Wikipedia talk:Bot policy

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Bot expirations?Edit

I recently ran into another example of a helpful bot, User:Acebot, that seems to have stopped working without explanation (at least that I can find on the bot page or the like). I've run into this sort of situation a bunch lately, so I was wondering (forgive my ignorance), is there some policy that's causing bots to expire once their owners become inactive? Or is there some easy way to report an inactive bot to get it working again? You all probably know better than I do how often expiring bots cause problems, but I do think it would be good if we at least added some documentation to the pages of bots that have expired to make their status clear. And of course, in an ideal situation, bots would get reviewed so that useful ones wouldn't expire. Sdkb (talk) 08:23, 10 March 2020 (UTC)

A bot that is no longer maintained can stop working for a number of reasons, but English Wikipedia policy is not one of them. Reasons for a bot to stop working generally come down to lack of time or interest on the part of the operator. Off the top of my head, direct causes can include
  • Something changes that causes the bot to fail unless its code or configuration is updated, but the operator doesn't have the time or interest to do so anymore.
  • A software update by the hosting provider breaks the bot's code, again requiring a code update.
  • The bot's process stops running or locks up, and the operator isn't paying attention to notice and restart it.
  • The hosting provider where it bot is being run closes the account (or closes entirely).
There's not too much we can do about these sorts of things. Operators who want to plan for this sort of thing happening can host on Toolforge, can add additional maintainers, and can make their source code available so others can fork it. HTH. Anomie 12:07, 10 March 2020 (UTC)
In the case of Acebot, you could also ask its owner Ace111 (talk · contribs). Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:40, 10 March 2020 (UTC)
@Headbomb: Regarding Acebot, it looks like Ace111 has only made one edit since January. Is there somewhere else I should go to request a fix? Without it functioning, a bunch of counts on high-profile pages like WP:About are going to start to go out of date. - Sdkb (talk) 03:43, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
@Sdkb:, yes. That page is User talk:Ace111. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 04:34, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
@Headbomb: I'm going to assume from the unanswered pings and unanswered request from another editor already on that page that Ace111 isn't active enough to make the fix themselves. Is there nowhere else to turn? Sorry to keep harping on this, but there are hundreds of pages that use {{NUMBEROF}} and no other template that adequately replicates its functionality, so it seems like a task that needs to get done. Sdkb (talk) 04:52, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
@Sdkb: You can slice and dice it however you want, the only way to restart AceBot is for Ace111 to restart it. No one else has access to that account. Contact them, and see how it goes. Don't assume. There could be a million reason for a lack of reply, ranging from forgetting to give one, to taking a vacation, etc... If they don't reply on their/the bot's talk page, send them an email. Maybe you won't get a reply, but maybe you will. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 09:39, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
@Headbomb: Okay, thanks for the advise; I'll continue reaching out. Since this is the policy page, have you all considered making it a requirement as part of the bot approval process that new bots have their code made publicly available on Toolforge as Anomie alluded to above? (Or, alternately, adding some mechanism for admins to take control of bot accounts operated by inactive users?) Given how open Wikipedia is, I'm not used to encountering anything hidden for reasons not related to privacy/security. Sdkb (talk) 19:19, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
That would be detrimental to several bots, which may re-use non-open code, or deter some bot coders to get involved because they aren't comfortable uploading code publicaly for a variety of reasons (like having a password hardcoded in the source code). Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 21:02, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
Who would do such a thing!! —  HELLKNOWZ   ▎TALK 21:05, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
While the code of the bots I operate is now available on Toolforge, it took several months to get them there. There was a bug that had to be fixed first that prevented me from being able to access it. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:22, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
@Headbomb: Ah, I could see that being an issue. As I said below, I'm just jumping in here without prior experience in this area, so I'd guess that you all will be much better at coming up with viable ideas than me. My main goal here is just to make sure we're thinking about the problem of expired bots (given how widespread it is in my anecdotal experience) and brainstorming ways to fight it proactively. I appreciate all the thoughts so far. Sdkb (talk) 21:31, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
"English Wikipedia policy is not one of them" -- but a bot being blocked because the landscape has changed in a way that makes its old code no longer beneficial can be. This happened to Cydebot a few months ago. * Pppery * it has begun... 00:25, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
