From creates Interlanguage links between the different language versions of a project.

Getting started[edit]

To see what you need to get started on the Python Wikipedia bot, see Manual:Pywikibot/Installation. We assume you have taken these steps (downloading Python and bot, creating, running Now to start, type python interwiki.

The bot will ask for a page to check. Give a page on your home Wikipedia, preferably one with one or more interwiki-links that could however have more. The bot will read this page, and if it has any interwiki-links, it will check those pages as well, and the interwiki-links from those, etcetera. After it has finished that, what happens depends on what pages it found.

  • If the page has no interwiki links, or if the links found are identical to the ones on the page, the bot will stop silently.
  • If the bot finds interwiki links to new languages, or finds that an interwiki-link has to be changed, it will do so.
  • If the bot finds that an interwiki link is to be removed, it will ask your permission to do so.
  • If the bot finds more than one page for a language, it will go into an interactive mode. It will give the pages found with the pages that link to that page, and ask for each language with more than one link, which if any should be linked to, then ask for each language with one link whether it should be linked.

Note that these behaviours can be changed using options, see below.

You can also specify the page to work on directly, using python interwiki pagename. But there are more possibilities, see below.

Working on more than one page[edit]

Using the XML Export, the pywikibot-software can get more pages at once, upto 60 at a time. To use this possibility, you can use the bot on a set of pages. The most common form is getting pages in alphabetical order from Special:Allpages, using the -start option.


If you add the option -start, the bot will go through the pages alphabetically, starting at the word specified. If you want to start at the letter B, for example, you can use python interwiki -start:B. In particular, if you want to do the whole Wiki, you can use python interwiki -start:!

Restarting: -continue, -restore[edit]

Going through the whole wiki can, in large or even moderately large wikis, take a long time. Thus, it may well happen that you are forced to end the program before it has finished. In that case you can use python interwiki -continue next time. The bot, when it crashes or is stopped (through control-c), will make a file specifying the pages it is working on. If you use the continue-option, it will continue with those pages, and after that continue alphabetically. If you want to restart a non-alphabetical run, you can use python interwiki -restore instead. It will just restart the pages it was working on.

Be warned that only the last bot run that was stopped will be recoverable. The bot will save its information to a file interwiki.dump, and if another run is broken off, even if it is only on one page, it will overwrite the file.

Autonomous mode[edit]

When working on a lot of pages, you may want the bot to just continue, rather than asking you every time it sees a problem. This is done by adding the option "-autonomous". If this option is used, the bot will skip all problems and removals, and save a log of those in autonomous_problems.dat. If you want it to do removals as well, add the "-force" option too; in that case it is good to check the removals afterward (often a page is removed because of a correctable typo).

The file sax_parse_bug.dat[edit]

Sometimes there is an error message mentioning a file sax_parse_bug.dat on the screen while running, and then it starts retrieving some pages one-by-one instead of in a single batch. This is caused by an illegal character in one of the pages to be retrieved.

The tool can be used to trace this problem. Run it with the filename as argument:

$ python xmltest sax_parse_bug.dat

This will generate a python stack trace. The last line of that stack trace will show a line number and column where the illegal character is in the file. Please check this position, and if possible, correct the wiki page associated with it.

Running on years AD[edit]

There is a special option -years that makes sure not to follow links to centuries and decennia that are common on some wikipedias (like ja:). Even then, this option should be used in combination with an exceptions file (see below) because the la: and ia: number pages are about the numbers and not about the years.

$ python interwiki -autonomous -years

This will take a while to start up while it is preparing hints for all pages named [[1]] through [[2050]]

If you stop the robot during a -years run and want to restart it later, you can tell the robot at which page to restart by using -years:XYZ where XYZ is the year where the robot stopped last time. You can also make the robot start B.C. by making XYZ a negative number.

$ python interwiki -autonomous -years:-500

Running on a simple list of pages[edit]

Sometimes you have a list of pages available. Just a file of subjects, each subject on a separate line, formatted as [[xx:yyy]] comments. The -file option can be used to run the interwiki bot over such a list of subjects. An example of such a file could be an autonomous_problems.dat file that you want to treat manually:

$ python interwiki -file:autonomous_problems.dat

Using hints[edit]

Up to now, we have only worked on adding interwikis on pages that already have some. But the bot can also be used to add them on pages that have none yet. This is done by using hints. If for example you want to add interwikis to the page [[en:House]], and think there might be a page at [[fr:Maison]] that would be about the same subject, you can type (if your bot is set to run on English by default) python interwiki House -hint:fr:Maison.

