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Did you realize that users can set their default thumbnail size? It's in Preferences under the Appearance tab. So I'm wondering if we should be setting thumbnail sizes in most cases or just let the site take the users default. They know the size of their display better than us. Not sure what the default is for people who aren't logged in. --Lkseitz (talk) 21:24, 1 January 2016 (PST)

  • Almost nobody is logged in, so it almost won't matter. I have been thinking that the default default is way small and that we're helping out by making things bigger. --Dystopos (talk) 20:06, 3 January 2016 (PST)
    • Surely you can change the default default, can't you? --Lkseitz (talk) 04:55, 4 January 2016 (PST)
      • Hm. I suppose so. I'd have to modify localsettings.php again. I always hold my breath whenever I go down there. --Dystopos (talk) 07:00, 4 January 2016 (PST)
        • "If you change this array, you also want to change the default user option for thumb sizes on pages. Each thumb size set is automatically associated with an integer value that may be used for the "thumbsize" user option. This value always starts with "0" for the lowest thumb size set in the array and increases by 1 per additional thumb size defined, e.g. if five different thumb sizes were set the lowest value for the user option is "0" while "4" is the highest. If an invalid value is set the wiki will break!" (link) --Dystopos (talk) 07:02, 4 January 2016 (PST)

10th Anniversary : March 15, 2016

I've been a user of this website for years so I knew it has been around for a long time but I didn't realize it has been almost 10 years until I became a contributer today. With that said, I think this is something that should be celebrated by both the site and other outlets. I think some sites like and others would want to mention the milestone in an article. This could be good press for the site in general as well as a good way to let current users know how much history the site has. What do y'all think? --MichaelTunnell (talk) 19:55, 20 January 2016 (PST)

