User talk:VIAFbot

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You have been blocked indefinitely from editing for running a bot script on this account without approval. If you think there are good reasons why you should be unblocked, you may appeal this block by adding below this notice the text {{unblock|reason=Your reason here ~~~~}}, but you should read the guide to appealing blocks first.

Under the bot policy, all automated scripts must be approved by the Bot Approvals Group to ensure that they perform safe and useful functions without stressing system resources.

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This blocked user's unblock request has been reviewed by an administrator, who declined the request. Other administrators may also review this block, but should not override the decision without good reason (see the blocking policy). Do not remove this unblock review while you are blocked.

VIAFbot (block logactive blocksglobal blocksautoblockscontribs deleted contribscreation log change block settingsunblockfilter log)

Request reason:

I edit on article space because I was testing error handling on Locked Pages, because I thought I was supposed to test before asking for permission. I'll go to BRFA now. VIAFbot (talk) 16:51, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Decline reason:

The bot can be unblocked once it is approved for trials or full operation via BRFA. You will need to file the BRFA from your main account anyway. Hersfold non-admin

(t/a/c) 21:14, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Well I've submitted to WP:BRFA this morning, so I'll just allow due course, but this is unfortunate since I can't conduct any further testing, even in Userspace. Maximilianklein (talk) 21:53, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

If you want to make any further unblock requests, please read the guide to appealing blocks first, then use the {{unblock}} template again. If you make too many unconvincing or disruptive unblock requests, you may be prevented from editing this page until your block has expired.

This account may be unblocked once WP:BOTPOL is followed, including indication on the user page of who the operator is and the approval of a request at WP:BRFA. Anomie 02:09, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, I think this is related to Wikipedia:Authority control integration proposal? But yes, you need to follow proper policy, and, as the operators will have already observed, not make edits to articlespace as occurred on Chuck Norris or seek approval for such edits. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 10:01, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Thanks for bringing this up. The irony is I was actually going to apply for BRFA today. Yesterday I made the edit to the chuck norris article because I was attempting to test error handling on locked pages. Anyway I'll move on to BRFA now. VIAFbot (talk) 16:24, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
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This user's unblock request has been reviewed by an administrator, who accepted the request.

VIAFbot (block logactive blocksglobal blocksautoblockscontribs deleted contribscreation log change block settingsunblockfilter log)

Request reason:

I have received a trial run. Please see Wikipedia:Bots/Requests_for_approval/VIAFbot VIAFbot (talk) 13:37, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Accept reason:

Unblocked — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 15:39, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Unblocking administrator: Please check for active autoblocks on this user after accepting the unblock request.
Note you should not be making edits such as this with the bot account. Use your regular user account instead. The bot account should only be used to make edits for approved tasks. Anomie 01:53, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Yup, sorry, that was a mistake. I understand what's correct now. Maximilianklein (talk) 11:44, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Please see de:Benutzer Diskussion:VIAFbot[edit]

Your test edits in de.wikipedia are lacking a non-optional paramter. --FA2010 (talk) 07:22, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for making me aware of this. I was just making Userspace examples to test read from dewp. To clarify this bot never edits deWP only reads it. I've now blanked the pages. On another note, it's good to see the use of the TYP parameter, its a good thought for us in redesigning the Authority control template. Again, very sorry. Maximilianklein (talk) 11:43, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
No problem. I just wanted to prevent any mass edit with mistakes. --FA2010 (talk) 15:15, 9 October 2012 (UTC)


An observation of which I am not sure if it really is problematic. However it might be worth the effort to sort this out, before proceeding ...

the connection between an article of en:Wikipedia and a VIAF cluster is described in wikilinksforbot.out – for this file it schould be true, that any VIAF cluster appears no more than once and any Wikipedia entry appears no more than once.

On the other hand, among the ~300000 VIAF clusters that have a link to en:Wikipedia, there are many thousand, where different clusters link to an identical article. Some examples:

article VIAF cluster from
other VIAF clusters
G. Wood
Karl Marx

In case of G. Wood the VIAF cluster selected in wikilinksforbot.out is the " wrong one".

