what I’ve been up to lately

I’ve been writing here less because I’ve mostly been doing work on Twitter and What Is GamerGate Currently Ruining for the past few months. I started the #RooshIsARapist hashtag, which quickly turned into calling on Amazon to remove his books from their store (more info on Roosh from WIGGCR). I wrote a Twitter essay yesterday on Roosh, GamerGate, Men’s Rights “Activism”, Pick-Up Artists and the relationships between them, male entitlement, and rape culture.

In bot news, I made @wigglebunch, which comes up with great things to call your pet, for Pet Jam.

I also put together a page on here for all of my projects, so you can view them in one place, and I’m putting some of my essays that I write here on Medium as well.

bot idea list

Bots that I think would be cool, but do not yet have the skillz to make (if you want to make one of these feel free to! just credit me in the bot’s Twitter bio or something):

  • a bot that grabs descriptions of videos on pornhub and replaces all the sex-related words with business buzzwords
  • a bot that grabs parts of two sets of quotes, Headline Smasher/Two Headlines style, and mashes them together, attributing them, incorrectly to a third person
  • a bot that grabs a list of 12 related nouns (such as 12 different vegetables, 12 fictional characters, etc– maybe using Wikipedia categories?), assigns each one to a horoscope sign, and posts them on Tumblr, a la the zodiac meme. This would also work with images. Hell, you could probably just grab a dozen images from giphy and end up with something surprisingly coherent at least half the time.

Bots that I totally could make but haven’t yet that I might make someday and which I could absolutely make if someone wanted to pay me to make them:

  • terrible names for bad guys in RPGs
  • a bot version of Orcwanker
  • a Tumblr aesthetic generator
  • a bot that says nice or encouraging things
  • artisinal beer name generator
  • creepy Lush products generator
  • terrible workout tips
  • travel/vacation ideas
  • a (pseudo) Markov bot that grabs tweets from all of my bots and smashes them together
  • a random horoscope generator (maybe for every sign?)
  • a random tarot reading (with or without interpretation)

I’ll add links if I make any of these. You can support me on Patreon to get me to make ’em a lot faster; once I get to the $250 mark I’ll be doing an extra project a month, and that can be an essay or a bot.

observations on @colormaton

I made yet another bot. This one invents names for colors. I picked the words in its corpus mostly by taking apart existing lists of colors (“yellow”, “eggplant”, “jade”), combined with one list of interesting words that aren’t color-related at all (“goat”, “grace”, “madam”) and one list of words that can be used to modify many different colors (“vivid”, “zany”, “baby”). There are a few different combinations that these can appear in, some drawing multiple entries from the same list.

I observed some interesting things while building the bot and while watching what it comes up with.

  • Most color names that aren’t just for the color (like “yellow”) come from plants (especially food plants) and stones.
  • Because of this, most of the stuff that @colormaton comes up with sounds more like a weird description of a rock and/or food than an actual color.
  • The things it comes up with that ARE plausible colors sound sort of ridiculous, but seem, at least to me, like they wouldn’t be out of place on, say, a dollar store bottle of nail polish.

You can follow @colormaton on Twitter.

New bots, bot making and depression

I made yet another Twitter bot, @luxe_products; it’s my most complex one yet, and I’m really proud of it. I got a lot of help from my best friend, who is wonderful in many ways and consistently willing to get drinks and brainstorm lists of nouns while making fun of the Williams-Sonoma and SkyMall catalogs; she was also incredibly helpful in the creation of @lady_products. I also made @wrongben, which is a really bad joke, but it makes me laugh.

I suffer from chronic depression and have a sleep apnea related condition that isn’t really under control yet, and I’m finding that these bots are the perfect kind of project for me. It’s easy to pick up and put down work on them; there are lots of supportive people who will help if you can’t figure something out, and there are pretty accessible tools for making them.

The big thing with them that makes them work for me, though, is that they’re an investment against future mood slumps and periods of exhaustion, which for me can last from days to, occasionally, weeks. Because they’re on Twitter, they keep pumping out little pieces of art for me even when I’m not capable of doing that. Since I made them largely to amuse myself, they are making jokes that make me smile, and I feel less like an unproductive failure of a human being, because these little bot-babies I made are still out there doing work for me. It’s a good feeling.