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10,000 articles

So, is the goal to have 10,000 articles on the site before our 8th anniversary? I noticed our founder seems to have been creating more new articles than normal lately. --Lkseitz 13:49, 9 January 2014 (PST)

Statistics 2014

Red links

As of January 29, 2014, there are currently 38,961 wanted articles with 74,869 links to them (red links). (The majority only have one link to them.) The front page says we have about 9,797 articles, meaning we're 20.09% complete. The last time I did this (January 24, 2013), we were at 9,107 articles with 36,583 wanted ones (19.93% done), so we made some progress even though we added 4,032 red links. (Note that wanted pages represent any topic which "could" have an article, not just those that "should" or "probably will" have articles.) --Lkseitz 09:00, 29 January 2014 (PST)


"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 34, up from 31 in mid-April 2013. --Lkseitz 09:00, 29 January 2014 (PST)

2014 anniversary

  • Our 8th anniversary is one month away. Do we have any plans yet? --Wheresdib 22:01, 15 February 2014 (PST)
    • I scouted Carrigan's Pub and came to no conclusion. That is all I have accomplished. --Dystopos 15:13, 16 February 2014 (PST)
      • March 15 is a Saturday. Does early that evening (around 6:00) work for everyone? --Dystopos 13:06, 17 February 2014 (PST)
        • As of right now, March 15 will probably work for us. --Wheresdib 15:22, 17 February 2014 (PST)
          • Ooo, should have looked at the calendar sooner. We have things afoot that weekend, but I might be able to come solo. --Lkseitz 06:58, 18 February 2014 (PST)
            • Attendance is mandatory, but the date can be flexible. Let me know what's best. --Dystopos 13:44, 18 February 2014 (PST)
  • Trattoria is packed wall to wall until the food runs out. Cosmo's sounds good to me. I also looked at Sweet Tea, but they don't have a breakfast menu any more, just cafeteria lunch. --Dystopos 15:54, 1 March 2014 (PST)
    • Works for us! What time? --Wheresdib 20:22, 1 March 2014 (PST)
      • Are we still on for Cosmo's (as opposed to Cosmos) on March 23rd? If so, what time? --Wheresdib 15:33, 10 March 2014 (PDT)
        • Yes. Let's say noon to noon-fifteen. I'll make a FB event for it now. --Dystopos 18:37, 10 March 2014 (PDT)


  • Did anyone get a group picture?, and do we have an official attendee list? I know most but not all who attended. --Wheresdib 12:43, 26 March 2014 (PDT)
Photo from Bhamwiki's 8th Anniversary brunch at Jim 'N Nick's. Seated (L-R), User:Morriscivitas, User:Chivon Morse, User:Dystopos, Linda Weeks, J. D. Weeks, User:Alarob, Valerie Sawyer, Amy Bannick Griffin, User:Wheresdib, Dorothy Seitz, User:Lkseitz, User:Dre & Betsy Pate. Not pictured: Photographer Eric Hawley and User:Anbdesign1, In the far background, Vulcan.
    • Thanks for coming, everybody! Sorry about the planning snafu. I think it worked out. --Dystopos 20:08, 28 March 2014 (PDT)
      • Ah this shows why I did not know about the group pic, apparently I wasn't paying attention. Thanks as always for a great time with great food! --Wheresdib 03:34, 29 March 2014 (PDT)
        • Just noticed how good lookin' ya'll are. --Dystopos 17:21, 4 June 2014 (PDT)

Historic maps

So, while the page says this page is copyrighted by UA, the actual maps are from the U.S. Geological Survey. Doesn't that make them works of the U.S. Government and therefore in the public domain? --Lkseitz 07:57, 19 February 2014 (PST)

Downtown grid

So, is this street grid table worth working on further, or am I wasting my time? Some of the text is supposed to be rotated 90 degrees, but it's only implemented in select browsers at the moment. The final product would have it rotated in more. In other words, if it doesn't look good in your regular browser, try another. --Lkseitz 13:17, 4 June 2014 (PDT)

