What this means:
* Faster loads, more readable diffs, high-DPI support, and various upgrades from MediaWiki 1.18-1.23. (1.18 - 1.19 - 1.20 - 1.21 - 1.22 - 1.23)
* New extensions and gadgets - most notably popups, reference tooltips, and lightboxed images (The maximum size is determined by your image size limit. We're skipping Wikipedia's new media viewer for now, in part because there's still kinks to work out.)
* A bunch of new skins, including Bento Fluid, Cavendish, Erudite, Foreground, and Nimbus. (I'm a fan of Modern with the "remove menus" gadget.)
* Lua scripting, useful for template imports from Wikipedia.
* Apache 2.4, MySQL 5.6, PHP 5.5, all on FreeBSD 10
* MediaWiki security updates until mid-2017, and improved HTTPS support.
Due to the scope of upgrades, timduru had to to keep the old server around for longer than other sites hosted on it; he's too polite to ask for money, but if you feel like helping out, I'm sure he'd appreciate it! (You can donate to our other costs there, too.)
While we're here, it's time to bring up a touchy issue - declining editing activity. While visitor counts are down only slightly - the English WikiFur gets half a million pageviews a month - there are just over one thousand edits, and 2/3 of these are from just two or three curators in any one month. While their resolute efforts are appreciated, this is not an ideal situation.
This decline is reflected on Wikipedia (and its WikiProject Furry). In part, it's good that that few feel the need to fix errors or improve coverage - but a lack of new, eager editors puts WikiFur at risk. The editors of today are the curators of tomorrow.
How can we fix this, and remain relevant to today's furry community?
- Technology may be part of the solution - the VisualEditor shows promise, though it's still working towards maturity.
- Part is culture: we need to be open to less-than-perfect edits (and editors); to convert good-faith contributions into acceptable content (throwing them out is rarely positive), and always explain clearly what we're doing and why.
- We need to think about whether we're delivering what our readers need, in the ways they want it. Several updates are targeted towards this (e.g. lightboxes, reference tooltips, popups), but we could all do more content-wise as well.
These are some big questions - but right now, what'd help most is a few hands to help keep WikiFur up to date. So if you're reading this and haven't edited recently, please drop by recent changes and the Community Central and see how you can contribute!
I'll be at Anthrocon next week; I hope to see some of you there. Remember, be bold!