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Hello. I'm Robert. I edited Wikipedia for some time, but then got indef blocked, in part for adding a page about Possible present day habitats for life on Mars - the people who voted to delete it and then indef block me, had no idea that searching for these habitats is one of the top science goals of NASA and ESA! I describe this episode in Alice In Wonderland Sanctioning In Wikipedia - Blocked For Covering NASA's Science Goal To Search For Habitats For Life On Mars‽

So that's why I ended up here - indeed - I have those editors who indef blocked me on Wikipedia to thank for the inspiration of these new wikis! It's a lot of fun to do, you get involved in the creative process including being able to choose the default skin and add a custom logo, like my new Astrobiology wiki.

Three new wikis derived from Wikipedia[edit source]

I have started two new wikis here so far

I also help run an encyclopedia of Buddhism hosted separately, also based on Wikipedia content originally

Many topic areas of Wikipedia have lots of great content, but though there are some topics that are excellent and actively maintained by good editors, others are just not getting much attention. In many areas I edited, you hardly ever meet anyone reasonably knowledgeable though the articles were clearly started by knowledgeable editors. And sadly their sanctions and other policies are turning away people and sometimes blocking the very people who help to fix mistakes there. For more about the background, editing wikipedia

And if you worry that nobody will find your pages - if you write good pages, then they will rise in the search results and people will start to find your wiki.

Do you want to set up your own wiki similarly?[edit source]

The rest of this page is help for anyone else who wants to export material from Wikipedia to make into a new encyclopedia on Miraheze.

Recommend Miraheze[edit source]

If you want to start your own wiki in a similar way, I recommend Miraheze. It started as an indiegogo startup. It's been running for several years now and is funded by donations and run by volunteers, funded at a little over $1000 a year for costs Finance.

To find out how to get your own wiki see FAQ#Your own wiki. It's dead easy to do, just fill in a form, and they do the rest.

  • Free, supported by donations You can get a wiki here so long as the primary purpose is not for commercial activity - so encyclopedias should be fine. Even an encyclopedia about fictional characters for an author's book are fine.
  • Lot's of control - you are a beaurocrat Basically you can do anything that involves managing your wiki - except edit the LocalSettings.php file - and nearly all edits you'd want to do of that are automated anyway, which you can do via a special page in your wiki just selecting check boxes.
  • It has many extensions included by default and you can add others by visiting the page to manage your Wikipedia extensions. For instance I have a YouTube extension to embed YouTube videos into pages, and GeoData to let you show co-ordinates and users click on them to get to a map with those co-ordinates (useful for maps imported from Wikipedia). There are only a few extensions you can't add due to security issues. Anything Wikipedia uses you can probably use - and more.
  • Good performance - has reasonably fast page load times and Miraheze volunteers respond rapidly to any requests - if you need something set up they typically do it the same day as the request.
  • Good user management. Yes, anyone can edit your wiki - but in practice it seems to have no problems with spam, vandalism or trolls, so far anyway. It has spam protection extensions included by default. You can ask the Miraheze team to disable anonymous edits. As a beaurocrat you have the option to block individual editors from your wiki if needs be. You can also install the ProtectSite extension which lets you block all editing of your wiki by anyione except admins for up to one week at a time.
  • You can also install the AuthorProtect extension which lets you protect any page in the wiki so that it can only be edited by administrators (say). I have protected the main page of my astrobiology wiki in this way. So, if you wanted a wiki edited by just a few people, who you trust, you could make them all admins and then protect every page you make.
  • It has a dormancy policy - but encyclopedias should be exempt - after 45 days of inactivity, no editing of the site, a banner appears warning you. After 67 days of inactivity then the wiki becomes open to adoption by anyone. After six months (120 days) then it can be deleted. However, you can request that your wiki is made exempt from dormancy. One reason they give for exemption is: Wikis made to be read, where a lot of information is already on wiki and doesn't need to be actively edited. So this is not likely to be an issue in practice for encyclopedias. See Dormancy Policy.
  • Their backup policy The entire Mirahze site is backed up once a week in a different country. You can ask for an xml backup of all the pages on your site Backups and request your wiki to be backed up automatically at a desired period, say every month or two weeks. This backup does not include user accounts. But can be used to restore the wiki or to migrate it to another site.

So how do you import Wikipedia articles into your new miraheze wiki and get them all working nicely? That's what the rest of this page is about.

How to import a wikipedia topic area into Miraheze[edit source]

You can export pages and templates from Wikipedia using Special:Export. and import into your wiki using Special:Import in your wikipedia special pages.

Importing pages and auto-attributing Wikipedia[edit source]

It's important to attribute Wikipedia if you do this, on every page you import. Following advice on Wikipedia itself about how to do this, I use this template: Template:En-WP-Attrib and add it to the end of the page. You are welcome to copy that template for your own wiki.

