Forums: Yew Grove > Bot regulation
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This thread was archived on 26 October 2012 by A proofreader.

I thought we should deal with a small issue before it turns into a larger problem. At the time of writing, there are 7 bots in the #rswiki IRC channel. That's quite a few bots that have functions ranging from providing wiki-links to sitting idly in the channel ready for GE updates.

There is currently no system for the regulation of 1. what bots are allowed to do and 2. who gets to operate a bot. Currently, 1. is governed by whatever the present ops are OK with when the bot is first deployed, and 2. is simply, anyone. I think there is a need for some restrictions before the problem gets out of hand.

Here's a list of options for what can be done:

  1. Force all prospective bot operators to have their bot approved through the Yew Grove, similar to the approval process for on-wiki bots.
  2. Allow channel operators to decide whether a bot should remain (This is the current system)

The second potential problem is that if we go with option 2. there will be an eventual buildup of bots that do not cause any harm, but are useless as well. Another issue is that there are multiple bots that serve functions that can easily be integrated into a single bot.

We can:

  1. Establish a criteria that bots must meet, such as usefulness and differentiation from existing bots.
  2. Leave it as an ad-hoc decision.
  • Another partially related idea is to merge the functions of some of the current bots into one to reduce the number of bots operating. This has advantages and disadvantages.
    • Reduces the number of users present, however
    • If one bot goes down, multiple functions will be lost

Note: Support 2 and 2 - Rubber stamps the current process.

A list of current channel bots and their functions can be found here.

Discuss, 222 talk 03:54, October 3, 2012 (UTC)


Support 2 and 1 - I think that there is a need for some guidelines so users will not put up a generic bot just so they can have a bot, similar to the on-wiki AWB accounts. However, having a formal process on the wiki for the fairly informal IRC seems excessive. All existing bots should be allowed to remain as well. 222 talk 03:54, October 3, 2012 (UTC)

Oppose - The bots themselves are fine. It's the people like Michagogo and Jr_Mime that need to be controlled when it comes to bot usage. Cursed Pyres 05:00, October 3, 2012 (UTC)

Pls how? Warnings don't seem to work, at least on the former. Haven't seen on the latter. Christine (talk) 05:06, October 3, 2012 (UTC)
Surely warning should be followed by bans of increasing length assuming said warnings are being ignored? cqm 17:41,3/10/2012 (UTC)
I agree with Cursed. Start kicking and banning people if they don't stop spamming with bots after being warned. Nothing wrong with the bots themselves. bad_fetustalk 14:58, October 7, 2012 (UTC)

Approval process = 1; runtime criteria = 2.

  • The approval process should be similar to that of on-wiki bots to ensure stability, ability to prevent spam, absence of security holes and so on. RuneScript is grandfathered due to it never needing to pass an approval process yet having command trigger controls. bullbot is also grandfathered due to it reacting under very well-known circumstances (wikilinks and template invocations only for pages that exist).
  • The runtime criteria are a bit more difficult to establish. Yes, some bots can be combined, but bots on the channel right now are written in multiple programming languages.
    • bullbot, HairyBot, TyBot and tiebot are all written in Python. Perhaps those four can all go under one umbrella because they're all in Python with relatively-readily available source code. However, you run into issues with HairyBot needing updates more than the others. Scrap that? Leave HairyBot out?
    • Elunebot and RuneScript are written in mIRC script. However, RuneScript and Elunebot are owned and operated by different people, and RuneScript is closed-source. You cannot reconcile this pair.
    • Evilbot is written in PHP. It is alone.
 a proofreader ▸  05:24, October 3, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - Perhaps we should run a approval process for bots when users wish to use them in the IRC? Hairybot and Tybot have both been approved through the Yew Grove. Forum:Ban Evilbot from the irc was closed with the bot needed further testing, but was not to be removed from the channel, so I'd say that was equivalent to approval. I'd agree with proof's proposed grandfathering in of bullbot and RuneScript, based on stability and lack of spamming. Which would leave tiebot and Elunebot to approve. Combining the bots seems a little extreme unless all the bot owners are willing to make the source code available should the bot disconnect. cqm 17:41,3/10/2012 (UTC)

That is option 1. It has been the recommendation for a while that all bot operators provide source code either on a wiki page, or on request. 222 talk 01:41, October 4, 2012 (UTC)

