OrbiterWiki:Village pump/Archive 2005-2007

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This page contains archived discussions from the OrbiterWiki:Village pump page. Please do not edit this page.

OrbiterWiki guidelines

Ultimately, we're going to have to come up with a set of procedures, processes, and guidelines for use if this isn't going to devolve into mass chaos. As I doubt the community that arises around this wiki will be nowhere near the size of the one that grew around Wikipedia, it won't need nearly the complexity, but we will need something. Kmweber 2 August 2005 02:45 (MSD)

In light of the fact that I couldn't find any guidelines (hehe) I have started making the odd change. Please let me know if I need to speak with anyone or if this is fine. For example I have added a section on using the resource compiler to compile resoures to work with VC++ Express in the Free Compiler Setup section. SimonRigy 05:21, 7 December 2006 (MSK)

Where to place vessel development tutorials?

I could write a lot of tutorials about the funky stuff, like autopilots or animations codes, but my problem is, what is the best location for it. SDK documentation does not look right for me, tools is also wrong. Maybe we could create a section like "DLL tutorials" with a subsection "design pattern for vessels"?

Also i currently have a small little capsule project on my workbench, which is quite nice for explaining some basic things of how to use anim8or for orbiter. --Urwumpe 3 August 2005 14:44 (MSD)

Urwumpe, created a new site: Addon Tutorials. This could be the place to put tutorials. Feel free to structurize and organize the site. created also a link to it on the main page. [This thread] can be used for discussions too.

Where are the admins?

Currently rolling back a defacement takes only 1 minute, but this minute could be used better IMHO. I think it would be better the admin(s) get back on doing their job and at least IP ban Casper - come on, its always the same IP, thats too easy to be true. Alternativly i would recommend appointing some moderators or how it is called in a wiki. --Urwumpe 6 October 2005 09:03 (MSD)

They're banned

Sorry I wasn't paying enough attention :) The two IPs are now banned. RaMan 6 October 2005 13:08 (MSD)

OrbiterWiki moved

OrbiterWiki was unaccessible for about 45 minutes, which I suppose can be called a success given that this wiki is not heavily loaded. The old URL forwards to this wiki now. www.orbiterwiki.com is fully aliased with www.orbiterwiki.org, which may cause some confusion. I'm not sure what to do about this yet. Should I just forward .com to .org? -- RaMan 02:44, 22 December 2005 (MSK)

Oh, I forgot to mention that MathML is currently not available. We hope to get this set up and running ASAP. -- RaMan 02:45, 22 December 2005 (MSK)

Article quality

I think we should start, paying at least a bit attention to article quality for some favorite articles. Currently, we run well on copying stuff from wikipedia, but i especially miss more photos, drawings or other visual information which we could use. Urwumpe 11:48, 26 April 2006 (MSD)

Math formulas

I would appreciate being able to use standard wiki math notation, but this wiki is not quite configured for that. For example, .

  • Oh wow, does this really work now :) Note that the texvc executable is built off the v1.5.3 distribution of MediaWiki, so it may be out of date. Let me know if you are aware of some significant differences, I'll then resume my attempts to rebuild the latest texvc source. RaMan 03:23, 13 July 2006 (MSD)

Orbiter-style wiki skin

It would be nice to have a special Orbiter-style skin for this wiki. I don't have the artistic skills to create one, but if anyone feels like making one, I'll certainly add it to the list of selectable skins. If people like it we can even make the new skin the default.

I quite like the current logo (because it's colorful :D) but perhaps it would look better with a shuttle or some other spacecraft overlayed over Earth? Any ideas / sketches / finished designs are welcome. RaMan 19:29, 10 July 2006 (MSD)

What about placing the ISS or the DG over earth, right into the center of the logo? For the other colors, i like the current lightweight style, but i am open for ideas as long as it does not get too dark. For some categories and templates, we could need some small icons, thats a large construction site currently. Urwumpe 11:18, 11 July 2006 (MSD)

I'm more a fan of the traditional layout. It's clean, light, functional and people are instantly used to it. Space themes tend to be dark, unpleasent and hard to read. Logos are OK if done to a professional standard, but most amateur efforts just look tacky IMO. --BadWolf 17:57, 14 July 2006 (MSD)

