Bot whisper shadowbans

Isn’t it also in an IRC Bot RFC about the fact that the channel bot SHOULD return output in the SAME medium that the message started in?


if you run a command publicly it should respond in public.
if you run a command privately it should respond privately.

It should not change mediums when replying to user in response to a command

That ONLY works if EVERYONE uses BTTV.
Which they don’t…

You have to go with the most common denominator, most users ARE idiots unfortunately. A bot can just of answered someones question and yet someone IMMEDIATELY ask the same question, because they don’t/didn’t read chat

Maybe, but I’m not familiar with it. In any case, an RFC is just that; a request for comments. A starting point for a discussion. They’re not written on stone tablets. (I mean, unless they’re ratified as an internet standard I suppose, but I don’t think there are any internet standards governing IRC bots.)

That ONLY works if EVERYONE uses BTTV.
Which they don’t…

It’s true, one of the tactics I mentioned won’t reach 100% of the viewership. That doesn’t feel like a very thorough refutation of my argument. Streamers still have a multitude of tools to help communicate with their audience about the channel bot. (or any other topic) I can’t think of one method of knowledge transmission that’s guaranteed to reach 100% of viewers, but despite this, communities still memetically develop unique knowledge. Some facts/jokes/responses/etc. always manage to become part of a channel’s culture, and I still don’t see a compelling reason why “This channel’s bot will sometimes whisper you its responses to your commands.” can’t be part of that knowledge for at least some channels.

You have to go with the most common denominator, most users ARE idiots
unfortunately. A bot can just of answered someones question and yet
someone IMMEDIATELY ask the same question, because they don’t/didn’t
read chat

I mean, the most common denominator is going to be community specific right? Depending on the size of the community and the kind of viewer it attracts. With that in mind, shouldn’t it ultimately be up to the caster what sort of demographic they’re aiming for, and what standards they think should be in place for their community?

The reason streaming is popular is because it builds communities and relationships. The primary way that happens on twitch is through twitch chat. If someone isn’t going to interact with it at all, why are they on twitch instead of watching youtube or netflix? Or perhaps if they want to write messages into the twitch chat, and expect to have them read, but don’t seem willing to spend time reading the messages of others, then surely at least some communities should have the right to say “This isn’t a viewer we’re interested in retaining.” right?

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That in itself would probably alienate a large amount of users, especially in larger channels - the same channels where bot whispers could be viewed as ‘spam’ due to the volume of whispers.

I think us dev’s are in the same position as Twitch, lots of ideas on how to handle whispers but…no real good way. In smaller channels, slow chat may not ‘warrant’ the use of whispers but then you can run into the chat being spammed by bot response. In high volume channels, chat is typically fast enough to spread bot responses but then people can miss it, so whispers may be more useful (which then leads to one of Twitch’s current problems; how do you discern valid whispers from spam whispers beyond the report tool).

I feel like these are some good points, and are definitely worth addressing.

Spam seems to be pretty widely regarded as irrelevant, unsolicited messages sent to large numbers of people. If a whisper is sent in response to a command, I feel it’s almost by definition guaranteed to be relevant, solicited, and sent to relatively few people. If the whisper clearly communicates why it was sent the only way to view it as spam would be to not read it, and if we’re allowed to categorize things as spam without reading them, then I feel like all bets are off. Now, is it possible that whispering users with bots could be spam? Of course, but you could just as easily post a message of random text to the public twitch chat every second and that would still clearly also be spam. I feel like whether or not a message counts as spam has less to do with the medium of that message and more to do with the value brought by the contents of that message.

As for your other point, I think I agree that splitting the request and response of a command across mediums is a little counterintuitive. The question becomes, “Are the benefits worth the cost.” I think they can be. I think a large part of that as I’ve said relies on explaining that the bot will sometimes send whispers in response to commands, so that people can get on board with that idea quickly. Another part of that I think just comes from having non-negligible benefits. The primary one of course is just removing unwanted and unnecessary messages from the channel’s twitch chat. I feel like maintaining a good signal to noise ratio in that chat is one thing that’s helped keep users paying attention to it. If it becomes mostly bot spam, it becomes harder to parse, with less return for doing so, and so fewer people are likely to read the messages that show up there. Another big point (and really the reason for posting this question) is that for some functionality, privacy is a fundamental feature of the message. On some nights the caster that I built the bot for plays quiplash, and having a bot with a !join command allows us to set up a priority queue where we can cycle in viewers in a fair and transparent way. This only works because the bot can whisper players automatically. They can get confirmation of joining the queue, the can ask the bot about their spot in the queue, they can leave the queue, and when it comes time to play with the caster, they can get the credentials they need to join automatically without the caster having to do anything. If the caster had to do that whispering himself it becomes difficult to maintain an entertaining vibe to the stream. If the bot puts the credentials in chat then obviously everyone can join and it doesn’t work. If every time someone joined, left and asked for their spot we put those responses in chat, it would quickly pollute chat with information that very few people care about, again making it difficult to parse, and taking the chat farther away from what we want it to be; a place for humans to interact with other humans.

I think I’m inclined to agree about bot spam in chat being primarily noticeable in smaller channels. If the channel I frequent more often had 600 concurrent viewers instead of 60, I may very well have different priorities in this discussion.