Comment/Support - I agree with number 1 and sort of number 2 depending on what it does. Also my comment is in the code they should comment what it does because not everyone knows coding. Smartman294 - The great editor ;D (talk) 03:32, October 4, 2012 (UTC)

Any sensible programmer will add comments to explain what a code block is doing, as necessary, in addition to writing full documentation. If someone doesn't know coding, then they'll probably not be looking at the source code at all - instead using the documentation. Quest Gaz Lloyd 7:^]Events!99s 20:26, October 4, 2012 (UTC)
Assuming that "Not everyone knows coding" is true, then the comments should not be in the code. See how I document how to use Image optimisation bot and how to run Image optimisation bot on two different pages.  a proofreader ▸  20:30, October 4, 2012 (UTC)
Sub-proposal - Regardless of the closure of the main proposal, establish a rule whereby !say chains between multiple bots are prohibited, or whereby unrestricted !say commands are prohibited altogether. In the latter case, if the command is restricted to the bot owner or channel operators for certain announcements, it would be allowed. Present arguments for or against below.  a proofreader ▸  02:08, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
Support prohibiting !say chains - As nominator.  a proofreader ▸  02:08, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
It would make more sense for each bot to have their own separate command prompts. If you must use "say", then use "`say" for one, "!say" for another, and so on. UCS, bot owners. Urbancowgurl777 (talk) 03:54, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately what some people are doing is using the different say triggers of the current bots in chains. An example from today was `say +say `say +say `say ponies.  a proofreader ▸  04:14, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
Oh I understand now. So basically the users were being disruptive and were not punished or whatever.. Gotcha. <.< Urbancowgurl777 (talk) 05:39, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
>.> I'm sowwey. Haidro (talk) 13:17, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
A more malicious chain could be `say +say `say +say `say +say [[Blah]]... Σ (talk) 21:47, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
I agree with this. It could lead to bullbot wikilinking the same article way more times than necessary. But having fewer bots, and having the same bot responding to both !say and wikilinking, would mean that the bot would not trigger on itself.  a proofreader ▸  21:51, October 6, 2012 (UTC)

Get rid of Elunebot - We don't need Elunebot, we have Evilbot for a fun bot. If anyone disagrees, then run a thread to even let Elunebot in IRC in the first place. Haidro (talk) 13:17, October 6, 2012 (UTC)

I disagree. This thread is discussing how to regulate bots, not which bots to regulate. Start your own thread if you want to get rid of Elunebot. --Iiii I I I 21:21, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
fetus has used a capital I. Nothing more can be said. Ronan Talk 23:08, October 6, 2012 (UTC)

Support 1 + 2 - Per a proofreader, namely this proofreader. Ronan Talk 23:08, October 6, 2012 (UTC)

Oppose 1 - This will just led to unnecessary bureaucracy, ops can do the job of working out whether the bots should be allowed or not. I don't really mind which of the 2nd set of options is used, but as long as we don't need forum discussions for every new bot in the channel. Hunter cape (t) Sentra246Blue hallowe&#039;en mask 03:43, October 7, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - on bot regulation, can we regulate names? I do not approve of a bot being nicked to "DrButts_OBGYN" and claiming it's an approved bot. I think bots should be required to keep the standard name they were approved with. Because this is ridiculous. Christine (talk) 17:13, October 7, 2012 (UTC)

Well, I don't agree with this at all. You're just overreacting again it seems, by bringing up an issue without even discussing it with the bot owner (or anyone). I just nicked my bot that just for a while just for laughs. So I would say, if you have an issue with a bot name, discuss it with the owner, or anyone really, before bringing it up like it's a problem. Hair 18:35, October 7, 2012 (UTC)
No, because Evil has renicked his bot in the past as well. I think for a bot to have approval, it should need to use the same nick. Yours was the most recent example, not the only one. Christine (talk) 18:53, October 7, 2012 (UTC)
Do people not warn anymore? Why do you have to make it part of the approval process when you, a chat admin, could simply ask people not to use offensive nicks or whatever? Everyone keeps proposing these silly things that could be fixed by warning users not to be disruptive (moderating bot nicks, users spamming the 'say' command for each bot, etc). Urbancowgurl777 (talk) 19:08, October 7, 2012 (UTC)
(It's an OP, not chat admin by the way) I agree Fergie on this, and users are warned about the `say +say command thing, yes they continue to do it, so I do think there should be some sort of "bot rule" on this. Regarding the bot nick thing, that has never been a problem before. No one has ever brought it up as an issue until now (which being a bit ridiculous), so I still think this can be thrown into use common sense. Hair 19:12, October 7, 2012 (UTC)

