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User talk:Helen Foster

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deleting extra images

Hi Helen - I am very shy at adding to the docs! ;) I put some stuff on about conditional activities but I uploaded images which weren't clear so I changed them and now I don't know how to delete the first few which are no longer used on the page - could you delete the earlier, unused uploads please so they don't take up space and clutter the place up? (I couldn't find a "delete" instruction so I presume we can't) thanks - Mary Mary Cooch

Hi Mary, if you upload a new version of the file with the same name it will replace the old one. At least I can't find any duplicates on your images' pages ;-) And your files are all only some KB so they won't take up much disk space anyway. --Frank Ralf 10:19, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Mary, many thanks for your contribution to Conditional activities :-) Frank is right in saying that new versions of images simply replace old ones, so there is no need for any deletion. If you upload an image then decide you don't want to use it at all, you can just type {{Deletion}} at the top of the page (as explained in MoodleDocs:Templates) then an admin will come along and delete it. --Helen Foster 12:33, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Deleting some attached files in JIRA

Hi Helen,

I made a bit of a mess at Would it be possible to delete all the attached files there so Penny or I can upload the current one and let Jira handle the versioning more sanely?

Thanks, Matt

Done! --Helen Foster 08:33, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Creating new FAQ pages

Hi Helen,

I have successfully created a stub for a XML FAQ page ( but how do I get it promoted on ?

I also would like to create an Import/Export FAQ for collecting all the information regarding Moodle import and export which is scattered in different forums.

Regards, Frank Ralf

Hi Helen will have to answer the Import/Export question. I jumped in and added [[Category:FAQ]] to the bottom of the page, which anyone can do. And took your hint and added a {{stub}} template at the top. Thanks for the XML work. Best --Chris collman 14:16, 3 December 2008 (CST)
Hi Frank, thanks for your offer - an Import and export FAQ page would be great, thanks! --Helen Foster 04:12, 4 December 2008 (CST)
Thanks to both of you! Helen, how did you get that nice Contents menu on your Import and export FAQ page? I couldn't figure that out from the source. --Frank Ralf 05:30, 4 December 2008 (CST) Problem solved, just found the documentation ;-) --Frank Ralf 05:43, 4 December 2008 (CST)

Suggestion that is probably total overkill

  1. Create a new FAQ namespace.
  2. In this namespace, create one page for each frequent question, where the contents of the page is the answer.
  3. Use our new knowledge of transclusions to build the FAQ lists by just pulling in pages from the FAQ namespace.

The benefits of doing this are

  • The same FAQ can appear in more than one list without copying-and-pasting.
  • Each question gets a unique URL that so in the forums, we can point people to a page that just answers their specific question.


  • Editing FAQ lists becomes incomprehensible to anyone who is not a MediaWiki geek.

If we went this way, I would like to use B to build a new FAQ page: "Troubleshooting FAQ". Might be a good idea anyway.

I hasten to say that I am not recommending this approach. The disadvantages could easily outweigh the advantages. I am simply pointing out a technical possibility that may be worth considering either now, or in the future.--Tim Hunt 07:11, 4 December 2008 (CST)

Just added MoodleDocs:Transclusion. Good thing I had my first cup of coffee, Tim's thoughtful post got me rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I wonder if I can get the partial transclusion of this section to work in Sandbox then in MoodleDocs_talk:Transclusion. Definitely a tool to be used with care. But Wowie Zowie ! --Chris collman 06:49, 5 December 2008 (CST)
Hello Tim, I think your suggested solution would indeed be overkill and would make maintaining FAQ too difficult. I see FAQ as an intermediary step between the unorganised kind of "documentation" which is provided in the forums towards "real" documentation. Therefore the ease of editing is crucial in my opinion. What about using Moodle's autolinking mechanism to automatically link to FAQ pages, e.g. if there is a mention of grades in the forums that would create an automatic link to Grades FAQ. I am quite new to Moodle, but couldn't that be done with setting up a kind of FAQ Glossary? --Frank Ralf 02:44, 16 December 2008 (CST)
Hi Tim, thanks for your suggestion, though I think it's overkill too! The current FAQ pages have nice short titles which are easy to find and to include in forum posts. Having a page for each FAQ would result in really long URLs. Also, I think that when we point people to an FAQ page, and they have to look through it to find the answer to their question, they may well find answers to other questions they have. As other people have suggested, I think FAQ pages work well as start pages with links to lots of other pages i.e. they're kept fairly short, for example Contributed code FAQ. --Helen Foster 04:49, 18 December 2008 (CST)
Frank, regarding autolinking to FAQ pages, have you come across the Moodle Docs filter on Please see the FAQ for more details. --Helen Foster 04:49, 18 December 2008 (CST)
Helen, thanks for the hint. But isn't that the usual manual way of wiki linking? But on second thought that might really be the best way of linking to FAQ pages as it keeps getting the forums cluttered with too many (automatic) links. In fact, it just might be a matter of good practice to put advice of lasting value from the forums into a more structured form of documentation and nothing which could or should be done in an automatic and technical way... --Frank Ralf 05:11, 19 December 2008 (CST)

