Bitlbee Mastodon Plugin

This age collects all pages tagged Bitlbee and Mastodon. Most of them are probably related to the Mastodon plugin for Bitlbee.

2019-08-29 How to Mastodon again

I wrote 2017-11-16 How to Mastodon. These days I’m not so sure it’s still good. Instead, I see Joyeuse Noëlle’s An Increasingly Less-Brief Guide to Mastodon getting recommended a lot.

First, before doing anything, set a picture on your profile and write at least one, preferably four posts that tell us something about yourself, about what to expect. The reason being that if you follow somebody, they are notified and might look at your profile in turn – and maybe they will follow you back. But I’m not following a faceless and silent avatar. It’s too creepy.

Let me think of the things that seem non-obvious to me.

  • search is often limited to hashtags in public posts on your server only!
  • thus, use hashtags every now and then so other people can find your posts
  • you can also search for accounts from other servers: search for kensanata to find my various accounts and click on the “person plus” icon in order to follow me
  • sometimes clicking on an account from another server shows you that they have written posts but don’t show any of the posts: that’s because the posts haven’t been downloaded to your server, yet – if you follow them, their posts will get downloaded, eventually
  • clicking on the avatar of a profile takes you to their profile on their server: now you can see their public posts but since you are on their server, you need to log in again before interacting (i.e. before favoring or boosting posts, or before following accounts)
  • Home is for the posts of people you follow
  • Notifications is for posts that mention you or people favoring (liking) or boosting (sharing) your posts
  • Local is for posts from people on the same server as you
  • Federated is for posts on the same server as you, even if written by people not on your server: mostly posts from people somebody on your server is already following
  • clicking on a post shows you all it’s ancestors (no branches) and all its descendants (including all the branches); check out this image: what I’m trying to say is that you will see all the posts in blue

Image 1 for 2017-01-05 Mermaid

  • if you want to see all the replies, scroll to the top and click the original post: you are once again shown all it’s ancestors (none, you’re at the top) and all its descendants (all the replies)

Once you created an account, you can log into that account using different applications. These can be apps on your phone, or they can be other websites. Here are two:

These might offer a more pleasing experience, depending on your needs. I like Mastodon as it is.

I was a TweetDeck user. If you like the multi-column layout, check “Enable advanced web interface” in your settings. It used to be default.

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This is what I have found by myself.

A lot of these points make “living” on a smaller server a bit lonely, since you have less people to “directly” follow, you see less people, you can see less content based on hashtag search.

If that is what you are looking for, then it is an advantage, of course 😀

Peter Kotrčka 2019-08-30 04:29 UTC


Yeah, the reason I picked Octodon Social at first was because it was big and I didn’t want an instance focused on white men programming.

But Tabletop Social is small and make some think the RPG scene is small. But who knows.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-30 09:48 UTC

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2019-08-28 Social Media

Where to find me online:

  • @kensanata is my general Mastodon account 🐝
  • @kensanata is my RPG Mastodon account 🧞‍♂️
  • @kensanata is my long form RPG Diaspora account
  • you are reading this on my blog, of course 🥳

I’m also on Discord, occasionally.

If you have a RPG blog, please send me an email and let me add it to one of the RPG Planets I run. For exposure! 😅

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I just set up an account. Didn’t you have a post about how to use Mastadon? It’s a little confusing.

Michael Julius 2019-08-28 10:24 UTC


I did write 2017-11-16 How to Mastodon. These days I’m not so sure it’s still good. Instead, I see Joyeuse Noëlle’s An Increasingly Less-Brief Guide to Mastodon getting recommended a lot.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-28 10:56 UTC


Once you created an account, you can log into that account using different clients.

These might offer a more pleasing experience, depending on your needs. I like Mastodon as it is but I was also a TweetDeck user.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-28 10:58 UTC


I think these days new accounts come with the “Enable advanced web interface” setting unchecked, so you get the single column layout. Let me think of the things that seem non-obvious to me:

  • search is often limited to hashtags in public posts on your server only!
  • thus, use hashtags every now and then so other people can find your posts
  • you can also search for accounts from other server: search for kensanata to find my various accounts and click on the “person plus” icon in order to follow me
  • sometimes clicking on an account from another server shows you that they have written posts but don’t show any of them: that’s because they haven’t been downloaded to your server, yet – if you follow them, their posts will get downloaded
  • clicking on the avatar on their profile takes you to their profile on their server: now you can see their public posts but since you are on their server, you can no longer favor their posts nor follow them unless you log in again
  • Home is for the posts of people you follow
  • Notifications is for posts that mention you or people favoring (liking) or boosting (sharing) your posts
  • Local is for posts from people on the same server as you
  • Federated is for posts on the same server as you, even if written by people not on your server: mostly posts from people somebody on your server is already following
  • clicking on a post shows you all it’s ancestors (no branches) and all its descendants (including all the branches)

Image 1 for 2017-01-05 Mermaid

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-28 11:43 UTC


I’m going to copy this to a new page. This advice isn’t is bad!

