Meet Bot Learns a New (Old) Trick

Originally published at: https://communityblog.fedoraproject.org/meet-bot-learns-a-new-old-trick/

Members of the Fedora community have been meeting in chats for what feels like forever. For a long time, regular meetings took place in the #fedora-meeting IRC channels, but lately, we’ve moved much of our communication over to Matrix. With that move, our helper on IRC, zodbot, got succeeded by a trio of Matrix bots, of which meetbot serves as a keeper of minutes. It allows meeting hosts to flag agenda topics and high points, which the bots collect and make publicly available at meetbot.fedoraproject.org.

What was missing?

These meetings usually follow a more or less fixed structure, so hosts have to put in quite some boilerplate commands. Many groups keep a document with these commands around to be copied and pasted so that the meeting isn’t interrupted because the host can’t remember the right incantation (that would be me at times). Fairly often, these commands come in sets of more than one; e.g., a new topic on the agenda would come along with a description, so readers of the minutes don’t have to guess what’s what. Because of differences between the IRC and Matrix protocols, the new bots receive these commands as one message and only process the first command they find. This was a real step back compared to the old bot.

What’s new?

Lately, Ryan Lerch (@ryanlerch) taught meetbot to process multiple commands in a message in one go, with one notable exception: Because this is an extension to meetbot (and not the framework it builds upon), we have to issue the command starting a meeting on its own line to first catch the attention of the bot. Then we can copy and paste whole blocks of command boilerplate again, just as in the olden days of IRC.

Thanks, Ryan!

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