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future of encyclopedia and forum

Moderators: Miklós Lovász, Dorward_Bis, Medic_in_Uniform, kaldi, Chuck Anderson, Pavel Močoch, Erskine Calderon, Lukasz Gaszewski, ChrisWI, Zdzislaw Rudzki

future of encyclopedia and forum

Unread postby marcpasquin » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:34 pm

hopefully this won't come as morbid but I guess a discussion is needed about it.

As most people know, Pavel has been missing in action for the past 2 years or so. While I really hope he just needed to take a sabbatical and not something bad, this means 2 things:

1- the encyclopedia has not been updated despite a number of findings by people on the forum and, unless someone can somehow access the site to do so, no more updates at all.

2- I assume Pavel was paying for storage, address and bandwidth out of a combination of his money and donations. neither the forum nor the site have gone done yet which either means it's on a private server or it's been paid for in advance*. In either case, there's the possibility that both site and forum could site go down one day without warning.

So the question then is: Do we have a contingency plan ? Many people have contributed to the encyclopedia over the years and it would be a shame for the data to simply vanish. Also, while it might not have the same level of activities as some others, the forum is still a good place for like-minded people to share information and the odd speculative flight of fancy and that too would be a shame if it disappeared.

One possibility is to create a mirror site. I used to be an editor of the Flags of the World website and regularly updated mirrors of the site exist on various servers, usually paid for by flag making companies or places of education (the page code allows for a banner from the sponsor). I don't know if it would be as easy to find sponsors but there's a possibility that Militaria related stores could be interested.

Another possibility is to pass the hat around and pay for the site ourselves although that could mean facing a similar problem down the road if we don't have the funds to cover costs.

Last possibility I can think is to use a free service like wikia. I set up one for insignias years ago and its still there so either rebranding that one or else starting a new one from scratch and transferring the data from the encyclopedia there could be done fairly easily especially if a number of people share the editorial duties by each picking a number of countries to look after. The wikis have built-in forums so that's convenient thought the one problem is a limit in term of customisability and the potential of vandalism which would require vigilance on the part of the "editorial staff".

So again, sorry if it sounds like I'm discussing inheritance while grandpa is still breathing. The one thing I can say is that the forum and encyclopedia have brought me a fair bit of enjoyment over the years, if only sometime for the hour or 2 spent looking for a given image to prove or disprove a point. Because of that, I would genuinely see their complete disappearance as a loss.


* Obviously there's the possibility Pavel is, for some reason I can't think of, just hands off and has continued paying the bills despite not checking in. If so, I really hope someone will manage to reach him to find out what happened and if anything can be done to help.
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Re: future of encyclopedia and forum

Unread postby Dorward_Bis » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:33 pm

Marc, you are right. The overall situation with both the Encyclopedia and the Forum bothers me, as one of the Encyclopedia editors and a person who personally contributed enough rank insignia pictures into it.
As I've mentioned before, I tried to contact Pavel many times, but failed due to full silence from another side. Unfortunately, I'm not a specialist in making mirrors or anything else with websites, but I would be happy to participate in both funding of a "dispersal field" for the Encyclopedia and filling of this new website with rank insignia and uniform pictures, and not only mine but I could copy some of those in Ecyclopedia to transform them into tables to put on another website.
So, I'm ready to participate and promise my full aid in this matter.
aka Dorward and Dmitry Belokurov
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Re: future of encyclopedia and forum

Unread postby Dorward_Bis » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:50 pm

Well, looks like I have some access into the website "internal space" - at least I've just corrected one mistake in my pictures of Japan Army caps. And I guess, pictures should be added as HTML content, but I have no a slightest idea how to operate with it. I will try to clarify this issue by myself, but if anybody could explain me how to insert png-picture into this html-content, I would be incredibly thankful
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Re: future of encyclopedia and forum

Unread postby Miklós Lovász » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:00 pm

Marc!

I granted you admin status.
Do make a mirror, if you can.
Do mirror on wikia, too, if you can.
If I can do anything else, just shout.

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Re: future of encyclopedia and forum

Unread postby marcpasquin » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:21 am

okay, a few things to report after looking around thanks to Dmitry letting me in.

1- Forum and encyclopedia privileges are not linked. However, it is possible to create new admins for the encyclopedia (I'm marcpasquin55) but you have to be careful not to remove your own privileges as it is currently impossible to edit already existing users without encountering a syntax error. On the plus side, the creation of a new admin does not require the email to be validated so while it is mandatory to enter one and the same can't be entered twice, as long as it has the right syntax, it can be "fake_email@fake.com" for all that the system care so that if accident happen, we can always give an editor a new ID.

2- the only way to upload new images to the site is via the media managers which, unfortunately, always seems to time out. This also means incidentally that I can't download a backup without doing so image by image.

I have however found a workaround to the first problem: indidual pages are created dynamically using a template but the table containing the images is defined using good old html. This means that some images can be linked from outside the site as you can see on this test page:

http://www.uniforminsignia.org/?option=com_insigniasearch&Itemid=53&result=3855

with the image being the one posted on:

http://insignias.wikia.com/wiki/House_Atreides_(Dune_Film)

Other images are simply entered as "name.extension" so that I will have to try and see if those accept full urls.

3- it would seem that a large part of the problems encountered are due to a need to patch or tweak the global settings. Unfortunately, only the superuser (Pavel) can make changes at that end so this means that although we have some limited functionality, it is possible to:

- give editing power to more people as needed
- edit and create new pages
- add images to the pages as long as they are stored somewhere else that allows hotlinking.

Not perfect but it would allow a much needed update at the very least.
Last edited by marcpasquin on Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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