Reddit Reply Bot
Thanks to some work by Thomas, we have recently reactivated the Reddit reply bot. We have identified a few potential improvements to it and hope to implement them over the coming weeks or months. You can see them in our Trello board. Remember, everyone is free to participate, so if you want to work on any of them, or anything else on that Trello board (or our non-programming jobs board), just let us know. Join our Facebook working group, and join our slack channel (message me via facebook, or email me shane at rbutr to be invited into the slack channel).
Over the coming weeks we will be increasing the subreddit activity of the bot. Slowly at first, and to more and more as we are confident it can handle the growth.I started reaching out to a couple of subreddit admins in preparation, getting some feedback and ideas from them as well as asking for permission to use the bot in their subreddit. Moving forwards though, it is clear that asking every subreddit for permission to add the bot is unsustainable. There are literally hundreds of thousands of subreddits. So we will just add the bot, and let the admins ban it if it bothers them.
Facebook News Feed Integration
This is a feature we have wanted for a long time, and finally we look set to add it. Thanks to some recently published open source code, we can easily modify rbutr to check articles shared in the Facebook news feed and display rebuttals as appropriate. All we need at this point, is someone who wants to donate the time it will take to implement the code, and bug check it before we take it live.
Craig (rbutr CTO) will be available to help, and will actually be making our plugin code open source as part of this effort, so everyone is free to have a play and suggest other features and improvements anytime they want. This feature is one of the most important ones because it not only starts to play a more active role in our daily usage of Facebook, but it also allows us to demonstrate to Facebook what rbutr can do for them. It allows us to show the world what a solid solution to “Fake News” looks like. I’m hopeful we will be able to get some press out of this feature when it is released.
If you’re interested in helping, get in touch with us through our rbutr workgroup page, or simply email me, shane at rbutr.
Applying for Funding Grants
I haven’t done much yet on the crowdfunding front, but a friend and long time rbutr user is in the process of applying for an academic grant to do some education research on rbutr, which will also include some development being done on the app. If we are awarded the grant, this will be a huge step forward for rbutr in several ways. I’m very excited by this opportunity, and hold out hope that we will win the grant! As soon as we find out, I will be sure to tell you all about it.
Other than that, I have recently registered with a local Social Enterprise funding platform which helps find funding and support opportunities for social enterprises. Grants, Prizes, free services and impact investors to help rbutr continue operating are the most important thing for us right now. They can solve every one of our problems.
best of rbutr emails
So I have not sent the last couple of the best of rbutr emails out. While many people tell me that they love them when I mention them, the problem remains that they take almost a day for me to create. I need to go through all of the recent rebuttals, sort out the suitable ones (recent, direct rebuttals that are interesting), and then read them all so I can summarise their content, before constructing the code for the email, proof reading it several times, posting it to the blog, editing it slightly for email, and then emailing it.
I’m sure I can get it done faster, but it will still take many hours every time. More importantly than just the time commitment though, is the fact that it isn’t showing any significant positive outcome from all that effort. I send the email, and the only real feedback I get is the guaranteed number of unsubscribes in response to the email (every email sent to a large mailing list will result in some unsubscribes). Not a particularly encouraging response to get each time!
If the email, blog post, or social media promotion of the blog post resulted in numerous shares, more traffic to the website, increased rbutr registrations or installs, or any other sort of measurable improvement to our metrics, it might be worth doing. As far as I can tell though, there is none of that. And since I am still the primary workforce pushing rbutr forwards, giving something 4-8 hours of my time means it better yield something significant. A meaningful improvement on user experience, significantly more publicity, registration, facebook likes… something which will take us one step closer to our final goals of massive widespread adoption/recognition of rbutr across the web. And at the moment, “I really like your best of rbut emails” isn’t making the cut.
I still think the emails are valuable, and I have ideas on how to partially automate them, but until that time the emails are on hiatus again.
Unless someone else wants to volunteer to take over their creation.
Get in touch via the usual channels if you’re interested.