A guide to bot ownership
Welcome, fellow deviants, to A guide to bot ownership. I'm DivinityArcane (Formerly known as Kyogo), and I'll be your guide for today. First things first, let's take a look at a couple of the things that bots can do.
First off, take a look at things like FAQ #510: What is a bot, and how can I get one? and decide if a bot is even the right choice for you.
A bot can do many things, but a popular misconception is that they're just there. For a bot to be in your chatroom, it has to be running on yours [or someone else's] computer. If you close it on the computer, it leaves the room. For some people, this may be inconvenient (I know, it's hard to minimize a program sometimes. It bugs me too!) but that's just how it goes. If you want a bot, but don't want it to be running on your computer all the time [and therefor have to leave your computer running so that the bot will stay online], you can either get a friend to run it for you, or purchase bot hosting. DeathShadow--666 sells Contra bot hosting for $1.99 a month, or $20.00 per year. Which, actually, is a really good deal. You won't find commercial hosting for cheaper. But, moving along. If, after this, you think a bot is still for you, then continue along with me.
Something quite a few people ask is what, just what, does a bot do? Well, that's a pretty easy to ask question, but the answer is a bit harder to obtain. Why? Well, bots can do a lot of things. Usually, they can do virtually anything you make them do. Some of the things most all bots do out of the box are:
- Welcome users to a channel
- Send/keep notes for users
- Provide games or amusing commands for users of your channel
- Provide useful utilities like spell checkers, calculators, and etcetera right at your finger tips, around the click.
- And much more!
Obviously, you may be thinking to yourself "Wow, that is pretty convenient! They sound awesome!" And, to be honest, you're right. It is convenient, and they can be pretty awesome! Just remember, they are what you make them! If you don't learn to use them, they can't do much at all. You have to take a few minutes and set aside the time to work with your bot and read the documentation provided to you by the developer and/or users of the bot. #Botdom is a great place for learning about bots, and even how to use them. We, at #Botdom, have used practically all the bots you can find for dAmn [because we made them.] So, it's worth a shot just dropping by and asking us whatever is on your mind. Just keep in mind that sometimes we're busy, and it may take a minute for us to see your question and write out a response to it!
So, you've read all this, and you still think a bot is right for you? Well, then. Welcome aboard, my friend! Let's get started on reviewing some basic information on bots and some common terms used when dealing with them.
Bots - A handy reference
First off, it's helpful if you understand that to run a bot, it needs a deviantART account of its own. This means that, yes, you're going to have to create a new deviantART account for only the bot to use. Running a bot on your account is NOT recommended. Not only does this create confusion, but it takes away some of the things that a bot can do. And, for most modern bots, they will not respond to you if they're using the same account! This means you, as the owner, won't be able to use the bot! That's not very fun, is it? So, take the minute or two aside and go make a new deviantART account. Remember, you have to log out of yours first! Once you've created a new account, you can continue on with the guide.!
Ok! I'm going to assume that you're done with the account creation process now. Because, well, if you're not, I'll find you and stare at you.
But, moving along, let's look at some commonly used terms you'll come across when you own a bot.
Command Trigger [or simply; trigger]
A command trigger, or, trigger, is something that's used to tell your bot that you're trying to get it to respond to you. In order for you to use a command on your bot, you will need to prefix the command name with the command trigger. A command trigger is typically one or more symbols, but it can also be a word, name, or even a phrase. While you can use whatever you want, we generally suggest that people use a few symbols for their trigger, as it's more idiomatic, and a lot easier for you, the bot owner, in the future. So, moving on. Let's see an example.
Let's be hypothetical here, and assume that your trigger is ^^, and that you're in the same room as your bot. Say you want to use the about command to see some information on your bot. Knowing that you should prefix the command with the trigger, you say into the room: ^^about
Your bot then sees that you're trying to interact with it, because the message starts with its trigger. The bot then looks at the first word, immediately following the trigger. This word is called the command name. It sees that the command you wish to invoke is the about command, which it has, and understands, so it responds with the output of that command. Now, that's not so difficult, is it? Your bot is just waiting for you to interact with it, so, don't be shy! Mess around! See what it can do! Make it yours! With most all released bots, you can get a list of all the commands available to you using the commands command. This will invoke a list of commands that you can use [or anyone who uses the command, for that matter] and display it to the chat. This is greatly useful for remembering what the bot can do, or remembering what a certain command was called.
