UUWiki:Community Portal

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This page is typically used as a place to describe how the wiki is evolving, how people can get involved, etc.

For example, see Wikipedia's Community_Portal

Feel free to edit it so it can reflect all our input.

See also Talk:Main Page for discussion of the Main Page in particular.

Developing the Community

See http://www.wikicities.com/wiki/Start_a_new_Wikicity#Developing_your_community and http://www.wikicities.com/wiki/Start_a_new_Wikicity#Promoting_your_wiki at http://www.wikicities.com/ for tips on developing and promoting a community like UUWiki.

How about starting pages more useful for unitarians like Online Information Resources, Individual Experiences, and there are probably more things I haven't thought of. Jrincayc 21:50, 21 Jun 2005 (CDT)
Good ideas. One question is how to organize things. We've tried to follow existing practice by putting information in "FAQ" lists for relevant existing mailing lists. Besides matching the organic structure that UUs have already evolved, it makes it easier for likely contributors to find stuff they'd like to contribute to. So the broad topic "Online Information Resources" items might end up in Worship-l or UU-Community or elsewhere depending on focus. The current contents of "individual experiences" seems better suited to a UUA-GA page. Make sense? --NealMcB 10:30, 28 Aug 2005 (CDT)


There are many terms for the local organizations that UUs join: church, fellowship, congregation, society, etc. The most general, and the one that is used in the UUA bylaws, is congregation, so that is probably the best term to use in most situations.

Organization, Subpages and Naming conventions

There are some pages that are naturally arranged in hierarchy, e.g. the MDD/Justice Ministries page is part of the MDD pages. In cases like this we use the sub-page feature of mediawiki. This makes it easy to link toa subpage (just start the name off with a slash]] and automatically puts a link back to the parent. Of course there will also be cases where a page could be though of as a subpage of many different pages, and in such cases we can use mediawiki "categories" or other features to organize them.

Here is some history that led to creating subpages here.

There are some pages (like What We Do On The List) that are specific to a particular UUA email list (UUBF-L in this case), but for which that isn't reflected in the title. We need to figure out how to fix that since multiple lists can't all share the same title here. One way is to put all the information right in the UUBF-L page. Another is to add something about UUFB-L in the title of the page (What We Do On The UUFB-L List). We could also turn on the sub-page feature of mediawiki and use names like UUFB-L/What we do. Another option is to design the pages to be generic comments about any UUA list (with references to, and without duplicating, the extensive materials at lists.uua.org). I suspect we want to combine these approaches.
Note that there are several ways to move material from one page to another. If most or all of the page is being moved, it is generally best not to just "cut and paste" into a new page because deleting a page requires intervention by an administrator (so valuable things aren't lost). So in such a case you should use the mediawiki "move" command (in a tab at the top of each page). This will preserve the history of edits, the talk page, etc. --NealMcB 11:49, 4 Dec 2004 (CST)
Thanks Neal, for this info. Much of what happened with the UUBF-L pages is due to my relative newness to mediawiki, and big wiki projects in general. There is a lot of content in the UUBF-L guide, and I'd rather not cram it all in one page. Is there a good convention we can adopt? "ListName: Blah blah blah"? Or something else? Thanks for bringing this up! --Michellem 19:25, 4 Dec 2004 (CST)
Subpages are turned on (I think). --Jim 2004-12-20

Crosslinks to Wikipedia

There will be many times we'll want to refer to wikipedia pages. E.g. recently the page for Unitarian Universalist Association was imported here from wikipedia. But that bring in tons of links most of which aren't relevant to this site. I think it would be better to have a distinct, local, internally-focussed page here, and reference the externally-focussed wikipedia page on UUA.

Things can be done with mediawiki namespaces (?) to make cross-references easy (so we don't have to enter the whole URL, etc). Anyone know offhand how to set that up?

Sorry, my bad. I figured we should at least have an article on the UUA, but bringing in the whole Wikipedia article was overkill without cutting out a bunch of the dead links. Since we're not a part of the Wikipedia community but a separate project, it's not really easy to set up quick crosslinks. Interwiki links to the english Wikipedia site would be prefaced with "en:" (eg <nowiki>en:UUA</nowiki>) but right now that does nothing useful. - UtherSRG 13:32, 25 Oct 2004 (CDT)

RSS Feeds and Watchlists

You can track activity on UUWiki via RSS, Atom, Online Aggregators etc:

For more information, see

Note that after you log in (upper right) you can also keep track of things via my watchlist.

