FANDOM


  • Atvelonis
    Atvelonis closed this thread because:
    Consensus reached.
    07:13, March 25, 2018

    Hi all, Atvelonis here. I'm here today with a quick proposal on the permissions needed to operate a bot account on the wiki. As you may or may not be aware, Flightmare and I currently operate two active bots for various editing or logging purposes: KINMUNE and AkulakhanBot. In order to edit protected pages, these accounts are given the "Content Moderator" usergroup, which we decided not to use for humans.

    It is important to remember that the content moderator flag has the ability to protect and delete articles and files, and bots can edit pages very swiftly in general. Traditionally, to protect against bot abuse, administrators on the wiki have had exclusive access to bots, following a vaguely-defined rule barring non-sysops from using their own (recently codified). For reference, here is our entire policy on bots at this time:

    Bots carry out tasks when instructed by their operators to do so. These tasks are generally very repetitive, and would normally not be done, due to their tedious nature. Only sysops and bureaucrats are permitted to use bot accounts to edit on the wiki, although anyone can use AutoWikiBrowser to simply locate pages fitting certain parameters.

    Today, I would like to propose that we revise our policy on bot usage somewhat to suit the growing need for maintenance work as the wiki grows in size and complexity. If you glance through the contributions of AkulakhanBot, for instance, you'll see that he's made almost 60,000 automatic or semi-automatic edits since May 2017, and his task list is ever-growing.

    It's clear, therefore, that something needs to be done. Perhaps another administrator could learn how to use AutoWikiBrowser or PyWikiBot; alternatively, if none have the time, we could promote another patroller to sysop just for this job. However, that's really just a short-term fix to a much wider problem.

    Instead, the best way forward may be to scrap the "sysop-only" rule for bot operation and create a set of prerequisites for any trustworthy and competent user to become a bot operator.

    If we set up an application process comparable to that of any other staff position, it will also give the community a chance to ratify bot operation requests. Now, what I'm not sure about is exactly what sort of prerequisites should exist in order to qualify for bot usage. Staff experience (here or elsewhere)? Previous bot experience, somewhere or other? A certain number of edits? A PhD in computer science? I'd love to hear your feedback!

    Please do not vote at this time: this thread is for discussion only. Thanks.

      Loading editor
    • I think that you can remove this rule. I will use pl.elderscrolls as an example again for obvious reasons. There, we do not have a rule on who can use bots, though there's an unwritten agreement that only patrollers/administrators/bureaucrats can use bots.

      BUT when someone can be useful and we decide that their bot might be allowed to edit our wikia to improve it and the user is trustworthy, we would allow them to use the bot. Right now both bureaucrats, one admin and one discussions mod (who is also an ex-patroller) have pywikibots, so there is no need, but that is what we would do if there would be a need. As you can see, a wikia can work without such a rule and the "bot decision" is then up to the bureaucrats.

      My suggestion is that you should create an application process. A person with a bot can be accepted if:

      1. They are a Helper, lol

      2. They prove to be an experienced user of a bot on another wiki, by showing "their" bot logs from another wiki. They should also give a reason why they want to use a bot here at all.

      I'd say no to anyone who would want to start their bot adventure as a non-sysop here. In my opinion, a bot can cause a lot of issues if used not properly, so... It either has to be a sysop who knows how this wikia works and learns how both works, or someone who already knows how bots work.

      If you'd need any help with pywikibots, feel free to message me about that. We've got a whole pywikibot team at pl.elderscrolls and we're happy to share the experience.

        Loading editor
    • Users who run bots definitely need to be have a staff position on the wiki, or currently be a helper. We've had users in the past who have known how to run bots, and have used them to make edits that the community has had to revert. Letting anyone with decent bot experience by itself is a bad idea.

      To give an example, I learned how to use a bot back in early 2016 (before Atv :D), I would have been an absolutely horrible candidate at having a bot account. I knew how to use the bot, but there were a lot of issues with the idea of letting me do something like that. For example, I was absolutely horrible at following the wiki's editing style guidelines. The user would definitely need to know how the wiki's style and formatting, at the very least.

