User talk:FrJohn

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Welcome to my discussion page. Please post new messages to the bottom of the page and use headings when starting new discussion topics.
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/archived discussion 1 (through 09-07-2005)
/archived discussion 2 (through 11-20-2005)
/archived discussion 3 (through 05-24-2006)

God bless you

I hope that we can do a very nice site in arabic --Habib 19:23, November 10, 2006 (PST)


Fr. John, I published my article on Hebrew Catholics in the Orthodox Wiki portal for two reasons, the first is I couldn't log in the General Wikipedia and the second because it is related to an Eastern spirituality. You said you deleted it because it is not convenient for your site, i mean, you consider it not appropriate. So, where is the information right for your believers and anybody else? Where is the Christian spirit you proclaim? I don't pretend to alien or romanize the Orthodoxy, as i understand we are from the same Apostolic root. Where is the final period for a real unity? When until are the Latin and Orthodox fighting for little things? I'm a great admiror of the Eastern culture and its ritual traditions. I respect and support the diversity in the Church of Christ. I believe in the unity but not the uniformity. So, if you could see i look for the defined identities from the peoples.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Levikahano (talkcontribs) .

Hi Levikahano, It's not right for OrthodoxWiki because it deals with a Roman Catholic group. I'm not saying the group isn't important or that we may share many things, but this generally isn't in the scope of material that we would include here. I would encourage you to put it on a Catholic wiki, or even on Wikipedia. May God bless you. — FrJohn (talk)

Deletes and undeletes?

I'm curious as to what exactly you're doing. Are you trying to erase article histories to remove direct evidence of vandalism? If so, it makes examining the legitimate part of the histories somewhat difficult...  :/ —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 16:03, June 3, 2006 (CDT)

Book sources page formatting

There are HTML formatting problems on the Special:Booksources page. (after the ISBN number is entered) This once worked but now does not. There is no way for me to fix it, so I'll just report it. Andrew 12:57, June 13, 2006 (CDT)

I went ahead and wikified the page. Is there a particular reason why the html formatting no longer works? —magda (talk) 13:09, June 13, 2006 (CDT)
Hmm... probably has to do with the upgrade to 1.6. I'm out of town now, but I'll try to have a look next week when I get back. Fr. John

Name blocks

Are we able to block certain usernames from being used? Right now, the system of renaming has its advantages in the history section of vandalised articles, but the same usernames can still be reused - can we put, say, a '*vandal*' block up? — edited by sτévο at 21:57, June 16, 2006 (CDT)

I think it's possible, but I'll have to refresh my memory on this. Let me try to look at this later in the week. Fr. John
It is, you need this extension. Gregg 15:40, June 17, 2006 (CDT)
Thanks Gregg! That makes it easy. — FrJohn (talk)
P.S. If anyone has an idea what should be blocked, please send me an email.

Hello, Father

Thanks for the message. I'm a php programmer. I'm mystified by wiki, but I'll figure it out.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Rightwingprof (talkcontribs) .


Thanks, not sure how much I can, or will contribute, but hey, maybe I will learn something. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mmatga2me99 (talkcontribs) .

Thank you for the welcome

Dear Fr John,

Thank you for the kind welcome. Much appreciated. It's nice to be here. -Antonios 15:27, August 5, 2006 (CDT)


Thank you, Father John. I find it a pleasure to accept your invitation. I wouldn't do too well on handling theological subject, but history, etc. and sounding off on non-theological subject I can do.

I had been meaning to e-mailing you on the subject of sound (audio) lifes, but have kept putting it off. I have a recording of my father-in-law's choir (Victor Pokrovsky) that I recorded at Nicolai-do in 1957 and have wondered if you want to place audio files on Orthodoxwiki. I have the file in two formats, AIFF Audio file and MP3 Audio file. I know the perferred format is 'OGG' but so far I haven't found the means to convert it. The file is short, 11 minutes, but of course is a large, 112MB and 127 MB. There is a slight pause at about a one third point for a shorter version.

I can send the file to you if you have access to a means to convert the file, when I get to a high speed connection. I'm on dial-up. Or less I could just up-load load one of the two versions I have.Wsk 20:28, August 10, 2006 (CDT)

