#1149 closed enhancement (fixed)

provide a way to reply to a tweet without requiring that it starts with the user's name

Reported by: bitlbee@… Owned by:
Priority: wishlist Milestone:
Component: Twitter Version: 3.2.1
Keywords: patch Cc:
IRC client+version: Client-independent Operating System: Public server
OS version/distro:


For instance, people sometimes use a leading . or or something along those lines as the first character in a reply in order to make it also a public tweet, while still preserving reply metadata.

Attachments (1)

bitlbee-3.2.1-rawreply.patch (684 bytes) - added by william@… at 2014-07-30T12:03:59Z.

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (14)

comment:1 Changed at 2014-04-09T12:57:51Z by dx

But... how?

The command is "reply (username|message_id) message", and generates "@username message", how would we have a command that allows sending something like ".@username message"?

comment:2 Changed at 2014-04-09T13:06:23Z by wilmer

I've thought of this one. A possible approach would be to only prepend the username you're replying to if there's no @-mention in the message anywhere.

Still backward-incompatible that way though, which annoys me. But blame Twitter for that, since in the past I'm pretty sure that replies were *required* to start with a mention to the person you were replying to. That's why I implemented it this way.

comment:3 Changed at 2014-07-23T12:19:25Z by anonymous

You could introduce a "rawreply" or "followup" command which would create a reply but not auto-prefix.

comment:4 Changed at 2014-07-24T09:02:54Z by dx

Component: BitlBeeTwitter

Changed at 2014-07-30T12:03:59Z by william@…

comment:5 Changed at 2014-07-30T12:04:51Z by william@…

Attached a patch for bitlbee 3.2.1 that adds a rawreply command. It's fairly simple, but I've tested for a few days on my end and seems just fine.

comment:6 Changed at 2014-07-30T12:59:14Z by wilmer

So would a separate command be required, is my idea in #2 not sufficient? I would hope that a mention to the person you're replying to will always be required somewhere in the message. Just no longer at the start of it (this used to be mandatory which is why I implemented the command this way).

comment:7 Changed at 2014-07-30T13:03:30Z by william@…

I'm not a dev for bitlbee, just some guy. This method was much simpler (in my mind) to implement in C, which is why I chose it.

comment:8 Changed at 2014-07-31T02:45:08Z by dx

Keywords: patch added

Thanks for the patch, some guy! I'd like to do it The Right Way™ at some point, but meanwhile your patch should be useful for other people.

comment:9 Changed at 2014-07-31T03:18:39Z by william@…

If there is a Right Way™ then I'd be glad to have a second shot at a patch. I do however have use cases for when I want a reply that does not have any username mentions in it at all. Mainly, this is when I post a follow-up tweet to one of my own tweets. By making it a reply, it gives context. And mentioning my own username is irrelevant and sometimes makes people ignore the tweet.

comment:10 Changed at 2014-07-31T04:16:12Z by dx

Yeah that's the main reason I'm not going with wilmer's idea either. In that sense rawreply is the easiest and most effective solution... but it's also raw. I don't know about a perfect Right Way™.

When it comes to UI issues i'm always tempted to patch the thing with client-side scripts - in this case, pressing tab after "reply ff" could fill the relevant mentions, and the user could remove those entirely. That's my ideal UI. But also not really usable by default without the scripts. Would be pretty much like making rawreply the default reply command.

comment:11 Changed at 2014-07-31T05:10:25Z by william@…

Yeah I use clientside scripts to do reply-all already, I do feel like most of these things should be client-side but rawreply was needed somewhere.

comment:12 Changed at 2014-07-31T08:11:29Z by dx

Hmmm. I think it would make more sense to have the "reply" command doing reply-all by default (it's the standard twitter behavior after all), and then, yeah, have rawreply as alternative for other stuff.

Minor detail: not a fan of the name "rawreply".

Anyway now i'm thinking that (aside from the name, in case someone comes up with something better), this rawreply patch should just be applied like it is, and then start improving the reply command, making it more "clever", maybe. Here's some ideas:

  • Reply-all by default like i said above
  • Detecting if the tweet starts with a dot and a mention (".@"), then turning that into a rawreply? It's a common enough pattern.
  • Handle self-replies (it currently throws a weird-ass error, btw. ID not found or something)
    • Not adding any mentions for self-replies of tweets that don't start with @
    • Or include the same set of mentions if they do start with @

The problem with adding this behavior is that sometimes bitlbee will fail to be sufficiently smart to guess what the user wanted to do. Right now we're not being very smart at all, which might be worse. Documenting what's done behind the scenes might help.

comment:13 Changed at 2015-02-01T02:31:09Z by dx

Resolution: fixed
Status: newclosed

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