Typography refresh

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The typography refresh (also known as the typography retardation syndrome; see #Name) is the name of a skin infection that has been gradually metastasising across MediaWiki wikis. Unlike with most diseases, its spread is neither due to lack of a cure nor the pharmaceutical companies covering up said cure, but due to the fact that it is not universally recognised as being a disease.

edit Origins

The typography refresh was invented by the Wikimedia Foundation in an effort to wage biological warfare against the common human problem of not having enough change.[1] The appearance of a wiki had remained the same for several years, and while several years isn't really that long, the WMF employees volunteers had developed a severe case of ADHD after taking too many stupid pills at a party at someone's mum's house and, after noticing that the Vector skin's fonts were relatively simple and easy on the eyes, decided that this stagnation and simplicity was a Bad Thing. Thus was born the typography refresh. However, they had retained enough of their now-ravaged intelligence to realise that stating their real reasons for inventing a new disease would not be terribly appealing; so they claimed that they were trying to make wikis more pleasant for those who were also afflicted with stupidity.[2] Even though such mentally deficient people appear to constitute a small minority of those who have actually expressed their opinions on the disease, the WMF is too stoned to notice.

edit Name

The name 'typography refresh' was invented by the WMF to give the impression that it was something new, different and refreshing.[3] Those who support curing typography refresh refer to it as 'typography retardation syndrome', or TRS for short, and wear pink ribbons to show their support of the cause.

edit Spread

The typography refresh was originally designed for the Wikimedia wikis, but after the viruses were implanted into the necessary locations, it proved to be contagious, making its way into the MediaWiki core. This raised some objections from people who would have preferred that their wikis stay healthy,[4] but the WMF was unconcerned, as they were confident that it would benefit third-party wikis as well.

edit Symptoms


Appearance of a wiki without typography refresh


Appearance of a wiki with typography refresh

A wiki that suffers from typography refresh shows several visible symptoms:

  • The level 1 and 2 headings are disfigured due to being in a different font. This will be Georgia for most Windows users, which some find tolerable, but Linux Libertine for Linux users, which is an unpolished, cancerous font chosen for no reason other than that it is 'free'. A free font was chosen for the perceived benefit of Wikimedia; its obviously diseased appearance was considered less important than its being free, and the lack of a benefit to wikis that do not value free fonts was considered to be outweighed by the fact that Linux users are a minority and screwing things up for minorities is totally fine.[5]
  • The font size in the content area is slightly swollen (0.875em rather than the previous 0.8em). This change is not commonly considered to be a drawback, though it does result in pages being somewhat longer. Lengthening pages is of special concern on Wikipedia, as their articles tend to be extremely large due to eating people who try to huff them.
  • The text in the content area changes from black to dark grey (#252525), resulting in a blurry appearance and making it somewhat harder to read. This was done to make it easier for dyslexics to read pages, despite dyslexia not relating to text colour in any way, the increased difficulty for normal-sighted people, and the ability to adjust the brightness on one's monitor if the text is suboptimal. It is claimed to comply with a standard for text colour, but this standard appears to have been decided by cats after too much catnip and is therefore useless for application to humans.

edit Cure

Unlike some other diseases, it is in fact possible to cure a case of typography refresh, though this should only be attempted on a wiki whose community does not also suffer from stupidity; otherwise it might cause an adverse drug reaction. This may be done either by applying a skin cream to the affected wiki or by switching its skin to something else, preferably Monobook. The recipe for skin cream may be found here, though it may need to be updated periodically as the genome of the virus is subject to frequent and unpredictable mutations.

edit Trivia

  • The Vector skin is the only skin vulnerable to developing the infection, and all wikis that run on MW 1.23 or higher are automatically infected.
  • No studies have yet been done on the merits of infected wikis versus uninfected wikis. The only available data is anecdotal.
  • As the typography refresh was introduced on 1 April 2014, some were led to believe that it was only a bad April Fools joke. However, it was not to be.

edit Footnotes

  1. By 'change', read not 'coins', but 'making stuff different' - though not having enough of the other sort of change is also sometimes a problem.
  2. I.e. dyslexics who don't know how to adjust the brightness on their monitor.
  3. Something like drinking a fresh glass of iced toilet water, and about as sanitary.
  4. They got all their shots, ate a healthy diet, everything. Having them get sick was a real letdown.
  5. Besides, Linux users are actually just penguins.

edit See also

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