  • On the one hand I think it's pretty awesome and I hate to discourage you. On the other hand, I think its limitations are inevitably in the foreground. Someday we'll want to show the city limits on there, and then the Smithfield grid, and then curves and overlay districts and… and.... Is there a possibility of having an image map which accomplishes the same thing? Is that another Mediawiki upgrade issue or just not our language, I don't know. --Dystopos 17:21, 4 June 2014 (PDT)
    • I should mention I've been mentally preparing to start an article on the arrangement and subdivision of Birmingham Blocks. --Dystopos 17:22, 4 June 2014 (PDT)
    • Ugh, I just looked at it on a smaller monitor. I knew it was big, but the smaller monitor really hurts the layout. And I'm acutely aware of the limitations. For example, you'll note that Park Place is missing. That was one of the major things I decided not to tackle before getting feedback. I think it's simply too big to work.

Yes, it's possible to use an imagemap, I just lack any sort of artistic skills to create an image for it. (And I don't think Google's going to let use a Google Maps screenshot.) A quick check shows that the ImageMap extension is bundled with MediaWiki starting with 1.21. We're only on 1.10, so we would either have to install it or upgrade.

Speaking of blocks, I worked at one point to do a table for those. I discovered they're too complex to make a generic template, but we could do them on a one-by-one basis. Use that link above and go back to the January 2011 version of the page to see them. They don't have to be as big as what you see there. That was just a result of my starting with the generic version for all possible addresses. --Lkseitz 20:33, 4 June 2014 (PDT)

Downtown Homewood streets

Okay, how about this one? It looks good in every browser I've viewed it with, even on my phone. I even got that weird angle for Lynn Boulevard. (But anybody got Safari?) The purpose of these maps is simply to have a visual representation of the street layout of the area, not be geographically correct. Think of it as a subway map; good for figuring out how to get somewhere, but not so good for geocaching. :-) As far as individual buildings, I only marked those that take up entire blocks. Sadly, Independence Plaza does not fill its entire block, at least not as I've broken the map down here. (Actually, Our Lady of Sorrows doesn't either, but the map is so geographically out of whack in that corner I figured it was close enough.) --Lkseitz 06:32, 13 June 2014 (PDT)

  • Looks cool to me. Does it go on one page or as a template on lots of pages? --Dystopos 09:23, 13 June 2014 (PDT)
    • Hmmm, good question. It's mainly designed for the not yet written Downtown Homewood page (although I think most of the links I've created have been named Homewood Central Business District). I suppose it could potentially go on all the pages of the streets featured, but it's probably too big for that. So I guess just the one. --Lkseitz 14:11, 13 June 2014 (PDT)
      • Yes, probably too big. I could see a cropped-down version of it on the SoHo article, maybe, but I'm not sure the purpose in that case. --Dystopos 14:23, 13 June 2014 (PDT)

Main Page typo

For the Joe Langston blurb, "veterans" should be "veteran". --Wheresdib 13:10, 21 July 2014 (PDT)

  • Thanks! --Dystopos 14:17, 21 July 2014 (PDT)

Code for Birmingham


  • We suffered a mysterious outage most of yesterday. With Dreamhost's help I "restored" the site to the most recent back-up, which was supposed to have been less than a day, but turned out it was 13 days. The database didn't lose anything, but if you added any images during that period, they may need to be re-uploaded. --Dystopos 14:22, 5 August 2014 (PDT)

