FAQ

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This is a collection of some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Miraheze.

This page is not a policy document but an introductory guide. It refers to some actual policy documents, such as the Dormancy Policy. Read those documents to see what the actual policies are.

General

What is this place?

This is a collection (a "farm") of wikis. A wiki is a website oriented toward collaborative editing with instant, worldwide publication. Miraheze uses the MediaWiki software, which lets several people edit the same page, supports highlighting, illustrations, and special effects, and retains a copy of every page at every point in the past, which can be copied from or can replace the current copy. Wikipedia is the most famous wiki.

Our main page states our commitment when running this site.

Who are these people?

Miraheze users are known only by their user names. A person uses the same user name on all of Miraheze's wikis. During registration, you pick your own user name. A Miraheze user may elect to disclose his own identity, but disclosing someone else's identity without their permission is a serious violation.

What are these wikis?

There are currently 2563 hosted at Miraheze. You can see some wikis at Gazetteer of wikis with an author-created thumbnail description of the wikis. Many of these wikis welcome you to read them or even make contributions. For a list of all wikis hosted you can see Special:SiteMatrix.

Why are you called Miraheze?

Why not? Incidentally, a lot of people pronounce Miraheze differently.

Business model

How do you finance your hosting?

Miraheze is a non-profit and entirely depends on donations from others. We do not have ads, nor are we financed by a company or a government, so we depend on our donors. Please see Donate and Finance for more information.

Why don't you have ads?

People dislike ads, ads won't gain us more money than donations (and ads could induce people to stop donating to us), ads are a privacy leak, and ads raise the risk of pressure from the companies doing the advertising that we adjust the content on wikis. We defend our editorial independence, and that of authors working on individual wikis.

How can I donate to Miraheze?

Miraheze currently accepts all payment methods accepted by PayPal. You may click here or send a donation directly to donate at miraheze.org. For more information, please see Donate or contact Labster.

Can I contribute in other ways?

We would love that! Please see Contributing for more information.

Your own wiki

How do I request a wiki?

Go to Special:RequestWiki, and fill in the form.

How do I confirm that my wiki has been created?

Your request should appear in the Farmer log and request wiki queue. When someone takes up your request and creates your wiki, this should be visible, too, in the Farmer log. In addition, the person creating your wiki will usually leave a message on your user talk page.

There are some cases where a wiki can't be created, such as when a wiki with the same name already exists, when you didn't provide enough information in your request, or when creating it is against either the Content policy or any other Miraheze poliies. In this case, you will also be advised on your user talk page.

What is the initial state of my new wiki?

We will put a Main Page on your wiki, with wording (in your chosen language) that is as inviting as possible, given that no wiki member has written anything real yet. We encourage you to edit this with whatever material you want a visitor to see first.

In addition, your user name will be designated the wiki's bureaucrat. (This is a wiki administrator with the power to appoint other users as administrators, and to depose them.)

What if something goes wrong?

This unfortunately can happen from time to time. Stay calm! Check your request in the Farmer log to be sure the request got into the log and was serviced. The quickest (and recommended) ways to report an issue are Phabricator and IRC, but you can also leave a message on the Community noticeboard, or contact a system administrator of your choice. If you were shown an error message when you tried to view your wiki, or tried to take an action that should have been allowed, copy this information and include it in your report.

MediaWiki

Do I need to learn MediaWiki?

Most of what happens on a Miraheze wiki is dictated by the MediaWiki software. If you began by editing your wiki's Main Page, then what you type would be visible by every visitor. However, to make your wiki attractive, with highlighted text, headings, sidebars, infoboxes, illustrations, and dynamic effects, you will need to add mark-up as specified by MediaWiki.

A good introduction to MediaWiki is at the MediaWiki help center. A few recurring questions are answered below.

How do I give a distinctive style to my wiki?

Every web page is "rendered" on the reader's screen according to a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS). Your wiki will have a document named MediaWiki:Common.css. It contains not text but rendering commands in a special language. For example, to make every second-level section header come out in green, include this command:

 H2 { color: green }

If you can write code in JavaScript, you can do more powerful things, such as rearrange elements on the page or make the size of an element depend on the size of the window being used to view the page. Code placed in MediaWiki:Common.js takes effect for all users and all pages of your wiki (provided the user has not disabled JavaScript).