I have no idea what percentage of VIAF links could be affected. 5% ... 10%? Just wanted to note this observation. Cheers -- Make (talk) 13:12, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

It is true that VIAF isn't perfect, but this is actually a great opportunity to improve VIAF, and that is part of the plan. The way the bot will handle this is that it will insert the first link that it comes across in the wikilinks.out file, then if it goes to edit that article again, it will detect a conflict and log it for human inspection [the bot userpage]. Then we will report these duplicates to VIAF as an organization who will correct it on the back end. They will then bring their clusters closer together. At that point we can develop a maintenance phase for VIAFbot to run on diffs supplied by VIAF.
Also, from a random sample of links that I took and inspected by hand I found that about 2% of links were affected. Maximilianklein (talk) 11:22, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Authority control and stub templates[edit]

Why does your bot move the stub template from the foot of the article to above the categories and below the defaultsort tag when adding this template? Please fix all the articles you've edited. Lugnuts And the horse 18:13, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Can you please show me an example of what you're talking about? Maximilianklein (talk) 18:35, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
I see you mean something like this? Maximilianklein (talk) 18:40, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I think I see what's happening. I'm calling the pywikipediabot library to add the template below the text and above the categories. I think it's following a convention that there should never be templates below categories.
Similarly this edit; please note that per WP:FOOTERS there should be nothing between the {{Persondata}} and the {{DEFAULTSORT:}}, and nothing between the {{DEFAULTSORT:}} and the categories. The {{Authority control}} should therefore have gone above the {{persondata}}. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:21, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
So can you explain to me exactly where to insert this template. Or even better, how you would algorithmically determine where to place the authority control template? I.e. Above categories, above interlanguage, above persondata etc. . Is there a complete list of templates of which to place it above? Maximilianklein (talk) 20:52, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Er, I thought I just put "above the {{persondata}}"; and see Wikipedia:Authority control#Using the template, where it states "As a metadata template, the Authority control template should be placed after the external links section and navigation templates, right before the Persondata template." --Redrose64 (talk) 21:49, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
So above persondata, and if no persondata above defaultsort, and if no defaultsort above the first [[Category:...? That would be reasonably easy for the script to evaluate, I think. Andrew Gray (talk) 21:52, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
  • After a quick discussion on how best to fix this, I've now mass-reverted every VIAFbot change, allowing us to run the script again once the placement issues are sorted out. Andrew Gray (talk) 20:39, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Resolved! (deo volente) The script now looks for persondata, and adds above it; if there's no persondata, it looks for defaultsort, and adds above that; if there's no defaultsort, it looks for the first category and adds it above that. If there are no categories either, it stops and logs the page for human examination. This will let us pick up uncategorised pages as a beneficial side-effect. Andrew Gray (talk) 22:48, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
...and confirmed. Here is the old edit (moving stub template); here is the new one (only adding, no moving) Andrew Gray (talk) 22:54, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, this is the correct edit. Thanks. --Redrose64 (talk) 13:17, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
Great! Please do let either of us know if it messes up again :-) Andrew Gray (talk) 15:35, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing the stub issue. I think there's another issue, but it looks like it's been picked up with the comments, above. The template is being placed between the header of the persondata template and the body of that template. See the bot edit on this article for example. Lugnuts And the horse 09:22, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Well-spotted! I know exactly what it's doing - not understanding that the persondata comment is part of persondata and should be included. Hmm. It should be relatively easy to fix this by adding another exception rule - do you know if the header is always in the same format? Andrew Gray (talk) 10:52, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
The bot's stopped for now, but I've emailed Max to let him know and with a proposed workaround. Thanks again! Andrew Gray (talk) 11:00, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
This is fixable as long as the comment is always in a predetermined list of specific formats. Maximilianklein (talk) 16:28, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
There is a bot (don't recall which) which when it encounters a hidden comment on the tail of a line, such as
{{Persondata <!-- Metadata: see [[Wikipedia:Persondata]] -->
will split these, and put the comment on the line above. I do wish it wouldn't, because this divorces the comment from the line to which it pertains; and having been so divorced, well-meaning editors (bots or human) may see fit to insert other lines between them, further compounding the divorce.
For the specific case of Persondata, I've only found two "correct" forms: {{Persondata alone, and followed by the hidden comment as shown above. --Redrose64 (talk) 19:21, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Ok, I've adjust to the algroithm to first search for <!-- Metadata: see [[Wikipedia:Persondata]] --> and place the AC template above it if it exists, as in this diff for example. Thanks for pointing out this bug. I'm going to run the bot on another 2,500 articles. Maximilianklein (talk) 20:51, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

VIAFbot adding second template to some articles[edit]

VIAFbot seems to be adding the Authority control template to articles with Template:Authority control divonly, e.g., Agrippa d'Aubigné. A second template is not needed in these cases. --Robert.Allen (talk) 09:20, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for spotting this; it seems divonly got created after we'd started planning the bot and so it wasn't something we'd thought about. It's very lightly used, though, so it should be possible to check over these easily - the only one affected at the moment seems to be d'Aubigné, which I've fixed by hand. I wonder if the best solution would be to merge the templates and have a divonly = yes display parameter? Andrew Gray (talk) 10:03, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
For my own references - all edits on pages using divonly - [1]. Andrew Gray (talk) 19:14, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
Maybe a parameter like "state=inline". This might allow for other display options later on. Template:Commons and Template:Commons inline are an example where they are left as separate templates. But I agree that combining into one template is probably the better choice for "Authority control". --Robert.Allen (talk) 19:52, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