Is there a way to test own themes for the wiki or make a own skin? i wanted to experiment a bit with bright background textures (eg. MLI or aluminum), and change the look of infoboxes to look like in the shuttle or ISS flight data files (The checklists or service instructions). Not really a radical change, i must admit. --Urwumpe 20:01, 20 September 2006 (MSD)

You can certainly switch your skin to "MySkin", which is the same as Monobook but without any CSS, and then develop your own CSS for it on User:Urwumpe/myskin.css (not sure if the name is correct). You can even manipulate the document structure with JavaScript, using User:Urwumpe/myskin.js (again, not quite sure about the name). Admittedly, this is not quite the same as making your own skin, but it's pretty close. — Timwi 21:38, 20 September 2006 (MSD)

Template links

I've set up the template linking to use {{tl}} as on WP. I have protected the template to avoid vandalism --GW_SimulationsTalk | Contribs | E-mail 01:21, 11 July 2006 (MSD)

MediaWiki upgraded

MediaWiki has been upgraded to v1.7.1. In case anyone was affected, sorry about the downtime.

We've modified the Monobook.php a tiny bit - The category links, "catlinks", which used to be at the top are now at the bottom of the page. The links at the top are now called "catlinkstop". The default Monobook.css hides "catlinks" and shows "catlinkstop". Any user-defined CSS will need to be updated to accommodate this. RaMan 01:52, 13 July 2006 (MSD)


I think the capitalisation policy needs reviewing, it seems to be confusing people and is not implemented much of the time.

For example, the guidelines say capitalisation should be as found in a dictionary. This is ok for single words, but what for sentences and phrases? A sentence is capitalised at the start. Pronouns also need to be capitalised, but are sometimes not (see napkin), then we have many articles that simply ignore the guidelines (including articles on the front page -- Too quickly asked questions).

Would it not make more sense to standardise as capitalising the first letter? It's more natural, it's used by Wikipedia, of which most users will be be familiar, and those without English as a first language, or who haven't been taught basic grammar, will not be confused. The rest of the article name should be capitalised according to the normal rules of English, but most will naturally fall into this (again, see Too quickly asked questions).

Even OrbiterWiki:Capitalization is captialised (incorrectly, by the rules of English, incidentally: colons do not signify end of sentence).

Additionally the title of the article appears as the first line in the article and consequently should be capitalised in this context.

--BadWolf 18:10, 14 July 2006 (MSD)

No opinions on this? --BadWolf 14:56, 2 August 2006 (MSD)
i think the "wikipedia rules" are better. i am german, titles are started with capital letters here and colons mean capitalization here. ;) --Urwumpe 18:34, 2 August 2006 (MSD)
OK, then considering they are article titles and titles are captialised, I shall from now on capitalise my article titles. :P
If anyone wants to go through and move them all, that's up to them. ;o) --BadWolf 18:59, 2 August 2006 (MSD)

  • I created a first initial draft for a new standard of capitalization rules. I prefer to stay close to wikipedia for making it easier for new contributors, but i also want to to have the freedom to differ from such rules if it otherwise suits better for our spaceflight focus. You can find the draft here: OrbiterWiki:Capitalization/Urwumpe, please feel free to comment or edit it. When when have a stable rule for title capitalization defined for OrbiterWiki, a sys-op will replace the old rules by the clarified and extended rules. (Urwumpe)
I've made some suggestions in OrbiterWiki talk:Capitalization/Urwumpe, to this end. --BadWolf

Interwiki links

Interwiki links to Wikipedia now work: use [[w:Earth]] or [[wikipedia:Earth]]. --RaMan 02:53, 18 July 2006 (MSD)


I'm setting up some redirects on OrbiterWiki; during my experiments the site becomes temporarily unavailable. I understand that this is not nice, but I think it's worth the end result. We'll have the following redirects:

www.orbiterwiki.com  => www.orbiterwiki.org
orbiterwiki.com      => www.orbiterwiki.org
orbiterwiki.org      => www.orbiterwiki.org

This means that all the old URL will continue to work but will redirect to the equivalent URL with "www.orbiterwiki.org" in it. I hope nobody opposes to this. --RaMan 10:45, 29 August 2006 (MSD)

I think it works! Please let me know of any problems. --RaMan 12:15, 29 August 2006 (MSD)

Random Addon

How do we submit articles for Random Addon contention again? The [link] link on the front page lists existing ones for "voting". What's the procedure? I've tarted up CVEL/precis a bit.

