HRWiki:A History

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Our proud heritage

The history of the Homestar Runner Wiki.



The beginnings and early days

In November 2002, a mutual friend emailed Joey Day and Stu Wilde a link to Strong Bad email #51, website, knowing they would enjoy it since they are both web-design hobbyists. This was the first time they had experienced Homestar Runner, and both of them were immediately hooked.

Nearly a year later in September 2003, Joey stumbled across Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He immediately fell in love with the concept and decided to start a wiki of his own. After researching the various wiki platforms available at the time, he settled on one called WikkiTikkiTavi because it used a MySQL database and produced valid XHTML markup. He hadn't given much thought to scalability at the time, preferring something light and snappy over the larger and more stable platforms like Twiki, Moin Moin, or MediaWiki.

After installing the software on October 7, 2003, Joey decided he needed a topic. It didn't take him long to decide it should be a Homestar Runner knowledge base. After Googling to make sure no one had already set up such a thing, he promptly called his wiki the Homestar Runner Wiki.

In the first couple weeks Joey transcribed a few emails, starting with mile, but then life crept in and he was unable to do much more. It took nearly two months for anyone else to discover the wiki, but slowly and surely people began shuffling in. hawk and Maz were the first users to create UserSpaces, and when Stu heard there were people on the wiki he decided to set up his own UserSpace. JamesGecko was the first user to contribute significant content.

"I remember when there was nothing here but a transcript for the Strong Bad Email Mile, done by none other than yours truly. I about fell off my chair when I opened up StrongBadEmail one day to find that every email had been listed with a link to its own page. I about fell off my chair again when I opened it up a month later to discover that every email had been transcribed!" — Joey Day (WikiChat/OldTimersClub).

STUB'D! This section of the page is incomplete. You can help the Homestar Runner Wiki by expanding it.

Important additions


STUB'D! This section of the page is incomplete. You can help the Homestar Runner Wiki by expanding it.

First attempt

The Strong Bad Email virus was extremely popular, and fun facts started appearing left and right. In order to make sure the fun facts on that and other pages were valid, the HRWiki:Select The Usable Fun Facts (STUFF) page was created. Users with potential Fun Facts posted them on the page, and other users voted on whether to accept them.


As the page grew in size and scope, it became overrun with personal attacks and chatter. After much discussion and refactoring, the page was relaunched in mid-June of 2005, officially shortening the name to HRWiki:STUFF. The new format uses a much more structured layout in order to eliminate the problems of the old format.

Featured articles

Since the Main Page reformat on May 23, 2005, featured articles have been updated weekly. The premiere featured article was HRWiki:Featured article for 2005, week 21, about Homestar Runner (Flash cartoon). Featured articles are nominated by any user willing to voice his or her opinion, with the final decision resting on one of the sysops or responsible users. Featured articles are automatically changed at midnight (00:00) Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on Monday.

Da Basement

HRWiki:Da Basement is a place for administrators and sysops to congregate and discuss important issues that involve the wiki. These discussions range from new page ideas to formatting and template changes to the content of the wiki. Although Da Basement is intended for sysops, anyone is allowed to contribute.

The page was originally started by Joey Day on June 15, 2005 with the name "Sysop water-cooler". Several users posted ideas for new titles. The title Da Basement, posted by FireBird, became the new name. This originated from Arcade Game.

The Stick

Since May 2005, HRWiki:The Stick has been the community center of the wiki. It has links to all the committees, the community projects, and more, and it's the best place to go if one wants to help the wiki, vote on articles in STUFF, and so on.

Recent changes patrol

The Recent changes patrol is a HRWiki committee created on May 3, 2005 that searches Recent Changes for red exclamation points (!). This crew patrols the wiki every time an edit has been made. This patrol is the Wiki's first line of defense. If anyone were to make an edit that is false, misspelled, or malicious, a user from the Recent Changes Patrol will revert or correct that edit. Although any logged-in user is allowed to patrol, they are encouraged to join the committee if they do.

Welcoming committee

The Welcoming committee is a group of users who welcome new users to the wiki. These messages are added to the new user's talk page. These messages are meant not only to help the new user out as they get started, but to also make them feel more at home. Generally, welcome messages tend to include links to several helpful articles and pages, including the "Help" section and the MediaWiki user's guide. Anyone is allowed to join the committee.

The Welcoming committee was created on October 7, 2004 by FireBird after a brief discussion with Tom.

Important upgrades

MediaWiki 1.3

Around June 2004, it was becoming apparent that 'Tavi would no longer be able to handle the amount of traffic the wiki was experiencing, and the admin team began researching alternatives. On July 16, 2004, MediaWiki 1.3 was installed on the server at It was secretly developed under the name "Experimental Wiki" for nearly two months and released in late August 2004. For some time, while MediaWiki was getting set up, WikkiTikkiTavi was closed down to ease the burden on the server.

STUB'D! This section of the page is incomplete. You can help the Homestar Runner Wiki by expanding it.

MediaWiki 1.4

The wiki was upgraded to MediaWiki 1.4 on April 3, 2005.

