Prior to use, bots must be approved at FFXI:Bot Policy/Requests for Approval. State there precisely what the bot will do, observe and participate in the discussion, and await authorization from an Administrator. After approval you may run the bot for a short period so it can be monitored. After the trial the bot will be evaluated by the administrators, and you may ask that the user be marked as a bot.
Please do not start running your bot without:
- Describing its functions
- Listing it on Requests for Approval
- Getting the go-ahead from an administrator
When seeking approval on Requests for Approval, please state the following:
- Whether the bot is manually assisted (run by a human) or automatically scheduled to run
- The period, if any, we should expect it to run
- What language or program it is running
- Its purpose
Usernames for new bots should incorporate the word "bot" so that editors realize they are dealing with an automaton. The username for the bot should also incorporate the username of the bot operator or a recognizable fragment of it. The userpage for the bot should describe the same elements identified above.
The burden of proof is on the bot-maker to demonstrate that the bot:
- is harmless
- is useful
- is not a server hog
- has been approved
- has appropriate community consensus for each task
- abides by all guidelines, policies and common practices
To help prove that a bot is harmless and useful, a trial period may be asked to demonstrate the bot. Any complaints made about the bot during the trial period require that the bot be stopped immediately, and the issue should be resolved.
If you plan to make any modifications to your bot that expand the scope of its original purpose, please leave a note on the Requests for Approval page regarding the nature of the change to assert that no one has any problems with your bot, and with such additions the bot will still be harmless and useful, and not a server hog.
One or more aspects of this policy may be set aside by a consensus of administrators.
There should be no bots that attempt to fix spelling mistakes in an unattended fashion. It is not technically possible to create such a bot that would not make mistakes, as there will always be places where non-standard spellings are in fact intended. Manually-assisted spell-checking bots are acceptable, so long as they include international spell checking and not only country-specific spell checking. Statistic-generating spell-checking bots, which generate statistics on common misspellings, are also acceptable.
Problems with a specific bot
If you spot a problem or have a complaint about a specific bot, take your query to the bot operator's talk page. If you think the problem is serious and would like greater input, contact an administrator.
Bot operators are encouraged (but not required) to:
- Publish the source code of their bot (unless it's a clone)
- Program his or her bot to stop editing if someone leaves a message on its talk page. This can be checked by looking for the "You have new messages..." banner in the HTML for the edit form.
- Program his or her bot to stop editing if they detect that they have logged out. This can be checked by looking for bot's name in the HTML for the edit form. If the bot is not logged in, then the bot's name won't be listed in the HTML. Bots running anonymously may be blocked.
If, despite all efforts and review, a bot is found to have caused unintentional damage, it is the responsibility of the bot operator to repair it. Note that this could require either lots of manual work, or the creation (and perhaps approval) of a new bot. If you are not prepared to clean up after your bot if it misbehaves, you should not run it. There is, of course, no reason that help cannot be asked for or offered.