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This is a small guide to bot-related terms of art on Wikipedia. For convenience, links to other definitions on this page are italicized.

Each definition has an anchor, which can then be used to create links to that definition. For example, to link to the definition of a bot op, you can use [[WP:BOTDICT#bot op]] to create WP:BOTDICT#bot op, which will take you directly to the definition. Each listed variant (e.g. bot operator) has a corresponding anchor (e.g. #bot operator).


2FA / two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA), here using a TOTP token supplied by an app on a phone or other personal device. This increases account security, but interferes with automated login by a bot, so a bot passwords or OAuth is normally used to allow the bot to authenticate.
adminbot / admin bot
A bot that has access to administrator tools, i.e. is in the sysop group. See also WP:ADMINBOT.
API / application programming interface
An API can refer to any application programming interfaces, but usually refers to MediaWiki's action API, which is a way for bots to communicate with websites (such as Wikipedia) and perform operations on them. See also mw:API.
assert / assertion
Usually refers to mw:API:Assert, used to ensure a bot only edits while logged in.
assisted editing / semi-automated editing
Refers to editing that is assisted by various scripts and tools (such as AutoWikiBrowser). Typically, a human editor is presented with each edit and must individually approve it before it is submitted. It can also refer to edits made via scripts such as Twinkle, which uses pre-filled boilerplate forms for 'standard' nominations and notices. See also automated editing.
automated editing
Refers to editing that is done automatically, without human review, i.e. editing done by bots. See also assisted editing.
AutoWikiBrowser / AWB
AutoWikiBrowser is one of the most popular assisted-editing tools out there, and can also form the basis of many fully-automated bots. See also WP:AWB and WP:AWBRULES.
An automated tool that carries out repetitive and mundane tasks to maintain Wikipedia's articles and other pages. Short for robot. Many types of bots exist. Also commonly used to refer to a bot account. See also WP:BOTS.
bot account
A bot's user account. It should typically have the word BOT in its account name, or otherwise be descriptive of the task, and clearly indicate who the bot operator running the account is. See also WP:BOTACC.
Bot Activity Monitor / BAM
A bot-monitoring system that checks if bots have edited recently, currently maintained by SDZeroBot. This is mostly useful for bot operators to be notified of bot crashes. See also WP:BAM.
Bot Approvals Group / BAG
The Bot Approvals Group (BAG) oversees most areas and processes dealing with bots on Wikipedia and is responsible for overseeing bot requests for approval (BRFAs). See also WP:BAG and WP:BAGG.
BAG member / BAGger
Members of the BAG. BAG members are trusted to understand Wikipedia's bot policy and to offer sound bot-related advice to bot operators, admins, bureaucrats, and editors alike. While some BAG members are also admins or bureaucrats, the role of BAG members should not be confused with that of bureaucrats or admins. See also the BAG member list.
bot flag
The term has two distinct but related meanings:
  1. Membership in the bot group, which raises some limits in the API and grants some additional rights, including the right to use the bot flag as in sense 2. See also WP:BOTFLAG.
  2. Used to flag individual edits as "bot" edits, which causes them to be hidden by default on RecentChanges and allows them to be hidden on watchlists. Some bot edits are not marked with the bot flag, such as bots designed to notify users of ongoing discussions.
bot coder / bot maintainer
A user who writes and maintains the code of the bot. Bot coders will often, but not always, be the bot op for the bot they code.
bot op / bot operator / bot owner
A user who operates and is responsible for the bot's edits. Will often, but not always, be the same person as the bot coder.
BotPasswords / bot password
An alternative username and password that can be used to log into an account via the API action=login with restricted user rights available. See mw:Manual:Bot passwords for details. If possible, OAuth should be used instead.
BRFA / (Bot) Requests for Approval
Refers to the process by which bots are approved. Bot operators will detail the task for which they request approval, along with technical information about the bot. The process is open and all editors (including unregistered users) are welcomed to comment. BRFAs evaluate both whether consensus exists for the task, and if the bot's technical implementation is sound. See also WP:BOTAPPROVAL, WP:BRFA, and WP:BAGG § Guide to BRFAs.
bot policy
The English Wikipedia bot policy. Other editions of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects have their own bot policies, which may significantly differ from the English Wikipedia's policy. See also WP:BOTPOL.
bot trial
Bot trials are the means by which Wikipedia tests bot tasks before approving them. They occur as part of BRFAs. See also WP:BOTAPPROVAL, WP:BRFA, and WP:BAGG § Guide to BRFAs.
bureaucrat / 'crat
A user with the ability to flag accounts as belonging to admins or bots, among other things. BAG members will advise bureaucrats on whether proposed bots and adminbots should be flagged as such. Bureaucrats technically make the final determination of whether the proper process was followed, or if consensus supports such a task, but will usually defer to BAG's judgement. See also WP:BUREAUCRAT.
