Askbot management commands

There are a number of command line utilities help the forum administrator perform a range of tasks such as add or revoke administration privileges, back up and restore the forum data, fix database errors if such occur, etc.

To run these commands there is a general pattern:

cd project_directory
python some_command [possible arguments and parameters]

I.e. the commands are generally run from the project directory (the same one that contains your file) and they may use additional parameters and options.

Data and User administration commands

The bulk of the management commands fall into this group and will probably be the most frequently used.

command purpose
add_admin <user_id> Turn user into an administrator <user_id> is a numeric user id of the account
`askbot_export_user_data –user-id <id> –file <path> Exports user data in json format
apply_hinted_tags –tag-names <file> Apply tags to all questions in batch given the list of tags provided with a file. The file must contain tags - one per line. If many tags match - only the most frequent will be selected.
create_tag_synonyms –from <from_name> –to <to_name> –user-id <user_id> Creates tag synonym record from one name to another, creates the tag named as given with the value of –to if not existing, and the tag creator will be user with id equal to the value of –user-id parameter.
remove_admin <user_id> Remove admin status from a user account - the opposite of the add_admin command
askbot_add_user –user-name –email [–password] Create a user account. If password is not given, an unusable password will be set. The command does not create associations with any of the external login providers.
askbot_add_users_to_default_groups Adds all users to groups “everyone” and personal
askbot_clear_moderation_queue Clear all items from the moderation queue
askbot_award_badges Awards badges to users (only some badges are supported)
askbot_recount_badges Fixes badge award counts, use when disabling/enabling badges
merge_users <from_id> <to_id> Merges user accounts and all related data from one user to another, the “from user” account is deleted.
get_tag_stats [-u|-t] [-e] Print tag subscription statistics, per tag (option -t) or per user (option -u), if option -e is given, empty records will be shown too (longer versions of the options are: –per-tag-subscription-counts for -t, –per-user-tag-subscription-counts for -u, and –print-empty for -e).
rename_tags –from <from_tags> –to <to_tags> –user-id <user_id> Rename, merge or split tags. User ID is the id of the user who will be assigned as the performer of the retag action. If more than is in the –from or the –to parameters then that parameter quoted, e.g. `–to “tag1 tag2”. If user id is not given, the administrator with the smallest id number will be automatically assigned.
rename_tags_id –from <from_tag_ids> –to <to_tag_ids> –user_id <user_id> This command is the same as rename_tags, but takes the tag id’s as arguments.
delete_unused_tags Permanently deletes tags that do not appear in any questions , including the questions that are themselves marked as deleted.
update_avatar_data Set values of avatar types for all users; this command may take up to 2s per user, because it makes up to one http request per user to This data is used to display preferentially real faces on the main page.
askbot_rebuild_avatars Rebuilds avatar urls and creates avatar thumbnails
build_thread_summary_cache Rebuilds cache for the question summary snippet.
build_livesettings_cache Rebuilds cache for the live settings.
delete_contextless_... delete_contextless_badge_award_activities Deletes Activity objects of type badge award where the related context object is lost.
delete_contextless_activities Same as above, but works in a broader sense - when the related context object does not exist, but the generic foreign key to that object is still present.

Data import commands

These commands import or add data to the Askbot forum.

command purpose
load_stackexchange <> Load SackExchange dump into Askbot. It is best to run this command on empty database. Also - before running, make sure that askbot.importers.stackexchange is in the list of installed apps within your file (it might also be necessary to run syncdb command to initiate the SE importer tables).
Add xml Askbot data dumped with the Django command dumpdata
Add xml OSQA data dumped with the Django command export_osqa
`askbot_import_jive <file.xml> Import xml Jive data

Data repair commands

Under certain circumstances (especially when using MySQL database with MyISAM storage engine or when venturing to adapt the software to your needs) some records in the database tables may become internally inconsistent. The commands from this section will help fix those issues.


Data inconsistency in the Askbot project is considered as a critical error and as a matter of the project policy is addressed on the day of reporting. If you discover such issue - please report it at the forum or by email at

command purpose
add_missing_subscriptions adds default values of email subscription settings to users that lack them
fix_answer_counts recalculates answer counts for all questions
fix_inbox_counts recalculates response counts in the user inboxes
fix_revisionless_posts adds a revision record to posts that lack them
fix_question_tags takes tag names from the record on the question table and stores them in the tag table. This defect may show when the server process is interrupted after the question was saved, but tags were not updated, and the symptom is that the question cannot be found via the tag search.

The above commands are safe to run at any time, also they do not require additional parameters. In the future all these will be replaced with just one simple command.

Developer commands

Besides the commands designed to help run the forum, there are several aiming to help the developers of the Askbot project:

command purpose
make_docs Rebuild HTML documentation for the project
jinja2_makemessages Extract translatable strings into the .po files. Works exactly the same way as the django makemessages command but extracts strings from Jinja2 templates that are used by the Askbot project. Note: the jinja2_makemessages must be run from the askbot app directory, unlike all the remaining commands that are expected to be run from the site root directory.
askbot_add_test_content Creates content with dummy data for testing