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-29 06:10 UTC

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2019-03-17 Mastodon Bots

I have written a small number of bots for Mastodon in Python but only today did I learn that somebody has written an entire framework for Python based bot writing. „Ananas allows you to write simple (or complicated!) mastodon bots without having to rewrite config file loading, interval-based posting, scheduled posting, auto-replying, and so on.“ #Mastodon #Bot

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2019-03-10 Das Ende der föderierten Dienste steht nicht an

Schon seit einer Weile geistert der Artikel von Alyssa Rosenzweig (@alyssa) in meinem Umfeld herum. In The Federation Fallacy argumentiert sie, dass föderierten Dienste ein Traum sind und bleiben. Früher oder später werden daraus zentralisierte Dienste. Im Kern sind die Dienste zwar immer noch föderiert, aber praktisch sind sie zentralisiert. E-Mail ist fast immer Google; Chat (XMPP) ist fast immer Facebook, wegen WhatsApp und dem Facebook Messenger; und selbst das Web besteht praktisch nur aus den wirklich grossen Webseiten. Und vor allem: selbst neue Entwicklungen wie Mastodon, welche sie die Föderation auf die Fahne geschrieben haben, stehen nicht besser da, denn mehr als 50% aller Benutzer befinden sich auf nur drei Instanzen.

Erste Reaktionen waren mir hierzu schon aufgefallen.

Chris (@brainblasted) schrieb hierzu:

As a black person who tries to push privacy, I push federation not for self-hosting, but for community-based hosting. It’s a given that not everyone has the time or resources to put into hosting their own services. Federation empowers users to be able to trust their administrators or be them. This is invaluable for marginalized groups.

As a black person, it’s a fact there are people who will attack me because of my blackness or because I speak to the issues black people face. On some centralized platforms, there wouldn’t be recourse. I would have to hit report, wait for something to get through the moderation queue, and hope the user is banned. In a lot of cases, harassers are left on the platform.

With people like @Are0h hosting communities for black people, all you have to do is DM your admin or a mod and they can prevent that user from harassing anyone else on the server.

Federation is not a “fuck you, got mine” system. It’s a system we can use in order to protect each other.

Hier haben wir also einen klaren Vorteil für Minderheiten. Die Föderation von Mastodon erlaubt es Minderheiten, sich Administratoren zu wählen, welche ihre Interessen vertreten. Dass Minderheiten in der Minderheit liegen, ist Natur der Sache. Deswegen interessiert aus seiner Perspektive natürlich nicht, wie erfolgreich und wie gross die Mehrheit ist.

Sajith (@sajith) schreibt aus einer ähnlichen Perspektive:

“what’s the real conclusion? We should just give up trying? … I run an instance for friends that speak my native language. … I am having fun hanging out here, and so do you all, I would I would like to believe. By that measure Mastodon is a success.”

Neu ist nun aber folgende Frage: Wie messen wir den Erfolg? Wenn es ihm Spass macht, dann ist es doch ein Erfolg? Und sowieso: Sollen wir alle Versuche, den Kapitalismus zu überwinden, aufgeben, nur weil der Kapitalismus bis jetzt alles und jeden vereinnahmt hat? Natürlich nicht.

So ähnlich geht es mir auch.

Ich habe das Server E-Mail Hosting aufgegeben, weil ich fand, dass es mühsam war, mit all den Anti-Spam Massnahmen von Google Schritt zu halten (aber auch mit dem Anti-Spam Massnahmen ganz allgemein). Also ein Punkt für die Zentralisation. Aber ich habe auch ein Konto bei gnu.org (wird auf Google umgeleitet) und bei protonmail.com (wird nur selten verwendet). Also doch ein Punkt für die Föderation?

