Computer programs called bots have often been used to perform simple and repetitive tasks, such as correcting common misspellings and stylistic issues, or to start articles such as geography entries in a standard format from statistical data. One controversial contributor creating articles with his bot was reported to create up to 10,000 articles on the Swedish Wikipedia on certain days. Additionally, there are bots designed to automatically notify editors when they make common editing errors (such as unmatched quotes or unmatched parentheses). Edits falsely identified by bots as the work of a banned editor can be restored by other editors. Anti-vandalism bots like ClueBot NG are programmed to detect and revert vandalism quickly. Bots are able to indicate edits from particular accounts or IP address ranges, as occurred at the time of the shooting down of the MH17 jet incident in July 2014 when it was reported edits were made via IPs controlled by the Russian government. Bots on Wikipedia must be approved before activation.
According to Andrew Lih, the current expansion of Wikipedia to millions of articles would be difficult to envision without the use of such bots. The Cebuano, Swedish and Waray Wikipedias are known to have high numbers of bot-created content.
Types of bots
- content creation, such as by procedural generation
- fixing errors, such as by copy editing or addressing link rot
- adding connectors, such as with hyperlinks to content elsewhere
- tagging content with labels
- clerk, updating reports
- Archive for resolved discussions or tasks
- Moderation systems to combat against spam or misconduct
- Recommender systems to encourage users
- notifications, such as with push technology and pull technology
- Gulbrandsson, Lennart (17 June 2013). "Swedish Wikipedia surpasses 1 million articles with aid of article creation bot". Wikimedia Blog. Archived from the original on 24 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
- "Bots information page". English Wikipedia.
- Daniel Nasaw (July 24, 2012). "Meet the 'bots' that edit Wikipedia". BBC News.
- Halliday, Josh; Arthur, Charles (July 26, 2012). "Boot up: The Wikipedia vandalism police, Apple analysts, and more". The Guardian. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
- Jervell, Ellen Emmerentze (July 13, 2014). "For This Author, 10,000 Wikipedia Articles Is a Good Day's Work". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- Aube (March 23, 2009). "Abuse Filter is enabled". Wikipedia Signpost. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
- Aljazeera, July 21, 2014, "MH17 Wikipedia entry edited from Russian Government IP Address". "MH17 Wikipedia entry edited from Russian government IP address". July 21, 2014. Archived from the original on November 16, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
- Wikipedia's policy on bots
- Andrew Lih (2009). The Wikipedia Revolution, chapter Then came the Bots, pp. 99–106.
- Zheng, Lei (Nico); Albano, Christopher M.; Vora, Neev M.; Mai, Feng; Nickerson, Jeffrey V. (7 November 2019). "The Roles Bots Play in Wikipedia". Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction. 3 (CSCW): 1–20. doi:10.1145/3359317.
- Dormehl, Luke (20 January 2020). "Meet the 9 Wikipedia bots that make the world's largest encyclopedia possible". Digital Trends.