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Article Alerts back from the dead; plus news in brief

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By Headbomb, H3llkn0wz, Tilman Bayer and Wackywace

Article Alerts

The Article Alerts system was originally conceived by Headbomb in July 2008. Its original purpose was to check for articles nominated for deletion, proposed for deletion, placed under peer review and so on, then create reports for subscribing WikiProjects on a daily basis. B. Wolterding accepted the request, and started coding ArticleAlertbot, which was operated from 19 September 2008 until 6 April 2010 by Legoktm. During its life, the bot had its scope expanded to cover nearly all systematized discussions on Wikipedia, from stub types for deletion to copyright violations. It also allowed for various customization, such as choosing what to include in the reports. At its peak, the bot delivered reports to over 400 Wikiprojects, with an additional 200 or so taskforces and workgroups.

Sudden stop

The bot came to a sudden stop after a change in Wikipedia's API, and needed to be updated. By then however, B. Wolterding had been missing for several months, and all attempts to contact him were met with silence. Fingers were crossed for him to come back, but there was no such luck. A few attempts at revival occurred during the summer, but none worked until Arlen22 obtained the source code from Legoktm in September this year. With Joe Gazz84 as the new coder and operator, things were looking good. However, after about three months no tangible progress had been made, since Joe Gazz84 had been plagued by compiling issues.


In early December, Headbomb and H3llkn0wz decided to rewrite the bot from scratch. After an 8-month hiatus, the Article Alerts system is finally getting some activity. The bot works differently from the old one, and as a result the subscription method has been redesigned. Previously, projects and taskforces subscribed by placing {{ArticleAlertbotSubscription}} on the project's main page ("Wikipedia:WikiProject Foobar"), and a report would be delivered at ("Wikipedia:WikiProject Foobar/Article alerts").

Now the subscriptions are centralized at the Wikipedia:Article alerts/Subscription list, using a different template {{ArticleAlertSubscription}}. Most of the projects have had their subscriptions imported (see full list), and aren't required to do anything at all. These projects recently received new Article Alerts reports (problems can be reported here). Other subscriptions (the "less standard" ones) are in the process of being imported (pending subscriptions) and their reports have not yet been updated.

The bot is currently in trial and far from finalized. Even so, the "core" features are present and would be of use to most projects out there, even without the bells and whistles. Projects who wish to subscribe can do so simply by following the instructions found on {{ArticleAlertSubscription}}, or by making a request at the subscription list's talk page. General questions should be asked at the Article Alerts' talk page.


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