Wikipedia isn’t written just by humans! Bots have made great contributions to Wikipedia and other wikis like Wikidata (where bots have made over 90 percent of the edits so far). “Bots” are automated editing programs that can do anything from archiving discussions to reverting vandalism and creating articles. Some bots even patrol new pages and report to Wikimedians.
How can you operate a bot? There are several ways and frameworks to run a bot, but the most popular is Pywikipediabot. It’s written in the Python programming language and has been in use since 2003. Pywikipediabot contains scripts for moving categories, creating articles, checking new images, working with Wikidata items and many other tasks. Besides the existing scripts, you can also create your own bot using generic scripts and classes (like “Page,” which handles Wikipedia pages in general).
Pywikipedia is now joining many other Wikimedia-related software tools and taking a big step forward by changing its version control system from SVN to Git. After July 26, developers will be able to easily submit their patches directly to Gerrit to help maintain the code.
If you’re already a bot operator, you should know that after that date, SVN checkouts won’t be updated and you’ll need to switch to git; we’re providing a manual to help with the process.
If you’re interested in working with us, there are several help pages in different languages. You can also contact us through our mailing list and the IRC channel.
Amir Sarabadani (User:Ladsgroup), editor on the Persian Wikipedia and pywikipedia developer
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