An authtoken is a special, secret hash used by deviantART to authenticate you either on the site, or on the chats (dAmn). These days, the authtokens for the site and the chats are separate, and don't match. But, either way, do not, under any circumstances give anyone your authtoken. Using it, they can log in as you and do lots of things to your account that you don't want! So, be careful! Even if it's your bot's authtoken, keep it safe and never give it out to anyone, including deviantART staff. They would never ask you for your password or authtoken, so don't ever give it to them! If they really needed to work on your account, they wouldn't need your password or authtoken to do so. Guard it with your life!
If you ever get a message from your bot like Couldn't get authtoken or Authtoken is incorrect or the likes, this probably means that your username or password for the bot's account is incorrect. While, sometimes you swear that they're correct, it's very easy to make a mistake while entering this information into the bot. Remember, your passwords are case sensitive! So, a is different from A, and so forth. Double check everything!
If you're not already familiar with the term, autojoin refers to the channels that you or your bot join automatically when you enter the chatrooms. If one of us asks what your bot's autojoin is, or what channels it autojoins, just let us know what channels is joins on start-up. It's important to enter at least one channel into the configuration of your bot so it goes somewhere. If you do not, you'll have to reconfigure the bot. Which, for some bots, can be a total pain! It's also encouraged to have your bot autojoin #Botdom, even if you don't go there. That way, if you ever need help, we'll be able to help you faster and more efficiently.
Bot owner, or Botmaster
Not much to say about this! It's YOU. Since it's your bot, that makes you its owner and master. Remember this at all times! You have absolute control of the bot, and have access to commands that others do not. So, don't abuse it. And don't make someone else the owner of your bot!
A bot's type
When we ask what type of bot you're running, we're talking about the name of the bot. No, not the username, but the name of the specific type of bot. i.e. Contra, Komodo, Cheddar, Dante, etc are all bot types. So, when we ask what bot you're running, let us know!
A bot's version
When we ask what version your bot is running, we mean the number that comes after the name. For example, there are subtle difference between Contra 5.4.2 and Contra 5.6.0! Make sure you keep this information handy! It's a deciding factor in what could be causing any problems you may have!
A bot's language
When we ask about a bot's language, we're referring to the programming or scripting language that it was written in. While this may seem like trivial information to you, it makes a huge difference in who can and cannot help you with certain issues. For example, Contra and Dante are written in PHP, Komodo and Panavia are written in Python, Cheddar and lulzBot are written in C#, and so forth. Keep this information handy in the event that we do ask you. Though, most of the time we will ask the bot's type instead, and we usually know what bot is written in what language!
Bots - Which should I pick!?
Actually, this is a very common question that we get almost daily in #Botdom. There's no simple answer to it, though. The best way to find out which type of bot is for you is to just read up on each of them. Maybe one type comes with a command you really want, or maybe you just think the name is cool. These can all be deciding factors in which bot you, personally, should choose. We're not going to force anything on you, and we don't really have any specific answer for which is "best". If a bot is good enough to be considered released in the title of the #Botdom chat room, chances are it has enough features for you to find it quite useful! It also means that most all of those released bots are about the same feature wise, and it's only going to be small things that decide which one you like best.
Of course, you can always drop by #Botdom to check out the bots in the title or even ask us questions about certain bots, and we'd be happy to help you out whenever we can.
But, where do I go from here? What if I want something else?
Well, the most you can do in this situation is just drop by #Botdom and see if what you want has already been done. And, if so, we'll usually toss you a link to where you can obtain it [most always on our wiki at Botdom.com].
If you have any further questions, just drop by! If you really need to, you can always send me a note or even send me a tweet on Twitter! They go to my phone, so it's usually the fastest way to get my attention, and I'm usually fairly quick with responding on there - be it tweet or message. So, let me know! I'd love to get some tweets from you guys!
As always, have fun, and bot it up!