A barnstar for you![edit]

Original Barnstar Hires.png The Original Barnstar
You are doing excellent work. Keep it up! Tito Dutta 23:22, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Second that. Great to see this useful feature being rolled out. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:46, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

VIAFbot still breaking {{Persondata}} templates[edit]

As demonstrated by this recent edit, the problems with VIAFbot placing its template in the wrong location, as discussed at User talk:VIAFbot#Authority control and stub templates, has not been fully resolved. --Allen3 talk 17:41, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Ah, I see. I'm working on it. Maximilianklein (talk) 18:11, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

I just discovered and fixed a case where the VIAFbot created an ugly mess in a major article, Michel de Montaigne. Hopefully you will have the bot's code fixed very quickly, as we do not want this kind of thing to spread. Here's the diff, so you can see just where VIAFbot went wrong. (Now I see that this is exactly the problem just reported by Allen3.)

Please take this as only constructive criticism. With professional training in library and information science (among many other things), I, for one, will be very interested to see how this project works out. I have also taken the liberty of adding a VIAF template manually to an article I have great interest in. But of course, as you know, we have to be very, very careful with bots. Like much modern surgery, their operations should be minimally invasive. Problems like this one are serious cause for concern. --Alan W (talk) 05:34, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the Encouragement :-) Maximilianklein (talk) 15:31, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
I see what's happened there! Interesting. The odds are this is likely to happen again, so I've stopped the bot until we get it fixed (which should be a small coding fix, but I'm not able to implement it from here). Andrew Gray (talk) 08:30, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Actually I refactored the insertion algorithm to check for this now. There will be some lingering affected cases though, unfortunately. The newest algorithm check for the appearance of all the metadata comment, the persondata template, the defaultsort magic word, and the category links, and inserts above the the top-most occurence of all of those. Maximilianklein (talk) 15:31, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
If we're good to go, I'll unblock. (IRC?) Andrew Gray (talk) 15:47, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
The chains are looséd. Go test! Andrew Gray (talk) 16:14, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
This shouldn't be happening any more, for instance in this same scenario it now operates correctly. Thank you for your attentions Alan W and Allen3. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:37, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
This was a correct edit. --Redrose64 (talk) 18:39, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Looking better now, thank you. I will continue to spot-check any VIAF insertions in pages on my watchlist and others I happen to notice, and I'll let you know if I see anything else peculiar. Regards, Alan W (talk) 01:10, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

William Orville Thomson ≠ G. Thomson[edit]

This edit is not correct. G. Thomson (likely William Thomson), the geologist, is not the (poet?) William Orville Thomson. Please be careful. -- Basilicofresco (msg) 22:59, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for reporting this error. Maximilianklein (talk) 23:28, 8 October 2012 (UTC)


this edit duplicates one of the args. Stuartyeates (talk) 00:44, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

That's really odd, it's supposed to not do that, and it hasn't on other pages. I'll conduct some extra testing, thanks for pointing it out. Maximilianklein (talk) 15:32, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Ah, it was the whitespace padding. Thanks for pointing this out, I've adjusted the bot to look for whitespace between the pipe and "VIAF" now. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:34, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia knows it better[edit]

The bot added the wrong VIAF number for Peter Abrahams (American author):

Bot: VIAF 90706733 = Peter Abrahams (b. 1947), an physician
Green tickY VIAF 55005437 = Peter Abrahams (b. 1947), an American author

