MediaWiki Administrator's Handbook/Countervandalism IRC Bots

This page documents two bots used extensively by countervandalism channels.

Bot overview


Computer was the original recent changes filtering bot written as a mIRC script, developed by White Cat. It was replaced by pgkbot in 2005.

pgkbot is a python bot developed by pgk. It is designed for use in one channel, and includes a number of customization options such as plugin support, complex event routers, individual lists, individual user name and article title watchlists, detection of page move vandalism, and IP address categories (like open proxies). However, configuration is difficult and it is relatively resource-intensive.

SWBot is a C# bot developed by Tangotango and Az1568. It is designed for use in networked or multiwiki channels. Features include dynamic loading and unloading of wikis and channels, a central configuration file and database, global lists, auto-broadcast of global changes to all other SWBot instances, and detection of page blanking and replacement using automated MediaWiki summaries. However, per-channel event configuration is not possible.

CVNbot is a unified centralized bot written in Perl by Pathoschild. It is currently in development and not actively used. The bot is intended to facilitate channel network administration and provide edit monitoring, without extraneous features.


Common bots: ErosionBot-1, MiszaBot, TheDJBot, ClueBot(RC).



Using commands


Commands are issued to the bot by appending their name or "computer" to the beginning of the line. If you append the name, the command will only be recognized by the bot named. If you append "computer", all bots present will recognize the command. For example, if you want to add a user to pgkbot's blacklist, you would say pgkbot bl add username. Alternately, you could add the user to the blacklist of every bot in the channel. This is recommended, as it synchronises the backup bots. To do this, you would say computer bl add username.

Which commands a user can issue depends on which list they are in.

Level Users List of commands
Information Any user intelligence commands; help.
Operation Voiced users watchlist; intelligence; help, status, quiet, speak.
Restricted Channel operators all commands.

Lists of users


The bots maintain several lists of users, which can be reported, formatted, and treated differently from each other.

  • Admins: this is a list of admins on the project. The relevant command is computer al add|del username.
  • Whitelist: this is the list of trusted users. The relevant command is computer wl add|del username.
  • Greylist: this is a temporary blacklist which the bot automatically populates with users that have recently been reverted, or matched one of the bnu list expression. Entries can be removed from the list, but cannot be added manually.
  • Blacklist: this is a list of suspicious users. All edits by blacklisted users are reported. The relevant command is computer bl add|del username.
  • Bots: this is a list of bots on the project. The relevant command is computer bot add|del user.

Reference table


This table is a quick overview of commands. For additional help, address the following command to pgkbot on IRC: pgkbot help <command>. There are two optional flags which can be used with most commands. These can be used by appending them to the end of the command (expiry must be stated before the reason, if both are used).

  • "r=value" provides a reason. This is useful for other users, who may not know why something has been added to the list without.
  • "x=value" provides an expiry time in hours. After the specified number of hours, the command will be automatically undone.

Note that the symbols "[|]" are used in the table; these symbols should not be used with the bot (for example, use "pgk add blah" and not "pgk [add] blah"). Multiple possible actions are denoted as [option 1|option 2]; only one can be used at a time. Values are designated as <value>; all strings accept regex.