Security Notification registration

Hi Helen,

It was suggested to me through the #moodle channel on freenode that I raise this concern with you.

I'm developing a moodle installation behind a firewall on a non-public URL and am interested in subscribing to security updates (prompted to check this after seeing a moodle vulnerability mentioned on Bugtraq). I had previously attempted to subscribe by registering our installation through the admin pages, however that registration was rejected as the site was located behind a firewall and not accessible.

Due to that rejection, I wasn't subscribed to security updates.

I now find myself in the unfortunate position where I cannot subscribe to security updates without having a public facing site (which I can't reasonably know is secure as I'm not receiving security updates through your mailing list).

The burden for those of us who have an internal site they're developing (or perhaps is in production) is that we must now create a public facing site to register for the sole purpose of receiving security updates. If the thought is that only parties interested in maintaining a moodle site should have access to those messages, perhaps a different measure could be put into place (a code that appears once moodle is installed, for example).

I've tried subscribing through, however that method does not work either.

Could you please provide a process for folks like me to get on the security updates list without having to install moodle on a public web server first?


- P.

Hi Paul, how about subscribing to the security announcements forum, where all important security issues are published. --Helen Foster 04:34, 18 December 2008 (CST)

Unseen (not hidden) activities

Hi Helen (This is partly my attempt at practising here by the way!) I've posted several times recently about the concept of 'unseen' topics with resources that can be linked to on the course page where hidden ones wouldn't work. is there documentation about that somewhere here ? If so, where? Then I can point Moodlers to it next time.If not, shall I write it? Thanks - Mary Cooch

Hi Mary, I've just had a quick look and can't find any documentation about unseen topics, so it would be helpful if you could write some, perhaps here: Course homepage. Thanks in advance :-) --Helen Foster 17:20, 19 December 2008 (CST)
Helen - please can you check what I have done as you know I'm still a novice and don't want to put the wrong thing in the wrong place! Also, if you look on my usertalk Chris Colman said it might be useful on the html linking page? Mary Cooch

Downloading Moodle Core

Hi Helen, I came across Moodle just this morning, and read a little about its design, and loved it, it is perfect for the project Im starting.

Ive gone to the download page, to download the Moodle core zip package, but when I click on the link to download I get the following message;

'A server error that affects your login session was detected. Please login again or restart your browser.'

( Continue )

I had a look around the FAQ pages, to see if there was anything on there, but it only mentions about people who already have moodle and are having this difficulty,

Please could you send me an alternative link,

Kind Regards Andrew

Hi Andrew, I left a comment on your talk, just in case you were in a hurry to play with Moodle. --Chris collman 07:40, 1 January 2009 (CST)
Hi Andrew, I hope you've been successful in downloading Moodle by now. Chris, thanks for your helpful comments :-) --Helen Foster 01:21, 2 January 2009 (CST)

"experimental:" prefix

Marc Grober 12:00, 12 January 2009 (CST)

We started using experimental: as a prefix because there was some confusion about the use of Development: as a prefix.....

In the Moodle docs, Development: appears to cover Moodle developer documentation, not docs under development, so we wanted to use a prefix that connote that the docs were, as we suggest, "experimental" (i.e. not ready for prime time). I had not come across Experimental as the search is a bit temperamental and searching for the root, experiment, produced no result.....

Perhaps we need a different topic name?

I have encouraged AT to ask you to move these pages out of the experimental: topic but I think she feels they are not quite ready and I want to respect hre wishes on this.

We also have some experimental pages under development with respect to gradebook "cases".

I would encourage you to discuss the progress on all these pages with AT.


