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The rewrite rule

RewriteRule ^/robots.txt$ /w/robots.php [L]

sends all requests for robots.txt through robots.php. This script checks whether a page Mediawiki:robots.txt exists on the wiki. If it exists, the content of that page will be sent first. The file /apache/common/robots.txt will be sent afterwards.

To edit the static file, do the following:

  • Edit /home/wikipedia/common/robots.txt
  • Run sync-common-file robots.txt

The source of robots.php is available here: <https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/gitweb?p=operations/mediawiki-config.git;a=blob;f=live-1.5/robots.php;hb=HEAD>.