How do I import content onto my wiki?

To import a single page from another wiki, use Special:Export on that wiki to obtain an XML dump of the page. Then add it to your wiki using your wiki's Special:Import.

To import some or all the pages from some other wiki, get an XML dump of those pages, then attach the dump to your request on Phabricator. An alternative is to email the dump, with instructions, to staff at miraheze.org . For more details, please see Imports.

How do I install infoboxes on my wiki, like Wikipedia has?

As above, use Special:Export on Wikipedia to get an XML dump of the template, then install them into your wiki with your Special:Import page. Be sure to click the "Include templates" button before export!

Templates with advanced features, such as the show/hide toggle, need special CSS code. View the source of Wikipedia:MediaWiki:Common.css, copy the sections that start with .infobox, and add this code to your wiki's MediaWiki:Common.css page.

When making changes to your wiki that involve several pages, don't just refresh the page but "hard refresh" it (Ctrl-F5 on Firefox) to ensure that your computer discards any old versions of any of the pages it may have saved in its page cache.

For more information you can read this guide

How do I make a notice appear at the top of every page?

Add the notice you want to see on the MediaWiki:Sitenotice page of your wiki.

If you have had previous content in the sitenotice, don't just edit MediaWiki:Sitenotice but also make a change to the MediaWiki:Sitenotice_id page — You can just keep increasing numbers 1, 2, 3, and so on. This is how MediaWiki remembers that you have changed the Site Notice after a given user dismissed your previous notice.

You can put, in MediaWiki:Anonnotice, a message-of-the-day to be given to visitors who are not logged into Miraheze. These notices are not dismissable.

How can I change the status of my wiki?

Your wiki has a Special:ManageWiki page that gives you control over your wiki. This page lets you:

  • Change the language of your wiki (which affects the language of the messages that are built into MediaWiki). Any editor can type anything into a page of a wiki, in any language, no matter what you declare is the official language of your wiki.
  • Mark your wiki private, or mark it public again.
  • Mark your wiki closed (inactive), or reactivate it.

More complicated changes not listed require you to make a request. We are working on making it possible for users to change these themsevles.

Why am I on another wiki's Special:ListUsers page?

(Or, you may ask, Who are all these people listed as users of my wiki?) A person's registered user name is the same on every Miraheze wiki the person visits. Every time you view a Miraheze wiki while being logged in to any other Miraheze wiki, your user name is attached to the local wiki, and therefore to its user list.

Private wikis

How private is a private wiki?

A private wiki can only be viewed and edited by its members. You can go to your wiki's Special:UserRights and enter the name of any registered Miraheze user to put that user in the member group on your wiki.

Why can everyone see the Main Page on my private wiki?

This one page is always public, by rule. You can get around this rule by putting your main content on some other page (say, "Real Main Page"), then edit your main page to redirect it there:

 #REDIRECT [[Real Main Page]]

Wiki management requests

Who or what is this "Phabricator"?

Phabricator is a system by which wiki owners can ask for technical assistance from Miraheze system administrators. Phabricator means you don't have to direct your request to a single system administrator, and deal with the possibility that that person is vacationing or has quit. Phabricator remembers requests and lets anyone volunteer to satisfy the request. It makes it less likely that requests get lost or ignored.

Phabricator is a separate program from MediaWiki, which renders the web pages of your wiki, but it is under the control of Miraheze.

You have to log into Phabricator, but if you are already logged into Miraheze, this is automatic if you press the button with the MediaWiki logo.

The page Feature requests has an overview of requesting help, including the types of requests you can make.

Why can't I do the tricks I can do on other wikis?

Your new wiki will have an ordinary installation of MediaWiki. Many people have written extensions to MediaWiki but most of these, by default, are not installed on new Miraheze wikis. Some popular extensions enable:

  • Uploading of audio files in the .MP3 format
  • Writing alternative renderings, to be chosen at random
  • Additional functions in the MediaWiki meta-language
  • Assembling lists of pages on your wiki, which can be inserted into a page
  • Helpful ways of linking to additional media from other websites, such as Google Maps

The page Extensions describes extensions that are pre-installed on your wiki, extensions you can request to be added, and extensions we won't add for privacy and other reasons. You can make a request as specified in Feature requests. It will help if you can state the exact name of the extension you want added to your wiki.