Funny thing: You could have looked it up in Wikipedia: de:Peter Abrahams (US-amerikanischer Autor). Edited by humans there you will find the correct authority control data. --Kolja21 (talk) 18:42, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Strange - the bot should be checking the German records as it goes along. Thanks for spotting it. Andrew Gray (talk) 18:56, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Hi Andrew, thanks for the fast reply. Wouldn't it be usefull first adding the 174.831 VIAF numbers (or 212.416 GNDs) already checked (de:Vorlage:NORMDATENCOUNT) and then adding new ones? --Kolja21 (talk) 19:03, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
We did think about this, but felt it was best to merge the two sets as we went along - it lets us do it in one go, rather than needing two passes, and means we can log and then fix the conflicts between the records before they go onto enwiki pages.
At least, that's the theory, it looks like it may not be working as perfectly as expected ;-) I've let Max know about this (he did the coding and has the logs), and we'll see if we can figure out what's going wrong. Andrew Gray (talk) 19:28, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I've tracked down what happened in this case. The de.wp page was moved, and it rendered the interwiki-link a redirect. When the bot read the redirect page it had no Normdaten. This is actually an oversight, because I wrote a redirect-follower function in the bot when loading english pages. So I will adapt it for the deutsche. Kolja21, thanks for bringing this to my attention. To let you know, typically VIAFbot would have marked this page for manual checking, because the number it got and the de.wp disagreed, we check every page against de.wp and there are 13 cases we identified that are possible. Thanks again. Maximilianklein (talk) 22:25, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Can we get the log of mismatches put on-wiki? It'd be good to have a chance for manual review while we're going along. Andrew Gray (talk) 23:03, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
That would be useful for us in the German wikipedia as well. --Mai-Sachme (talk) 09:29, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
+1. Any chance to make the lists of discovered conflicts available? I am sure some users of the Normdaten-group in de:wikipedia will help assess the conflicts. Especially types 6 and 11, which affect 3%-4% of pages touched. -- Make (talk) 14:05, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Sure. I've put up some of the conflict 6 logs User:VIAFbot/Conflict6/0 hope that's useful. Maximilianklein (talk) 16:50, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Hey, I'm another user engaged in the German Normdaten activities. While doing some spot checks I found quickly another case of a wrong assignment: John Miller (linebacker). In the last few months we had worked with a list (with almost 7,000 entries in its original size) based on the combination of en-Wikipedia-VIAF matched pairs and de-en-wikilinking in order to add missing authority control numbers. Our (intellectually revised) log of mismatches has 139 entries (~ 2 %), a large percentage concerning sportsmen and women. So, based on that experience I'd recommend to double-check authority control data inserted into articles in the Category:Sports competitors. --Mai-Sachme (talk) 09:29, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Interesting, I'll take that into consideration when rewriting the algorithm. Right now the identification and writing happen at different phases. Maximilianklein (talk) 16:50, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Do stats reset every time the bot is restarted?[edit]

Just an observation – I am not sure if this is intentional: User:VIAFbot/Stats gets updated after every 1000 articles touched by the bot. However it seems that a restart of the bot resets the stats, like here. -- Make (talk) 23:25, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Ahh, good point. All the stats are being logged locally. So even though they are resetting each time I restart the bot once it finishes running I will post a full report, and make some pretty graphs in R. Maximilianklein (talk) 23:42, 9 October 2012 (UTC)


Our article about Rob Levin was recently merged into this one. Apparently the bot followed the redirect, adding an authority control template anyway. Is that really supposed to happen in this case? Shouldn't the bot ensure the article is in one of Category:Living people, Category:year deaths, Category:Year of death missing, or Category:Year of death unknown if the author is (or was) an individual? Also, can you explain how the VIAF web site ended up with the Wikipedia links in the first place? (I'm wondering whether both Wikipedia and VIAF are referring to the same Rob Levin born in 1955.) Thanks, PleaseStand (talk) 03:26, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

The bot follows redirects because (in most cases) they're simply renames, but a check for "looks like a person" is definitely worth doing - I know we talked about it at some point, but it doesn't seem to have made it into the final version. I've stopped the bot for now and will try to get it running again this evening with some form of check in it.
VIAF use Wikipedia data for their clustering algorithm, which is why we have the existing set of links. In this case, it looks like an error anyway - he's probably not the photographer! Andrew Gray (talk) 09:24, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for spotting this. It's important to understand that VIAFbot is using data that did check the Persondata and categories to match. The reason why we're following redirects is because there are a lot of cases like "John Smith (Footballer)" -> "John Smith (Goalkeeper)". The reason we can't just assume that those pages will be in Category:Living people, is that we are actually running the list of "Personal Names" which includes Fictional Characters who are not Living People. This case is unfortunate, and I'm really pleased that you could spot it and clean it up by hand. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:17, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Hans Lewy[edit]

Hi — the bot just added a VIAF for Hans Lewy that looks very strange to me: it combines information about what looks to me like two different people, Hans Lewy (a mathematician) and someone else named "Yochanan Lewy" (a historian of Judaism). The biographical references in our article (e.g. an obit in the New York Times) say nothing about an identity between these two people. I realize the bot is just making links, but in this case the link seems half-wrong to me. Do you have any suggestions for how to get this resolved, either by cleaning up the VIAF entry or finding proper evidence of identity that we can use in our article? —David Eppstein (talk) 05:41, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

It's been reported on the newly created error page Wikipedia:VIAF/errors, if you see any more please report it there and we'll either correct it, or if necessary report it to for corrections. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:19, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