      With the bots having content mod access, if I had to create a set of guidelines on them, here's what I would have, along with the possibility of one of these guidelines not being met. (For example, helpers who wouldn't have edits, but can be trusted)

      1. Either be a patroller, admin or helper. In the case of patrollers, they should show extreme aptitude at bots, along with the S&F. In a similar light, Helpers should be tested to make sure they know the S&F before they use a bot.
      2. A minimum edit count. For the same exact reasons staff require a minimum edit count of x mainspace edits, users applying should have the same. I personally would range this between 3,000 to 5,000 edits.
      3. In a similar step, and also just like staff applications, the user should show the ability to correctly follow policies and S&F. Like I said, we extremely shouldn't have a user who doesn't know what they're doing.
      4. The user should be active. We don't need a user who hasn't been around the wiki in 3 years to appear, apply for bot rights, and then leave, never to be seen again.
      5. The user should be trustworthy. If we had a user who's done 40,000 edits, but has vandalized or made extremely poor decisions, especially recently, should they be given access to bot tools, where they will have their contributions flagged as hidden?

      I've probably missed a thing or two I wanted to include on that list, since my computer crashed and I forgot some things, but that's the list of ideas that I wanted to throw out there that I could think of.

        Loading editor
    • I can agree with most of what is being said, but I do have a few further thoughts on this.

      • I don't think being a staff member is required, but should be highly recommended. There are a number of users here who are quite experienced with both coding and editing here who have never been staff members. I think that if they meet most of the other criteria, then being staff is not required. However, it would be best if they met general standards for being staff, such as knowing policy and have a good manner.
      • The bot/user should be experienced. The bot should have been tested, and the user should have some experience. In addition, the staff here should monitor this activity (which would probably occur outside of the wiki, or in a controlled environment). Another option could be to have a "trial phase," where we see the bot and user in action here without any rights. If they pass, then the application to get approved could be voted on.
      • As for mainspace edits, I do agree that there should be some, but I think it should be closer to 2,000-3,000.
      • If a user/bot meets all requirements except one, and that one is not vital, then an exception can certainly be made, just like with staff applications.

      That's all I can think of for now.

        Loading editor
    • What amount of previous bot experience should be considered sufficient for approval? A certain number of bot edits (perhaps a few thousand), a certain amount of time it was in use (perhaps six or eight months), etc.? Or perhaps any level of bot experience would be okay to start off with, and the community would decide on a case-by-case basis during the voting period if that user's experience warrants bot approval on TES. Although I do think some sort of objective requirement of that would be a useful safeguard.

        Loading editor
    • I think both the number and the time requirement would be good. Like 2000-3000 bot edits or even 4000-5000? That's just examples I give as a suggestion, I think the administration knows better what they want from a candidate. Note that the number of bot edits can rise quickly if you change one thing on many pages, so you might prefer to pick the option number two. + a month of experience in using the bot?

        Loading editor
    • The number of bot edits is in no way representative of the operator's skill level. One could so a simple search-and-replace for a category that spans 2000 articles which only counts for one XP, yet 10 small tasks have way bigger potential of showcasing bot expertise.

      From my point of view, it's best to achieve community approval per use, not per account. For any task, the bot should edit a single page (or maybe 10) to test if it is working as intended (yes, for every task).

      Granting the flag should be a community vote anyway since Fandom staff are the ones to grant the rights (S:C them and link the CT).

      I'm not sure what to do with the content moderation-flag. It is only used for editing protected content. There are tasks where you would never collide with such content and even if it happens those failed few can easily be located (logs) and fixed by hand.

      And don't be afraid of potential vandalism, it can't do that much harm. In the rare case anything occurs, contact VSTF and they can mass revert all edits.

        Loading editor
    • Flightmare is absolutely true about the fact that the number of edits not representing the skill, but we have to set it to a certain number. The user edits don't represent skill either, but the number of edits is used as a requirement for staff positions. As I said earlier, the person's edits from another wiki can testify for their experience.

        Loading editor
    • I suppose we could require both a certain number of bot edits and a certain number of functionally unique and productive tasks (perhaps 5–10) accomplished with the bot. This would ensure that the operator has the technical know-how to do several kinds of tasks.

        Loading editor
    • Flightmare wrote: From my point of view, it's best to achieve community approval per use, not per account. For any task, the bot should edit a single page (or maybe 10) to test if it is working as intended (yes, for every task).

      This is definitely a more inclusive approach. That said, much of the maintenance I personally do with AkulakhanBot is minor formatting changes to keep articles in line with TES:SF. It would be very inefficient to submit a formal proposal for each of these tasks and wait for enough votes for it to pass.

      I fully support community input on bot tasks that change current style and formatting practices, though. That would be something to discuss at a moot, surely.

        Loading editor
    • Atvelonis wrote: I suppose we could require both a certain number of bot edits and a certain number of functionally unique and productive tasks (perhaps 5–10) accomplished with the bot. This would ensure that the operator has the technical know-how to do several kinds of tasks.

