|This page documents an unstable draft for proposing changes to Wikibooks:Bots. If the proposed changes gain consensus, the changes may be included in the current policy or guideline. You can edit this draft or discuss it.|
Bots are automated clients used to make repetitive edits to the wiki faster than a human would be able to perform.
The bot flag is a tool that enables default hiding of edit actions, intended to avoid flooding of the logs.
The flood flag is a tool to replace temporary utilization of the bot flags.
Neither bots nor the flood flag may ever be used to make controversial actions. This policy pertains to all bots, including those which do not have the bot flag.
Bots should be given their own separate account, and should not share an account with a human operator. This is so that, in an emergency, the bot can be blocked without having to block the bot operator. Bots should be easily identifiable as a bot, by doing at least one of the following:
- Having the word "Bot", or something similar, in the username.
- Adding something such as "Automated" or "Bot edit" to every edit summary. (Bots must always make proper use of the edit summary)
- Adding information on the bot account's user page which clearly indicated that the account is a bot account, who the owner is, and how to stop the bot from editing (such as a "block" link to be used directly by admins).
The capabilities of a bot, or a reasonably complete list of them, should be easily available on the bot's userpage.
Bot operators are expected to be responsive to queries regarding their bots, especially where error reports are concerned. All edits made by the bot are the responsibility of the bot operator, and they will be expected to undo any damage caused by a malfunctioning or misdirected bot.
- See also: Edit assertions for bots
Bots must never contribute anonymously, and care should be taken to ensure that the bot does not accidentally log out during operation. If this occurs, the bot must cease editing. Bots contributing anonymously will be blocked on sight.
It is very important for fully-automated bots to, wherever possible, enable a method to stop the bot. Be it by leaving a message on the bot's talk page, or editing a subpage in the bot's userspace, since their owner may not be on hand to deal with problems. If that fails, a block will be required to limit disruption to the wiki. Once the problem is fixed, the bot will be unblocked to resume operations.
Semi-automated bots are operated by a human interactively. As AutoWikiBroswer, a common tool which is often operated in a semi-automated fashion. These bots should be flagged only if they demonstrated any ability to flush non-automated edits out of the logs.
Semi-automated scripts, like user scripts, which do not flood the list of recent changes do not need to be flagged. User scripts which flood RC should be used with care to limit disruption; the flood flag may be temporarily granted to cover these specific situations.
Fully-automated bots operate without supervision. Automated bots usually operate continuously, and should be approved before they go into operation. Make a request at WB:RFP to ensure that the planned task is acceptable to the community. Bots will be flagged based on their ability to flush non-bot edits from the recent changes feed. Automated bots which edit intermittently and do not flood the list of recent changes do not need to be flagged.
Wikibooks administrators may temporarily give themselves a "flood flag" when doing repetitive, non-controversial edits or actions to avoid flooding RC. Administrators, as users with an additional set of maintenance tools, may often need to make repetitive edits. Bureaucrats may additionally add and remove the flag from other users.
When to use the flood flag
Administrators should use the flood flag to avoid flushing other edits and actions from the RC feed when doing similar, repetitive changes. Such actions must never be controversial, as using the flood flag decreases the amount of oversight they may receive. Abuse of the flood flag is treated as abuse of any other administrator tool would be.
Examples of acceptable use would be deleting many spambot pages, or deleting a large number of pages after consensus has been achieved at Wikibooks:Votes for deletion or blocking many open proxies. Unacceptable uses include attempting to circumvent legitimate oversight of any controversial action, regardless of whether it is an administrator task or not. Bureaucrats may wish to use the flag when renaming indefinitely blocked accounts with inappropriate usernames.
In some cases, a bureaucrat may remove the flood flag to force an administrator's edits to appear in RC. This should be done in cases where the administrator has forgotten to remove it, or when the changes should be seen by default in RC.
The flood flag is set and removed using Special:UserRights.
Administrator should not make contentious edits or actions with the flood flag on. Since they already have access to a greater toolset to delete pages, block users, view deleted material, place protections on pages, etc. The necessity to log actions is greater.
Flood flag or bot flag?
The Flood Flag is intended to replace requesting temporary bot flags from bureaucrats. Administrators who would otherwise request a temp bot flag may simply flag themselves using the flood group.
In those cases where a permanent bot flag should be given, procedure remains the same - the administrator should create a secondary account and request a bot flag as normal. Only temporary bot flags are replaced with this flood flag.
Getting a bot flag
The bot flag is simply a technical measure, no big deal. Bots which are capable of flushing non-bot edits out of the recent changes feed should be flagged, even if they do so only intermittently.
- Bot operators who anticipate that their bot will flush non-bot edits from the recent changes feed must request a bot flag, and throttle the bot to avoid doing harm until the bot is flagged. Bots must not flood Special:RecentChanges while waiting for approval for a bot flag; edit at a low rate until the flag is applied.
- A request from the bot operator will be made on WB:RFP.
- Only bureaucrats are able to grant or revoke the bot flag to a user account, and may do so at their discretion. Bureaucrats should seek community input when the bot's edits will have a major impact on the project, but bots performing minor tasks which are obviously of net benefit may be flagged immediately.
- If no significant opposition is voiced, and the bots performs a useful, non-controversial task with minimal errors, the bot will be flagged forthwith.
Bots which perform unwanted tasks on Wikibooks will not be flagged (or, if the bot flag was already granted, will be de-flagged). Operators who do not heed the wishes of the community in this respect will have their bot(s) blocked.
Bots available by request
These bots are active and available to perform edits upon request. Bots functions are described on their userpages.