< Wikipedia:Bots  (Redirected from Wikipedia:BON)
Bots noticeboard

This is a message board for coordinating and discussing bot-related issues on Wikipedia (also including other programs interacting with the MediaWiki software). Although this page is frequented mainly by bot owners, any user is welcome to leave a message or join the discussion here.

If you want to report an issue or bug with a specific bot, follow the steps outlined in WP:BOTISSUE first. This not the place for requests for bot approvals or requesting that tasks be done by a bot. General questions about the MediaWiki software (such as the use of templates, etc.) should be asked at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical).

Bot to track the activity of fully automatic botsEdit

  FYI – Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see the BRFA Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/SDZeroBot 9. Thanks, – SD0001 (talk) 12:05, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

A bot that tracks all and only those which do not track themselves? Wug·a·po·des 03:19, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
I was thinking who watches the watchers. --Izno (talk) 14:37, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
@Izno: That link doesn't point where you're expecting it to. * Pppery * it has begun... 14:42, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
Unless it was a subtle nod to the fact that botops are indeed gods. Primefac (talk) 15:03, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
... But why. Who thought that was a good idea. --Izno (talk) 15:22, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
Oh. This is awkward. --Izno (talk) 15:28, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
I'm so confused, but I like the sound of being a god. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 15:31, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
Oh, and here I thought pppery thought that Izno meant to point to Watchmen. Primefac (talk) 15:41, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
No, but that's one of the more-obvious pop culture references to the Latinism. --Izno (talk) 15:48, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
The pedant in me is obliged to point out that Watchmen is a reference to JFK's "we are the watchmen on the walls of world freedom", not to the Latinism. ‑ Iridescent 15:59, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
True, but the tagline for the film (and the graffiti) is "who watches the Watchmen". Primefac (talk) 16:07, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
I asked "who thought it was a good idea to target the Star Trek article". Guess who. (And when.) --Izno (talk) 15:48, 15 November 2020 (UTC)
I am a noob at this game, really. Heard about the bot that controls bots? – SD0001 (talk) 11:14, 16 November 2020 (UTC)

Determining the specificity required for userspace-editing botsEdit

Hello! Me and the RedWarn team have recently considered placing the RedWarn script (currently located at User:Ed6767/redwarn.js) into a script in its own user: User:RedWarn (a blocked user, of which we are currently requesting access for at the moment), in order to create a continuous integration system (since all patches, including emergency ones, need to pass through Ed6767 first, which can be a problem if he is unavailable). Before proceeding however, we went over the bot policy to ensure that we're doing things right, and have stumbled upon some tricky wording that needs clarification. According to the bot policy on bot accounts:

The account's name should identify the bot function (e.g. <Task>Bot), or the operator's main account (e.g. <Username>Bot). In all cases, it should be immediately clear that the edits are made by an automated account, which is usually achieved by including Bot at the end of the account name.

Noticing this, we're now unsure if User:RedWarn would be able to edit under its current username due to a wording issue, with "usually" and "should" being used instead of strong "must"s (which we could have interpreted differently). To avoid possibly wikilawyering the wording in the future, I've come to ask this board instead: Can we simply disclose the nature of the edit (as a bot edit) in its edit summary, instead of through the username, as the policy only suggests the account naming convention, and does not necessarily require it? Hopefully this can clear out the confusion, and also set a precedent for other bot accounts which only edit within their own userspace. Many thanks! --Chlod (say hi!) 10:26, 23 November 2020 (UTC)

Note: This has been discussed in some form in Wikipedia:Bots/Noticeboard/Archive 4#Bot_name, however the bot process in 2009 has changed a lot from today's process, and the scope of the bot is different from ours.