David Morris (English politician)[edit]

I can see no evidence that the authority record here is right - but have emailed the English MP's office to ask for confirmation that he is not the author of the American book about an American charity. If I get that confirmation, I'll be back here to ask how we get the VIAF record amended, as it currently includes the book authorship and has a link to the (previous title of the) Wikipedia article! It's not unlikely that two people of this name were born in the same year. PamD 07:10, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes, confirmed by email from his office, it's not his book! PamD 15:43, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your close attention. It's been reported on the newly created error page Wikipedia:VIAF/errors, if you see any more please report it there and we'll either correct it, or if necessary report it to for corrections. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:19, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Clear error[edit]

  • this is just plain wrong. Maybe stop the bot and assess the error rate? Stuartyeates (talk) 07:12, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
There is a known error rate, we understand. At RfC we estimated the error rate, based on a random sample, to be 2% and found consensus to run with the 2% error rate. The bot is stopped at the moment, I will run another random sample of edits and assess the error rate and report it before continuing. Maximilianklein (talk)
Thanks for reporting, if it's an error with the bot, I will fix that. If its an error in the article that is pointing to on their site, then if you log it on WP:VIAF/errors we'll report the error to VIAF so it can get fixed at the source. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:27, 10 October 2012 (UTC)


I thought we were restricting this operation to people? this page seems like the kind of thing that needs to be handled very carefully. Stuartyeates (talk) 07:26, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

That one is weird - we talked a bit about multiple people, but the idea of control records for fictional authors escaped me. Hmm. I think I might try generating a report for the intersection of {{authority control}} and the various subcats of "fictional people" and see what else we have.
I don't actually know what's best here - on the one hand, they're definitely not people, but on the other hand, they are "people-like identities". How should we handle cases like Junius (VIAF), I wonder, where the "authorship" undeniably exists but the correlation to a real person is unknown? Andrew Gray (talk) 09:02, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure how it should be handled, so long as it's handled consistently. It's tempting it say link it to persondata or something similar. Stuartyeates (talk) 09:20, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Does PD have a clear rule for "real" people? I know it's a bit garbled in practice with multiples. Andrew Gray (talk) 09:28, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Okay, here's my suggestion. After thinking about it for a bit, I feel, in general, we should consistently aim to keep the record for "nominal" people as well as real ones, simply because otherwise it's very difficult to draw the line - there's a continuum between "real authors" on the one hand, through pseudonyms with no person attatched (Junius), nominal-but-nonexistent authors (Carolyn Keene), mythical authors (Homer) and outright fictional ones from within the fictional work (Mutzenbacher). Cases as extreme Mutzenbacher are rare - most cataloguers will just attribute these to the real authors - but some persist.
In this particular case, though, I think it looks weird mainly because the article is mainly writing about the book. In cases like this - where the article is presented as something other than a biography or pseudo-biography - suppressing the authority control field is the best option editorially; it avoids confusing the readers. It also makes sense for cases like the Freenode one above!
Getting the script to identify cases like this is tricky, though. I had wondered if we could do this by using things like subcats of Category:Novels, but experiments with catscan suggest that's >95% false positives. Andrew Gray (talk) 21:17, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Duplicate Authority control[edit]

Hi, don't know whether this edit should go on Wikipedia:VIAF/errors because it's not a case of the wrong person being linked - Nick Drake is the correct person to link to VIAF 42030749. The error is that an {{Authority control|VIAF=42030749}} was added even though there was already a {{Normdaten|PND=121181189|LCCN=n/93/54840|VIAF=42030749}} a few lines above. This may have been overlooked because Template:Normdaten is a redirect to Template:Authority control. --Redrose64 (talk) 14:01, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

It should be looking for normdaten as standard - I'll flag this one as a bug. Thanks for spotting it. Normdaten is (thankfully) the only redirect template, so what I'll do is, rather than stop the bot pending a fix, run a report looking for any cases with both and fix them manually. Andrew Gray (talk) 14:16, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
I've tried to run this report but it currently takes too long - the BL firewall times out the query. I'll check again tonight. Andrew Gray (talk) 14:36, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
We should migrate to {{Authority control}}, not just for standardisation reasons, but also because Normdaten accepts different parameters (on de.wp) which can make for confusion. Maximilianklein (talk) 16:34, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Is the bot currently switching from one to the other when encountered? Andrew Gray (talk) 16:39, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

VIAFbot makes biographies better![edit]

