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Emulate group accounts on Mastodon
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CHANGELOG.md
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setup.py
tootgroup.py

README.md

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.

  1. Public mentions of group members are boosted if they preceed the group's name with an Exclamation Mark like "!@mastodon"

  2. tootgroup.py can also look for direct messages from group members. It then extracts the status text as well as media files and creates a new public toot directly from the group account. 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 anything.

How to set up?

The easiest way to install tootgroup.py is via PyPI, the Python Package Index. Use 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 requires https://github.com/halcy/Mastodon.py as well as https://github.com/ActiveState/appdirs to run. Install them via your operating system's package manager, pip or even manually.

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.

  1. 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".

  2. Run tootgroup.py from the command line.

  3. tootgroup.py will 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.py will 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.py script will override these settings though and can be used for development or testing purposes.

  4. If you want to set up tootgroup.py for 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.py using this name. If you don't specify any group name, the handle "default" is created and used automatically

  5. Test the funcionality by sending direct messages and "!@mentions" to your group while running tootgroup.py manually. 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.py every two minutes:

    */2 * * * * /path/to/tootgroup.py --group default

  6. 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

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