Monday, June 20, 2016

twooshbot: How To Get Banned

Over the past few weeks, there have been several users that I have had to ban from using @twooshbot.  I created an internal list of users that the bot simply won't respond to.  If you want to know what constitutes acceptable behavior, this page might be useful.

Some of the bannings were the obvious: bots posting automated spam.

Since using @twooshbot grants you one additional follower, plus the occasional quote-retweet and mention, apparently some bot operators thought it was worth the effort to go through the initialization process.

I created @twooshbot for real people, with their real (usually personal) Twitter account, who type real tweets, and enjoy putting in the extra effort to make what they have to say fit, or expand it slightly to fill the available space.

Here's what it isn't for:
  • Posting porn (someone actually did this. They are blocked.)
  • Posting repetitive and/or excessive tweets
  • Excessive trolling of other Twitter users
  • Astroturfing - pretending to be a real person advocating a social or political position
  • Other bots.  I don't want to get into an auto-response loop. Or create Skynet.
  • Anything else I don't like (Yeah, I'm the judge, jury, and executioner. Deal with it, or appeal nicely to the magistrate--also me--for a pardon.)

Sometimes there's a fine line between a spam account and a politically-active user.  Usually the difference is the quantity and the quality of the posts.  If the posts are all unique, original, and occasional, I figure you're a real person, or close enough that I don't care.

There are a lot of opinions on Twitter.  Many of them I disagree with, but I'm not going to ban someone for disagreeing with me.

Trolling is a sensitive issue, since when you reply to or quote another user, there's a chance that @twooshbot will mention them in the response.  These responses are meant to be playful, and not to be perceived as ganging up on the other user.