Discworld & Pratchett Wiki:Mended Drum

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This is a location to discuss non-content matters (what do we do with content disputes, vandalism, etc, what do we want to do with this wiki, and so on).

The Long Earth

I've finally gotten around to listening/reading The Long Earth series. Loving the concept! --Osiris (talk) 17:07, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

This series was amazing! --Osiris (talk) 04:34, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

I enjoyed looking for Terry Pratchett's footprints throughout the text.

Taking leave

I'll be off buying cigars and incommunicado next week. Somebody might pull an extra shift on watch. Hasta luego! --Old Dickens (talk) 01:19, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

will do what I can.... how long are you visiting Sumtri for? AgProv (talk) 19:10, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Hola! I'm back. Stuff seems to have been done. --Old Dickens (talk) 04:13, 10 February 2015 (UTC)


The new page Book:The Rince Cycle points out a need for one or more namespaces for works that aren't Books or Short Stories, unless I'm missing something: this one's a playscript but there are other things. Discuss. --Old Dickens (talk) 01:59, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
(copied from Talk:Book:The Rince Cycle):

Well, we've done LP records, CD's, TV adaptations, computer games..... and the playscripts are listed in the biography and all appear to be redlinked, as if the option is there to create articles.... I'd say why not? AgProv (talk) 18:55, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Why indeed, but the question is how to define a namespace (or what to call it). It could be Peripherals: as the category, but shorter would be better. --Old Dickens (talk) 22:54, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Misc --Thnidu (talk) 17:57, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Mirabile Dictu

Chaffinch's Ancient and Classical Mythology is now the fourth most popular page here. Huh? --Old Dickens (talk) 01:29, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

I'm wondering if people looking for Bulfinch's Ancient and Classical are getting their ornithology wrong on a Google search; they can vaguely remember the guy they're looking for is some sort of finch but not which exact kind. I hang around on Yahoo Answers now and again just for fun and to do some corrective trolling. it's amazing how many disinterested schoolchildren put up please for people to do their homework for them when they can't be bothered to do their own research, and to be honest, a lot of them are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier. I have a lovely picture in my head of a fairly dense American schoolchild being told to look up Greek mythology, steered to look for Mr Bulfinch, who gets it wrong and ends up on our wiki instead. Thus ending up writing about Blind Io, Petunia, Offler, Epidity, Bissonomy and the rest of the Dunmanifestin gang. Then confidently handing it in.... AgProv (talk) 11:21, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

The statistics continue to boggle my mind. The main page approaches 3.5 million views, up a million since the New Year. The popularity ranking of views for individual pages may be obvious or wildly unlikely. At the end of 2014 I put up a short history of the wiki to fill in the "About" page. Who looks at the "About" page? They may reach 10,000 by the end of February! Lies-To-Children is more popular than Ankh-Morpork! Ptraci and Pseudopolis don't make the top 500. Ankh languishes at 2630th...Wot's it all abaht, then? --Old Dickens (talk) 02:46, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

I also cannot help but notice that new pages I started, to fill in gaps about obscure or very minor characters and situations/ places, went from 0 views to well over 600 within hours of posting. In my experience a brand-new page tends to get 8-20 hits in the first few days, I guess from regulars looking at it out of curiosity. But 644? Something odd is happening. AgProv (talk) 22:57, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Think bots! Remember just because spammers now find it difficult to post here it doesn't mean we don't still get scanned. --Osiris (talk) 13:08, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Possible Outage

I've asked the cabal to make a DNS change. This should be transparent to you guys but there was a small unplanned outage last time we made a change. This change will let me cut my hosting costs by about a third so that's a good thing. --Osiris (talk) 04:34, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Never noticed. Glad to hear the financial burden is reduced. I'm still hoping to get together with my son-in-law the interweb marketing wallah to discuss revenue possibilities. --Old Dickens (talk) 04:32, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
They apparently haven't made the change yet. But once they do this won't be a big deal to afford. I'd over engineered to begin with but now it's only costing about $25/month. --Osiris (talk) 13:10, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What are we supposed to write today? A good journalist (like Terry Pratchett) would suck it up and write a thousand words of inspiring prose and biographical notes. I'm not that good; I'm too depressed. --Old Dickens (talk) 20:22, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

