Last modified: 2011-04-01 21:11:41 UTC

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Bug 25600 - Example phone number displaying in edit box but not in article.
Example phone number displaying in edit box but not in article.
Product: MediaWiki
Classification: Unclassified
Parser (Other open bugs)
PC Windows XP
: Normal normal (vote)
: ---
Assigned To: Nobody - You can work on this!
Depends on:
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2010-10-20 17:49 UTC by tahrey
Modified: 2011-04-01 21:11 UTC (History)
3 users (show)

See Also:
Web browser: ---
Mobile Platform: ---
Assignee Huggle Beta Tester: ---


Description tahrey 2010-10-20 17:49:48 UTC
Not sure whether this is mediawiki or a wikipedia fault, or something with my browser, but it warrants looking into.

In at least this case, a UK-formatted phone number (example number, not valid to call) can be typed into the page edit box, and will persist between edits, but not show up on the article mainpage. At least, not after the page is loaded. It will appear briefly, before vanishing. Having blocked by NoScript prevents it from appearing at all. All other text on the page, including that immediately around the number, and other number blocks (including some superficially similar to the vanishing one) display correctly.

For further detail, a copy and paste of my entry on the wikipedia help request page:

Go to UK telephone code misconceptions and check the earlier revision before I started my long string of edits, trying to work out what the "strange" effect was. Note that the phone number I keep changing between revisions displays briefly whilst the page loads, but then disappears. Yes, that's right, stuff written otherwise in plain text in the edit box does not display on the article. Or at least, it doesn't on my system.

I'm using Firefox 3.6.11 under Windows, with NoScript and little else. What I'd think is a reasonably normal setup. At first, it didn't display at all, but when I allowed as well as wikipedia itself, the brief initial appearance manifested. So it may be reasonable to assume something's not quite right with wikimedia... but why is it getting involved with a data string that's nothing more than 34 ASCII characters? (11 numbers, 2 parentheses, 2 non breaking spaces and a bold/unbold tag pair, if all's gone to plan)

The wierdest thing is that no other number on the page is (as far as I can easily tell) affected, including other similar ones. Only that one, in that position, under certain conditions, as seen during the edit series (all annotated in the page history). Which sort of rules out any general "phone number ban" policy or a general purpose highlighter going wrong. Something in that peculiar arrangement of characters is glitching the server's database parsing and html-forming routines (I haven't actually scanned the output html, didn't have time) and making it "hide" the number somehow.

This could be an entirely isolated incident, or indicative of a problem that may manifest and hide other phone, or phone-like numbers on different pages, and possibly even be a security weakness.

Or, is there just some tag I have to put around those kinds of numbers in order to mark them as "do not hide"? They're not real ones, after all - they're equivalent to american "555" dummy numbers and only in there for example purposes. Not being used for promotional purposes or anything.

Comment 1 Roan Kattouw 2010-10-20 18:08:13 UTC
The number doesn't look any different from other numbers, and displays fine for me in all your revisions (Firefox 3.6.10 on Linux).
Comment 2 Bawolff (Brian Wolff) 2010-10-21 00:19:57 UTC
Thats a rather weird bug. Could it perhaps be some combination of noScript + that skype plugin that replaces phone numbers with "skype this number link" (Thats just a totally random guess, probably wrong).
Comment 3 tahrey 2010-10-25 22:33:55 UTC
Roan: Now I'm viewing it on my home machine, it looks fine also.

Bawolff: Could be. I wouldn't be able to tell you if the (workplace) PC I was viewing/editing on originally had it installed at the time, but it *may* have had Skype installed at some point, possibly with browser integration. It wouldn't have been anything but whatever comes with the STANDARD Skype package however - no third party or otherwise explicitly downloaded apps, just the default install options.

In which case, as Skype users aren't exactly so niche a market (and most will go for the default), and putting workarounds on pages doesn't seem to be an option as - just as in this case - overeager edit-admins will just end up reverting the pages back to the "broken" (but "correct" in terms of raw wiki code) version, a fix still needs to be found.

Of course, a report needs to be made to the skype folks, should I check that PC and find it DOES have Skype and/or the plugin still installed... but until they isolate the problem, or should they be unable/unwilling to, is there any kind of masking code that could be silently inserted into what the mediawiki server pumps out? Some kind of fnord for the skype-plug's eyes only that stops it erasing the number?

It's not exactly the same effect as the "begin skype number here" thing either. Instead of adding lines of obvious spurious code, it's silently deleting numbers off otherwise normal webpages.

What I found after all was that the right combination of other characters surrounding the number could nullify the effect. Now, if that was possible without the end user seeing it...? Or even marking the page in some way that makes the plugin ignore it entirely and leave it the hell alone?

Cheers, T
Comment 4 tahrey 2010-10-25 22:35:51 UTC
OH... just to say... this "home machine" is also running Firefox, same release version, same windows XP setup (except it's got the tablet PC extensions), also has Noscript and a bundle of other plugins & add-ons (another one common to both: Forecastfox). But it hasn't ever had skype on it... IIRC! The plot thickens.
Comment 5 Brion Vibber 2011-02-13 23:26:28 UTC
Bump -- does this still happen?

Can you confirm if the problem continues with all Firefox add-ons disabled? Can it be narrowed down to any specific add-on?

(Note that Firefox has recently blacklisted the Skype toolbar, which apparently is/was an automatic "extra" that Skype installs for you on Windows, due to it causing so many problems, including serious performance degradation. It's still possible it was there and you didn't notice it, or there may be some other plugin/addon that's doing similar stuff.)
Comment 6 Mark A. Hershberger 2011-04-01 21:11:41 UTC
Since Brion bumped w/o a response and tahrey's tests seem to indicate this is a Skype problem, not a MW problem, I'm closing this as invalid.

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