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Control proposals

Archive policy

Archive interwiki (also some approvals for interwiki bots)

Notification of BAG nominationEdit

I am just writing this to inform WP:Bot policy that I have requested to join the Bot Approvals Group (BAG). I invite your thoughts on the nomination subpage, which is located here. Thank you for your time. --TheSandDoctor Talk 05:42, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

Minor update to WP:BOTISSUEEdit

I've added 'Alternatively, a targeted edit filter rule may be requested if only part of the bot's edits are problematic.' to the major issue section, as an alternative to stop buttons or blocks. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 20:44, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

@Headbomb: (BRD'd that) - Well sure anything could be "requested" but how is this a "policy" issue? Even from a "practice" issue - if someone is causing disruption and refuses to stop, block away. — xaosflux Talk 21:54, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. The last thing we need is to have an extra edit filter just because a bot is half-helpful. If it should be blocked, it should be blocked. There's no shortage of folks at AN, ANI, etc. That being said, something similar could perhaps be relevant at WP:MEATBOT, as the edit filter may be helpful dealing with bot-like editing by multiple/changing IP addresses. See for example Wikipedia:Bots/Noticeboard/Archive_12#Possible_bot_editing_from_German_IP. ~ Amory (utc) 22:04, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
Well that very much depends on the bot. Most bots have single tasks/purposes, so if it's malfunctioning, you're not throwing any baby away with the bathwater when you're blocking. But say you've got User:InternetArchiveBot that is fucking up archival on one specific domain. Then you could have a InternetArchiveBot + domain filter to selectively block the bot while the issue is being worked out. Likewise for say some WP:AWB-based bot where there's an issue with a specific subrule or specific section of the AWB codebase. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:05, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
There can be a hazard filtering software bugs. The bug is masked so there is no urgency to fix the code. It also gives control over bot behavior to someone besides the bot writer, another form of hazard. The hazards have comparisons with geoengineering and network neutrality, respectively. It might have occasional and special application, policy though? -- GreenC 23:08, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
Well it would be in the 'how to' section, which is mostly about giving editors and admins options on how to deal with issues. Blocking is still an option, but it might not the most desirable of options. It's like an equivalent to kill switch for a specific task, when a kill switch for the task isn't provided. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 23:37, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
This is strongly related to the discussion at User talk:Citation bot#'User-activated'. I don't think it's acceptable to subject the entire pedia to another edit filter to enable a single bot to continue functioning. That's not how this policy works. --Izno (talk) 00:53, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
It is, but it's a workable solution while the bug is being fixed. The goal is damage prevention, and that's one of the options available, which is much less drastic than a block, which doesn't block the 99% good to tackle the 1% bad. "to subject the entire pedia to another edit filter" is gross exaggeration, only the bot is subject to the filter. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 00:58, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
@Headbomb: the 'workable solution' would be for the operator (who is responsible for every single edit) to make an adjustment. — xaosflux Talk 01:57, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Well yes, but that adjustment can sometimes take a few days/weeks depending on real life work, server access, the deployer not being the same person as the person who coded the fix, or just development time in general. Let's take my own User:Bibcode bot. Let's say it works fine today, but down the road something happens (like a URL change somewhere) which makes the bot screw up the addition of DOIs in 20% of its edits, but never screws up the addition of arxiv and bibcode links. Everyone can agree a fix in the code is the long term solution, but why should the bot be blocked for 100% of its edit when we can specifically target the problematic 20%? Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:05, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
If you are screwing things up and can't stop - your bot is literally "out of control" and needs to be shut down - if you can't do that it should be done for you until you can find a better way to take responsibility for your edits. Any edits you want your bot to make can wait: There is no deadline. — xaosflux Talk 02:08, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Or, you can put the edit filters in, and have the 20% of the edits that are problematic wait, while the 80% that's fine get done. There might be no deadline, but there's no reason to purposefully delay improvements when they can be made. It certainly would have been useful during the WP 1.0 bot issue a while back. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:14, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
I think that was a text book example of an out of control bot. Not only was the operator completely unresponsive - but it wasn't even clear who the operator was! Nobody was taking responsibility for their edits, and personally I find that completely unacceptable. — xaosflux Talk 02:32, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
But again, using an edit filter would have let the good, non-problematic part of the bot serve the community while the other issues were worked out. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:43, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Semi-automated Portal creationEdit