Hi Bill, Of course it's a nice addition, but sysops generally aren't the ones to do the heavy theological writing. Mainly they're just empowered to do a few extra things for the good of the order. Thanks for accepting!
You might not have noticed yet my very subtle announcement on the news page about OrthodoxSource, a new sister project to OrthodoxWiki (very much in alpha stage at this point, which is why the announcement wasn't more strongly stated). The audio recording you mentioned would be great on that site - it's exactly the kind of thing I envisioned it for actually.
I haven't worked out what to do with large media files yet. There's a few possibilities, including using a free third-party service like OurMedia. I think I'd rather keep more direct control of the archives though, so I'm thinking about using something like Amazon's S3 service, which is totally scalable. The downside is that I'd have to ask for donations to cover some of the (relatively minimal, at least initially) cost. We have room to grow on the server we're on, but I don't want to overwhelm things, especially if our media hosting grows, as I hope it will.
In terms of formats, I envision being much less strict than Wikimedia Commons - my concern would be less for openness of the format than for general accessibility. In this regard AIFF/MP3 are hard to beat. Maybe the easiest thing to do would be to email you with an FTP login, then you can upload the files at your leisure. Does that sound ok? Fr. John 21:50, August 10, 2006 (CDT)

Your offer, Fr. John, sounds very good. I received your e-mail and now I will send the file as soon as I learn to use the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). This is a first for me. The OrthodxSource sounds like a great addition.Wsk 20:10, August 15, 2006 (CDT)

Sysop invite

Why, thank you, Father. I'd certainly like to help. My technical/wiki mark-up skills may not be that great, but I'm willing to do anything I can. Just tell me what I need to do next. Gabriela 22:47, August 10, 2006 (CDT)

Thanks for accepting, Gabriela. You've got enough down, and I'm sure you can keep learning. I'll send you an invite to the Sysop list. You can look over the archives if you want to get an idea of where we have been. Fr. John

become an OrthodoxWiki sysop

Thank you for the invite Father John, I'd be glad to help when I can. I am going to be busy for the next few weeks, but then I'll be able to give it more time. Andrew 20:05, August 14, 2006 (CDT)

Contributed articles

I've forgotten - are contributed articles supposed to be within the normal OW space, or is there a special place set aside for them? — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 03:19, September 1, 2006 (CDT)

Hi Pistevo, we're planning to move them all to OrthodoxSource. It hasn't really launched yet, so maybe we should just post it here with a {transfer} tag. — FrJohn (talk)

Dcn ASDamick?

Dear Fr John: I wonder if you know what's become of Deacon ASDamick? His user pages both here and on Wikipedia list him as departed indefinitely from the services; but as he was so active (I interacted more with him there than here, I do confess), I wonder what's happened? —Antonios Aigyptostalk 16:36, September 4, 2006 (CDT)

Hi, He's taking a (hopefully temporary) leave of absence for while. — FrJohn (talk)

Ah, I see. Well, as long as nothing's terribly wrong. From the on-line perspective, he's just up and vanished with no means of contact -- so one worries! —Antonios Aigyptostalk 17:17, September 4, 2006 (CDT)

Yep, I can see that. Thanks for your concern - he's fine though. And still email-able. — FrJohn (talk)

Primus inter pares article

Hello Father,

I saw that you added the Wikipedia source link to the article in question. I read the parts of the style manual regarding how to do that (besides copying and pasting the actual Wikipedia URL), but I still seem to be confused.

Also, that link:, also seems to result in a Wikipedia error.

I tried to import the article as best I could, my apologies if I erred.

Hellenica 22:20, September 8, 2006 (CDT)

Hi Hellenica,
Thanks for your work here. Good catch on the link. You don't need to apologize - you're just learning. Because of the licensing, we need to explicitly state the Wikipedia article as a source. Since it doesn't add anything to what's currently there, the current article doesn't need to be cited as an external link. If you don't have time to edit all the wikipedia-specific stuff out, and add Orthodox stuff in, just mark it with a {{cleanup}} tag until it's been fixed up. Again, thanks! — FrJohn (talk)


There is a user, Youte2 who is defacing countless articles, it looks like a bot. Hellenica 21:26, September 9, 2006 (CDT)

Thanks, got him. — FrJohn (talk)

Re: My e-mail address

Dear Fr. John,
You know, actually I thought about that myself, but I didn't consider it such a problem because I already get spammed up to the lagoon, what with the e-mail address embedded in the headers of my web sites. Fortunately, Yahoo! has made it very easy to clean out all that bulk mail with just a few clicks.
But you're right. Why make a bad problem even worse? Thank you for your concern and for making that change.
Sincerely, John Bockman

No problem, glad to help. Yours, — FrJohn (talk)

Upload problems

I'm having a problem uploading an image of the late Metropolitan Vitaly. I get an error message when I do that.: Internal error

Could not copy file "/tmp/phptpCoq5" to "/home/owiki/public_html/images/6/66/MetropolitanVitaly.jpg".