A small cup of coffee.JPG Wow VIAFbot! You are improving biographical articles which I watch by adding the authority control template! I like what you do a lot. If Wikilove had pictures of cups of oil then that might be a more appropriate way to thank a robot than by giving this cup of coffee, but this is what I have. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:50, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

analysis of conflicts[edit]

Thanks for providing User:VIAFbot/Conflict6/0 – I've started with analysis. Just some first impressions:

  • some occurences of lost log-content, which leads to garbled/corrupted lines: example: * 19:25,
  • blocks of duplicates, however timestamps are different: one block runs from Joseph R. Garber to A. E. W. Mason
  • there seem to be quite a number of what I would call pseudo conflicts: When VIAF clusters are merged, old identifiers (URIs) are not invalidated but instead transformed into a redirect. This is explained at [2] Thus different VIAF-IDs can still identify one and the same cluster. Example: Current VIAF cluster for Arthur Adams (comics) is however (from de:Normdaten) redirects to this cluster as well.

-- Make (talk) 13:35, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

The first two may be due to my reformatting of it. I'll check on this tonight... Andrew Gray (talk) 14:11, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Template in wrong place[edit]

Check out Gina Gershon. Looks like the bot dropped the template in the wrong place, and it broke the page. dstumme (talk) 19:53, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Interesting! I see what happened - it's programmed to look for various elements (categories, persondata, etc) and place the template above the top-most one. It saw [[Category and thought it was an actual category link; I'll get it changed to look for [[Category:! Thanks for spotting it. Andrew Gray (talk) 20:09, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
The bot also broke the article Alan Bates on October 6, 2012 with this edit. (I have repaired the damage.) HairyWombat 02:33, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that is an older edit, from before the fix. Thank you ever so much for fixing the damage, I appreciate it. Maximilianklein (talk) 04:59, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

User:VIAFbot/a3 appearing in category[edit]

User:VIAFbot/a3 appears at Category:New_Zealand_amputees. Something to do with Charles Chilton (zoologist). I don't know what the purpose of this bot is but I presume the user should not be appearing in the cat. Nurg (talk) 08:08, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Yup, sorry I was copying pages from WP into userspace to test my bot in a noncritical place, and the categories came along with the wikitext which was copied. I'll fix it now. Maximilianklein (talk) 15:23, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Codes on disambiguation pages[edit]

The bot has been adding codes to disambiguation pages (e.g. Kenneth Baker (disambiguation) and Adam Cohen). I assume this isn't correct? Tassedethe (talk) 19:01, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Correct - shouldn't be happening. Checking for disambiguation templates is a little fiddly, but I'll put this on the list; for the moment, the helpful Category:All disambiguation pages means we can run a report to find these. Andrew Gray (talk) 20:16, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
This occured because the bot was set to follow redirects for pages, and I see now that some pages redirect to DABs now. I updated VIAFbot now to check for DAB pages, so this shouldn't happen anymore. There isn't an easy way to check for which DABs this has already occured on, but thanks for alerting me. We are less than 25% of the way through, so it's good that we caught this earlier rather than later. Maximilianklein (talk) 00:59, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the update. This catscan search suggests it's only 20 articles. Tassedethe (talk) 02:53, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Hurrah for catscan! I was trying to run that report last night but it kept falling over for me. Andrew Gray (talk) 09:32, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
I'll go and do these by hand now. All fixed. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:00, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Request for Template:Authority control on article[edit]

Can VIAFbot or Maximilianklein please add the Template:Authority control in the Wikipedia article Kevin-Prince Boateng. MarkMysoe (talk) 22:37, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

VIAFbot would not have added KPB, but I did it manually. Thanks for notifying. Maximilianklein (talk) 16:45, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

VIAF link added does not seem useful[edit]

Re this edit the resulting link page at the foot of the article does not seem useful. What is its purpose? Is there a discussion thread on this? The link wrongly has a US flag next to his birth. Eldumpo (talk) 22:43, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

In fact this is purposeful. You can find out more at WP:VIAF Maximilianklein (talk) 17:50, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Redundancy bot error[edit]

Hi, the bot apparently does not recognize the Normdaten template and so redundantly adds an authority control template where it already exists: evidence (the added template is also worse than the existing one). Does this happen often, does the bot have to run over these instances again or do we have to fix the double templates manually? Hekerui (talk) 23:24, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for bringing this up. There are only about 50 Normdaten templates in use and they redirect to Authority contorl. I'm going to just quickly convert them. Thanks for your attention to detail. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:53, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
There are additional instances now. All the best. Rich Farmbrough, 11:30, 17 December 2012 (UTC).
I've found one - Matthias Blazek - but this seems to have been added in error by a user not by the bot. Can't seem to find any others... Andrew Gray (talk) 12:55, 17 December 2012 (UTC) Rich Farmbrough, 04:23, 18 December 2012 (UTC).
I went through all these yesterday and could only find Blazek. I've double-checked now, and turned up a couple of odd cases with no displayed elements (I think the template's been copied from German) which I'll look at later, but I can't track any more cases of double-use. Andrew Gray (talk) 09:58, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes the template is indeed copied from the German, as are the awful capital letter parameter names for "pesondata" (the clue is in the agglutinative names for the templates, which we avoid). Rich Farmbrough, 23:03, 18 December 2012 (UTC).