Chlod, is this going to be a bot, or is this going to be a shared account where multiple users can log in to perform maintenance on a script that is stored in said account's userspace? If it's the latter, then this isn't a bot issue. Primefac (talk) 10:31, 23 November 2020 (UTC) (please do not ping on reply)
Not a shared account. Updates to the script will all be done automatically. This is definitely a bot, and I'm pretty sure I checked the noticeboard before making the thread. Chlod (say hi!) 10:33, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
Fair enough, that's why I asked. If the account is clearly marked for the functions you describe, and it will only be editing its own userspace, then I see no issue. Primefac (talk) 10:39, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
So, does "clearly marked" still mean we need to include the Bot in the name or are we in the clear to just have use the edit summary for demonstrating the nature of the edit (as a bot edit)? Chlod (say hi!) 10:43, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
I genuinely cannot see anyone complaining about a user called "RedWarn" editing its subpages, updating WP:Redwarn's scripts, with a clearly-indicated userpage, as being a problem. Primefac (talk) 10:47, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
Alright then, thanks for the guidance!   Chlod (say hi!) 10:50, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
Although this probably isn't a bot needing approval, you may want to run this by WP:VPT. I'm not sure we have any other script that is updated automatically by an external CD and multiple users can push updates to it. Since this isn't a gadget but rather a userspace edit that's perhaps less of a concern, but I'd think that even then there needs to be some accountability of which user pushed an update (perhaps in edit summary), if the actual editor isn't the reviewer. Since, otherwise, only a user themselves and IAs can edit javascripts. Folks at VPT would be able to better advise. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:38, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
RFC 2119 defines "should" as "there may exist valid reasons in particular circumstances to ignore a particular item, but the full implications must be understood and carefully weighed before choosing a different course." ―sportzpikachu my talkcontribs 10:33, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
Not sure how that's relevant, or why you wouldn't just use a dictionary. (a small attempt at humour) Primefac (talk) 10:41, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
RFC 2119 is usually the standard for clear definitions of "must/must not/should/recommended/should not/may" etc in tech. The definitions are so clear I've gotten accustomed to expecting those used everywhere. Example of the clarity as a result. Buttt it's probably a mistake to think that BOTPOL is strictly following that convention. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 14:52, 23 November 2020 (UTC)

I am feeling a little puzzled about the rationale here for this account. Right now it reads as if you intend to bypass Ed in some cases, and that's why you want the account. Am I misreading? If so, that would seem to be a concern from the interface admin perspective...

(As a note, while I do not know what goes on behind the scenes, Twinkle may be using the same or similar model.) --Izno (talk) 15:53, 23 November 2020 (UTC)

There's a parallel discussion on my talk page that might answer your questions, I'll transclude it below to save a click.
From User talk:Primefac

Hey PrimeFac, I noticed your block on User:RedWarn. The RedWarn team and I would like to use the account for abuse report management and for continuous integration. I've also asked CrazyBoy826, but my fellow developers inform me that they have attempted to contact him before to no avail. If CrazyBoy826 does not reply, do you mind resetting the account and sending a temporary password to This way all the developers who have been approved by Ed will have access to the email. Thanks! cc @Ed6767, Chlod, and Prompt0259:sportzpikachu my talkcontribs 08:24, 23 November 2020 (UTC)

You'll have to get the account usurped, which given the proclivities of the editor who created it shouldn't be an issue. Primefac (talk) 10:24, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
However, an account used by several members of a team would usually not be allowed, see WP:SHAREDACCOUNT. Don't know whether in the specific case an exception would be applicable, but I suppose then such exception would need to be granted, meaning it is not a given from beforehand that such permission can be acquired. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:40, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
Based on a parallel discussion it sounds like the account isn't actually "shared", but will be used to maintain the on-wiki script automatically. Primefac (talk) 10:42, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
Hi Primefac, I was unaware of this discussion as I've only just woken up, but I'll probably use an old account I haven't edited on like Edx0 (talk · contribs) and request usurpation with that making myself the sole account owner. The idea of taking control of the account was mainly to swap the email for the RedWarn issues mail to make it easier for users to email in issues without needing a GitLab account. As for automatically updating script, I'd prefer to just host RedWarn on our existing Cloud VPS or Toolforge instances, and/or use those to update the script on-wiki if people still want to see a diff view. While Chlod will sort that, I will ensure the RedWarn account remains in my control and my control only and that I still review every code change as I have done for the past several months. Sorry for any confusion, Ed talk! 11:06, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
I think that answers your question about who "owns" the account. Primefac (talk) 15:58, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
Does indeed. --Izno (talk) 16:08, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
  • So long as the only thing an account does is low-volume editing of its own userscipt, it doesn't run afoul of the bot policy - you don't have to call the account "bot" either. Normally non-"bot" accounts should never have shared access - so it would be an alt-account for someone and that should be declared as a legit-sock. If this script is getting very popular it should be considered to be moved to a community managed process in mediawiki space and/or turned in to a proper gadget. — xaosflux Talk 15:56, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
    We edit-conflicted, but see my comment above in reply to Izno. Primefac (talk) 15:58, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
    What would define a very popular script? Given RedWarn is in use by multiple admins, and all in over 300 editors (roughly), if a ballsup happens, that could have a drastic effect here. Should I open an RfC on Wikipedia:Village pump (technical) about making RedWarn a gadget and moving it into MediaWiki space? That might delay updates, but that has the benefit of making RedWarn a gadget, plus extra review and scrutiny from intadmins before the updates go live. If we do that, we'd need to scrap these plans regarding a CI bot, but, if allowed (but absolutely not be default), we can add an option (buried in RedWarn's preferences) to allow users to use the latest unreviewed version if they so choose and understand the risks of doing so. Ed talk! 17:44, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
  • My opinion is that having the bot's username end in "bot" is preferred for easy identification of the account as a bot account, but not required. There are other ways to ensure that the account is easy to identify as a bot account. For instance, you could include hints in all edit summaries like "(bot edit)" or "(automated edit)". You could ensure that the account's user and user talk pages clearly indicate that it's a bot. If the bot is editing user talk pages, the messages you post there could include a notification that it's being generated by a bot. The point is to make it clear that this is a bot; I don't think anyone particularly cares how you achieve that, as long as you achieve it. ‑Scottywong| [speak] || 16:22, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
    • Or the OP could just grab User:RedWarnBot and not have to worry about any of this. – Jonesey95 (talk) 17:25, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
      • The OP in this thread is somewhat contradicting Ed, who has indicated (see above) that he will control the account and it will not be a "bot" account. Primefac (talk) 17:28, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
        • There's been a lot of confusion about this but when it comes to matters of RedWarn, Ed's word takes precedence over mine, so we're going with his plan instead. Pretty much makes this thread finished. Chlod (say hi!) 17:31, 23 November 2020 (UTC)

