2018-09-10 Trunk Explosion

Trunk A while ago, I wrote a little web app called Trunk. It was supposed to help beginners get started. Beginners see a bunch of people in lists and if they’re interested in the topic, they can follow all of these people. And if it failed, or if you wanted to pick and choose, no problem: you could always just click through and pick and choose yourself.

I’ve always asked for people to volunteer for being on the lists because I felt that adding people to lists without them knowing or agreeing to it is rude. It’s a surprise to be suddenly exposed like that! So people had to volunteer: message me and ask to be added to this list or that list. This was also to serve as some sort of minimum quality control: if your timeline is full of spam, I’d be able to deny that request.

Soon, a bunch of friendly people volunteered to help out. This is great. The task doesn’t require any programming, it’s all about getting messages, adding people to lists, and talking with the other admins about this list or that list. Recently one or two accounts with more reach mentioned Trunk and we were flooded with new requests.

If you’re interested in helping out, please contact me and volunteer for the admin team!

I just posted the following call for help:

We’re looking to add volunteers to help out with #Trunk administration. Mostly that means getting messages by people requesting to be added to a bunch of lists. There’s a simple admin interface where you then get to do that. There’s also a decent amount of discussion trying to figure out whether we need to add lists, what to call them, how to describe them, that sort of thing. It sometimes feel like a strange mix of philosophy and the Muppet show.

Some of the things we talk about:

That’s not to say that having lists of boosters and bots could not be useful, too. But it’s not what we want to do. The same is true for foreign languages.

I think that non-English speakers should start separate Trunk instances. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll help you get it installed and everything. Right now I’m thinking that it doesn’t really make sense to add people that mostly toot in a foreign language. I just wonder about the numbers. It’s easy to say now that we don’t mind a French account tooting about Gamedev even if we don’t speak French, for example. But what will we do when 70% of the people in the Gamedev list are Japanese? So I suspect we’d need to have a “Gamedev 日本語” and “Gamedev Français” and so on. Maybe we’d need to translate “Gamedev” as well: “Spieleentwicklung auf Deutsch”. Soon we’re talking about lists we don’t understand to people we don’t understand... This will not scale.

I’ll try to make Trunk as easy to translate into other languages as I can. Please volunteer if you’re interested in this! 😅



The newer edition of Trunk now comes with a queue and a bot.

I installed the bot as @trunk and every ten minutes it connects to see if anybody mentioned it using the formula “Please add me to a comma separated list of names.” If so, it adds the request to a queue stored in the Trunk app. There, admins have an easy way to accept the request.

What this lacks is feedback! I’ll have to think of something. Right now, the bot will accept direct messages which the admins might not even see. Ideally, the admin’s action would then prompt the bot to reply, I guess.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-09-11 13:06 UTC

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