Thanks. --BadWolf 17:36, 14 September 2006 (MSD)

  • Look into the random addon page, in edit view, how the general addons had been added. After the </noinclude>, you can find the random addon code. Just edit it into the general addon pages, and you can also add up to three "extra votes" for your personal preferences, just see how the other users did it. --Urwumpe 20:58, 14 September 2006 (MSD)
  • I couldn't resist the temptation to add the addon myself :) Urwumpe, the current guidelines do not restrict the number of votes a person can cast; it only says there should be at most one vote for each addon. In my opinion this is a fair system because everyone votes on the list of addons which they think is worthy of being displayed on the main page. Any opposition to that? --RaMan 22:54, 14 September 2006 (MSD)
  • Ah, thanks. I didn't think of delving into the source itself. Cheers. --BadWolf 02:29, 19 September 2006 (MSD)

Page views

Wow we've recently had our 200,000th page view! :) See Special:Statistics. --RaMan 13:02, 6 October 2006 (MSD)

What about adding a small "thank you" note on the main page when we exceed 250,000 page views? --Urwumpe 20:37, 7 October 2006 (MSD)
Sounds like a good idea! --RaMan 13:47, 10 October 2006 (MSD)


No images when viewing the wiki with Opera?

I moved this talk text from the sand box here, i think its more fitting here. Also the talk page title was "Orbiterwiki:Sandbox/" does somebody have a idea if Opera might add a "/" to pages? --Urwumpe 22:07, 10 October 2006 (MSD)

Sorry for your time.... Why i can't see images on this resource? My Browser is: Opera. Thank you.

Can somebody verify this problem? I think its related to the additional "/" at the end of the title --Urwumpe 22:07, 10 October 2006 (MSD)
Got an anonymous hint: This is spam. not a genuine browser problem. (see [1]) Thank you, very much. :) --Urwumpe 17:11, 16 October 2006 (MSD)
I thought it was actually you Urwumpe who added the message and thus got doubly confused :) I even thought the spammer managed to somehow log in using your account. Now I understand. --RaMan 21:30, 16 October 2006 (MSD)

Hosting costs

Hi All, I've just paid for the next year of hosting OrbiterWiki, and it's not cheap! $400 per year to be precise. However much I hate to say this, I think I'll have to try Google Ads or something similar to recover some costs, since I don't believe OrbiterWiki is quite popular enough to raise money through donations. Just thought I'd tell you in advance. Please leave your thoughts here.

P.S. Another possibility is to host this on a cheaper service, which costs more like $150 a year, but having tried this with the very first orbiterwiki installation, it's rather slow. What would you think of this? --RaMan 22:50, 5 November 2006 (MSK)

I think for the current level of activity on the wiki, even 150 $ or 12.5 $ per month is a lot of money - thats roughly 1 $ per edit now. I think the current speed is very good, even compared to wikipedia, but we also don't have nearly the activity. Also i don't think we get enough hits everyday to really compensate a major fraction of the hosting costs with ads.
But also i think we have come too far to just shut the service down. We now have a working wiki for orbiter and its addon projects, we have gone through all starting problems with spam and administration. Maybe we should do more grassrooting among the addon developers to use the wiki for their projects, after all, its a very cheap way (in terms of time) to get a useful documentation for a project. Maybe, we could also enhance the tutorial section by walkthroughs for scenarios.
I would say, we should watch the situation very closely, if the demand for a wiki and the cost are getting more realistic at the end of the year, but 33 $ per month is a lot of money. If we get around 330 edits every month or 12 major edits per day, i would say, we are in a healthy position, and can also get a stable income by mixing ads and donations. As you currently pay the bill, i would say you have the last word on how much the wiki is worth for you. --Urwumpe 18:26, 8 November 2006 (MSK)
I certainly don't want to shut this down after all the effort put in by many of you. I'll think about this a bit more... :) And yes, we certainly should put more effort into promoting this wiki, especially by prodding addon developers :) --RaMan 14:37, 15 November 2006 (MSK)
It has to be said that's a disproportionate amount to spend on this site. Sorry to hear it's costing you so much. :-(
I doubt very much Google Adsense will help to any extent. The bare minimum is about 1000 hits per day, I think. You might get 100 dollars a year at that rate. Frequent return visitors in there will lower that.
Have you committed to a full year, or is there scope to move hosts should a cheaper option become available?
BadWolf 16:41, 30 November 2006 (MSK)
I think I may be able to cancel, this provider is amazingly flexible. It would be a pity to leave them. By the way, in the last month we've been getting over 1000 page views / day (but only just over 100 unique visitors per day :D) --RaMan 16:54, 8 December 2006 (MSK)
I resell for a provider in the UK. I could certainly resell a package at cost which is about 25% less than the retail. Let me know by letting me know the requirements and I'll get a price if interested. SimonRigy 04:49, 6 December 2006 (MSK)
Will send you an email, thanks! --RaMan 16:54, 8 December 2006 (MSK)
Hi, thats fine. Just to let you know my username has changed. I signed up as SimonRigy but couldnt see anywhere that I could change the username (typo). Now signed up as SimonRigby 02:20, 9 December 2006 (MSK)