The fanstuff wiki was upgraded first on March 22, 2005. Some users perceived that it did not go over smoothly, though only a few problems actually arose. The site layout was altered and image uploading was down for about twelve days. Additionally, the history on some pages from mid-January to mid-March was lost. When the layout and uploading were fixed, the knowledge-base wiki was upgraded without a hitch.

MediaWiki 1.5

On 9 October 2005, the wiki upgraded to MediaWiki 1.5. This added many new options to the wiki, not the least of which was the Move Log, which lists all the pages that have been moved. This addition was particularly useful for combating the page-move vandal Willy on Wheels.

However, the 1.5 upgrade also had a few bugs in it. One disabled all usernames starting with a lowercase initial. Such users then had to change their name formally to continue editing the wiki. This issue has not been resolved, and according to the MediaWiki developers, this was an intentional change and will not be addressed in the future. Another bug was one that did not properly clear the talk page notification for users who had spaces in their names, thus causing a permanent stay of the "new messages" alert unless they manually cycled the watchlist; this has since been fixed. A notable change in the way the software works makes it so that a user's talk page cannot be added to his or her watchlist except automatically when receiving a message. This seems to be an intentional feature change.

Back to WikkiTikkiTavi

On April 1st, 2006, the wiki reverted to WikkiTikkiTavi. (As quoted by Joey Day) "We decided to do this now for three reasons:

  1. MediaWiki has way too many SQL tables. That was creating a lot of unnecessary overhead and it was really starting to tax the server. 'Tavi has a smaller database, so it should work better.
  2. MediaWiki is really designed for multi-server load balancing systems like Wikipedia. After using it for over a year now we've become painfully aware just how kludgy MediaWiki is when it's running on a single server like ours. 'Tavi should be able to handle our single-server system much better.
  3. Surprisingly, MediaWiki had no optimization of it's X32 page caching, which was really starting to eat up a lot of space on our server. 'Tavi recently rolled out better X45 page caching that looks to revolutionize the wiki market."

However, several users felt uncomfortable, and thought that MediaWiki mas much more organized. For now, WikkiTikkiTavi is the wiki's only option, and many hope that it is not completely permanent. It is expected that upgrades will be downloaded in future months.

STUB'D! This section of the page is incomplete. You can help the Homestar Runner Wiki by expanding it.

Administration and maintenance

Early administration

The 'Tavi software didn't have much in the way of administrative features. There was password-protected admin area that allowed a user to lock and unlock pages and block and unblock IPs. At first JoeyDay was the only one with access to that page, but Stu was given access sometime in late 2003. Before the wiki was upgraded to MediaWiki, Tom, JamesGecko, InterruptorJones, and Gemini were also given administrator access.

When the wiki was upgraded to MediaWiki 1.3 on July 16, 2004, the original group of bureaucrats/sysops consisted of InterruptorJones, JoeyDay, Stu, Tom. The wiki continued to grow, and on (or just before) December 21, 2004, AgentSeethroo, who had contributed greatly to the migration, was given bureaucrat/sysop privileges.

On February 5, 2005, the decision was made to begin utilizing the tiered permissions system of the MediaWiki software. On that date, Drhaggis and FortyTwo were given sysop privileges, but they weren't given bureaucrat privileges or made part of the Admin Team.

April 2005 sysop nominations

In April 2005, the wiki held its first sysop nominations. The nomination process was simple: once a nomination was made, several users posted their thoughts on who would be the best choice, though all the final decisions were made by the Admin Team. On April 25, 2005, the following users were accepted and given sysop privileges: FireBird, Furrykef, Jay, Kilroy, and Thunderbird L17. Additionally, Homestar Coder became a sysop on April 27 and The Paper on April 29.

Later additions

On September 9, 2005, during the second server move of the current wiki, two other sysops were added: BazookaJoe and It's dot com. On November 21 of the same year, It's dot com was made a bureaucrat/developer and a part of the Admin Team. On March 8, 2006, another round of promotions took place, with E.L. Cool, Heimstern Läufer, Phlip, Rogue Leader, and Some HSR themed username given sysop status. A day later, AbdiViklas and Lapper were given sysop status as well.


On September 21, 2004 InterruptorJones added the article Standards. By this our editing and etiquette standards were put into writing. These guidelines brought more uniformity to the wiki and helped curb reverting wars where certain rules of style had been previously vague. Between December 24, 2005 and January 15, 2006 an effort was made to upgrade these standards to clarify guidelines of signatures and image usage. Guidelines for a user's signature length and size were established. Previous to this the length or style of a signature was suggestion but not precisely defined. Images went under a massive overhaul at this same time and each image was examined for to ensure copyright compliance. Each image was tagged to identify the image's origin, type, and in some cases the user who uploaded it. Around this time the personal image policy was also changed. This new policy allowed users to two personal images whereas previously only one had been allowed (although this was sparsely enforced). Also each user was allowed on smaller image to use in their signature.