It's tedious to add it by hand to a wiki of perhaps a hundred or more pages you just imported. However, when you bulk import pages, then an easy way to add the template is to edit the xml file you exported from Wikipedia. You only need to attribute the pages you exported not the templates, and editing the xml to put it in the right section of a template is tricky.

So, I'd recommend first exporting the pages without the option to include templates. Then edit the xml and replace




throughout. This will automatically attribute all your pages to the corresponding page in Wikipedia.

Importing wanted pages and templates[edit source]

Then go to the list of wanted templates and import those. The list has entires like " (36 links)" at the end of each line in the list. I use Notepad ++. To remove all the others in one go I use a regular expression:

\([0-9]+ link.?\)

You can use the Wikipedia category listings or portals to get a list of articles to import to get started. Then you can look for wanted pages and templates. to complete your import.

You can then copy / paste your list of wanted pages or templates into the Special:Export page of Wikipedia. For templates, you can try with the option to include templates at this point, to recursively include all the ones you need, but if the file gets too large, you can uncheck that and instead repeat the process of going to the Wanted templates and importing them all until it is done.

Script modules and lua errors[edit source]

That then leaves lua script modules. You are likely to get many lua errors about missing modules. When this happens, it's usually easy to fix. Just click on the error to get the name of the module that's missing and import those modules.

There doesn't seem to be a way to generate a list of all the wanted modules for a wiki. But you can go to Category:Pages_with_script_errors in your wiki. Pages with script errors get added to it automatically. Then go to the pages inthat list and for each one search the page and look for lines about lua error in a module. After a while this may get rather repetitive, as you find lots of pages reporting the same missing modules. If that happens, its time to import the missing modules, and now the number of pages with errors will be reduced. In the same way, do a few more, and repeat until you have imported all the modules.

I generally export all the modules from one Wiki and import to another, to get it started as that saves a lot of time. I thought of giving a link to a zip of those modules in this page - and of the templates too - but I don't want to encourage people to import modules from people they don't know. Also - if they did that and then got some malware scan say there is a problem with the website - they might think it was due to the modules.

The modules should be okay as they have all been exported from Wikipedia. There are none written by myself. The templates are also all from Wikipedia except for a few written by Dorje108 and myself by hand, if you want to import those. So - if you want these, to help get a new wiki started, do send me an email to support at and I can email you a link to the zip.

One common script error after importing pages from Wikipedia is a lua error message about a missing function #coordinates. If you get that error then though it's a lua error, is not actually a missing module. However, it's easily solved. Just enable the GeoData extension which has the function it's looking for. This displays clickable co-ordinates for geographical locations on your pages. You often find them at the top of a wikipedia page about a geographical location. Probably you've never tried clicking on them - if you do, it's cool, as it takes you to a map showing where that location is in the world.

Importing categories - especially, hidden categories[edit source]

You can also do the same with the wanted categories. One of the main reasons to import them is that in Wikipedia many of them are hidden, because they are designed for debugging, to show errors to users who choose to show hidden categories as a user preference.

After importing to a new wiki you'll see lots of error categories at the end of each page, in red. They need to be hidden, and easiest is just to import them all from Wikipedia.

In the list of wanted categories, you'll see " (... members)" instead of " (... links)". To remove all those in the regular expression just replace link by member as:

\([0-9]+ member.?\)

And remember to add "Category:" at the start of each line.

Then export from Wikipedia / import into your new wiki as usual. When exporting be sure to check the box to include wanted templates. The main one you need is

Template:Wikipedia category

That is the one that lets you hide categories. You can also hide other categories yourself manually. There may be categories that apply to many pages in your wiki but just aren't relevant to your encyclopedia. Instead of deleting them all by hand, just edit the category and add the line:

{{Wikipedia category|hidden=yes}}

commons.css and commons.js[edit source]

To display some of the templates correctly you need to copy over the commons.css and commons.js files from Wikipedia into your wiki. Extra skins are enabled in the extensions list.

You can't edit your wiki's "LocalSettings.php" but if you need special configuring you can ask the Miraheze team to do it for you. So far I've only needed to do that once, to allow inlined images from my blogs and my own website.

Google search console[edit source]

This gives you a lot of information about how your site is performing in google searches - including impressions where people don't click through, and also analysis of sites that link to your one.

The search console is here: About Google Search console

After you set it up you will be given a tag you have to add to your main page in order to be verified as owner. To do that in Miraheze, I use the "HTML Meta and Title" extension and added the line e.g.

<seo google-site-verification="xxxxxxxxx" />

to the wikitext. Once it is verified you can remove the tag.