ChoralWiki:Operation and implementation issues/Archive 1

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This page archives topics from the Bulletin board forum Operation and implementation issues

Archive 1

Discontinuation of Village pump

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This seems to have been superceded by the new wiki based bulletin board system now. Discontinue?

Making text-translations pages into categories

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Following up on a suggestion made by Carlos, there are now three (for the time being) "test" text categories (as opposed to text pages):

Under the present system of text pages, one has to make edits on two pages:

  1. use Template:LinkText to link a score page to its text page, and
  2. add a link on the text page back to the score page.

But with a text category, one only has to make a single edit, using Template:LnkTxt on the score page which categorizes the score page in the text category and adds a suitable link to that category. This makes for considerably less work for those working on texts and translations for our scores. Moreover, the learning curve is not steep. For example, to categorize the Beethoven O salutaris hostia, one adds

{{LnkTxt|O salutaris hostia|Beethoven, Ludwig van}}

in place of the usual {{LinkText|O salutaris hostia}}.

As an example of how to migrate from a text page to a text category, I've moved the contents of the O salutaris hostia page to the corresponding category, replacing the contents on the original page with a redirect to the latter. Since the Beethoven setting has already been linked to the text category, the listing under "Muscial settings at CPDL" has been commented out. As more settings are categorized, they will be removed from the list (for the time being, I will just comment them out until we reach a consensus that this is a good way to proceed). And finally, when all listed settings have been categorized (making the list empty), the "Musical settings..." section can be removed entirely and the (then superfluous) redirect from the text page to the category deleted.

The Sancta Maria, succurre miseris text category was created anew just awhile ago, when I saw the Gabrielli setting and new that I had posted the Crecquillon setting(s) with text (so I made the text category and linked the two score pages to it). Carlos made the Mirabile mysterium category as an initial experiment.

All in all, I feel that we could migrate fairly smoothly from text pages to text categories, and propose that this is a route we should seriously consider. I'm in favor of it, as you can tell, and I feel strongly that, migration issues aside, such a text category system will make it much easier for those adding new texts.

As I explained to Carlos (and he agrees), we should be doing this on a trial basis, pending feedback from others on this issue.

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Seems like a good idea to me. I assume Psalm and Mass texts would be handled using the old template.

List of current CPDL problems

(moved here from CPDL support, help, and feedback)

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Feel free to add items to this post

  1. choralwiki.org/phpBB2/ : Posting at forums still not working
  2. choralwiki.org/phpBB2/ : phpBB2 software out-of-date
  3. cpdl.org/wiki/form/work.htm : Forms for adding works/composers cannot be updated
  4. cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Special:Preferences : Email authentication method not currently sending out email
  5. Procedural: no notification from User:Rafael_Ornes (User:Admin) of pending server downtime
  6. * Some routine administrative duties reguire User:Rafael_Ornes and are not done in a timely fashon.
  7. † Out of date wiki software - MediaWiki installation (update for increased security, reliability and to better prevent automated sign-ups) and extensions (such as Dynamic Page List - update for increased functionality)
  8. † Replace all instances of [[Category:CPDL Editors with [[Category:CPDL contributors and rename the existing category to conform (see discussion).

NB: Items with a * or † have been added to the list subsequent to its original posting.

  • Posted by: --Choralia 15:29, 2 April 2008 (PDT)
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Please note: for the forum-related items, a (temporary?) solution is available already using the phpBB3 forum at http://choralia.altervista.org/phpbb/, which have been set-up with the same forums and categories as the "old" phpBB2 forum.

Update: No advertisement about the above mentioned "back-up" forum is being made on CPDL. As an obvious consequence, such a forum is not being used, despite the normal forum is out of order since several weeks, and despite the use of this alternative bulletin board under the wiki environment remains quite limited and not very user-friendly. It does not make much sense to me. Anyway, all things being equal, I'll close the back-up forum at http://choralia.altervista.org/phpbb/ within the next few days. --Choralia 07:03, 10 April 2008 (PDT)
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Hi Max, you might wish to simply disable the board; it can subsequently be re-enabled at the flick of a switch. I'm sorry if there isn't any current agreement about whether to migrate discussions to the choralia board – unfortunately CPDL is operating in a rather “headless” fashion at present!