Thanks to LASS, NealMcB and Jedi liz for help with RSS here.

Look and Feel - Tabs

How customizable is the look and feel of the Wiki? There is on thing that really bothers me about the layout, and would have confused me more had i not already been familiar with Wikis. The tabs across the top of the pages are fairly confusing because they don't follow the standard use of tabs. Let me try and explain with an example:

I have a printer with a page for setting Network Settings. On this page are three Tabs - TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, and AppleTalk. within each tab is a set of editable items (edit boxes, radio buttons, etc.) and buttons representing actions (Save, restore defaults, cancel, etc). This create a clear visual heirarchy when editing:

Network Settings

  • TCP/IP
    • Settings
    • Actions
    • Settings
    • Actions
  • AppleTalk
    • Settings
    • Actions

The way the this page is currently organized the visual heirarchy would lead me to believe that there is no difference between hitting the edit tab when viewing the article, or viewing the discussion of the article, because either way the standard is that hitting a tab changes your context, as opposed to taking an action (editing) the currently selected item (the article).

So, I think it would make more sense if the actions (edit, watch, etc.) were buttons within the tab to clearly denote that it is an action being taken on the currently selected item. -- John Cooley

John, click on "Preferences" all the way up in the upper right corner, then on "Skin". The current buttonlayout you see is part of the "MonoBook" skin. you can take a look to see how they are rendered using some of the other pre canned skins, or someone more knowledgable than I can teach you how to make your own skin. - UtherSRG 07:02, 22 Oct 2004 (CDT)
Well, I'm not terribly interested in customizing it with a personal skin. I have muddled through to the point where I get it, despite the confusing layout. Rather I am expressing a concern because I have talked to people who looked at the site and basically said they don't get it. I think the default layout looks pretty, but I think it has very poor usability. I would suggest that site itself default to a different skin. -- John Cooley
Thanks. I agree that it is confusing. I recall a discussion months ago on Wikipedia about the same topic - you might look there. If someone contributes a better skin, I'd be happy to see UUWiki use it. NealMcB 11:10, 23 Oct 2004 (CDT)
Personally having looked at the ones that are already available I like "Cologne Blue" the best. About the only thing I would change on the skin is removing/updating "The Free Encyclopedia" text in the upper right hand corner. -- John Cooley
Looks like those are discussed more at Gallery of user styles and Help:User_Style But I don't find the discussion I remember before about nonstandard tab look-and-feel. --NealMcB 17:25, 27 Oct 2004 (CDT)

Discussion Pages and CSS bug?

Sorry I don't know the protocol for discussion pages. When I go to edit UU Money I only get a blank page and my post goes to the bottom. I don't know how yours went to the top. I don't know how to edit out the list and put it on the article page. If you can do that, that would be appreciated or you could tell me how to do it. JoyceD 13:21, 4 Aug 2004 (CDT)

Thanks for your contribution Joyce - the text was great. I know this system is very new to most people and I didn't mean to sound critical or authoratative, if I did. Just trying to lend some insight from experience in similar situations. If you click on "edit" you edit the whole page. If you click on "+" your contribution is appended to the end. To move things from one page to another, you can just "cut" it from one (typically with the "edit" menu or control-x) and "paste" it into the other. If you don't want to do it, that's fine (that's one of the beauties of the "wiki way"). I or someone else probably will. I've loved the way others took my contributions and edited/expanded/changed them. Cheers --NealMcB 13:37, 4 Aug 2004 (CDT)
When I'm on this discussion page, there is no edit tab at the top - that is also true of other discussion pages that have already been started. I see only the name of the main page ("user page" in this case), discussion, +, move, and history. There are edit links in the sections I can click on, but none at the top. Am I doing something wrong? JoyceD 18:08, 8 Aug 2004 (CDT)

Oh dear. I'm guessing that your browser is not happy with the css (cascading style sheet) that mediawiki uses. Click on the "preferences" tab and then "skin" and try picking a different look-and-feel. Or this link should let you edit thiis page: [1]. In general note that to edit a page, just add &action=edit to the end of the URL for the page. The "monobook" css used in mediawiki is discussed at [2]. What version of which browser do you use? --NealMcB 21:08, 8 Aug 2004 (CDT)
IE 5.2 on Mac OS 10.1.5 I fooled around with editing the URL and finally found a way to make it work. JoyceD 15:50, 9 Aug 2004 (CDT)


General resource: Anti-spam Features for Mediawiki

To add new sites to the SpamBlacklist README, follow the instructions at Meta:Talk:Spam blacklist (and then somehow need to import the file again, and get our server to notice it, via cron?)