How does our data get into VIAF?[edit]

Hi there. I noticed that apparently now Wikipedia data is also an (experimental) source for VIAF. See Björn Gunnlaugsson and his VIAF entry. While I think that is great (and I also see that this is still experimental), I see several problems there:

  • The name somehow got converted to all lowercase.
  • I'll attribute the missing Umlaut in "Björn" to a poor {{Persondata}} template in the article (corrected now).
  • Whatever heuristics is used to generate "selected titles", it goes wrong too often. Of the 10 entries from Wikipedia, only the first two are correct. Two more (Njóla and De mensura et delineatione Islandiae) are missing. A 20% hit rate is probably too low to be useful. (I'll readily grant that figuring out such information from free-text Wikipedia entries is hard.)

Mind you, I'm not complaining. I think it's great that WP data is going into VIAF. But I see a dire need to improve that process. Lupo 06:47, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm in contact with the VIAF engineers. What's interesting is that all the WP information in VIAF was always used to help link the national authority records, it was just simply hidden from the user. Now the decision is to make that public. As for the lower case issue, they know its an issue and a fix is in the works. Thanks for bringing this up though. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:56, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Are there plans to link next year from VIAF to (international) Wikidata instead of English Wikipedia? --Kolja21 (talk) 12:39, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I also think that Wikidata seems like the next step, I'm following their development, and plan to implement such a bot. Maximilianklein (talk) 15:46, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Great! Looking foreword for this moment. I'm sure it will help to improve VIAF data. --Kolja21 (talk) 02:50, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
ISNI are also quite keen on linking out to Wikidata identities; we'll see how that goes. Andrew Gray (talk) 17:46, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Better information in flowchart[edit]

The flow chart on User:VIAFbot needs to include instructions on what to do when the error is in VIAF. and need to be merged. Stuartyeates (talk) 01:41, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Good point, I will think about the solution and update the flow chart. Thanks again for your strong efforts. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:44, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
Also Virtual International Authority File could do with a much better lede, written for a non-LIS knowledgeable audience. Stuartyeates (talk) 21:46, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
Also “... fix their database links” is misspelled in the flow chart.—Emil J. 16:08, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I can't believe I made that grammatical mistake, well it's fixed now, and @Stuartyeates, if there are unforseen conflict types like the ones you stumble on then let's just be bold and create new categories for them. When I deliver the list to VIAF there will be a human correcting these so error categorization is not terrifically important. Maximilianklein (talk) 00:40, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Inconsistent entries in Selected Titles[edit]

Hi - I don't know whether this constitutes an error or not, since I can't find a succinct explanation of what you are trying to accomplish. However, these results seem inconsistent and confusing so I thought I'd point them out. Looking at 3 entries you recently did,

  • 29524192 lists mostly works by Stefansson but also Stefansson and the Canadian Arctic which is about him (there are also a couple I don't recognize and haven't attempted to research).
  • 104465315 lists works from the bibliography of the WP article on Richardson Clover, about Clover rather than by him, and also 2 entries that apparently reflect italicized terms in the WP article rather than books, inside passage and uss susquehana 1850. The book cover illustration shows and links to a multi-volume treatise which mentions him in one sentence; does not list the relevant page.
  • 24252928 includes works by Charles Wesley Leffingwell and includes multiple variants of the same title. This entry does not include works about Leffingwell cited in the WP bibliography which I presume reflects your intention.

