UESPWiki:Administrator Noticeboard/Archives/Pages Missing

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Pages Missing

It has been brought up on the forums that a couple of pages show up completely blank. I have talked with nephele about this problem before and it is mostly with IE users, now noticed in firefox as well. Both the Oblivion:Places and the http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:Merchants show up as a blank white page. It would be nice if someone could check into this as it has been a few days since the initial report. Thank You! 24.230.191.109 12:41, 27 January 2008 (EST)Bear24.230.191.109 12:41, 27 January 2008 (EST)

I started a related discussion about this at Problems Saving Pages so that hopefully our editors can recognize some of the symptoms and fix the problem before readers notice it. At this point, I'm pretty sure that the issue is not browser specific, but rather is related to whether or not the reader is logged in: editors viewing the pages anonymously will get blank pages if the cached copy of the page has been corrupted, but logged-in editors don't get the cached copy of the page (not that logging in is really a way to fix the problem: at this point being logged in means you're more likely to see delays in viewing pages, and you're just as likely to get corrupted pages; the only difference is that if you get problems when you're logged in they only affect you and you generally get some type of error message). I think I fixed Oblivion:Places already last night. I'll try to do Oblivion:Merchants right now, too. Although with the site being busy it might not be possible until later. --NepheleTalk 13:46, 27 January 2008 (EST)
Update: I was able to fix Merchants earlier today, but I couldn't fix Places until just now. But I have now confirmed that both pages are working for anonymous readers. (Until the next time they glitch, that is...) --NepheleTalk 03:03, 28 January 2008 (EST)
I'm sorry, but both Oblivion:Places and Oblivion:Merchants are again blank for me as anonymous reader. No idea if someone can fix it, or that more serious steps are needed. --ErwinF, 82.95.216.132 14:16, 29 January 2008 (EST)
I've just purged both pages so you should be okay now. Honestly your best bet is to get an account! –RpehTCE 14:25, 29 January 2008 (EST)
Well, getting an account isn't really a great solution either: the pages are equally likely to fail if you have an account; the only advantage with an account is that you'll get an error message (after waiting 5 minutes) instead of a blank page. And for the server, it just means more work.
Obviously we need to come up with a better fix for this problem. Even when we fix the cached page, it is apparently very liable to get broken again next time the wiki decides to update it (and I'm not sure at this point whether we even have control over those updates... some are triggered by the page being modified, some are triggered by any embedded templates being modified, but it's also possible that the wiki automatically refreshes all pages once per day or at some similar interval). And then having 15 different editors simultaneously request Oblivion:Places every time someone reports a problem like this really doesn't help the server either (and, yes, that's what just happened in the server logs). In fact, I think right now we're just tripping over each and making things worse: 15 people simultaneously purge the page, half of the requests work and half fail. So it's just a crapshoot as to whether or not the page ends up actually getting fixed.
Oblivion:Places needs to be revamped to make it somewhat smaller... although there's only so much that can be done, because I'd guess that many readers rely upon having a single page that lists all of the dungeons in a single place. Similarly, Oblivion:Merchants could perhaps be tweaked, but there's only a bit that can be done without starting to fundamentally make the page less useful to readers. Increasing the server timeout might help (especially now that UESP's content server is somewhat isolated from incoming requests, the timeout might not be as important for controlling rogue requests). Maybe there are some ways to tell the wiki and/or the squid that certain pages should never be automatically refreshed (then if we can get a stable cache of the page we can hopefully prevent it from being overwritten with a bad copy behind our backs).
And in the meantime, could I perhaps suggest that only admins try to purge a page when one of these requests come in? I know everybody else is just trying to help fix the problem, and there is a risk of a slower response if we need to wait for an admin. But right now we're running into a far more real problem: having the server get shut down for half an hour with a ton of redundant requests, all simultaneously asking the server to do one of the most CPU-intensive requests possible. If only admins are trying, it should hopefully limit the server to only two or three redundant requests. Thanks :) --NepheleTalk 14:52, 29 January 2008 (EST)
Update: I've made some key changes to the two main templates being used on these problem pages: Template:Merc on Oblivion:Merchants and Template:Place Link on Oblivion:Places. The upshot of which is that the server needs to make somewhere from 90% to 75% fewer template expansions when parsing these pages. I've confirmed that there's been a significant reduction in the required processing by looking at the parsing statistics. For example, whereas Oblivion:Places' pre-expand size used to be 1359976, it's now only 496372. And qualitatively, saving the page seemed to take place much more quickly just now.
I'm going to keep an eye on these pages over the next few days to confirm whether those changes do a better job of actually fixing the pages. If anyone notices that they're still blank, post an update here. If we need to go to plan C, then we'll figure out what plan C should be ;) --NepheleTalk 04:04, 30 January 2008 (EST)