drug relapse

  • A mysterious hack has been reported where once again polls to the Bhamwiki database are having links to pharmaceutical sites inserted as they are reported back to bots. Matt Sheets hasn't found the problem, but has created a clean mirror of the site on a fresh installation of the current version of Mediawiki. Should be able to replace the main installation soon. I expect he'll re-download the most current database, but you may want to save your work as a text file until this is accomplished just in case. --Dystopos 08:11, 30 September 2014 (PDT)
    • Current plan is to disable log-ins beginning at 8:00 PM CDT in Saturday, October 4 and make the switch then. Hopefully back up and running with current software not too long afterward. --Dystopos 14:20, 1 October 2014 (PDT)
      • I went ahead and upgraded to the current version. I have no idea if I solved the drug problem. I'll assume that if Matt needs to re-install, that we can use the most recent database. I see a few errors generating thumbnails. I think that's fixable by editing LocalSettings.php, but I'm not messing with it just yet. Let me know if you see anything else. I also need to figure out how to put this page back on the sidebar. --Dystopos (talk) 20:20, 7 October 2014 (PDT)
        • I think the thumbnail error is actually pretty serious. I see it's failed for both images uploaded since coming back online (yours and mine). From the error, my best guess is that either the path for thumbnails in the settings doesn't exist or the permissions aren't allowing the site to write files there. Probably the latter since it's displaying some but not others.--Lkseitz (talk) 05:29, 8 October 2014 (PDT)
          • That does seem to be the case, but people have reported solving the problem by modifying LocalSettings, so I imagine Matt or I will be able to solve it. If it's going to be me, I'll need to get my courage back up. If you'd like me to send you the file, I can do that. --Dystopos (talk) 07:38, 8 October 2014 (PDT)
            • I'd be happy to look at it, but I don't know if I can help or not since I've never set up MediaWiki myself. OTOH, another set of eyes might help. --Lkseitz (talk) 19:39, 8 October 2014 (PDT)
              • Well. That wasn't so bad. The line $wgTmpDirectory = "{$wgUploadDirectory}/tmp" needed to be changed to $wgTmpDirectory = "{$wgUploadDirectory}/temp"; because the subdirectory of /images was /temp and not /tmp. I've done things, but it still makes me sweat. --Dystopos (talk) 20:37, 9 October 2014 (PDT)
                • Huzzah! --Lkseitz (talk) 06:49, 11 October 2014 (PDT)

Portal fixed

On the plus side, the upgrade has allowed us to get the Sustainability Portal working correctly! --Lkseitz (talk) 20:09, 8 October 2014 (PDT)

  • Cool beans. Now to apply for a grant to hire a sustainability portal manager intern or something. --20:38, 9 October 2014 (PDT)

Birmingham link on the main page

Shortly before the upgrade, I noticed something. There's no link to the Birmingham article on the Main Page! Given the name of the site, I think we should have a link to that article front and center. Ideally, starting from there, a user should be able to eventually reach any article on the site (without having to go through category pages). I'm sure that's probably not possible at the moment, but it's (yet) a(nother) goal to have. --Lkseitz (talk) 06:57, 11 October 2014 (PDT)

New style for days

Do I assume we/Dystopos are/is going to slowly convert all the day entries to having split births and deaths? --Lkseitz (talk) 05:04, 12 November 2014 (PST)

Vulcan and Vulcan Park categories

Working with the Vulcan entries, it seemed Vulcan and Vulcan Park needed separate categories. The question I had problems with was which should be the parent of the other. I ultimately decided to make Category:Vulcan Park the child of Category:Vulcan. This was because the statue pre-existed the park. Or, in other words, the park exists because of the statue. I've thought about it too much at this point to know if that's counter-intuitive or not. The more important thing, I think, is that people should now have an easier time finding both entries while perusing the categories. --Lkseitz (talk) 07:03, 27 December 2014 (PST)

  • My inkling is the reverse. Vulcan Park is a bigger thing that encompasses the statue, as well as the Lone Pine Mine and a fireworks show, etc. I'd make the comparison to the Birmingham Museum of Art category, which includes much older artifacts within it. --Dystopos (talk) 12:49, 27 December 2014 (PST)
    • Okay, I reversed them. --Lkseitz (talk) 05:13, 24 April 2015 (PDT)
      • So, the statue is in the Vulcan category and the Fairgrounds category, but the Vulcan category is a branch of the Vulcan Park category. I suppose that works, since he's now a feature of the park. --Dystopos (talk) 06:10, 24 April 2015 (PDT)
        • Fixed. Thanks. --Lkseitz (talk) 08:49, 25 April 2015 (PDT)

