UESPWiki:Administrator Noticeboard/Archives/Special Characters
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The problem is subtle. This technique appears at first glance to be no problem, as long as the database, MW installation, and web server are configured appropriately. But I've seen the troll fat hit the fan when a Wiki is migrated to a different platform. Migrating from Windows to Linux, I believe, is a particular disaster. I couldn't tell you exactly what causes it, but what can happen is that all non-ASCII characters in page texts will be silently replaced with garbage or question marks. The cleanup of a spill like this, as you can imagine, is a nightmare, especially if your old installation is no longer accessible by the time you notice it.
On the other hand, non-ASCII characters that are entered as character references (e.g., é = é or é = é) never require the database, MW software, web server, migration script, or browser to understand any encodings but ASCII. Much more bulletproof. And they will still display just as nicely in the browser; possibly better, if the browser doesn't like the encodings that the server knows.
I recommend that a brief explanation and directive to use character references be added to the Format section of the UESPWiki:Style Guide. See the Standards page of the HRWiki for an example. And if possible, I strongly recommend that those quick-insert links be modified to insert the appropriate character references instead of real characters. That would make compliance with such guidelines much easier than it has been on other wikis. Thoughts? Does anyone know an argument against this, or reason to be positive it will never be an issue for this wiki? --TheNicestGuy 14:36, 10 January 2008 (EST)