Mediawiki installation, customization and operation

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The Madagascar Mediawiki installation consists of:

  • A SQL database back-end, that holds text, images, history and user data
  • A set of PHP scripts, that dynamically generate the HTML pages
  • Auxiliary files uploaded directly to the server

Advanced web hosting providers offer "one-click" installs of Mediawiki, but database migration and PHP customization must still be performed.


In LocalSettings.php, set

$wgLogo    = '/wikilocal/style/Madagascar2.png';


These are installed in the extensions directory. Currently installed extensions are:

  • Nuke Gives administrators the ability to mass delete pages
  • Translate Special page for translating MediaWiki
  • Babel Adds the #babel parser function to allow automated generation of a babel userbox column with the ability to include custom templates
  • Cite Adds <ref[ name=id]> and <references/> tags, for citations
  • Math Render mathematical formulas between <math> ... </math> tags
  • RSS feed Displays RSS feeds on MediaWiki pages
  • SyntaxHighlight Provides syntax highlighting <syntaxhighlight> using GeSHi - Generic Syntax Highlighter
  • Widgets Allows wiki administrators to add free-form widgets to wiki
  • ConfirmEdit Provides CAPTCHA techniques to protect against spam and password-guessing
  • Clean Changes More compact display of the recent changes list
  • Google Analytics Integration Inserts Google Analytics script (ga.js) in to MediaWiki pages for tracking
  • Language Names Extension which provides localised language names based on CLDR data
  • LocalisationUpdate Keeps the localised messages as up to date as possible
  • UniversalLanguageSelector Gives the user several ways to select a language and to adjust language settings



Backups should cover the wiki installation (SQL backups must be made by proper script, not by simply copying a file!), as well as a static copy of a wiki to be used in case the database is corrupted during file transfer.

Defending against spammers and vandals

The best method is QuestyCaptcha.

require_once "$IP/extensions/ConfirmEdit/QuestyCaptcha.php";
$wgCaptchaClass = 'QuestyCaptcha';

Allowing only registered users to edit the wiki

This is a measure that was deemed necessary after two years of daily undo-and-block warfare against spammers. To set it, use in LocalSettings.php:

$wgGroupPermissions['*']['edit'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['*']['createpage'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['*']['createtalk'] = false;

Disabling registration of new users

This is a temporary measure, to be used as a stopgap against large attacks, until a permanent effective measure has been found.

Disallowing users to create new pages

Again, a temporary measure. For attacks which are not so heavy as to warrant disabling registration of new users, and in which spammers are weeded out manually. Several hours may pass between verifications of edits, in which a spammer can create many new pages. Works for attacks centered on new page creation. To set this, use

$wgGroupPermissions['user']['createpage'] = false;

in LocalSettings.php .

Disabling media uploads

To disable uploads via the web interface, set

$wgEnableUploads = false;

in LocalSettings.php . To upload images from the command line, without using the web interface, use

php wiki/maintenance/importImages.php /path/to/dir/with/images extensions

If file permission problems are encountered, then

chmod -R g+w wiki/images