If the link is to the same title, you can remove the title, and even the second :. Also, if you want to link to the same word in several languages, you can combine them with commas. So instead of python interwiki Albert Einstein -hint:de:Albert_Einstein -hint:fr:Albert_Einstein -hint:id:Albert_Einstein (those underscores are necessary, otherwise the bot will disregard the 'Einstein' part of the pagename), you can write python interwiki Albert Einstein -hint:de,fr,id,

Special hints[edit]

Some special hints have been defined to do a number of languages at once. You can use them instead of the language part of a hint. Currently the following special hints exist:

  • 10: Ten of the largest projects of the family
  • 20,30,50: Idem, for twenty, thirty and fifty languages
  • all: All projects with at least ~100 articles
  • cyril: All languages in Cyrillic script

The same are defined for Wiktionary, but at the moment of writing, 30, 50 and all are the same for Wiktionary. It is intended to add more options.

Asking for hints[edit]

When working on multiple pages such hints in the command line are rarely useful. In that case (or if you want to decide on the hints later), you can use the options "-askhints", "-untranslated" and "-untranslatedonly". If you choose the -askhints option, for each page you will be asked for one or more hints. They can be like the hints after -hint: on the command line, but the ':' may not be omitted, and spaces are allowed. Thus, valid hints would for example be "en:John Smith", "de,nds,af:" or "50:". "-untranslated" asks for hints only if there are no interwiki links yet; "-untranslatedonly" is like -untranslated, but other pages are not worked on at all.

Instead of giving a hint, you can give an empty line. This specifies that all hints for this page have been given (or that you have no hints for it). Note that if you have given a hint, the bot will keep asking for more hints until you press enter. Another option is to input a question mark and nothing else; in that case you get shown the beginning of the text to the page. If after that you input the question mark again, it will give a larger part of the text, etcetera.

It might in these cases be useful to have the "-confirm" option added, so the bot gets interactive before making a change. This can be used to check whether the links are correct and/or as an impetus to create a backlink.

Interaction of options[edit]

If you've set without_interwiki = True in your, you may have generated a list of pages without interwikis from a previous run of (you can use to split the list and get lists for each individual language). In that case, you can use the -file option to work directly on those pages, instead of querying the database to find them. You can't (and don't need to) use -untranslated and -untranslatedonly with -file:.

If you give a hint to a language, even if automatically with -hint:10,20,30,..,all (and also -same which works like -hint:all), the option to -neverlink: that language won't work. If you want to ignore that language, you have to remove it from the family file or to give hints to all languages except that one explicitly.


For Wiktionary articles there is the special "-wiktionary" option. It works like "-hint:all", but has some extras because on Wiktionary some languages use capitalisation and others don't, and links to another word are never correct.

On non-capitalising wiktionaries, links to capitalising wiktionaries are only added for capitalised words. Also, any link found to a word that differs more than just in capitalisation, is ignored completely.

Automatic translation[edit]

For years (both AD and BC) and days of the year, the bot can automatically translate it in a large number of languages. If you do not want this automatic translation (for example because it takes long to go over such a large number of languages), it can be switched off with the "-noauto" option.

With the option "-years:" followed by a number (positive or negative), the bot goes through the years from the given year to 2050. If "-years" without any addition is given, the beginning year is taken to be the year 1.

With the option "-days" the bot goes through the days of the year; however, this bot only works correctly on nl:.

Avoiding unwanted links[edit]

If you want to run the bot, but know that for a given page, it will get to links that it should not get, you can use the -noredirect or -neverlink or -select or -ignore options.

-noredirect means that if a redirect page is found, the redirect is not followed, as is the normal behaviour, but the page is skipped.

-neverlink:xx with xx: a language code means that any links to the language xx: are ignored.

-select lets you select or deselect every single links that is being found individually, before any page is changed.

-ignore:zxx:pagetitle excludes the page named "pagetitle" in language "zxx" and its interwiki links from inclusion, even if there are interwiki links pointing to it.

Working with the logfile[edit]

In older versions of Pywikibot, each run of the program would write not only to the screen, but also to a file called logs/interwiki.log. You may have seen that once a subject is completed, a list of other Wikipedias interwiki links was printed preceded by 'WARNING:'. To use these lines, the interwiki.log file was more convenient than the screen.

Changing interwiki links to mr: wiki

First an explanation why this was important. Assume you have a page [[My Subject]] that links to [[fr:Mon Sujet]] and [[nl:Mijn Onderwerp]]. Assume also that neither the nl: nor the fr: page list your en: page: they only know each other. A run of on either fr: or nl: will not find your en: page. This can be referred to as the backlink problem: there can be an unknown language that link to the others, but as long as none of the others link back, there is no way of discovering the existance. Do we really need to add these backlinks manually? No, that is where the warnings come in. In the interwiki.log:

WARNING: fr:[[Mon Sujet]] does not link to [[en:My Subject]]
WARNING: nl:[[Mijn Onderwerp]] does not link to [[en:My Subject]]

If the person running either on fr: or on nl: would have this information, that would be sufficient to get the network of links completed.

For this reason there was another option for the program:

$ python interwiki -warnfile:english_treelang.log

In this mode the program would have read the warnfile and started to process all of the pages that are mentioned for its home language using the "does not link to" lines as hints. Some of those are uncontroversial and can still be made automatically with the -autonomous option to reduce manual work.

