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A bot is a very useful editing tool that can make tasks that can automate tedious, repetitive tasks.

Some bots use a script (a file with the instructions for the bot to follow) and a type of framework (a utility that is used to interface between the script and the GuildWiki). See Forum:Coding for more information on bot frameworks.

Some bots are run using the AutoWikiBrowser, see also w:Project talk:AutoWikiBrowser/CheckPage and Project:AutoWikiBrowser/CheckPage.

If you want to know more about bots on GuildWars Wikia or run one yourself, talk to mendel.

Motivation

Bot edits are subjected to less editorial review. There is no human reading the edit before it is submitted, and many users following the RC log won't see and review the edits. Because of this, special care must be taken that bot edits are error free and not controversial, and that bots who are not can be quickly shut off.

When to use a bot

There are many tasks on a wiki that bots are very well suited for, but there are just as many tasks for which they are not well suited. Generally, any editing task that is in any way subjective should not be handled by a bot.

These are examples of tasks that bots do well:

  • Moving an article and updating all links to point to the new article
  • Adding a specific block of text to all articles in a category
  • Finding all uses of a template and substituting them

These are examples of tasks that bots should not perform:

  • General spellchecking
  • Applying license information to unattributed images

If you are not sure which category your idea for a bot task falls into, ask!

Bot accounts can be used to hide anything that you feel might not be of interest to other users.

Restrictions

When using a bot, these specific restrictions should be observed:

  • A flagged bot should always be run from it's own registered account (it should not be conjoined with the bot owner's account). There must be some type of notice at the top of the bot's userpage informing users that it is a bot.
  • If you are not a flagged bot and wish to run a bot for a small task, you should use your normal account. Small tasks should not exceed 20 edits. The operator should not leave this bot unattended. Abusing any bot powers is grounds for banning.
  • The owner must always be a contributor in good standing (i.e. the owner should not be a user who is blocked often, etc.).
  • Bot be used for tasks that are not controversial, they should only be used for tasks that have consensus. Do not have a bot do edits that have not been approved by the community of GuildWiki.
  • The owner is not to make more than 20 automated edits per day if a bot is not flagged, for this may flood recent changes. To exceed this limit, the owner must receive a bot flag for the account (see the below section).

The Bot Flag

Bot accounts can be given a bot flag, which prevents the edits made from the bot, from showing up in (and flooding) the default view of Special:Recentchanges. Many editors user Recent Changes to monitor activity on GuildWiki so its important that it not be flooded with bot edits.

To get this bot flag, make a request on the admin noticeboard clearly stating why it would be beneficial for you to have a bot. It is then up to any bureaucrat to decide whether they will allow the bot to be given a bot flag. Any bureaucrat can also take the bot flag from the bot account if it is found to be appropriate.

For a list of flagged bot accounts see Special:Listusers/bot.

Responsibility

If a bot, in spite of all precautions, is found to have made harmful, erroneous, and/or disruptive edits, it is the responsibility of the owner to correct all issues (even if it must be done manually). It is better to have someone else review your bot project (even if it was fine) than to run the risk of having to fix it later!

Shutdown

If a bot account is making harmful and/or disruptive edits or not following the above restrictions, try posting to the bot's talkpage. Some bots (e.g. AWB) will stop and alert its "master". If that doesn't work, contact an admin to have it blocked.

Note to admins: When blocking, the autoblock option should be turned off to avoid blocking the bot owner as well as the bot account.

Operators must add the following code to a bot account's user page to create a link to block a bot account quickly (this can help avoid any autoblocking mistakes):

[{{fullurl:Special:Blockip|wpBlockAddress={{BASEPAGENAME}}&wpBlockExpiry=infinite&wpAnonOnly=0&wpEnableAutoblock=0&wpCreateAccount=0&wpBlockReason=Halting%20bot}} Block this bot]