Restricted bot commands
Command Usage Description
aclo computer aclo [add|del] IRC_name Add or remove users who can give restricted bot commands.
config (set) computer config <option> <newvalue> Modifies the configuration values. See in-depth documentation below.
config (list) computer config list List current settings
config (get) computer config [getadmins|getbots] Retrieve the list of admins or bots direct from the wiki being monitored
config (read) computer config [readmsgs|readcmds] Reread some configuration files.
dest (set) computer dest [add|del] #<channel name> grey Configure the events to report to the channel.
dest (swap) computer dest swap #<channel name> #<second channel name> Switch the events reported between two channels, useful for changing to preset settings.
reader computer reader reset Reset the connection to the recent changes channel (if the bot stops reporting).
Command Usage Description
help computer help <command> Provides detailed help on a command. If a command is not specified, it will provide a link to this page.
status computer status Provides basic status information about the bot, such as whether it is reporting and connected to the RC feed.
stats computer stats Miscellaneous channel statistics.
quiet computer quiet Stop reporting event to the channel.
speak computer speak Report events to the channel.
acl computer acl [add|del|show] <IRC_name> A list of trusted IRC users. These users can issue operation commands to the bot.
Watchlist commands
Command Usage Description
bl computer bl [add|del|show] <IP or username> A list of distrusted or vandal users.
wl computer wl [add|del|show] <username> A list of trusted users.
gl computer gl [del|show] <username> A list of possible distrusted or vandal users.
al computer al [add|del|show] <username> A list of administrators.
bot computer bot [add|del|show] <username> A list of bots.
bnu computer bnu [add|del|show] <string> Report all new usernames containing the string.
bna computer bna [add|del|show] <string> Report all new articles created containing the string.
cvp computer cvp [add|del|show] <string> Report all edits to a given article.
cnvp computer cnvp [add|del|show] <article name> A list of articles to be ignored.
cvi computer cvi [add|del|show] <image name>.<extension> Report all uploads to a particular image name.
wheels computer wheels [add|del|show] <string> Report pages renamed to a title containing the string.
Intelligence commands
Command Usage Description
intel computer intel <IP or username> Queries information about an IP or username.
aintel computer aintel <article name> Queries information about an article.
iintel computer iintel <image name>.<extension> Queries information about an image.





These settings affect the way the bot filters the raw recent changes to the reported events. They are viewed with the command computer config list and modified with the command computer config <option> <new value>.

option Description
editbig Possible nonsense (big addition of content)
editblank Possible blanking (big removal of content)
newbig Possible copyright violations (big new article size)
newsmall Possible vandalism or substubs (small new article size)
option Description
blockconflict The number of simultaneous blocks to a single user to report.
glonrollback The number of minutes to add a user to the greylist if their edits are rolled back by an administrator.
flagnewuser The number of hours to add new users to the greylist.
glonbnu The number of minutes to add new users that match a string on the bnu list.
option Description
pseudonym Alternate name a bot should respond to as well as its name. This should be "computer" in Countervandalism network channels.
startupquiet Don't report events on startup (toggle, "yes" or "no")
bnubnasame Synchronise the Bad new username and Bad new article name lists.

Event report toggles


These options toggle which events are reported to the channel. They are accessed with the command computer dest list and computer dest [add|del] #<channel name> <event>. The events are listed below. Each event will only be reported to a channel once, irrespective of fitting into several of these categories.

"Actions" in the tables below refer to all visible changes to the database, including edits, page moves, and deletions.

Event Description
-admin Don't report actions by administrators.
-white Don't report actions by whitelisted users.
-bot Don't report actions by bots.
black Report all actions by blacklisted users.
grey Report all actions by greylisted users.
newuser Report the creation of all new users.
ip Report all edits by anonymous users.
iptmp Report all edits of templates by non logged in users
ipcat Report all edits of categories by non logged in user
Strings and regex
Event Description
wwuser Report new usernames matching an entry in the bnu list.
wheeler Report page moves to titles matching an entry in the wheel list.
bna Report creates of articles which match an entry in the bna list.
cvp Report edits to pages on the cvp list.
cvi Report uploads of images on the cvi list.
Event Description
block Report blocks.
unblock Report unblocks.
delete Report page deletions.
move Report page moves.
protect Report non userspace page protections/unprotections.
upload Report file uploads.
Event Description
bigremove Report possible blanking (removal of content exceeding config bigremove).
bigedit Report possible gibberish (addition of content exceeding config bigedit).
bignew Report possible copyright violation (creation of a page whose size exceeds config bignew).
tinynew Report possible nonsense (creation of a page whose size is smaller than config tinynew).
Bot commands
Event Description
cmdsq Listen for commands in this channel, but don't respond unless addressed by nickname rather than "computer".
cmds listen for commands in this channel, and respond.




