Guild Wars Wiki talk:Bots

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Draft[edit]

My attempt at creating a Bot policy page. I think I've covered most of the salient points, but I'm sure I've missed a decent number of things. The formatting leaves much to be desired - but I think I've proven over the last couple months that I'm not very good with formatting XD MisterPepe talk 23:54, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't know much about bots, but I have a little suggestion on the account name. It might be better to specifically say "Bot" suffix in the name. Otherwise, as it is, creating an account called "Bottoms up" is perfectly acceptable. -- ab.er.rant sig 01:01, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
XP The reason I didn't put that is because my bot account doesn't meet that standard. Heh. See Special:Listusers/Bot for a list of all current bot accounts. MisterPepe talk 06:23, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Is the name thing really important? You could just put a bot notice on the userpage for the account. I didn't think specifying it in the name would be necessary. - BeX 07:27, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
In that case, then yea, might as well remove it then. -- ab.er.rant sig 07:44, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Why not implement something that automatically does some sort of font change to bot accounts, making it more obvious they are bots? -Warskull 03:26, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Err... font change to what? MisterPepe talk 03:28, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I think he means edit history/RC/watchlist. - BeX 04:22, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
...Oh. It doesn't show up on RC, and any bot accounts should have the word "bot" somewhere in the name. I think I'm actually going to more or less start over on a new draft, btw MisterPepe talk 04:29, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
In watchlist they have b next to the entry. - BeX 04:31, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Mind if I try reworking this draft? --Rezyk 04:42, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Of course not, but I was going to try to start over with something that was a little less... severe =\ If you want to take a crack at it, be my guest - I'll probably mess around with it a bit when I get done with GvGing. MisterPepe talk 04:47, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Trial period[edit]

I was thinking that we should have new bots run for a trial period without the bot flag. That way:

  • It's not as daunting for someone to start experimenting with one.
  • When deciding whether to grant the bot flag, we'll have a much better idea of whether or not the bot will be run well.

During the trial period, we could rule "no more than 100 bot edits within 24 hours" to save RC and limit damage. --Rezyk 04:33, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

While I agree in principle, a lot of bot programs/frameworks don't function unless they're running on a bot account (they check). MisterPepe talk 04:48, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Less mean version[edit]

Yeah, this draft is a bit heavy-handed. I've started up another draft at Guild Wars Wiki:Bots/DraftA. It still needs work, but I think it's a fair bit better than the current one. Meh. Thoughts? MisterPepe talk 05:22, 12 July 2007 (UTC)


→ moved from Guild Wars Wiki talk:Bots/DraftA

I dunno...if we disallow bots from being evil, it may make it more difficult for them to stage an unforeseen uprising and enslave us all. Then again, it could work as the enabling loophole as well, e.g. it would be evil to allow the meatbags to continue along their destructive path. Tough call. --Rezyk 20:28, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Hmm... I suppose you're right. I did leave the 0th law loophole in there on purpose, but there's very little room for Revolution ex machina. Perhaps we should make this a guideline instead? MisterPepe talk 22:49, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

I've started hacking at this...feel free to revert any change I make, of course. I don't want to force my thoughts on this draft, but editing directly just seems like the most expedient way to communicate them. --Rezyk 05:15, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Go for it - that's why I put it up here rather than in my userspace. My policy writing sucks =\ MisterPepe talk 05:23, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Good call on the bot flag section - that makes way more sense =P MisterPepe talk 06:07, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

I actually kind of like this...[edit]

This draft finally sounds more like "Yeah, this is how we do things, here's how you can get involved" rather than "it puts the lotion in the basket or it gets the hose again." MisterPepe talk 07:29, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

bureaucrat discretion[edit]

