I actually checked the generated HTML using the Wayback Machine (compare then and now), and in neither case is it invalid.

Was this an intentional change? Is anyone going to fix it, either by restoring backwards compatibility in the parser or by creating a bot to add closing tags automatically? Regards, PiRSquared17 (talk) 23:10, 9 August 2018 (UTC)

Hello, PiRSquared17,
This change is part of a years-long parser migration project. This particular change happened about a month ago, but of course not all pages get re-parsed every day, so the net effect can be that a long-dormant page looks fine until someone edits it, or until the system re-parses the page (at least once a month, I believe).
See mw:Parsing/Replacing Tidy and related pages if you want the story, but w:en:WP:VPT#Remex: Pages that used to look fine are now broken if you need help. There's talk at VPT of sending a bot around to fix some of the more obvious errors on talk pages. Unclosed strike-through formatting (sometimes caused by someone putting in two "open" tags rather than one open tag followed by one closed tag) is probably the most disruptive, but invalid markup in signatures is the most common problem. To be clear, unclosed HTML tags were never actually valid; in the past it was invalid and silently hidden, and now it's still invalid but not hidden.
BTW, this particular phase was announced on more than a thousand wiki pages as well as on multiple mailing lists for about a year. If you can think of another way to reach editors like you, then please ping me or leave a note on my talk page with your suggestions. I'm always interested in hearing about other venues. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:01, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
@Whatamidoing (WMF): Thank you for the quick and informative response! As for why I didn't hear about it earlier, it's probably just because I've been inactive for years and my eyes glazed over the dozens of Tech News digests on my talk page when I returned. I don't think you're doing anything wrong. PiRSquared17 (talk) 02:11, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
That makes sense. I sometimes have to force myself to pay attention to it, and I figure that I've got more need for it than the average person. But seriously: if you think of some place that's getting missed for "big stuff", then please let me know, at any time. I will always be interested, and doubly so with the 2018 round of the server switch coming up. It's very easy for someone to get "highly connected" to a little tiny area, and not hear about things that are happening outside that group. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 04:45, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
Take a look at the TOC of my archived talk page, especially towards the bottom. Just a bit overwhelming, haha. PiRSquared17 (talk) 05:59, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
I wouldn't have read all that either. Face-smile.svg (Also, welcome back!) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:35, 10 August 2018 (UTC)

Timestamp puzzle[edit]

Look at c:Special:Contributions/Imag93. All instances of what is expected to be an expansion of «~~~~» or «~~~~~» contain a timestamp which is offset for two hours into the future. One can say that the time is written in CEST whereas labelled as (UTC).

It cannot be a nasty script operating inside the browser, because substitution of tildes is made server-side. It may be either an elaborate deception (but for what a profit?) or a server malfunction somewhere in Wikimedia. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 11:17, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

It's for example c:Special:Diff/314700196. Matěj Suchánek (talk) 10:10, 17 August 2018 (UTC)