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Bots noticeboard

This is a message board for coordinating and discussing bot-related issues on Wikipedia (also including other programs interacting with the MediaWiki software). Although this page is frequented mainly by bot owners, any user is welcome to leave a message or join the discussion here.

If you want to report an issue or bug with a specific bot, follow the steps outlined in WP:BOTISSUE first. This not the place for requests for bot approvals or requesting that tasks be done by a bot. General questions about the MediaWiki software (such as the use of templates, etc.) should be asked at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical).

Vandalism detection

At least one bot detects likely vandalism and reverts it. Sorry, I forget its name or their names; but it does (they do) excellent work; I certainly don't want to complain about imperfections.

Just a few minutes ago I reverted this vandalism from July 2018. It didn't involve any racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, etc etc; yet it's obvious to my (human) eyes that it's vandalism (or drunken stupidity, or similar). Vandalism-detection-bot operators might like to examine why it wasn't automatically detected. More.coffy (talk) 02:40, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

@Cobi: Ping, might be interested. 2405:204:130C:AF29:1FA9:A68F:D271:8028 (talk) 20:14, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

HBC AIV helperbot5 malfunctioning

Since 00:15 UTC on February 25th, the bot mentioned above has ceased removing resolved reports from WP:AIV. Doing this function manually is very tedious, so it would be appreciated if the issue could be resolved as soon as possible. Thanks, Kirbanzo (userpage - talk - contribs) 02:15, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

@Kirbanzo: please contact the operator at User talk:JamesR. Since the bot is NOT editing, they are the only person that can do anything about it. — xaosflux Talk 02:18, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Alright, did so. Thanks for letting me know of this. Kirbanzo (userpage - talk - contribs) 02:21, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
FixedJamesR (talk) 03:00, 25 February 2019 (UTC)


I was experimenting with the use of Special:BotPasswords for the Bots. I generated one, and the Bot was ab;le to use it to login okay, but when the Bot went to update a page, I got assertbotfailed: Assertion that the user has the "bot" right failed. Can anyone point me to how to resolve this? Did I generate the BotPassword incorrectly? Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:04, 27 February 2019 (UTC)

mw:API:Assert I presume ~ Amory (utc) 20:06, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but the MilHistBot does have the bot account right. It is only when using a BotPassword that it fails. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:41, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
Did you check the checkbox for the "High-volume editing" grant? Anomie 00:21, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
That's what I needed! I hadn't checked that box because I wasn't doing anything high-volume related. It works now. Thank you for your help. Much appreciated. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 01:16, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
"High-volume editing" includes the bot right, which is what assert=bot checks for. Anomie 01:38, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
@Anomie: I notice we don't have an entry for 'assertion' (or whatever that's called') in WP:BOTDICT. Mind writing one? Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 01:47, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
Ok. Special:Diff/885444191 Anomie 01:57, 28 February 2019 (UTC)

Adminbots requests page

Does anyone actually make use of Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/Adminbots? These are normally cross posted at WP:AN and other venues, and there are very few watchers. Think it can be deprecated.... — xaosflux Talk 22:03, 28 February 2019 (UTC)

It doesn't look like it. The page info says there are 45 watchers, 17 who've looked at it recently. I'm one of them and don't really care much. Anomie 00:46, 1 March 2019 (UTC)
I'd be fine getting rid of it / marking as historical, as long as we keep the AN notices. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 00:52, 1 March 2019 (UTC)
Same. They're not very common so it hardly seems productive. ~ Amory (utc) 01:59, 1 March 2019 (UTC)
So long as we continue notifying AN, I'd be fine with marking it historical. SQLQuery me! 02:34, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

Nomination for substitution of Template:BOTREQ

Ambox warning blue.svgTemplate:BOTREQ has been nominated for substitution. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for discussion page. {{3x|p}}ery (talk) 03:38, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

Moved to Template talk:BOTREQ: {{3x|p}}ery (talk) 00:41, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

Double-redirect tagging (2019)

Hi. I'd like to revive this discussion from 2017. I still think that double-redirect-fixing bots should tag pages they fix with {{R avoided double redirect}}. This would help detect errors in cases of:

  1. Controversial mergers/redirections
    1. Article A is controversially merged/redirected to article B.
    2. The bot re-targets redirect C (which initially pointed to A) to article B.
    3. The merger/redirection is reverted, and article A is restored.
    4. Redirect C is left pointing to B instead of A, where it should.
  2. Redirect vandalism
    1. Article A is redirected to article B by a vandal.
    2. The bot re-targets redirect C (which initially pointed to A) to article B.
    3. The vandal is reverted.
    4. Redirect C is left pointing to B instead of A, where it should.
  3. Bad page moves
    1. Article A is redirected to article B by a vandal or misinformed editor.
    2. The bot re-targets redirect C (which initially pointed to A) to article B.
    3. The page move is reverted, and B is re-targeted to more appropriate target D.
    4. The bot re-targets redirect C to D instead of A, where it should.
  4. Complicated move-splits
    1. Editor 1 expands article A, and moves article A to article B in order to reflect the new scope.
    2. The bot re-targets redirect C (which initially pointed to A) to article B.
    3. Editor 2 disagrees with the expansion, reverts the move, and splits the new content into article B instead.
    4. Redirect C is left pointing to B instead of A, where it should.

I think I've seen examples all four cases, but mostly I've had to fix cases of (1), e.g. here, here, and here.

In the previous discussion, Headbomb opposed the proposal due to the huge amount of unnecessary tags that would be generated by non-controversial, routine page moves, which form the large majority of the bots' edits. So I'm thinking that maybe this could be limited to double redirects to redirects which are not tagged with {{R from move}}. This would limit usefulness to the issues caused by situations (1) and (2), but since the other cases seem much rarer, this is probably an okay compromise. Pinging bot operators Emaus, R'n'B, Xqt and Avicennasis.

Note: I've also identified another case, e.g. here, but I don't see a way to address this other than raising editor awareness:

  1. Disambiguation moves
    1. Article A, which has an ambiguous title, is moved to the more specific title article B, and re-targets redirect A to overview article D.
    2. The bot re-targets redirect C (which initially pointed to A) to overview article D, instead of B, where it should.

--Paul_012 (talk) 09:29, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

Long and Winding Road to Parsoid

"The Long And Winding Road To Making Parsoid The Default MediaWiki Parser"

At the end of this presentation about mw:Parsoid, someone asked whether editing tools and bots should be using Parsoid. Subbu's answer is conditional ("depends upon what you're trying to do"), but it's something that some of you might want to look into. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:20, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

User:RonBot trouble possibly in need of intervention

Resolved: Actions have stopped, bot is unblocked. Categories can take a while to update, which is likely the root cause here. The file actually was deleted, so these actions were in scope - just stale. Local upload and protection, plus restoration and protection at commons have taken place to avoid issues with this specific placeholder image in the future. — xaosflux Talk 12:08, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

RonBot has been tagging a lot of pages with {{BrokenImage}} recently, with seemingly no broken images. I think this is due to the Commons file c:File:Blank.png being inadvertently deleted and promptly returned. It looks like it is used in a lot of infoboxes and the like. It looks like the bot is still tagging; I don't know why (maybe something not being updated instantly on our end?). Heaps of articles are now being tagged all the time. Could this require a shutdown? – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 02:05, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

I've shut down the bot pending an investigation and I've notified the bot's owner. Any administrator is welcome to overturn the block and unblock the bot without my prior approval; if it should be unblocked, unblock it. Just let me know that you did so and what was found as far as the issue goes (if any was found). ~Oshwah~(talk) (contribs) 03:24, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
Moved from ANI now that the block is in place, so that the bot related issues can be addressed. — xaosflux Talk 03:29, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for moving the discussion, Xaosflux. ~Oshwah~(talk) (contribs) 03:41, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
And thanks for the quick action @Oshwah:! I've asked for that image to be protected at commons while this is all figured out as well. — xaosflux Talk 03:42, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
Perfect; good call on the protection request. Hopefully this issue can be resolved quickly and without too much difficulty in modifying any code or process in order to fix it... :-) ~Oshwah~(talk) (contribs) 03:53, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
@Oshwah: Task 12 takes it's data from Category:Articles with missing files - that NOW has only 67 entries. Running bot with supervision to ensure it removes the unwanted entries. Looks like it's removing 9 entries a minute - it will take a while to finish. I've not changed the code - if a page gets added to the category then it will add the banner, when not in the category it removes the banner. Bot runs every 12 hours. I assume the category is populated by the wiki software, as nothing is added to the pages to put it in the category. Ronhjones  (Talk) 04:27, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
Oh, interesting... Thanks for responding with the in-depth explanation... :-) ~Oshwah~(talk) (contribs) 04:40, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
Blank.png was deleted at 20:00, 19 March 2019 and restored at 22:20, 19 March 2019. No idea why category was still filled at 01:00 when task 12 starts. Sadly the Commons Delinker bot only waits 10 minutes after a deletion. I protected the image on commons as "Highly visible image", but it does not really stop deletions... Ronhjones  (Talk) 04:39, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
I've checked the log files - The category had 1452 entries when Task 12 started at 01:00. Ronhjones  (Talk) 04:47, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
Task 12 has removed the banner from 682 pages. Ronhjones  (Talk) 05:01, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
Maybe we should host such critical image locally, marking them as not to be moved to commons. Ronhjones  (Talk) 05:07, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
I've done so. — JJMC89(T·C) 05:39, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
@Ronhjones and JJMC89: good idea for sure, I've also had commons admins protect this to avoid possible issues with phab:T30299 allowing a commons override in certain cases. — xaosflux Talk 12:03, 20 March 2019 (UTC)