If you are going to automate the extraction of bibliographic information from WP, you need to be aware that bibliographic formats and article formats both vary widely, and that italics are used for purposes other than titles. Dankarl (talk) 16:43, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for raising this issue. In fact the process of VIAFbot putting in entries, and the process of scraping pages for selected works are unrelated. So this isn't really within the scope of this bot. However I know the team that is working on the selected titles scraper, and I will forward your message, since that bot works on a database dump and has no account. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:36, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
That would be great Dankarl (talk) 20:59, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm submitting your question to the VIAF mailing list. Maximilianklein (talk) 18:35, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
FWIW 100436106 also contains a mix of by, about and simply italicized items. Your database-scraping cohorts might do well to open a page here for similar reports. I won't bug you further with these. Dankarl (talk) 18:37, 15 November 2012 (UTC)


Congrats on adding over 100,000 of the VIAF numbers to articles! There must be a barnstar for this somewhere. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 08:01, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Cheers and thanks. Maximilianklein (talk) 18:33, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

John Norman[edit]

Just curious, but why was only one number added to the John Norman article, while a bunch of numbers were added to the commons:Category:John Norman category? -- AnonMoos (talk) 15:26, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

That's because there are many different authority control standards, not only does VIAF offer this service, but so does the US Library of Congress (LCCN) and German National Library (PND) etc. However VIAF is a "bridge identifier" which means that ideally if you had the VIAF ID of person you could find their LCCN and PND, by searching at . The matching is still not 100% complete or accurate, but that's the theory. Given that theory I am attempting only to place the VIAF numbers, and on commons people have different opinions. Maximilianklein (talk) 17:42, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

A cup of tea for you![edit]

Meissen-teacup pinkrose01.jpg I know I just thanked you a month ago but it seems like every day since then you have added more authority control templates to more biographies which I watch. VIAFbot, your work is so important. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:47, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

garbo edit[edit]

Hello there, you just edited something on the Garbo page which I don't understand. Can you explain what you did? People make smaill adjustments which I don't understand so, out of curiosity, I want to learn this stuff! You can just answer, if you wish, on my talk p. thanks,--Classicfilmbuff (talk) 00:53, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Responded on talk page. Maximilianklein (talk) 22:04, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Authority control and stub templates[edit]

you are putting authority control in an article that you have made no contributions to such as the J.B. Vuillaume article. there is no reason for that. Milliot (talk) 07:46, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

This user is a bot. Are you referring to the Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume article? The bot's addition to it seems in line with WP:MOS, what do you see wrong with it? Stuartyeates (talk) 08:01, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it's necessary to revert the Authority control template that VIAFbot put there. Over .25 million Wikipedia pages now use the Authority control template as disambiguation device. The bot not contributing to the article otherwise isn't critera for removal in my opinion, it's just making an incremental upgrade to the encyclopedia. Maximilianklein (talk) 22:08, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Jozef or Josef Israels[edit]

I think initially somebody had created a page - Josef Israels - a Dutch painter. However the correct way of spelling his name is Jozef with a Z rather then S ! So somebody must have changed the s to a Z recently ?! I have mentioned on the page - George Paul Chalmers that he painted the portrait of Jozef Israels but then it appears in red and not in blue whereas if I incorrectly type it with a s - it does appear in blue ?? I am not a very literate computer person, so I do not know how to solve this technical computer problem ! Glemmens1940 (talk) 12:55, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Could VIAF go on the talk pages instead?[edit]

Hello, I find that this VIAF stuff is rather intrusive -- it has zero interest for the average reader, yet sits on the article page rather than the Talk page, which would seem more sensible. Would it be ok if, in the articles I'm seriously involved with, I moved the VIAF to the talk page instead? Thanks, Opus33 (talk) 20:26, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure that it holds zero interest for the average reader - VIAFbot went through an RFC and found consensus from the community as a whole, to be on the article page and not the user page. Technically it would work if VIAF IDs were on the user page and not the article page, but they are on the article page for a reason, the community thinks they are useful. So I would ask you not to move the VIAF IDs please. Maximilianklein (talk) 00:16, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Hi Opus33, what you call "VIAF stuff" is part of authority control and much more reliable as the Wiki stuff. It's used in over half a million articles from ar.Wikipedia to zh.Wikipedia. --Kolja21 (talk) 04:02, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

William Louis Day[edit]

The viaf you added for this fellow is incorrect, it points to a different fellow named " Day, Wilfrid Ernest Lytton, 1873-1936 ".

After you added this template in October 2012, viaf went ahead and added a link between Day, Wilfrid Ernest Lytton, 1873-1936 and William Louis Day at their site in November 2012. Can this be undone?
Roseohioresident (talk) 02:07, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

@Roseohioresident: If the core problem is with Wikipedia pointing to the wrong cluster, then fix it on wiki, and VIAF will notice the change. If the problem is that the VIAF cluster confuses two people then you can send a message with the problem to Maximilianklein (talk) 19:55, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
thanksRoseohioresident (talk) 21:43, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
VIAF 84033063 stands for Wilfred Ernest Lytton "Will" Day (1873-1936), a British film historian. I've deleted the link in Wikidata. --Kolja21 (talk) 18:48, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
@Kolja21:, thanks. Maximilianklein (talk) 19:20, 9 September 2013 (UTC)