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I have now written a part in COIBot where it saves reports for local link additions which trip certain thresholds to meta, all reports are categorised there in Category:COIBot Local Reports. [[:COIBot Local Reports for (your wiki)]] (so for the en.wikipedia in Category:COIBot Local Reports for This 'manual' will use examples for, but the system is the same for all wikis.

Symbol comment vote.svg These are BOT generated reports, they are totally based on statistics of link usage and user 'behaviour'. It may VERY WELL be that a new user is coming with a new good link they found on the internet, and adds them in good faith. That the report is there does not mean it is spam, or that the users are spamming, whatever, please, please assume good faith, when you handle a report. On the other hand, I must say that this does catch also quite some spam, and I have added a LOT to en:User:XLinkBot based on this system.

Happy catching.


Most of you are probably unfamiliar with this system of reports, so I will give a bit of an explanation. The reports are built up in sections:

  • contains the linksummary templates, the searches there can be used to find similar reports (search on server IP in the second linksummary template) or via the 'whatlinkshere' in the toolbox etc.)
  • a list of users that have used the link (those that the linkwatcher bots tripped on, it can be one user, or a list of IPs, etc.). Again, the links can find related reports, especially useful can be the 'what links to the user talkpage link, as all reports link to the user talk page, and hence are in the search list.
Site info and monitoring rules
  • Gives some information on the site, which monitoring rules COIBot has for this link, if there are any links whitelisted, blacklisted or revertlisted (XLinkBot) somewhere on a wikipedia (it may be that the link is already blacklisted on e.g. pt.wikipedia, but now spammed on en.wikipedia; this is a regularly updated, off-wiki, list, though it has often a couple of hours of lag)
  • Gives a list of the additions by the users mentioned in the 'Users' section. List is limited to about 100 additions to keep the bot running smoothly
  • A bot generated 'log' line for the link; based on the meta Spam blacklist log format, will need to be adapted to local custom AND maybe localised (let me know if you have any ideas on how to localise this, please keep in mind that it in principle should be useful for all 738 wikis that are watched by this system).
  • This is THE discussion section, discussion is not necessery on the talkpage, but at the bottom of THIS SECTION (there is a tag there saying "Please put comments after this remark" in editmode, discussion after this tag)
What COIBot does, is on new link-additions that trip the rules, it will regenerate the report. It then regenerates everything before the tag "Please put comments after this remark", and attaches again everything after that tag (so the discussion does not get lost). The data in the template "LinkStatusLocal" is adapted according to the previous setting (see below).
In the Discussion section, there is also a template "LinkStatusLocal", it takes 2 parameters, the first one the wiki the report is for (you can ignore that mostly), and the second parameter is a 'status' for the reports. For the XWiki reports we use 4:
  • 'Open' - the report is open, there have been linkadditions recently
  • 'Closed' - an editor has handled the report, e.g. reverted the links, or discussed and deemed it not a big problem at the moment. If there are new link-additions, COIBot will re-open the report (change the status to 'Open').
  • 'Stale' - generally bot-performed, if a report has not been handled after a certain time, the bot can close it as a non-urgent problem. If there are new link-additions, COIBot will re-open the report (change the status to 'Open').
  • 'Ignored' - If the link is really no problem, change the status to ignore. The bot will update the report, but not re-open it.
The status of the report has an effect on the categorisation:
So one only has to evaluate the reports in Category:Open Local reports/Category:Open Local reports for, changing the status when handled (or leaving it open for more opinions).
Don't worry in the beginning if you don't know what to do, others who are more familiar will keep an eye, the most important thing is that one edits after the remark. If you are unsure if you have to close or ignore, leave it open, and have a look how others handle similar reports, or wait for others to close it.

Generally, close reports if it is not too bad, don't leave them hanging around. Also close reports when you have added things to XLinkBot or to a local blacklist and leave a remark about that (they will reopen, but at least it is then easy to see that it has been handled; COIBot clearly states that it is a re-opened report).

If you need further help you can find COIBot, its operators, and others who have experience with handling these reports on IRC, in #wikimedia-external-links.