It was just so sudden...--Zdm (talk) 20:40, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I have, on occasion, thought about how terrible it would be to wake up one day to the news that Sir Pterry had died, but actually waking up to the news was shocking and a very different thing. I don't know what there is to say or write here beyond what has already been said by countless others... TC01 (talk)

A man is not dead while his name is still spoken. TC01 (talk) 02:18, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

That is brilliant. Thanks for help making me smile on such a sad day.--Zdm (talk) 03:19, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Copied from my FB page. On the death of Sir Terry Pratchett, first thoughts. Having spent a lot of time trying to turn other people on to Terry and his writings and having gifted some of the most intelligent people I know copies of the books with notes attached saying "read this, you'll like it.".

Still feeling very sad as if a lot of colour has drained out of the world. Like many others, thinking he would "diminish" over a period of quite a few years. Sadly, the "diminishing" process appeared evident in his last few published books, as if he was, perhaps, creating a broad outline, filling in such detail as he could, but others (Rob Williams? Rhianna?) were completing the books. The Discworld story in "Science of Discworld 4" read as if other people had written it - the authentic Pratchett voice was missing, there were continuity problems with other books, and it read like second-division fanfic. That is, it told a good story, but the Pratchett voice and tone either weren't there or only intruded in ocassional flashes of the old brilliance.

"Unseen Academicals" was... well, Terry was in there. But it read as if at least one other writer was in there too. As well as all the continuity glitches concerning well-established characters and callbacks to previous books. Not that it wasn't good, but it could have been better.

I guess the next stage is going to be like it was with Tolkein - they'll milk unpublished writing and fragments for all they're worth (although Terry did once say he wanted all the files and hard drives wiped when he died, so nobody could come along and use him as a PhD thesis in literature). right down to, what did "Private Eye" once "publish", "The JRR Tolkein Laundry Lists" , or equivalent of.... a terribly sad morning.

And Jeremy Clarkson and Jeffrey Archer are both still alive... (unsigned comment by AgProv 13 Mar 2015)

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away” (Reaper Man) …(unsigned comment by AgProv 14 Mar 2015)

So, some thinkers and writers born more than two thousand years ago are not reslly "dead", let alone Chaucer, Shakespeare or Swift. This compels us to continue the wiki for a few hundred years, at least, in whatever form advancing technology dictates. --Old Dickens (talk) 01:11, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
Absolutely! We're just lucky enough to have been around during his lifetime, to have enjoyed the books as they came out and be the ones to help keep the ball rolling, rather than having to look back in time to enjoy his works. I remember thinking, when first hearing that phrase, of the Ancient Egyptian philosophy which follows much the same lines (that memory grants immortality) - and still, well over 2000 years on we know so much of them, and they lacked the modern printing press, globalisation and internet we have now.
Besides, theres no reason why there might not be many further additions to make in future, especially if his daughter continues the series or if Narrativia manage to make more films or the rumored TV series [Mind drifts to Douglas Adams whose film of Hitchhikers Guide only managed to be progressed upon after his unfortunate passing].--Verity (talk) 17:24, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

just re-read Book:A Slip of the Keyboard. There's a bit where Terry relates a near-Death-experience he had on the operating table during what might have been a routine op to insert arterial stents. Apparently the surgeons had "fun and games" when a major artery started to spurt. This wasn't helped by Terry sitting up on the operating table and addressing an invisible presence, who apparently was offering him sandwiches . Did this make its way into the ham sandwich scene in Wintersmith. and were sandwiches offered on a recent occasion? AgProv (talk) 23:03, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

A book I haven't gotten to myself and not well described in the wiki. I had no tendency to hallucinations when I got my stents (even the big one) and death didn't seem interested .--Old Dickens (talk) 01:22, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

I do miss the User Merge and Delete. --Old Dickens (talk) 15:25, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Aaand, we're back!

