Missouri/Kansas Scanner Radio Wiki Project: Script Policy

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As with most computing tasks, the Missouri/Kansas Scanner Radio Wiki Project can benefit from people using automated scripts (or programs that modify article pages with content at a pace not directly controlled by humans). This page outlines our policy regarding the use of scripts, what we like, what we don't like, and how to create a script that works well with our project.

Using scripts: the pros and cons

Scripts are nice for the following reasons:

  • Repetitive Work: Using a script can make repetitive tasks a heck of a lot easier to complete. The script program does most of the work, instead of someone (or a bunch of someones) having to do it all by hand.
  • Accuracy: Well-written scripts don't make common typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, etc. A script will complete the same task over and over very well.

Bad scripts cause the following problems:

  • Unintended consequences. If you have a buggy script, you run the risk of messing up a whole lot of pages. Either we have to correct those errors by hand, or we have to create another script to clean up after it. Either way, it's very time consuming!
  • Unilateral. The writer of a script can make a whole bunch of pages that work exactly they way they want them to. If someone else wants them to work another way, they have to write an entirely different script.
  • Bad scripts hog resources! Poorly written scripts hog up bandwidth and other server resources that could be better used by people hand-editing a page instead.
  • Unnecessary. Many problems that people want to create scripts for are completely unnecessary. The time and energy a person would have to put into creating, debugging, and running the script could be spread across a number of people completing the same task by hand. This would be less unilateral and much faster.
  • No new knowledge. In general, scripts simply re-adjust the formatting and presentation of knowledge on the wiki pages. Unless they're importing information from another database or resource, there's absolutely nothing new added. We could better spend that time and energy adding actual radio communications information to the project.

Here's our Script Policy

For the reasons listed above, we have established the following rules for running scripts:

  1. All scripts must be approved by the wiki administrator. To create a script that runs against this wiki project, please describe the name and reason for the script when sending your support ticket. Explain why you feel the script would be beneficial, why the work can't be completed by hand, and what the script will do.
  2. Scripts must comply with our established policies and procedures and Manual of Style.
  3. Each script has to run with its own unique user name. All edits made to the wiki must be associated with these user name(s).
  4. Scripts shall make no less than one change per minute. This keeps them from overwhelming our community's ability to monitor for and correct errors caused by the scripts should there be any.

Non-Compliant Scripts

Scripts that don't comply with the requirements listed above will be blocked from reading and/or editing the wiki pages, even if they're not causing any actual harm.