This process can still take a long time. If you trust the operator that sent you the log, and the log is recent, you could have also done:

$ python english_treelang.log

This will not verify any of the suggestions in the warnfile, but blindly implement them at full speed, saving the Wikipedia server a lot of efforts.

Instead of sending the whole interwiki.log file to everyone, there was a special program to split it up:

$ python

This would read your interwiki.log and create files called warning_XX.log (one for each language) that are more convenient to use. If you zipped these files up and made them available somewhere on the internet, you could have announced this at Interwiki bot/Warnfiles.

Overview of the options[edit]

Here is a list of the options, with an explanation of those that have not yet been discussed.

  • -array: (usage: "-array:nn" with nn a number) When working on several pages, make sure to have at least this number of pages the bot is working on, if possible. The default value is 60; when using -untranslatedonly or a similar option, you might want to set it lower.
  • -always: Always save the page, even if only one byte has changed (default: save the page only if at least one link has actually changed)
  • -askhints: Ask hints (see above)
  • -async: Puts the page on a queue to be saved to wiki asynchronously. This enables loading pages during saving throtteling and gives a better performance.
  • -autonomous Work in autonomous mode (see above)
  • -cleanup: When an interwiki link is to be removed, just do it, don't ask for permission. This works like -force except keeping disambiguation mismatch and namespace mismatch unchanged.
  • -confirm Always ask permission before changing a page.
  • -select Ask for each link whether it should be include before changing any page.
  • -days: Work on the days
  • -file: (usage: "-file:filename") Specifies a file containing a list of pages to process. (Page names are specified as [[project:lang:pagename]], [[lang:pagename]], or [[pagename]].
  • -force: When an interwiki link is to be removed, just do it, don't ask for permission
  • -hint: Give a hint (see above)
  • -name: Old option; equivalent to "-hint:all", but capitalizes the last word when trying on eo:. Might get deprecated.
  • -namespace: Number or name of namespace to process. Can be used multiple times. Do not use with the -start parameter (use something like -start:Category:! instead)
  • -neverlink: Do not link to a specific language (see above)
  • -noauto: Do not use automatic translation (see above)
  • -nobacklink: Do not give a list of missing links on pages linked to
  • -nobell: Give no audio sign when asking for input.
  • -noredirect: If the bot finds a page linked to is a redirect, it is skipped (normal behaviour: It follows the redirect)
  • -noshownew: Do not show new links found
  • -number: (usage"-number:nn" with nn a number) In combination with -start, checks only the first nn pages rather than the whole wiki.
  • -same: Old option; equivalent to "-hint:all"; might get deprecated
  • -showpage: When using -askhints or some such option, always show the page text, even if not prompted.
  • -skipfile: (usage "-skipfile:filename") On a run using -start, do not do the pages in the file start
  • -untranslated: Ask hints for untranslated pages (see above)
  • -untranslatedonly: Ask hints for untranslated pages (see above)
  • -usercontribs: Work on pages edited by spcified user (usage: "-usercontribs:EditorName")
  • -warnfile: Use the logfile for pages and hints (see above)
  • -wiktionary: Special wiktionary options (see above)
  • -years: Work on the years

Global arguments available

These options will override the configuration in settings.

Global options
Parameter Description Config variable
-dir:PATH Read the bot's configuration data from directory given by PATH, instead of from the default directory.  
-config:file The user config filename. Default is
-lang:xx Set the language of the wiki you want to work on, overriding the configuration in xx should be the language code. mylang
-family:xyz Set the family of the wiki you want to work on, e.g. wikipedia, wiktionary, wikitravel, ... This will override the configuration in family
-user:xyz Log in as user 'xyz' instead of the default username. usernames
-daemonize:xyz Immediately return control to the terminal and redirect stdout and stderr to file xyz. (only use for bots that require no input from stdin).  
-help Show the help text.  
-log Enable the log file, using the default filename 'script_name-bot.log' Logs will be stored in the logs subdirectory. log
-log:xyz Enable the log file, using 'xyz' as the filename. logfilename
-nolog Disable the log file (if it is enabled by default).  
-maxlag Sets a new maxlag parameter to a number of seconds. Defer bot edits during periods of database server lag. Default is set by maxlag
Set the minimum time (in seconds) the bot will wait between saving pages. put_throttle
Enable the log file and include extensive debugging data for component "item" (for all components if the second form is used). debug_log
Have the bot provide additional console output that may be useful in debugging. verbose_output
Toggles the cosmetic_changes setting made in or to its inverse and overrules it. All other settings and restrictions are untouched. cosmetic_changes
-simulate Disables writing to the server. Useful for testing and debugging of new code (if given, doesn't do any real changes, but only shows what would have been changed). simulate
-<config var>:n You may use all given numeric config variables as option and modify it with command line.  

See also[edit]