Project:Pywikibot/ functionality discussion/2007

How should the Interwiki Bot work across Wiktionary projects? edit

This space has been set up so that folks from the various Wiktionary projects can discuss their vision for the behavior of the Interwiki Bot (currently known as RobotGMwikt). This was the result of a discussion on the #wiktionary channel between GerardM, Connel MacKenzie, DmcDevit, hippietrail, and ArielGlenn.

This is primarily a policy dicussion and only secondarily a technical dicussion.

Tentative topics of discussion edit

  1. Background/overview
    Since January 2005, wikt:User:RobotGMwikt has been providing Wiktionaries with his interwiki bot's services. Having a single person coordinate interwiki activities across all language Wiktionaries has provided considerable efficiency. To date, the bot has been running with the flags set to match on exact spelling only, and set to treat redirects as invalid pages. Editors of some of the independent language Wiktionaries have expressed concerns with these choices for the bot's behavior . It is our hope that this discussion will provide an avenue of discussion so that concerns about functionality can be heard, voted on, and addressed to everyone's mutual satisfaction.
  2. Translation concerns (for this individual discussion)
    It is hoped that the meta Tower of Babel will be able to assist translating this page.
  3. Notification concerns (for this individual discussion)
    All Wiktionaries are partisan to their language's concerns. No single Wiktionary should be forcing others to accept certain functionalities that are technologically avoidable and inappropriate for a particular language. We hope to get representative participation from at least the top 27 Wikitionaries (those with over 10,000 valid entries) and at least partial representation from as many more of the smaller Wiktionaries. Accounts will be set up on each of the 143 Wiktionaries in order to post a message linking to this page on their wikt:Wiktionary:Beer parlour equivalent page.
    Notified: el, en, ja, ru, pl, ko
    Not yet notified: (list) zh, fr, io, tr, vi, bg, nl, et, fi, gl, de, hu, is, id, it, ku, fa, pt, sr, es, sv, plus all smaller Wiktionaries.
  4. How RobotGMwikt currently operates
    The Pywikipediabot's python program/script is used to link pages that have the exact same title on different language Wiktionaries. Currently it has the "Wiktionary" flag which does non-Wikipedia functions, in particular, forces the "-noredirects" behavior. For some languages this is appropriate, for others, it is considered to be unacceptable. Part of the outcome of this discussion is to provide an arena for languages to request the behavior they desire in a central location. Currently, the perception exists that the interwiki bot cannot "follow" redirects on some languages without breaking the perceived consistency (of interwiki links) on If the nl.wikt: community confirms this behavior is desired and is perceived as correct (for the Dutch language) then every effort will be made to modify the interwiki bot code to prevent "incorrect" reflexive links on (and perhaps any other languages with the same concern) when providing other languages the ability to recognize redirect pages as valid interwiki link targets.
  5. Problems with or limits of current operation
  6. Short-term feature requests (broken down by language for per-language requirements)
  7. Technical and logistical considerations
  8. Specific detailed scenarios and explanations
  9. Other versions of this bot currently running
    w:ru:Участник:VolkovBot has been running on a number of wikts since May 2007. It apparently emulates the current behavior of RobotGMwikt.

Operational goals edit

Technical note: Do not use pipe-syntax link hiding anywhere in this discussion. Use ' for clarity, never .
  1. What do all Wiktionaries want as a result of allowing interwiki links
    Simple example
    On en.wikt, there are entries for both and. The lemmas on the 'dog' page should point to corresponding lemmas on the page. The lemmas on the 'chien' page should point to corresponding lemmas on the page. Currently this is impossible. Instead, only the pages themselves (not the lemmas) are linked.
  2. What Wiktionaries have other (language-specific) requirements
Polish Wiktionary runs its own interwiki bot, which differs from the standard in two respects:
1. It doesn't link to ru: (since ru: has over 82.000 empty templates, directing users there is a waste of their time);
2. PL.wikt places interwiki "at top". The default settings of cause the script to add two empty lines at the top of all the pages it edits, which looks ugly. The script that runs on PL is modified in such a way that those extra lines are not added/are removed when encountered (the devs are notified of this bug).
tsca [re] 18:18, 2 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for your notes. I'm not sure #1 is precisely a language concern but is interesting. (Perhaps a reworded heading?) On en.wikt:, we allow those as it provides links to stubs that a human can then fill in. Personally, I agree that ru.wikt made a poor choice, allowing those stubs. But I don't see how preventing interwiki links to them is helpful. --Connel MacKenzie 17:10, 3 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. What uses besides human navigation use interwiki links?
  2. What technical concerns will arise from changing interwiki operation?

