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Bot policy and guidelines

This page outlines standards and guidelines related to bots, automated scripts that edit pages autonomously or semi-autonomously.

If you'd like to request a task to be performed by a bot, see Wikisource:Bot requests.

Bots are automated or semi-automated processes that edit pages on Wikisource with reduced or no direct human supervision. Because bots may potentially strain server resources or accidentally disrupt Wikisource, bots must follow the policy and guidelines outlined below. The policy outlines how bots may be used on Wikisource; bots which do not follow the policy may be blocked immediately until the operator has resolved any issues or non-compliance.



Bot account


A bot must be run using a separate account from the operator, as no human editor should be granted a bot flag. Any bot account on Wikisource must clearly and visibly contain the word "bot" to distinguish it from human editors; the most common forms are derived from the operator's username (such as Pathosbot, operated by Pathoschild), or using disambiguation style (such as Xenophon (bot), operated by Bookofjude).

The operators must answer any comments themselves; no user is permitted to make use of automated answering scripts. Some operators may choose to redirect the bot's talk page to their own, if their bot is not configured to detect messages.

Community authorisation


Bots must obtain community approval on the Scriptorium before they may be run. Users requesting permission to use a bot should state the

  • purpose (what you are trying to achieve)
  • scope (where you are trying to achieve it, including namespace and limitations)
  • programming language or tools (eg. AWB) used, and
  • degree of human interaction involved (automated or semi-automated)

Where relevant, they should also state the framework used, and/or the period of time it will run (if limited).

If there is no opposition after at least three to four days, the bot may be run slowly without a bot flag to demonstrate the bot. The bot should stop immediately if there are complaints until those are resolved. After a week of reasonable operation, the operator may request that a bureaucrat grant the bot a flag.

Note that interlanguage link bots, used to synchronize interlanguage links between different languages of Wikisource, are no longer precluded from community authorization requirement, effective Jan 2014 (now handled by Wikidata).

Unacceptable usage

  • Controversial changes: Bots may be used to perform edits which are most likely supported by other Wikisource editors; they should never be used to perform controversial edits. If you intend to expand the scope of the bot beyond that which was supported by the community, please make note of this at the Scriptorium to ensure that there is no opposition.
  • Data retrieval: Bots may not be used to retrieve bulk content for any use not directly related to an approved bot task. This includes dynamically loading Wikisource pages from another website, which will result in the website being blacklisted and permanently denied access. If you would like to download bulk content or mirror Wikisource, please do so by downloading and/or hosting your own copy of our database.
  • Spellchecking: No bot may automatically correct spelling mistakes, particularly in the article namespace. Works should be preserved in their entirety, including typographical errors. Further, it is not known to be technically possible to automatically correct spelling mistakes without a significant margin of error.



Edit throttle and peak hours


Bots running without a bot flag should edit at intervals of over 1 minute. Once they have been authorised and appropriately flagged, they should operate at an absolute minimum interval of 5 seconds (12 edits per minute). Bots should try to avoid running during the busiest hours, as they rapidly use server resources that should be reserved for human readers and editors. During these hours, they should operate at intervals of 20 seconds (3 edits per minute) to conserve resources.



Unless the bot is publicly stated to run autonomously, the operator should remain available, occasionally check for messages, and be ready to shut down the bot if it does not perform as desired or if complaints are received. If the operator is not available, the bot may be blocked until any issues are resolved.

Development and source code


Operators are strongly encouraged to tweak their bots to improve their performance, or update them regularly if they are using a framework or distribution. They are also encouraged to provide the source code (publicly or on request), although they are not obligated to do so.



The user and subpages of the bot are the ideal place to identify the tasks that your bot is undertaking, and whether you will run tasks for other contributors, this can address how the bot is achieving policy goals and technical details. Providing a level of documentation allows the community members seeing your bot in action to be able to better understand the changes made to their pages of interest. To do this is useful to utilise an edit summary that refers your bot's activities user pages, especially with a hyperlink. It is also worth clearly directing users with questions to the appropriate place where you will answer these questions, either on the bot's user talk page, or on your user talk page.



Periodic (January and July Currently) bot confirmations will be held at Wikisource:Scriptorium#Bot_approval_requests following the general principles as for admins.

1. Bot and/or owner active on WS in the last two years for auto confirmation
  • If fail
    • Prompt user, give 30 days of notice to demonstrate requirement for bot flag
      • response and use (retain flag); otherwise
      • no response or no use (trigger flag removal)
2. Bot owner is admin or above (stewards, crats, developers, etc.) admin-flagged bot undertakes a yearly confirmation process with its admin owner.
3. Bots deflagged for inactivity may apply for reactivation. Reapplication always available, abbreviated approval process possible.

Auto confirmation message

"Bot flag will be reconfirmed automatically unless; if at least three established users oppose with no users supporting, then the right will be removed; three or more oppose and one or more support this triggers a vote, with a decision by simple majority. Loss of flag does not prevent edits, only impacts recent change visibility."

The current Bot List

See also