Banner by James Baxter with a calendar icon and the text This Week in Fandom on a white background

This Week in Fandom, Volume 6

Well, it was another big week for fandom.  Let’s start by giving everyone a big hug.

Image of Prince and David Bowie in the style and location of The Little Prince
Composite fan art apparently using the work of Fauna Crawford, possibly assembled by Crystal Moselle

We’ve lost yet another legend this year: musical artist Prince. Numerous musicians honoured Prince during their latest shows, and social media overflowed with stories about how Prince’s version of Black masculinity helped innumerable people come to understand themselves.

Seeing a strong, unapologetically black man direct an audience of thousands and ultimately, my heart, made it clear that being yourself could take you further than being an approximation of someone else.

—Terryn Hall for the Guardian (Warning: don’t read the comments.)


Spotlight on Wiki

Fanlore Software Update

The Wiki Committee has an important announcement!

The OTW will be upgrading Fanlore’s MediaWiki software in the evening UTC hours on Tuesday, April 26th. If everything goes according to plan, there should be no downtime, but you will not be able to edit Fanlore for a few hours.

Why the upgrade?

MediaWiki is the software Fanlore and many other wikis, including Wikipedia, are built on.

Fanlore is currently using MediaWiki version 1.19.3, which was released way back in 2012. This version is no longer supported by MediaWiki, which means that we will miss out on security and other critical updates.

We believe that it is important for Fanlore to be upgraded to the latest stable version of the MediaWiki software, version 1.26.2.

What will change?

Sadly, one longtime feature on the site will be going away. The newest version of MediaWiki will remove page hit counters, including those found at the end of each article (“This page has been accessed X times.”), the Special:PopularPages link, and the “Most Viewed Pages” section of Special:Statistics.

There is an extension we could add to preserve the hit counters, but unfortunately Fanlore’s hit counters are not accurate, and the new extension wouldn’t fix them. This is because our server is behind a reverse proxy, which caches pages in their processed form and serves them to visitors. This means that MediaWiki never actually sees most requests, so the total hit count we do see is inaccurate and misleading. Therefore, we will not be adding the extension.

However, in addition to bug fixes and performance and security improvements, MediaWiki 1.26 will provide Fanlore with several new tools and features which the Wiki Committee would like your feedback on! You can find more details at Fanlore’s Dreamwidth community.

OTW Recruitment banner by Erin

The OTW is Recruiting Elections Staffers

We’re excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Elections Committee Staff: Team Coordinator – closing 27 April 2016 UTC
  • Elections Committee Staff: Voting Process Architect – closing 27 April 2016 UTC

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don’t see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist volunteers -(at)- transformativeworks -(dot)- org in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.