@Anomie and Pppery: Thanks for the explanation. That seems unfortunate but at least partially inevitable. Still, perhaps some sort of patrol could be created to find and fix expired bots (or tag them as historical if they're no longer needed). Bots could be programmed so that they'd alert the patrol when they encounter an error that forces them to stop functioning. Does that sound feasible? Sdkb (talk) 03:43, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
This idea would have been much more viable if it had been thought up years ago. * Pppery * it has begun... 03:59, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
@Anomie and Pppery: I'll defer to your judgement as you all are the ones actually in the trenches here, but please keep this in mind. Even if this is just something implemented for bots created from now on and past bots are ignored, it'll still pay dividends in the future. It seems odd for bots that stop functioning not to send any alert to anywhere. Sdkb (talk) 05:00, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
It's up to the person who codes each bot to write that sort of code. Note too that several of the ways for a bot to stop functioning would also prevent it from sending an alert. Anomie 12:54, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
A couple of notes that come up over and over: (1) you should never assume that any bot, or any editor, will ever make another edit or action - anyone can stop at anytime without warning. (2) If a bot isn't working and you want to follow up on it, the right place is at it's operators talk page. — xaosflux Talk 21:18, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
@Xaosflux: I may be misinterpreting your point, but I think in de facto practice, regular editors need to make a lot of assumptions that bots they've seen working in the past will continue to do so, e.g. every time I upload a high-resolution fair use movie poster, I don't check to make sure RonBot is functioning, I just assume it'll be there to downsize appropriately. Waiting for a bot's absence to be noticed before repairing it doesn't seem like the best strategy. As for bot editors, I agree it's definitely important to respect the voluntary nature of the project, but given that some of the tasks bots perform are pretty essential (i.e. the opposite of voluntary), I think where that leaves us is that we need to do more to make sure bots are treated as communal resources that can be operated/maintained/repaired collaboratively the same way everything else on WP is, so that they're not as dependent on the continued presence of their "owner". Sdkb (talk) 21:50, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
In fact, RonBot is not functioning right now, nor was it ever responsible for downsizing images, only determining that they need to be downsized. (actually downsizing the image is done by DatBot, and RonBot's former task is done by JJMC89 bot). * Pppery * it has begun... 23:47, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
It's not functioning, mostly because Ronhjones has been silent for a few months. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 00:49, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
That is a bot that tries to fix inappropriate uploads, and it is certainly useful - but making an appropriate upload would be even better. Our upload interface and policies don't say anything along the lines of go ahead and upload anything, someone else will probably fix it... But pack on point, I can't possibly see any part of the bot policy evolving to ever require a future edit - besides what would be the consequence of breaking such a policy - barring the editor who wants to make future constructive bot edits from doing so? — xaosflux Talk 00:52, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
I don't think anyone here is proposing that we require bot operators to stick around; neither of the ideas thrown out above (programming bots to issue alerts when they stop working, and requiring some form of communal ownership/transferring capability to keep bots working after their owners become inactive) involve that. I mean, is your view that none of the bots operating on WP are essential? It seems very clear to me that some of them are (and that's a testament to the importance of the work you all do). Sdkb (talk) 01:51, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
@Sdkb: let's phrase it differently then. Which current or future bot, hypothetical or real, would you rather not allow editing on the sole basis of not having publicly accessible source code? Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:07, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
I'd certainly always rather have a bot than not have it. It seems like there ought to be other methods of dealing with expiring bots (either through policy or just through common practice) that don't involve mandating publicly accessible source code, though. I hope we'll brainstorm a more viable solution at some point in the future. Cheers, Sdkb (talk) 02:37, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
@Sdkb, Pppery, and Headbomb: There's no nice way to put this, but it turns out that RonBot hadn't been functioning because Ronhjones had passed away with his wife in a house fire See his talk ppage for tributes. I found this conversation by searching for his username in the Wikipedia talk namespace. Graham87 12:25, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
@Graham87: I have to say, I had suspected a death, but I didn't expect a death from a fire. Sad news indeed. Thanks for letting us know. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 13:08, 6 May 2020 (UTC)