Einen XMPP Server hatte ich mal installiert, aber irgendwie habe ich es nicht geschafft, die Verbindung zu verschlüsseln, und viel Energie wollte ich nicht investieren, deswegen bin ich im Moment ab und zu über Pluspora <kensanata@pluspora.com> und die FSFE <as@fsfe.org> per XMPP zur erreichen. Wird zwar fast nicht verwendet, aber es existiert. Und nota bene war es nicht nötig, mit den Betreibern verwandt oder befreundet zu sein.

Den eigenen Webserver betreibe ich ja (mit mehreren Webseiten) – und eigentlich betreibe ich ja auch Webseiten für Claudia und meinen ehemaligen Arabischlehrer… Weitere Punkte für die Föderation!

Und meine Mastodon Konten habe ich auf tabletop.social (2308 Benutzer, gemäss der List der Mastodon Instanzen) und octodon.social (11831 Benutzer), also nicht auf den populärsten Instanzen. Noch mehr Punkte für die Föderation.

Grundsätzlich stimmen Alyssa Rosenzweigs Überlegungen natürlich schon, wenn ich von meiner eigenen Situation weg schaue.

Each service retains the theoretical ability to federate with tiny self-hosted servers, but the vast majority of users are de facto concentrated about a few major servers.

Stimmt. Aber was ist die Messlatte, das Ziel? Die freie Wahl? Die Zerstörung der faktischen Monopole? Das Ende vom Kapitalismus? Aber diese Fragen stellt Alyssa Rosenzweig ja auch.

Ihre Schlussfolgerungen teile ich allerdings nicht. “Federation is dead.” Naja, das Ende des Kapitalismus, falls das denn unser Ziel wäre, braucht ja viele Massnahmen. In diesem Zusammenhang sehe ich vor allem diese hier:

  • die Existenz von Alternativen (haben wir jetzt)
  • das Verbot von Monopolen (siehe dazu die Reihe zum Thema Antitrust von Planet Money [1] [2] [3], wo es darum geht, dass mit der Wahl Reagan und den Argumenten von Burke der Sinn von Antitrust weg vom Schutz der Konkurrenz hin zum Schutz der Konsumenten und tiefen Preisen geändert hat, und dass diese Sichtweise im Zeitalter der Digitalisierung, wo wir mit Privatsphärenverlust statt mit Geld zahlen, vielleicht nicht mehr angebracht ist)
  • die Erbringung der Dienstleistungen ausserhalb vom Überwachungskapitalismus (Werbung), oder der grossen Internetdienstleister (Bezahlung), sondern auf Basis von nicht-kommerziellen Vereinen oder Stiftungen, oder durch Verstaatlichungen (das mit den Spenden scheint im Moment so halbwegs zu funktionieren)

So lange wir also nicht bereit sind Google, Facebook oder Amazon zu zerschlagen, so lange Gmail, WhatsApp und Instagram vom Überwachungskapitalismus alimentiert werden können, so lange bleibt das Ziel unerreichbar. Daraus nun aber zu schliessen, dass Föderation eine Sackgasse ist… Nein, diese Schlussfolgerung teile ich nicht.

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2019-02-14 Trunk Wiki?

I’m starting to feel that maybe I could simply replace the Trunk web app with a wiki. The only drawback is that people could add others without their consent. I wonder how we would handle that… perhaps the accounts added would get mentioned in a direct message and they would only show up on the page after confirming with a reply from their account? Trunk admins could simply keep an eye on the wiki’s recent changes page or something. Anyway, just thinking aloud.

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Comments on 2019-02-14 Trunk Wiki?

So, what prompted the replacement talk? Is there a difficulty running the bot? I noticed that it does not seem to work for me, and there’s a large field for improvement, even if it did work (e.g. getting removed from the list is not documented and/or implemented).

Pete Zaitcev 2019-05-16 14:40 UTC


I just wonder whether it would be easier to onboard admins. And since more and more pages are editable by admins I started feeling like it was slowly turning into a bad wiki. No page history. No recent changes. No rollbacks.

Removal from the lists works just like additions. An admin has to do that. Same for the bot: the bot simply adds requests to a queue but an admin still has to manually check the queue and approve the request.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-05-16 23:16 UTC

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2019-02-05 Using Social Media

Here’s how I use social media in order for it to work out. My premise is that it is impossible to bring your friends and family along to a new platform. You need to find new friends. The only way to do it is to find people you share an interest with, and letting them know that you share their interest. The second step is important!

