Xaquseg 718 followers

Xaquseg is the system administrator for FIMFiction, as well as various misc. development, especially related to security. Non-technical problems are probably best asked to other staff members.

News Archive

  • 205 weeks
    Downtime & Server Move

    Hi all. Firstly, apologies for the extended period of unexpected downtime. Obviously any kind of downtime is non ideal, but unexpected is more annoying all around.

    On Friday morning (GMT) we experienced a hardware failure on our database server. To our knowledge there is no data loss of any kind. We have fairly regular backups hosted off-site, regardless. The exact cause isn't entirely clear at this time, but instead of wrestling with trying to get the hardware sorted (it was a dedicated server) we decided that this was a good opportunity to make a server move we've been planning for a long time over to Digital Ocean.

    Read More

    236 comments · 15,446 views
  • 283 weeks
    BBCode updates

    Performance improvements

    Over the last few days I've been working on improving the performance of the BBCode parser. I've managed to implement a few major optimizations, reducing the run time in common cases to around 1/4th to 1/20th compared to the older version. This has reduced total server-side render times on some of the more complicated test pages I've been using to around 50ms–70ms, which should be a noticeable improvement.

    New features


    Read More

    49 comments · 4,949 views
  • 305 weeks
    Recent Changelog

    We've done various unannounced changes of the past few weeks so I thought I'd group up the things we've done so you guys know what's changed.

    • Added account linking page for Patreon / Twitter
    • Added ability to cross post stories, blogs and bookshelf additions to Twitter
    • Added twitter userpage module
    • Added account deletion page
    • Reorganised user toolbar dropdown to better fit more items
    • Added session management page to see logins and active sessions on your account
    • Added new articles system and moved some existing ones into it
    • Redesigned PM page a bit to be cleaner
    • Increased font size in major places across the site to improve readability
    • New cookie consent controls for EU users and updated privacy policy
    • Recommended groups list on groups page - WIP
    • Tooltips in many locations around the site with helpful tips

    Read More

    114 comments · 6,050 views
  • 306 weeks
    Help Articles

    Something I've worked on the last couple of days is adding the ability for us to add arbitrary "articles" to the site which we can use for various things. Sort of an extension on the manual articles we've added in the past like the bbcode page, writing guide, etc.

    So far I've added 3 guides:

    I'd love to know if you guys have any idea for articles that would have helped you out when starting out or anything else that comes to mind.

    65 comments · 5,213 views
  • 334 weeks
    Night Mode

    I've been working on it for ages but only really got the impetus to finish all of it off over the last few days. In the "settings" dropdown at the top on desktop, or the bottom of the slide out bar on mobile you'll find a toggle for night mode. Enjoy!

    Oh, and although I've tried to cover everything there is a 100% chance I've missed styling some things so apologies in advance for any funky pages.

    246 comments · 6,846 views
  • 335 weeks
    Additional Search Update

    Hey folks,

    Over the last few days I've added a few things to the new search system. A lot of people were unhappy with not being able to filter various things as quickly as they used to be able to. To that end, I've added a little filter dropdown to the right of the search box which effectively contains everything the old sidebar used to. It even has some niceties like quick word count filters and a highly rated filter.

    Read More

    132 comments · 5,336 views
  • 335 weeks
    December 2017 Update

    Hey guys, got a whole bunch of updates for you today.


    This is a small but important step on our way to the tagging system I envision. The existing way we handled things like characters and genres has all been merged into a single tagging system. That won't result in much difference for you viewing and using the site but it makes it a lot easier to add new tags especially.

    We now have a couple of new tag types: series and warnings.

    The series tag is for identifying what series (franchise) your fanfiction contains. I've added a whole ton of various TV shows, movies, comics, books and games but clearly we will have to add a ton more in the coming future. Stories must also contain one of the four MLP tags which are FIM, EqG, Movie and Comic, as this is a pony fanfic site after all. Feel free to bug me on Discord if you have a requirement for a series to be added.

    Read More

    630 comments · 13,789 views
  • 358 weeks
    Fimfiction API

    If you're not a developer you can probably ignore this post.

    It's been like 6 years, but hey, things take time. The API is currently very WIP still but it's ready for people to get working on in our development chat room.

    API documentation can be found at https://www.fimfiction.net/developers/api/v2/docs and you should join the Discord Chat and PM me to add you to the private API channel and I can help you get started. The functionality is very limited right now but I'm dedicating all my time to it at the moment and would love to have people add their input to the process.

