- Better late than never, but on time would be better
I really need to apologize for how late this issue is. I am still doing work on my house and the hot weather we've been having lately saps enthusiasm for doing anything when I get home from work.
Another factor of the delay was self-inflicted. There is a wiki that was being misused and messes were being created almost daily. I was working on adopting it, so I waited on handling other issues. That was approved a few days ago. Once the cleanup's done, I can put up a "here's what needs to be worked on" list and just monitor it a couple times a week to make sure problems don't crop up.
But some good did come out of this. I found out something important about how the Message Wall works that I can pass on to fellow admins. I also saw on a different wiki that they might have a way to leave automated messages on everyone's Message Wall. If they can tell me how they did that, we can go back to notifying everyone individually that there's a new issue of the Gazette, rather than only using the Sitenotice and Community Messages. It's how we used to do it when we had User Talk pages, and if we can do it again, we can actually make use of our subscribers list for the newsletter. I'll keep you posted.
- Back to wiki business
My plan for the second half of the month is to get the Star Wars theme put in place, answer any messages that have been pending and get that article written I was looking for help on. Plus a new help page I have been contemplating for a while that's going to help everyone out.
I am also entering into a long-term commitment at work to do extra projects so I have to do a lot better with scheduling my time. It's something I've talked about before, but now I have to do it because once I agreed to start, I can't simply drop back out because I don't wanna do it any more. Not exactly the "work smarter, not harder" cliche, but rather being more disciplined in making sure I attend to each thing I'm involved in.
One final bit of wiki business is the announcement last month that Wikia has released a feature called Lua that is used to make templates. Sometimes templates like Infoboxes get really complex. If they aren't documented well, they can be hard to make, use and update.
I haven't dug into our templates recently, but seeing what it would take to switch to Lua-built templates is something we should look at. If they can make a page load 35-50% faster like the blog is reporting, then that's a real benefit to our wiki and makes it different than some of the other changes Wikia has introduced that we didn't have a use for.
There's some other advantages that can help us in the future. We're already having to start breaking things up by season, such as the Errors pages and Galleries. Imagine if we could do something like only specify a start point and the number of episodes and have the page build itself without having to manually update it every time a new episode is released or the episode order gets shuffled around. We would just make small changes and the page or template would still auto-update itself.
That's something I had been experimenting with on the Simpsons Wiki since it's about to head into its 26th season and has over 550 episodes. We don't have nearly that many episodes, but we're starting to get there since we usually get two episodes per half hour and sometimes there's more than one song per episode.
Let's keep this in mind to look into in the near future.
Odds 'n' Ends