If twitch’s response is going to be, “Well, channels with less than a few hundred concurrent viewers aren’t really worth our time for this issue.” Then that feels bad but at least I understand it.

But even discounting the block and report tools, I feel like we have some mechanisms by which we can make inferences about the value of whispers being sent. I think the first and most important one would be verifying that there are one or more channels in common between whisperer and the person being whispered. While it’s possible that a spammer could get around that by joining a channel, spamming the viewers then leaving and joining a different one, there are ways to account for that. Looking at how long they’ve been in a channel’s list of chatters would probably be telling. It may also be worth checking if the whisperer is a mod in the channel(s) they have in common. Certainly not all bots are mods in their channels, but some certainly are and it seems like it might be meaningful data. It also seems unlikely for a single username to both be a helpful channel bot and a dastardly spammer. Once you can put a bot into one group or the other, you likely don’t need to check it as frequently. And while these checks sound computationally and temporally expensive, random sampling is probably your friend.

Again, I don’t know, I’m just some dude on the internet. I’m sure the twitch developers are a lot smarter than I am, and I feel like the odds are good that they could come up with something if it were important to them to do so.

Difference is one can be dealt with by numerous channel moderators, the other has very few people reviewing them globally. The current limits make for a balance that just barely works for both devs and admins.

Any news on this?

No update. I was on vacation for two weeks (as I mentioned in the first post) and just got back yesterday. :slight_smile:

Yea, I know. That’s why I gave you 1 day. Geez… :sweat_smile:

Update yet?

The current status is that we have an open issue to provide documentation, guidelines, and best practices around Whispers for developers. Nothing in flight yet, but I’ll let you know when we have something ready to go. :slight_smile:


Hi Twitch Staff,
As a broadcaster I would like to give my opinion on this matter.

Basically my bot uses whispers since this week.
This was out of necessity and let me tell you why, my viewers called my bot the “Chat Spam Bot” as a joke.
This is because my viewers can request a couple of commands in chat. (such as amount of hours viewed, how many chat points they have, what thing they can buy with them etc etc) Imagine 3 people requesting these commands within 5 minutes, The bot would spam my chat with at least 15 to 30 lines, making normal chat messages disappear between all the bot’s messages.Normally I have 30-40 concurrent viewers so imagine the madness that unfolds…

The simple solution for this is the whisper feature. Instead of posting the message in chat, it (the bot) sent the information the viewer requested through a whisper. This is both beneficial to the requester and the viewers. The requester can view the information he wants to know without having to keep scrolling up as twitch chat rages on and twitch chat can go on unbothered by bot interference.

I think this being said, I speak for quite a lot of streamers. And for this sole reason we request our bots (with the help of authentication forms as we had a couple months ago) to be able to be whitelisted from the anti-spam measures.

I do agree that having a chatbot that whispers people for no reason without any viewer requests etc should be banned or detected by the anti-spam system. These bots should not be allowed to pass the whitelist background checks.

You want to know what I mean? Check out my profile and type !upgrades or !recruitment when smartcorebot is online to see for yourself.

Warm regards,

One way around the spamming in chat is to have a cooldown on the commands. For example, if the !upgrades command has been sent in the past X minutes, don’t repeat the same message. The per-user information could still be sent. This will depend on the pace of your chat though. For showing people their score and rewards, you could have an off-site listing like tinyRewards from tinyBuild or even like Swiftor’s Swiftbot website.

Figuring out reason for whispering would require an incredible amount of context to be accurate. User channels, user actions in each channel, bot channels, etc.

Again, there is a lot of definition to clear up with regards to how developers should be using whispers. We’re working on getting those guidelines out to you. :slight_smile:

Is it in the meantime possible to register the bot so it can’t get banned from whispering?
On a channel I’m owner on we’re using whispers to reduce the chat spam (same as SmartCoreGaming) but it got banned today. In the future we’re moving to a different bot with a website but this wil take some time.

Hi DallasNChains,

These commands had a cooldown of 2 min global and 5 minute user.
Still, creating cooldowns is not the effective way of handling these issues.

People who just joined the chat have a chance of missing out on certain information and as I said, even if these commands would be used every 2 minutes, it would still spam the chat with about 10 lines every 2 minutes. And would bother users that can’t stand the repetition of chat filling up with clutter. Hence giving it the nickname spambot.

Whisper/private messages are the perfect solution for these types of issues and I hope Staff sees it that way. In no way would I in person create any whisper commands that I do not find absolutely necessary.

I’m hoping the guidelines that will be published soon(??) will give us some do’s and don’ts.
As I will again make my point that most channels that implement whisper messages by their bots do it out of necessity, not to be fancy or spam users etc…

Kind regards,

edit changed typo: “punished” -> Published

@Dutchmania We don’t whitelist by default. You have to go through the process for whitelisting as described in this topic: Are your whispers not going through for your bot?

Totally wild guess here, but your bot could be hitting the message limit? From Twitch’s irc page:

If you send more than 20 commands or messages to the server within a 30 second period, you will get locked out for 8 hours automatically. These are not lifted so please be careful when working with IRC!

Mods can type 100 messages in a channel before hitting this rate limit. If a message is sent to a room in which your global message count is already too high, you will be disconnected.

Limits are different for whispers.

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