Emulate group accounts on Mastodon and more
tootgroup.py - emulate group accounts on Mastodon
What is this?
Some social media platforms allow groups of users to post into a unified "group"
timeline/instance/whatever you want to call it. This is currently not possible
on Mastodon without giving all members full login credentials to a group.
tootgroup.py is an attempt to solve this specific use case.
How does it work?
tootgroup.py has to be set up on a computer and run periodically. It reads the
notifications from the Mastodon account it is connected to and filters them for
messages to repost. There are two methods of creating a group post. One or both
of them can be enabled during the setup procedure.
Public mentions of group members are boosted if they preceed the group's name with an Exclamation Mark like "!@mastodon"
tootgroup.pycan also look for direct messages from group members. If the group is @mentioned at the very beginning, The message will be reposted as a new public toot originating directly from the group account. The status text as well as media files are included. The originating user will not be shown publicly. (It can still be seen by all group and instance administrators tough!)
If both repost methods are disabled,
tootgroup.py will still run but not repost
But how to simply use it?
Write a message that should be boosted by the group: Just include "!@group_name" anywhere in the toot. EXAMPLE: "OHAI! just found that !@mastodon thingie!"
Write a message that should appear as a new post from the group: Put "@group_name" at the very beginning of a direct/private message. EXAMPLE: "@mastodon HERE BE THE MESSAGE TEXT"
How to set up?
The easiest way to install
tootgroup.py is via PyPI, the Python Package Index.
pip3 install tootgroup.py to install it as well as all its dependencies.
It is also possible to download the script manually from the GitHub repository at https://github.com/oe4dns/tootgroup.py In that case the necessary dependencies have to be provided too:
tootgroup.py will guide you through setup by asking all information it needs
when you run it from the commandline for the first time. Being somewhat
comfortable with Python scripting and the commandline in general might help
if difficulties should appear.
You need an account on any Mastodon instance/server that will act as your group account. Think about if you should mark it as a "Bot".
tootgroup.pyfrom the command line.
tootgroup.pywill ask you for all needed setup data and try to get them right by connecting to the Mastodon server. If it cannot do so, it will tell you and you can retry. When successful,
tootgroup.pywill write the configuration to its tootgroup.conf file and read it from there next time you run the script.
The place for storing configuration is operating system dependent but will be shown during the first-run/setup phase. A local tootgroup.conf file placed next to the
tootgroup.pyscript will override these settings though and can be used for development or testing purposes.
If you want to set up
tootgroup.pyfor more than one group, you can run it again while specifying the "--group GROUP_HANDLE" flag. This will then generate an independent configuration that will be read each time you call
tootgroup.pyusing this name. If you don't specify any group name, the handle "default" is created and used automatically
Test the funcionality by sending direct messages and "!@mentions" to your group while running
tootgroup.pymanually. See if things work as expected. The script will print an according message after each successful run. If everything works, run the script periodically via cron and enjoy groop-tooting!
Here is an example for a crontab entry that runs
tootgroup.pyevery two minutes:
*/2 * * * * /path/to/tootgroup.py --group default
There is also the "-d" or "--dry-run" commandline flag that prevents any toots. You can use it to test what would be posted by the script.
Use "-h" or "--help" for more information about all available options
Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.
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