Feature: Listing Bots
The poll for the Watching Posts feature triggered some interesting discussion. But one thing that happened again was - and this is related to the forked discussions on fedi - is that people discussed stuff already addressed in other discussion branches. Hence I had to toot the same link to SocialHub topic 3 times.
I wanted to generate a diagram of the discussion thread. There’s a bot for that (created by @ColinTheMathmo), but I couldn’t remember its name and how to invoke. So I had to do some searches in my Mastodon history to figure that out. The bot invocation happened to be done via tooting “Calling @Chartodon@mathtodon.xyz”.
That got me to thinking this would be a nice feature:
Easy way to list available Bots
Now, there could just be another bot that handles this and I’d invoke something like “@Bots please”. But that would be very sub-optimal. It would pollute a discussion with my toot (even though on a sub-branch with only me mentioned), and someone would need to maintain the aggregator Bot. Plus there might be malicious bots in that list, or ones I’d like to blocklist for some reason.
Instead well-behaved bots might be
Service actors that announce themselves on the fedi, and can be followed by (the
Service actor of) instances, or by individual fedizens. Both the instance and fedizen now have a way to configure an allowlist of bots.
Only thing missing now is an easy way to consult the list. This might be part of the Mastodon UI now, that shows me a list of bot names + description + optional invocation instructions.
Update: I created a Poll to ask fedizens how they feel about this feature: Humane Tech Now: "#Fediverse would you like to have an easier way t…" - Mastodon