User:RussBot

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This is the user account for a bot.

Pursuant to the policies enumerated at WP:BOTS, the following information is provided for the edification of the Wikipedia community:

  • Describe the bot's purpose, language it uses, what program(s) it uses (pywikipedia framework, etc)
The bot uses Python and the pywikipedia bot framework. It currently has five areas of operation, as follows:
  1. I use it to bypass links to disambiguation pages. Edits made for this purpose are identified as "Robot-assisted", because the bot only identifies links that may need to be bypassed and presents a menu of options to the human operator (me). No link is changed unless the human operator selects it manually, so please do not leave messages on my Talk page suggesting that the bot has run amok because you don't agree with a particular link change. You may disagree with my judgment, which is all part of the process of achieving consensus, but at least realize that it is an issue of judgment and not an error in programming a bot. (Yes, I do occasionally hit the wrong key and foul up a link, but I try to be diligent about correcting those quickly.)
  2. I use it to fix double redirects. This process requires less human judgment; typically, if page [[Foo]] is a redirect to [[Bar]] and [[Bar]] is a redirect to [[Baz]], the bot can automatically bypass this and point [[Foo]] directly to [[Baz]]. However, there are exceptions, usually when one or the other of the redirects includes a redirect template. In these cases, human intervention is needed to decide how to resolve the redirect. Therefore, this aspect of the bot runs only under manual supervision.
  3. I use it to update the lists of disambiguation pages on Wikipedia:Disambiguation pages maintenance and Wikipedia:Disambiguation pages with links/problems.
  4. I use it to move pages from redirected categories into the correct target category. Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/RussBot As part of this task, (a) any double-redirected categories that are detected will automatically be fixed, and (b) any new hard-redirected categories will be converted into soft redirects.
  5. I use it to fix incorrect talk page redirects. Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/RussBot 2. This task runs periodically after a new database dump becomes available. This task is obsolete and no longer used.
  6. I use it to add Template:R to disambiguation page to redirects that qualify for it. Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/RussBot 3.
  7. I use it to fix intentional links to disambiguation pages in hatnotes. Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/RussBot 4.
  8. I use it to create redirect pages for use as intentional links to disambiguation pages. Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/RussBot 5.
  • Describe whether it is manually assisted or automatically scheduled to run
All bot operations except (1) are capable of running without manual assistance, but most of them are not scheduled to run automatically (that is, I start them manually as needed). The disambiguation page maintenance script (3) and category redirect maintenance script (4) are automatically scheduled.
  • The period, if any, we should expect it to run
The manually assisted functions are run whenever it is convenient for me. The disambiguation maintenance script runs once per week, usually early Sunday morning (U.S. time). The category redirect script runs daily, in the early morning (U.S.) hours. Tasks (6), (7), and (8) currently are running approximately once per month, depending on how much of a backlog develops.
  • Describe who the maintainer is
User:R'n'B
  • Add the bot's user page to Category:Wikipedia bots
Done; see below.

If you have any issues with my operations, please contact my operator.

About the hatnote task[edit]

What is the bot doing?
In a nutshell, the bot replaces links to disambiguation pages at certain specific locations in hatnote template calls with a link to a redirect that contains "(disambiguation)" in the title; for example, it may change "For other uses, see [[Windfall]]." to read "For other uses, see [[Windfall (disambiguation)|Windfall]]." Because the link is piped, the change is invisible to readers, and the bot verifies before making any change that the new link is a redirect to the same page as the old one.
This form of link is recommended by the Wikipedia guidelines for disambiguation pages. If you don't want to plow through the whole page, just look at the section captioned "How to link to a disambiguation page."
Why is this necessary?
Links to disambiguation pages are generally wrong; they are intended to go to some page with a more specific title that can be found on the disambig page. For example, where an editor writes "[[Jeff Jorgenson]] was considered to be a great baseball player", he doesn't intend to create a link to the disambiguation page for "Jeff Jorgenson", but to the article "[[Jeff Jorgenson (baseball player)]]". There were approximately 560,000 of these ambiguous links when the bot started this task in 2012 – down from nearly one million in mid-2010, thanks to the efforts of disambiguators. (As of mid-2019, we have cut the above backlog by more than 99%!) To help us fix these links, we have programs that generate lists of all of the links to disambig pages. These programs cannot tell if the author intended to point to a particular article, or to the disambig page, so if the sentence is "There are many people named [[Jeff Jorgenson]]", there's no way to know that this is actually intended to point to the disambig page unless a pair of human eyes fall on it and make that determination. However, we have many editors going over these lists all the time, and every time a disambig page is intentionally linked, every one of the editors going through that list will have to take the time to independently review that link and determine that it is intentional. In order to make it clear to the list-making programs (and editors running through the lists by hand) that these links are intentional, we pipe them so that they read "There are many people named [[Jeff Jorgenson (disambiguation)|Jeff Jorgenson]]". Look at the "What links here" list for the disambiguation page, James Smith. We can tell right away that all of the articles that are shown on that page to redirect to "James Smith" through James Smith (disambiguation) are intentional links to that page, and don't need to be checked. Multiply that time savings by the fifteen-thousand or so disambiguation pages (that we know of so far) that have, collectively, hundreds of thousands of intentional incoming links. If the link was set up as [[James Smith|James Smith (disambiguation)]], it would only appear to be fixed, but would still show up on the lists as needing to be fixed, and therefore waste thousands of hours of disambiguator time.
But why are you linking to a redirect?
I guess I'd say, why not? Some users seem to dislike links to redirect pages, but there is a strong consensus that there is nothing inherently wrong with redirects on Wikipedia. A redirect is a perfectly valid way of linking to an article, and, in general, it is unnecessary to change a redirect to a direct link, or vice versa. In this case, as explained above, linking to the redirect helps with ongoing maintenance of the encyclopedia, so it is an exception to the general rule. The bot task has been reviewed and approved in accordance with the Wikipedia bot policy.
In any case, the applicable guideline is very specific in saying that links to disambiguation pages should use a title that contains the term "(disambiguation)" even if that is a redirect. If you don't agree with that guideline, you can discuss your concerns on the corresponding talk page, but please don't blame the bot for doing what the guideline says.

For further information, see Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation/Archive 31#Hatnote redirects to disambiguation pages., Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation#Redirects in hatnotes, WP:INTDABLINK and WP:DPL.

Thanks to User:Jwy and BD2412 who originally wrote most of the above information.