Make sure you have a profile that tells people what to expect.

  1. Pick a display name.
  2. Write a short bio using hashtags.
  3. Upload a profile picture (”Avatar”).

Hashtags are important so that similar minded people can find each other.

Write an introduction. Write a post and use the hashtag #introduction on Mastodon or #newhere on Diaspora. Say who you are and what you’re interested in, and use more hashtags.

Post this introduction and pin it to your profile, if you can. Your introduction will now be the first thing people see when they visit your profile. After a while you are of course free to pin a different post to your profile. I recommend you start with your introduction, however.

Write another handful of posts. When people visit your profile, they need to see that you are interested in the things they are interested in. Your introduction is a start, but it is not enough.

Don’t just share some stuff other people have written. If the things you shared are interesting, visitors will follow the authors of the posts you shared instead of you. You need to write your own posts!

Start interacting. You can mark something as a favourite (heart, star); you can find posts you like using searches for hashtags, or by looking through timelines, and reply to these posts; and if you really like something, you can share it (reshare, boost).

  • Marking something as a favourite does not start a conversation. People will smile and nod and read something else.
  • A reply is best in life. This is how you get a conversation started.
  • A reshare or boost is nice for artists and creators, but know that people will follow you if they can get a sense of the real you, and that requires posting your own toots.
  • Follow people.

How do you find more interesting people to follow? Look to see who your favourite folks are following. You can find them via the profiles of the people you are following.

Keep following people: You need to keep finding more people to follow in an interest based network since people will be dropping out all the time. Your relatives and friends from school don’t disappear as quickly on Facebook, nor do journalists and news outlets disappear on Twitter, but in the more interesting and interest-based communities, that’s simply how it is. You need to replenish the pool and keep finding and following more people. They’re everywhere.

For more information, check out How to Mastodon.

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2019-01-23 Slack via Bitlbee on Windows

Using Windows and Cygwin. I already had a working Bitlbee installation.

I used the Cygwin installer to install libpurple and libpurple-dev.

I rebuilt bitlbee with libpurple support:

./configure --purple=1 --twitter=0
make && make install

If you now restart bitlbee and use plugins you won’t see Slack:

Plugin                          Version
icq                             2.13.0
irc                             2.13.0
jabber                          2.13.0
novell                          2.13.0
oscar                           2.13.0
simple                          2.13.0
zephyr                          2.13.0

Then I cloned slack-libpurple and built it. This required some changes to the Makefile. I removed all the code that was about Windows but retained the LIBNAME.

diff --git a/Makefile b/Makefile
index 9874d94..7eb4bd0 100644
--- a/Makefile
+++ b/Makefile
@@ -18,35 +18,7 @@ C_OBJS = $(C_SRCS:.c=.o)

 PURPLE_MOD=purple

-ifeq ($(OS),Windows_NT)
-
 LIBNAME=libslack.dll
-PIDGIN_TREE_TOP ?= ../pidgin-2.10.11
-WIN32_DEV_TOP ?= $(PIDGIN_TREE_TOP)/../win32-dev
-WIN32_CC ?= $(WIN32_DEV_TOP)/mingw-4.7.2/bin/gcc
-
-PROGFILES32=${ProgramFiles(x86)}
-ifndef PROGFILES32
-PROGFILES32=$(PROGRAMFILES)
-endif
-
-CC = $(WIN32_DEV_TOP)/mingw-4.7.2/bin/gcc
-
-DATA_ROOT_DIR_PURPLE:="$(PROGFILES32)/Pidgin"
-PLUGIN_DIR_PURPLE:="$(DATA_ROOT_DIR_PURPLE)/plugins"
-CFLAGS = \
-    -g \
-    -O2 \
-    -Wall \
-    -D_DEFAULT_SOURCE=1 \
-    -std=c99 \
-       -I$(PIDGIN_TREE_TOP)/libpurple \
-       -I$(WIN32_DEV_TOP)/glib-2.28.8/include -I$(WIN32_DEV_TOP)/glib-2.28.8/include/glib-2.0 -I$(WIN32_DEV_TOP)/glib-2.28.8/lib/glib-2.0/include
-LIBS = -L$(WIN32_DEV_TOP)/glib-2.28.8/lib -L$(PIDGIN_TREE_TOP)/libpurple -lpurple -lintl -lglib-2.0 -lgobject-2.0 -g -ggdb -static-libgcc -lz -lws2_32
-
-else
-
-LIBNAME=libslack.so