    57 comments · 7,446 views
  • 363 weeks
    New BBCode Tags

    Hey guys,

    One of the features in this new update was reader-side paragraph formatting. This helps improve consistency for readers across the site, especially for those of us who can’t stand reading indented text on a computer screen.

    However, one thing that wasn’t accounted for was the legitimate need for specific indenting of passages and for certain blocks of text to have no paragraph formatting. Some examples would be lyrics and poetry.

    Taking this into account, we have come up with a couple of new tags that remedy this situation which are documented below (copied directly from the bbcode guide)

    [indent] Indent

    The indent tag can be used to, unsurprisingly, indent portions of your text.

    [indent]The indent tag can be used to, unsurprisingly, indent portions of your text.[/indent]

    It also support levels of indenting

    Read More

    168 comments · 6,417 views
  • 363 weeks
    Fimfiction 4.0

    It’s been a very very long time coming, but we’ve finally updated the site again. this is by far the biggest update we have ever done. There is a cavalcade of new features but the biggest changes are under the hood and affect how easy it is to extend the site and performance. A change log of everything I can remember can be found below.

    There are bound to be unforeseen bugs. If you come across anything major please let us know in the comments (or preferably in the #site-help-and-dev discord channel).

    Miscellaneous / Site Wide

    • Dropped support entirely for pre-IE11
    • Updated inline searching across the site to order much better. Eg. Typing "Ra" into the tag selector actually shows Rainbow Dash first. On shorter lists like bookshelves, we use a different algorithm that lets you type things like "ril" and it’ll prioritise a shelf called "read it Later".

    Read More

    1,363 comments · 21,471 views

Site Update » Math BBCode tag · 12:58am Dec 17th, 2017

I've added [math] and [mathblock] BBCode tags, which can be used to display formatted math. We've had a few requests for this, particularly for group forum threads and blog posts. Most math-related TeX syntax is supported. (We are currently using MathJax to handle the layout.)

The documentation from the BBCode guide is repeated below for your convenience.

Math and MathBlock

TeX syntax math can be typeset using the [math] tag. This will place the math inline with the rest of the text.

For example, the Pythagorean theorem is a^2 + b^2 = c^2

For example, the Pythagorean theorem is [math]a^2 + b^2 = c^2[/math]

[mathblock] is used for larger formulas to display them in their own paragraph. For example, the quadratic formula:

x = \frac{-b \pm \sqrt{b^2 - 4ac}}{2a}
[mathblock]x = \frac{-b \pm \sqrt{b^2 - 4ac}}{2a}[/mathblock]
Report Xaquseg · 4,431 views · #bbcode
Comments ( 84 )

\texttt{I need to find a way to use this now. This is amazing.}

fourths #3 · Dec 17th, 2017 · · 2 ·

ban all nerds

It looks kind off complicated, but I think I could use this later down the line.

Thanks, this will make it easier to express equations. Great job!

I was told there would be no math on this test.

Server Administrator

It's a little complicated yes, but once you learn the basics it's not too hard to write most simpler formulas. More complicated formulas require more knowledge of how all the features work, but people who have taken graduate level math courses have probably either already used or at least been exposed to TeX syntax in a LaTeX document. (and anything below that probably isn't going to be that hard to express.)


\frac{x}{0} = 1

MathFiction when.

So A^3 + 6^4 - 5^1 +7^3 = B^5 and

z = \frac{y+14 \sqrt{A^5 - 2}}{57}  / 16 = c

That’s dang cool. Thought it is annoying to use “\” instead of “/”

Yay! \\ \\I'll have to think of things I can do with this.^1.

 \begin{bmatrix} Sweetie\space Belle & Scootaloo \\ Apple\space Bloom & Cutie\space Mark\space Crusaders \end{bmatrix}    

\\ ^1 That\space aren't\space math\space related.

--Sweetie Belle

Server Administrator

Keep in mind using the tag for things it's not intended for may create readability problems for some users. (and is as a result not recommended.)

I do plan to add support for proper tables, although I'm not sure what the exact timeframe will be, as getting that right is harder than it sounds.

Well, isn't this timely?

For completeness the post should probably show the source for the a^2+b^2=c^2 example too.


x = N͘҉͟҉͞aN͘͞҉̶

To avoid spacing problems (e.g. Muffins), you should enclose the non-math text in \text{...}, producing \text{Muffins}, or \textit{...} producing \textit{Muffins}.

I'll keep that in mind.

I actually tried full tables inside the math tag, too, to see if that'd work, but the example I copied and pasted just came out all on one line with the lines typed on top of each other, unfortunately. Tables was one of the things I was hoping for, and I am glad it's being worked on.