My edit to WP:MEATBOTEdit

Headbomb, I saw that you reverted the edit I made here to this page. I don't understand why you don't believe it do be an improvement, nor do I understand why you believe that I was modifying this section "for the sake of changin [sic] them", as you pointed out in your edit summary. I believe that the changes expand the explanations given and make sentences such as, "For the purpose of dispute resolution, it is irrelevant whether high-speed or large-scale edits that are a) contrary to consensus or b) cause errors an attentive human would not make are actually being performed by a bot, by a human assisted by a script, or even by a human without any programmatic assistance" much more understandable to newer viewers that would've otherwise been more likely to be confused with the status quo. Can you provide some information and thoughts regarding how you came to this conclusion and why? Thanks. ~Oshwah~(talk) (contribs) 03:16, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

An increase in verbiage does not translate in an increase in clarity. I could take any part of the edit and elaborate, but since my remarks will apply to pretty much every passage, I'll take one at random.
Current: However merely editing quickly, particularly for a short time, is not by itself disruptive.
Proposed: However, the sole act of editing quickly, particularly for a short time, is not by itself a disruptive behavior.
What do these add except more words for no reason? There is nothing unclear about the current wording.
Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 03:26, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
And concerning the bit about
If the block is being applied to a "bot" account, or an account that is clearly identified as being an alternative account to the bot operator's main account, the "autoblock any IP addresses used" option should be left unticked so that the block does not also block the bot operator. The autoblock option can always be re-enabled and the block updated later if suspicions arise that the user is continuing to operate the bot while logged out, or while using another user account.
I could be convinced this has merit, but I really don't see the point of this. What admin is autoblocking the IP addresses of malfunctioning but logged in bot's? Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 03:35, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Headbomb, I understand your argument regarding verbiage vs clarity. To focus on the end of your response (the blockquote), I added these details in order to make sure that this is spelled out. An issue doesn't need to happen in order to give reason to make sure that something is spelled out that should be. In fact, it's better to spell this out and before it becomes a problem, not afterwards... ;-) ~Oshwah~(talk) (contribs) 03:42, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Phrased differently, what admin is at risk of autoblocking a logged-in bot's IP? If this really needs to be spelled out, that's more WP:ADMINGUIDE material than WP:BOTPOL material, I feel. Others may disagree though. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 03:45, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Headbomb - What's the harm in defining this on both pages? :-) ~Oshwah~(talk) (contribs) 03:49, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Wasting the time of the vast majority of people who read this page? Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 03:51, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Headbomb - I don't see where adding this information is a waste of time... ~Oshwah~(talk) (contribs) 04:44, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
This page is mostly aimed to bot operators, people who deal with bots on a regular basis, and random passerby. We have a small bit about admin blocks there to let them know what action they should take, but also to let bot ops know that it is standard procedure to have bots indef blocked. Warning against incompetent admin action isn't the purpose of the bot policy. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 04:57, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
@Oshwah: FWIW, I also found your additions unnecessarily verbose. Anomie 12:06, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Anomie - Fair enough. If they're not necessary, then they don't belong. I appreciate your input and your thoughts. :-) ~Oshwah~(talk) (contribs) 12:10, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
I also agree that the language before Oshwah's edit was superior. Nemo 12:59, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

Making BOTCOMM more explicitEdit

WP:BOTCOMM currently implies, and it is strongly implied by culture and (I think) consensus, that operators of bots on the English Wikipedia must be both able and prepared to respond to issues with the bot that are raised on the English Wikipedia (as opposed to another wiki, phabricator, sourceforge, toolserver, or any other location). However this is not stated explicitly and I'm wondering if it would be beneficial to do so? To be clear, I'm not asking for communication about the bot in other venues to be prohibited, an operator can even indicate they prefer to receive communication in those venues. I'm talking only about there being at least one page on the English Wikipedia that is actively monitored by the operator where they can and do respond to English Wikipedia editors about issues with the bot or bots they operate. The operator would remain entirely free to choose which page or pages they wish to use for this purpose. Thryduulf (talk) 15:55, 14 April 2020 (UTC)

