Right now, I'm busy making a chatbot for AskUbuntu known as WolfBot (you can play with it over in the testing room). You may remember the bot from such hits as Where should WolfBot live?, and everyone's favorite, "WolfBot crashed (again)!"

However, I've hit a roadblock with development inasmuch as I can't decide what to do with it anymore.

Therefore, I thought it to be appropriate to turn to the all-knowing community for which this bot was made to assist.

What should I add to WolfBot next?

In order to keep some semblance of order, I ask that each feature request for the bot be made into its own Community Wiki answer, such that others can improve and flesh out the concept. If numerous features are related, please post them as one giant post. If a post gets enough positive feedback (or I like it), I'll try to implement it into the bot as best as possible.

Ideally, I'd prefer to only get serious and actually useful ideas, but I won't automatically turn away silly/comedic ideas.

Update 10/13: For now, the bot is offline while I perform some maintenance/upgrades to allow the bot to do cool things, like work in multiple rooms. I don't know when the bot is coming back, but rest assured that it will be online again soon.

  • how long will the bot be offline? Waiting for the return.
    – user595510
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 14:43
  • @MarkYisri I'm trying to fix a few bugs with it right now, so hopefully soon. Adding multi-room functionality is proving difficult.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 16:43

10 Answers 10


Developer Note: This is as per Post Shortcuts. If these two features are different, or people feel that this is not implemented in the same spirit as intended in this feature request, you may remove this text and ping me in the Comments or any chatroom.

Use it to point to canonical answers to help users find good answers and/or write better questions. For instance wireless? and wifi? -> My wireless/WiFi connection does not work. What information is needed to diagnose the issue? I'm certain there are many more examples but this one comes to mind as an area of possible high impact.

  • This feature is sort of in the bot by way of the shortcut function. Unless there's something different in this proposal than I'm just not seeing sans my coffee?
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 16:30
  • That's interesting. How does the shortcut version work?
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 22:20
  • You can try running !!/s moo in the test room for an example.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 23:15
  • @KazWolfe Why moo? What does that signify? How would one know what shortcuts to use and for what reasons?
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 23:47
  • moo was just used as a placeholder test word to check that the feature worked. In reality, a trigger will be something like !!/s dualboot or !!/s wireless
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 23:49
  • Excellent. Just so I'm clear, one would enter !!/s triggername and the bot would deliver new questions matching the trigger to the chatroom in which it was installed. [unless there's something I'm missing in spite of several cups of coffee? :-)]
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 16:36
  • 2
    The bot will deliver the URL that is marked with "triggername". So when you do !!/s wireless, WolfBot will return this link to us.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 17:16
  • This is a great feature! How will the shortcuts be managed/moderated? Is there a way to get a list of active shortcuts? (I checked the command page)
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 21:06
  • Yeah, it's an unlisted command. !!/listshortcuts. Mods and ROs (and bot admins) can add shortcuts at their discretion.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 21:12

Developer note: , needs addition for tag checking in addition to just posts, but this shouldn't be hard.

I think it would be very useful if it could detect EOL questions, as most questions that mention EOL versions are off topic (with a few exceptions) the bot should have a high success rate finding them.

Use key words like

  • 12.10
  • 13.04
  • 13.10
  • Quantal Quetzal
  • Raring Ringtail
  • Saucy Salamander

As these can be hard to spot, it would help a lot to have them presented to us.

Here is a full list of EOL versions.

  • It could check the tags for EOL tags too
    – cat
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 11:34
  • @MarkYisri No, Trusty is supported until 2019 wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 16:17

Post Shortcuts -

Have an ability to save and get shortcuts to special/important links, like: !!/s google.

This could be used to store canonical questions that need to be easily referenced in such a way that it can be found easily (say, the canonical question for no Unity).

Moderators and room owners should ideally be able to add and remove shortcuts at will.


Keyword Flagging

The bot should have a feature that will monitor incoming questions and check each post for certain "keywords" as defined by a moderator or bot admin. If such a phrase is found, raise the post by way of a non-intrusive message in chat so that it can be looked at.

This could be used to watch for off-topic posts (like those about Kali or Mint) or posts of a certain caliber. This system should also include a "whitelist", which will always allow the post through, regardless of any blacklisted phrases.

Bot Dev Note: This feature is currently in the bot (initially for testing purposes), but has generated a lot of controversy in chat and elsewhere. This post exists, like the shortcut post, to see the worth of such a feature, and if it's a general good idea or a bad idea.


Turn it off.

Why do we even need a chatbot? We've been fine without it, and I see no reason to start using one now.

Note: As of the next update to the bot, if this post has a total score of +3 or more, the bot will be silenced/muted until the score drops down to 0 or less. A score check of this post will take place every 12 hours. The testing room will not have this restriction.