I attempted to clarify that semi-automated creation of pages requires approval, not just articles. Headbomb reverted me, which is fine. I'm looking to ensure Portals can't be mass produced without discussion. Can we find a change that solves the problem now being discussed at VP? [1] Legacypac (talk) 01:54, 27 February 2019 (UTC)

Don't get me wrong, I support that change in principle, but going to 'pages' is a substantial change from 'articles'. For instance redirects are routinely created by semi-automated/automated means. I could go for 'content pages', where content is basically anything that readers can land on from the mainspace. Under that, articles, books, categories, and portals would all fit the bill since you can all access those from the mainspace. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:06, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
I like that. We don't want to ban use of Twinkle to create XfDs for example. Legacypac (talk) 02:07, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
A change to "content" pages sounds good. —  HELLKNOWZ   ▎TALK 14:08, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
Do we RFC this, or is this a uncontroversial enough change to do with this discussion alone? Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 18:18, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
I don't think there is any change to the intent of the policy proposed, just an update to reflect that the semiautomated creation of portals are a thing now but were not a thing in July 2018 when there were 1700 portals no one was watching. Legacypac (talk) 18:23, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
Legacypac (talk · contribs) made this change, I refined to this. If we're all OK with the end result, I'll post a VP notice for more feedback. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 20:03, 1 March 2019 (UTC)
I like your further changes. Very clear now. Legacypac (talk) 20:08, 1 March 2019 (UTC)
Headbomb, I would change the link to this thread to be a permanent link. It will be gone when the thread is archived. Ganeshk (talk) 22:47, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
Eventually. For now, it's a bit too recent to know if there won't be developments. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:48, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
Headbomb, got you. That works. Ganeshk (talk) 22:56, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
Rather than make "broadly means" a link, I suggest having a reference. Usually linked text will point to a definition, rather than a conversation about the definition. isaacl (talk) 05:56, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Whatever the letter of the policy, User:The Transhumanist has crossed the spirit of WP:MEATBOT and Good sense by autocreating thousands of pages. What is the penalty? What is the consequence? What is to be learned, and what is going to be done better going forward?
It seems he really only created the pages as "draft" subpages of a WP:WikiProject. This is not a project-damaging offence. I think he should be slapped with a wet fish. And then, he should be educated on better methods of Bot development. Define the scope. Do some testing, small scale. Present a case, listen to feedback. Do this BEFORE letting loose a MEATBOT violating process. Basically, follow standard WP:Bot processes and procedures.
Can someone skill with bot use give User:The Transhumanist some practical advice? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:24, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe: I'd be willing to work with TTH - I think outlines have potential, and have even written 1.5 myself (User:DannyS712/Constitution is very much a draft) - @The Transhumanist thoughts? --DannyS712 (talk) 05:59, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
Outlines predate my Wikipedia career but what I've learned is there was massive backlash against them. SmokeyJoe - this thread pertains to the automated and semi-automated (he used both methods according to his own guide on making them) creation of thousands of portals. He breached these guidelines and we fixed the wording to make it even more clear not to do what he did. Legacypac (talk) 06:07, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

This is a bull shit edit [2] to cover his butt after he violated both WP:MASSCREATE and WP:MEATBOT. I've seen enough disruption. Someone else can revert him. Legacypac (talk) 18:16, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