Thanks for pasting in the whole error message - that helps! I'm not really sure what happened, but it looks like there was a corrupted file under that same name. I've deleted it - please try again and let me know if you have any more problems. Thanks! - Fr. John
Nope, I'm still getting the same problem
Could not copy file "/tmp/phpkVAglv" to "/home/owiki/public_html/images/6/66/MetropolitanVitaly.jpg".
--Aleks 15:12, September 26, 2006 (CDT)
Hmm.... ""/tmp/phpkVAgl" is your local path? What program are you using to store the image? I wonder what would happen if you tried renaming the source filename to something more standard, with a MIME type that the wiki would recognize. There are MIME restrictions in place which prevent "unmarked" files without certain extensions from being uploaded. You might also type a different destination filename. Let me know again if that doesn't work. Thanks, — FrJohn
Nope, my path local path is "/home/sasha/Desktop/MetropolitanVitaly.jpg". This must be some kind of path on the server. I'm using Mozilla Firefox on Linux (Fedora Core 5). The problem occurs with any image of Metropolitan Vitaly. The images are all jpg. If you'd like, Father, I can e-mail the image to you and you can try uploading it.


This problem is now fixed. — FrJohn (talk) 09:54, September 27, 2006 (CDT)


Thanks! I've actually been away for two weeks, which is why it hasn't changed - I thought I put it on my userpage, but apparently not... — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 20:17, October 6, 2006 (CDT)

Hi Fr. John,

Thanks for that it looks much neater now, okay this is a sad point and feel free to yell at me for it - now no one will know that I did it? as it doesn't list me as being involved/ a contributor in the page - now I know that as a Wiki user that shouldn't bother me as it's really all aobut growing the knowledge base but I guess I am vain and also I could use the brownie points! Sorry. But really I do like what you have done and it really does look much better and I uderstand entirely why you have done it, so please feel free to totally ignore my cribbing and moaning.



Father Bless!

Father bless!

Hello Fr. John, I found your link here via the discussion page at Sadly this Catholic wiki is being overrun by spam links and misguided attempts by Protestants to convince us we're all pagans. I saw that you'd made an offer to help deal with the spam, do you know if the owner of WikiCath is going to do something about it soon? Or perhaps I should just find another Catholic wiki =/

Anyways, I do love this Orthodox Wiki and want to see something similar for us Catholics.  :)

You humble brother in Christ, -Devin a sinner

- Dscherck 23:40, November 3, 2006 (PST)

Recent Changes

Not sure what the problem is - or the solution - but Special:Recent changes keeps coming up as an executable. — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 05:42, November 4, 2006 (PST)

I'm using Firefox It's not even letting me go to a page and then load; I click and it pops up that Firefox is trying to open a "application/x-httpd-php" file from My RSS feed is working fine, though. — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 02:12, November 5, 2006 (PST)
Still the same. Also, for whatever reason, it works fine using Internet Explorer. — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 00:34, November 6, 2006 (PST)
Also, it works fine in Firefox 2, which I've just installed. — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 00:52, November 6, 2006 (PST)
Not sure what to say at this point, except I'm glad it's working for you! I have noticed this problem with a few sites in the past, and I'll continue to dig a little bit and see it I can't find out anything more. Thanks, — FrJohn (talk)

Edit Throttling

Hi FrJohn, I'm working on an Edit Throttling Mediawiki extension. I've seen you guys have faced a lot of vandalism in the past. I tried to install Bad Behavior, but it didnt work on our wiki. We were vandalized again using a Move flood (lots of Moves in a short time). I've also seen BB denies some legitimate users. Have you been vandalized recently and what else are you using besides Bad Behavior to stop vandal bots and human vandals, while not causing inconvinience to legitimate users? thanks! --JohnK 18:34, November 5, 2006 (PST)