One thing I generally don't like about the current draft is leaving the judgment over the bot flag pretty open to bureaucrat discretion. It would be nicer to have more specific guidelines for bureaucrats to follow (like how RFA points to a ratio of support over opposition as a deciding factor). But I'm leaving it as is for now because (A) I don't feel I can presently come up with guidelines with enough general coverage here, and (B) I'm not sure it's even worth the effort to think that deeply about it at this time. Maybe it should just be something to revisit when we have more experience or a decent amount of bots running around. --Rezyk 09:15, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Semi-bots[edit]

Something I just noticed, I think the policy is a bit unclear regarding semi-bots like AWB; are they considered in the same group as AWT/GWWT, or do they require a bot flag like full bots? To be kept in mind is that here on the GuildWarsWiki AutoWikiBrowser can switch to full bot mode with only a couple of clicks, it's only on Wikipedia that the extra confirmation mechanisms kick in. --Dirigible 17:49, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

My first inclination is to draw the line along whether or not there is: somebody manually accepting each edit in real-time, and in a way that he/she will be made aware of new messages posted to the user talk page. So AWB manually-accept mode would not have to abide by the 4 restrictions if it also satisfies "new message alertness" (does it?), but AWB full bot mode should have to.
My main concern is if/when some account continues making questionable edits despite user talk page messages. It should be made clear to other users beforehand whether or not to treat it as someone doing so intentionally or potentially unintentionally. And I have some (lesser) concern for sparing recent changes from being flooded. I wonder, though, if I'm missing any other potential concerns due to my lack of experience with bots.
--Rezyk 07:37, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
Please look over my recent changes to this draft. --Rezyk 08:03, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
My apologies for the late reply, I thought I'd already done so. I did see the changes to the draft, and they look good to me. :) --Dirigible 15:09, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Automatic shut down[edit]

Questions: Is there a good reason NOT to make such automatic shut down binding for all bots (e.g. are there some downsides to that which I am not aware of)? I'd also like something akin to 1.) post proposal to make your account bot 2.)users can disagree 3.)Admins make account bot if disagreement is non-substantial instead of the "bureaucrat discretion". --Xeeron 10:00, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

The only thing I could think of is abuse of the shutdown function as some kind of vandalism. But imho each real bot should be able to be shut down by others. poke | talk 10:41, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, for anyone who decides to write their own bot or use someone else's very simple one, adding that functionality would require extra coding effort, which may or may not be a considerable hurdle, depending on the user's programming skills. The block button is sufficient, in my personal opinion. --Dirigible 15:26, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
I think it's relative easy to catch up new messages (a simple search in the code of the displayed page works).. Also I think the block button does not suffice as there could be a time, where no sysop is around to block an incorrectly working bot. In that case it's more safe to give other users the ability to stop it.. poke | talk 21:28, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
I'd have to agree with poke here - any user who does not possess sufficient programming know-how to catch the "new messages" code is not a user that should be granted bot permissions for the wiki. I see no reason not to require all bots to pause when left a message. Go to Aiiane's Talk page (Aiiane - talk - contribs) 21:37, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Rate limits[edit]

Since the proposal for hard edit rate limits on GWW:TECH hasn't succeeded (so far, at least), should we or should we not add something regarding edit rates in this policy? --Dirigible 15:26, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Hmm. Unless it's not possible to set an independent limit for bots, I think bots are treated as normal users. When I remember correctly there is a throttle in pywikipedia which adds a pause of 1-6 (?) seconds between each edit. In regard of other bot framworks (also my own) I think the mentioned limit of 200 edits per 10 minutes (600s) is ok. poke | talk 16:29, 17 September 2007 (UTC)



Bumping this page for finalizing decisions. Go to Aiiane's Talk page (Aiiane - talk - contribs) 10:19, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

I generally support the current draft. (Although to be thorough: I dislike the safety trigger being required) --Rezyk 01:46, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

50 edits day translates into ~1500 edits month. Seems a bit much. Continual use like that should always be flagged. 50 one day is fine, 50 every day is too much. Backsword 13:41, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