I didn't make that edit, and you just falsely accused me. You are letting your emotions get the better of you. All edits I've made here have been to make the policy more clear.    — The Transhumanist   18:59, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
Meant to link to this edit [3] not sure how I got the other link. Some of your edits are ok but editing a policy to justify a breach of the policy is backward. You called your own edits semi-automated and you said you have a script that goes beyond semi-automated. You also claimed you checked these policies first. If you checked them you know you breached them, and if you did not check them, you misrepresented that you did. Legacypac (talk) 19:10, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
How is this edit an attempt to justify a breach of policy? (Note that no breaches of policy have actually taken place, to my knowledge). The change I was concerned about was the reporting of the results of a past discussion, in which different results were reported. I've improved the wording, so it is more clear. So that readers of the policy in the future are accurately informed, and so that editors wouldn't be confused upon discovering that the guideline didn't match the discussion referred to. Headbomb interactively improved my correction further, adding a link to the discussion in which the expansion of the policy took place (this very section we are in right now). Thank you, Headbomb.    — The Transhumanist   19:50, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
  • User:The Transhumanist, I suggest that any productive way forward from here does not involve you editing Bot policy, or engaging with Legacypac. An apology for startling your colleagues would be nice, and an acceptance of User:DannyS712's offer would be better. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:51, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

Clarification on "Bots operated by multiple users"Edit

It's not clear what is intended here by "directing any given edit" or "at the direction of more than one person". Presumably the intention is to cover bots that are manually assisted, and require the user to specify some specific information (beyond the name of the page to be processed) rather than bots that run automatically?

Could the guidance be updated to express this clearly?

Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 09:47, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

@Smith609: this is intended to be about bots that are performing assisted tasks or automatic bots that execute on user initiated triggers even when the bot is automatic (e.g. OutreachDashboardBot's creations.) Do you have a proposed rewording? — xaosflux Talk 12:03, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I guess the wording is unnecessarily convoluted. How about:
Accounts used for approved bots that can make edits of a specific designated type, at the direction of more than one person, are not likely to be a problem, provided:
Bot account may perform tasks that can be run by multiple persons, provided:
There is no restriction on task automation -- manual, supervised, automatic. There aren't restrictions on number of edits. There isn't a restriction on how the bot's run is timed -- on demand, continuous, one-time, at the same time, etc. There isn't even a restriction on who runs it -- operator, sysop, anyone. Basically, as long as this is disclosed in BRFA. At least, that's the practice. —  HELLKNOWZ   ▎TALK 12:20, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm trying to understand the motivation behind this requirement. In the case of bots that execute on user initiated triggers, users aren't performing the tasks, the bot is. I don't understand why it matters whether the bot was activated by a user or by a CRON job. What is the purpose of being able to identify which user added a page to a bot's queue? Under what situation would it be okay for one user to trigger a bot to act on a page, but not for another user to trigger the same bot to make the same changes to the same page? If there is a problem with the bot, then isn't it the bot's maintainer (not its triggerer) who needs to be made aware of the problem? What exactly is this requirement trying to accomplish? Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 13:37, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
This is a bit of an edge case. A central part of bot operations is that the operator is responsible for all actions made by the bot, this is really about unusual bots that have multiple operators and a situation where a specific action or batch of actions should be associated with one specific operator, so that accountability is maintained. Most bots working under an automation process (e.g. that cron job) are considered the responsibility of all of the operators. — xaosflux Talk 13:52, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
Here, we have a bot with a user page that says "Editors who activate this bot should carefully check the results to make sure that they are as expected." Since citation bot messes things occasionally, knowing who activates the bot can lead to WP:TROUTING those editors who activate it without reviewing the results and let them know if they want to activate the bot, they're responsible for checking that things are as expected after the bot is done. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 13:57, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
@Headbomb: I'm strongly in support of operators that make their bots trigerable by other users to start a batch (such as your example) and the example I had for OutreachDashboardBot identify the triggering user with the action. I'd say it doesn't remove the responsibility of the operator to be ultimately responsible for the action, but having that accountability is otherwise a good thing. — xaosflux Talk 14:05, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

It seems we all agree that it is best practice to identify the editor who triggered the bot. But is a bot violating policy if it does not do this? That is the nub of the issue at User talk:Citation bot currently — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 11:43, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Not as written, no. Whether or not the spirit of the policy is violated is a different question. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 16:35, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Bot policy".