Throw what into UCS? I can't tell if you're saying it is or isn't ok to /nick bots to inappropriate names. As a side note, "chat admin" is a perfectly acceptable synonym to op. Ronan Talk 19:22, October 7, 2012 (UTC)

I was just saying use common sense when it comes to bot (or even other users) nicks. If I rename HairyBot to "butts", are you completely disgusted that I reference something everyone has (and says in IRC) even if it's for a short period just for a few "lol"s? I think if there is a name like "EvilRapeEvilRapeBot", that is of course different. But as Christine referenced "DrButts", is that really something to get worked up about? Hair 21:10, October 7, 2012 (UTC)
What's wrong with DrButts? We have an op who uses the nick fetus. Nicks of the bots are something I'm not concerned about, as long as they're not in violation of the channel nick rules (as in, don't tell us to go firetruck ourselves), it's fine. 22px-Logo.svg.pngTyA_userpage_image.png 23:33, October 7, 2012 (UTC)
HEY --Iiii I I I 02:07, October 9, 2012 (UTC)
HEY HEY YOU YOU 22px-Logo.svg.pngTyA_userpage_image.png 15:23, October 9, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - bullbot is best bot Ardougne cloak 4 Raging Bull Talk 23:22, October 7, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - I like being in control of tybot. 22px-Logo.svg.pngTyA_userpage_image.png 23:33, October 7, 2012 (UTC)

Establish an approval thing for bots - It doesn't have to be extreme. Just a light threaded discussion on the wiki somewhere. Possibly as a subpage to the IRC page in the projectspace. 22px-Logo.svg.pngTyA_userpage_image.png 15:14, October 12, 2012 (UTC)

Support establishing criteria and Zam's idea - Establishing a Yew Grove thread for this type of thing is usually a bit extreme. Smithing (talk | contribs) 16:58, October 14, 2012 (UTC)

Support ty's idea - Perhaps RuneScape:IRC/Bot approval with nominations open for a week and open nominations advertised in the IRC topic so those who frequent the IRC but not RecentChanges are aware of them.

As for criteria, I'd rather leave it up to UCS. All I'd like to see is a list of who can access the bot, what it does and what commands it takes with source code should the operator wish to disclose it. cqm 17:57,14/10/2012 (UTC)

Support approval criterion #1, modified to move it out of YG per TyA, and Decision criterion #2 - I think we don't need to limit bots too heavily, but having some sort of community-based approval is good. Also, I think we should require current bots (except the ones that are the IRC side of approved wikibots, such as User:TyBot and User:HairyBot) to undergo the same process as the others. Michagogo (talk) 22:16, October 15, 2012 (UTC)

I would agree with proof's earlier comment that all current bots should be grandfathered in. There does not seem to be any problems with the current bots operating in the channel. Should that change then the proposed page can be used to remove the bot in question. cqm 12:10,17/10/2012 (UTC)

Closed - Bots for only the IRC channel will require approval on a page under the Project namespace. Whether bots are distinct enough from another bot in the channel will be an ad hoc decision, and could be discussed in the approval page for a specific bot if its similarity to other bots is an issue the community wishes to raise.

Bots for the wiki which have a part in the IRC channel, such as TyA's bot TyBot and Hairr's bot HairyBot, will continue to have approval threads in the Yew Grove.

There is a weak consensus to exempt Raging bull's bot, bullbot, and RuneScript from needing approval to be run. The community may start a secondary thread for these bots if it wishes to require a more formal approval for them or request them to be gone from the channel.

There is no consensus as to whether or not bots need to be merged in any circumstances, including being written in the same programming languge or performing the same function as another bot. Merging individual bots is outside the scope of this thread.

Bot !say commands were recognised in this thread, but no consensus was reached about them.

Bot nickname changes were mentioned in this thread, but no consensus was reached about them.  a proofreader ▸  03:25, October 26, 2012 (UTC)

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