Free Software Directory:Backlog Admin Group

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The Backlog Admin Group (BAG) is a group dedicated to work on client-side technical issues of our Backlog.

Group info User info
Administrator Role Reference Real name nick Time zone Title
Adfeno Member Adonay Felipe Nogueira adfeno America/Sao_Paulo
Andi89gi Member Andreas Artz andi89gi Europe/Wettenberg
David_Hedlund Team captain David Hedlund David_Hedlund Europe/Stockholm
Mmcmahon Server administrator (see logs) Michael McMahon thomzane America/New_York FSF Web Developer
Saper Member Marcin Cieślak saper Europe/Warsaw
Noisytoot Member Ron Nazarov Noisytoot Europe/London
Panos Alevropoulos Member Panos Alevropoulos panosalevro Europe/Athens Lawyer

For internal meetings, the column about Time zone from the above table can be used to display what would be the members' local time when the meeting start, given this example: TZ="MEMBER_TIME_ZONE" date --date='TZ="America/New_York" 12:00 this Fri'.

Server upgrade logs

MediaWiki Date Extensions Date Modules Date
[Version] [Date] Only foo, and bar [Date] All modules (except...) [Date]
[Version] [Date] All extension [Date] All modules [Date]

Example policy:

  • 2023 and later: upgrade MediaWiki, all MediaWiki modules, and all MediaWiki extensions, the final quarter each year. This could be automated with a script.


We need more members

People at Freenode#mediawiki and Freenode#semantic-mediawiki should be skilled in MediaWiki. We could gently ask if someone in those IRC channels wants to candidate to be a member of our team so we can solve more complex tasks in our Backlog faster.

Example of a generic participation request:
Hi $firstName,

I am an $senderRole of the Free Software Directory (FSD: <https://$currentDirectoryDomain/>), an ever-growing and user-editable web catalog of free software. We are searching for free software enthusiasts who are willing to dedicate their time and skills into volunteering for our project, with the ultimate aim of promoting free software and assisting end users. Your help is needed to translate or create the pages and/or, if you have computer science expertise, in verifying the existing pages and improving the functionalities of the FSD's infrastructure.
We await for your contributions during the weekly IRC meetings of the Free Software Foundation, don't miss out! (guide: <https://$currentDirectoryDomain/wiki/Free_Software_Directory:Participate>)

Best regards,

Membership policy

  • The Backlog Admin Group only accept volunteers with Administrator privileges.

Routine work

  • Check entries that not yet have been marked with "Runs on: GNU/Linux" (example:
  • Merge ideas and tasks from the directory-discuss mailing to the Directory. Lots of people have good ideas how to improve the Directory but often don't remember to add something about it in the Directory (or don't even think about it), or don't know where they should add it in the Directory.


  • We'll schedule meetings every year or so to actually operate in group activity.


Testing instance

During David's internship: The BAG members got full access to a fresh copy of the main server to investigate setting files etc:

The FSF will consider if we will keep it after David's internship.

I think we should keep these permissions for two reasons 1) the FSF will get gratis sysadmin work 2) the members in BAG will learn to work with the backend. For the moment only saper is a skilled MW admin but other group members would like learn how to maintain MW.

Why it's needed

The Backlog Admin Group once had access to that server for the purpose of testing and implementing changes on pages with a high transclusion (read: reuse) count (this includes templates). This was done so that a potential breaking change on the development server would not negatively impact the main instance. For the surface of the complexity, go to (Special:ReplaceText) again, but look for the sections afterward which talk about form editing.

Back when I had more time to participate on the meetings, I saw that it was very helpful to have that instance running, specially since many of the BAG members were not familiar with administration of Semantic MediaWiki and MediaWiki in general. On top of that, the fact that both of these are actually websites full of server-side processing along with some client-side JavaScript, for more than 15,000 pages, makes preventing stalls/overloads very difficult, the same can be said to setup a local testing instance for those not skilled on setting up a server.

Back then, many contributors were comfortable using tools such as a text editor, a web browser (for testing stuff using dummy/sandbox wiki pages on the FSD), and others had average skill on using other tools.

Before we had the development instance, an attempt was made to use Special:ReplaceText (Special:ReplaceText) to make the FSD follow the SPDX, so to allow the SPDX Group (that is, the FSD project team of that name), to work on the FSD, but that attempt caused a massive MediaWiki job queue (ref).


See #Editing multiple pages.

Testing pages in the main instance

See the test category.

How to modify Form:Entry

First read the hacking section. After this pick an aspect to modify.

If you don't know the property name that you want to work on, go to Form:Entry (or the Submit a new entry link in the navigation menu), then click on Edit. This is the form that appears for editing both new and existing entries, and to do so it uses many templates, all of which are responsible for actually setting the properties for each entry (look for lines with {{{for template). When done, Form:Entry automatically makes or updates a page which uses {{Entry}}, that is to be discussed later in this section.

Following along with the templates used by Form:Entry, as an example, {{Project license}} sets Property:License, and the form itself restricts it so that each usage must refer to an existing page in the License namespace. In summary this is an example of a restriction/constraint defined inside the form.

When a page is being viewed by a visitor/guest, {{Entry}} calls {{Show}}, which in turn makes use of a series of other templates, all responsible for printing not only the properties set by {{Entry}} but by many other templates. On {{Show}}, look for #ask: and #show: Semantic MediaWiki queries.

Now that you know the property name, in order to edit it as well as its type and other constraints, look at Property:<Property name>. For example, Property:License, is of type Page. This is an example of a restriction/constraint set inside the property's page (visit Property:License and click Edit).

Some times, form constraints conflict with ones on the property's page, so templates might need to make intermediary changes.

Editing multiple pages

See FSD:Participate/Editing multiple pages.

How to add file upload to form edit

To do.

Special pages not found in Special:SpecialPages

Special workarounds

Unlisted name spaces

  • Move the page
  • Use (Main) as name space.
  • Set "NAMESPACE:<title>" in the title wpNewTitleMain text form, example: "Draft:Main page"

External links

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The copyright and license notices on this page only apply to the text on this page. Any software or copyright-licenses or other similar notices described in this text has its own copyright notice and license, which can usually be found in the distribution or license text itself.