  • Posted by: --Choralia 15:50, 10 April 2008 (PDT)
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Hi Philip, maintaining the board active, even though disabled, costs some money to me. It's a very small amount, so it's not a problem, however there is no reason to spend money for such a board if nobody uses it, and if there is no chance such a board is used in the future. I understand it's difficult that any decision or agreement is made at the present time. So, I'll keep it open further, and I hope that a decision is made, sooner or later.

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Added item to list ( * )

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Added † items

  • Posted by: Vaarky 16:13, 25 July 2008 (PDT)
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Should we add another procedural item to the list to reflect if back-ups are not being done regularly?

  • Posted by: Vaarky 08:29, 27 July 2008 (PDT)
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Is there a work-around meanwhile for the fact that e-mail verifications are not going out? For example, if the admins can change a user's setting, I'm willing to do verifications by e-mail and get the admins a list of people who have hand-verified their address. Yes, I have a vested interest. :)

Should we consider setting up a mirror site?

(moved here from CPDL support, help, and feedback)

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In light of the service interuptions, perhaps it is time to set up a mirror site. It may also be a good time to consider incorporating CPDL. I have a lawyer friend who would do the necessary filings for free.

A bit of money would allow the mirror server to be paid for, and incorporation would put an official face on the organization, and also some protection for the contributers and administrators.

What do people think ?

  • Posted by: MandyShaw 19:35, 28 March 2008 (PDT)
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I understood there already was a mirror of some sort in place, following the disastrous site failure last May. Maybe I am wrong about this, or maybe it's only the data that is mirrored. Was the recent downtime a server-level problem, or an Internet connectivity problem?

On another topic, the new forum is looking good, but it is worrying that it's on the main server (i.e. downtime cannot be discussed). I am also a bit worried that you do need wiki editing skills to submit forum entries - judging by their posts on the old forum, a lot of new posters of scores have never seen a wiki before. Are there any possible ways of front ending/simplifying this? I am happy to do some research myself if it would be useful.

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I reckon a mirror site would be nigh on impossible to create. Allow me to explain. I don't know a lot about wikis but I do know that they are constantly changing (people are always making edits). Now if there were a mirror site which synchronised with the main site, say every 24 hrs, what would happen to edits on the mirror? If I edited a page on the mirror and someone else edited the same page on the main site, which edit should/would be kept?

However, as Mandy rightly says, there is a static mirror at http://www.choralwiki.org however, this site contains the bare bones of CPDL and isn't a resource that I think should be advertised (no searching, categories, texts and translations etc.)

As for incorporating CPDL, I think that's a positive move but one should only be made with the appropriate support from Raf and other admins. It is a subject that would require discussion at great length.

Mandy: Unfortunately, with new posts on the old forums being overlooked because of technical problems, I felt it best to advise users (on the main page) to post on this new bulletin board. I agree that it may be harder to use for some users and if you have some suggestions, I'm sure Chuck (who started this up) would be happy to hear them. However, I have to say that I haven't got a clue as to how this might be done.

  • Posted by: MandyShaw 00:58, 29 March 2008 (PDT)
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Re mirroring, the only way you could mirror the data properly in a wiki context, without the sort of simultaneous update problems you mention, would be to set up some sort of automatic replication and then, in the case of a failure, fail over to the other copy, then, when all was well again, re-synchronise and go back - i.e., never to try to use both versions at once. The replication could be done at regular intervals (in which case we might have to do a bit of tidying up once things were back to normal) or continuously (probably better). It all rather depends on how the data is stored, though.

Re easier wiki editing - I'll have a poke around - there are a couple of wikis I'm involved with that do provide a nice 'rich text' wiki text editor, maybe there is an open source version of this. I guess what is needed is

a) select relevant forum

b) is this a new topic, or a response to an old topic? (if the latter, select topic to respond to)

c) type text

d) click on link which (somehow) causes the text to be fed into CPDL in the correct place.