Meta discussion: Refine global bot policyEdit

Notification that some folks here may be interested in an ongoing discussion at meta on expanding the m:Bot policy to broaden its scope. Discussion is at meta:Requests for comment/Refine global bot policy. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 22:54, 28 November 2020 (UTC)

FWIW I think it's a good idea, but I also think it'd be appropriate to have new requests notified to this venue. There's a couple of thorns I see that I hope are clarified, and of course there's always the option of amending WP:GLOBALBOTS to opt-out, but I think if the thorns can be addressed to ensure these will only be genuinely uncontroversial tasks then it's not a good idea to knee-jerk opt-out. Though, given the requirement for already having a local flag on multiple wikis, I think it's likely said bot will have already been through enwiki's BRFA? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 23:03, 28 November 2020 (UTC)
I think you have it backwards. We'd have to amend WP:GLOBALBOTS to opt-in if we wanted to. Anomie 13:34, 29 November 2020 (UTC)
I do indeed have it backwards. It's slightly confusing since the global bot policy that was approved here was, at the time, also only interwiki links (& double redirects). But it seems that discussion did explicitly say it would only be done for interwikis, rather than opting in for anything that would come in the future. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 13:52, 29 November 2020 (UTC)

BAG nomination requirement tweaksEdit

Just a notice that I removed the requirement to post a notice at WT:BOTS (diff) in favour of WT:BOTPOL. WT:BOTS hasn't been a hub of discussion in years now that WP:BOTN is the central place, and WT:BOTPOL is a lot more relevant since that is the policy page most people concerned with the interpretation of bot policy would actually watch.

Feel free to revert if you object. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 23:18, 1 December 2020 (UTC)

Maybe VPM should be changed to VPT as well? VPT has more active watchers, and the people watching it are probably more likely to be interested than those watching/regular at VPM. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 23:21, 1 December 2020 (UTC)
If we change things, and I'm not saying we should, I'd go WP:VPP over WP:VPT personally. VPT, while technical, is mostly about technical issues with templates, modules, the software/html of the site, etc. VPP is at least policy-related. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 23:48, 1 December 2020 (UTC)
VPT is more than that. It's the one well-watched page for all things technical, and bots are of course technical. My own BAG nomination received zero comments in the first two days after I notified all prescribed venues. Then I posted another notification at VPT following which there were 5 comments within hours. – SD0001 (talk) 05:59, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
What about VPP? That page has 3500+ watchers, but I don't know how many of them are 'recent'. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 16:56, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
Since we're talking about it, the notification to AN seems useless (besides for admin bots, maybe). --Izno (talk) 14:08, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
Useless maybe, but it is a highly watched board. 913 recent talk page watchers, compared to 611 of VPR, 561 of VPT, 301 of VPM, or 128 of this page. Aside from the Main Page or advertising on watchlists I'm not sure there are better venues to get attention from likely interested individuals. Or well, there is always ANI (1,253 watchers) ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 14:18, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
I believe the idea was to let a variety of forums know about the nomination, so that BAG didn't become a clique of self-selected people. This mostly satisfies people who watch AN as a preventative measure against the abuse admin powers, or something. With the logic that this lets them monitor BAG for similarly appointing grossly incompetent people. If want want more advertising, we could always add BAG nominations to the current admin/crat nomination templates, although that might have some unintended consequences of increasing drama. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 16:56, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
Regarding that last point... yeah, pretty much no. BAG technically gives no user rights, so while it is a good position to give a rubber stamp for a bot task, I don't think it merits the scrutiny of an RfX (and the drama that comes with it). Primefac (talk) 18:25, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
That's also my opinion. And even if somehow we had the power to grant the bot flag, it's still not something that would warrant RFA-levels of scrutiny/drama either. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 18:52, 2 December 2020 (UTC)