These short naps are great. --Old Dickens (talk) 23:05, 20 April 2015 (UTC)


Somewhere in the next couple of months will be this wiki's tenth anniversary. The history being lost and uncertain anyway, in those days, it may be hard to pin down a date. I must ask Death if he can recall or look up a day. Any other recollections? --Old Dickens (talk) 00:18, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

clacks-overhead:GNU Terry Pratchett

I don't log on here very often, but ... Today I was starting to create a page about the website GNU Terry Pratchett, when I realized it should probably go in another namespace, such as "Meta" if there were one. This is as far as I got on it.
Please advise: Where should I post it? I'd prefer to be answered by email, to the same user-ID at gmail.com.

Such articles on Roundworld subjects have always been in the main namespace: Alt.fan.pratchett, various People, etc. --Old Dickens (talk) 20:00, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

After the death of his son John while repairing a clacks tower, Robert Dearheart, the inventor of the clacks system, arranged to keep his name running continuously on the clacks: So as the name "John Dearheart" keeps going up and down the line, this tradition applies a kind of immortality as "a man is not dead while his name is still spoken".

After Sir Terry's death a number of fans decided (probably independently in several cases) to perpetuate his name in this way. GNU Terry Pratchett gives information about doing so on many servers, platforms, services, etc. And here is a way to do it ad hoc (take out the hyphens from h-r-e-f):

<a h-r-e-f="clacks-overhead:GNU Terry Pratchett">.</a>

Insert this string into any HTML text and it will display as a single period ("full stop" to Terry's compatriots) with a hyperlink. The hyperlink is present but does not go anywhere, because

The address wasn't understood
[Your browser] doesn't know how to open this address, because one of the following protocols (clacks-overhead) isn't associated with any program or is not allowed in this context.

That code doesn't work on Mediawiki pages such as this wiki, apparently because the software sensibly but unfortunately checks for valid HTML protocols, such as http, and rejects invalid ones like clacks-overhead. But you can use this:

[http://clacks-overhead-GNU_Terry_Pratchett .]

This displays as


which is a formally valid hyperlink to a nonexistent server.

--Thnidu (talk) 19:13, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

No Help

Help:Editing has disappeared from the bottom of the edit page at some point. I don't see anything I can do about it. --Old Dickens (talk) 15:08, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Has our Favicon vanished?

I don't know if anyone else is having this problem but on my computer the site's Favicon seems to have disappeared into the Dungeon Dimensions. --Zdm (talk) 22:37, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

Nope, still there in my Firefox, but I notice most of them are missing in Opera. What are you using? --Old Dickens (talk) 02:15, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
I am using Chrome though I would seriously consider switching if it didn't mean I had to redo my folders of bookmarks. I'll try deleting the cache and see if that helps, if not oh well I can live without it. --Zdm (talk) 06:34, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
I just checked, when I took the place over I didn't receive a favicon.ico file. If any of you have it and can send it to me, I'll add it back. --Osiris (talk) 05:35, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
Right...it's the same as ever in Firefox but doesn't show in my wife's Chrome on Win10. L-Space does, though, so you could probably get it from Leo. (A Google search for "favicons don't display..." brings up reams of stuff but I no spikka da langwich.) Old Dickens (talk) 18:26, 1 December 2015 (UTC)...but wait! The Firefox on Ubuntu I just installed on a laptop has the problem too: Leo's favicon shows, not ours. You wouldn't think it would be very difficult for everybody to get together on that very small graphic. --Old Dickens (talk) 04:35, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

↑↑ Look up ↑↑ --Osiris (talk) 20:34, 21 December 2016 (UTC)


I just moved a bunch of stuff around on the backend. Everything seems to be working but let me know if you find any issues. --Osiris (talk) 05:36, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

No Help II

...again, is it not possible to restore the "Help:Editing" link to the editing page? I find this pretty useful myself (for the title acronyms) and there must still be some who have no idea of wiki markup. --Old Dickens (talk) 18:21, 18 December 2015 (UTC)