  • Besides you, me and Lee, there's very little activity on the site these days. I'd considered issuing a release, but I'm not sure I actually want the attention. I welcome further discussion. --Dystopos (talk) 06:24, 21 January 2016 (PST)
    • From the outside it did seem like the site team was pretty small and I think that is another reason it should be given some press. I think it would help get contributers as well as get more users using the site if the 10th anniversary was celebrated. It doesn't have to be anything big, just getting the word out. top voted comment on reddit for history of Birmingham request - I'm curious though, why would you not want the attention for the site? --MichaelTunnell (talk) 17:45, 21 January 2016 (PST)
      • Good question. I can extemporize at more length some time with you. Basically I'm happy with Bhamwiki as it is and I'm nervous about positioning it as something else. People find it when they need it (usually through Google searches), and they don't have a lot of extra expectations. It's growing steadily, if slowly, and at this rate its easy for me to keep a handle on the content. If there were an explosion of contributions, I'd lose that handle. It might be for the best, but it's not necessarily my desire. Worth discussing, though. --Dystopos (talk) 09:07, 26 January 2016 (PST)
  • Par-ty! Par-ty! Par-ty! --Lkseitz (talk) 19:29, 21 January 2016 (PST)
  • I'm hoping to start contributing more (again) and would of course join in a celebration of our 10th anniversary. --Wheresdib (talk) 08:21, 26 January 2016 (PST)
    • Alrighty then. Let's plan a party. March 15 is a Tuesday. What date works best for everybody? --Dystopos (talk) 09:03, 26 January 2016 (PST)
      • That week is spring break for us, so either the weekend before or after seems to be open at the moment. The sooner we get it on the calendar, the better, though. --Lkseitz (talk) 12:20, 6 February 2016 (PST)
        • Sunday March 13 or the next weekend are good for us. --Wheresdib (talk) 12:52, 6 February 2016 (PST)
          • The date is set as Sunday, March 13. Nominations are now open for venues. We have done well at Silvertron and Jim 'N Nicks. Newly-opened places perhaps worth considering include the Filling Station in Crestwood, Sky Castle Gastro-Lounge in Lakeview, and Buck Mulligan's at Five Points. Let me know and I'll solicit RSVPs on Facebook and see about securing a table or room. --Dystopos (talk) 14:13, 8 February 2016 (PST)
            • Given recent news, I'd nominate Cosmo's Pizza, but we'll be a couple weeks late. :-( I have not visited any of the new places you listed, so don't know how well they would accommodate, although I'm always up for something new. --Lkseitz (talk) 07:38, 13 February 2016 (PST)
              • We tried Cosmo's once, but they didn't accept reservations and we weren't able to secure a table and ended up going back to Jim 'N Nick's. Barring any other input, I'll call around this week and make a determination. --Dystopos (talk) 06:22, 15 February 2016 (PST)
                • Actually, we did Cosmo's for the 2nd anniversary. It was the next time we tried it that it didn't work out. --Lkseitz (talk) 06:53, 16 February 2016 (PST)
                  • Right. Brunch was no-go. Anyhow, as much as I admired their vibe, I was never a big fan of their food. --Dystopos (talk) 08:04, 16 February 2016 (PST)
  • OK. I've narrowed the window to 3:00-5:00 PM on Sunday March 13. I'm looking to have a buffet-style meal and birthday cake at a brewery tap room or similar space rather than at a sit-down restaurant. Hoping we can spend more time mingling and less time fussing with waiters and menus. Also, instead of handing out books, we'll have a silent auction and turn any money raised over to Greater Birmingham Ministries. More details to follow, along with a Facebook event/invite. Feel free to bring any of your own surplus Birmingham-centric items to include in the auction. --Dystopos (talk) 09:17, 24 February 2016 (PST)
    • I assume the taproom at Good People is not kid-friendly? That will greatly impact my ability to show. I couldn't make a choice on Facebook on my phone, so I'm letting you know here that I'm "maybe" or "interested" or whatever they say these days. --Wheresdib (talk) 11:43, 29 February 2016 (PST)
      • Regarding the tap room, their website says "We do ask that anyone under 21 be accompanied by a guardian." I'll check with them to confirm that its appropriate to bring kids. If it's still too weird, I'm hopeful that the weather will be nice enough that you'll want to bring the family to the park and stop in for a little while. --Dystopos (talk) 12:49, 29 February 2016 (PST)
        • Confirmed. Children and dogs are welcome, so long as they are supervised and you don't commit any felonies by purchasing alcohol for them. --Dystopos (talk) 13:52, 29 February 2016 (PST)
  • Time's running out. If you haven't responded to the Facebook invitation, post here to let me know how many are coming so I know how much food to order. Also bring some cash to buy books and keepsakes and to support the good work of Greater Birmingham Ministries (article needed) --Dystopos (talk) 06:53, 9 March 2016 (PST)
Group photo from right before we packed it in.
  • Thanks for everybody who came out. I hope you all had a good meal and a good time. We raised $115 for Greater Birmingham Ministries. Thanks to Mary Ann Martin of Martin Event Management, Good People Brewing Company and Birmingham Public Library for their help with putting it together. --Dystopos (talk) 18:02, 13 March 2016 (PDT)
    • so I deserve a Bad Luck Brian meme for this, I advocate for this party to happen and my computer messes up so I lose my login info until I get the time to run recovery software. I finally get it back to find out I just freaking missed it! Well that sucks. Anyway, I hope you all had fun and hopefully next time I can actually make it. @Dystopos, I'm going to send you a friend request on Facebook so I could actually receive the invitation next time. :) --MichaelTunnell (talk) 18:36, 14 March 2016 (PDT)

Statistics 2016

Red links

  • As of May 6, 2015, there are 50,369 wanted articles with who knows how many links to them (red links). We have about 11,704 articles, so we're now 18.86% complete. Two years ago (January 29, 2014), we were at 9,797 articles with 38,961 wanted ones (20.09% done). Our "percent done" continues to track backwards as we've added more red links than articles. (Note that wanted pages represent any topic which "could" have an article, not just those that "should" or "probably will" have articles.) This phenomenon is probably best explained by my use of City Directories to populate street articles with abundant red links.


We currently show 5,316 files illustrating our 11,704 articles. That's 0.45 illustrations per article, or 1 image for every 2.2 articles.

page edits

Over 10 years, we're averaging right around 33 page edits per day.


