1. Bots — What are they?
While having moderators in chat is nice, they are in fact human. Humans make mistakes, they have a reaction time that massively exceeds the time a computer takes to react to messages written in chat, and of course, they occasionally need sleep. When's the last time you saw a bot require some time off?
For this reason, so called “chat moderation robots," or simply “bots,” have been created by third party developers. These bots can perform basic moderation tasks, such as timing out users automatically if they use offensive words in chat, execute custom chat commands if specific trigger words are used, so much more.
2. When and why should I get a bot?
For very small channels that have a low amount of views, a bot is not always necessary. Having a bot in a channel that is live once a week and averages three viewers just wastes resources on the bot and chat servers.
If you do not have a lot of viewers, you will probably not need a bot. Consider expanding your viewership first and getting a bot when it becomes a necessity. For example, if spammers keep posing a problem, or people keep asking the same questions over and over, that is a definite sign you'll want to assign a bot.
Be careful with repeated commands, though. If you are in a channel with five viewers and a bot keeps posting social media info every two minutes, that just gets obnoxious as time passes by.
3. What bots are there? Which should I choose?
These questions are important to ask, yet impossible to answer completely. There is a wide range of bots and reasons why you will want a bot. To address the first question, below is a breakdown of some commonly used bots:
- Xanbot, developed by Aaron ‘Xangold’ Clay
- Moobot, developed by Moocat
- Nightbot, developed by the NightDev team
These bots are all similar, yet optimized for different uses. Every channel can use each of the bots, but properly deciding on which bot to use can make your life on Twitch a lot easier.
While this does not hold true for every bot, most bots can be controlled with commands that are posted in chat. These commands usually take the form of the following:
For any bot, there are predefined commands, which allow you to make changes to commands and other settings the bot might provide. Additionally, most bots allow for the creation of custom commands, which make the bot post a specific message in chat (see image below).
The exact commands available differ greatly between the bots covered here, which is why I will not go into full detail about all of them. There are help pages and command lists available online if you need them.
Some bots even have a graphical interface (“GUI” or “dashboard”) to control the bots. This simplifies the process of making changes to the bot without needing to know all the commands and how they work.
Nightbot is a bot that specializes in ease of use and fun features, and thus is especially useful for small channels. However, there is no limit to the size of channel that can use Nightbot. It uses a freemium model, providing basic functionality for free and removing limitations if you donate to the NightDev team. A full commands list can be found in the Nightbot dashboard.
Most prominent features:
- Dashboard that allows you to edit settings via http://nightbot.tv
- Automated moderation, consisting of timeouts for spammers and offensive chatters, with a wide range of settings for different type of spam
- Custom command with variables that allow you to use dynamic content with the commands, — even triggering external URLs
- Raffles – These allow you to select a random viewer for giveaways
- Votes/Polls – Have the viewers decide what game to play next, guess the winner of a game you are spectating, or cast votes on any poll you wish to create
You can get Nightbot by creating an account at the Nightbot dashboard and clicking the “Join” button after logging in. Be sure to make Nightbot a moderator in your chat using the following command:
Mootbot is designed for ease-of-use, with a high-level dashboard from which you can edit all the bot's settings. One of the biggest benefits is its extreme speed and reliability, built to prevent spam by timing out users instantly. It's free to use, but certain features and restrictions require payment.
Partial list of features:
- Dashboard, which is comparable to Nightbot’s dashboard
- Automated moderation tools, with lots of settings that allow you to customize how the bot reacts to all kinds of spam
- Custom commands, with the ability to display information about your steam username, current game, League of Legends runes and masteries, Xbox Live gamertags, currently playing song, and more
- Raffles and polls
- Welcome messages to new viewers
To use Moobot, connect your Twitch account via the Moobot dashboard at http://twitch.moobot.tv/ A command list can be found there. Adding Moobot to your chat can be done so by executing the following command:
Out of the three bots covered in this article, Xanbot is the only one that does not have a dashboard at the time of this writing. However, it excels at moderation thanks to its support for regular expressions, making it harder to use and therefore, more focused on advanced users — providing them with the most powerful tools to keep spam low. Xanbot is completely free to use for all users.
Some of Xanbot’s features:
- Sophisticated spam removal via the support of regular expressions
- Custom commands and auto-replies, allowing the bot to react to messages that aren’t In the form of “!command”
- Raffles and polls
- Several utility commands, allowing you to display information on League of Legends runes, masteries, the weather and more
You can get Xanbot by going to http://twitch.tv/xangold and typing !join in chat. Afterwards, add Xanbot as a moderator in your channel using the following:
A complete command list for Xanbot can be found at http://xangold.tv/help/
4. Which bot to choose?
Now that we have covered the most common bots on Twitch, which one should you use? Does it need to be one of these three?
All these bots are under constant development, improving their stability and feature set. If you have the necessity to add a bot to your stream, you can try them out, or just use whichever bot you know best.
If you are new to bot usage, it is definitely suggested to use Nightbot or Moobot, both of which have a lot of similarities.
Nobody can tell you which bot to use in general. It completely depends on what you what the bot to do for you. But with that said, all the bots mentioned above are great if used correctly.
5. Getting support
Using a bot can be complicated and difficult for users who are new to chat moderation. Thankfully, there is plenty of support to go around. Below are support links for each bot:
Nightbot: Tweet at https://twitter.com/theNightbot, or use the support form on the Nightbot dashboard: http://nightbot.tv/support
Moobot: Tweet at https://twitter.com/MoobotApp, or ask in http://twitch.tv/Moobot
Xanbot: Tweet at https://twitter.com/Xangold, or just ask in http://twitch.tv/Xangold