[Mediawiki-l] Why Facebook and others can't see a wiki's most important image

Daniel Friesen lists at nadir-seen-fire.com
Tue Jul 26 02:23:44 UTC 2011

On 11-07-25 05:42 PM, jidanni at jidanni.org wrote:
> All I know is attempting to share "http://www.google.com/" on Facebook
> gives a pleasing
> "Google
>  http://www.google.com/
>  Search the world's information, including webpages, images, videos and
>  more. Google has many special features to help you find exactly what
>  you're looking for."
> With a crisp Google logo as the first and only logo choice.
> Text and logo 100% perfect! ♥♥♥
> Now allow us to turn our attention to say, what happens when trying to
> share oh,  "http://www.mediawiki.org/" ,
> "MediaWiki
>  http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki
>  Use the links below to explore the site contents. You'll find some
>  content translated into other languages, but the primary documentation
>  language is English."
> 1. the URL becomes the longer ugly redirect, but never mind that, that was a
> previous argument.
> 2. Of course we are not given a choice of the site logo, which is my
> main argument of this thread, but as the lyrics go, "that's what they
> want, that's what they choose". Brian Eno - Cindy Tells Me
> http://youtu.be/XC9Rb8G03es
> 3. How did Facebook choose that snippet of text? It seems that it runs
> down to the first <P> outside of a <div> or something.
The order Facebook goes for that text is supposed to be:
- OpenGraph og:description
- Meta description tag
- First <p> in the page.
Not sure what extra heuristics they do on the <p> scanning.
> And they why then when sharing ones average mom and pop wikis,
> http://abj.jidanni.org/
> http://transgender-taiwan.org/
> http://radioscanningtw.jidanni.org
> not only does one not get a single image, but not a scrap of text gets
> included either. What is it that makes Facebook not see the text sitting
> there on the page? What goop is ruining things?
The three wiki pages you describe are filled with lists, definition
lists, and headers. The only <p> I can find on those page have content
so short that Facebook probably can't figure out if they're content, or
junk like you'll find in various parts of the web.
ie: The issue here is those pages lack any real textual content for
Facebook to even extract.
I'm not even sure if my Description2 extension could extract enough text
to fill a meta description on those pages.

> Now turning our attention to Wikia sites, well they fare a bit better in
> Facebook.
> However attempting to share "http://www.wikia.com/" itself produces no
> image whatsoever.
You'd better get some facts strait here:
- Wikia does in fact declare an image for that page you list, the only
reason it doesn't show up is because Wikia's logo is less than 38px in
height. This is the same as the rest of the wiki homepages, there is
nothing inferior about this page or MediaWiki here. If you want
something to blame for this, either gripe that Wikia hasn't chosen a
logo large enough, or that Facebook doesn't like images less than 50px
in any size (and face the slew of reasons why you don't want the other
images that small showing up in FB).
- Wikia's pages do in fact show pretty well in Facebook. This is because
Wikia is using my OpenGraphMeta extension after I personally advised
them to use it because before that (while they had like buttons in their
skin) their pages were even WORSE than stock MediaWiki.
- When it comes to Facebook scanning pages for data 99% of whether or
not this is going to work well is the fault of the skin. The ONLY
relevant thing MediaWiki can do differently when it comes to that is og:
meta tags. And because everything is dependent on where the skin puts
something in page order, how they embed it, what other kinds of images
they add in the page, and how they insert the logo, the results of
trying to share something on Wikia with Facebook has nothing to do with
MediaWiki handling on this because Wikia is using a custom skin.

> Conclusion: Mediawiki does not pass the Facebook test.
~Daniel Friesen (Dantman, Nadir-Seen-Fire) [http://daniel.friesen.name]

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