It would be really nice to have it back. I constantly forget the book acronyms. --Zdm (talk) 01:50, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
Just add whatever you wish to MediaWiki:Editnotice-0 --Osiris (talk) 05:03, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
I can't edit MediaWiki:Editnotice-0 though it appears I could create a discussion page for it. I hope Old Dickens and the other administrators have the power to change it. --Zdm (talk) 08:19, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Oh good. Of course I forgot that "Help" was on the toolbar with even more markup examples. --Old Dickens (talk) 19:16, 20 December 2015 (UTC) It would be administrators-only of course (it doesn't even show up as a SpecialPage). Do you have a suggestion? --Old Dickens (talk) 14:56, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
You are an administrator... --Osiris (talk) 03:33, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
Yep, not Zdm, though. --Old Dickens (talk) 04:04, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

Over-excited spam filter

I couldn't edit the page because the spam filter rejects the word for "the original body of work" (also the name of a major Japanese optical company). I changed it above, but that's an odd word to filter out of this site. --Old Dickens (talk) 16:41, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

Help! Same here! I'd explain what's going on but the bloody spam filter keeps blocking meAgProv (talk) 21:01, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
I removed the "canon" that was blocking me (and now it's acceptable here!) Can't you find the naughty word in your post? --Old Dickens (talk) 22:20, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

Apparently the naughty word is that device which makes a hard paper copy of a computer document, which baffles me as I was trying to add the long form of the Worm Herders' Guild to the list of Guilds and it kept rejecting it... not a that device which makes a hard paper copy of a computer document in sight.... which must muck up any attempt to edit copy on Gunilla Goodmountain and those of his/her trade! AgProv (talk) 22:35, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

Yup. Just tried to make a minor edit to the article Gunilla Goodmountain which uses the short form of the definition "that device which makes a hard paper copy of a computer document" . My edit was perfectly innocuous but the spam filter - I assume installed recently - refused to accept the pre-existing use of the offending word that was already there....AgProv (talk) 22:49, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

prìnter. That's almost the offending word if you use an unaccented "i". But the phrase I was using was did not contain this word. Strangely, I got it in the wiki as an entry title in its own right. The spam filter just refused to accept it (Ancient And Alluvial Lodge of the Fraternal Herders Association) as part of the Guilds entry. Odd. AgProv (talk) 23:07, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

My edit didn't contain Can*n, either, it was in an edit from Jun 2015. Guilds, likewise, already contains "Pr*nters". Funny, Can*n makes pr*nters... --Old Dickens (talk) 00:00, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
Now "pr*nters" works in Guilds but not here! --Old Dickens (talk) 16:07, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Now the offending word is "outl00k", not associated with electronics advertising at all. The word worked on 22 May in Ankh-Morpork City Watch. (This prevents editing Book:Eric, Igorina and others, as well.) --Old Dickens (talk) 17:06, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

When We Forget

The whole wiki missed the anniversary of Mr Pratchett's death on Saturday. My excuse is that I'm old and daft; I suppose each has his own. --Old Dickens (talk) 02:51, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

Spam filter again

Now I'm prevented from editing the Main page because of the supposed content "101,502,138,396" (without the commas), which I don't see in the page nor does the the browser's "find" function. --Old Dickens (talk) 03:38, 29 April 2016 (UTC)


Depending on usage, I spend ~$40 USD per month hosting this site. That cost has fluctuated as usage has gone up or down over the years. For example, Terry's passage forced a major resource increase for about a week tripling costs that month. Right now the site is sitting on an AWS T1/medium server which hosts both the database and website.

Originally, I had this site setup pretty slick. It sat on a single webserver using a separate Amazon RDS database server and depending on the volume of requests the site spun more instances up as necessary to scale with traffic. I stopped that because using a database on another server doubled the cost and the wife and I were going though a lean stretch.