A guestbook is a list of people that have signed a list stating that they have visited a user's page. The first guestbook appeared on the user page of IPADDRESSMAN on the old wiki, although after the move to MediaWiki, they reappeared on July 24th, 2005 at Smileyface11945's page. The original intent of a guestbook was to allow users to see who had read and liked their user page. After time, more and more users saw these guestbooks and added their own. By late November of 2005, the guestbooks started getting out of hand. Some users were no longer using them responsibly, or for their original purpose. The practice of guestbook races became common, whereas certain users tried to get the most signatures by a certain date. This caused some people to search the wiki for guestbooks and sign multiple guestbooks in a single minute. On January 14, 2006 the administration opened a public debate to discuss the existence of these guestbooks. Notices of this debate were posted on the log-in page, the main page, recent changes and users' watchlists. Over the course of the next two weeks, the wiki community fiercely debated the existence of guestbooks. The discussion not only covered the merits and perils of guestbooks but also if action were to be taken, what form would that take.

On January 29, 2006 the discussion was brought to a close. The overwhelming consensus was to do away with guestbooks completely. Again, notices were posted advising the wiki community of this.

Infamous vandals

Willy on Wheels

Willy on Wheels, or WoW for short, is an infamous wiki vandal. He began attacking the English Wikipedia, and then moved on to most of the other languages, as well as other wikis. The vast majority of his efforts center on Wikipedia and, to a lesser extent, the Wikimedia sister projects. Reportedly, the only non-Wikimedia wikis that WoW has ever attacked are Wikicities, Travel Wiki, Uncyclopedia, Wiki Info, and the heaviest hit, the HRWiki. His tactics are not similar to those of most other trolls and vandals, in that he uses only high-speed page move vandalism as his weapon. He first attacked the wiki in the summer of 2005, and has popped up somewhat frequently ever since. His method involves registering a username, opening random pages in several tabbed browsers, setting them up to move (usually by adding "ON WHEELS!" to the titles of articles), and then rapidly executing the moves before the username is blocked. It is likely that WoW is no longer the responsibility of just one person, because his mode of operation is easy to copy. HRWiki's WoW seems to originate with an AOL account. His vandalism is serious, but is eclipsed by an even larger vandal called NSMC.


NSMC is a vandalbot that has caused widespread damage to several wikis. Its method of operation exploits various access points available to anonymous users. As a result, these access points were temporarily disabled. In its first attack, it anonymously and randomly vandalized by replacing their contents with "N— stole my bike" and later "N— stole my cow". To avoid being blocked, the bot uses a vast amount of Internet proxies so that it can appear to originate from hundreds of IP addresses. The number of pages affected was in such a small amount of time that it created a denial of service. Later, when anonymous editing had been disabled, the bot created 755 random usernames with "NSMC" plus a number, each with one edit, so new-user registration was taken offline. After the knowledge base was hit, then it moved to the fanstuff wiki, where it created 4971 random usernames. The usernames eventually became just random numbers approximately 20 characters in length, and the content of the vandalism changed from something static that we could search for to various bits of actual content. In the latest attack, the "email new password" feature of the user login page was abused, sending thousands of emails to various users. The identity of the vandal is not currently known, nor is the motive.



The Homestar Runner Wiki Forum logo

The Homestar Runner Wiki Forum was set up in May 2004 as a companion to the Homestar Runner Wiki. It was originally meant as a place for wiki-related discussions to take place, but has now developed into a full-fledged Homestar Runner fan forum with over 2,500 registered users.


The Homestar Runner Fanstuff Wiki logo

The Fanstuff wiki was created on November 24, 2004. Originally, when the old wiki was still around, the fanstuff articles and the knowledge base articles were kept on the same wiki. As the wiki grew, however, it became obvious that the Fanstuff needed its own space.

The Fanstuff wiki is for storing fanstuff users have created. They can write Other Character Emails, provide links to fanstuff animations they've done, or even write adventure stories about certain characters.

The Fanstuff, unlike the knowledge base, will let people create new pages, as long as they're related to Homestar Runner somehow. Naturally, seeing as the sky's the limit, the fanstuff has many more articles then the knowledge base. However, the knowledge base has more users; about 3000 more than the fanstuff.

IRC channel

The HRWiki Internet Relay Chat channel was created on 18 May 2005 by Tom Preuss, as nickname Tom39. Although its name, #hrwiki, and parent wiki both suggest that the topic would be kept strictly to Homestar related material, the atmosphere is calm and friendly. Language is kept at a PG level and personal attacks are not tolerated to keep the chat channel this way. Currently, this channel is kept in check by five of the six members of the Admin Team: JoeyDay, Tom, Stu, InterruptorJones, and It's dot com. On 7 September 2005, the Fanstuff wiki IRC channel, #hrwiki-fanstuff, was founded. This is a slightly looser and less constructed atmosphere for those who choose it, just as its parent wiki.

The IRC channel is a faster, more group-oriented, yet still anonymous way to communicate with fellow wiki users, as opposed to using talk pages.

Further Reading

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