  • Python: The bot requires the python environment to run, which is freely available from the download page. It is recommended that you install for all users to C:\Python with all options enabled.
  • Twisted: Also required is the Twisted python library, available from the official website.
  • Note - Pgkbot can only work with Python version 2.4 or 2.5 and will not work with older versions.


  1. Download the latest public version of pgkbot (1.7) from
  2. Unzip it to C:\pgkbot.



There are a few text files that need to be edited before use.

Field Value Notes
server This is the IRC server the bot will connect to.
port 6667 The server port to connect to; this value should be fine.
nick botnick Change this to the nickname of the bot you want to use. Do not use "pgkbot" or "computer".
password password The password to use when identifying. Comment out this line if not using Nickserv
owner yournick Change to your nickname. This gives you full access to the interface.
Field Value Notes
server This is the IRC server the bot will connect to to get the RC feed.
port 6667 The server port to connect to; this value should be fine.
nick yournick Change to your nickname. This gives you full access to the interface.
Field Value Notes
controlchannel #pgktesting The channel the bot will report to.
rcsourcechannel #en.wikipedia The channel with the raw RC feed (see IRC channels).

Run the bot

  1. Open a DOS prompt.
  2. Navigate to the directory pgkbot is installed in.
  3. Type in c:\python24\python.exe en.
  4. pgkbot will be silent upon connecting. Be sure to make it speak and route some events (see above).


Common bots: SWBot* (except SWBot2), SWMTBot*, TheDJBot(3-5).

Comparison with pgkbot


SWMTBot is a port of pgkbot to C#, specially made to suit the needs of the Small Wiki Monitoring Team and other users who monitor a large number of feeds in one channel. Most commands have been kept identical to their pgkbot equivalents except where necessary; messages have also been kept as close to pgkbot's as possible.

Features new to SWMTBot Features in pgkbot but not in SWMTBot
  • Hot-pluggable wikis (load/unload on demand)
  • Supports simultaneous monitoring of a very large number of wikis with minimal resource usage
  • One small configuration file containing information for all wikis
  • One SQLite database, using minimal resources, for all wikis
  • Global blacklists/whitelists/greylists
  • Global username/article title watchlists (supports regular expressions)
  • Global edit summary watchlist (flags potentially vandalistic edit summaries; supports regular expressions)
  • Auto-broadcast of all global lists to other SWMTBots
  • Catches page blankings/replacements (using the new autosummaries)
  • Plugins
  • A choice of database backends
  • Telnet interface
  • Complex destination/event routers
  • Individual blacklists/whitelists
  • Individual username/article title watchlists
  • Wheeler detection
  • IP categories
  • Command renaming





All global lists are automatically synchronized across all SWMTBots; per-wiki lists are not. There is a global article watchlist for all wikis, and one for each one; you can add/delete/show items on the global list by leaving out the "p=" parameter (see the command lists below for more information).

Global lists Per-wiki lists
  • Bad new usernames (BNU)
  • Bad new article titles (BNA)
  • Bad edit summaries (BES)
  • User whitelist (WL)
  • User blacklist (BL)
  • User greylist (GL)
  • Global article watchlist (CVP)
  • Lists of admins (AL)
  • Lists of bots (BOTS)
  • Article watchlists (CVP)


