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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).

Double redirects on TE-protected templatesEdit

Previous discussion: Template_talk:Infobox_Swiss_town#Edit_request

I've seen this a few times now. A template is moved/redirected, and has redirects of its own, and double redirects are created. Sometimes these are easy to spot and fix by hand, but (as in this case) it can sometimes turn into a real tangled mess. We rely too much on double redirect bots generally, and forgetting to update these manually inadvertently causes large-scale wiki-wide disruption. I requested at the previous discussion if we could discuss giving either Xqbot or EmausBot template-editor privileges so they can fix double redirects on TE-protected templates. (Operators: @Xqt and Emaus:)

EmausBot seems to edit template-space: contribs
Xqbot as well: contribs

I'm guessing both are likely failing on TE-protected due to edit error, rather than explicitly skipping TE-protected by a check, so I suspect just granting the bots the rights will make them fix the double redirects, but I haven't checked the source for either bot yet to confirm. As far as trust goes, as a concern granting perms was raised there, both are long-time bot operators with many edits (locally & globally), certainly both qualified developers and operators. Xqt also seems to be a dewiki crat and Pywikibot dev. So I don't think that's much of a problem. Wanted to gather BAG thoughts on this? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 01:28, 31 October 2020 (UTC)

Without commenting on the merits of this proposal, I've fixed the only double redirect in template space that was listed at Special:DoubleRedirects, and it was indeed template protected. --DannyS712 (talk) 03:21, 31 October 2020 (UTC)
I see no issue with this, but will wait a day or two (since it is the weekend) for others to see this and comment. Primefac (talk) 22:36, 1 November 2020 (UTC)
  Done. Primefac (talk) 20:06, 18 November 2020 (UTC)

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)

BAG nominationEdit

Hi! This is a procedural notification that I've requested to join the Bot Approvals Group. Your comments would be appreciated at the nomination page. Thanks, ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 01:56, 17 November 2020 (UTC)

Aha, saw that coming. Wait, I'll be there to give you company! – SD0001 (talk) 16:05, 17 November 2020 (UTC)

Another BAG nominationEdit

I have started another BAG nomination as above. Comments appreciated at the nomination page. – SD0001 (talk) 17:09, 17 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)