No objections to making it more explicit. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 15:57, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
With SUL how is this a problem, so long as the contact page is actually a user_talk on a WMF project? I'm fine with excluding off-wiki things like email-only, phab, git, toolserver, etc, etc,etc. — xaosflux Talk 16:14, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
I hadn't considered that aspect. As long as the host project is fine with a page there being used for messages in English about en.wp bots then the only potential problems I can immediately think of are (a) its harder for an en.wp user to monitor for replies and (b) a user in good standing here who is blocked on the other wiki. Neither are necessarily show stoppers, but they need more than the minute's thought I've given them so far to determine if they are. Also a contact page doesn't have to be a user talk page, it could be a user page or Wikipedia (talk) page, the key thing is that it is monitored. Thryduulf (talk) 16:43, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
I think bot operators should be reachable in English on a SUL wiki. I don't care if they direct inquires to meta or some other wiki but if registering accounts on other websites or connecting a email to your Wikipedia account is required that would be inappropriate. ‑‑Trialpears (talk) 17:50, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
Support per what I assumed was obvious. Botop should be reachable within Wikipedia ecosystem, not an external website. This should mean bot's and botop's talk pages or at the very least a link to an appropriate (talk) page. I would further add that if botop rarely checks Wikipedia and reaching them externally basically becomes a necessity, then that fails the purpose BOTCOMM too. I keep seeing so many "botop not responding" comments over the years, that it's clearly not stated strongly enough and not enforced at all. —  HELLKNOWZ   ▎TALK 18:06, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
Most of the "bot op not responding" comments I've seen were for bots that have mostly been abandoned or with retired maintainers. Usually the associated bot functions well-enough that no damage is being done, but where new features don't get implemented. Or that some aspect of the bot gets broken to the point of failure, while the others keep functioning as intended. So it's not really a matter of enforcement, more than a slow decay into decrepitude. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 19:08, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
I think that being able to communicate in English, within the public Wikimedia ecosystem is where I sit. E.g. being reachable only by Git, email, IRC, phone, snail mail, or the 2-meter band would not do. IMO a public Wikimedia phabricator contact solution would be fine (Or, I just don't see the issue with it, perhaps? Feel free to fill me in / inform me). SQLQuery me! 19:17, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
I think it stands to reason that bot operators should probably be accessible/available onwiki, or at least in places that are within SUL. I'd include Phabricator for that (ideally though a specific project within Phabricator, not just "Phabricator") and other projects ... but it should be somewhere. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 19:26, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
Can you log in to phabricator without having an email address set? I know you need to agree to oauth stuff which is possibly daunting for new users. Thryduulf (talk) 20:08, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
I'm a no on phabricator. It has additional hurdles, an entirely new interface and syntax, no visual editor, is not newbie-friendly at all, and if you click on a link "go here to comment", you get prompted to OAuth log in, which then takes you to the main phabricator page instead of where you are meant to be. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 20:43, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
Thryduulf, OAuth login is an option, as is LDAP/Wikitech. SQLQuery me! 20:48, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
Another point against phabricator is that ip users cannot comment there, but can on (most) wiki pages. Thryduulf (talk) 20:15, 15 April 2020 (UTC)
Bot ops should respond to queries on any of their SUL talk pages, but ideally for EnWiki that would be their EnWiki user talk. Phabricator should not be the only point of communication for bot ops since it's not intuitive for non-technical reporters and not a part of SUL. Wug·a·po·des 20:49, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
Agree, but if they redirect their enwiki usertalk to another project, go there. Also for global bots that only update interwiki data - we don't expect them to maintain a local page (but they need some page and need to be responsive to queries if their bot is running). — xaosflux Talk 22:35, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
Redirects only work within en.wp, to other project they function as soft redirects (see user:Thryduulf/R to other wiki). However a clear and prominent direct link to some other wiki page serves the same purpose. Thryduulf (talk) 01:48, 15 April 2020 (UTC)