Hi FrJohn, thanks for response. Today I finished up writing the Edit Throttle extension and have put it into place for testing. I think it will work well, even for your problem:
Basically, the only problem that remains is when a human agent creates an account with a temporary email address and then blasts us.
In my ET extension, if a user is not on some "safe lists" (which can be edited only by SysOps like any Mediawiki page [just like in the SpamBlacklist extension page]), he will get blocked automatically if he tries to make more than for example 5 edits in 1 minute, or 20 edits in one hour (these numbers can be adjusted). Our wiki also requires people to login so thats also one help. Although maybe later I'll change this but with lots of alterations to make sure people's IP addresses dont become public etc. I did the login thing primarily so our IP addresses arent put out in public (really not wise of Mediawiki developers to get this idea of throwing out people's IP's for the world to see). I'm testing this extension and its working great for now. I even adjusted the Spam blackList so it only scans for spam, if a user is not on those safe lists. The theory behind all of this is simple: Except for WikiPedia, all wikis are usually edited by a small group of people. That makes it possible for this extension to do its job nicely. I might ask you sometime more detail on the other extensions/utilities you've installed - if the ET doesnt work well. If it works well for me after I've tested it nicely, I'll let you know if you would like to have it to (it will probably not be coded best, but atleast it works). I love the idea of these safe lists. This is perfect for wikis like ours, where a small number of people edit the wiki. For example you have about 2000 users, which is good. Its manageable and even ideal to have these safe lists. Even if a user is not on the safe lists, he can still edit, but more strict limits will be imposed on his editing, just to make sure we dont have a vandal at large. I even have a function in there, which detects lots of edits from people who are not on the safe list, and then it locks the wiki, allowing only "safe list" users to edit the wiki. This is useful if vandals use anonymous proxies with different IP's to make a flood that way, or if a group of vandals decide to attack a wiki at the same time. Safe list users get free tickets. Others have to be scrutinized. With the control of the Safe lists only in the hands of Sysops, its easy to control access. Doing that saves a lot of headache, where all we'd be doing is either fearing when the next attack is going to happen or reverting the attacks. There's another list "Frequent editors". That list has special people on it like Sysops, or people who we know edit the wiki a lot. To them, no limits of any kind are imposed. I'm excited and cant wait for our first vandal to attack to see what happens. Sometime I might ask you for advice for possible patterns of vandalism we could deal with. Our wiki is very controversial (means, a large group of people hate our presence to varying degrees) and so it was absolutely important to have these protections in place, otherwise we could not survive. All we'd be doing is reverting attacks if we werent protected so this will be very helpful for us. Because this is new, I'm sure the system can be breaken by some means or patterns ov vandalism and I'll see what goes on and adjust accordingly. So many other things as well can be put in place and designed, for example, I could limit the number of edits depending on the age of the user. If a user is only 60 minutes old (fresh user created), it could only do 5 edits and then further editing could only be possible if we add it to the Safe list. The process would be designed to be transparent to the genuine editor, but a quick road block to the vandal. We could even possibly limit IP edits. For example, we could have a maximum of 10 anonymous edits everdday just to keep things in check. These kinds of checks can also be created but for now, I'll stay with what I have and just allow logged-in edits. --JohnK 22:06, November 12, 2006 (PST)
This sounds very good, John. I'd love to give it a try. I like the idea too of being able to restrict by age of user. Instead of putting 1000 people on the safe list, I could just specify that any accounts older than 3 months can edit more furiously than brand new accounts. I don't care too much about the elegance of the code, as long as server load isn't dramatically increased. I'd be happy to use OrthodoxWiki as a test wiki for you. Happily, we're at the point right now where automated bot attacks aren't really a problem, and the occasional human ones get cleaned up pretty quickly. I could see ET as a way to further cut down on cleanup costs, though. God bless! — FrJohn (talk)
Ok great. I'm testing it out on our own wiki first right now and have some more fine tunings to do and then I'll probably give the script to you after I think its good and ready. The server load will be fine, yes. The script is very efficient. It basically only runs if a user moves or edits (which is rare on small wikis, or at most a maximum of every few minutes or sometimes even hours). If a script finds a user on the Frequent Editor list, it exits right away. My script actually helped reduce the load becuase it doesnt process Safe user posts for spam, so thats a big efficiency (the SpamBlacklist is a huge long list of possible spam URL's and certainly for example, we dont need established editors' posts being monitored for spam. Thats ridiculous and wastes server resources). So you're right then, its the new accounts that are always a problem. I'll fine tune and get back you sometime. If possible could you give me some links where I can see where vandalism took place on your wiki here? Then I can incorporate those behaviors into the script if possible.
I'm also trying to make it so that all the parameters (e.g. minimum user age: 3 months) can be adjusted easily on the wiki, without need for us to get into PHP and FTP, and then all we need is to login and do these changes. Also I plan to try to introduce some sort of emergency button that halts editing from users not on our safe lists, and also another button which halts all editing. This can be helpful in the worst situation where there's lots of flooding going on and we're not sitting on our PC with access to the server code. Ofcourse the automatic blocks are important. If we're not at our PC, we dont want to come back and find all our pages vandalized (like I experienced two times) and since we're not always at the PC, we want the auto blocks to take care of these things. I'll be fine tuning the script in the coming days and weeks for these kinds of features. Since vandalism is not a problem for you right now, I guess you wouldnt need the script in an emergency, correct? So I'll just fine tune and make it bug free to make sure it works, before giving it to you. If you'd still like a copy, let me know, however, there may be some bugs there that I havent caught so I would say you could wait a little before testing it out on your wiki. Lets see what happens today. The vandal usually strikes after 24 hours of opening up the wiki so I expect some thing caught in the trap if that script works. Meanwhile if you have any suggestions for what this script could do, feel free to propose any ideas that you think will be effective in reducing vandalism while least inconveniencing genuine users.--JohnK 15:28, November 13, 2006 (PST)

Help Editing page

FrJohn, I do not know if you are looking at this, but I think that the Help:Editing page has a frame problem. The left menu gets loaded with the text on the right. - Andrew 08:09, November 8, 2006 (PST)

Weird! Thanks for the heads up. — FrJohn (talk)