      The only problem I can see with a user trying to prove they can do a task with a certain number of productive tasks is if the user only edits here, which I guess isn't a very big problem.

      Flightmare wrote: From my point of view, it's best to achieve community approval per use, not per account. For any task, the bot should edit a single page (or maybe 10) to test if it is working as intended (yes, for every task).

      That raises one problem though, to kind of hop on what Atv said, all it takes is one look at Atv's bot task list shows a ton of things that have to be fixed; are we going to have to get Atv to check with the user base for things that are basic and rudimentary to fix, such as basic formatting issues and page renames?

      If the bot is doing format changes to a new format, unless the change is extremely minor, odds are it's going to be in the moot anyway. It's not something we'd have to make a topic for.


      To kind of backtrack a bit, I'm going to post a list of what seems to be generally agreed with for everyone so far. Call me out if I miss something/add something you guys disagree isn't kind of agreed on.

      • The community will vote on an application, with the following requirements and recommendations:
        • Being a staff member on the wiki, and or a helper is highly recommended.
        • The user who wants to run a bot should have experience editing here, in order to know the S&F. The number range so far is 2000-5000 for required edits, with 2000-3000 seeming to be more accepted.
        • To kind of copy/paste what I said: The user should be trustworthy.
        • If a user/bot meets all requirements except one, and that one is not vital, then an exception can certainly be made, just like with staff applications.

      To hop on experience, which seems to be the real issue here, I think we can do both tasks completed and a set size, just like Atv said.

        Loading editor
    • Personally I think it would be best to require that bot operators currently be a patroller, administrator/bureaucrat, or a global position like Helper. I guess vandalism isn't so much the concern as accidental misuse, but even so, this requirement would give bot operators another level of accountability to the community. In the rare situations where a non-staff member wants bot rights, then we would be able to make use of the final requirement Crusader mentioned as we do with other staff positions.

      It would also be nice to have bot operators on speed dial on Slack in particular; while other outside methods of communication (Discord, Facebook, etc.) are not required for staff, Slack membership is.

        Loading editor
    • Since I just thought about this, I want to ask, how would a user show they have experience for their edits? Should they fill in their application with them, as a list, with links for evidence, or should we do a different approach?

      My idea would be like this: Hi guys I'm generic username and I want a bot! I'm fantastic for bots blah blah here's some proof

        Loading editor
    • Since this thread is kind of dead, here is a final summary based on the feedback above. If no significant grievances are offered within the next few days the CT will be closed, because it's been open for almost two months now.

      Operator prerequisites:

      • User must actively hold the position of patroller, administrator, bureaucrat, or Helper when applying to be eligible (an edit count is required for these positions anyway).
      • User must be familiar with all current TESWiki policies and style guidelines and must have good editing skills in general.
      • User has previous bot experience on a different wiki (2,500+ bot edits) and must give evidence of several different task types to prove they are proficient with its usage.
      • If the user is lacking in one of the above sections, an exception can be made if they have shown exceptional traits, abilities, and/or actions that prove them fit for the position.

      Applying for a bot:

      • User should list the following things while applying:
        • User background, types of edits, skills, etc.
        • Reason a new bot account is needed on the wiki and what type of bot they have in mind
        • Links to several (at least 3–5) bot tasks of different varieties from a different wiki.

      Carrying out bot tasks:

      • All large-scale, complex, or potentially controversial bot tasks should be done only after a community consensus has approved said task. Additionally, any task that goes even slightly against any states policy or style guideline requires community consensus to be carried out.
      • Minor content and formatting tasks do not require community input, but a CT may still be created for such tasks if deemed necessary by the bot operator.

      We need to decide on something eventually, and this was the most reasonable compromise I could think up.

        Loading editor
    • Sounds good to me, only one question: Instead of only doing CTs, maybe just proposing them at the moot could be an option too?

        Loading editor
    • The Crusader of Truth wrote: Sounds good to me, only one question: Instead of only doing CTs, maybe just proposing them at the moot could be an option too?

      Oh, I should have clarified that in the post. My assumption was that users would apply for bot permissions in the Project namespace, presumably on TES:BOT (e.g. TES:Bots/Atvelonis). I can make that an actual page at some point, as currently it's just a redirect. This method of applying would be more consistent with our current staff application format and would allow enough time for many members of the community to give their input.

        Loading editor
Give Kudos to this message
You've given this message Kudos!
See who gave Kudos to this message
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.