Real footnotes would be nice, too. (Ones where you didn't have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the chapter to read then scroll all the way up, anyways.) And blocks of text you could show and hide by clicking on an arrow or +/- would be neat.

But then, I tend to have way too many ideas on this type of thing...

--Sweetie Belle

2 + 2 = 5

Nailed it.

Server Administrator

It's important to note that use of the tag for non-math in such a way that it creates readability problems violates the general rules on story formatting.

I already know how I'll be using this :twilightsmile:

Server Administrator

Tables, footnotes, and expandable regions are all on my to-do list. All three have some sort of extra complexity that makes getting it all working right nontrivial, unfortunately.


a_n=\frac{1}{\pi}\int\limits_{-\pi}^{\pi}f(x)\cos nx\,\mathrm{d}x=\\
=\frac{1}{\pi}\int\limits_{-\pi}^{\pi}x^2\cos nx\,\mathrm{d}x
b_n=\frac{1}{\pi}\int\limits_{-\pi}^{\pi}f(x)\sin nx\,\mathrm{d}x=\\
=\frac{1}{\pi}\int\limits_{-\pi}^{\pi}x^2\sin nx\,\mathrm{d}x

Excellent :3

Thanks! I was wondering how to do that, as I'm mostly just looking at a quick reference and seeing what I can figure out.

 \begin{bmatrix} \text{Sweetie Belle} & \text{Scootaloo} \\ \text{Apple Bloom} & \text{Cutie Mark Crusaders} \end{bmatrix}    

-\textit{Sweetie Belle}


I'd imagine! A lot of times e-book readers don't deal with footnotes well, either, and since you can't really do them the way a real book would, you have to make them work other ways.(mouse over text, showing them in a bar at the bottom, click to expand, click to go to the footnote then click to get back, etc...) Discworld-type stories really ask for them, though.

I'll admit I mostly want the expanding blocks for things like rules and faqs.:unsuresweetie:

Hmm, looks like the math blocks don't work with copy and paste...

--Sweetie Belle

Here, I just made an equation to quantify my writing.

My Writing = \frac{Spike \pm \sqrt{romance tag - talent}}{edgyness}

Text-to-speech seems to ignore [mathblock] paragraphs completely, but gives hilarious results with [math] for me -- first reading the symbols in the formula aloud twice, and then continuing to read the TeX source.

Xaq, would it be possible use CSS to to exclude the <span class="mjx-math"> and <script type="math/tex"> elements from TTS? That would mean the reader sees only the "Assistive MathML" span, which it would have a fighting chance of pronouncing readably.

In the absence of that, it's probably best to avoid math in stories altogether.

Cool stuff! Thanks!!



You mean, I don't have to convert screenshot a word doc with equation editor equations and turn them into .jpg and insert them as images any more?

There's not a lot of info out there on this. Can it do vector symbols? Cross and dot products? Where do I go to learn these things?

Server Administrator

It uses TeX syntax, there are quite a few resources online to learn the various supported commands. To answer your specific questions, all those features should be supported.

Took me a few clicks to realize LOL

Server Administrator

WikiBooks has a pretty good page on using math in LaTeX, most of which is applicable to this tag: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX/Mathematics. (although some of the talk about how to get a math environment, like using $...$ or \begin{math} isn't applicable)



There's not a lot of info out there on this. Can it do vector symbols? Cross and dot products? Where do I go to learn these things?

Here is a good start...

Server Administrator

It should be possible to improve TTS handling of this, yes. Current situation should still be better than a picture of math (at least it scales to high resolution screens at large font sizes well), but clearly it could be better...

As soon as Pineta learns this is a thing.

Another attempt at a "quick" reference is https://math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5020/mathjax-basic-tutorial-and-quick-reference

Math.SE uses the same math rendering engine as Fimfic now does, except that where they write $...math...$ and $$...math...$$, we must mark it up as [math] and [mathblock] to delimit the blocks.

Silly pony. a_n are zero by inspection.

I can't run from math anymore. It keeps finding me.

For f(x)=x^2, the b_ns clearly vanish by symmetry, but the a_ns don't. I get

a_0 = \frac23\pi^2, \qquad a_n = (-1)^n\frac4{n^2} 

But does it let you add Greek letters (e.g. capital delta) without having to copy/paste from elsewhere? Those DO hold significance in some formulae, after all...

Yes: [math]\Delta,\delta[/math] produces \Delta,\delta.

Sounds good! Thanks for the assist

This and pornhub are more caring about people then the real world. K den

That's... unexpected, but a welcome addition.
Especially surprising since this comes out the literal day before I have a test on just this.



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