Fleshing out the Orbiter SDK section

As a way of contributing, I could make a start on fleshing out the Orbiter SDK section. I don't think there is much to be acheived by just reproducing the SDK documentation, however a reproduction that gave good examples of all functions and a good system of categorisation and cross referencing could be useful.

We might also look at adding SDKs for some of the more popular 3rd party addon SDKs; like Spacecraft 3 and Dan's forthcoming MMU.

What do you think? If this is a goer and if someone else(e) want to get involved maybe we could discuss this here and look for a way forward. What I'll do is put together a couple of example functions and post the text here for you to see what I have in mind. A plan? SimonRigby 05:41, 9 December 2006 (MSK)

I'd really really like to get this going - this was what got me started with OrbiterWiki in the first place! oapiGetAirspeed is one of the first articles created here :D I suggest to discuss this further in detail on Talk:SDK documentation. --RaMan 22:15, 8 January 2007 (MSK)

Allowing crosssite linking to mydatapages.com?

As this was the second (dumb) edit this week linking away from our site to a homepage which aims to gather traffic (and income) by automatically generating dictionary like pages, i decided to temporarily put mydatapages.com on our spam blacklist and thus block any further edits. The reason:

  • The generated pages are not peer reviewed at all and the edits look like they are done by a robot to lure traffic on this page.
  • I fear that the pages are mutating into spam pages quickly.
  • They also don't use the same license as we do, so i don't want to have such links embedded here. We have a special crosssite linking scheme for wikipedia, and i think thats enough for most articles.

If the majority here disagrees on my actions and thinks we should allow it, please say so. Its no problem to revert it and i did also not apply (temp-) bans on the possible robots. Urwumpe 04:15, 7 January 2007 (MSK)

I agree with the block. If anything, we want such links to go to Wikipedia. --RaMan 22:19, 8 January 2007 (MSK)

Moving to a new database server

The OrbiterWiki database is going to be moved to a new server on Saturday, 10 February 2007, at 1pm GMT. This should make OrbiterWiki much faster. I will put OrbiterWiki into read-only mode for the duration of the move (at least 15 minutes; probably more).

In case you wonder, this is a free upgrade provided by our web host, so there's no extra costs involved. --RaMan 18:02, 7 February 2007 (MSK)

The move is complete! It's noticeably faster now, isn't it? --RaMan 02:21, 13 February 2007 (MSK)

Spam blacklist not working?

I just erased a whole bunch of spam edits, which all used a link pattern which i already banned yesterday. Can it be that the spam blacklist is either down, or does update its information too slowly (over 6 hours from entering the list to the last spam edit)? I would recommend to update the spam filter lists at least every 2 hours, each hour would be better.

Also, what about editing the wiki scripts to make the links on this wiki nofollow? For example like that.

<a href="anyserver.test" rel="nofollow"></a>

I doubt that it will reduce the spam on our wiki directly, but it would make such spam edits loose their primary purpose, boosting the page rank in google & friends. Of course assuming that the spambots care about the quality of their spamming. --Urwumpe 11:56, 29 June 2007 (MSD)

Server move

Hi All! It's that time of year again when I need to pay for OrbiterWiki hosting :(... The current host is too expensive for me, and it doesn't look like OrbiterWiki has nearly enough of a following to support the expensive host with donations or ads. Hence I shall be moving it back to my cheaper host in about a month or so, which will make it slower but should have no other noticeable impact. --RaMan 20:18, 16 September 2007 (MSD)

