So I’m reading more about bots and how to program them. It turns out that a lot of them are doing some form of screen scraping to read and make their updates. That’s all fine and good, but they still need to do something. Some ideas for new bots on Train.SpottingWorld are…

  • Add {{USR}} (the banner template for Workforce:US railways) to the talk pages of everything under Category:Railway companies of the United States. This will probably need some kind of exception handler so we can tell it not to iterate through inappropriate categories, such as those for CN and CP (since both are Canadian companies but both have substantial operations in the US as well).
  • Randomly choose five red links on the US railways list of articles to write and five articles out of Category:United States rail stubs and update the “Things you can do” section of Portal:US Railways.
  • Collect links to all the pages tagged with {{USR}} to build a page of links to all of them through which interested editors can use the What links here link to find out what’s changed in associated articles.  The bot that does this can also update a list of the ten most recently tagged articles on the portal; if the articles weren’t on the recent changes link page, then they should be listed in the recently added list and if there were more than 10, make a random selection of 10 from among the new articles.

Hmm… looks like it’s time to start a specifications page within the Workforce to build a working design for these.