We have a total of 460 registered users, of which 209 have made at least one edit, and 9 have made edits in the 30 days (between April 6 and May 6, 2016).


"WikiFactor" is a measure of a site's popularity, derived by finding which is the last page (on Special:Popularpages) to have 1000x the number of page views as the number of its ranking.

Our wikiFactor is now 39, up from 34 on January 29, 2014. --Dystopos (talk) 06:31, 15 February 2016 (PST)

  • Update: We've hit 40 now. --Dystopos (talk) 13:39, 11 March 2016 (PST)
  • New update: 41 now. --Lkseitz (talk) 19:11, 21 July 2016 (PDT)
  • 44 as of 9/11/17 --13:13, 11 September 2017 (PDT)
  • 45 as of 11/13/17 --Dystopos (talk) 14:54, 13 November 2017 (PST)

Today in history

Let's think about a way to automatically put a "Today in history" feature on the front page. It may require creating stripped-down summaries for each date that would be called up based on the actual date someone is looking at it. --Dystopos (talk) 15:01, 8 February 2016 (PST)

  • So I looked at Wikipedia's front page and it appears that's exactly what they did. Each date has a template that's manually edited. The front page has code to automatically fill in the date on the template name, so it changes each day. Mind you, their date templates aren't in the Template namespace, but in the Wikipedia namespace (equivalent to our Bhamwiki namespace). I'm not sure how that works, but it's probably not necessary for us, either. --Lkseitz (talk) 06:56, 11 February 2016 (PST)

Birthday photos

In case it's not clear, sometimes the photo selected for a particular day's "Births" section is chosen because it's the only person for whom we have a photo. Feel free to change the photo if we get one for someone who had a bigger impact on the Birmingham area than the current person shown. --Lkseitz (talk) 06:49, 11 February 2016 (PST)

  • I always feel free to change things. Thanks! --Dystopos (talk) 10:46, 11 February 2016 (PST)
    • Yeah, that note was meant more for others than you. And it's possible there are some days where I really don't feel like including the person who happens to be the only one we have a photo for that day. --Lkseitz (talk) 07:34, 13 February 2016 (PST)


  • User:Lkseitz and User:Wheresdib have been promoted to "administrator", along with a 7% pay raise and a share of our profit-sharing plan. --Dystopos (talk) 07:38, 1 March 2016 (PST)
    • Note: There is no pay and no profit. Thanks for your contributions! --Dystopos (talk) 07:38, 1 March 2016 (PST)

Locations box

I've added a new type of sequence template: Template:Location box. You specify a title and directions (typically north/south/east/west) and articles for the left and right columns. The article title is automatically included in the middle column under the title.

I've used them to create boxes on the various Red Mountain passes (try starting with Grace's Gap) so you can navigate directly along the passes without clunky text in the article about which other passes one's between. I also used it to add navigation between I-65 southbound exits on 6th Avenue North and 4th Avenue South (as a proof of concept). Let me know what you think. I can probably build specific east/west and north/south templates to simplify matters if they seem useful. --Lkseitz (talk) 23:28, 10 June 2016 (PDT)

  • Nice! --Dystopos (talk) 08:15, 11 June 2016 (PDT)
    • Forgot to say I've since added Template:Location E-W box and Template:Location N-S box for simpler inclusions. --Lkseitz (talk) 23:08, 23 June 2016 (PDT)
      • So are navigation boxes between interstate exits a worthwhile project? And I guess I should go back and add documentation to those location boxes. --Lkseitz (talk) 07:45, 14 November 2017 (PST)
        • I suspect they are worthwhile, unless they can all be replaced by a one-size-fits-all template. I haven't thought about it much. --Dystopos (talk) 08:25, 14 November 2017 (PST)
          • You mean one template for each interstate listing all the exits? That could be done, but it would be a very big template. For example, there's over 30 exits listed on the Interstate 59 page. --Lkseitz (talk) 15:22, 14 November 2017 (PST)

