Blakes7Bot is an automated Bot that posts lines of dialogue from Blakes 7 to Twitter and Mastodon.
Find out more about using the B7Quote functionality to get the bot to send you a B7 tweet.
If you're wondering how the bot works...
- The bot runs every 80 minutes or so between 7am and 9pm UK local time. We throttle this to avoid flooding follower's feeds with too many tweets.
- To avoid flooding the #Blakes7 hashtag, we only tag the first tweet and toot of the day.
- The whole process is entirely automatic.
- When running, the bot uses a SQL script to randomly select two adjacent lines of dialogue from the series.
- Lines that are solely stage directions will not be selected as the first line for the bot to tweet. This is to try and reduce the number of tweets like the one below, which are not particularly enthralling:
- If the first line contains dialogue and stage directions, it can still be chosen.
- The second line can be a stage direction, or dialogue, or a mixture of both.
#Blakes7 Season 2, Episode 01 - Redemption— Blakes 7 bot (@blakes7bot) September 17, 2019
- Line selection is a two-stage process:
- We randomly choose the episode as the first stage of the process.
- The second stage then selects random lines from that episode.
- The bot will then try and find an image to include in the tweet. To do this, it
- Tries to find a matching image (based on the episode and the line spoken) from the excellent framecaplib.com. Please bear in mind though, that:
- Not every scene from every episode is captured in framecaplib. In these cases, our algorithm will use the nearest relevant image.
- Lots of scenes are intercut. Often, the two characters talking may not be on screen at the same time. (For example Servalan and Carnell are rarely on screen together.)
- The framecaplib images and the Hermit.org transcripts we use as our source material may disagree over the precise dialogue used in a scene. We've developed some fairly sophisticated code to try and match them, but it's not an exact science.
- If no match is found in framecaplib, the bot then attempts to extract a still image from a video of the relevant episode.
- A television symbol 📺 at the end of the search url in a post indicates that you can watch a video clip of the line spoken if you click the search url in the link.
- For certain episodes, we may show a small video clip in the tweet/toot of the lines spoken. Again, this is all done automatically by the bot. We flag such tweets by adding a "vistape" emoji at the end of the search url displayed in the tweet.
- When it comes to errors, we tend to adopt a "fix when it breaks" approach. If the dialog in a post is wrong, for example, we'll usually correct the underlying source transcript ready for any subsequent tweets or searches. The incorrect tweet will live on into eternity, a sorry testament to our sloth.
- Once used in a post, the first line will not be used again, but it can return as the second line of a subsequent post. Since June 2021, we've also changed the logic around the second line. Previously, the second line could appear as the first line in a subsequent post. This can no longer happen.
- On Mastodon, the vast majority of our toots will end in a 4-digit code. The first toot of the day will always be B7B1, the second B7B2. (We use hexadecimal numbering to keep the code to four digits, so the 10th and 11th toots of the day, for example, will be numbered B7BA and B7BB.) The code is to allow users to use filters to limit the number of toots that appear in their timeline, if desired.
- Because lines are selected at random, there's always the chance that the bot will select the punchline and some irrelevant stage directions, rather than the set-up and punchline that we've all been waiting for.
- If you follow the bot on Twitter or Mastodon, it will usually follow you back, unless, for example, you have protected your account.
- If you stop following the bot, it will then automatically unfollow you.
- The bot following you should not be seen as any endorsement or agreement with the contents of your tweets or toots.
- The bot may choose not to follow you back, and may choose to stop following you at any time.
- Fans of the show tend to refer to Series A, Series B etc. rather than Season 1, Season 2, etc. so we've also followed that convention.
- Following user feedback, we've configured the bot to try - wherever possible - and fit each output into a single tweet, so we've added the following logic:
- If the output would fit into a single tweet but for the search url being displayed at the bottom of the tweet, the search url will be omitted from the end of the tweet.
- If the output is then no greater than 17 characters over the 280 character tweet limit, the Series and Episode information will be shortened from, for example:
- #Blakes7 Series D, Episode 08 - Games to #Blakes7 D08 - Games