Wikipedia talk:Bot policy

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Control proposals

Archive policy

Archive interwiki (also some approvals for interwiki bots)

RfC: Require all bots to use Assert[edit]

NAC: Consensus is that all new bots should be required to use Assert. There is not a consensus to require that existing bots be retro-fitted with Assert, but there does appear to be rough consensus that bots that have edited while logged out should be required to be retro-fitted with Assert. Robert McClenon (talk) 20:25, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

There's just been yet another incident of a bot editing logged out. This problem has been happening for years, even though we have a way to fix it: mw:API:Assert. Our bot policy page currently recommends the use of Assert, but does not require it. I am proposing that all bots be required to use Assert, since it completely prevents logged-out editing and has no downside. To avoid disruption, this requirement would only apply to new bot approvals at first. Owners of existing bots would have a grace period (90 days maybe?) to add this functionality. Jackmcbarn (talk) 05:10, 27 November 2014 (UTC)


  1. As proposer. Jackmcbarn (talk) 05:10, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  2. I would imagine it would be a pain if bots were able to edit logged out. It would be treated as spam any bot edits that were logged out LorChat 22:49, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  3. Legobot invitee: General support, partial oppose. I have no problem with the crux of this proposal as a prerequisite for new bot approval, but I feel that imposing it on existing bots that have not exhibited any problems with logged-off editing, even with a 90 day waiting period, is an unwarranted imposition on bot maintainers, and the post hoc decertification of already existing bots could have unintended consequences on the overall functioning of Wikipedia. However, I have no problem imposing this requirement as a prerequisite for recertification of bots that have illegally edited while logged out. VanIsaacWScont 02:07, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
  4. Agree for new bots and disruptive already-editing bots. But, I want to assert that all bots in good condition (I mean that they never edit outside their accounts, even as another user, unless that is their initial test) acquire grandfather rights. - gacelperfinian(talk in - error? Start a new topic) 03:06, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  5. Weak Support. Btw, Pywikibot supports it?  Revi 09:04, 5 December 2014 (UTC)


  • Oppose - this puts a strain on bot maintainers to publish their code so people can check how the bot checks whether it is logged in or out. Also, I do not see any reason to enforce that bots have code for it implemented - if a bot edits while logged out, you shut down the bot, or you block the IP (for some time). If a bot-maintainer is not responsible enough to avoid that, and it happens on multiple occasions, then a WP:AN discussion is warranted to shut down (all! of) the owner's bots for a certain amount of time (a month on the first occasion, and with increasing amount of time in case the situation does not improve), 'giving the editor time to implement improvements to avoid editing while logged out'. If that goes through three of such discussions and blocks then withdrawal of bot-bits and indef blocking of the accounts is warranted. Also, per WP:AGF: assume that bots have sufficient code implemented (as we also have to AGF that the owner who shows the code with this implemented does not disable it (for whatever reason) while running after approval has been granted, and AGF on bot owners who accidentally break the code that should avoid editing while logged out after approval was given on a code that had this implemented). --Dirk Beetstra T C 04:01, 14 December 2014 (UTC)


While we can change the wording of the policy to say "required", enforcing it seems problematic unless we're going to punitively block the account of a bot that edits when logged out. Anomie 22:50, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

I think Anomie has hit the core point here - what exactly would changing this allow us to do that we can't already? If a bot complies with this, nobody would know; a malicious or misguided operator could in turn simply ignore the requirement. Unless this is coupled with some technical measure to ensure that accounts with +bot cannot edit at all unless edits are asserted, this looks a little toothless. – Reticulated Spline (tc) 23:56, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
  • What's so terrible about bots accidentally editing logged out exactly? It's not ideal sure, but doesn't actually seem like a major issue. Legoktm (talk) 04:05, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
    • IMHO: Indeed not a big issue - Surely not so big that it s.o. needs to check the bot-code independently (.. after every update ..) to make sure it works (which you really only know when it runs and never breaks). --Dirk Beetstra T C 07:36, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Script or bot?[edit]

I'm currently coding a thing that you can put on your skin.js that automatically archives your talk page for a certain interval you choose using a GUI. I'm pretty sure it's a script, but just in case it's considered a bot I'm asking here. -Kurousagi 09:32, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Wait- now that I re-read this, I feel really stupid for posting this. It's obviously a script since it only affects your talk page and doesn't change any pages other than that... -Kurousagi 09:33, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Minor wording correction for COSMETICBOT[edit]

COSMETICBOT currently says "Cosmetic changes (such as many of the AWB general fixes) should only be applied when there is a substantial change to make at the same time."

I believe that the word "substantial" should be changed to "substantive". I think the latter is was what was meant. "Substantial" means "of considerable size" or "large", while "substantive" means "meaningful" or "important" (i.e. not trivial).

I have changed the wording. Feel free to revert me if the original intent was that only "large" changes should be made with bots. – Jonesey95 (talk) 17:55, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Seems reasonable to me. — Earwig talk 19:56, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Minor wording correction for CONTEXTBOT[edit]

The last element of the list of example changes starts with "Changing HTML entities to Unicode characters whenever the Unicode character might be difficult to identify visually in edit-mode" but I believe it should read "Changing Unicode characters to HTML entities whenever the Unicode character might be difficult to identify visually in edit-mode" because other policies refer to some bare Unicode characters being indistinguishable from ASCII and therefore recommend HTML entities. Julyo (talk) 19:48, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

That's just an example, for cases like changing & to & -- a task too minor and visually indistinguishable and so afoul of superfluous edits if done by itself. Your change/example would also work the other way for other characters, but the former is way more commonly seen and proposed for bot tasks than the latter, so that's the example. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 20:15, 7 December 2015 (UTC)