Is there a need to formalize Botiquette?

What are well-behaved bots?

On the Fediverse we have some informal conventions when it comes to dealing with bot accounts. A #nobots on our profile means we don’t want to be bothered by them. Though it is hard to get an overview, there are many different bots on the Fediverse. A lot of them are very useful, or fun to use. There are also many bots for which it is unclear what they do, who created them, who manage them, and to delve into the source code to figure out their inner workings.

Overall I feel that a better netiquette for Bots is in order… a Botiquette :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

But going one step further. Could we enforce, or at least encourage, more proper bot behavior with extension on AS/AP protocol level? So that as a fedizen in my profile I can specify:

  • To disallow all bots
  • To allow bots with a profile description
  • To allow bots with a maintainer (fedizen account)
  • To allow bots with reference to a git code repository

And related… if a bot gathers and processes information, it likely needs a Privacy Policy and one that may need to comply to GDPR and similar regulations. Should the bot be able to process my information, if I do not consent with the terms in the privacy policy?

Is this worthwhile to delve deeper into, and what other botiquette is there to consider?

See also:

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Good post. I don’t have much to add but I do think this sounds like a good idea.

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I would only add:

If a followbot receives a Reject from a Follow request, remember this decision.


Great post.

I think this is going to be the next decade or 2 of innovation in the dweb.

We are going to get bots of all kinds. Good and bad, some that will help users, some that will try and scam users, and a whole spectrum in between.

What I think is ideal is a reputation and web of trust system, that is both decentralized and long-lived.

The same system could be applied to bots, users and instances.

One thing facilitates the other, else the bots will just be sybils that have a scatter gun approach spamming users with things that are not in their interests.

There will be bots that serve humanity too.

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