It's too much for what? The limit and flag really just revolve around discouraging lots of accidental damage and sparing Recent Changes from flooding, and I'd argue that 50 a day is pretty much okay in that regard (non-bot users can easily exceed that anyways). --Rezyk 08:53, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
If someone is planning 1.5k automated edits, I find it preferable to know about it in advance. Backsword 10:42, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
Doing 1500 automated edits with 50 edits per day is rather stupid o.O A project with 1500 edits should be done on one day to have it more clear. poke | talk 21:10, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Just a quick note to say I support this policy. I would think that 1500 unflagged bot edits over a month long period are likely to be pretty noticeable, and hence easy enough to stop or flag the account as appropriate. --Indecision 23:15, 13 November 2007 (UTC)


Implement?[edit]

Per Rezyk's request, trying to get this completed. I could see this being implemented as is, tho' I still think it encourages silly actions such as spreading our edits over multiple days, as Poke mentions. Even if it's just 200, spreading it out over 4 days is pointeless. How about changing the limit to be per run, rather than per day? Backsword 09:00, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

It's for unflagged bot edits, so that shouldn't be a big problem with 50 per day. poke | talk 11:32, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Revive[edit]

It's about time this either get's implemented or rejected. Does anyone have any outstanding issues with the current version? Backsword 14:09, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Previously I thought this policy was to much effort seeing how we have a very limited number of bots that can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but I do not oppose this policy if others rather have it. --Xeeron 14:38, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd also prefer not to have a policy for something that doesn't come up that often; I'd rather handle things as they come until or unless we start getting a large number of requests. Go to Aiiane's Talk page (Aiiane - talk - contribs) 15:31, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I have to agree with Xeeron and Aiiane on this one. Everything in the policy is basic common sense; essentially, it's all stuff that's being now anyway and which doesn't need a policy to codify it, particularly given that there are a grand total of 4 bots on GWW. I don't think it would necessarily be a bad thing to have this as a policy, but I don't think it's needed, and as such I'd prefer not to have it. User Defiant Elements Sig Image.JPG *Defiant Elements* +talk 18:14, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd have to agree with the others, as we only have 4 bots at the present time and since Wikichu seems more than capable of handling anything requested I don't see a real need to get any more. However as Xeeron, I do not oppose this policy if others would rather have it. --Kakarot Talk 18:29, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
The only thing I find important about this policy would be that the bot is stoppable by others (via talk page for example) and that you should have a bot flag for more edits.. And that is something which could simply be noted on the editing bots project page. So I see no need to have this but would have a problem to have this either. poke | talk 18:34, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I didn't realise you can stop a bot by posting on the talk page, so if we're rejecting the need of this as a policy (I'm neither in favor nor against), as poke said, we need to preserve these details in another page - either on the bot request page or to rewrite this page as a guideline or move it into the help namespace. -- ab.er.rant User Ab.er.rant Sig.png 01:48, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Rewritten. New try![edit]

Ok, I have rewritten the policy completely now. I tried to have it less from the side of perfoming automated edits, but more as a policy that decides about the members of the bot group. I included the important things from above and I think this is ok :) It is still not a necessary policy but it at least reflects what is currently. Feel free to comment or propose changes! poke | talk 14:40, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