 CC=gcc
 PLUGIN_DIR_PURPLE:=$(DESTDIR)$(shell pkg-config --variable=plugindir $(PURPLE_MOD))
@@ -66,8 +38,6 @@ CFLAGS = \

 LIBS = $(shell pkg-config --libs $(PKGS))

-endif
-
 .PHONY: all
 all: $(LIBNAME)

And now I was ready to build:

make && make install

And now plugins prints:

Plugin                          Version
icq                             2.13.0
irc                             2.13.0
jabber                          2.13.0
novell                          2.13.0
oscar                           2.13.0
simple                          2.13.0
slack                           0.1
zephyr                          2.13.0
 
Enabled Protocols: aim, discord, icq, irc,
jabber, mastodon, novell, oscar, simple, slack, zephyr

Get a legacy token. You can enter your token as the account password, says the README.

However, account add slack <email> <token> gives me the warning Note: this account doesn't use password for login. Hm.

But worse, when I then use account slack on I get the error Login error: Daemon mode detected. Do *not* try to use libpurple in daemon mode! Please use inetd or ForkDaemon mode instead.

Ouch. Changing the way I’m starting Bitlbee, now:

c:/cygwin64/usr/local/sbin/bitlbee.exe -n -F -v -d c:/Users/asc/AppData/Roaming/.bitlbee

And now it works!

  1. make sure your username is set to <something>@<slack server> (and not your email address)
  2. make sure your password is set to the token you generated on the website

If you know the name of a Slack room, you can create it in Bitlbee, too:

chat add slack general #general
/join #general

Note that if the channel name contains non-ASCII characters, you need to translate that into an ASCII-only channel name for Bitlbee:

chat add slack zufällig #zufaellig
/join #zufaellig

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2018-12-21 Blogs on the fediverse

Does it make sense to have a blog on the fediverse?

My blog on the fediverse (not self hosted: @darius wrote RSS to ActivityPub Converter and hosts it on his bots subdomain):

I was talking to @ckeen and @carbontwelve about it.

I guess I could try and get the mentions of the blog post and cross-post them to the blog – which might work if people knew about it.

I had something set up that basically queried the instance for the toot context and included it, but for my regular account I felt this didn’t match the expectations of people commenting. But for a bot account it might work.

Now that I’ve seen the first toot, I’m not sure what to make of it. The formatting is still a bit wonky. I would have liked the image to be used for the bot.

Actually, the current RSS to ActivityPub Converter is very simple: it doesn’t provide a complete web interface which is why the the link to the profile works, but you can’t actually follow the links to the individual posts. And if you can’t visit the post then you can’t “link” from your blog post to the fediverse post. It’s not accessible via the web. (that makes sense because the original is available via the web).

My first thought was that now if you want to transclude all the replies to the post, you basically have to link to a copy of the post on a different instance, and thus you don’t get to see the entire context. Which perhaps is good because if you pick the instance where you main account is, then at least all the default blocks are in place.

So, in this case, it would be this toot on octodon.social, but now that I’m testing it from a private browsing window, it redirects me to the originating URL, which is on Darius’ server which doesn’t work. Perhaps if Darius then redirected that request to the original blog post, the UI problem would disappear, but we could still not use transclusion to get all the replies.

Oh well. I’m talking to Darius on Mastodon. This is a cool project. :)

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2018-12-20 Greeter Bot

Greeter is another little Bot I wrote for Mastodon, in Python. This one greets new people on an instance.

More in the README file.

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2018-10-25 Using a Mastodon Bot

Perhaps if I had a dedicated bot acting on behalf of the blog, like a newsbot. It toots what I post on the blog, and it posts any replies it gets as comments to the blog. Hm. 🤔

I’ll have to think about that. 🧠

I had half of a Blog/Mastodon bridge going for a while until I decided that people on Mastodon weren’t expecting their toots to show up as comments on the blog (including caching and all that), specially as I myself am trying to expire all my old toots. But a dedicated bot would (perhaps?) solve that problem.

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That should be relatively easy. I have a few Twitter bots that crawl RSS feeds and post them to Twitter, it’d just be a matter of changing the output API to Mastodon.

Neither costs me anything at the moment.

Wes Baker 2018-10-25 17:08 UTC


Very cool, thanks for the links!

– Alex Schroeder 2018-10-25 20:13 UTC

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