How do I change my logo or favicon?

If you don't like the yellow-and-tan Miraheze logo, and have custom artwork, you can install it as the favicon for every page of your wiki. Please see Feature requests for help making a request.

How can I get a custom domain for my wiki?

Your wiki does not have to be a sub-domain of miraheze.org. It can be any web address that you are able to acquire. There is more information about this at Custom domains. If this is what you want to do, see Feature requests to make a request.

How do I get a backup of my wiki?

All Miraheze wikis are backed up using Tech:Bacula, but you can request backups of your wiki only on Phabricator. A Miraheze system administrator will generate an XML dump of your wiki.

  • Dumps of public wikis will be made available on our static site
  • Dumps for private wikis will only be kept on our servers until a system administrator can send it to you.

If you are requesting a dump of a private wiki, you should have a validated email attached to your Miraheze account, even if you disable the Special:EmailUser functionality in your preferences.

Generally speaking, we do not retain dumps of individual wikis for a long period of time.

For more details please see Backups.

How do I make my wiki read-only?

For making your wiki read only from everyone (including yourself) for specific periods of time you can request the "ProtectSite" extension.

For making it read-only to specific users/groups only you can request editing restrictions.

How can I remove a bureaucrat from my wiki?

Bureaucrats are the highest-ranking officials of a wiki. Normally, it requires a request to a Miraheze steward to remove a bureaucrat. You must have a valid reason, such as abuse, or there must be consensus in the wiki to do so. The steward will want evidence (such as specific edits) that shows you are not just asking him to take one side in a clash of personalities.

Apart from moves against a specific user, you can use Request features to request a change to the set of users empowered on your wiki to remove bureaucrats. However, if bureaucrats can remove each other, other bureaucrats can remove you.

May I have Oversight or CheckUser rights?

To date, these permissions have not been given out to non-staff members. Stewards have the authority to delegate these rights to other users, but generally speaking the Steward body feels that it can handle all of these requests in a timely manner.

  • Oversight allows edits to the permanent historical record. It is sometimes necessary when the mere disclosure of information violates someone's rights, and it will not suffice to undo the edit but leave it in the history. For example, if the name of a page discloses personal information or is libelous, it will not suffice to just delete the page.
  • CheckUser discloses the IP address from which a user is reaching Miraheze. It can sometimes provide evidence that several users vandalizing a wiki are in fact a single person.

If you believe you need one of these operations performed, please ask at the Stewards' noticeboard.

Closed wikis

How does a wiki close?

A wiki closes (becomes inactive) when you go to Special:ManageWiki and tick the Closed button. It is reopened when you return to Special:ManageWiki and uncheck this button.

A wiki is also closed by stewards after a period of inactivity, as specified by the Dormancy Policy. Read the actual policy document rather than relying on this summary. The Dormancy Policy went into effect on 5 January 2016 and applies to all wikis.

If you have perused a closed wiki and believe you could take it further, please go to Requests for adoption.

How do I move my wiki?

Exporting pages from a wiki, such as to a mirror site or to a host other than Miraheze, is the reverse of importing pages from another wiki onto your Miraheze wiki.

If your wiki consists of a small number of pages, Special:AllPages lists them. You can copy this list and paste it into the Special:Export page to produce a content dump in XML format.

If your wiki is larger, Miraheze can provide assistance. You should request this assistance by opening a ticket on Phabricator.

If the target host does not use the MediaWiki software, the pages may require conversion into the format that the target host uses. Miraheze cannot help you with that.

Miscellaneous

Where can I find your configuration?

We have a GitHub organization where we store our Puppet configuration, extensions, MediaWiki install and other code.

Why can't I access the site using HTTP?

In the original HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), pieces of a request to, or a response from, a web server flowed over the wire or wireless network in plain text that it was easy for anyone to read. HTTPS is a protocol that scrambles each packet to make it harder to intercept. Wikipedia and its sister projects switched to HTTPS in 2015. We too support only HTTPS, to keep private information secure and to protect users against downgrade attacks. In addition, we require that Miraheze wikis with custom domain names have a valid SSL certificate.

There are proxy websites that give you access to HTTPS websites using HTTP, but we do not recommend or support their use.

Still have questions?

If you have any questions that this FAQ does not answer, feel free to ask at Community noticeboard.