  • 6
    We have SmokeDetector, which has been extremely helpful already. I don't see the harm in making another chatbot that does something similar. Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 23:34
  • 1
    @Zacharee1 Well, the goal of WolfBot and SmokeDetector are pretty different -- Smokey finds and kills spam, WolfBot is meant to aide and help the site however it can.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 23:36
  • oh, I thought WolfBot was just a filter detection system like Smokey, just for off topic stuff instead. If it's meant to be multi-purpose, this suggestion has even less backing. Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 23:37
  • @Zacharee1 That was just the first thing I implemented, because I could and I wanted to give it some use and that is just what I thought of. WolfBot should be able to do whatever we need it to do, not just filtering off-topic posts.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 23:38

Use it as an interactive guide for questions that are asked frequently.

(I.e. how to install Ubuntu, how to dual boot, what are the advantages of Ubuntu)

I'm thinking the bot would respond to questions like "how do I install ubuntu?" It would then give a generic answer and direct the user to specific questions.

  • What do you mean by "Interactive Guide"? How would that work? Who would it be for? New users would not have access to its room. This may well be a good idea but it needs fleshing out quite a bit.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 10:01
  • @MarkKirby edited.
    – user595510
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 23:21

Filtering. That one word answer hold so much in it, but in general, bots such as Smokey have been utilized at a rate that can be described as a parabola. At the beginning, the bot seemed like it was revolutionary, but as time went on, and the way questions needed to be filtered changed.

The main use that I have seen of Smokey nowadays is finding "mostly non-latin bodies," but there's so much more your bot (knowing your level of intelligence) could do!

One feature I would love to see (if possible) is auto-tag editing. When a user asks a question about (for example) nVidia drivers, keywords such as "nvidia" will appear often in the question, however in the tags of the question, the user may not include the tag.

If the bot could see this by reading the list of current tags, WolfBot could either point out when this occurs, or again if possible automatically add the tags, and submit the question as a suggested edit.


  • WolfBot does currently have a "keyword system", which I could see almost perfectly implemented into this system.

Obviously I'm not the designer, and I don't want to discuss this all here, but the word "nvidia" could come up by itself in a question, so testing against a list of keywords just once would not work, and the exact dimensions and kinks would need to be worked out, but I know you can do it!

Small things like this can be hard to do, and may not seem like they provide that much help to the community, but I have high hopes that WolfBot will turn into something great!

  • While I can make WolfBot take actions on the main site, I'd rather not let that happen for a few reasons. First off, that opens up far more room for error and things going wrong. Plus, the dynamics of tagging would make it hard to accurately push a tag without forcibly using the edit queue, which we can't do forever. Once I put more work into tag editing, I can have the bot flag posts that have tag issues, but I won't be implementing edits.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 18:37
  • Okay, understandable! @KazWolfe
    – David
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 19:22
  • I like this idea but perhaps auto changing tags is asking for trouble but I see no reason it could not look for posts that seem to be missing tags and present them to users for editing. Could help <2k users to find posts to edit.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 16:21
  • Very true, but isn't editing tags pretty much considered edit farming? @MarkKirby
    – David
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 18:32
  • Yes it is, see my other answer I posted about adding common spelling and grammar issues to you idea :)
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 18:34

Going off of David Cole's answer about the bot looking for miss tagged questions, this could work IMO if it just presented them to a room for editing, <2k users could use it to easily find things to edit.

I think it could go one step further and look for common spelling and grammatical errors, things like Ubunto come to mind and text speak like U and Y and WTF could be sings of a post that needs an edit.

I am sure something like this would take time and testing to get right but I think the idea of presenting posts to be edited to users looking to edit could be a great thing but no kind of automation should be used to edit posts, it will be a liability.


Watch for NAAs from New Users

Add a check to WolfBot that scans all incoming answers. If a user has less than a set threshold of reputation (say, 5 rep), and the bot detects a question mark or a set of keywords in the answer to suggest that it in fact is not an answer, post a message in chat.

This check does not need to be configurable from chat, but it should be able to be enabled/disabled as needed.



You could use your bot to do an image search by searching for a photo in Bing/Google images and posting the top hit.

  • Okay, this is an interesting idea. However, how will we pass images to the bot? What commands (if any) will be used? Who should be able to do this?
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 8:20
  • 6
    How is this useful?
    – edwinksl
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 8:22
  • @KazWolfe easy. when you paste the link it automatically turns into an image.
    – Edgy1
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 19:22
  • 3
    @Windows3.1 The chat system already does this if you just paste the link and nothing else.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 17:27
  • @ThomasWard Maybe OPs point is that it could add it even if a link is in the middle of a message or inserted with markup?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 22:55
  • I have problems using Google for image searching for screenshots, because Google does not do a very good job of matching screenshot images to keywords. Google does a pretty good job of matching a screenshot that you already have after you upload the screenshot to Google however. If you upload a screenshot, Google image search looks for screenshots with similar colors and shapes in addition to searching for images which have similar text.
    – karel
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 10:01
  • 1
    @Windows3.1 I could implement this in CoyoteBot if you like
    – user595510
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 11:45

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