Interesting source

Electronic Phone Books

I finally ordered my local telephone directory as a CD-ROM. I noticed this was an option a few years ago, but kept forgetting to do so. (I think. Have I posted about this before? I've got a big sense of deja vu, but didn't see anything back a couple years in the Messageboard archives.) You're forced to install their software to access it, but.... Well, if you want some technical details, e-mail me. I won't post them publicly. I highly recommend a Bhamwiki editor do this for Birmingham. Instructions should be on the front of your paper directory. --Lkseitz (talk) 19:28, 21 July 2016 (PDT)

  • Roger that. --Dystopos (talk) 06:23, 22 July 2016 (PDT)
    • Update. The 2011 directory I have on hand tells my to go to to order additional copies, but that link takes me directly to and only gives me the choice of ordering another paper copy. And the FAQ is a dead link. --Dystopos (talk) 06:33, 22 July 2016 (PDT)
      • Select the option on to order a directory. You can specify a CD-ROM in step 3 of the process. Hey, you can order more than one. Can you get me one, too? --Lkseitz (talk) 21:30, 22 July 2016 (PDT)
        • So, that would include the white pages? --Dystopos (talk) 07:58, 24 July 2016 (PDT)
          • Yes. --Lkseitz (talk) 05:34, 2 August 2016 (PDT)
            • Order has been placed, so far as I can tell. --Dystopos (talk) 08:21, 4 August 2016 (PDT)

Kaleidoscope archives

I just stumbled across an archive of UAB's Kaleidoscope going back to mid-1982: --Lkseitz (talk) 07:39, 6 August 2016 (PDT)

  • Oh yeah. I've hit those a couple of times in Google searches. Excellent stuff. --Dystopos (talk) 08:28, 6 August 2016 (PDT)

Visitors portal

I had the idea today to create a visitors portal. It would be designed for those visiting the Birmingham area and simply provide links to articles about various area attractions grouped by type (e.g. art, entertainment, historical) and possibly location. Yes, we have categories for this information, but I believe the average reader isn't familiar with categories or how to navigate them. And this is information that doesn't change often, so should require minimal effort to update. I thought I'd ask before starting even a proof of concept. Not to mention I'm not familiar with how portals are done on Wikipedia. --Lkseitz (talk) 13:51, 13 October 2016 (PDT)

  • That's a great idea. (Reminder: We have a long-dormant half-measure of a "portal" at Bhamwiki:Sustainability that might be worth looking at) --Dystopos (talk) 10:18, 16 November 2016 (PST)

Mobile App

  • Is there a mobile app available for this wiki? I downloaded one a while back for Wikipedia and wondered if you had anything similar? Robert Matthews (talk) 07:19, 16 November 2016 (PST)
    • I use Safari, but otherwise, no. No app and no clear path toward one. --Dystopos (talk) 07:45, 16 November 2016 (PST)
      • I have some experience developing iOS apps, so it might be fairly easy to modify the open-source code available for the Wikipedia app and change the database to point to the BhamWiki. I've downloaded the code, but haven't taken the time to load it and see exactly what changes would be required. Would this be of interest? Robert Matthews (talk) 10:08, 16 November 2016 (PST)
        • It would certainly be of interest, if it's not too complicated to accomplish. I have no expertise on server stuff, so maybe we should plan to sit down over coffee some time and discuss what it would entail. --Dystopos (talk) 10:15, 16 November 2016 (PST)
          • I'll try and take a look at the source code this weekend and see if I can determine how much effort it would take. In the meantime, send an email to me at [email protected] and we'll figure out some place to chat over a cup of coffee. Robert Matthews (talk) 11:49, 16 November 2016 (PST)
          • I'm totally guessing, but I suspect it would take little effort on the server side. Another thing we might consider is installing a mobile theme. Wikipedia has one, but we don't. However, one thing I don't like about Wikipedia's is the lack of category links. --Lkseitz (talk) 06:22, 17 November 2016 (PST)
          • I suspect you're right -- it probably wouldn't be much work on the server side. Maybe opening up a port and/or changing a configuration setting. And it may not be much work on the client/app side either, but I won't know until I look at the source code. Robert Matthews (talk) 06:54, 17 November 2016 (PST)

It's almost March!