Cosmetic Bot Day (CBD)Edit

CBD proposal has closed support, but in such a complex way it might as well be oppose due to the excessive work placed on bot ops. There won't be anyone volunteering to make a bot like that it's way too difficult technical and procedural. There have been requests to leave it up to BAG to manage. My sense is that unless the community can trust BAG to manage this, then it should be closed oppose. There should not be a separate bot process outside the BAG system. -- GreenC 05:30, 2 December 2020 (UTC)

I think comments along the line of Enterprisey and Majavah were quite interesting if it could be pulled off, but perhaps a long term goal. That being said, those conditions do just say "I propose" so I don't really think the closer intended them to be binding, especially as no participants raised those criteria or concerns. Just my 2c. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 05:41, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Closure, since S Marshall doesn't seem inclined to undo the closure. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 13:13, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
That close even AGF smells like a supervote of someone opposed to the idea, which can even be seen by the first sentence I'm somewhat surprised to find that rough consensus exists for a trial. The conditions placed are absolutely not supported by the majority of editors which were in support of the proposal and those with the knowledge also stated that some of them are either not possible or require a huge amount of work which no one has volunteered to do. The closure should have no attempted to govern what was not in his mandate to do. --Gonnym (talk) 13:26, 2 December 2020 (UTC)

Overlapping bots?Edit

Just a suggestion but would it be possible to just use one bot for citation template edits? My watchlist is lit up like a Christmas tree with User:Monkbot, User:Citation bot and User:WikiCleanerBot doing much the same thing. I have created a filter to hide bot edits but using this would miss the other edits that bots make. Or perhaps it's a problem with citation templates changing daily, don't use them myself? Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 17:20, 2 December 2020 (UTC)

They're all similar but different tasks. Monkbot is repairing deprecated or invalid parameters. Citation bot is fixing the references themselves, and WikiCleanerBot is fixing general errors (some of which are inside the cite templates). Primefac (talk) 17:56, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
Likewise User:JCW-CleanerBot is focusing on doing |journal=-related cleanup. Different bots for different tasks, sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don't. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 18:40, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
Well, it's a bit irritating, can you folks not get together and work out the best way to minimise watchlist clutter? I could hide bots all the time but then I would miss the mistakes and other strange things that bots sometimes do. Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 18:47, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a volunteer thing, and different bot works in different, often incompatible, ways. If you really hate specific bots, you can check WP:HIDEBOTS and hide them from your watchlists without removing bots in general. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 18:50, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
I feel ya, Nimbus. I'm not particularly thrilled with Citation bot right now, as it's cluttering up my own watchlist on occasion, but on the whole I've just learned to mark those as read without really looking at the diff itself. Primefac (talk) 19:48, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
I didn't mention the humans using AWB as well! As long as some disturbance is noted which I think it has been. Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 20:09, 2 December 2020 (UTC)

Testing a new botEdit

I'm working on a new bot to add short descriptions to some of the pages that currently lack them, and will be applying for bot approval for ShortDescBot in the next week or two. I want to make sure I do things properly, and there's one thing I find a bit unclear in WP:BOTPOL. It is OK, before seeking formal approval, to make a small number of live assisted edits, in a similar way to AWB? (I am approved to use that). I would manually check each and every edit before it's made, and of course immediately correct any error. If so, can I do that with my normal user account or with the bot account? MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:33, 3 December 2020 (UTC)

That's okay. You should do these with your normal account. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 10:35, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
Many thanks for the quick response. Much appreciated. MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:36, 3 December 2020 (UTC)