As it's basically what we do now, I'm in support of this rewrite. --User Pling sig.png Brains12 \ talk 14:43, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Looks good. -- ab.er.rant User Ab.er.rant Sig.png 15:02, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Looks fine to me too even though I don't presently see a need for any more new bots as Wikichu does everything we need. --Kakarot Talk 17:26, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
The only significant change seems to be allowing bots on main accounts? I'm fine with that if others are.
Tho' I'm surprised the same critique is not levered towards this as the previous version. It's basically Poke asking for restrictions on his own bot. However, if he feels he's out of control, I'm fine with that too. Backsword 03:10, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm fine with this, too. And we know Poke's out of control. Calor Talk 03:11, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
I like the rewrite, but I have an issue with bots not being required to have a seperate account. RC clogging is really bad, as it can mess up vandal watching and such; I think bots should always have a seperate account no matter if it is AWB or any other kind. On Wikipedia, RC is not important so they can allow that; but here that is a diff story. --ShadowphoenixPlease, talk to me; I'm so lonely ;-; 03:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
The re-write is progress but I don't think that we should allow people to have bots, even if we consent. Wikichu is just fine. Period. Dominator Matrix 03:22, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we should not allow other bots Just because "Wikichu does everything"; what if Wikichu breaks (god help us if it does) or something? Wouldn't it be nice to have some dort of "back up plan" incase something were to happen? --ShadowphoenixPlease, talk to me; I'm so lonely ;-; 03:30, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
Bots can be banned and fixed, and we can do the manual labor till it is. This isn't an army , nor a corporation where we need a back up plan. Dominator Matrix 04:16, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
lol, do you have any idea how tough it is to the what bots do manually? What if we need something done by a bot that day because of an update or something and Wikichu is not there to help us, it would take 'a lot of editors to do that. I am sorry, but I so no problems with having more than one active bot around here; infact I would like to see JediRogue bring her bot over here eventually to help out a bit. --ShadowphoenixPlease, talk to me; I'm so lonely ;-; 04:36, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
Remember my "bot run" on the skills? Long, sure, and not as quick as a bot, but my point is, once you get a system down (DPL and copy/paste ftw), everything goes fast. A lot of the tasks Wikichu does can be done manually, except it's easier to use Wikichu. We can live a day or a week or two without Wikichu. Calor Talk 15:24, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

(Reset indent) There won't be any major update coming for GWW wiki/or GW as well GW is reaching its old years. GW2 wiki might need new bots -- I can see that, but not this wiki. Until wikichu horribly crashes and destroy the wiki, or theres a large update...theres not going to be a second bot. Dominator Matrix 05:42, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

I guess we're now going into the similar discussion of whether opposing an RfA on the grounds that "we have enough sysops" is appropriate. Whether or not we need another bot, there's nothing wrong with allowing more. There doesn't need to be opposition because of the fact that "we have enough bots" because 1. it satisfies a situation Shadowphoenix brought up (if Wikichu is unavailable) 2. even if the bot might not be needed, there's not a problem with allowing it bot status anyway. The more the merrier, especially they can be helpful. --User Pling sig.png Brains12 \ talk 08:53, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
"The only significant change seems to be allowing bots on main accounts?" It is more that I tried to move this policy from the topic of the bot system to the "bot" on MediaWikis (= the accounts within the bot group). Of course people are allowed to use bot frameworks and I think some people here already did that before (and it was never disallowed). Especially bot frameworks like AWB are really helpful for unflagged accounts. And it doesn't matter if mass edits are done by a bot or by hand, both will clutter recent changes, just that the bot would be a bit faster and rc would be back useful earlier.
And no, Backsword, I don't think the things within the policy are "restrictions" for the bot. They are more or less basic requirements that I think every bot and its owner should follow.
Also for the "requirement of other bots"; of course at the moment there is no need for other bots as all tasks are done within a short time, but still that isn't an argument for not having a policy for those bot accounts, because in the future it might happen that there will be other bots. Also bots are only tools, they are not an important requirement for the wiki to run; so even if a huge update comes and a lot of changes would need to be done, than a bot is still just a tool. And when a bot is not available then, all edits can be done by hand or you can just wait until the bot is available. poke | talk 11:07, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