  • Time to get together again. What are we in the mood for? Pizza? Quiet evening? Less live music, maybe? --Dystopos (talk) 15:38, 26 February 2017 (PST)
    • I know I've been away for a while but as usual I'll swing by wherever you decide to do it. --Wheresdib (talk) 11:20, 27 February 2017 (PST)
    • I'm afraid I have plans the weekend March 18-19 and probably the following weekend. But I'm no longer as active as I was, either, so don't feel the need to plan around me. --Lkseitz (talk) 06:06, 1 March 2017 (PST)
  • Okay then. One night in the coming weeks I will stake out one of the larger tables at Cantina (Pepper Place) and provide chips, guacamole, and encouraging reflections on the state of the wiki to anyone who can stand to come sit with me. Let me know if a particular evening interests you. If not, I'll pick and let you know. --Dystopos (talk) 06:59, 1 March 2017 (PST)


The McWane Center has display of "quack medicines." A couple were from the Birmingham area, including one from Sayerton. It appears we don't currently have any information on this former community north of North Birmingham. Maybe Robert Matthews would consider researching it as they apparently (used to?) hold a town reunion in Gardendale? --Lkseitz (talk) 12:37, 19 January 2018 (PST)

  • I've heard of Sayerton, but don't know much about it and have never researched it. If I have a chance to get by the Gardendale Historical Society museum sometime in the next few weeks, I'll see what I can find on it. Robert Matthews (talk) 13:44, 19 January 2018 (PST)

Birmingham Historical Society digital collection

FYI, select Birmingham Historical Society publications are being digitally archived at the Alabama Department of Archives & History[1]. (Or, as their newsletter puts it, > Alabama Genealogy and History Publications > Birmingham Historical Society.) --Lkseitz (talk) 12:43, 19 January 2018 (PST)

  • That's pretty awesome. I saw the notice in the newsletter, but hadn't checked it out yet. --Dystopos (talk) 13:56, 19 January 2018 (PST)

Costa & Head plans for 3rd Ave N & 19th St

I'm pretty sure I made a comment on a Talk page somewhere about Costa & Head's plans for blocking off streets at night around the old theater district. But now I can't find it. Can anyone help me out? I have an addendum. --Lkseitz (talk) 05:57, 23 January 2018 (PST)

Guess who's back?

That's right, it's me. I've accepted a different position with the same employer which should free up some time in my busy schedule. And I'm back downtown, so I'm excited to start filling in some gaps for all the new stores and restaurants that have popped up in the last almost 5 years. See you all soon! --Wheresdib (talk) 12:59, 25 January 2018 (PST)

Shoe Repair note

This is crazy. I keep looking for things on Bhamwiki I remember writing or reading and can't find them. Sometimes I spell it wrong ("Top Golf" instead of "TopGolf" [created a redirect]). Sometimes I didn't look in the right place (that bit about 3rd & 19th above). Now I remember working on a story about a shoe repair place that I thought was Homewood Shoe Hospital, which you can see doesn't exist as of this writing. I remember writing -- I thought on a Talk page -- about how someone had bought up a bunch of similar domain names such that it was extremely hard to tell which was the correct one to list on the page. But now I can't find it. Maybe it was a different business? --Lkseitz (talk) 04:09, 9 February 2018 (PST)

  • I can't find anything like what you're describing. Is it possible you worked on it offline? --Dystopos (talk) 06:47, 9 February 2018 (PST)
    • Maybe, but I could have sworn it was something I posted. I checked my e-mails to you and didn't find anything there either. I just wondered if there was any chance we lost some articles at some point? Although I did a quick check of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine to see if they had such a page archive and they didn't. The problem being there's a few different URL variations it could be under and I probably didn't hit them all. If it's something I did offline, I may never find it. --Lkseitz (talk) 21:37, 9 February 2018 (PST)
      • There was one point where we lost some uploaded images, but I don't think it affected the SQL database. --Dystopos (talk) 08:23, 10 February 2018 (PST)