User talk:Bonzai

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Re: Wiki upgrade -- thanks for the note. We're in the process of making some website improvements, and based on your advice I think we'll try to upgrade the MediaWiki software while we're at it -- hopefully, sometime this month. --Sheldon Rampton 00:20, 4 Oct 2004 (EDT)

That's good news. Thanks. --Bonzai 02:06, 4 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Hi, Bonzai...thanks for your note about SourceWatch pages disappearing from Google. I checked, and the robots.txt file was added to our site on October 12, which happens to be the day that we experienced some serious server problems. I suspect that our web host added it without telling me, while they were trying to resolve the problem. I've deleted it, and have re-enabled the SourceWatch's own site search. I'll see what I can do to get us added back to Google as soon as possible.

Regarding the Wiki upgrade, the website improvements that I mentioned previously are taking somewhat longer than I anticipated, which in turn pushes back the time frame for upgrading MediaWiki. It looks like it won't happen until sometime in November. --Sheldon Rampton 01:06, 27 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Thanks for the quick action in deleting the wrong 'robots.txt' file and activating the site search. From my own experience I know that updating can sometimes be hard and therefore some delays are not avoidable. However, once it's over, the old bugs are gone and new features can be used so usually a major update it is worth the effort. --Bonzai 01:16, 27 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Great job spotting that, Bonzai. Note that many pages hadn't disappeared completely, as Google still knows about them from the links elsewhere on the web that point to them. Hence they still show in the search results, but without the snippet text, as when they were revisited by Google it couldn't index them. And many of the affected pages will have been the ones that Google reindexes most frequently, and hence has had cause to visit within the two weeks since the wrong robots.txt file was created (Oct 12). Therefore, if we assume a maximum interval between visits of two weeks for these pages, one might hazard a guess that many of the affected pages will be reindexed by Google within the next couple of weeks? For example, the main page has already been reindexed. --Neoconned 20:12, 28 Oct 2004 (EDT)
I did some searching on Google's FAQ pages for webmasters in hope of finding some way to accelerate the process, but I couldn't find anything. They do have an accelerated way that webmasters can remove material from the search engine, but no way that I could find to accelerate putting stuff back in. So, I guess we just have to wait. --Sheldon Rampton 02:10, 29 Oct 2004 (EDT)


Thanks for your comments about the upgrade. A few points:

  • URLs: I agree, the new URLs could cause our Google page rankings to drop, so I've gone back to the ugly URLs. Eventually, however, we're likely to run into this problem anyway. We have decided that the SourceWatch probably ought to be renamed, since its content has expanded to included articles about a range of groups, some of which are political players but not really engaged in "disinformation." We'll issue a public announcement about this and invite public comments beginning next week.
  • Regarding the color of links to previously visited pages, our thinking is that people don't need to see those links very well because they will already know that those links exist, so making them blend back into the color of the rest of the text was sort of intentional. There are so many hyperlinks on wikified pages that we're trying to minimize the multi-color "ransom note" look that tends to be ugly and distracting to readers. Can you suggest some other color? (Maybe we should just make already-visited links the same color as not-yet-visited links.)
  • Finally, this being a fairly major upgrade for us, we're expecting some possible problems with the layout and CSS style sheets. If you notice any other problems, please let me know. (You don't happen to have any expertise with CSS, do you?)


Thanks for the quick reply. As for CSS, I'm not an expert, but I know the basics of it. At wikipedia the 'monobook/main.css' file has the following section
a {
   text-decoration: none;
   color: #002bb8;
   background: none;
a:visited { color: #5a3696; }
a:active { color: Orange; }
a:hover { text-decoration: underline; }
a.stub { color: #772233; },
#p-personal { color:#ba0000; },
#p-personal { color:#a55858; }
So they use "#5a3696" and "#a55858" for visited links. I guess one of them is for a link to a non-existing page/page and the other for a link to an existing article/page. The link to a visited existing article shows as a dark purple link. Between black text it doesn't show up that much as an unvisited link (blue), but it is still easy to spot. Hope this helps. Bonzai 19:10, 27 Nov 2004 (EST)
OK, I went to 5a3696 for visited links. --Sheldon Rampton 20:08, 27 Nov 2004 (EST)