Statistics 2015

Red links

  • As of January 12, 2015, there are currently 42,728 wanted articles with 81,247 links to them (red links). (The majority only have one link to them.) The front page says we have about 10,666 articles, meaning we're 19.98% complete. The last time I did this (January 29, 2014), we were at 9,797 articles with 38,961 wanted ones (20.09% done). This is the first time our "percent done" has gone down since 2011. We added 6,378 red links. (Note that wanted pages represent any topic which "could" have an article, not just those that "should" or "probably will" have articles.) --Lkseitz (talk) 22:03, 12 January 2015 (PST)
    • I probably added half those red links this week on 20th Street North. --Dystopos (talk) 06:46, 13 January 2015 (PST)
      • I take comfort in the notion that at least we know more about what we don't know. --Dystopos (talk) 07:07, 13 January 2015 (PST)
        • Now we have 11,058 articles and 46,454 wanted articles. Since January 12 we've added 992 articles and 3,726 red links. So by that measure we're now 19.23% "done" (articles / articles + red links) and we're averaging 3.76 new red links for every new article. At this negative rate, we should be able to "complete" Bhamwiki sometime in the 1980s. --Dystopos (talk) 09:02, 23 June 2015 (PDT)
          • As of July 26, we're looking at 11,166 articles and 46,931 red links (19.22%) think it was the Birmingham Ironmen roster that held back my progress. --Dystopos (talk) 14:00, 26 July 2015 (PDT)


"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 36, up from 34 on January 29, 2014. --Lkseitz (talk) 22:03, 12 January 2015 (PST)

    • 37 on June 23, 2015 --Dystopos (talk) 09:02, 23 June 2015 (PDT)

UAB template feedback

Looking for feedback on a potential UAB template, found here. In particular, I need guidance on what articles deserve inclusion within the template. --Lkseitz (talk) 23:31, 5 February 2015 (PST)

  • The content looks good. Useful template. Aesthetically, I'd use a thinner border and nix the gold. Green on white in the header and everything else default colors. That's me. --Dystopos (talk) 11:15, 6 February 2015 (PST)
    • Oh, wait, I see what I did wrong with the borders. I disagree about the gold, but am certainly open to discussion. What do you think of the version there now? All colors but the link texts are from that UAB colors page you found. Unfortunately, link colors are almost impossible to customize for a single template. --Lkseitz (talk) 08:43, 7 February 2015 (PST)

Streets in detail

As my acquisition of a couple of city directories drags our street articles into overbearing detail, It may be time to start thinking about how to organize the data better. I have a few ideas, but they're sort of redundant and sometimes contradictory. One thing I'd LIKE to do is push tenant information off into the articles about specific buildings. Sometimes we don't know when the buildings were replaced and we usually don't know when the tenants moved in and out. We also have a few articles about specific addresses. As a stop-gap we could start by splitting the articles by neighborhood, or by block (though you lose some continuity). Since the downtown district is where the detail gets crowded, we could also separate just the downtown parts of the street articles. Unless we come up with a systematic approach, I'll probably just start trying something. Probably with 2nd Avenue North. --Dystopos (talk) 21:36, 16 February 2015 (PST)

  • Well, we knew the tenant information would get unwieldy eventually. I presume you're only talking about splitting the locations part of the article and leaving the main article intact? I really think each street should have a comprehensive article to outline its history and route, even if it doesn't detail all locations along the street (like the highway articles). And I agree whatever we do for downtown may not carry over everywhere, particularly suburban streets. Articles on addresses seem suitable when the building doesn't have a name. Hmm, but does that mean redirects from each address to a building for consistency? --Lkseitz (talk) 23:06, 16 February 2015 (PST)
    • Yes, we'd still have a main article about the whole run of a street, but split the locations down where they're too unwieldy. Downtown, if it's not the only place this makes sense, is at least the priority, so "2nd Avenue North in the City Center" may become an article name if I'm not missing something better. As for buildings and addresses, there are a lot of times that can get messy, as a building may span several "natural" addresses. In the old days you'd just send mail to "Room 234, Watts Building" or whatever, but then the address would represent just the entrance. And sometimes the entrance would move, or the owner would decide that 2200 sounds nicer than 2206. There's just lots of ways that addresses and buildings slip past each other. And somehow there used to be an 1846 2nd Avenue when the "natural" scheme would have stopped at 1830. Reality is inconsistent. --Dystopos (talk) 09:23, 17 February 2015 (PST)
      • Yes, addresses are messy. I'm still unclear how Lyric Hot Dogs and Superior Furniture both used 1808 3rd Avenue North. But then, the Alabama Theatre and Goldstein's Furs both were using 1811 for a while due to a typo or misreading of an address. And then there's all those lovely ½ addresses for the 2nd floors once upon a time. But if someone wants to work their way down the block, having 1811 3rd Avenue North redirect to Alabama Theatre might be helpful. By the way, I'm jealous; how does one acquire old city directories? Ebay? --Lkseitz (talk) 20:55, 17 February 2015 (PST)
        • In this case, one trades in a gift certificate for a pile of money to Jim Reed, and then waits for Mr. Reed to dig one out of his storage facility. If you thought Reed Books WAS his storage facility, you are, like I was, mistaken. --Dystopos (talk) 12:41, 22 February 2015 (PST)
  • [UPDATE]: See 1st Avenue North (Downtown) for a trial solution. --Dystopos (talk) 08:41, 23 June 2015 (PDT)

