Sopel bot in IRC

re: Need a bot in Gitter or IRC to help with newcomer support

Many of you may have noticed the Sopel IRC bot responding to various messages in IRC #plone

Here’s what I’m trying to accomplish with the bot: Newcomers in both IRC and Gitter ask for help, but often no one responds to them. Other people then complain that based on that lack of response that "Plone is dead" TM.

I am on IRC and Gitter as much as I can and try to respond personally if no one else does. The bot helps that. The bot I found (Sopel) is really the first one that looked good that I tried. It can be customized to do more and to do less. It can probably be made to do a lot less, like stop previewing URLs if people feel that is not useful or is confusing (it shows the title, if any, of a URL that someone included in their message).

Should it stop previewing URLs? What else should it not do?

Unless someone or something else tries to respond consistently (and relatively quickly) to help newcomers, especially students interested in GSoC, and point them to where to get real help (ie. the forum) the bot is still better than nothing.

More on Sopel: https://sopel.chat/

My very minor customization experimentation to Sopel so far: https://github.com/tkimnguyen/sopel-irc-bot

Problems I've noticed so far:

  • It doesn't always notice the word 'help', especially in messages from Gitter that are synchronized by the sameroom.io bridge

Things I'd like it to do:

  • Catch more variants on "please help"
  • Remember who is a regular to avoid responding needlessly to them
  • Remember whom it had already responded to in the last few days (also to avoid bothering them)
  • Automatically kick the spammers who have recently come to IRC #plone

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