A Bot is an (semi-)automated account for performing the repetitive tasks which would be extremely tedious if done manually (e.g. changing a capital letter in a link). As a Bot is designed for fast repetitive edits, it can do a lot damage in a very short time. This may be due to a small human error (e.g. adding a space too many) or for malicious intent. This is one of the main reasons the Bot Policy was put in place.
It is forbidden to use an unauthorized Bot on Halo Alpha, a violation of this rule is punishable by a ban of up to 6-months on the Bot's account, as well as the account of the Bot's handler.
Before a Bot can be allowed to edit, it has to be equipped with a 'Bot Flag'. A Bot Flag removes the Bot from the Recent Changes menu, as well as the Leaderboard. Attaining a Bot Flag can only be achieved after a Administrator internal debate, after which a Bureaucrat can add it to the Bot account.
As specified, a Bot Flag can only be applied by a Bureaucrat. To request a Bot Flag, a form has to be filled out on the Talk Page, which will be reviewed and either approved or denied by the Administrators. When a request is filed, an Administrator will add a message that the request is under consideration. After this message is added, the debate will take place in up to 4 weeks, after which a Bot Flag is either granted or denied. The reason of granting/denying a request shall not be disclosed.
Any user that wishes to have a Bot Flag added to his/her Bot account should note that a request is instantly denied if:
- The user has committed any form of rule-breaking on Halo Alpha in the 6-months period before the request.
- Certain acts of rule-breaking, e.g. vandalism or blanking pages, disqualify a user indefinitely.
- The Bot is requested for a single task which can be done by one of the established Bots.
- The Bot handler's account has less than 750 total edits, and 500 mainspace edits.
A distinction is made between 'new Bots' and 'established Bots'. A new Bot is active for less than 6 months, after which it will be known as an established Bot. A new Bot is not allowed to edit more than once per 5 seconds, and for longer than 5 hours at a time. This is to give Administrators the time to periodically check the Bot edits and act accordingly.
If a new Bot is observed as haven broken either of these two time-limits, both the Bot and the Bot handler's account will be banned for a period of 1 day, increasing twofold after each successive violation.
An established bot has no time limitations, but is still periodically checked by an Administrator.