User:SuggestBot

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SuggestBot is a program that attempts to help Wikipedia users find pages to edit based on their past contributions. If you want to try it out and get some personalized recommendations we have documentation explaining how to do that. You can also sign up to receive suggestions regularly. If you're wondering what the bot's recommendations looks like, you can find examples here.

SuggestBot uses a variety of algorithms, including standard information retrieval and collaborative filtering techniques, to make suggestions. Most of it runs at the GroupLens Research Lab, some parts also run on Wikimedia Tool Labs and the Wikimedia Toolserver. The recommendations are usually done based on downloading a list of a user's contributions (to avoid recommending articles they've recently edited). The bot was originally developed by ForteTuba.

If SuggestBot made personalized recommendations for you, please leave feedback on whether they were useful and how to make them better. Comments on recommendations, as well as general comments, suggestions, or complaints, are best left on our talk page. Comments are welcome and valuable, as they will help us make SuggestBot do a better job of helping Wikipedia.

Getting recommendations[edit]

We currently offer two ways of getting article recommendations:

To stop receiving article recommendations:

Current Status[edit]

SuggestBot is running normally, which means that one-time requests should be handled automatically in less than fifteen minutes, and we post suggestions to our subscribed users twice a day.

SuggestBot users who have signed up to get suggestions periodically: We are experiencing some difficulty with retrieving article popularity. Our initial attempt to fix this problem was unfortunately not successful and we are exploring other ways of getting this data. Apologies for the lack of data while we work on fixing the problem.

Approved tasks[edit]

SuggestBot has gone through several Bot Requests for Approval (BRFA) over the years. Here's a list of the tasks it has approval to do, and the corresponding BRFAs.

  1. Post article suggestions to users: BRFA #4 for users who want them periodically, BRFA #6 for one-time requests.
  2. Update the Community Portal's list of open tasks: BRFA #7
  3. Update various task templates periodically: BRFA #8

In addition there's an archived discussion thread from 2005/06 where the idea of SuggestBot and its functionality was first discussed. About a year later BRFA #2 was submitted. We have also had two BRFAs in relation to research experiments, see BRFA #3 and BRFA #5.

Limitations/issues[edit]

  • Some people would like wanted articles (redlinks). Hard because the only info we have on a redlink is a title and the pages that link to it -- no edit history to work from. Might be able to do this.
  • Someone suggested removing section stubs from the stubs list. Probably the right thing to do.
  • Needs to eventually, automatically, re-download lists of articles.
  • Only reads up to N (currently N=500) of a person's most recent edits when making recs. It tries to get older edits from a dump, in order to not recommend articles people have edited in the past, but this isn't perfect because dumps go out of date (there might be a gap between your last 500 edits and any edits it finds in the dump, and articles in that space might be recommended).
  • Doesn't handle redirects (also leading to recommendation of already-edited pages). This appears to be a relatively minor issue based on a little bit of testing of recommended items. I'd like to do this on the back end, so that if a person has edited several versions of a page, SuggestBot would "know" that they were all the same page (and maybe do better).
  • Ignores anything outside of main namespace (taking article talk pages into account might be interesting, a better representation of people's interests than just edits of articles directly. On the other hand, people often post on talk pages of articles they'd like to see deleted?)...

Changelog[edit]

  • Updated SuggestBot's way of posting suggestions so that it only tries to edit once in case something goes wrong, preventing the bot from editing the same page over and over. 22:00, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Switched from using {{Ntsh}} to {{Hs}} for sorting of the suggestion table due to MediaWiki having problems parsing a large page with many transclusions of {{Ntsh}}. SuggestBot now also automatically replaces transclusions of {{Ntsh}} with {{Hs}} when it posts. We've also added documentation of the columns in the suggestion table, and documentation of SuggestBot's task categories with listing of which specific Wikipedia categories are coved by each task category. 22:24, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Discovered we did not correctly check previous suggestions as we should, which meant specific articles might get suggested multiple times in succession. This bug has now been fixed and the bot should again start keeping track and not suggest the same articles over and over. 19:08, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Launched an improved design for users who receive suggestions regularly. This also meant a change in the configuration of categories SuggestBot fetches articles from, which also affects one-time requests. We added orphan and unencyclopaedic articles (NPOV disputes and original research), doubled the number of articles in need of more sources, and reduced the number of stubs. 20:35, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Switched our text-based recommender over to one built upon Apache Solr/Lucene to mitigate our performance issues. 07:14, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Added a new parameter "replace" to the template and userbox used for signing up to get suggestions regularly, makes the bot replace the latest existing set of suggestions (if present). We have also made changes to one of our recommenders to improve the quality of suggestions, as well as various minor bugfixes. 18:11, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Switched to a template-based system for signing up to get suggestions regularly. At the same time we also made it possible to get the suggestions delivered to a sub-page in your userspace for those who prefer them to stay away from their user talk page. We've also made sure the bot will not recommend the same articles over and over again. 15:54, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Fixed problems posting to talk pages for users with extended-char usernames by moving to the pywikibot framework. It also appears to have fixed the problem of not being able to post to some users talk pages. -- 16:17, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Try to improve profiles by ignoring minor and disambig edits. -- 11:28, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Kick over coedit recommender to 7-17 dump. -- 11:28, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Removed random recommendations, they were rarely followed. -- 05:01, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Eliminate most previously edited articles by looking at a relatively recent local dump. Many dumps fail on en, and processing them takes days, so for now we're on a mostly-processed version of the 2-19-06 dump. -- 16:24, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Maybe fixed all accented character issues? -- 15:58, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Add a filter to not recommend articles in the top N% (N=1) of edited articles -- a better way to handle the controversial article problem, and consistent across recommendation algorithms. -- 00:11, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Instead of recommending among all articles, focus on recommending articles tagged as stubs or needing work. (Somewhat like OpenTask but giving more weight to stubs since there are so many more of them.) -- 21:49, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Expand edit removing to include protection actions. -- ForteTuba 16:16, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Make some random recommendations, to make sure all articles get recommended eventually (a la User:Pearle's maintenance of Template:Opentask). -- 18:48, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Harshly penalize articles with lots of links in the link-based recommender, to recommend fewer popular pages (that presumably have less opportunity to contribute to). -- 16:35, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Remove many edits as input to recommendations, if the comment suggests they're reverting vandals. These edits appear to cause recommendations to zero in on controversial pages. -- 16:35, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Fix many accented character issues. -- 21:41, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Source code[edit]

We have a publicly available code repository available on Bitbucket: grouplens/suggestbot

While the source code for all of SuggestBot is currently not available, it is an issue we are working on resolving and hope to have it completed by the end of 2013.

See also[edit]