Checkwiki is a project that helps clean up wikicode and other errors in the source code of Wikipedia. See also WP:CHECKWIKI.
cluttering / flooding
Edits made on Wikipedia appear on several special pages so they can be monitored and reviewed. Editing on a large scale will cause multiple pages to appear in Special:RecentChanges and Special:Watchlist in a short amount of time, and the changes will also be present in page histories. This is known as flooding or cluttering, and is one of the main reasons for the existence of WP:COSMETICBOT. The bot flag is designed to reduce the impact of flooding on Special:RecentChanges and Special:Watchlist, but will never completely eliminate it. Meat bots do not have access to such a flag.
context bot
A bot which makes context-sensitive edits. Most context bots are denied, unless it can be demonstrated that no false positives will arise, or are run as manual bots. See also WP:CONTEXTBOT.
context-sensitive edit
A context-sensitive edit is one that could be either valid or invalid, depending on the situation. For instance, changing "Dr. Suess" to "Dr. Seuss" by bot would be a bad idea – while "Dr. Suess" is a likely typo for Dr. Seuss, it could also be a correct reference to Dr. Hans Eduard Suess. See also WP:CONTEXTBOT.
cosmetic bot
A bot which makes cosmetic edit. Purely cosmetic bots are typically forbidden per WP:COSMETICBOT, but bots can be allowed to make certain cosmetic changes by consensus or in addition to their primary task.
cosmetic edit / substantive edit
A cosmetic edit is one that doesn't change the output HTML or readable text of a page. By contrast, a substantive edit is one that does change the output HTML or readable text of a page. However, the term cosmetic edit is often used to encompass all edits of such little value that the community deems them to not be worth making in bulk, even though those edits might change the output HTML or readable text in subtle ways. Cosmetic edits will almost always be minor edits. They may improve the friendliness and consistency of the wikitext, although edit warring on presentation (e.g. to change |parameter=value to | parameter = value, or to change templates from single line to multiline, and vice versa) is not acceptable.
The term cosmetic refers to the appearance of the wikitext, rather than the output page.
A cron is a Unix program used for scheduling a bot task to be automatically run in periodic intervals, even if the bot operator is asleep.
editor-hostile wikitext / editor-friendly wikitext
Editor-hostile wikitext refers to wikitext that is technically correct, and does not on its own cause errors, but which causes either a) code readability issues, b) poor interactions with common tools, or c) unpleasant surprises when edited. For example
a) prêt-à-porter renders as prêt-à-porter, but is very hard to quickly understand while reading the edit window.
b) A citation template formatted like
  • ((citejournal|issue=21|last=Smith|year=2008|title=Article of Things|journal=Journal of Things|volume=20|first=John|pages=156|doi=10.12345/654456))
is harder to understand than one formatted like
  • ((cite journal |last=Smith |first=John |year=2008 |title=Article of Things |journal=Journal of Things |volume=20 |issue=21 |pages=156 |doi=10.12345/654456))
due to the poor parameter order and lack of whitespace structure, even if they render the same. The improved parameter order makes it easier to see what information is present (or missing), and the improved  |parameter=value whitespace structure creates an easily recognizable visual pattern while also improving line wrapping in the edit window.
c) <br> and <br /> render the same. However, while wikicode-highlighting scripts will correctly recognize "well-formed" elements like <br />, they will often not understand that <br> means the same thing.
d) If [[Category:Physicists|Sir Isaac Newton]] is present twice on the same page, this is treated exactly as if it was present only once. However someone may decide to change the sortkey for the article to something like [[Category:Physicists|Newton, Isaac]] and forget about the other sortkey present on the page, and cause a sortkey collision.
