marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel2009-06-20 06:24 pm
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Twitter and direct messages

I have created a Joule bot which sends you direct messages to tell you your stats every day. It is both @joulestats on Twitter and @joulestats on

All you have to do in either case is follow the bot. It will send you a DM every night, except when you have no changes that day. The icon for the DMs is a Joule lightbulb, but it's blue to differentiate it from the yellow bulb on the main Joule news accounts on Twitter and on

Doing this is equivalent to visiting the site, and will add a row to your history.

The bot will also attempt to follow you on because you can't send DMs on to people you don't follow. (You can on Twitter.) I think it's better if the bot doesn't automatically follow people on Twitter, though.

What each DM contains
  1. The number of people added and removed, like "+3-2" for three people added and two removed.
  2. As many names which have changed as fit. They have a "+" or a "-" in front of them. Priority is given to "-" because you get emailed to tell you when someone adds you.
  3. The word MORE if there are too many names to fit on the line. This doesn't actually happen very often.
  4. The URL of your chart page on Joule. I included this for two reasons. Firstly, it's the only way to see your changes if you get MORE. Secondly, I just like seeing visitors on the site; hit counts obviously dropped off a lot after we introduced RSS feeds, and I miss seeing you folks there!
It might be sensible, in the case where you would get MORE if the URL was included but not if it wasn't, to drop the URL. I think I will add this in the next version.

Known bug

Twitter and give us user IDs rather than names, so Joule has a separate step to convert IDs into names. Sometimes this step fails, in which case a name appears as +@? or -@? depending on whether it was added or removed. (On the site, they appear as (?? userid ??).) When I find out why this step occasionally fails, I will fix it. Suggestions are welcome.

Suggestions are also welcome as to how this whole subsystem can be improved.


In unrelated news, this will show you Joule in the Shavian alphabet, and this will set it back to ordinary English spelling.