About the Mastodon and BlueSky Swear Clock
The Fediverse Swear Clock and the BlueSky Swear Clock are bots fashioned after Rob Manuel's Swear Clock on Twitter for users of ActivityPub (Mastodon, Misskey, Firefish etc.) and BlueSky respectively.
On the hour UK time, the bot posts the next available line in a long text file full of custom-written filth submitted by readers. If there isn't another line, it picks a random line from its growing database of evil and pushes that out instead.
Half past the hour, it generates a random output based on a word list and various different templates.
On Mastodon etc, if you mention the bot, it will also reply to you with the current time and a randomly-generated piece of evil.
Can I submit stuff to the bot?
Yes! Go to https://tinyurl.com/mastoswear and there's a Google form you can chuck stuff into.
What actually appears on the account is entirely at my discretion. Please don't bother submitting anything with slurs or bigotry of any kind because I'm not posting them. If you want to submit abuse about me, then I might post it if it's funny, but "hur hur your a cunt" will just get ignored.
Why did you make this?
Mainly because I missed the bot when moving to Mastodon, partly as an excuse to learn Python.
What time zone does this run on?
The clock is set to British time (so GMT or BST depending on the time of year). I'm not sure it matters though to be honest - I don't think anyone follows this account for its timekeeping abilities.
Does this use submissions from Rob Manuel's clock?
No. Well, mostly not. Some of the lines it pushes out are ones I submitted to his clock, and that I put into this one to give it something to start with. If you see a line on both his bot and mine, either I wrote it or someone nicked it from this one to put it into his, or vice versa.
Does the bot's output come from an AI?
In the sense of generative AI/LLMs e.g. GPT? No, absolutely not. I am opposed to the use of LLMs in general, mostly on the grounds that they represent plagiarism (already an immoral act) and then do it en masse without regard for whose work they are plagiarising.
The posts that come out on the hour are all written by real people - either me or people submitting stuff. The posts that come out half past the hour are assembled from various templates and word lists by a Python script - I guess you could call that "AI" if you squint but it's really just a mad lib.
While feasibly someone could ask ChatGPT to write swears for them and then submit the results using the submissions form, there's not much I can do about that. But please don't do that - if nothing else, if I wanted to I could do it myself, and I don't. People have suggested I do so before and the answer is and always will be no.
Is this a relay from Rob Manuel's clock from Twitter?
No. The bots' output is wildly different.
Did you know that this was Rob Manuel's idea, and you are the world's worst arsehole?
No, I didn't know it was Rob Manuel's idea. That's why I specifically acknowledge that it was on the bot's about section, to anyone who asks and indeed above on this very page.
For the record, I have specifically reached out to Rob multiple times, and I have repeatedly made offers to turn the account, its follow list and the bot code over to Rob if he asks, no questions asked. He's not said anything and I don't feel like bothering him much more over it, not least because I don't think he really gives that much of a shit about this bot or Mastodon in general.
This bot is terrible and offensive and I hate it and I hate you and you should ban this sick filth!
I do, occasionally, get both complaints objecting to the bot, its existence and/or its content.
My position here is quite simple:
- on Mastodon, every single post on the account is hidden behind as descriptive a content warning I can devise for something that automatically posts 48 times a day ("NSFW/lewd/rude");
- the account is called "Swear Clock";
- the account's About section describes exactly what it is; and
- its profile icon is a cartoon of an ejaculating penis.
These are all probably good signs that whatever you happen to find on the account will not exactly be anodyne. If you ignore all these flashing neon signs, then click through the content warning, at that point I consider it fundamentally your fault if you dislike that you were confronted with a description of a breakfast cereal mascot performing a sex act on a Founding Father of the United States.
Obviously, I can't apply a content warning on Bluesky. But that is a platform limitation that I cannot do anything about, short of not running the bot; but given the general tenor of Bluesky, which is basically the Wild West except everyone is talking about and showing off their genitals, I don't feel that the bot is really going to be causing that many issues.
Basically, I won't be taking down the bot or making any other changes (e.g. to word lists) because you are offended by it. You may, at your option, use your own content filtering options (including account blocks or mutes) to completely ignore the bot forever. It really doesn't bother me.
I run a Mastodon instance and I'm not very happy about your bot
Fair enough. I feel like the above mentioned tells and content warnings are enough to protect users from seeing content they're not happy with (bar the profile picture, which I'm not really able to do much about). However, I am perfectly fine with instances blocking the bot account at a server level if they feel it appropriate to do so. As above, I will not be taking down the bot or making any changes to its content purely because you, your users or anyone else finds it offensive.
If you have any concerns about any other aspect of the bot, please feel free to DM me or mention me at @email@example.com (although I don't check this very often so be prepared to wait for a reply) or mention me on BlueSky at @bloonface.com to discuss (don't mention the bot or tag it in as it'll just reply to you with something obscene - and if you only @tag in the bot, I will never see it).