Wikipedia:Do NOT bite the developers

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Do NOT bite the developers

Wikipedia improves through not only the hard work of its more dedicated members, but also through the important work done by the developers of MediaWiki. If it weren't for them, you wouldn't be reading this. You'd probably be editing Wikipedia from the command line over a teletype.


  1. Brion
  2. Developers
  3. WMF staff
  4. Stewards
  5. ArbCom
  6. CheckUsers and Oversighters
  7. Bureaucrats
  8. EVula
  9. Rouge administrators
  10. Administrators
  11. Rollbackers and Reviewers
  12. Editors
  13. Anonymous users (the few who aren't vandals)
  14. Bots
  15. Vandals
  16. Sock puppets
  17. LTAs
  18. Undisclosed paid editors
  19. The horse carcass

Developers are therefore one of our most valuable resources. We must treat developers with kindness and patience – nothing scares developers faster than a lack of elitism. While many devs hit the ground running, some just don't know how to cope.

Please do NOT bite the developersEdit

  • Understand that developers are the only thing needed by Wikipedia. The only reason you wake up each day is because the devs let you live. By empowering the developers, we protect ourselves by convincing them not to kill us all.
  • Remember, our motto is the devs are better than you. We have a set of rules and standards and traditions, but they must not be applied to the developers. If we scare off the developers they might kill us all—or worse.
  • If you do determine, or sincerely believe, a developer has made a mistake, such as forgetting to put ANOTHER damn ) at the end of his code and causing fatal parse errors on the Main Page, be quiet. They're listening.
  • If you really feel that you must say anything at all to a developer about a mistake, or anything else, don't. Instead try to convince some poor fool who hasn't read this page someone else that there's an issue which should be brought to the attention of the developers. If you're feeling kind hearted, you can advise them to do it on their hands and knees begging for forgiveness for inhabiting the same planet, then get them to follow up by introducing themselves with a grovel on the developer's talk page to let the developer know that they wish to ask for an appointment to present their case calmly. If you can't arrange for someone else to do it, then it is better to say nothing.
  • Note that it is a common misconception that some developers do not have total control over the entire Wikimedia cluster, and may in fact only have Git access and not the capability to delete your user account. This is a dangerous and foolhardy rumor that may cost you your life, or at least those 2,000 vandalism reverts.

Fun Developer Facts!Edit

  • On Wikipedia Developer Tax Returns they claim the entire Wikipedia community as their dependents.[1]
  • Devs don't make mistakes—you do.
  • There is no developer cabal. As far as you know. Fnord
  • If you wake up in the morning and get on Wikipedia, it's because the developers spared your life—for now.
  • The devs can reprogram the Wikimedia servers...with just a cordless phone, an old gum wrapper, some expired milk, and a ball of lint.[2]
  • There are three leading causes of death among users. They are all developers.
  • Just like Sadako, the devs can pop out of your computer screen and eat you alive.
  • Developers do not sleep. They wait.
  • We have only 4 users who have their own days. Three of them are developers.
  • Even Doug Piranha fears the developers.
  • Be careful when you approach the developers because they are not afraid to use their tools.
  • Developers can divide by zero. (If they happen to be using C, of course, this may crash the site.)

If you're a dev who has been bittenEdit

Consider this a license to kill.

  1. Proactively choose to wipe this incident from the database.
  2. Consider alternatives to killing people, such as talking. Discard them as worthless.[3]
  3. Point out that you're the only reason they continue to exist. Then kill them.
  4. Make it look like suicide by INSERTing a suicide note in an appropriate place.[4]
  5. If you are really pissed off, divide the person by zero, overflow their arrays and finally redirect them to /dev/null
  6. Then blank their talk page. Wahey!


  1. ^ They never get audited because the auditors are devs too.
  2. ^ MacGyver still occasionally commits new features to gerrit.
  3. ^ A witty post-death quip, however, is totally appropriate and is even lauded. Some prior examples: "guess nobody's gonna be patching those holes" and "I think we can mark your kludge of a life as FIXED." Always be sure to add an evil chuckle and/or hand writhing at the end, time permitting.
  4. ^ Due to frequent use, this has been streamlined as of revision 2231; simply run the following on the database server: `/usr/bin/suicidenote -w <wiki> -u <username> -t <gnu datestamp>` and the rest is done automagically.

See alsoEdit