Fixing editor-hostile wikitext constitutes a cosmetic edit and is typically not allowed by bots, although some cases (such as collisions) may be deemed editor-hostile enough to be treated by bot if they cross the threshold of usefulness.
exclusion-compliant bot
A bot that will respect ((nobots)) or other methods of preventing a bot from editing a page. AWB and Pywikibot-based bots are automatically exclusion-compliant. See also Category:Wikipedia bots which are exclusion compliant.
A user script managed using Extension:Gadgets so that it shows up in Special:Preferences. Gadgets are much easier for inexperienced users to enable than other user scripts. Some can be used to perform assisted editing.
manual bot / semi-automated bot
A meat bot with a dedicated bot account. Like regular bots, manual bots are subject to BRFAs, and can only operate within the terms of their approval. This is typical done to perform context-sensitive edits from an account with a bot flag.
meatbot / meat bot
A human (made of meat, unlike a robot) editor that makes a large amount of repetitive edits from their own account, often with semi-automated tools, much like a bot would. For the purpose of dispute resolution, it is irrelevant if edits are made by actual bots or by meatbots. See also WP:MEATBOT.
The software that powers Wikipedia. See also MediaWiki and WP:MEDIAWIKI. Not to be confused with Wikimedia or the Wikimedia Foundation.
minor edit
A minor edit is one where only small and superficial differences are made. Examples include typographical corrections, fixes to formatting, and adding dates to maintenance categories. Minor edits should require no review and be uncontroversial. See also WP:MINOR. Cosmetic edits will almost always be minor edits.
null bot
A bot that makes null edits. Bots typically don't need approval for this, unless making null edits in large numbers that would affect server performance, or requiring access to special bot-only API features.
null edit
A null edit is an edit where the page is saved without changes. This is sometimes done to force a server-side cache purge and force the page to be re-rendered from scratch. This causes category sorting, "what links here" results, how templates are rendered, and so on to be updated. See also WP:NULL.
OAuth is a mechanism for a bot to take action as if it were a different user (or on behalf of different user) without having to know the user's password. For example, OAbot will ask users to allow OAuth access, so it can make edits as the user. It also provides the ability to restrict the user rights available to the bot when logged in in this manner. See mw:Help:OAuth and mw:OAuth/For Developers for details specific to OAuth on Wikipedia. A bot will typically use an owner-only consumer to simplify the process.
PAWS is a WMF service that allows bot operators to execute Python code in a Jupyter Notebook setup.
Pywikibot is a Python library for developing bot applications. It also contains a number of standard built-in scripts. It is arguably the most used bot framework.
spectrum / threshold of usefulness
The "spectrum of usefulness" is a general concept useful in evaluating bot tasks. A proposed bot task will typically involve improvements to articles (even if only from a technical perspective), such as improving HTML5 compliance, making cosmetic improvements, fixing obvious mistakes, fixing editor-hostile wikitext, adding missing information, or improving the machine-readability of an article. However, the bot policy requires that bots are considered useful while not consuming resources unnecessarily. Each proposed task falls somewhere on the spectrum, and must cross a certain "threshold" to be deemed useful enough to the community. While cosmetic edits are typically on the lower end of usefulness, they will sometimes be useful enough to have community consensus to be done on their own. Likewise, while substantive edits are typically on the higher end of usefulness, doing them with a bot will sometimes create more problems than it solves.
Red XN Green tickY
Toolforge is WMF-hosted server environment commonly used for hosting automatic bots.
Twinkle is one of the most popular JavaScript gadgets that helps autoconfirmed users and admins with common maintenance tasks and in dealing with vandalism and other problematic behaviour. See also WP:TWINKLE.
user script / script
JavaScript and/or CSS that alters the MediaWiki user interface. They might be as simple as changing colors or something very complex such as Twinkle. Most user scripts are enabled by adding loading code to your common.js, while gadgets are user scripts that may be enabled in Special:Preferences. Some can be used to perform assisted editing.
wikitext / wikicode / wiki markup / wiki syntax
The "raw text" used to create Wikipedia pages. Formally refers to the MediaWiki syntax. See also Wiki § Editing, and WP:WIKICODE.
WPCleaner is a tool designed to help with various maintenance tasks, especially repairing links to disambiguation pages, checking Wikipedia, fixing spelling and typography, and helping with translation of articles coming from other wikis. See also WP:WPCLEANER.

See also