Thanks for the tip on charset encoding. I knew there was something wrong but couldn't figure out how to fix it until I got your note. I found a flag in the Mediawiki software that lets me set the "iso-8859-1" option, which seems to have fixed the problem. Is that the best way to deal with this, or should I be trying to convert everything to utf-8? --Sheldon Rampton 00:49, 1 Dec 2004 (EST)

Yes it works now very good. Sorry to first ask you for upgrading, and later bothering you with things that go wrong after the upgrade. ;-) As for the Unicode/UTF-8, I think there is no need to do that soon. SourceWatch now uses 'MediaWiki 1.3.7' and in the 1.4 version (soon in beta) the conversion can be done on the fly. Besides, as long as most of the text is in English, I see no need to change it anyway. If you consider different languages, then you should think about it. Things like the internal search will work better for words containing special characters. Hope this helps. Bonzai 06:04, 1 Dec 2004 (EST)
The upgrade has been more of a chore than I expected, but I'm glad we did it. Just having the categorization capability now is worth the effort, and apparently there are some new features for dealing with spamvertising that I hope will help deal with some of the junk that comes in. --Sheldon Rampton 00:21, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)


Good idea with Category:Fundamental :-) Laurence Durnan

Harvesting email addresses

I noticed you changed the email address in Porter Goss, so I'm communicating to you about a related problem. I don't know SourceWatch well enough to know what I should do with the point, so I hope you can help. There's a legend at the bottom of each page, presumably a template, about the harvesting problem. One sentence reads, "Replace AT with the correct symbol tog et a valid address." Obviously, "tog et" should be "to get". This appears on every page! I'm a regular on Wikipedia but I don't have an account here. -- JamesMLane AT

Thanks for noticing. I fixed it. --Sheldon Rampton 00:23, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)

Presidents category

I moved the US Presidents category into:
fundamental=>politicians=>politicians (US)=>presidents
Should it also be in fundamental? Please move it back if you think this is a bad idea. Laurence Durnan 10:54, 4 Dec 2004 (EST)

Your opinion

Bonzai, I would respectfully like to hear your opinion of User_talk:Maynard's request to have me censored. current discussion Weide 19:18, 4 Dec 2004 (EST)

Google not indexing SourceWatch homepage

<snip>.... There could be other reasons as well like a bug in Google's software, DNS problems, etc, but for now I guess one of these two caused it. Hope this helps. Bonzai 20:46, 13 Dec 2004 (EST)

Hi Bonzai, yes it does help thanks. I did know enough to try, but when it came back with the server error i assumed, in my ignorance, that i must somehow be looking in the wrong place! So it does sound like a possible robots.txt problem. I've alerted Sheldon. --Neoconned 21:04, 13 Dec 2004 (EST)
Well, lets hope that will help. Bonzai 22:52, 13 Dec 2004 (EST)

Request to move your google-index page

Hi Bonzai, if it's alright, I'd like to move User:Bonzai/Google-index to a more generic location, for example SourceWatch:Google-index. I think the page's ongoing usefulness is such that it deserves a more permanent, less personal location. Is that okay? --Neoconned 09:03, 19 Dec 2004 (EST)

No problem. I just moved it to the location you indicated. Bonzai 09:17, 19 Dec 2004 (EST)
Cheers, Bonzai. --Neoconned 14:02, 19 Dec 2004 (EST)

Hi Bonzai, pls see my reply to your comment on my talk page. Tks, --Neoconned 11:27, 14 Jan 2005 (EST)

Hi Bonzai- nice to see you online again- hope all goes well with you cheers --Bob Burton 04:24, 2 Aug 2005 (EDT)


Hi Bonzai, great - thanks for keeping the pages updated. In case you aren't aware there's now also a new website with documents for British American Tobacco at - not sure if there is anything in there on ADTI but might be worth a look. Cheers --Bob Burton 20:27, 2 Aug 2005 (EDT)

New SourceWatch admin group


For some reason I couldn't find your email in the internal system, but as a sysop I wanted to make sure to invite you to a new Yahoo group we've setup to discuss SourceWatch administration.

You can join-up here (we require approval to keep spammers and troublemakers off the group).

cheers, --Conor Kenny 15:13, 13 June 2007 (EDT)

Re Upgrade

Hi Bonzai, I bounced your note on to Sheldon -- I'm not on my normal computer so I'll check the email trail tomorrow to see if I got a response -- I vaguely recollect that the plan was to upgrade but off the top of my head I can't remember when. --Bob Burton 04:24, 3 December 2008 (EST)