Marc, thanks for your comments. The use of experimental: as a prefix is fine by me. Alternatively you could use a Moodle Docs template to add a message saying that the page is experimental. --Helen Foster 02:41, 13 January 2009 (CST)
Marc and Helen, something new to me. I found 7 pages when I searched on "experimental:" and found 7 Article title matches. 6 started with "experimental:" and of course "Experimental". Wondering if an alternative draft to Main Page should be done that way with the Experimental template.  :)--Chris collman 06:00, 13 January 2009 (CST)
Helen, thanks for moving some of the experimental: pages. The page here, however, has yet to be moved: [1]. Vis-a-vis topics/categories, I think it makes sense to have a category that is not searched by default so that users do not find materials that is not ready for prime time. By the same token, I think, as I mentioned above, that Development: is problematic because it confuses as far as whether it is a topic for Developers or addresses material under development, which are really two different areas. Likewise, as long as there is an Experimental page the use of experimental: could cause confusion. I would argue for three distinct categories.... Marc Grober 12:16, 24 January 2009 (CST)
As I understood your (Helen's) comment (posted I don't recall where) you (Helen) were I think suggesting that what I was really suggesting was a new name space such that folks could develop documents that were not included in a default search..... which I think is exactly what I was looking for.... So the question becomes can and should we do such a thing..... --Marc Grober 23:44, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Marc, I guess you're referring to my forum post Re: Not including pages in the Moodle Docs search. How about using a Moodle Docs template for now to indicate docs under development and add them to an appropriate category, then when there are sufficient pages to warrant it, we can create a new namespace and move all the pages into it. --Helen Foster 11:46, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Talk:Helen's page is over 32k

FYI: I got that warning. Maybe a subpage for the older stuff and a link, so we don't loose some stuff. Of course alternatively, if I deleted all my comments/questions, that would shorted it a lot :) --Chris collman 06:04, 13 January 2009 (CST)

Seriously, I would be happy to edit my posts here down to a nub or nothingness. I think some of the language requests for help could be put in one heading and shortened, without losing anything. --Chris collman 06:13, 13 January 2009 (CST)
Chris, thanks for creating talk. I think it's a good solution :-) --Helen Foster 02:51, 14 January 2009 (CST)

See also

  • talk for older comments

Registered Users Bug with Mediawiki

Hi, talk a work-around for a bug resulting in registered users stats on Special:Statistics not updating properly. I think I am encountering this same bug on my internal wiki now. I know that was a long time ago, but do you remember what you did to fix it/what the work-around mentioned was? Thanks, --Adrian Archer 11:02, 4 March 2009 (CST)

Hi Adrian, here are Eloy's workarounds (easy to do with phpMyAdmin):
  1. To refresh the count of pages, if it's not working: table: site_stats, field: ss_total_pages, setting it to -1 should force recalculation of pages
  2. To refresh the count of registered users, delete the contents of the "cached statistics" table
Thanks to Eloy for recalling them :-) I hope you are able to upgrade to a newer MediaWiki version soon. --Helen Foster 09:01, 5 March 2009 (CST)
Thanks so much for the quick response, that sounds like it should work. I'm actually using Version 1.13.3, so I guess the bug still exists. --Adrian Archer 09:17, 5 March 2009 (CST)
Hmm, Moodle Docs is actually using version 1.11.2, though we're hoping to upgrade very soon (MDLSITE-657). --Helen Foster 09:35, 5 March 2009 (CST)

Function if in grade calculations?

Hi Helen

Thanks for your jobs.

Sorry for my lousy english.

I am trying to use the "if" function in "Grade calculations" in a similar way as is done in "opencalc"

do you know if this is possible?

How to introduce a note of recovery, only for a few students, without changing the original calification?

My email is


Using Moodle for Teachers

Hi Helen,

I teach math at Woodland Middle School in Woodland, WA. I'm also just beginning work with the Ubuntu Learning Project (name?). Is your book (Using Moodle - Teaching with the Popular Open Source Course Management System) available for download on Moodle Docs free to teachers? If so, is there some type of creative commons license? Or should we just link to Moodle Docs? I found your book extremely useful when I taught a 3-day Moodle Bootcamp to teachers this summer.

Thanks, Mark Knudson

Hi Mark, glad to hear you found my book useful :-) It's available for download under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence here: Using Moodle book. --Helen Foster 19:11, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

PHP Settings by Moodle version

Hi Helen,

I'm new to this community (and to Moodle) and am not sure how I should request an update to the documentation relating to a Moodle PHP extension requirement - specifically zlib. I noticed that this page: has a section stating that "The zlib extension is required for zip/unzip functionality." under the PHP Extensions and Libraries, but it doesn't exist here:

The PHP_settings_by_Moodle_version is a Stub and is waiting for review - I was thinking about updating it with the text from the page.

