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User talk:Fæ/talk page trimmer

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Illustration of page readability showing before and after the trimmer has reduced boilerplate text of page notices. The screen space needed to show 3 DR notifications now displays 9.


Pictogram voting info.svg Add your user talk page or user page to Category:Talk page trimmer for your talk page to be included in this maintenance task.

Only top level user talk pages will be processed, not subpages such as old archive pages. Pages listed in #Implementation are separately processed from the self-service category so do not need to categorized, nor would removing the category be an opt-out.


In 2014 I started to automatically "shrink" boiler plate notifications on my user talk page. Standard notices about copyvios and deletions tend to be very large and aggressive, to the point of being hostile and assuming that the recipient is ignorant of policies. As a prolific mass uploader of public domain images, I get a lot of deletion requests and rather than having a user page littered with shouty notices, I decided to reduce these to basic facts.

The issue of very long user talk pages has been raised as a problem when the template transclusion maximum is exceeded, resulting in notices becoming unreadable and uninformative. In conjunction with no plan of how indefinitely blocked or globally locked accounts should be handled, this housekeeping task has been a potential pragmatic solution. Ref 2017 proposal.


Simple Pywikibot jobs like this can be scheduled to run in the background on any Python supporting kit with WiFi.
Simple Pywikibot jobs like this can be scheduled to run in the background on any Python supporting kit with WiFi.

The workflow is kept simplistic:

  1. Get the html for the user page
  2. Use regular expressions like "\n(\{\{Autotranslate\|1=\|2=([^\|]*?)\|3=plural\|base=Idw\}\})" to find autotranslated standard notices, then map these to just a replacement link and a hidden text explanation that this happened.
  3. Save back the amended talk page

Currently reduced notices include deletion requests, image license, copyvio, source, permission, duplicate, personal images, speedywhat and please link images (categorization). All are placed using tools with the autotranslate template.

The maintenance edit comment links to this help page. Archive pages or other sub pages are not touched. A snapshot of the code is available at GitHub.


As non-controversial and non-critical housekeeping, this task is unmonitored. Partly as an experiment, this light processing job runs in different locations including a Pi Zero and the WMF managed Toolforge which is the only host which should be running 24/7.

Based on specific requests, such as from the active account holder or based on concerns for unattended user pages with a lot of notices, the (2019) list of user talk pages this applies to is:

* — These pages are processed at a low frequency, and may be checked less than once a day. The WMF banned user category is checked to create a list of pages, so any new banned account pages will be added automatically.

For accounts which for whatever reason cannot self opt-in using the talk page trimmer category, email faewik@gmail.com with reasonable requests to amend this list or leave a note at .

Discussions and significant changes