Subtitle: Don't let your brother-in-law's niece be the only person who keeps your community running.
Bots and tools are a vital resource for many on-wiki content creation and curation activities. A typical bot/tool project begins life as a way for a motivated Wikimedia community member to make some on-wiki task easier (or possible). These individuals are "scratching their own itch" in the best tradition of open source development. Many of these projects have a short lifecycle due to factors such as loss of interest by the maintainer, insurmountable technical hurdles, or discovery of a better means to manage the original problem. Others however become popular and tightly integrated in the workflows of one or more on-wiki communities.
Any project (bot, web tool, gadget, ...) that is valuable for an on-wiki workflow (editing, patrolling, archiving, ...) really must have certain things to protect the community. Developers put in a lot of effort to build new things and keep them running. No one should feel that they must be available 24/7/365 to support their applications. On the other hand, the sun never sets on the Wikimedia movement and useful and popular projects will experience issues at all times of the day and night. By adopting a few simple practices, a tool maintainer can make it easier for others to help them out and keep their tool running.
Popular tools and bots become de facto production software needed to keep the wikis healthy and happy. Their roots as weekend projects from motivated volunteers brought them their success, but ultimately pose a risk to their end users. Life happens and a single developer project is in perpetual danger of abandonment. Adopting basic FLOSS project practices and following some general rules of professional software and systems management can help protect the software and the wikis.
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