Looking for a little direction.

Thanks! Andy

Hi Andy,
Thanks for your kind offer to update the documentation PHP settings by Moodle version. Please feel free to go ahead and do so :-) (I asked in our developer chat and was informed that zlib is required for versions of Moodle up to 1.9 and Moodle 2.0 onwards will come with native PHP zip support so it needs the "zip" extension instead.)
For future reference, you're always welcome to edit pages in Moodle Docs and help improve our documentation. If you're not quite sure of something, you can leave a note in the page comments. Thanks again! --Helen Foster 11:45, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Query re Cool Course Competition

Two questions re the Cool Course Competition: 1) How can teachers know whether the modules and blocks they use are core or not? Is there a list somewhere?(2) Why are some entries in their own native theme, while most entries are using the competition site's theme? How can I upload my course so that it retains its own theme? Thanks, Thomas Brown 00:16, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Hi Thomas, an easy way to check which modules and blocks are core i.e. included in the standard Moodle packages is to login to the Moodle Demonstration Site as an admin and check Administration > Modules > Activities > Manage activities and Administration > Modules > Blocks > Manage blocks.
Regarding the course theme, if you force a theme in the course settings, it will be used, otherwise the site theme will be used. --Helen Foster 11:22, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Do you mean the "Settings" page in the course's Admin block? My Settings page doesn't have any theme-related options. Did I look in the wrong place? tnx, Thomas Brown 23:55, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
It appears that the site admin can make a setting that allows teachers to force a theme -- so I can do that now. Which raises another question: Does my theme have to be installed on the Cool Course site for it to work there, or can my backup import the theme features and bring them along into the Cool Course site? tnx again, Thomas Brown 03:58, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Apologies for not mentioning that course themes need to be enabled by an admin in Theme settings; glad you figured things out! Yes, your theme needs to be installed on the competition site for it to work, as a course backup does not include theme features. All themes included in standard Moodle packages are available on the competition site. --Helen Foster 09:32, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

I think I have a bigger problem now that my course is on the competition web site. None of the links to course resources work! I must have royally messed up my backup somehow. I included the resources in the backup, but...Thomas Brown 21:08, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Testing out the restore of my competition entry on my own site, I find that the html links that I've put in the Topic Outline labels go to random id numbers, and so don't open the resources they're supposed to and give me a page not found browser error instead. However, if I simply click on edit for one of the labels, and then save it without changing anything, now suddenly all of the links are in working order. So, is it possible for me or someone else to do this fix on my competition entry, so that it starts working? While we're in there fixing it, can we change it to custom corners? Thanks yet again...Thomas Brown 21:48, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
No worries, it's a good test for the course backup and restore process! I've reported the problem you describe in the tracker - MDL-21380. --Helen Foster 15:02, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Curious, why here?

Firstly, thanks for the post here which drew my attention to Really Cool and Neato. Secondly, shouldn't most of this discussion be in the "Competition Lounge"? Thirdly, there were some special effects I am dying to know "how they do that?" and I just looked at each course in the first topic! Fourthly, thanks to all who contributed. --Chris collman 13:00, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Hi Chris, just wondering why you never noticed the Cool Course Competition news item? Regarding the Competition lounge, the fact that it was only created a few hours ago probably explains why nobody has posted there yet. How about posting your "how they do that?" question and thanks there. --Helen Foster 15:12, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
I am just a stick in the mud sometimes. I will take you up on your excellent suggestion. --Chris collman 16:46, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

nln materials query

Dear Helen, Sorry to contact you this way - I have been recommended to you by several of your former colleagues on the ILT Champs list. I am conducting a research thesis at the University of Nottingham into the uptake and use of the nln materials amongst the FE sector, and have been advised that you would have an interesting view on this programme. If you could spare me a few minutes of your time to have a discussion, then please could you drop me an email at Thank you very much. Rob Enbgelbright says "hello" btw. Many thanks, Laurel Armstrong

Hi Laurel, I've just emailed you :-) --Helen Foster 13:46, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Jmol filter

Hi Helen,

I noticed that you had updated the Jmol filter and wonder if you could tell me the status of this filter, and also the Jmol resource type and the Java Molecule Editor (for allowing students to add chemical structures as answers in quizzes). Do they work in 1.9 and 2.0?