Based on the discussion so far I think we have consensus that the following are acceptable locations for the operator of a bot to receive messages about the operation of their bot on enwp:

  1. The bot's talk page
  2. Another page on the English Wikipedia that the bot's talk page redirects or clearly and prominently links to
  3. A page on another WMF wiki that is part of the same SUL group as the English Wikipedia and which is clearly and prominently linked to from either (a) the bot's talk page, or (b) another page on the English Wikipedia the bot's talk page redirects to. This does not include Phabricator.

Any objections to writing that into the policy? Thryduulf (talk) 13:48, 15 April 2020 (UTC)

By "acceptable locations," are we saying that we will require the operator to use at least one of those? Just because "acceptable" could also be read as "if you want feedback on the bot on-wiki, here are the places you're allowed to receive it" (i.e. specifying where feedback could be left). creffett (talk) 20:21, 15 April 2020 (UTC)
Bot operators will be required to use at least one of those locations and respond to comments/concerns/issues with their bot that are left at that location. There is and will be no restriction on using other venues as well, and they can even be marked as the operator's preferred location to receive the feedback, they just cannot be the only venue where they respond. Thryduulf (talk) 20:37, 15 April 2020 (UTC)
All right, then I'd suggest making sure that that's explicit in your update - maybe words to the effect of "Bot operators must designate at least one location meeting (that list of criteria) as their preferred on-wiki contact location for bot-related matters, and are expected to monitor that location" plus your wording above about them being allowed to have other locations. creffett (talk) 22:29, 15 April 2020 (UTC)
I think we're at the point where we give a specific example here of the updated text and tweak anything that needs it, rather than making a change and then discussing how to tweak it. Primefac (talk) 14:12, 16 April 2020 (UTC)

Something simple like

Bot operators should take care in the design of communications, and ensure that they will be able to meet any enquiries resulting from the bot's operation cordially, promptly, and appropriately. Issues and inquiries are typically expected to be handled on the English Wikipedia. Pages reachable via unified login, like a talk page at Commons or at Italian Wikipedia could also be acceptable, so long at it is clear on both the bot page and the bot's talk page that this is where comments should be directed, and that the landing page is not confusing to an English speaker. External sites like Phabricator or GitHub – which requires separate registration or do not allow for IP comments – can supplement on-wiki communication, but do not replace it. At a minimum, the operator should ensure that other users will be willing and able to address any messages left in this way if they cannot be sure to do so themselves. This is a condition of operation of bots in general.

Should be fine, IMO. Feel free to tweak. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 16:34, 16 April 2020 (UTC)

I've made two very minor tweaks ("inquiries" → "enquiries", "the Commons" → "Commons") and added the clause "although these are acceptable when used in addition to on-wiki pages" making it explicit that phab, etc. are not prohibited they just can't be used alone (which I'm more than happy for others to tweak). Other than that this looks good to me. Thryduulf (talk) 16:49, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
Further tweaked. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:09, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
That looks good to me. Thryduulf (talk) 17:31, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
Thumbs up here. creffett (talk) 17:38, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
Looks good to me. SQLQuery me! 15:08, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
  Done. Primefac (talk) 15:10, 18 April 2020 (UTC)

I'd also like to add that email via Special:EmailUser (or via personal account) as the only means of contact is also not acceptable for the same reasons that Github and Phab are not. Similar issues have occurred with at least one currently-functioning bot because the operator is generally unresponsive onwiki. Does anyone have issue with that? --Izno (talk) 18:19, 18 April 2020 (UTC)

Seems fine by me. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 18:21, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
  Done Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 18:36, 18 April 2020 (UTC)

Bot code -- can remain proprietary???Edit

Disclaimer: Although I have programmed nearly all my life, and have been on Wikipedia about 12 years, I have never looked into bots until now.

When issues arose over the feedback service for RfCs, I decided to look under the hood and try and help with recent problem with User:Yapperbot which was preceded by User:Legobot.