Finally happening now. The new server is almost ready and set up. If everything goes well, this wiki will be put into read-only mode some time in the next 7 days while I move the database dump and the uploads to the new server. I'll then point the "orbiterwiki.org" domain to the new server and will leave the old server in read-only mode while the DNS change propagates. Yay! --RaMan 14:52, 27 January 2008 (MSK)
In case you wonder why this hasn't happened yet that's because <insert a huge rant about unix and open source in general>. And also because I'm really short on time. The new server is available for testing in case anyone wants a go. (At your own risk) add the following line to C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts:    orbiterwiki.org
Now opening http://orbiterwiki.org will open the new server while http://www.orbiterwiki.org will still be the current, live server. The new server is labelled in top left on every page saying "This is the new server!". It may be down at times, and all the content WILL be eventually replaced with a copy of this site.
Almost everything is now installed. The only problem is the FancyCaptcha, which requires a pile of packages which are not installed and are not available via common repositories. But don't worry, I'm on the case. I might have less hair on my head after all this but the server will be live soon :) --RaMan 01:23, 8 February 2008 (MSK)

This is now complete, hopefully should be getting much less spam now! And sorry if you've experienced any downtime, there was a minor DNS glitch... --RaMan 09:26, 11 February 2008 (UTC)


Looks like there's a lot of spamming going on, which Urwumpe is fighting bravely! I think it would really help if we disallowed posting of links by unregistered users. Does this sound like a good idea? (I'm not actually sure how to do that at the moment but I'll think about it.) --RaMan 23:27, 25 October 2007 (MSD)

I think it would be a good alternative to disallowing any unregistered edits at all, but i think it makes it also harder to fix damaged good links by unregistered users. I would say its better as my current approach of developing a spam analyzing application for updating our spamfilter faster, as the Spambot operators have become more aggressive over the last weeks. Usually, we have had one edit per 1.5 hours during an attack, today, it had been one edit per 15 minutes. Also, i would suspect, when the spambots can't include good links into our wiki, they will simply spam it either with probing attacks (70% of the last night was only probing with random strings) or non-wikified links.
Can you analyze the changes from one article version to the new? If this is the case, what about only allowing 2-5 links per edit. This would block the most aggressive spambot customers and only leave us to deal with smaller numbers, while still allowing anonymous link edits. I would prefer such a solution over blocking links from unregistered users completely.
In my darkest hours, i already became cynically enough to think about blocking .info and .cn completely, like all other TLDs which allow "tasting" (=registering a domain for free and paying for it only if it gets used longer than 14 days). But that can't be a solution at all. --Urwumpe 01:05, 26 October 2007 (MSD)

Do we have our first own bot named "User:Vandal cleaner" now? --Urwumpe 00:49, 27 October 2007 (MSD)

Do I look like a bot to you? I am just a guy who can't stand a mess. Vandal cleaner 10:39, 27 October 2007 (MSD)
Oh, my fault. Looks like I failed the Turing test today. Thank you for your fast reactions!--Urwumpe 16:31, 27 October 2007 (MSD)
Yet, a man or even men are no match for spambots, the only long term solution for the problem is to ban ip from editing. Vandal cleaner 19:45, 27 October 2007 (MSD)

I just got informed of one mediawiki extension, which seems to be very effective: ConfirmEdit + FancyCaptcha. This adds Captchas for unregistered users, which has the tiny disadvantage of making edits for them a bit harder, but kills most bots. I would say, it is worth a try, unless the server is not powerful enough for generating captchas. --Urwumpe 03:03, 2 November 2007 (MSK)
Hi Urwumpe, sorry for taking ages to notice this. The server is capable of generating the captchas; I'll set this up ASAP. --RaMan 11:16, 7 December 2007 (MSK)
Let's hope you haven't set it up yet as spam still prevails. 19:39, 12 December 2007 (MSK)
Doing now... The last couple of months were a tad busy but I will really really set it up this time... --RaMan 14:46, 27 January 2008 (MSK)
Also do such a captcha on the new user registration, if you find the time. The bots have become pretty aggressive in registering new users in the last weeks, and as they don't come back with the same account, banning the bots does not solve anything.--Urwumpe 14:54, 27 January 2008 (MSK)

Can somebody else update the Spam filter for the next weeks? I will be busy and can't promise to look for the wiki everyday. --Urwumpe 19:53, 21 December 2007 (MSK)