Resolved: No further action needed on this one. — xaosflux Talk 12:01, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

The issue also affects User:Filedelinkerbot, which has been unlinking this file from articles and templates, causing all sorts of layout problems. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 04:33, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

@Finnusertop: I've rolled back 240 pages that the delinker bot removed the image Ronhjones  (Talk) 04:59, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
This appears to have stopped, would like @Krd: to verify though. — xaosflux Talk 11:55, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
Filedelinkerbot has no backlog currently, so there shouldn't arise any more issues related to this file. --Krd 11:59, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

Bot-like user scripts

I'm not sure if this is the correct place to ask, but do user scripts that make many edits, with limited intervention from a user require a BRFA? I am asking because I have written a user script that bypasses the redirect created by a page move, if instructed. Once a user tells the script to make edits, there is no human intervention. WP:BOTSCRIPT states:

The majority of user scripts are intended to merely improve or personalize the existing MediaWiki interface, or to simplify access to commonly used functions for editors. Scripts of this kind do not normally require BAG approval.

However, this does not explain what to do for scripts that make edits with limited intervention. --Danski454 (talk) 14:10, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

@Danski454: the volume and impact of changes matter more then the mechanism of the change. As this would not be run from a bot account but from a regular editor account the primary concern would be if the edit should be made under a bot account to avoid being disruptive. What type of frequency and volumes would you expect to be making assisted edits? — xaosflux Talk 14:29, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
@Xaosflux: Running this from a bot account would hurt its usefulness as a script, at least for me. Regarding edit frequency and volumes, the script edits at a rate of 12 EPM, making an absolute maximum of 2,000 edits each time it is run, but it is unlikely that it would end up running that much, less than 100 edits each time is probably a closer estimate, with over 500 being very rare (as this requires many redirects, transclusions or links from templates). I would use this occasionally , mainly when moving a page away from an ambiguous title. --Danski454 (talk) 14:40, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
@Danski454: so the problem with throwing out 500 to 2000 edits is that you can flood watchlists and recent changes without the benefit of a bot flag. Think of this type of script use like people that use AWB. That being said having a "bot account" doesn't have to mean you need a server, advanced programming, etc - it can be as simple as having another logon that you load in another window to run the task. Noone would bat an eye if you ran this on 25 edits for example, of you ran it on 100 edits once every few months - it all becomes about volume and impact. A tangential issue to this is the general question if bypassing the types of redirects you would change in bulk (i.e. hundreds or thousands of updates) is something that is useful and strongly supported by most other editors; if it is then using a bot account also signals 'you don't need to worry about checking this' - if it isn't then it shouldn't be done at all. — xaosflux Talk 14:54, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Considering this, I think AWB may be better suited for the task, a it allows review and is less disruptive. --Danski454 (talk) 16:09, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Meanwhile, OneClickArchiver exists. —  HELLKNOWZ   ▎TALK 16:25, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
@Danski454: please keep in mind my note above that it is about the impact of actions, not the mechanism that most matters. Editors are welcome to make constructive edits using whatever method they want (web, api, AWB, scripts, etc) - but the same guidelines apply as to volume and types of changes. Likewise, making thousands of high frequency, repeated edits can be disruptive regardless of the tool - but running that tool under a bot flagged account can alleviate some of that concern. — xaosflux Talk 17:14, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
@Danski454: I run a number of tasks that are written as scripts but run through my bot. See User:DannyS712 bot/tasks tasks 3, 4, and 11 for approved tasks running via scripts. --DannyS712 (talk) 19:17, 24 March 2019 (UTC)