The new coder Naypta wrote: I can only suppose that the code that is available on GitHub is not the actual code that was running on Legobot, which is part of the reason I didn't waste too much time looking over the code and documenting every part of it. I replied:

This statement is deeply concerning to me. From what you are saying, it sounds to me that you are saying we don't have access to the actual code that is running Legobot and therefore we are not able to change it, and that only the author of the code can. If true, that to me is a big problem.
I don't think bots that can have huge impacts on the project and could make 1000s of edits in seconds should be private.
Also, what if the coder suddenly disappears? What if the code has biases built in that we are not aware of because we can't see and analyze the code?
I didn't reliaze the bots are basically like regular accounts that can be blocked, but are controlled by software.
The potential that the code or data the bot uses might be private and could be changed without our knowledge is very concerning.
It reminds me of all the problems with Black box voting and proprietary software. Richard_Stallman gives his two cents on that.
If the code for some bots really is proprietary I believe that would need to be discussed else, and probably already has. If anyone wants to point me to those discussion(s), I'm all ears.
But I do want to confirm: Is it true that we really don't know for sure what code Legobot is running on?
--David Tornheim (talk) 05:20, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Authors of bot processes are encouraged, but not required, to publish the source code of their bot. WP:BOTCONFIG Wow. --David Tornheim (talk) 07:53, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

Any thoughts about my concerns here? Isn't there a way to require all bot code to be loaded from a protected page on Wikipedia, so we can be sure we know what exactly what code produced what problem, rather than trust a possibly anonymous coder will not suddenly disappear, and leave us hanging as happened in this case. We might never know what was in the proprietary code that was so important to the project. I was simply shocked to learn that the bot codes for something as important as Legobot can be proprietary. I'm even more amazed how long this part of the policy has been in place--2005.[1] --David Tornheim (talk) 08:26, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

For the sake of ease of reference, I'll copy over my response to this to here:
Well, technically speaking, nobody but myself and the admins of Wikimedia Toolforge knows for sure what code I'm running Yapperbot on   I can tell you, and tell you truthfully, that the exact code you find on GitHub is what is running on Toolforge, but there's no independent guarantee of that of course, apart from going and asking a Toolforge admin. I've chosen to host Yapperbot on Toolforge, not only because it provides a free environment for hosting tools beneficial to the Movement, but also specifically because it means that if I'm not around for a long time and things break, someone else can go and request maintainer status on the tool to take over from me. Using Toolforge for a bot, however, is very much not required.
Bots on Wikipedia aren't running elections - they're sending messages, reverting vandalism and handling minor cleanup tasks. I like free software as much as the next person, and I strongly believe that bot operators should make their bot code public, but I don't think it should be that they must do so.
Naypta ☺ | ✉ talk page | 08:34, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
(edit conflict) All of the Legobot source code is public and appropriately licensed as free software. What exactly are you looking for? Legoktm (talk) 08:37, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
@Legoktm: Hi Lego, hope you're well! I dropped you a message on your talk page about taking over the Feedback Request Service a month ago, but hadn't seen any replies - looking at your contributions, I assumed you weren't around for a while, so welcome back. The specific discussion here is with regard to the Legobot FRS code - as had been raised on your talk page a few times, Legobot had stopped sending FRS messages at all for a number of months, so I wrote bot code to do it myself with User:Yapperbot. The Legobot code, which has been looked at for comparison - which I think is actually Harej's original code, just with modifications? - seems to mention "randomness" in its user selection, but then actually just looks like it selects the entire list of subscribers for a given header, no randomness involved. As the FRS pages on-wiki, as well as the source code itself, all mention randomness in the user selection, I posited that it must be that the complete FRS code is not available. Either that, or I'm missing something that picks up randomness (or there's been some miscommunication). Naypta ☺ | ✉ talk page | 08:44, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Real Life has been crazy, I didn't see your message until now. Glad to hear you've taken over FRS. I just checked, what's in my Toolforge crontab is the exact same version that's on GitHub, no live hacks or anything.
Harej wrote the first version, at some point Chris G rewrote it, and I picked it up when he needed a new owner. I don't really remember how it works, it's all a giant mess anyways. That said, you should probably update User:Harej/Bots now :) Legoktm (talk) 09:16, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
@Legoktm: Cheers! I'm not sure what I'd be updating at User:Harej/Bots, though - I'm running a complete rewrite of the FRS code in Golang, rather than just Harej's code. I hope you're doing okay - things have been all sorts of crazy for all sorts of people recently, please don't let myself or anyone else pull you back into the wiki earlier than you're ready   Naypta ☺ | ✉ talk page | 09:42, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Here's my perspective. None of AAlertBot code is public (although another editor has access in case of bus). I want to open-source it. But I am not doing so and all the reasons are my ability to maintain it. It's a gigantic legacy codebase of a dozen years and if more than one person starts changing things, I won't be able to keep up and effectively maintain it and thus unable to follow BOTPOL. I simply don't have the time to do so (for free, no less). If I had to keep it open source to begin with, the bot wouldn't exist. I think the same is true for many other bots. We're trading longevity for usefulness. —  HELLKNOWZ   ▎TALK 08:50, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Publishing source code doesn't mean you have to accept others contributions. Even uploading a tarball of source code is a big step in ensuring that if something does go wrong, it can be sustained. You can also release it under a free license, but not actually distribute it to anyone but your one person - that will give them the ability to share the code later on if something goes wrong. Ultimately that was what killed the first AAB :( Legoktm (talk) 09:16, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

