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A bot framework for Reddit to manage threads, wiki pages, widgets, menus and more.

Project description

Sub Manager

PyPI Python version Framework Tests Pytest Pre-Commit Code style wemake Code style Black

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Sub Manager is a bot framework for Reddit to automate a variety of tasks on one or more subreddits, and can be configured and run without writing any code. Its initial application was to automatically generate, create, pin and update threads, as well as related tasks. Additionally, it can be used to automatically sync and reformat content between wiki pages, widgets and threads, as well as marked sections of the same (including the sub's sidebar and other content). It includes support for automatically installing a Systemd service unit for real-time operation on modern Linux distributions, which is used in production for the r/SpaceX subreddit, and it can also be run by any other means you choose on your system.

Legal Disclaimer: For the avoidance of doubt, Sub Manager and the r/SpaceX Github org and subreddit are unofficial fan creations, and have no affiliation with nor endorsement by Reddit or SpaceX, which are trademarks of their respective companies.


Note: You may need to substitute python3 for python in the commands below on some Linux distros where python isn't mapped to python3 (yet).

Create and activate fresh virtual environment

While Sub Manager can be installed in your system Python, we highly recommend you create and activate a virtual environment to avoid any conflicts with other packages on your system or causing any other issues. Using the standard tool venv, you can create an environment as follows:

python -m venv your-env-name

You can then activate it with the following on Linux and macOS,

source your-env-name/bin/activate

or on Windows (cmd),


Of course, you're free to use any environment management tool of your choice (conda, virtualenvwrapper, pyenv, etc); these steps are just an example.

Download and install

To download and install the package from the Python Package Index (PyPI), simply activate your environment and run

python -m pip install submanager

Alternatively, if you want to use the exact pinned dependencies we do, you can clone this repo and install from the requirements.txt file:

git clone
cd submanager
python -m pip install -r requirements.txt
python -m pip install .


To use Sub Manager, you'll need to activate the appropriate environment you created previously, and then execute its main entrypoint. For example, with venv under bash,

source your-env-name/bin/activate
submanager <command>

To see the various commands and options available, pass it the --help flag.


For information on how to contribute to Sub Manager, including reporting issues, setting up a development environment and contributing code, see the Contributing Guide.


First, you'll want to generate the primary Sub Manager user config file, in order to tell it what you want it to do. To do so, simply run submanager generate-config to generate it at the default path, and a stock config file with some starting examples will be output (formatted as TOML for humans). The static config file, which stores user configuration as human-friendly TOML, is located in the submanager subdirectory OS-appropriate user config directory, and the dynamic config file, which stores persistent internal state (e.g. current threads being managed) as machine-friendly JSON, is located in submanager subdirectory OS-appropriate user state directory. To view the full paths to and status of these files on your system, simply run submanager get-config-info. You can specify an alternate config file for one or both with the respective --config-path and --dynamic-config-path options, allowing you to run multiple instances of the bot simultaneously on the same machine (for example, to avoid cramming everything into one big configuration file, or use multiple cores).

To improve robustness and enforce safe maintenance practices, Sub Manager must now be stopped and restarted to read-in updated config. Individual modules, such as sync_manager and thread_manager, can be enabled and disabled via their corresponding enabled options, and can be further configured as described below. To perform a variety of checks that your configuration is valid and will result in a successful run, without actually executing any state-changing Reddit actions, run submanager validate-config; if an error occurs, informative output will explain the problem and, often, how to fix it.

Configuring credentials

Starting with Sub Manager v0.5.0 and later, the Reddit account to use for a given action can be specified per module (sync_manager, thread_manager), per task (sync item, thread) and even per source and target, as well as globally. You'll need to configure and register the account(s) involved for Reddit app access with the Reddit API. We recommend you configure your credentials in praw.ini and simply refer to them via the PRAW site_name argument in the config subtable of the respective account listed under the accounts table, which will avoid any secrets leaking if you accidentally or deliberately store your config.toml somewhere public. However, if you prefer, the various arguments that praw.Reddit() can accept, e.g. username, password, client id, client secret, refresh token etc) can be also all be included as subkeys under the config subtable of the named account in the accounts table. Sub Manager v0.5.0 supported the new token manager refresh token handling Reddit announced in early 2021, while v0.6.0 dropped that support along with PRAW due to Reddit reverting that change. While this occurred before to the first wide public release of Sub Manager (v0.6.0), this change is nevertheless transparent to users, as Sub Manager handles this for you.

Posting intervals

If posting new threads is enabled for a configured thread item, it can be set to either post daily, monthly, yearly etc. as soon as the period ticks over (e.g. first of the month), or at an interval of every N periods after the previous thread was posted.

new_thread_interval is specified as a string, either in the form "UNIT" (e.g. "daily", "month", etc) to trigger the first behavior, or "N UNIT" (e.g. "10 weeks", "1 year", etc) to invoke the second, where N is a positive integer and UNIT is a supported period unit. Supported period units for both include years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds; weeks are currently supported for the latter, but not the former (since there is no unambiguously agreed-upon, locale-independent start of a week, and they don't divide evenly into months or years). For either form, the units can be given with or without s or ly as suffices.

There's currently a minor limitation with this as currently implemented: getting it to create a new thread "on-demand" rather than on a schedule (or not at all) is not completely obvious. There is a relatively simple workaround, however—just set the new_thread_interval to false, and then whenever you want a new thread, set it to e.g. 1 day, wait repeat_interval_s seconds for it to create the new thread (or manually restart it, if you're impatient), and then set it back to false.

We will soon add a proper feature for this, likely in the form of a new CLI command, e.g. submanager create-thread <thread_name>, to programmatically tell the running Sub Manager instance to create a new post on-demand.

Syncing sections

The patterns of text specified in source and targets are searched for in pseudo-Markdown "comments", i.e. empty links that don't appear in the rendered text, like so:


Example section content


This allows easily syncing just specific sections between sources and targets.

If any variable (e.g. pattern) is not specified for a target, the value is recursively inherited from the respective defaults table in the sync pair, and then sync config section, including the context sub-table in each as well as the default_context in the config. Conversely, any replace_patterns for a specific target are applied after (and in addition) to those specified in source for all targets; note the source section is not actually modified unless it is specified as a target.

Running as a service

To install a Systemd user service that will run Sub Manager automatically, activate your Sub Manager environment and simply run the submanager install-service command. By default, this will install a user-level service named submanager.service which will run Sub Manager with the primary configuration. If you'd like to install another service with a different config, specify the config file path as usual with --config-path, and (if you don't want the service to overwrite the default one, so you can run as many as you want at once), a custom suffix; the resulting service will be named submanager-<suffix>.service.

The installed service can be enabled and started in the typical way,

systemctl --user daemon-reload
systemctl --user enable submanager
systemctl --user start submanager

and you can check its status and log, respectively, with the usual

systemctl --user status submanager
journalctl --user -xe -u submanager

Note that there are a few considerations to keep in mind when running as a user instance of Systemd, most notably to get it to autostart on boot rather than login and persist after the user is logged out (e.g. on a server, VPS or other unattended box).

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