On a similar note, there doesn't seem to be a direct way for students to put subscripts and superscripts into answers. I have resorted to adding a table of useful chemical symbols in the question, which students can copy and paste. Is there a setting somewhere that allows students to add formatted text?

Hi Mike, please see the comments on the Jmol resource type for the latest information on it. You may also wish to contact Geoffrey Rowland.
Regarding adding chemical symbols, you may find the discussions listed in Chemistry/Biochemistry helpful. --Helen Foster 14:58, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

permission to edit brazilian portuguese version of

Hello, Helen

don't really know if you are the right person to ask, but, could you give me permission to edit brazilian portuguese version of ? I help maintain the language pack along with Gilvan Marques, as you can see at . The last update of the home page was in august 2007, and also mention 1.8 as the current stable and focus of translators. I would like to make it a translated copy of the current english home page and also translate the release notes of 2.0 as first step...

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your offer to edit the Brazilian Portuguese Moodle Docs. You should find that when you login you already have editing rights (all logged-in users can edit pages). --Helen Foster 09:41, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Brazilian docs home pagin "was protected against new editions"

Hello, Helen

i cannot edit that page because "This page was protected against new editions.", and it only allows me to see and copy source code. Could you unlock, please? Thanks, Daniel

Sorry I hadn't noticed that the homepage was protected. I've just unlocked it now. --Helen Foster 05:59, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

About the new page I added on ForumNG

Thanks for fixing it up and putting it in what I presume is a better place with a better name. Now, questions about ettiquette: is this an OK page to have? I'm really pondering what is my voice (like wanting to promote ForumNG) vs Tim's voice (who fixed and answered the FAQ's and sort of speaks from the devlopers POV). Stuff gets lost in forums. Who would have looked in the developers forum for some of these conversations? Few people go to the tracker and vote.

Derek, thanks for creating documentation for ForumNG. I've added a link to it from Thanks also for posting in the forum module forum and encouraging people to vote for the tracker issue. These are the best things you can do for new features you'd like considered for inclusion in the Moodle core. --Helen Foster 12:05, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for this Helen, this is really cool. No doubt you will notice another page I have created [Development:Forum_requirements] which is a little flag waving to see what is out there. I do not think there is enough thought being put towards Forums - and digging around in the developer forums I can see why: no-one lkes the original code and it seems to much to either fix it or re-do it. I am sad that key fixes/requests from 2006-7 are still launguishing in the tracker. eg the edit time for Q&A forums. So, maybe some conversaton can occur over the next months on What We'd Like In Forums For 2.1.  :) Derek Chirnside 01:48, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Note that Activity_module_tests effectively has a list of current forum features.--Tim Hunt 07:26, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Renaming pages in pt_br wiki?

Hello, Helen

i'm writing to you to know the possibilities to rename some pages in brazilian wiki. I remember of a "move" functionality in mediawiki, maybe you could allow me to do so onnly in brazilian wiki? Or i can list you the page renames and you do the job? Basically is to translate some pages that were originally created in english. Kind regards, Daniel

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your contributions to the Brazilian Portuguese wiki. I have just given you admin rights so you can move pages. --Helen Foster 12:51, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Hello, Helen

thank you for give me the admin rigths! I will do my best to do a good work. --Daniel Neis Araujo 13:54, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

how to create moodle hosting server?

Hi Helen

I am from mongolia. We want to create moodle hosting server. What should I do? From where can I take information about creating moodle hosting. My email address Thank you


Hi Ulzii, please see Installing Moodle. If you have any questions, visit the Using Moodle Installation problems forum. --Helen Foster 22:59, 9 May 2011 (WST)

beginning moodle admin checklist

Hi Helen

Just been at MoodleMoot NZ 2011, it was great. Gavin Henrick suggested I contact you with this idea.

As a beginning Moodle admin, I would have loved to find a checklist of 'areas you need to cover' - for instance, source code control, plugin version control. These are not things all front-end admins will do for themselves, but they need to be duly diligent that they have these areas covered, especially if using external hosting who are not Moodle partners. I thought of crowdsourcing suggestions from the wonderful community here, and I am very happy to write/coordinate/whatever. But I wanted to start by checking whether you could see a place for this here.

regards Ardis

Inter-wiki link test

19:User talk:Helen Foster