All code in the Tools project is published under an OSI approved open source license [2] Hawkeye7 (discuss) 11:24, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

@Hawkeye7: Bots aren't required to be on Toolforge, though, so the point is sort of moot. (I say this as someone very happy to use Toolforge, and to publish all my bot source code under GPL!) Naypta ☺ | ✉ talk page | 11:32, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Too right! I used to run mine on my own servers, but one summer I had a failure while I was away, and decided to move to Toolforge. It took two years before they fixed the Github on Toolforge so I could use it. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 11:46, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Bots don't have any requirement to have public code. All edits and actions made by a bot are the responsibility of its operator, this coupled with the tenet that no editor can ever be required to make a future edit or action means that no one should become dependent on a bot to ever be running. It is certainly welcome to have published code, so that someone can take over wanted tasks if the operator packs up shop one day. — xaosflux Talk 12:36, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

Kind of a derail but "1000s of edits in seconds" isn't really a thing though I understand your point being "a lot of edits" but according to Wikipedia:Statistics it is 1.9 edits per second, which is calculated by {{#expr:({{NUMBEROFEDITS:R}}-843241557)/({{#time:U}}-1530212463) round 1}} producing 1.9 -- GreenC 16:57, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

I'd honestly support the perhaps-radical idea that every bot or significantly-used tool should be open-source on en.wp, or else it doesn't get included for use or widely. There's a related conversation at VPT about another tool where the author isn't using the infrastructure available and we can't do anything about it. If those tools are needed, our project shouldn't be hostage to those authors. If they are unable or unwilling to provide open-source support, then we shouldn't provide our support for use. --Izno (talk) 16:40, 23 June 2020 (UTC)

Anyone is free to recode anything openly. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 16:56, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
That's true. But irrelevant to my point. --Izno (talk) 17:16, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
Toolforge is good for everyone for a lot of reasons. BRFA masters might ask "Have you considered hosting on Toolforge and why not?" (a default question in the form) with a link to a short intro doc on creating an account, setting up a project, logging in, and how to run a 1-time script with jsub on the grid, and making a crontab entry. A nudge but not requirement. Also a question who their Toolforge backup person in case of bus. -- GreenC 17:22, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
Any open repository is great really. If toolforge is prefered, again, we could encourage, but not mandate. I like the idea of having at least one backup person. Again, optional. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:53, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
@GreenC: does such a quick start guide exist in one place? — xaosflux Talk 17:55, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
wikitech:Portal:Toolforge/Quickstart? Anomie 20:49, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Bot policy".