  • Posted by: --Choralia 05:00, 30 March 2008 (PDT)
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About one year ago I activated an automatic monitoring service that regularly checks the availability of the CPDL website. If we exclude the "big crash" of summer 2007, the measured availability is around 98.5%. This means that, if one tries to access CPDL at random over a sufficiently long period of time, he/she will experience one failed attempt every 66 successful attempts (approximately). Professional websites, using redundant servers in different locations, mirroring, etc., usually provide better figures, however I think 98.5% is acceptable for the nature of CPDL. What's important, in my opinion, is that the main asset of CPDL, i.e., the about 10 thousand scores, is safely stored. A temporary loss of access is far less important than a permanent loss of the scores. So, I would certainly recommend to pay a lot of attention to the back-up policy (e.g., frequent back-up of the scores onto a remotely located server) rather than to the real-time access.

As far as the forum is concerned, I think it would be relatively easy for me to reproduce the structure of the current CPDL forum on my servers of Choralia. I can activate the same PHPBB application, so the "look and feel" will be essentially the same as the normal forum. It can be used as a back-up until the normal forum is up and running again. Please just let me know if you (admins) want me to do that.

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A new BBS that works sounds good to me. I don't think (judging from the lack of postings) that most CPDL users know how to post in the new way, and I miss the convenience and redundancy of the old BBS System.

  • Posted by: MandyShaw 08:19, 30 March 2008 (PDT)
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I agree with John on all counts. A new PHPBB based forum would be excellent.

Incidentally I have been investigating rich text editing for MediaWiki based wikis. While a new PHPBB forum is a much better way forward in my view, I do think there could be benefit in enabling a rich text editor. There's a nice example here. It doesn't sound as if such an editor would be that hard to implement, but it has to be configured on the server.

(By the way I generated that last paragraph using the rich text editor - found it really easy to use.)

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The phpBB that we have been running is rather out of date (which I see every time as I log in as an admin there), but there is little that anyone except Raf can do about it (which is the main problem). I set up the alternative board here because I had the feeling that the phpBB issues are not likely to be resolved with the expediency needed to keep lines of communication open. Yes, this is more awkward to use (especially if one is wiki-unaware), but at least it seems to be working (it took awhile for the phpBB board to get used when it was originally set up, too). What we really need is for Raf to upgrade the phpBB installation and/or restart the board.

Mirror sites, rich text wiki-editors, BB's that have better antispam protection, and many other bells and whistles (eg. from MediaWiki) are all wonderful, and I wish we had them (good grief, you probably have no idea just how many spam accounts are deleted from the phpBB by hand, by me and by other admins) ... but without help from Raf on these issues, I'm not sure just how much we can do.

  • Posted by: MandyShaw 16:37, 30 March 2008 (PDT)
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Chuck, all points taken - it's clear that the admins are working within some pretty tight and frustrating constraints here. I think though that Choralia was offering to set up a new phpBB forum, to look like the old one, but on his own server.

Re editing, I was just passing on my optimism that, when the wiki does at some point in the future get upgraded/tweaked, this functionality might find its way in & make the lives of new users (and therefore hopefully admins) a bit easier. (Also the sandbox I linked to may be useful to some as a MediaWiki wiki markup learning tool. I've been working with wikis myself off and on for a year now, but I still have to use the Preview button extensively - and it took me until very recently to find out that not all wiki markup languages are the same.)

  • Posted by: --Choralia 20:55, 30 March 2008 (PDT)
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I've set up a prototype new forum at Choralia. You can access it at http://choralia.altervista.org/phpbb/. If you like it, I can give the admin credentials to somebody who may possibly improve and refine the whole structure better than me.

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I've tried out the new BBS and it works well. Suggest as an interim measure we advertize it as an option.

  • Posted by: --Choralia 03:23, 31 March 2008 (PDT)
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Let's test it a little bit internally before advertising. I'm finding it rather slow at the moment

  • Posted by: --Choralia 15:41, 31 March 2008 (PDT)
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I've just up-graded by a significant factor the quantity of resources available to the forum (database space and power). Let's see whether speed improves.