Sysops should use the "bot rollback" technique when reverting wikispam, to keep the "Recent changes" log clean. E.g. from "Recent changes", each edit has a link for the contributor. For IP addresses, that link goes to the "User contributions" page. Click on it, then use the browser to manually add the text "&bot=1" to the end of the URL, and use the "refresh" browser button. Then click on the "rollback" links. --NealMcB 09:12, 23 May 2005 (CDT)

Is there a way to block updates based on content? So far the recent SPAM attacks on this Wiki have all left references to the domain "8cxdotnet" and I am pretty sure a block for the offending IP would work for a while, but they seem to be using a fairly large block of IP addresses.

In general has any thought been given to proactive defense against SPAM on the Wiki? I know the Wiki way is just "we can fix it real easy", but something as simple as "you might be signed in to edit" would probably be enough to thwart the spammers, but hopefully not too much to crush contributions. Just a thought. JohnCooley 09:30, 3 Jan 2005 (CST)

Good question! Two solutions are noted at [3]. One is a plug-in feature under development. The other is available now to the admin: $wgSpamRegex. Let's put a good regex together and ask Jim to install it. Besides our own records, good sources of ideas are at
I think requiring signin first would thwart too many valued-but-wary contributors without thwarting serious spammers. --NealMcB 09:18, 4 Jan 2005 (CST)
That's awesome. I'd be content to just copy someone else's blocklist and update if necessary. I completely understand the hesitance to force sign-in. Also, the other technique I have seen employed is to lock the pages most frequently spammed. Of course this wouldn't do much good if they spam the [SandBox], but the primary concern I would have is someone deciding to check out this site for the first time and being greeted by a list of porn sites. Maybe just lock HomePage? -- JohnCooley 12:14, 4 Jan 2005 (CST)
Ok, so is there any way to actually get action on this, should we e-mail. I think aside from some activity by MDD almost all recent edits have been SPAM and subsequent reversions. JohnCooley 15:46, 16 Jan 2005 (CST)
You bet, John. Thanks to you and Jim, we implemented this filtering option around Jan 22, and the much more extensive one at SpamBlacklist README this afternoon during a deluge.... --NealMcB 00:00, 24 May 2005 (CDT)
Any idea if there is a way to get MediaWiki to get it's Blocklist from a Wiki page similar to the pmWiki handles it: http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/Blocklist ? I would update the RegEx more often if it were easier to get to. JohnCooley 06:52, 23 May 2005 (CDT)

I don't edit Wiki regularly, so I forget how to do it in between, other than simple additions to existing pages, and it is not obvious where I get the information. There was spam on this page in two places that I removed. I don't know what the purpose of spam links that are written to not be visible on the page are. Will they still be indexed to get in search engines? JoyceD

If I'm supposed to do something to make the time post, I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I was checking the site to determine changes and UU-Money has had radical changes possibly due to dealing with spam, but I see the most radical change happened on May 18 2005. I'd like to see this version back, but it appears there have been changes since that besides the spam. JoyceD

Joyce, to get a timestamp automatically on your posts, just use four tildes in a row, like this: ~~~~ --NealMcB 10:30, 4 Aug 2006 (CDT)

At MediaWiki:Sitestatstext the stats are showing up as dollars. Spam cleanup script edited it last and I suspect it created an error. JoyceD 18:16, 21 August 2006 (CDT)

Wikipedia's history for Unitarian Jihad has disappeared! I thought this was the safety mechanism for this software. I found it on Archive.org, but I don't have the time or wiki skills to restore it and Wikipedia is going to delete the page. I started a Talk Page for it. Wikipedia Unitarian Jihad entry JoyceD 23:09, 15 November 2006 (CST)

I wasn't able to make a post to List_of_UU_blogs due to the filter - I posted about it in Talk:List_of_UU_blogs JoyceD 19:42, 2 July 2007 (CDT)

How do I contact the person responsible for making changes on the Main Page. I have a suggestion, but I see no "contact us" or something similar on any of the pages. OD HR Min 16:39, 4 January 2008

There are more than one people who can do that. Just put your proposed text in the Main Talk page: Talk:Main_Page. Thanks. NealMcB 13:21, 8 January 2009 (CST)