Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-10-15/Adminbot approved

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The Wikipedia Signpost

Bot is approved to delete redirects

By Shalom, 15 October, 2007

RedirectCleanupBot (talk deletion log), an automated bot account whose sole purpose is to delete broken redirects, was granted adminship on Thursday, October 11, after a week of discussion. On October 13, the bot's task was approved, making it the first bot in the history of the English Wikipedia to be granted administrator status.

A broken redirect is a redirect for which the intended target page does not exist. Usually this occurs because the target page existed previously, but it has since been deleted. Broken redirects may be deleted according to clause "R1" of the speedy deletion policy.

WJBscribe, who has deleted hundreds of broken redirects by hand, suggested that the task could be performed more efficiently by an automated bot. Eagle 101 drafted the source code for RedirectCleanupBot. The bot examines each page in the automatically generated list at Special:BrokenRedirects. If the redirect has only one edit in its page history, the bot will delete it. However, if the redirect has more than one edit in its history, the bot does not touch it, and a human administrator will analyze the history to see if a previous version of the page should be kept. This accounts for the possibility that someone might change a meaningful article into a redirect: in this case, the redirect page has more than one edit in its history, so the bot will not delete it.

RedirectCleanupBot was approved through a special request for adminship, which opened shortly after a request for bot approval began. The request for adminship succeeded with 168 supporting voters and 15 opposing. Various members of the community asked a total of 34 questions, an unusually high number. The bot operators assured the questioners that the bot could be shut down easily if it malfunctioned, and that it would not accept any other tasks.

Previous formal requests for admin-bot approval have not succeeded. The most notable example was ProtectionBot, which might have passed a request for adminship in January 2007, but it was rendered unnecessary by a change in the MediaWiki software.

However, there are a small number of bots which take advantage of sysop access via the bot operator's account. One known example is Cydebot, which deletes categories using the account of administrator Cyde (see discussion here). Another is MiszaBot, which deleted images via the account of administrator Misza13 (see discussion here). Curps also operated a bot on his administrator account, blocking users with inappropriate usernames or those engaging in vandalism (see description here).

Also this week:

From the editor — Wikimania 2008 — Board meeting — Two-million Commons — Job openings — CSN closed — Adminbot approved — License changes — WikiWorld — News and notes — In the news — WikiProject report — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report

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