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For #4, I posted a suggestion about creating an IRC bot, and suggesting that some people could deviate from this and create an automated bot to respond to certain messages in the Code Review chat or any other SE site chat.

However, I do not know the full restriction list of creating a chatbot for Stack Exchange. Is there information on this out there?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Another question: how do bot accounts for chat work? Should I simply use my normal account? Or should I create a separate account, clearly mark it as belonging to me and also somehow earn 20 rep in it? (Wikipedia does something like this for its bots, except for the reputation part.) \$\endgroup\$ – svick Dec 18 '13 at 1:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @svick You should use your normal account so you aren't accused of sock puppeting. \$\endgroup\$ – syb0rg Dec 18 '13 at 1:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ We've also got some posts about this over on the network meta. What should be the limits for chat bots interacting with regular users? is a recent one, and it's got a bunch of good stuff in its "Related" sidebar. \$\endgroup\$ – Pops Dec 18 '13 at 7:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related, another related, and one more \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Dec 18 '13 at 17:36
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I have already contacted SE regarding this concern, and this is the exact response I've received from Tim Post, an SE community manager (important points bolded by me):

To the extent that it doesn't at all annoy others in chat, we tolerate it. Bots shouldn't send automatic greetings, say inappropriate things (or accept inappropriately named commands) and should not be used to do anything that someone couldn't ordinarily do with their account. They're also subject to plug-pulling at our discretion if we feel that they are in any way creating a problem; for us, or other participants in chat.

Technical caveats include not being upset if we change something about the internal-but-really-exposed-sort-of chat API, how authentication works, adding human verification, etc - we're not going to heavily consider third party clients when making decisions about changes we need to make. There's also no support for bots in chat - though devs involved with chat will generally try to be helpful if you're working on something neat. Still, it's not something we support.

However, someone that has something rather benign running in a room doesn't have anything to worry about, so long as they're keeping an eye on it. Additionally, in most cases, the strongest action we'd take is kick the bot out of the room and ask the owner to disable it. If someone was being intentionally malicious with one, we'd definitely take a stronger action, but the bot becomes incidental in that case.

As you can tell it's a bit of a gray area, but not taboo. A few folks started working on a bridge between IRC and our chat system, I'm not sure what came of that. I'm inclined to say let's see what comes of it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ can you name your source? \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Dec 18 '13 at 14:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Malachi: Tim Post, SE community manager. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Dec 18 '13 at 15:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm Tim Post, and yep - this is what I said. I'm also happy with the emphasis placed. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Post Dec 18 '13 at 20:14

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