With regard to blocking bot accounts...
Well, http://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1294 is what I'm wishing for. And as it happens, http://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=550 seems to have consensus on en that it should be implemented.
In the meantime, account-blocking has been working fine to keep good-faith bots from going out of control, so there's no need to fret about lacking full-featured blocks.
With regard to notes on bot talk pages...
Ah, I had forgotten about the "You have new messages..." banner. That would actually be a rather clever feature to add. My bot Pearle doesn't check for that now; I just have to check her talk page frequently myself.
Some bot operators redirect their bot's talk page to their own talk page, just to make things easier for themselves. That complicates making such a nifty feature a *requirement*. I think I'll add it to WP:B as a suggestion, though.
> I'm sitting down in front of a piece of code which was an idea that I
> now don't know what to do or how to implement anymore. It was an image
> notification bot in which would go through several of the densely populated
> no source / no copyright categories and go off to notify the user.
> Unfortunately, the upload logs are not consistant, and a database needs to
> be rebuilt if I were not to query the information directly from the database.
Well, when I originally made the suggestion, I was thinking that it would be easy enough to simply scrape the HTML of the image description page to get the username of the original uploader. Which would be less efficient than doing a SQL query directly, but would have the benefit of working Right Now.
>What I primarily question what happens or what you do for someone who
>is still running a bot, but no longer part takes in the Wikipedia? Pass
>the account? Shutdown the bot, wait for someone to reinvent their wheel?
If someone is actively running a bot and is not responding to complaints about its behavior, then the bot account should be blocked.
Part of the point of starting to collaborate on bot-writing on the toolserver here is to encourage bot authors to publish their source code. If someone does that, then it doesn't matter what happens to the original bot account or the original bot operator. Anyone who cares to do so and has the technical know-how can reincarnate it under a new account.
I'd be happy to make publication of source code a requirement for getting permission to run a bot on the English Wikipedia. Though to be fair, we would need to ask everyone who is already running one to do so, and if we're doing that, we really should have a central repository for them.
So, are we going to set up a CVS server on the toolserver, or something else? Or should we whip up something (perhaps a modified Mediawiki) that allows you to edit source code in a wiki-like fashion? Ooo, ooo!
Good grief, I don't want to have to learn a fourth language (HTML, wikitext, a programming language, and now XML) to describe a project of mine. I'm already going to have to build it and make a homepage for it.
If we simply use a wiki page, actual users of the tools can help document their existance, something we can't always rely on absent or lazy or not-so-inclined or too-busy-building-tools toolmakers to do.
I've been bold and put up a list of all known projects at:
...feel free to update when you post a new project.
Well, it would be nice if when someone blocked a bot account, it wouldn't automatically block everyone at that IP address (including the owner).
I don't particularly like the idea of requiring bots to check their own talk pages, at least not on every edit. I think that would waste server resources. It would also significantly raise the bar on bot-writing. If you ask me, we should be *encouraging* more people to write bots, not discouraging them with more red tape. I don't see very many instances of bots gone wild, and surely if it's an emergency, having an administrator block it is quite sufficient control. We can also always run an undo-bot on the account, if necessary to clean up.
I'm also a bit hesitant about allowing third parties to futz with live bots. If there's one bot operator, then there's one person who can be held accountable for all of the actions of the bot. If any of a number of people can come by and frob its code and run the bot, this clear accountability becomes fuzzy.
I'm sure it's useful to post source code for bots, but if a second person wants to use the same source as an existing, useful bot, they should copy it and get a separate account to edit under.
I know this is likely a stupid question, and it is likely a gross
violation of policy and accountability that I know of. And I'm already
guessing what the answer is, and why I bother to ask is currently beyond
me other than the reason that it's 5 in the morning where I am and I'm
likely just being stupid. For which this point of this email, and for
what I'm writing for has been a complete waste of time...
Anyway, would it be possible or stupidly possible to set up something,
and I'm not specifically saying the Toolserver, however, this is a passing
thought... where all the bots are just dumped into a fault tolerant server
and have access by several trusted programmers and people so that if a
useful and trustful bot goes awry that someone has immediate access to try
to fix it or otherwise kick the damn thing to stop it? This is of course,
an alternative from shooting at it by blocking the user account, or the IP
address for that matter.
Jason Y. Lee
http://tools.wikimedia.de/ says "Eventually, this page will contain an
overview of the projects hosted here." but In my opinion every user of
the toolsserver should have to provide a short description of his
projects. So I wrote it in an XML format so if you put such a file in
your directory we can automatically create a list of all projects by
language, wikis, authors etc. :
In modern browsers this file is transformed with
so have a look into the XML source.
What do you think? Is this a good way to collect information about the
projects at toolserver? You can document your project as detailed as you
like in any format you want but at least a minimal description in some
format we should agree on is needed.
Today, I accidentally discovered a massive amount of copyvios from
Microsoft Encarta in the german wikipedia by a single user (who
unfortunately used an excessive amount of sockpuppet accounts). For
anyone interested, the list of detected copyvios is here:
What we did was: go through all the article contributions by this user
manually, pick the bigger text insertions and then look up the entries
in encarta and other sources. We discovered a lot of copyvios like this,
but since I don't even know all the sockpuppets this user had, we have
no idea how many more there are still in wikipedia.
I wonder if we could use the toolserver for a good copyvio check system.
Wikimedia germany could easily sponsor Britannica, Encarta and Brockhaus
DVDs which serve as a text base for comparison (if we manage to access
the texts somehow).
It would be great if someone or more people together would like to work
on this - apart from vandal fighting tools this should have top priority.