earwigbot python

A Python robot that edits Wikipedia and interacts with people over IRC


EarwigBot_ is a Python_ robot that edits Wikipedia_ and interacts with people over IRC. This file provides a basic overview of how to install and setup the bot; more detailed information is located in the docs/ directory (available online at PyPI).


Development began, based on the Pywikipedia framework, in early 2009. Approval for its fist task, a copyright violation detector, was carried out in May, and the bot has been running consistently ever since (with the exception of Jan/Feb 2011). It currently handles several ongoing tasks_ ranging from statistics generation to category cleanup, and on-demand tasks such as WikiProject template tagging. Since it started running, the bot has made over 50,000 edits.

A project to rewrite it from scratch began in early April 2011, thus moving away from the Pywikipedia framework and allowing for less overall code, better integration between bot parts, and easier maintenance.


This package contains the core earwigbot, abstracted enough that it should be usable and customizable by anyone running a bot on a MediaWiki site. Since it is component-based, the IRC components can be disabled if desired. IRC commands and bot tasks specific to my instance of EarwigBot_ that I don’t feel the average user will need are available from the repository earwigbot-plugins_.

It’s recommended to run the bot’s unit tests before installing. Run python setup.py test from the project’s root directory. Note that some tests require an internet connection, and others may take a while to run. Coverage is currently rather incomplete.

Latest release (v0.2) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EarwigBot is available from the Python Package Index, so you can install the latest release with pip install earwigbot (get pip).

If you get an error while pip is installing dependencies, you may be missing some header files. For example, on Ubuntu, see this StackOverflow post_.

You can also install it from source [1]_ directly::

curl -Lo earwigbot.tgz https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot/tarball/v0.2
tar -xf earwigbot.tgz
cd earwig-earwigbot-*
python setup.py install
cd ..
rm -r earwigbot.tgz earwig-earwigbot-*

Development version

You can install the development version of the bot from ``git`` by using
setuptools's ``develop`` command [1]_, probably on the ``develop`` branch which
contains (usually) working code. ``master`` contains the latest release.
EarwigBot uses `git flow`_, so you're free to browse by tags or by new features
(``feature/*`` branches)::

    git clone git://github.com/earwig/earwigbot.git earwigbot
    cd earwigbot
    python setup.py develop


The bot stores its data in a "working directory", including its config file and
databases. This is also the location where you will place custom IRC commands
and bot tasks, which will be explained later. It doesn't matter where this
directory is, as long as the bot can write to it.

Start the bot with ``earwigbot path/to/working/dir``, or just ``earwigbot`` if
the working directory is the current directory. It will notice that no
``config.yml`` file exists and take you through the setup process.

There is currently no way to edit the ``config.yml`` file from within the bot
after it has been created, but YAML is a very straightforward format, so you
should be able to make any necessary changes yourself. Check out the
`explanation of YAML`_ on Wikipedia for help.

After setup, the bot will start. This means it will connect to the IRC servers
it has been configured for, schedule bot tasks to run at specific times, and
then wait for instructions (as commands on IRC). For a list of commands, say
"``!help``" (commands are messages prefixed with an exclamation mark).

You can stop the bot at any time with Control+C, same as you stop a normal
Python program, and it will try to exit safely. You can also use the
"``!quit``" command on IRC.


The bot's working directory contains a ``commands`` subdirectory and a
``tasks`` subdirectory. Custom IRC commands can be placed in the former,
whereas custom wiki bot tasks go into the latter. Developing custom modules is
explained below, and in more detail through the bot's documentation on PyPI_
(or in the ``docs/`` dir).

Note that custom commands will override built-in commands and tasks with the
same name.