One thing about this version: It seems like it can potentially be interpreted to mean that the requirements do not apply to anything outside the bot group. So if I were to create and use a bot from scratch, but found the user-pause requirement somewhat cumbersome to implement, it would be easier for me to not get the bot flag just so that maybe I don't count as a "bot account" and thus dodge the requirements. (Incidentally, I don't like the user-pause as a solid requirement.) I don't want to have this kind of disincentive towards getting bots appropriately flagged. I'd guess that it just isn't intended this way, but it should be made clearer (this is why I tried to separate these things more in the older draft). --Rezyk 17:43, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Actually, yes, I wanted this policy to only apply on flagged, and thus invisible, bots. Yes, you can run a bot on an unflagged account but if that is the case, people will notice it, so the risk of unseen but harmful edits is lower. Of course people should consider getting a bot flag when they continue using a bot.
For the pause by posting a message on the talk page. In my opinion this is a really important thing, as it might be the case that the bot owner doesn't check every edit (for example I plan to have Wikichu patrol RC for different things and won't always look over it). Also there are times, where sysops are not around or do not hit F5 often enough (because they are busy with something else) and if that is the case it should be possible to stop a bot which is doing a lot of edits. It doesn't matter how it can be done (for bots that are running from external servers a link to a stop-form would be fine as well) as long as it is possible. poke | talk 17:54, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I see. I didn't understand the intentional shift there -- sorry. --Rezyk 23:05, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
"I guess we're now going into the similar discussion of whether opposing an RfA on the grounds that "we have enough sysops" is appropriate." Don't jump the gun and assume things. I'm fine with more admins -- just not bots as there IS 4 bots GWW:BOTS. Dominator Matrix 00:37, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually no, there is only one bot. Mike was only using his bot for setting up the Game link namespace, and Dirigible and Pepe are very inactive so they won't be able to help with their bots. poke | talk 09:04, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't making any assumptions about your stance on the admin issue, I was commenting on how this discussion is becoming similar to the "we have enough admins" discussion; sorry if that came out otherwise. --User Pling sig.png Brains12 \ talk 13:05, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Just wanted to add that the total number of bots falls outside the scope of this policy. -- ab.er.rant User Ab.er.rant Sig.png 16:07, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Highly repetitive edits could become annoying/and or out of hand -- but allowing almost anyone to have/make a bot account (with community support), just seems like something would be abused (even though its not hard to deny a request). I would like only sysops to be allowed to have bot accounts. As well it would still allow us to have extra bots, without it becoming a hassle down the road. As sysops are trusted more and they can handle accepting requests from normal users. Wikichu is the perfect example of this. Dominator Matrix 10:31, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
With or without this policy, in general everyone can make a bot account and run a bot. Restricting that to sysops only will not help at all, as people who really want to run a bot will use it on their main account and there is no problem with that (with good settings others will not even notice). And please also note that bot flags will be given by the bureaucrats, and if you cannot even trust them, then I don't know. poke | talk 10:44, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
I was thinking that when wrote it. There is some trusted people around in this wiki, like Calor and PoA. "I would like only sysops to be allowed to have bot accounts." Doesn't mean regular users are completely left in the dark, I would just prefer it to be limited to sysops. An exception here and there never killed anyone. Dominator Matrix 10:51, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Then where is the problem with saying that every trusted user can get a bot flag (and I don't think the bcrats would give someone a botflag who is not trusted)? poke | talk 11:16, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

(Reset indent) Botflag ok -- bot accounts not. 2 different issues here. Dominator Matrix 11:18, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Does that even make sense? A bcrat is not going to give a main account a bot flag... only a bot account. My 2 cents is; that it should be up to the discretion of the bcrats to decide whether or not a user is trusted enough to have a botflag, no matter if they are sysops or normal users. --ShadowphoenixPlease, talk to me; I'm so lonely ;-; 16:27, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Ok, assuming a user gets a bot flag on their main account, are *all* edits made by that user hidden by default RC? --JonTheMon 16:33, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, bot flag = everything is hidden. This is why this policy requires an additional account for a bot flag. poke | talk 17:54, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Finalization[edit]

As it's been a while since the last comment, I would - finally - like to finalize this policy. Atm I can't remember remaining things against the current form from the discussion about; if I have forgotten something, please say it. Otherwise I will mark this policy as accepted by Saturday. poke | talk 16:23, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Sunday it is. Saturday is fine too :P -- ab.er.rant User Ab.er.rant Sig.png 02:43, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
huh? :P poke | talk 11:27, 7 August 2008 (UTC)