March 15

For a while I was trying to get to New Orleans for "Super Sunday", but the hotels are a bit too pricy. Upshot is I should be in town the weekend of the 13-14-15 of March. Any thoughts about where to meet? Do we have more babies than editors now? Chuck E. Cheese's? --21:37, 16 February 2015 (PST) [edited Dystopos (talk) 09:17, 17 February 2015 (PST)]

  • I don't currently see anything special on the calendar March 14–15, but I should verify against the work calendar. --Lkseitz (talk) 22:55, 16 February 2015 (PST)
    • I forgot to mark this on my calendar and now have other commitments this weekend. But given it's this weekend and nothing's been planned, I'm guessing it's not happening this weekend? --Lkseitz (talk) 05:55, 11 March 2015 (PDT)
      • I expect not. Maybe we can meet up at a Barons game this season? --Dystopos (talk) 11:43, 11 March 2015 (PDT)


Between March 15, 2006 and March 8, 2015 fulfilled 113,959,397 successful requests for information in its database, an average of 34,747 per day. There were 83,253,710 successful requests to render pages; an average of 25,383 per day. In all, our server has transferred 2.39 terabytes of data, an average of 763.82 megabytes per day. --Dystopos (talk) 05:57, 15 March 2015 (PDT)

Commas with Jr. & Sr.

Earlier this year, Grammar Girl covered the use of commas with name suffixes like "Jr" and "Sr." The bottom line is that most style guides say not to include one. I don't know if we want to adopt that officially or not, but it would make the lists of births and deaths for the context portion of the year pages a little easier to parse. --Lkseitz (talk) 05:14, 23 June 2015 (PDT)

  • Seems reasonable. I'll see if I can get used to it. cites conflicting style guides and summarizes, "[s]o, if you are a traditionalist, use the commas; if you are progressive, don't. As with many matters of grammar and punctuation, the most important thing is to be consistent." That's one thing we'll probably never be so long as I'm contributing. (Garner’s Modern American Usage, sounds like an interesting read.) --Dystopos (talk) 08:36, 23 June 2015 (PDT)
    • It does require redirects and the repair thereof. Work, work, work. --Dystopos (talk) 14:35, 23 June 2015 (PDT)
      • I don't know that I'm going to make a special effort to change all the existing entries. I was thinking more of a "going forward" policy. I'm all for consistency, as you know, but I agree we'll never have it 100%. I'm hoping we'll find most of the Jr/Sr articles have a full set of redirects for the various combinations of commas/no commas and periods/no periods. --Lkseitz (talk) 05:28, 24 June 2015 (PDT)
        • If not, they should. So it's about the same amount of work, work, work. --Dystopos (talk) 06:59, 24 June 2015 (PDT)
          • And unfortunately I'm 100% wrong about those redirects already existing. Sorry. --Lkseitz (talk) 07:24, 12 September 2015 (PDT)


  • We currently show 5,122 files illustrating our 11,166 articles. That's 0.46 illustrations per article, or 1 image for every 2.18 articles. --Dystopos (talk) 14:03, 26 July 2015 (PDT)