``Bot`` and ``BotConfig``

`earwigbot.bot.Bot`_ is EarwigBot's main class. You don't have to instantiate
this yourself, but it's good to be familiar with its attributes and methods,
because it is the main way to communicate with other parts of the bot. A
``Bot`` object is accessible as an attribute of commands and tasks (i.e.,

`earwigbot.config.BotConfig`_ stores configuration information for the bot. Its
docstring explains what each attribute is used for, but essentially each "node"
(one of ``config.components``, ``wiki``, ``irc``, ``commands``, ``tasks``, and
``metadata``) maps to a section of the bot's ``config.yml`` file. For example,
if ``config.yml`` includes something like::

            nick: MyAwesomeBot
                - "##earwigbot"
                - "#channel"
                - "#other-channel"

...then ``config.irc["frontend"]["nick"]`` will be ``"MyAwesomeBot"`` and
``config.irc["frontend"]["channels"]`` will be ``["##earwigbot", "#channel",

Custom IRC commands

Custom commands are subclasses of earwigbot.commands.Command_ that override Command’s process() (and optionally check(), setup(), or unload()) methods.

The bot has a wide selection of built-in commands and plugins to act as sample code and/or to give ideas. Start with test, and then check out chanops and afcstatus for some more complicated scripts.

Custom bot tasks ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Custom tasks are subclasses of earwigbot.tasks.Task_ that override Task’s run() (and optionally setup() or unload()) methods.

See the built-in wikiprojecttagger task for a relatively straightforward task, or the afcstatistics plugin for a more complicated one.

The Wiki Toolset

EarwigBot’s answer to the Pywikipedia framework_ is the Wiki Toolset (earwigbot.wiki), which you will mainly access through bot.wiki.

bot.wiki provides three methods for the management of Sites - get_site(), add_site(), and remove_site(). Sites are objects that simply represent a MediaWiki site. A single instance of EarwigBot (i.e. a single working directory) is expected to relate to a single site or group of sites using the same login info (like all WMF wikis with CentralAuth).

Load your default site (the one that you picked during setup) with site = bot.wiki.get_site().

Not all aspects of the toolset are covered in the docs. Explore its code and docstrings_ to learn how to use it in a more hands-on fashion. For reference, bot.wiki is an instance of earwigbot.wiki.SitesDB tied to the sites.db file in the bot’s working directory.


  • Questions, comments, or suggestions about the documentation? Let me know_ so I can improve it for other people.

.. [1] python setup.py install/develop may require root, or use the --user switch to install for the current user only.

.. _EarwigBot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EarwigBot .. _Python: http://python.org/ .. _Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/ .. _IRC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Relay_Chat .. _PyPI: http://packages.python.org/earwigbot .. _Pywikipedia framework: http://pywikipediabot.sourceforge.net/ .. _copyright violation detector: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Bots/Requests_for_approval/EarwigBot_1 .. _several ongoing tasks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EarwigBot#Tasks .. _my instance of EarwigBot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EarwigBot .. _earwigbot-plugins: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot-plugins .. _Python Package Index: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/earwigbot .. _get pip: http://pypi.python.org/pypi/pip .. _this StackOverflow post: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6504810/how-to-install-lxml-on-ubuntu/6504860#6504860 .. _git flow: http://nvie.com/posts/a-successful-git-branching-model/ .. _explanation of YAML: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YAML .. _earwigbot.bot.Bot: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot/blob/develop/earwigbot/bot.py .. _earwigbot.config.BotConfig: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot/blob/develop/earwigbot/config.py .. _earwigbot.commands.Command: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot/blob/develop/earwigbot/commands/__init__.py .. _test: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot/blob/develop/earwigbot/commands/test.py .. _chanops: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot/blob/develop/earwigbot/commands/chanops.py .. _afc_status: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot-plugins/blob/develop/commands/afc_status.py .. _earwigbot.tasks.Task: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot/blob/develop/earwigbot/tasks/__init__.py .. _wikiproject_tagger: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot/blob/develop/earwigbot/tasks/wikiproject_tagger.py .. _afc_statistics: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot-plugins/blob/develop/tasks/afc_statistics.py .. _its code and docstrings: https://github.com/earwig/earwigbot/tree/develop/earwigbot/wiki .. _Let me know: [email protected]

Related Repositories



A Python robot that edits Wikipedia and interacts with people over IRC ...



Additional IRC commands and bot tasks for EarwigBot ...

Top Contributors

earwig justinkim Emily legoktm loganrosen Riamse


-   v0.2 zip tar
-   v0.1 zip tar