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A Slack chatbot


At the moment, I consider limbo to be feature complete, and the project is in maintenance mode. Every once in a while I come in and update the dependencies.

Contributions will be considered and may be accepted, you may want to email me because I might not notice your PR.


  1. Clone the repo
  2. Create a bot user if you don't have one yet, and copy the API Token
  3. export SLACK_TOKEN="your-api-token"
  4. make run (or make repl for local testing)
  5. Invite Limbo into any channels you want it in, or just message it in #general. Try typing !gif dubstep cat to test it out

kitten mittens

I recommend that you always run limbo in a virtualenv so that you are running in a clean environment.

Command Arguments

  • --test, -t: Enter command line mode to enter a limbo repl.
  • --hook: Specify the hook to test. (Defaults to "message").
  • -c: Run a single command.
  • --database, -d: Where to store the limbo sqlite3 database. Defaults to limbo.sqlite3.
  • --pluginpath, -pp: The path where limbo should look to find its plugins (defaults to /plugins).
  • --version, -v: Print a version number and exit

Environment Variables

  • SLACK_TOKEN: Slack API token. Required.
  • LIMBO_LOGLEVEL: The logging level. Defaults to INFO.
  • LIMBO_LOGFILE: File to log info to. Defaults to none.
  • LIMBO_LOGFORMAT: Format for log messages. Defaults to %(asctime)s:%(levelname)s:%(name)s:%(message)s.
  • LIMBO_PLUGINS: Comma-delimited string of plugins to load. Defaults to loading all plugins in the plugins directory (which defaults to "limbo/plugins")

Note that if you are getting an error message about not seeing environment variables, you may be running limbo as sudo, which will clear the environment. Use a virtualenv and always run limbo as a user process!


It's super easy to add your own commands! Just create a python file in the plugins directory with an on_message function that returns a string.

You can use the !help command to print out all available commands and a brief help message about them. !help <plugin> will return just the help for a particular plugin.

By default, plugins won't react to messages from other bots (just messages from humans). Define an on_bot_message function to handle bot messages too. See the example plugins for an easy way to define these functions.

These are the current default plugins:


  • How do I try out Limbo via docker?
    • @PeterGrace maintains a public build of limbo, available from the docker registry. Executing make docker_run will start the default bot.
    • make docker_stop will stop the bot
  • When I start the docker container, I see an error about unable to source limbo.env. Is this a problem?
    • No. The limbo.env file only exists when using Kubernetes with the included opaque secret recipe for storing your environment variables.
  • I'd like to develop plugins for Limbo, but would still like to use Docker to run the bot. Is there a quick way to add plugins to the bot?
    • Yes! Use the included as a template, and simply build via make docker_build You'll then need to start the bot with your new_image_name, for example docker run -d -e SLACK_TOKEN=<your_token> new_image_name