I'd like to get back to that setup. It's more robust and I don't have to worry about much maintenance. But we're back in that lean time. So my question to the rest of you is would you object to a small paypal donate button being placed on the site to help defray the costs? Donate or not as you see fit. Thoughts? --Osiris (talk) 01:31, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

I'm up for it, since you say advertising revenue can't be had. I've had near ten years of free entertainment; I don't know how generous the reading public might be. --Old Dickens (talk) 03:36, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
Sounds good, but we'd need to make sure any donate button was clearly enough displayed that any reader could see it, but not so obnoxiously placed as to be annoying. --AnnieBudgie (talk) 09:57, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

Go ahead! I'll check the piggybank. AgProv (talk) 11:43, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

No complaints here. Thanks for hosting the site. If I ever do get my Pratchett course running -- not gonna happen anytime soon, I'm in charge of our journalism and physics programs now -- I'll make a donation part of my course budget.Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 11:47, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

Got it up! Checkout the sidebar. --Osiris (talk) 23:18, 4 August 2016 (UTC)

So, how's fundraising going after a couple of months? Has the reading public contributed the first dime? --Old Dickens (talk) 02:33, 7 October 2016 (UTC)

Featured Article

It seems to be ages since a Featured Article was nominated as an exemplar of everything that's right about this site. Can I suggest Guards! Guards! as a candidate? for one thing, it seems to be a rare "completed" book page with no red links leading to empty pages!

...but that's not the stated objective of the Featured Article. It's a request for improvement, not a commendation. The last thing good articles need is attention from bloat fans and graffiti artists.
Since no one ever pays any attention to it anyway, should we change the heading to suggest an exemplar instead? That seems useful and in line with Wikipedia's version, but we'd want to change it a lot more often. --Old Dickens (talk) 15:49, 3 August 2016 (UTC)


I don't know who you are Mr. "" but you won't even see this since you've been banned from the server.

I finally got the time to dig around and look into the systems overall stability. Found out >90% of the traffic is from the same IP in Berlin. One ban hammer later, and things are running smoothly now. --Osiris (talk) 03:21, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

Yay! Best part of being a god is getting to smite the evildoer. (Hmmm, Death's in Berlin, could he...?} --Old Dickens (talk) 03:58, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
Doubtful, it resolves to static. . Do you know the address of his site? I can crosscheck it. --Osiris (talk) 15:19, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
Just wondering if He and Binky could pay the annoyance a salutary visit; sorry...The Diskwiki's address is at the de: link on the Main Page, of course. --Old Dickens (talk) 15:48, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
So I tried to downsize the webserver and we started crashing again. Seriously, this thing gets scanned constantly. I don't mind googlebot or bingbot but AhrefsBot and SemrushBot have got to go. --Osiris (talk) 05:26, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
I suppose there's no wiki attachment to discourage them? I thought anyone could come up with a new IP address pretty quickly. --Old Dickens (talk) 17:07, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
Updated the robots.txt file to ban them. But their documentation states it may take up to 2 weeks before they will respect it. In the meantime, I tweaked the webserver config. When one of them hits the server, they get a 403 Forbidden message. CPU & Bandwidth usage dropped like a rock. For the last 6 hours, this server has been running just fine on a micro sized system at 1/4 the cost of the medium sized one it had to be on before. --Osiris (talk) 20:18, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
2016-12-21 14 20 20-Apache ModStatus PerfStats Sensor Details PRTG Network Monitor (PRTG).png
And we've been stable for a week now! --Osiris (talk) 16:15, 29 December 2016 (UTC)


FYI: I've installed an SSL certificate from the EFF.org provider (LetsEncypt). You can now access this site securely via https://wiki.lspace.org. You may get a certificate error because not all providers recognize LetsEncrypt by default --Osiris (talk) 20:35, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

Works for me, once I remember my password. (Russian hackers are everywhere!) --Old Dickens (talk) 21:00, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
in a couple weeks, once i'm sure this is properly setup and stable, i'll force everyone over to the secure side. --Osiris (talk) 21:33, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
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