Goals of the discussion edit

  1. Determine what changes, if any, would benefit the various Wiktionary projects (broken down per-language)
  2. Rank desired changes by priority
  3. Create a plan for implementation
  4. (Possibly) move the bot to toolserver
  5. (Possibly) find additional maintainers and administrators of the bot

Please check that these topics make sense, add descriptive paragraphs, wikify... and generally turn this into a useful introduction. Thanks.

Other edit

Redirects do have multiple functions edit

The premise of automated functionality is that because things are equal in a way that can be understood by a program functionality can be automated. When you discuss giving redirects a function in interwiki links, the first thing to realise is that redirects do not have a single function.

Many redirects exist because of renames that have happened in the past. The word that is redirected can be wrong in all languages (nederlands is an example). These redirects should not be deleted; they have a function that ensures that we provide a consistent service. You can ask Brion for details.

There are redirects that point to "correct spelling". This is really problematic; a word like color and colour are both correct, they have different etymology and their pronunciation is quite distinct. Having said this there are projects that use redirects from one to the other. There is no obvious correct spelling so it is really arbitrary.

There are redirects that can not be made in this way because the spelling is correct in "another" language.

There has been a lively discussion on IRC. I have been told that I have to listen to the community. When the community does not show how these problems can be overcome, I will stop running the interwiki bot.

A policy discussion that wishes to implement something that is technically not feasible is not a discussion I care to participate in. To me this is a waste of time.

Thanks, GerardM 07:13, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Right now there are not even any proposed features to implement, so it is a little soon to predict the outcome. In any case we need to understand the technical limitations of the bot (and MediaWiki platform) too; that is part of what this page is for. ArielGlenn 08:51, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I explained it is not a technical limitation, the issue is with the data itself. As redirects have multiple origins, it cannot be assumed that they have a single origin. What is the point of starting a discussion when all the features that have been discussed in the past are not feasible?? GerardM 20:47, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It isn't a problem with the data though; it is a problem with people (human beings) navigating from one site to another. Do wikis sometimes have mistakes? Of course. But those are corrected as they are found. Bowing out of the discussion before it has begun is not very graceful. We haven't even begun to explore the possibilities of what the various Wiktionaries want as a result of having interwiki links. --Connel MacKenzie 07:01, 2 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Gerald: the way to solve a problem is to first figure out what we want, then (only then) what we can do, and then do it. If you begin with the limitations that you think you have, you'll never do anything new. (We couldn't go to the moon because no airplane flew high enough, so why think about it? Instead, we decided we wanted to go to the moon, and then figured out what we could do and got there ;-) A specific example: redirects on the en.wikt have essentially 3 origins: (1) page moves from errors, (2) intentionally created redirects for variant phrases and such, and (3) redirects left from the conversion script that moved everything to lower case. You say that makes the problem impossible. But if we wanted to we could easily separate them: created by move, created by edit, created by move and only edit was User:Conversion script. See? And please don't feel restricted by the limitations of, it is ill-suited to this task to begin with. Robert Ullmann 15:24, 25 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New prototype edit

The present run by RobotGMwikt and VolkovBot et al, works by wandering about the wikis, looking for "translations": let's see, w:en:Cat links to w:fr:Chat, and it links to w:it:Gatto (um, w:it:Felis sylvestris catus ;-), so create a link from en:Cat to it:Gatto and vice versa; This is horribly inefficient for the wikts: we just need to know what article titles are there, we don't need to look at the iwikis in the other entries. The load on the WMF servers by runing the 'pedia version on the wikts must be immense, and completely unneeded.

I've written a new program, being run on the en.wikt, that works differently. It prescans a recent XML dump for the wikt it will be updating. Then it reads Special:Allpages from the wikts, doing a 170-way multi-way merge on the fly, retrieving new pages only as needed. Then for each title in the local wikt, if the list of wikts doesn't match the prescan, edit the page and update the iwikis.

It only reads and writes the pages it is updating.

Because it is only working on the "local" wikt, it is easy for a wikt to use a modified policy; the pl.wikt can delete "ru" from the Exists set after it is initialized, and do those separately, nl.wikt can modify the allpages generator to skip titles wrapped with the "allpagesredirect" CSS class, etc. (Although it is best to have them all working the same; but what the "same" should be takes some working out, right?) Robert Ullmann 15:24, 25 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See but understand that this is a trial version, it doesn't run on the standard pybot framework. Robert Ullmann 00:02, 26 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]