Global commands
Command Description Example
quit Quits the bot SWMTBot quit
restart Restarts the bot SWMTBot restart
list Returns a list of all currently monitored wikis SWMTBot list
load [interwiki] Loads a wiki for monitoring SWMTBot load en.wikipedia en:
SWMTBot load meta.wikimedia
reload Downloads new messages from the wiki; use if any of the log entry messages in the MediaWiki: namespace on that wiki have changed SWMTBot reload fr.wikipedia
batchreload Performs reload for all currently loaded wikis. Extremely resource-intensive and thoroughly not recommended SWMTBot batchreload
drop Stops monitoring a wiki SWMTBot drop als.wikipedia
purge Removes from the database all users and watchlisted items pertaining to a particular wiki SWMTBot purge als.wikipedia
msgs Re-loads messages from the Console.msgs file; necessary only when the file has changed SWMTBot msgs
bleep Finds out which bot monitors a particular project. You can issue this command to any networked bot to receive the same results SWMTBot bleep commons.wikimedia
count Finds out how many wikis each bot monitors, and each bot's version. You can issue this command to any networked bot to receive the same results SWMTBot count
List commands
Command Description Example
bl add/del/show username [x=duration] [r=reason] Adds, deletes, or shows an item on the global blacklist. Set x=0 to make indefinite SWMTBot bl add Tangotango x=0 r=Bad vandal (Adds Tangotango to the global blacklist indefinitely)
SWMTBot bl del Tangotango (Removes Tangotango from the global blacklist)
gl del username Deletes a user from the greylist. Use this if you want to whitelist a user, but they are on the greylist. Remove them from gl and add to wl. SWMTBot gl del Mike.lifeguard (removes Mike.lifeguard from the greylist)
wl add/del/show username [x=duration] [r=reason] Adds, deletes, or shows an item on the whitelist. Set x=0 to make indefinite (See above; wl has the same syntax as bl)
cvp add/del/show article name [] [x=duration] [r=reason] Adds, deletes, or shows an article on the watchlist. Leave out p= to monitor articles with the same name on all wikis; set x=0 to make indefinite SWMTBot cvp add United States p=en.wikipedia x=0 (Adds "United States" to the en.wikipedia watchlist)
SWMTBot cvp add Main Page x=0 (Adds all pages named "Main Page" on all wikis to the watchlist)
al add/del/show username [x=duration] [r=reason] Adds, deletes, or shows an item on the admin list on a particular wiki. Set x=0 to make indefinite SWMTBot al add Tangotango p=ga.wikipedia (Adds Tangotango to the admin list on ga.wikipedia)
bots add/del/show username [x=duration] [r=reason] Adds, deletes, or shows an item on the flagged-bot list on a particular wiki. Set x=0 to make indefinite (See above; bots has the same syntax as al)
bnu add/del/show regex [x=duration] [r=reason] Adds, deletes, or shows an item on the global bad new username list. Set x=0 to make indefinite SWMTBot bnu add Tangot.*?ngo x=128 r=vandal meme (Adds Tangot.*?ngo as a bad new username)
bna add/del/show regex [x=duration] [r=reason] Adds, deletes, or shows an item on the global bad new article title list. Set x=0 to make indefinite SWMTBot bna add index\.php r=vandal meme (Matches "index.php" as a bad new page title)
bes add/del/show regex [x=duration] [r=reason] Adds, deletes, or shows an item on the global bad edit summary list. Set x=0 to make indefinite SWMTBot bes add !{3,} r=Too many exclamation marks (Makes SWMTBot flag any edit summary with 3 or more exclamation marks)
config getadmins Downloads a list of admins from the specified project and automatically adds it to the SWMTBot database SWMTBot config getadmins en.wikipedia
config getbots Downloads a list of flagged bots from the specified project and automatically adds it to the SWMTBot database SWMTBot config getbots da.wiktionary
batchgetusers Performs getadmins and getbots for all currently loaded wikis SWMTBot batchgetusers



SWMTBot is tested and actively developed to work on Mac OS X, Linux (Debian), and Windows. The software is licensed under the MIT License.



See m:CVN/CVNbot.

See also



  • #countervandalism for bots in channels operated by the countervandalism network
  • pgkbot
    • pgk— For comments, suggestions, and troubleshooting the bot script.